The Spectacle Blog

Re: Iraq Pullout Planned

By on 12.13.05 | 11:52AM

You know, Dave, I'm a little disappointed. Nowhere in your post do you mention whether "ides" ought to make one wary. What a throw-away.

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Iraq Pullout Planned

By on 12.13.05 | 11:22AM

The Times of London reports today that U.S. and British forces plan to begin a phased withdrawal after the permanent Iraqi government is installed, as early as March.

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More on the Wiki Debate

By on 12.13.05 | 9:59AM

Though we didn't know it at the time, there was more consternation over Wikipedia's veracity yesterday. John Seigenthaler, a former administrative assistant to Bobby Kennedy, was implicated in his Wikipedia bio as a part of JFK's assassination. The libeler recanted the post and admitted he made up all the claims, but only after Seigenthaler found out. The Register takes Wikipedia to task, fairly dramatically, but well enough, and here are a few of their stronger points:

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Berger vs Keyser: A Double Standard?

By on 12.13.05 | 8:21AM

The Washington Times' Jerry Seper reports this morning on the guilty plea entered by former top State Department official Donald Keyser for "unlawfully removing classified U.S. government documents, including some 'top secret' material, and to making false official statements." Keyser, former principal deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, faces eight years in prison, disqualification from holding any public office and $250,000 in fines. According to reports, Keyser was a highly regarded career employee whose counsel was valued by former Secretary of State Colin Powell. $250K. 8 years in the slammer.

Last year, former Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger was allowed to plead guilty to a misdemenor for what several news agencies reported as the following: stealing from the National Archives -- by stuffing in his pants and socks -- several copies of some of the most highly guarded national security

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The Times Weeps for Tookie

By on 12.13.05 | 7:22AM

This odd piece is linked on the L.A. Times' main page, just below the main news story about Stanley "Tookie" Williams' execution. Apparently penned by a news staff writer, Steve Lopez, it's marked neither as news nor op-ed. So does it speak for the Times? Perhaps:

His anti-violence books and speeches were too little, too late, and the methodologizing of him was as unconvincing as the Nobel nominations.

But his execution was a macabre spectacle in a nation that preaches godly virtue to the world while resisting a global march away from the Medieval practice of capital punishment.

I would have had no problem leaving Williams locked up with his regrets and haunted by his deeds for the rest of his natural life.

I watched a man die today, killed by the state of California with institutional resolve, and wondered what we gained.

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Speaking of Children’s Books

By on 12.12.05 | 4:20PM

What ever happened to Roald Dahl? A copy of Kenneth C. Davis's book, Don't Know Much About Martin Luther King Jr. found its way to my desk, and it's amusing in the worst of ways. If you don't know, the "Don't Know Much About" series is an introduction to a topic for kids 8-12, in question and answer format. Here's an excerpt:

Who called King "the most notorious liar in the country"?

The director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover did, soon after hearing that King would receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Hoover did not say what King was lying about, but hinted that he had done terrible things.

Hoover had hated King for years. He didn't like blacks and especially didn't like King, who fought for social change. He had gotten permission from Robert Kennedy to wiretap King's phone by saying that King associated with communists and was a national danger. (Many Americans in the 1950s and early 1960s feared communism, which was associated with the Soviet Union and the fight for world power.) It was true that King's friend Stanley Levison had given money to the communist party many years earlier, but King was not a communist.

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Re: The End for Tookie?

By on 12.12.05 | 3:38PM

From the article you linked:

Williams has maintained that he is innocent. His plea for clemency was based on his transformation while in prison for almost a quarter-century. He and his supporters argue that he has changed his life since his gang days, writing children's books and warning youths about the perils of the gangster life.

If he's maintaining his innocence, what is it he claims to have transformed? Was the transformation just something he felt he needed to go through since he was in prison anyway?

The presence of Jamie Foxx and company hardly lend legitimacy to his claims, but it's upsetting to know that in the next few months, during which a screenplay doubtless will be written, Tookie will undergo yet another false transformation into a messianic figure. Yet what makes heroic deaths poignant is the higher principle being preserved. What on earth is Tookie's higher principle?

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The End for Tookie?

By on 12.12.05 | 3:01PM

His chances for appeal appeared to run out today, as the 9th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals rejected his appeal and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger would not stay the execution. He's due to be executed at 12:01 a.m. PST. The 9th Circuit en banc or the U.S. Supreme Court could still stop the execution.

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