The Spectacle Blog

Bilingual Ballots: No, Non, Nyet!

By on 7.11.06 | 12:13PM

Didn't get to this yesterday, but the Washington Post had an editorial endorsing bilingual ballots. At the end, the Post's editorialists state that they "don't doubt that many more people will vote, and in an informed way, if they know what they're voting on." Yes, and everyone in this country has a way to make an informed vote. It's called learning English.

What's missing from the Post's editorial is the fact that few things divide a nation more than the lack of a common language. There's nothing wrong with citizen's knowing more than one tongue--I'm all for it. But all citizens should know one common language. Look at Canada (Quebec, specifically) for what can happen when a country has a large swath of citizens who cannot speak the same language as the majority.

No Iron Curtain Speeches Here

By on 7.11.06 | 10:52AM

And don't expect anything close to "tear down this wall." While Vladimir Putin resurrects a Russian dictatorship, what does President Bush have to say about it in advance of his St. Petersburg G-8 trip?

He still speaks about his "good friendship" with Putin. Is Russia blackmailing the region using energy? "That's not an issue we worry about here at home. That's an issue that the European leaders are going to have to work through." The Marshall Plan, it ain't.

Christopher Hitchens's recent quip on Russia hosting a gathering of "industrial democracies" comes to mind: the country "is neither advanced nor a democracy."

Europe’s New Soft Underbelly

By on 7.11.06 | 7:34AM

The allied plan for overthrowing Fascism in Europe involved striking at what Churchill called the Continent's "soft underbelly," which then was to be found, courtesy of Mussolini, in the central Mediterranean. Now that vulnerable flank is more squarely situated in the Black Sea. Since summer of last year I have suggested here at AmSpec that (a) the EU ought to expand to include Turkey, but at a finely regimented snail's pace, and (b) Georgia, land of the Rose Revolution, is critical to the success of the last united Western grand strategy -- the advance of the frontier of the rule of law and ordered liberty from its southeasterly flank in Europe.

Vote Is Safer in Mexico

By on 7.10.06 | 4:02PM

Our own senior editor John Fund has a crucially important column today about how the Mexican voting system is probably safer than our own, and about the importance of improving our ballot security in this country. Well worth a read. Particularly important in the U.S. is that all states ought to require photo IDs for voting. Meanwhile, as for the Mexican elections, this paragraph from Fund's column, relating word from our friend (and acknowledged expert on just about all things political) Michael Barone, is particularly telling:

Michael Barone, the co-author of the authoritative Almanac of American Politics, spent a week in Mexico reporting on its election and the safeguards it has taken to ensure an accurate vote. "I have more confidence in Mexico's election procedures than I do in those in much of the United States," he concluded.


By on 7.10.06 | 12:23PM

Well, Michael Moore says his new agit-propumentary about the health care industry, "Sicko", is about 3/4s finished. Money quote from the Variety article:

"We've spent the better part of the year shooting our next movie, 'Sicko.' As we've done with our other films, we don't discuss them while we are making them," Moore wrote. "If people ask, we tell them 'Sicko' is 'a comedy about the 45 million people with no health care in the richest country on Earth."

They have health care; they don't have health insurance. There's a big difference.

Looks like Moore is his usual "don't-let-the-facts-stand-in-the-way" self.

P.S. Take a look at the picture accompanying the article. Guess his dumpy, everyman look that he tried so hard to effect fell victim to his desire to fit in with the Hollywood crowd.

So You’re Looking For a Summer Book

By on 7.10.06 | 12:05PM

For those of you who don't have a reading list ten books deep (speaking from personal experience here... my current load includes Tom Wolfe's A Man in Full and Gerard V. Bradley's A Student's Guide to the Study of Law), check out AFF's compiled suggestions from conservative and libertarian writers. You'll find several once and current TAS contributors and editors, including our own Amy Mitchell as well as Tim Carney, Jeremy Lott, and Brendan Conway.

Building Collapse in Manhattan

By on 7.10.06 | 10:36AM

A four-story building on Madison Avenue in Manhattan has collapsed after a very loud explosion was heard that reverberated around the neighborhood. CNN's Larry King, who was staying in a hotel nearby, is quoted as saying he has never heard such a sound. With amazing rapidity, the White House has ruled out terrorism. Maybe they're right, and maybe they already have irrefutable information that rules terrorism out as a cause, but the announcement seems more than a little over-eager to me. It seems to indicate that our top priority is not offending the enemy.

Viva Italia!

By on 7.9.06 | 8:39PM

That headline, being so appropriate to so many occasions, isn't 100% accurate today. The French lost the World Cup Soccer match to Italy with a lot of help from the amazing Italian team. But however valiantly the Italians played, it was the French being themselves that was determinative.

Zidane - whose name we'd never heard before today and will likely never hear again - is (was?) the best of the French players. And he performed perfectly, head-butting an Italian player and earning ejection from the game. It's all too sweet. Viva Italia!

Liberal Christianity

By on 7.9.06 | 9:49AM

Check out the superb op-ed by Charlotte Allen in today's LA Times, "Liberal Christianity is Paying for Its Sins," here. Concluding graf:

"So this is the liberal Christianity that was supposed to be the Christianity of the future: disarray, schism, rapidly falling numbers of adherents, a collapse of Christology and national meetings that rival those of the Modern Language Assn. for their potential for cheap laughs. And they keep telling the Catholic Church that it had better get with the liberal program - ordain women, bless gay unions and so forth - or die. Sure."

The Smallest Violin

By on 7.7.06 | 3:40PM

Regina Owens of the Washington Citizen Action group complains about the new ID requirements for signing up for free health insurance, aka Medicaid:

Starting this month, when you apply for Medicaid, take your passport along with you. Thanks to federal legislation passed in February, if you need health insurance, you're going to have to work hard to prove you're a citizen.

This represents a big change and a big burden. A passport costs almost $100, not a small amount for anyone. As an alternative, you can buy a birth certificate ($28) and a state identification card ($20) -- and bring along proof of your limited income.

Boo hoo. The fact is that the taxpayers subsidize Medicaid, and it is reasonable to ask recipients to endure a few more minor inconveniences to ensure that our tax dollars are going only to people who are here legally.

Then there is this gem: