The Spectacle Blog

Breaking News: CNN is For Smart People!

By on 10.21.05 | 5:39PM

Jon Klein and Jim Walton, the two uber news/corporate suits now directing CNN, held a "State of CNN" earlier this week, and, it being a room full of reporter types, of course the gossip is flowing, and much of it is hilarious.

Apparently both Klein and Walton were claiming that while it was true that CNN continues to lag behind Fox News in the ratings, it didn't really matter, because CNN's fewer viewers were actually more intelligent than Fox's many more viewers. See? It all balances out!

But perhaps more telling about CNN's mindset on news and its viewers, was that when asked which news show on another network either man would want to bring to CNN, Klein said, "60 Minutes," and Walton said, "The Daily Show."

Klein is a former "60 Minutes" producer, and was one of the show's biggest on-air defenders during the "Rathergate" scandal last year. When it was pointed out to Walton that "The Daily Show" wasn't really a news show, Walton strongly disagreed. Somewhere, Larry King was smiling.

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By on 10.21.05 | 4:41PM

Who in the Department of Justice had the bright idea to create this on the official Department website?

Press reports make it sound as though it was Fitzgerald's idea, but someone at DOJ headquarters had to authorize it and sign off, as it's a link created off the main DOJ site. So much for trusting politicial appointees!

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Miers Miered Update

By on 10.21.05 | 4:31PM

The New York Times article this morning that lays out Harriet Miers' "murder board" prep sessions for her upcoming confirmation grillings, er, hearings, could not be an accurate portrayal of what is taking place.

If it is, then things are so much worse than we thought. Miers requires much more preparation than Roberts did, particularly on the "big picture" Constitutional issues.

And it isn't just Miers who is receiving bad press up on Capitol Hill, by the way. Sen. Dan Coats is not earning any points for his performance as Miers's mentor on the Hill. While confidences will not be broken, Coats earlier this week met with a select group of social conservatives on the Senate side and did little to help the Miers nomination.

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Specter Deals

By on 10.21.05 | 4:26PM

It looks like Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist did good by getting Sen. Arlen Specter to back off his demands for a fast vote on stem cell legislation. Specter had been threatening an attempt to tack his embryonic stem cell bill onto the Labor-HHS appropriations bill that is hitting the Senate floor shortly.

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Penn Politics

By on 10.21.05 | 3:45PM

Always interested in what the other half thinks, we often go to the here for a big heaping helping of what goes on in the fevered brain of a Left Coast, Blue Stater.

Jeffrey Wells has issues with Republicans, but he's got a fine sense of film and the vagaries of Hollywood. His lead item this morning about the delay of Sean Penn's remake of All the King's Men is interesting. Wells says it's all about production delays, but given Penn's and Hollywood's political aspirations, couldn't there be a far more sinister reason to delay this movie about political graft and the evils of power? Could it only be coincidental that they are now talking about a release date leading into the mid-term elections? We think not. Hollywood types are far too intelligent to pass up such an obvious ploy.

How else to explain the remake of The Dukes of Hazzard?

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Peyton’s Place

By on 10.21.05 | 2:03PM

You'd think that with a war on, a town with a long naval tradition would welcome the 250 strike fighters the navy wants to move there from Virginia Beach. And you'd be wrong. The mayor of Jacksonville, Fla. is turning a deaf ear to the sound of freedom. Listening to a minority of locals, he's telling the Navy his town doesn't like the idea of reviving the Cecil Field Naval Air Station. Jax mayor John Peyton told the navy, " the end of the day, the quality of life for residents of the Westside is the most important thing."

A navy pal e-mailed the story to me with a note that said, "Beginning to lose my belief in the public. Give us protection and give us oil, just don't train near us and don't drill off of our shoreline so we can drive down the pristine beach burning that oil in peace and quiet." Things aren't that bad, pal, even though Peyton is. Peyton must be running for higher office. He'd surely fit in with Howlin' Howie, Kucinich and the rest. We shall keep an eye on the mayor.

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The Tax Commission

By on 10.21.05 | 1:29PM

Is it just me, or did another "blue ribbon panel" blow an opportunity to spark a serious debate? Led by former Senator Connie Mack, the tax panel offered little to spark a much needed national debate on the tax code. Heck, Dick Armey and Billy Tauzin's two-man road show "Flat Tax versus Sales Tax" from a few years back was a more productive exercise than this turkey. At a time when movement conservatives are trying to offer some direction to a drifting, and increasingly ad-hoc, national agenda, this panel could have provided the foundations of a transformative national debate by offering several proposals ranging from modest adjustments to "burn the entire tax-code and start all over again" positions. This is a debate that is sorely needed before we can seriously propose reforms to the entitlements that are eating more than 50% of tax revenues. I feel like Linus in A Charlie Brown Christmas yelling, "Isn't there anybody out there who understands the true meaning of... tax reform?"

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Happy Trafalgar Day

By on 10.21.05 | 11:11AM

200 years ago today, Nelson "crossed Villeneuve's T" in what may have been the greatest naval battle in history. The battle is celebrated every year in Britain and not, presumably, in France. In those days, warships had to close, grapple and board or line up parallel and slug it out because their big guns could not be turned to fire in any direction other than perpendicular to the line of travel. Nelson managed to maneuver and sail through the French/Spanish line, his guns able to bear on the enemy while they, at least at first, couldn't turn to fire. Nelson died, shot by a sniper in the rigging of an enemy ship. Trafalgar made Britain the greatest seapower in the world, and institutionalized France's time-honored tradition of military defeat.

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Strange New Respect

By on 10.21.05 | 11:07AM

The Washington Post has made an effort this week to appear less cartoonishly liberal on social issues, including in this morning's story on the Dover trial. Instead of just cheerleading for the Darwinists, the Post notes that "bringing a legal case against intelligent design is a tricky business. The small band of scientists who publicly support intelligent design are able debaters, and, as became clear when Behe took the stand, they do not sound remotely like William Jennings Bryan..."

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By on 10.21.05 | 10:46AM

Wlady: The leaks coming out of Fitzgerald's team are growing into a flood. And it's not merely improper, it's illegal. Last time I checked, it's a federal felony to leak grand jury information like the stuff pouring out of Fitzleaky. More later, and on Monday in Loose Canons.

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