The Spectacle Blog

Three Reasons Michelle Obama’s Tuskegee University Commencement Speech Did More Harm Than Good

By on 5.12.15 | 10:19AM

I know there's been a fair amount of commentary concerning Michelle Obama's commencement address at Tuskegee University over the weekend, but I did want to make three observations of my own as to why her speech did more harm than good. But before I do let me provide this excerpt from her remarks:

Because here’s the thing -- the road ahead is not going to be easy. It never is, especially for folks like you and me. Because while we’ve come so far, the truth is that those age-old problems are stubborn and they haven’t fully gone away. So there will be times, just like for those Airmen, when you feel like folks look right past you, or they see just a fraction of who you really are.

NFL Suspends Brady for Four Games, Fines Patriots $1 Million

By on 5.11.15 | 9:57PM

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has thrown the proverbial book at Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. In the wake of the Wells Report, Goodell has suspended Brady for the first four games of the 2015 NFL season, fined the Patriots $1 million and indefinitely suspended two employees because its "more probable than not" that they deflated footballs or possessed knowledge of said deflation. As our own Daniel J. Flynn noted last week, "It’s “more probable than not” that lawyers using the phrase “more probable than not” want to attaint with guilt without taking on the tough work of proving it."  If Brady had seen fit to slug Gisele Bundchen in an elevator a year ago he would have received half the punishment. Although if Brady ever did such a foolish thing, methinks Gisele could more than hold her own. Yes, Goodell would eventually increase Ray Rice's suspension, but had to be shamed into doing so following a public backlash.

Bill Clinton Will Stay in the Shadows For Now

By on 5.11.15 | 5:07PM

Although it was clear from this flattering Washington Post bit from this weekend that Bill Clinton has been slowly shoring up his First Lady agenda, it seems that the Hillary Clinton campaign is not interested in giving the people what they're clamoring for.

While Bill Clinton will happily trot the globe, pulling up developing nations from certain economic disaster with his charm and compassion alone, Hillary will be leaving her happy hubby off the campaign trail for now in order to focus America's attention on the lesser Clinton, lest they start making unflattering comparisons. 

President Clinton will not hit the campaign trail for Hillary Clinton in 2015, aides told The Washington Post, keeping in line with his promise to be a “backstage adviser” to her White House run.

Thoughts on Seymour Hersh’s Claims About the Bin Laden Raid & The Media Reaction

By on 5.11.15 | 4:48PM

Over the weekend, Seymour Hersh caused a sensation when The London Review of Books published a piece by the Pulitzer Prize winning author in which he claimed that much of what the American public has been told about the raid which Osama bin Laden was killed four years ago is false. More precisely, Hersh argues that the mission was done with the knowledge and co-operation of the Pakistanis contrary to White House claims the raid was carried out without Pakistan's knowledge.

Naturally, the Obama Administration denies the story. It is also worth noting that the story has been greeted with a great deal of skepticism in the media as Max Fisher's piece in Vox and Bobby Ghosh's piece in Quartz demonstrate.  

Elizabeth Warren Takes Aim at the Clinton Foundation

By on 5.11.15 | 1:43PM

She's nice, but she's not so nice. 

Elizabeth Warren (D-$8.5 million, net worth), who I am quickly running out of Native American-themed jokes for, despite having literally decades yet to go in her tenure, wrote a blog post the other day on her own website,, bolstering Hillary Clinton's credentials with her populist following over the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement that Warren is at war with the White House over. But even though the article is titled "I Agree with Hillary Clinton," it seems Elizabeth is the dictionary definition of a frenemy. While Warren took vicious aim at supporters of the TPP, her targets were carefully selected for impact...on her new friend.

Warren’s post, “I agree with Hillary Clinton,” details her concerns with a provision in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement that she says “would let foreign companies challenge American laws outside of American courts.”

North Korea Fired an Underwater Missile, Probably.

By on 5.11.15 | 11:43AM

No one has yet confirmed that the North Koreans have fired an underwater ballistic missile in the general direction of the United States just yet, but suffice it to say, everyone is super sure it happened. After all, when you consider that Kim Jong Un once "launched" a full on nuclear assault with an Atari control panel that wasn't plugged in, it's easy to believe that they've both set sail in a seafaring vessel that can operate with impunity in local waters, and managed to send a warhead careening into the great beyond, no doubt terrifying entire schools of underwater creatures.

It is, of course, entirely possible that this all happened in an elaborate Playmobil landcape set up in Kim Jong Un's third bedroom. But for now, at least, the world is standing up and taking notice.

North Korea has carried out a successful underwater test of a ballistic missile, the North Korean state news agency reported.

Leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the test himself, KCNA reported on Saturday (Friday evening, ET).

Mark Halperin Gets to the Bottom of Ted Cruz’s Cuban-ness UPDATE: Halperin Says He’s Sorry

By on 5.11.15 | 10:44AM

UPDATE: After being called "racist" by none other than Think Progress for his deep digging on Ted Cruz's background, Mark Halperin has issued an apology


Obviously, this field of Republican nominees is going to give some in the media pause. I have to imagine that they occasionally lie awake at night, thinking to themselves how it all went wrong: how did some obviously multicultural candidates miss every missive from the Democratic party, from their youth until now, convincing them that they are wholly and without a doubt not Republican? It seems almost impossible.

Fortunately, at least Mark Halperin is determined to get to the bottom of the problem that is Ted Cruz. After all, has anyone truly investigated exactly how Cuban Sen. Cruz really is? Maybe he likes to say he is, but does he like Cuban music? Does he eat Cuban sandwiches? Does he enjoy white rum and Guyabara shirts? An inquiring mind wants to know.

Jeb Bush Says Respect Law Breakers

By on 5.10.15 | 5:53PM

Jeb Bush, the candidate/non-candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, says we should show illegal aliens some respect.

As part of an interview with Megyn Kelly to be aired Monday night, the would-be Bush III said we need to “fix the system so that legal immigration is easier than illegal immigration and show some respect for people.”

There’s no doubt which people Bush is talking about here. They are the line-cutters, the border crashers, the law-breakers.

I guess a case can be made that these folks are due a measure of respect — about the  same amount of respect they have shown American laws.

Too bad Rodney Dangerfield isn’t here to sort this out.

BU Defends New Professor Who Wrote Racist & Sexist Tweets

By on 5.8.15 | 9:00PM

Boston University is defending the hiring of a new assistant professor of sociology and African-American studies who has written a series of racist tweets.

Saida Grundy, who is due to begin her position next month, has composed these precious gems:

“White masculinity isn’t a problem for america’s colleges, white masculinity is THE problem for america’s colleges.” 

“Every MLK week I commit myself to not spending a dime in white-owned businesses. and every year i find it nearly impossible.”

“Why is white America so reluctant to identify white college males as a problem population?”

Well, good to know that Professor Grundy judges people by the color of their skin.

But BU's posture is even more obnoxious. They are standing by Grundy. A spokesman for the university stated, “Professor Grundy is exercising her right to free speech and we respect her right to do so.”

Free speech, huh?

ABC to Bring The Muppets Back to TV

By on 5.8.15 | 4:43PM

ABC has announced that it plans to bring The Muppets back to television in the fall.

I'm old enough to remember when The Muppets first aired in the mid-1970's. Although only on for five seasons, it aired in re-runs during much of the 1980's. So I spent a good chunk of time watching that show as a kid.

I do remember ABC airing the short-lived Muppets Tonight in 1996. But, as I understand it, this features the traditional Muppets we know and love such as Kermit The Frog, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Animal, Fozzie Bear, Rowlf The Dog and The Swedish Chef.

But here's what worries me:

This time around, the show is being billed as a more adult take on The Muppets. Shot in a documentary format, the new series will explore the Muppets' relationships, romances, desires and disappointments.