The Spectacle Blog

Gloves Off

By on 3.13.06 | 10:15AM

John McCain may be a media darling, but Paul Krugman is no longer buying. Today he offers some "straight talk about John McCain." A few highlights:

"He isn't a moderate. He's much less of a maverick than you'd think. And he isn't the straight talker he claims to be."

"A statistical analysis of Mr. McCain's recent voting record, available at, ranks him as the Senate third most conservative member."

Evidently Krugman will have to settle for that other straight-talker, Ms. Hillary. The larger question is whether others in the MSM will join in this effort to bring down the fellow they so affectionately built up.

Harris Out?

By on 3.13.06 | 10:10AM

It might not happen today, but it's clear that Rep. Katherine Harris is going to have to abandon her Senate campaign soon. There is just too much controversy surrounding her. Over the weekend, she canceled her appearance at the GOP leadership conference in Memphis, promising a major announcement soon.

We reported two weeks ago that her Senate campaign was again hemorrhaging senior staff, and the whiff of a rotting corpse floating in the Florida Keys was unavoidable around that campaign organization.

Now, Josh Marshall and his intrepid crew of "reporters" are on the make. Anyone who lives in California or a Washington, DC suburb knows that a 200% increase in a real estate sale is not a big deal nowadays. Homes in the Washington suburbs of Maryland and Virginia that were bought just five years ago for $300,000 were being sold a few months ago for almost a million. Clearly Marshall's crew either lives in Manhattan dwellings or is too busy hanging out in Adams Morgan with the crowd to understand, well, capitalism.

My Bad

By on 3.13.06 | 6:00AM

International War Crimes Tribunal, not World Court.

Slobbo and the Beeb

By on 3.13.06 | 5:38AM


During the Balkan wars, the BBC was unbelievably hostile to Serb spokesman and partisans. I never could exactly figure out why. Because they were the Orthodox side? Muslim PC tenderness? Milosovic's death lets them revive that hoity-toity down-the-nose moralising the Beeb does so well.

I would rather have seen Milosovic live and finish his trial so the world could say, with a yawn, "All that and now only this?" Because of course the Hague wouldn't hang him. As things stand, the endless bureaucracy of the World Court will go on -- and how much can it do without a police force? We might have seen some restraint in its use, just out of sheer exhaustion. Now, the WC types are just champing to get to work again, as indeed the chief prosecutor said on the BBC last night.

Re: Question

By on 3.12.06 | 9:46PM

Jed -- the EU aches in crestfallen frustration at the sudden uselessness of its proud tribunal. "Soft power" drops the pretense of patience, and the war criminal-rendition drop-dead date brandished at Belgrade now becomes Europa's flaming sword. International law -- European law -- must be proven decisive. The atavistic Yugo is the Continent's Eliza Doolittle.

Old World rite of passage: serving Serbia a red-faced ultimatum.


By on 3.12.06 | 7:13PM

Guys: Is it more important that Slobo is dead than the effect on the international war crimes tribunal? Is it possible that he died of sheer boredom at the progress of the trial? Or am I being slightly uncharitable? The BBC thinks it's a tragedy that Slobo died before the trial ended. Isn't it enough that the old murderer has gone?

Iran, All According To Plan

By on 3.12.06 | 12:09PM

Uncharitably I predicted for '06 that "the Iranians will toy with the Russian proposal, embrace it again, demur again, raise questions, withhold answers, tinker furiously, and let their actions constitute a de facto rejection."


Next: "...the Security Council will pass an unenforceable resolution..."


By on 3.11.06 | 5:21PM

The Butcher of Belgrade is assuming room temperature. I don't know if anyone cares to reopen the Balkans debates that divided the Right in the 90s, but for what it's worth, here's what I wrote in 2003, in the context of the prewar Iraq debate:

He’s Their What?

By on 3.11.06 | 3:55PM

If history repeats itself first as tragedy, then as farce the Palestinians are only up to the tragedy stage. In context, the leaders of Hamas - the terrorists now elected to lead the Palestinian "government" - are only following in the shallow footsteps of Yassir Arafat, the KGB-trained terrorist kleptocrat by touring arab capitals seeking funds from the usual suspects. One report of the GWOT fundraiser in the Saudi governnment daily Arab News caught my eye. Think about this, taken from that report :

A five-member delegation of Hamas leaders arrived in the Kingdom yesterday. The delegation is headed by the group’s Politburo chief, Khaled Meshaal, and its members are expected to discuss with the Kingdom’s leadership the financial problems an incoming Palestinian government faces, Hamas official Ezzat El-Resheq said.

Zogby’s Bias Fuels Murtha’s Madness

By on 3.11.06 | 2:08PM

A piece in yesterday's Philly Inquirer by Tim Kane exposes the absurd bias of the Zogby poll that propelled Murtha's statements last week on CBS Face the Nation. Murtha was ranting about how more than 70% of the US troops in Iraq wanted to come home. But as the Kane piece shows, the Zogby's work was the quintessential push poll: the questions were phrased to produce the answers Zogby wanted and they did. Nevermore shall a Zogby poll on any aspect of the war hold any credibility.