The Spectacle Blog

Advice from Pascal

By on 4.29.16 | 10:17AM

Pascal advises the NeverTrump crowd. You say you will not vote for either Trump or Clinton?

“Yes; but you must wager. It is not optional. You are embarked. Which will you choose then? Let us see. Since you must choose, let us see which interests you least.”

Britain’s Labour Party Awash in Anti-Semitism

By on 4.28.16 | 5:46PM

Britain's Labour Party has been rife with anti-Semitism for some time now, but it has come to the forefront over the past several days.

First, there was the suspension of Labour MP Naz Shah after the revelation of a post on her Facebook page in 2014 which read, "SOLUTION FOR ISRAEL-PALESTINE CONFLICT - RELOCATE ISRAEL INTO UNITED STATES". Shah would add the comment, "Problem solved & save u bank charges for £3 BILLION you transfer yearly."

Mind you, Shah had been sitting on a parliamentary committee investigating an upsurge of anti-Semitism in Britain. Shah won a seat for Labour in the 2015 election in the predominantly Muslim constituency of Bradford West defeating George Galloway, the former Labour MP who championed Saddam Hussein. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn initially refused to discipline Shah until pressure was brought to bear.

If Boehner Thinks Cruz Is The Devil Then What Does That Make Trump?

By on 4.28.16 | 3:23PM

I don't think it comes as much of a surprise that former Speaker John Boehner would refer to Ted Cruz as "Lucifer in The Flesh" and a "miserable son of a bitch." In this day and age, that's as good as an endorsement.

But if Boehner thinks Cruz is The Devil and a SOB then what does that make Donald Trump?

Now I suspect that most people who support Trump and attend his rallies don't think much of Boehner. Yet Boehner says he would pick Trump over Cruz adding he and Trump are “texting buddies" and have played golf together for years. And Trump is supposed to be the outsider? But I suppose Trump's supporters will give Boehner the same dispensation they gave to Chris Christie.

Giving Heroic Dogs Their Due

By on 4.28.16 | 2:43PM

In a recent post about a brave and wounded Marine dog, one Lucca, I asked why it was that a British animal charity was giving Lucca a medal and not the USMC or the American Department of Defense. I’ve since learned that soon an American outfit will begin officially commemorating the bravery of working dogs in all of America’s military services.

Danique Masingill, a program manager with the American Humane Association in Washington, says the venerable animal welfare agency will begin awarding three medals for bravery annually to military dogs. The award is called the “Lois Pope Canine Medal of Courage,” named after one of the Humane Association’s benefactors. The awards will be presented in Washington to military dogs who’ve demonstrated bravery while serving overseas in combat theaters alongside U.S. military personnel.

“This provides validation for the dogs and the units they served,” Masingill said.

Cruz Picking Fiorina As His Running Mate Will Get Under Trump’s Skin

By on 4.27.16 | 4:06PM

Ted Cruz has found a way to overshadow Donald Trump - pick Carly Fiorina to be his running mate.

Cruz is expected to make the announcement official at a rally in Indianapolis later this afternoon.

What I love about this impending decision is how much it will bug Donald Trump. During his victory speech, Trump was asked about the possibility of Cruz selecting a running mate early and said it would be a waste of time.

I'm sure that Trump didn't think Cruz was serious much less thought he would pick Fiorina.

Trump, of course, made the mistake of disparaging Fiorina's appearance and she proved that revenge is a dish best served cold.

It is only a matter of time before Trump makes another disparaging remark about Fiorina. When he does, watch Trump's numbers crater in Indiana and Nebraska. Then California really comes into play. After all, Fiorina is a familiar face with Republicans in California for her efforts against Barbara Boxer in 2010.

Where the Hell Has This Been?

By on 4.27.16 | 2:02PM

I’ve just listened to the Donald’s foreign policy speech. It was excellent. Informed. Measured. OK, a bit ambitious. But it reflected more understanding of how the world works and of a strong but reasonable approach to protecting Americans and American interests in that world than anyone has heard from Donald to this point. (And I liked the complete sentences.) Where the hell has this been? This is Jekyll to Donald’s usual Hyde.

Of course it was a prepared speech, written by someone else. (Perhaps this speechwriter should replace John François Kerry at State.) But Trump gave every indication of both understanding and believing what he was saying. The Big Question left is whether Trump is too big of a flake to live up to executing his own speech in office. Like Frost’s night traveler and fan of falling snow in “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” Trump has miles to go before convincing his many doubters. But this could be a start.

Newest Test Scores Are More Bad News for Centralized Education, Common Core

By on 4.27.16 | 12:49PM

This morning I read an op-ed by Douglas Holtz-Eakin tackling the chasm between what it takes to enroll in college and how ready for college students actually are. It is a yawning gap, and Holtz-Eakin rightly laments it. But then he pulls the ol’, “Common Core is a high standard,” and suggests that it will bridge the college prep divide. He even writes that the Core has been “shown” to be “effective.”  

Not only has there been no meaningful evidence of the Core’s effectiveness, but right after I read Holtz-Eakins’ piece I saw that the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress scores had come out – indeed, for the very 12th grade students on the verge of college – and they had dropped in both reading and math between 2013 and 2015, and some dropped going back to 2009. This was, of course, as Common Core was being implemented nationwide. And not only did aggregate scores drop, but also scores for numerous racial and ethnic groups.

Trump’s Threats Against Manufacturers That Leave America Are An Opiate of False Hope

By on 4.26.16 | 10:49PM

I listened to Donald Trump's victory speech following GOP primary triumphs in five states and was struck by the threats he made against manufacturers who leave this country. Trump said that there will be consequences for manufacturers who shut their plants and move out of the U.S. He went on to say that if he is elected President that Carrier Air Conditioning will not leave Indiana.

It's an easy thing for him to say. Of course, I understand the appeal. People who work for Carrier or any other manufacturer don't want to lose their jobs and be thrown into a future wrought with uncertainty. Naturally, people who find themselves at risk of losing their jobs are going to be inclined to support a politician who vows to preserve them.

Canadian Businessman Beheaded By ISIS Affiliated Terrorist Group in The Philippines

By on 4.26.16 | 12:37PM

A Canadian businessman from Calgary named John Ridsdel has been beheaded by ISIS affiliated terrorist group known as Abu Sayyaf in The Phillipines. Abu Sayyaf had kidnapped Ridsdel last September and had demanded ransom for his release & beheaded him when they did receive funds by their deadline. Ridsdel was kidnapped with along with another Canadian, a Norwegian as well as a Filipino woman. Their fate remains unknown. At present, Abu Sayyaf is believed to be holding nearly two dozen hostages

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