The Spectacle Blog

Koskinen Goes Back to the Hill

By on 7.23.14 | 5:14PM

This morning the head of the IRS, Commissioner John Koskinen, returned to Capitol Hill to testify on the ongoing investigation into the role the IRS played in targeting conservative and tea party groups. This comes after testimony that Lois Lerner, according to the head of the National Archives, broke the law.

The last time Koskinen appeared before the committee, things got testy and many Republican lawmakers questioned his credibility as a truthful witness. The commissioner testified that Lerner’s hard drive had been destroyed after her computer crash. This is despite the fact that Lerner’s emails were sent to and from her BlackBerry, which leaves the possibility that her phone could be searched.

Send to Kindle

The Movies You Watch Aren’t Gay Enough, Say Activists

By on 7.23.14 | 4:37PM

Gay and transgender characters don't feature often enough in major Hollywood films, according to a bizarre claim from the activist organization GLAAD. I say that the claim is bizarre because their gripe is that "only" 17 out of 102 big studio films from 2013 featured gay characters. GLAAD regularly bean counts the number of homosexuals in film in their Studio Responsibility Index. "Only" seems a bit of an odd choice of words, though, when 3.8% of Americans identify as LGBT. If anything, gays are disproportionately represented in movies. This should hardly be surprising, given the distinctly liberal complexion of the entertainment industry.

Send to Kindle

Pro-Palestinian Hooligans Attacks Pro-Israel Demonstrators in Boston

By on 7.23.14 | 1:33PM

I did not know about this until this morning, but over the weekend there were a couple of incidents where pro-Palestinian hooligans accosted pro-Israel demonstrators. One of the incidents involved a same-sex couple carrying an Israeli flag combined with a rainbow flag. They were confronted and told by Palestinian supporters, “Jews back to Birkenau” and “Drop dead, you Zionazi whores,” and then assaulted before Boston Police came to their rescue. The day before about a dozen pro-Israel activists were swarmed by another group of pro-Palestinian hooligans in front of the Israeli consulate. Assault and battery charges have been laid against one member of that mob.

Now I was in NYC over the weekend. But one would have never known about the incident if one read The Boston Globe or listened to NPR.

Send to Kindle

Ron Paul: The New Old Joe Kennedy

By on 7.23.14 | 12:14PM

The legend that is John F. Kennedy today, the martyred youthful president who is perpetually popular in polls rating the “greatness” of presidents, has left out a number of facts. 

But one of those facts has resurfaced with the news that former congressman Ron Paul, father of Kentucky Senator Rand Paul—the latter a 2016 presidential possibility—has written a column sympathizing with Vladimir Putin’s Russians.

For those unfamiliar with the Kennedy story, essentially it is this. JFK’s father was Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. Joe Kennedy, whose own father Pat was a bartender, was an up-by-his-bootstraps Harvard grad, a wealthy banker and wheeler-dealer who accrued the Kennedy fortune from not only banking but (pre-regulated) Wall Street, Hollywood, and—famously—bootlegging in the days of Prohibition.

Send to Kindle

American Foreign Policy Can’t Continue to Ignore Middle East Christians

By on 7.23.14 | 10:57AM

The cause of religious liberty galvanizes Americans of faith, yet America's foreign policy has ignored religion to the point of harming her interests and moderate allies in the Middle East.

"America is really, by virtue of its foreign policy, distanced from our natural allies," Andrew Doran, one of the founders of the group In Defense of Christians, told TAS. "They've actually been marginalized over the last several years [by our] commitment to procedural democracy." 

Doran described meeting a Christian man in Lebanon who, having never visited America, asked why Americans do not act when Christians face persecution in the Middle East. Doran told him most Americans do not know that any Christians live in the Middle East. 

"He was dumbfounded," Doran said. "You can tell that any sense of solidarity with the broader Christian world is gone, and they suddenly feel very alone."

Send to Kindle

Morning Round-Up 7-23

By on 7.23.14 | 9:45AM

Feature of the Day: Myths and Misreporting About Malaysia Airlines Flight 17

 

Morning Headlines

 

Domestic                                                          

 

Associated Press

1. Bodies Leave Ukraine

2.  US Pushes For Truce as Gaza Battle Rages

 

Politico

1. What if Mitch McConnell Loses?

Send to Kindle

Why is the Muslim World More Enraged at 200 Arab Deaths in Gaza Than at 200,000 Arab Deaths in Syria?

By on 7.22.14 | 11:44PM

A longtime reader sent me a Toronto Star article by Tarek Fatah titled "Muslim Double Standards Abound". Here's a sample:

As I write, Muslims around the world have taken to the streets and social media to protest Israel's Operation Protective Edge, that has resulted in the deaths of nearly 200 Palestinians.

Undoubtedly the death of 200 Arabs, many of them civilian women and children, is tragic and worthy of condemnation.

However, just next door to Israel almost 200,000 Arabs have been killed by fellow Arabs in Syria, but that tragedy has triggered no public demonstrations of anger in Islamic capitals, let alone in Toronto.

I should mention that I knew Tarek in the mid to late 1990's when I was active with the NDP. We served together on the party's resolution committee. Both of us would eventually leave the NDP. 

You can read the whole thing here.

Send to Kindle

Would Hamas Shoot Down a Civilian Airliner?

By on 7.22.14 | 9:55PM

Today, the FAA announced that airliners would not be authorized to fly to Israel for 24 hours. This follows an announcement by the State Department issuing an advisory against travel to Israel. Noah Pollak of The Weekly Standard offers this interesting insight:

So why did the State Department issue this warning not when long-range rocket fire was a more serious threat, but only yesterday, days after such fire had decreased sharply, and coinciding with Kerry's trip to the region?The answer may be that the Obama administration is using the travel warning to exert pressure on Israel to agree to a ceasefire.

Send to Kindle

Result of Today’s Health Care Hullabaloo: Obamacare (Maybe) Back to the Supremes

By on 7.22.14 | 5:26PM

In two separate rulings today, Obamacare subsidies were both upheld in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and struck down in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Both cases deal with the textualism versus intent debate—whether judges can claim to divine the intent of legislators when ruling on a law, or have to read only the text in front of them.

In the D.C. ruling, the court agreed in a two-to-one decision that the text of the Obamacare law was to be interpreted as it stood. This means that subsidies in the federal exchanges are supposed to stop, but reports have since surfaced that the president is intending to ignore this ruling until there is further deliberation.

Send to Kindle

Obamacare and the Sting of Empty Promises

By on 7.22.14 | 4:38PM

“If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.”

Every American remembers hearing this empty promise. I bet you can even hear the inflection of the president’s voice as you read that line.

Or how about our president telling us how much money his new health care law would save us? If not, let’s refresh our memory:

I couldn’t even watch the whole thing. After a while, you just get sick of the lies.

So here’s a new question for President Obama: “Where’s my $2,500?”

Send to Kindle

Pages