The Spectacle Blog

N. Korean Nuke Test Confirmed

By on 10.16.06 | 12:34PM

The explosion may have been relatively small, but it was nuclear, according to U.S. intellegence:

Air samples gathered last week contain radioactive materials that confirm that North Korea conducted an underground nuclear explosion, National Intelligence Director John Negroponte's office said Monday.

In a short statement posted on its Web site, Negroponte's office also confirmed that the size of the explosion was less than 1 kiloton, a comparatively small nuclear explosion. Each kiloton is equal to the force produced by 1,000 tons of TNT.


Re: Mehlman on The Elections

By on 10.16.06 | 11:28AM

Quin summed up the major points that Mehlman focused on, and obviously Mehlman's job is to stay on message, so he kept coming back to those points throughout. He also said that the RNC anticipated a challenging environment and "We have planned for this environment for a very long time." There haven't been surprises as far as the races that are competitive, he said. On the turnout front, he argued that there's no evidence of a surge in Democratic participation and cited that in 36 of 39 Democratic primaries this year, turnout was lower than it was in 2002. Republicans, meanwhile, have still been volunteering in large numbers. He also was more confident about the Senate than the House, which shouldn't surprise anybody, but he said that Republicans would maintain control of both chambers.

Mehlman on the Elections

By on 10.16.06 | 9:47AM

There will be plenty of time today for lots of people to blog about Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman's discussion this morning at the American Spectator's monthly newsmaker breakfast, but for now, before I run off to a meeting, here are a few highlights: 1) The election must be framed not as a referendum, but as a choice. When the question isn't "are you happy now?" but "who do you want, going forward, to handle taxes, national security, and judges, the conservatives or the liberals?," then the conservatives (and, by extension in most cases, Republicans) do better.

Now-What Conservatism

By on 10.15.06 | 2:14PM

Sundays were once held back for contemplation. Now anyone thinking too hard -- meaning at all -- or too long -- meaning five seconds -- is faced with a portrait of conservatism at a crossroads. "Conservatism" itself means nothing if we don't agree on what must be conserved -- if we don't even agree on who "we" are. And yet these are the public conversations, swirling wild-eyed around a world, a nation, a culture, that by all accounts is going wrong. Somehow.

Opening steps, then, in the quickening moves of this fall formal dance -- toward an understanding of what's required of the conservative in postmodern times.

John Kerry and the KOS-ization of the Democrats

By on 10.15.06 | 10:17AM

If I had a dime for every time John Kerry said "Bush lied" or some variant thereof on his appearance today on Fox News Sunday, I'd have a lot of dimes.

When asked why Democratic primary voters should give him another chance, Kerry replied that he has learned a lot. Yes, and he has learned that the Democratic base has been hijacked by the nutroots. Just keep saying "Bush lied" enough times, Kerry seems to think, and you'll win over those who desperately need to be medicated. And if that doesn't go far enough, you can add on "People died."

Thank goodness that clown didn't win in 2004.

Gorby World

By on 10.14.06 | 1:28PM

Everyone's favorite small-c communist imparts his timeless wisdom:

"Today our American friends are suffering from an illness worse than AIDS. And I would say this is the victor's complex," Gorbachev was quoted as saying in an interview with the Netzzeitung.

Unable to extricate itself from its Cold War mentality, the United States was playing a dwindling role in world politics, while Russia, China, Brazil, Europe, India and Japan were becoming stronger, Gorbachev said.

Re: Outing and Sign Up

By on 10.14.06 | 8:36AM

Bravo, Hunter. Though it seems to me we church types will always be regarded as some exotic species, like Trobriand Islanders -- by a certain section of the self-designated elite.

As for third party voting, remember Ross Perot -- and what the votes for Perot got us.

Throw Twinkies if He Enters the Cafeteria

By on 10.14.06 | 7:42AM

Schools in Burleson, Texas are training students to fight back if a gunman threatens their schools, according to The Associated Press:

Youngsters in a suburban Fort Worth school district are being taught not to sit there like good boys and girls with their hands folded if a gunman invades the classroom, but to rush him and hit him with everything they got -- books, pencils, legs and arms.

"Getting under desks and praying for rescue from professionals is not a recipe for success," said Robin Browne, a major in the British army reserve and an instructor for Response Options, the company providing the training to the Burleson schools.

That kind of fight-back advice is all but unheard of among schools, and some fear it will get children killed.

How about another idea that is "unheard of among schools," one that might actually save lives -- arming teachers?

Re: The Stupidest Law

By on 10.13.06 | 4:52PM

Interestingly enough, the two biggest online poker rooms interpret the law differently. PartyPoker says it makes it "practically impossible" to fund US players' accounts. But PokerStars says the law doesn't apply to poker. Poker is a game of chance in the short run but a game of skill in the long run, and the "is poker gambling?" question is a staple of poker forums. The question now is how the feds will answer it.