The Spectacle Blog

Howard Baker, R.I.P.

By on 6.26.14 | 3:14PM

Former Senate Majority Leader and White House Chief of Staff Howard Baker passed away today of complications from a stroke. He was 88.

Baker made history in 1966 when he became the first Republican elected to the Senate from Tennessee since Renconstruction. He would become a nationally known figure during the Watergate Hearings when he asked John Dean, "What did the President know and when did he know it?"

Interestingly, two years earlier, President Nixon had offered Baker a seat on the Supreme Court following the retirement of John Marshall Harlan II. However, Baker was not forthcoming with a reply and Nixon instead appointed William Rehnquist who would later become Chief Justice. Imagine how different late 20th Century American history might have been had Baker accepted Nixon's offer.

Baker was on Gerald Ford's shortlist to be his running mate in 1976, but Ford opted for Bob Dole. Instead, Baker became Senate Minority Leader following Jimmy Carter's election.

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Karl Rove Silent on Mississippi Race Tactics

By on 6.26.14 | 12:27PM

This is amazing.

This morning in the Wall Street Journal, former Bush aide Karl Rove writes a column that includes the following on the Mississippi Senate race:

Mississippi's Sen. Thad Cochran pulled off a difficult and surprising win Tuesday night, and he has the state's open primary law to thank for it. In the June 3 primary, Mr. Cochran trailed tea party favorite Chris McDaniel by 1,386 votes or 0.5% of the 313,443 votes cast. This week, he beat Mr. McDaniel, a state senator, by 6,373 votes or 1.6% of 374,893 votes.

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Will Obama Pull An Andrew Jackson?

By on 6.26.14 | 11:51AM

So what happens next now that the Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that President Obama's "recess appointments" to the NLRB while Congress was not in recess  are unconstitutional?

Does the ruling make these appointments null and void? If so then surely all the decisions rendered by the NLRB from their appointment would be effectively null and void.

But somehow I don't think it's that simple. It never is.

I have a feeling that President Obama will invoke Andrew Jackson and say, "The Supreme Court has made their decision; now let them enforce it."

Yet if he does that then Obama could open the door to impeachment proceedings. However, I don't think that door would open until after the mid-term elections when both Houses of Congress will likely be in Republican hands.

As always we shall see.

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Morning Round-Up 6-26

By on 6.26.14 | 9:00AM

Feature of the Day: Your taxes are going up. You just don’t know it yet.

Morning Headlines


Associated Press

  1. Oil Boom Fuels Drop in Age in Great Plains States
  2. Ruling Pushes Gay Marriage Closer to Supreme Court
  3. Tea Party Losses Don’t Stop Cash or Curb Influence


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‘The Angry Fringe’

By on 6.26.14 | 6:21AM

Liberal bias in the media is so pervasive that partisan propaganda themes created by Democrats, for the purpose of electing Democrats and advancing their partisan agenda, take on a quasi-reality. Years ago, after seeing the umpteenth reiteration of a too-familiar theme, I remarked that the New York Times should create a standing headline -- "Republicans Divided" -- and run it as a regular column.

If more than 80 percent of journalists are Democrats, as evidence clearly demonstrates, then what the media report about politics (and everything else) must be viewed skeptically: Is this true? Are all the facts as described? Are there facts omitted from the story which, if they had been reported, would change my perception of the story? And, perhaps most importantly, are the elements of the story which are not purely factual -- beyond the clarity of Who, What, When and Where, entering the murky realm of Why and How -- of such a prejudicial nature as to fatally flaw the story?

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Freaky!!! Lincecum No-Hits Padres — Again

By on 6.25.14 | 8:32PM

For the second time in less than a year, The Freak no-hit the Padres. This time he did it in front of the home crowd. Lincecum struck out six and only walked one batter. His second inning walk to Chase Headley kept it from being a perfect game. 

It is the third no-hitter of the 2014 season, but the first not thrown by a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Josh Beckett threw one against the Phillies in May while Clayton Kershaw no-hit the Rockies last week.

Lincecum becomes the second pitcher in Giants history to throw two no-hitters. The first was Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson who did so with the New York Giants in 1901 and 1905. Lincecum also becomes the second pitcher in MLB history to no-hit the same team twice. Addie Joss, another Hall of Famer, no-hit the Chicago White Sox in 1908 and 1910 while with the Cleveland Naps. Lincecum joins Sandy Koufax (yet another Hall of Famer) as the only pitchers who have at least two no-hitters, two Cy Youngs and two World Series rings. 

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The Cochran Comeback

By on 6.25.14 | 5:39PM

Just when you thought this primary season couldn't get any more unusual for Republicans, in a stunning turnaround of fortunes, incumbent Senator Thad Cochran, who was down in the polls across the board, managed to fend off Tea Party favorite Chris McDaniel. Many of the polls had Cochran down by eight to nine points, but his victory with 51 percent of the vote, or about 7,000 votes, stunned most observers.

So how did Cochran pull off this amazing comeback in such a short time, when everyone had him down by almost double digits? Over at Politico the usual suspect comes to mind: money:

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Ukraine Moves West

By on 6.25.14 | 5:05PM

The Associated Press reports that Ukrainian lawmakers will sign the European Union agreement that sparked February’s revolution on Friday. The trade deal requires a number of modernization and reform efforts with regards to Ukrainian economic policy, and Ukrainians hope it will spur growth and bring the country to economic par with other former Soviet bloc nations. Risks abound, however. While the Russian parliament has revoked Vladimir Putin’s right to intervene militarily on behalf of Russian-speaking rebels in eastern Ukraine, many remain concerned by the potential Russian backlash over Friday’s deal signing. Russia has repeatedly threatened to slap tariffs on Ukrainian goods.

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Hard-Bitten Competition in the World Cup

By on 6.25.14 | 4:09PM

The pageant of the World Cup continues. Yesterday’s heart-stopping news was Uruguay’s super-star striker Luis Suarez taking a bite out of the shoulder of Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini (played by Chico Marx).

Suarez, who attended Transylvania State on a Mike Tyson scholarship, could be in big trouble, as this is the third time he has run afoul of soccer’s strict but often-ignored anti-cannibalism rules. It’s now up to FIFA—which stands for the mellifluous Federation Internationale de Football Association—to decide whether Suarez should be suspended, or simply lectured on proper eating habits. My sources in Natal inform me that Suarez’s attorneys and his agent will attempt to get the charges reduced to following too closely.

Suarez’s coach, Oscar Washington Taberez, who has been in the game many years, demonstrated how central proper and honorable conduct are in the world’s favorite sport when he commented on Suarez’s tactics and the reaction to them after the match. “This is a World Cup—It’s not about cheap morality,” he said. He complained that the media like to pick on Suarez. I can’t imagine why.  

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Eli Wallach, R.I.P.

By on 6.25.14 | 12:55PM

Actor Eli Wallach passed away yesterday at the age of 98.

Wallach's career spanned more than six decades. He was among the first notable thespians to utilize Method Acting. He got his start on the New York stage in the 1940's, moved to TV work in the 1950's before expanding into film work in 1960 with his breakthrough role in The Magnificent Seven. Wallach would follow this up with standout performances in The Misfits, How The West Was Won and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. After these successes, Wallach would return to TV to play Mr. Freeze on Batman. Later films included The Two Jakes, The Godfather: Part III and a reunion with his The Good, the Bad and the Ugly co-star Clint Eastwood in Mystic River. His last movie appearance was in the 2010 sequel Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.

Amazingly, Wallach was never nominated for an Academy Award although he was bestowed with a Honorary Oscar in 2010. Then again an Academy Award is no guarantee of work.

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