The Spectacle Blog

American ISIS Hostage Kayla Mueller Confirmed Dead

By on 2.10.15 | 12:52PM

Sad news from Kayla Mueller's family: the 26 year old aid worker who was snatched by ISIS a year ago on her way out of Syria and held for over a year is dead.

We are heartbroken to share that we’ve received confirmation that Kayla Jean Mueller, has lost her life,” Mueller’s parents said in a statement. “Kayla was a compassionate and devoted humanitarian. She dedicated the whole of her young life to helping those in need of freedom, justice, and peace.”

The statement did not elaborate on how it had learned of Mueller’s death or the circumstances of her death.

ISIS claimed last week that Kayla had been killed in Jordanian airstrikes, undertaken after ISIS killed a Jordanian pilot it had held hostage, but ISIS isn't the world's most reliable narrator, to say the least. ISIS notified her parents of Kayla's death this week, apparently, including, because they're barbarians, pictures of her body. 

Send to Kindle

Obama: Media Overstates Terrorism; Paris Kosher Grocery Shooting Random

By on 2.9.15 | 10:25PM

President Obama was interviewed with Ezra Klein and Matt Yglesias of Vox on January 23rd, but was not made public until yesterday. Yglesias asked Obama questions concerning foreign policy such as this one:

Yglesias: Do you think the media sometimes overstates the level of alarm people should have about terrorism and this kind of chaos, as opposed to a longer-term problem of climate change and epidemic disease?

Send to Kindle

Obama Will Veto Keystone XL Behind Closed Doors

By on 2.9.15 | 3:38PM

The President will veto a bill authorizing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline this week, despite the bill's bipartisan support. But instead of making a big deal out of the "do nothing Congress" he's seen so far as his foe (Obama's only had the chance to veto three bills in his Presidency, largely due to partisan deadlock in the legislature), Obama will stamp this one out quietly, behind closed doors at his desk, without any media fanfare. 

Because, as it turns out, the man who has spent the better part of four years accusing the Republicans of being the blockade against effective legislation is about to undertake a two-year crusade against anything passed by Congress, and he doesn't want anyone to know about it.

Obama’s veto — just the third of his presidency and the first since 2010 — is expected to come with little fanfare, with even opponents of the pipeline arguing the White House should avoid further angering Democrats and unions who want Keystone to be built.

Send to Kindle

Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime (or $10, $25, $100)?

By on 2.9.15 | 1:47PM

What’s a nice boy like me doing on a list like this?

Got an email from the Bill Nelson (Florida’s Democrat U.S. Senator) Campaign asking for a donation to his campaign war-chest. He helpfully suggests “$10, $25, or $100 today.”

Nelson isn’t in a campaign just now. He won re-election to a third Senate term in 2012, beating a badly overmatched former congressman Connie Mack. But Bill doesn’t consider the fact that he’s not in a campaign any reason why Floridians, or other interested parties, should not send money to his campaign because, well, just take a look at what the email says:

Dear Friend:

This past election we [obviously Democrats, though for some reason Nelson doesn’t say it] lost some really good common-sense senators… like Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Kay Hagen of North Carolina. They lost their elections not so much because of their ideas or the positions they took [oh?] but more so because of a shadowy group of extremist billionaires who decided to bury them in an avalanche of cash that bought negative TV attack ads. 

Send to Kindle

Media Rewriting Obama’s Prayer Breakfast “Crusades” Speech to No Avail

By on 2.9.15 | 12:38PM

By now, the Internet has thoroughly handled our fair President's National Prayer Breakfast speech, which compared the rise of radical Islam to the Crusades undertaken to recapture the Holy Land, in an argument that exhibits the type of intellectual gravitas normally seen in an inspirational email signature quote. Punch-drunk on his own moral superiority, the President lectured a room full of people who had since adeptly handled the crisis of violent Medieval Christians and, unlike their ISIS "bretheren" are not still wandering about in the desert setting fire to people in cages, on how their respective religions' darkest times, found mostly in history books the President clearly does not read, are just as deplorable. Unless, perhaps, that burning caged man has a carbon footprint.

Send to Kindle

Michelle Obama Says Ditch Your Boxed Mac & Cheese

By on 2.9.15 | 12:06PM

It's Monday, which means if, like me, you haven't grocery shopped since last Monday, you're either eating leftovers, take out or Kraft macaroni and cheese, that delicious miracle of chemistry that perfectly approximates what real macaroni and cheese would taste like if we ran out of cows. 

I'm just kidding, obviously. According to the company's website, Kraft Mac & Cheese is not only "The Cheesiest" mac and cheese type product out there, it's also "part of a balanced meal," if you add in some veggies and force your child to drink milk. The pasta is good, solid carbohydrates, and while the cheese powder is initially a little confusing, it can't possibly be worse than anything their parents ingested in the 1970s, as part of a television dinner or otherwise. But because the box meal is enjoyable, practical, low-cost, filling and nutritionally viable, it has clearly come under fire from the White House, whose matriarch has banned it from the kitchen outright.

Send to Kindle

John Kerry “Won’t Rule Out” Running in 2016

By on 2.9.15 | 11:32AM

John Kerry is doing such a bang-up job as Secretary of State that he's considering taking this circus on the road. No, I don't mean that he's finally decided to take his job seriously and pursue foreign policy goals that don't involve "preventing global Climate Change" by relocating Europe's farting cows; he's considering running for President in 2016.

After all, if noted foreign policy achiever Hillary Clinton can do it, why can't we have a choice in which failed chief diplomat to elect to an even higher office?

Secretary of State John Kerry said in an interview broadcast on Sunday that he has not ruled out launching a presidential bid in 2016, maintaining he's been too busy to give the prospect any thought.

Asked by "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd if he'd consider another run, the 2004 Democratic nominee said he can think of "no scenario whatsoever" where he would launch another bid.

Send to Kindle

Debbie and Sheila’s Night Out at the Grammys

By on 2.9.15 | 11:28AM

I'll be rounding up the highlights from last night's Grammy Awards a bit later, but suffice it to say, if you didn't watch it, you missed very little. As is tradition, we all got an eye-full of Madonna's rear end, questioned whether Kim Kardashian's dress was set to stay on for the whole night, were reminded that there was once such a thing as "rock and roll" but everyone who was involved in it can barely remember where they put their Metamucil, and that despite our best efforts at outlawing torture in this country, Ariana Grande still exists.

One unexpected highlight, however, was seeing Congresswomen Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Sheila Jackson Lee, best known for haranguing Republicans for their ill treatment of the downtrodden and economically depressed, skating across the red carpet like they belonged there

Send to Kindle

Jonah Goldberg Misses The Mark on Brian Williams

By on 2.9.15 | 10:34AM

Over the weekend, Jonah Goldberg made the case that the Brian Williams story is "overblown":

The Williams story strikes me as something far less than the Greatest Story Ever. It’s really kind of sad and pathetic. Some people embellish stories, lots and lots of people. The fish always gets bigger. The girl at the bar gets hotter. The other guy in the fight gets tougher. At some point the embellishments cover up the original, like layers of graffiti. That’s what Williams did. Don’t get me wrong. He lied and his apology minimized the size and duration of the lie. But the nature of the lie wasn’t nearly as bad as those of countless others who yoked deceit to a partisan agenda or for political gain. He was trying to praise the military and wanted a little more of their glory to rub off on him.

Send to Kindle

Another Snow Day in Boston - UPDATED

By on 2.9.15 | 9:32AM

For the second time in less than two weeks I am at home because of snow.

Until January 23rd, we had a grand total of 5.5 inches of snow. I remember telling my roommate Christopher Kain, "We've hardly had any snow."

Since opening my big mouth we have accumulated more than 60 inches of snow. By the end of day we could add between 18 to 24 inches.

Unlike me, my roomie had to go into work. Hopefully he will be sent home early, but the MBTA is moving very slowly. There were about 75 passengers stranded on the Red Line in Quincy because of snow on the third rail.

I haven't seen this much snow since I lived in Thunder Bay.

UPDATE: Well, so much snow has fallen that Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has suspended MBTA service as of 7 p.m. and all of tomorrow. Looks like yet another snow day.

Send to Kindle

Pages