The Spectacle Blog

Radioactive Champagne?

By on 5.31.06 | 10:09PM

According to this report in the FT, the French region of Champagne may be threatened by groundwater containing nuclear waste. Champagne, according to Churchill, is bottled sunshine. Maybe it'll glow in the dark.

Hastert Hits Milestone

By on 5.31.06 | 5:17PM

When I wrote today's column, I did not realize that tomorrow, Thursday, Hastert becomes the longest-serving Republican Speaker of the House in history. More reason for him, after tomorrow, to rest on his laurels and announce that this will be his last term -- not in Congress, but as Speaker.

Bring in the Right Hander

By on 5.31.06 | 4:13PM

The CNBC just called the bull pen to talk about the new initiative to talk the Iranians out of their nuke program. Sigh. See ya on "On the Money" tonight about 1900. Should be another slugfest.

Back to Eminent Domain Abuse

By on 5.31.06 | 1:12PM

Pejman at Red State does us all a service by keeping alive the discussion about the horrible Kelo case that amounted to such an abuse of the power of eminent domain, so that now, apparently, private land can be seized by the government for other private, not public, use. One addendum to the wisdom in Pejman's blog post: Eminent domain abuse is one of the primary reasons why, if Republicans want to fight on judges, they won't please merely the conservative "base" but also will win over lots of converts from voters in the middle.

The New York Times Chain of Evidence

By on 5.31.06 | 12:35PM

For all the handwringing the New York Times does over WMD evidence, one would suppose they would be especially careful in all areas. Not when it comes to the events at Haditha. Today's dispatch suggests the Times has come across new evidence of a cover up by the Marines. Eric Schmitt and David S. Cloud lead breathlessly:

A military investigator uncovered evidence in February and March that contradicted repeated claims by marines that Iraqi civilians killed in Haditha last November were victims of a roadside bomb, according to a senior military official in Iraq.

What, No Steinbeck?

By on 5.31.06 | 8:19AM

The Power Line guys posted a Memorial Day weekend list of the 21 best American novels. The list is mostly solid, except for a classic omission: John Steinbeck. English departments usually omit his works from their syllabi, for reasons that elude me (though I am told many English profs can't stand his moralizing).

Hinderaker writes that they ignored "politics and sociology" in compiling the list, but when a friend suggests Grapes of Wrath, he replies, "No socialist realism for us, thank you!" So I guess politics were not ignored? Either Grapes or East of Eden deserve a place on any list of best American novels.

What Is Happening In Somalia?

By on 5.31.06 | 7:27AM

Postscript to my thoughts on Sudan last week: we need a public conversation grounded in actual fact on the Somali situation, where the War on Terror has gone hot. The trouble is the same problem that has lurked at the heart of the war since its inception -- it is really a war on terrorist Islam, and anyone who picks up a gun and starts shooting bad guys is on our side for good or ill. In the case of Somali warlords, the same types that once gave us Black Hawk Down, the ill is palpable. They occupy hospitals, and they appear to be losing.

What Happened at Haditha

By on 5.30.06 | 3:55PM

The major print and TV media and John Murtha are billing the killings at Haditha as the next Abu Ghraib. Murtha timed his press conference announcing that the Marines killed Iraqi civilians "in cold blood" to coincide with six months since his call for withdrawal from Iraq.

Not so fast. John Murtha, much less the media, doesn't yet know what happened. Charges have not been filed. The Marines are investigating. And the only military man the Washington Post could get on record tells Mary Katherine Ham that his quotes were wildly distorted.

The media will attempt to make Haditha the next Abu Ghraib. Look for their efforts to ramp up in the coming weeks. As they do, ask for hard evidence, and not Murtha's gossip.