The Spectacle Blog

Veteran Denied Care At Two VA Facilities Thought No One Would Believe Him, So He Filmed It

By on 7.1.15 | 4:20PM

Despite the Department of Veterans Affairs’ sordid reputation, Iraq war veteran Chris Dorsey wasn’t sure the public would believe that the VA denied him an appointment and said the clinic wasn’t accepting any more patients. So, he took a video.

The VA clinic in Lawrenceville, Ga., initially turned him away for the same reason, which is why he decided to bring his camera along to the Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Oakwood. He received the same response. But this time, he captured the interaction on camera.

The full video shows 33-year-old Dorsey waiting for five minutes before telling an employee that he needs a transfer from the VA system in Athens.

“We’re not accepting any new patients — not this clinic,” the VA employee said in response, signaling an abrupt end to the interaction.

News Media Claims Global Warming Driving Shark Attacks

By on 7.1.15 | 4:05PM

North Carolina saw six shark attacks in the course of just one month, so of course news media is trying to link the unusually high amount of bites to global warming.

National Geographic published a piece exploring the different factors possibly driving last month’s shark attacks. One of the five factors influencing shark attacks the news outlet listed was “global warming.”

National Geographic claimed that as “warming is expected to increase, it will likely bring more sharks farther north and entice more people to get into the water, which will lead to more bites.” The news outlet noted earlier on in its article that “[m]ost shark attacks in North Carolina happen when the water reaches about 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 Celsius)” and that the “warmer weather has also brought more people to the state’s beaches and entices them to take a dip to cool off.”

Linking global warming to June’s spat of shark attacks in North Carolina was criticized by Cato Institute climate scientist Chip Knappenberger who cautioned against such claims.

Elizabeth Warren Finally Passes Her Peace Pipe…To Bernie Sanders?

By on 7.1.15 | 1:40PM

Hillary Clinton has been aggressively courting America's most prominent Native American Senator, Elizabeth Warren (D-$8.5M Net Worth) for months now, hoping against hope that the self-appointed champion of the people would join her campaign rather than work against it. The sell was tough: Warren would have to abandon her progressive principles more than she already does on a daily basis, in order to openly rubberstamp a campaign that has a designated donation pipeline flowing straight from Wall Street C-suites. 

While Warren has been playing along for a while, ultimately, she may be forced to abandon the promise of, say, one day heading up the SEC, where she could live out her American dream burning bankers at the stake one by one, and back her main man, fellow progressive Bernie Sanders. At least, unofficially.

Do You Hear the Drivers Honk?

By on 7.1.15 | 1:36PM

Last week, taxi drivers in France protested the Uber ride-sharing service by blocking access to airports and train stations, erecting barricades, destroying vehicles, and assaulting rival drivers in confrontations that led to injuries. American celebrity Courtney Love Cobain, caught up in the chaos, tweeted: “they’ve ambushed our car and are holding our driver hostage. they’re beating the cars with metal bats. this is France?? I’m safer in Baghdad.”

The government of France then responded to the violence in oh-so-French fashion: it arrested Uber’s executives

My Cato colleague Matthew Feeney wrote the whole story up and you should go read hisForbes piece now. My humbler role is to set the episode to music, by way of a tune you may have found hard to get out of your head if you’ve ever seen Les Miserables

Chris Christie’s Fiscal Record

By on 7.1.15 | 1:30PM

Chris Christie joins the Republican field for president with an announcement at his former high school. Christie, the current governor of New Jersey, has worked to improve New Jersey’s fiscal situation. Christie earned a respectable grade of “B” on both the 2012 and 2014Cato’s Fiscal Policy Report Cards, partly due to his repeated vetoes of the legislature’s tax increases.

Christie has vetoed personal income tax increases five times in six years, including just last week. The 2015 version of the tax increase would have raised the top personal income tax bracket from 8.97 percent to 10.75 percent on income over $1 million. It was coupled with a 15 percent surcharge on corporate income taxes. Together, these two tax increases would have raised $1.1 billion, an enormous tax hike.

MLB Notes for June: The Angels Are Bedeviled

By on 7.1.15 | 1:00PM

It's hard to believe that the 2015 All-Star Game in Cincinnati is less than two weeks away. Let's see how your favorite teams as well as the teams you couldn't care less about are doing.

AL East
Now this is a pennant race. The top four teams are separated by one game. The Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays are tied for first, the New York Yankees are ½ game back with the Toronto Blue Jays one game back. And then there are the Boston Red Sox. More on them in a moment.

The O's (18-11) and Jays (18-9) had the strongest months. Toronto tied a team record with 11 consecutive wins, but the O's ended the month having won 7 of their last 10 games. The Rays were 17-12 in June, but have lost 7 of their last 10. Ditto for the Yankees. Still, it's anybody's race.

Send Us Your Broke, Yearning to Breathe Bankrupt (and to Register Democrat)

By on 7.1.15 | 12:20PM

You wouldn’t think that a presidential candidate who self-describes as a fiscal conservative would want to bring a dead-broke island into the union of an already broke United States. But there it is. I don’t make up the news, I just report it.

On a campaign trip in April Jeb! Bush said he thought it was time for Puerto Rico to become the 51st state if its 3.7 million residents wish to be so included. No mention that the folks in the existing 50 states should have a say in this. This is “the best path,” Jeb! says, without saying path to what exactly.

More recently, Bush has said that Puerto Rico, which has racked up debt of $72 billion that it has no prospect of ever paying off, should be allowed to declare bankruptcy. Seems this puerto is not so rico. At least it has one thing in common with the mainland US of A, debt that is has no prospect of paying off. Though this may not be enough commonality to make Puerto Rico good state-hood fodder.

Hillary Clinton is Everyone’s Emailing Grandmother, Basically

By on 7.1.15 | 12:19PM

Nothing says "I'm prepared to be your next President" like a six email back-and-forth over how to use a fax machine.

Because God is good and He loves us, especially His political bloggers, the State Department began the process of publicizing many of Hillary Clinton's "private emails." The first batch hit the web last night and while there are some revealing items — the Obama Administration was clearly aware, for example, that Hillary was using a private email server, and some administration officials who claimed to know nothing about Hillary's technological reroute were caught red-handed emailing her at a very suspicious address, and she spent a lot more time chatting up Sidney Blumenthal than anyone cared to admit —  the best part of the Hillary email cache is easily — easily — her sad, confusing relationship with her cast of supporting characters.

Evelyn Waugh, Call Your Office

By on 7.1.15 | 12:18PM

Viewing with alarm the discomfort expressed by conservatives, many of them Republicans, over the recent Supreme Court diktat on same-sex marriage, with-it Washington Post writers Philip Rucker and Robert Costa despair that Republicans will ever be able to “get in step with modern America.”

We’ll leave this pair wringing their hands for the moment and note the obvious, that many on the right, with thanks to novelist Evelyn Waugh, consider that getting in step with modern America would be a very wicked thing indeed.

Obama Isn’t Going To Walk Away From a Nuclear Deal with Iran

By on 6.30.15 | 10:21PM

President Obama proclaimed he would "walk away" from the negotiating table with Iran during a press conference with Brazilian President Dilma Roussef.

Of course, today was supposed to be the deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran. But instead of walking away, Obama has extended the talks until July 7th.

His claims that he would walk away from the table is as empty and meaningless as his red line against Syria on the use of chemical weapons. There will be no Reykjavik moment here.

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