The Spectacle Blog

Last Blog Before One-Handedness

By on 11.30.05 | 5:31AM

In about 20 minutes, I'll leave my desk for minor shoulder surgery which will put me in a sling for a few weeks. How I'll manage to type, which is life itself for me, I don't know.

So a last blog note before going under. On Yesterday's "On Point" broadcast on NPR, host Tom Ashbrook introduced a show about what he called "a sickening culture of corruption" in the Republican party. I do not sympathize with bribe-takers like Randy "Duke" Cunningham, but I do want to remind Mr. Ashbrook of an earlier Presidential administration. Maybe three names will do the trick: Mochtar Riady, John Huang, Ron Brown.

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Post-Duke Appropriations

By on 11.29.05 | 3:08PM

Now that "Top Gun" has flown the coop, the interesting stuff begins.

Republicans in the House we are talking to say that the Cunningham exit will be the first real test to see how much influence Leader in Limbo Tom Delay actually still has.

Duke Cunningham had a seat on House Appropriations, and now that seat is up for grabs. The thinking is that another California Republican will get it, but word out of leadership office is that that seat is not necessarily a lock for a Left Coast heiney. Appropriations Committee chair, Jerry Lewis, a Californian, has told other committee members that he intends to fight hard to keep Cunningham's seat in California's grips.

Acting majority leader Roy Blunt is said to be pushing to give the Approps seat to a loyal Republican not necessarily from California, though no names have yet been floated. Obviously, Appropriations seats are some of the most coveted in the House.

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My Tai

By on 11.29.05 | 2:54PM

Put aside the indictments, scandals, and tearful confessions for a moment. "Cute" is not usually a word attributable to almost anything here in DC. But today, the Tai Shan countdown begins. And "cute" is merely one adjective for this newest resident of Washington. D.C's pandas-on-loan from China have paid off in PR, if not in tax dollars, for Washington. Tai Shan (meaning "peaceful mountain" -- yes, yes, the name has evoked lots of chatter in the capital), our little panda, was born to proud parents four months ago, and he will make his inaugural public appearance next week. What an auspicious, harmonious, prosperous, and blessed event this Inauguration will be, for who can possibly hate a little panda?

To see a pre-public video clip, click here.

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Merry Holiday

By on 11.29.05 | 2:49PM

I must say I am encouraged by the backlash I sense this year against the nutty, runaway trend in our society whereby the term "Christmas" continues to be replaced with the word "Holiday." From the protests against Wal-Mart, to Speaker Denny Hastert's laudable recent order that the Capitol Christmas Tree -- re-named the Capitol Holiday Tree a few years back -- be restored to its proper name, to FNC's near-obsession with the issue, it's just nice to see that not everyone is willing to tolerate this nonsense anymore.

Sure we've got a long way to go on this one, but at least the creatures are stirring, so to speak...

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Today on the Hugh Hewitt Show

By on 11.29.05 | 1:14PM

I'm subbing for Hugh again today, 6-9 p.m. on Salem Radio nationwide.

We'll be talking about the daily stuff, but this one takes the cake. Our fave Promise Maker -- Sen. Ernst Stavro Spectre -- is now saying that Terrell Owens is being treated too harshly by the NFL. Republicans seem tolerant of his, ah, flexible compliance with the promises he's made on everything from judicial confirmations (several of which are held up in Committee and between Committee and the floor) and he's apparently holding up the reauthorization of the Patriot Act by his single refusal to sign the conference report.

Those actions directly conflict with the promises he made to get the committee chairmanship. Bad enough, no? But now he's interfering with the NFL. This man has to be stopped.

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Lieberman on Iraq

By on 11.29.05 | 12:31PM

Sen. Joe Lieberman's piece in today's WSJ is both right on the substance and enormously important. He is right in saying we can't cut and run, and explains why quite well. The piece is important because it shows that there still are Democrats who aren't giving in, as Jack Murtha did, to the vast majority of their leaders who believe the only answer to Iraq is to create another Vietnam.

But Lieberman's money quote is not on those central points at all. At the end of the article, he quotes past of a conversation he had with a Marine commander:

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Randy Republicans

By on 11.29.05 | 12:04PM

Does the indictment and resignation of Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham confirm that, as Nancy Pelosi et al. would have it, the GOP's culture is one of corruption? The L.A. Times today finds a leading conservative who might agree:

Conservative activist Paul Weyrich, head of the Free Congress Foundation, said he thinks the Democratic charge may stick. "Frankly, Republicans are held to a higher standard, mainly because they are the ones who always preach morality," Weyrich said. "I think voters are going to punish them over this.

Perhaps voters should also be informed that Carol Lam, the U.S. Attorney who nailed Cunningham, is, as the L.A. Times story also reports, a Bush appointee.

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An Evolving Theory

By on 11.29.05 | 11:51AM

Michael Powell's Washington Post review of the new Darwin exhibition at New York's American Museum of Natural History is generally praiseworthy but Darwinists won't like his singing off key late in the piece: " its eagerness to declare the grand evolutionary questions settled, the show takes its lone stumble. Only four decades ago, most paleontologists rejected the theory, now broadly accepted, that comets and volcanic eruptions delivered mass extinctions and so played a key role in speeding evolution. Nor are scientists clear on the mechanism by which one species evolves into another; curator Eldredge and the late scientist Stephen Jay Gould crafted the once heretical theory of punctuated equilibrium, which holds that species sometimes evolve in grand leaps."

Then Powell notes that one prominent scientist, Simon Conway Morris, is now arguing that "even very distant species share structural similarities and journey toward inevitable complexity. This suggests to him that evolution adheres to an architecture."

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Soros Linked to Main Street Republicans

By on 11.29.05 | 11:32AM

George Soros' support for the "Main Street Republicans," the Congressional moderate Republicans who oppose drilling in ANWR and helped sink the slight decreases in Medicare growth earlier this month, isn't exactly news. But the group is apparently working to covers its tracks, notifying blogger Michelle Malkin that her linking of Soros and the Main Streeters is false and libelous and asking her to cease and desist. Malkin strikes back with a detailed case supported by extensive evidence of the links between Soros and the Republican Main Street Partnership.

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Downes and Out

By on 11.29.05 | 11:26AM

Leave it to the New York Times to turn the death of the well-liked Pat Morita into an occasion of grievance against the "lousy system" in which Morita had prospered. "It's distressing to think that the life's work of one of the best-known, hardest-working Asian-American actors is mostly a collection of servile supporting roles," Lawrence Downes writes in a special op-ed. But if Morita was "servile," how could he have been the font of Eastern wisdom in the wildy popular "Karate Kid"? Was it "servile" of Morita to appear at the Democratic convention in 2000 to sing the National Anthem (a happy event not mentioned by Downes)? There he was, an American interned during World War II, charming the Staples Center audience and, as I recall, even sporting a pony tail! And, unlike Bill Clinton earlier that week, he never bowed to the delegates.

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