The Spectacle Blog

Logong Raditlhokwa, R.I.P.

By on 3.27.15 | 11:07PM

I was online this evening and decided to see what my old friend Logong Raditlhokwa was up to these days. Sadly, I learned that he had passed away in late January of diabetes in his native Botswana. He was only 50.

Logong was my housemate for nearly a year while I was an undergraduate at Carleton University in the early 1990's. He also attended Carleton where he was pursuing his MSW. 

Logong was one of the most engaging people I've ever met. We spent many an evening around the kitchen table discussing politics sometimes one on one and at other times with other housemates. He had a way of making people take an interest in what he was saying even if the subject was far removed from your experience. 

Fred’s Thought of the Day

By on 3.27.15 | 4:31PM

In order to be successful, the Republican Party is going to need two things: First, for establishment Republicans to understand that Tea Partiers and other conservatives didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to be hell raisers. They are reacting to the fact that, for many years now, through Republican victories and Republican defeats, the U.S. has drifted, inexorably, toward a more expanded European-type welfare state.

Secondly, for Tea Partiers to understand that our inefficient, slow-moving political system that we have always celebrated as liberty-friendly, is an impediment to the rapid corrections we’d now like to see and that the key to success is incrementalism, however frustrating — staying on the right road, moving in the right direction, and preparing for a long journey.

Down to the End With Downton

By on 3.27.15 | 3:40PM

The sound you hear in the background is moaning and sniffling across the land (probably across the world) as word gets about that Downton Abbey will finally come to an end next year after Series Six. We knew it had to end sometime, as all good things do. But many are not ready. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Grief counselors will be working overtime this weekend.

Reid Picks Schumer Over Durbin

By on 3.27.15 | 12:32PM

Illinois just can't win today. First, two terrible candidates for mayor of Chicago. Then, on his last day in office, disgraced Congressman Aaron Schock decides to compare himself to Lincoln in his farewell speech, even though, despite the fact that he was an Illinois politician, Abraham Lincoln never faced a likely FBI investigation into his misuse of campaign funds. 

And now, Dick Durbin, the Illinois Senator anticipated to be Harry Reid's successor, has fallen by the wayside in favor of Sen. Chuck Schumer.

Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) has endorsed Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) to succeed him after he retires at the end of 2016.

"I think Schumer should be able to succeed me," Reid said in a Friday morning interview at his home in Washington's West End.

The Obamas Might Abandon Chicago for New York

By on 3.27.15 | 12:13PM

Although Rahm Emanuel has pulled well ahead of challenger Chuy Garcia in the Chicago mayoral race (the last poll had him with a comfortable 15 point lead, but still without the 50% necessary to win), with a whopping 18% still undecided and a quesstionable debate performance last night, nothing is guaranteed - which might explain why the President seems less sure about his post-tenure plans. Without his former advisor in charge, there's no guarantee he'll be showered by the love and affection he expects from his waiting public.

According to reports, the fact that the Obama library still hasn't landed a permanent location points to an unsettling rumor that the Obamas will be trading their precious palace in Chicago for a home in midtown Manhattan.

Harry Reid Announces Retirement, Gaping Hole in Nevada

By on 3.27.15 | 10:42AM

Aaron already announced that Sen. Harry Reid will not seek re-election at the end of this term, ostensibly because of the horrific eye injuries he sustained a few weeks ago, after falling victim to a back-snapping physical therapy resistance band, falling into a Stairmaster and banging his face on the handle (but it's probalby more likely he's out because he's now in the minority and doesn't want to fight uphill for the remainder of his career).  

Let that sink in for a minute: a piece of exercise equipment may have done what Republicans never could. I mean that as nicely as possible, of course - I don't want anyone, including Harry Reid, to have to face a devastating eye injury, especially one that robs him of his sight - but when you think about how Harry Reid's career could have ended, and Sharron Angle comes to mind, it really brings home how ineffective the Republican ground game has really been of late. 

Out of Spite: Obama Admin Reveals Israel’s Nuclear Program

By on 3.27.15 | 9:20AM

The Obama Administration's reassessment of its relationship with Israel continues with the declassification of Israel's nuclear program.

This comes amidst accusations from the Obama Administration against Israel spying on its nuclear negotiations with Iran. The Obama Administration, of course, found this out by spying on Israel.

It's true that Israel's nuclear program has been an open secret and yet previous presidential administrations, Democrat and Republican, still officially kept it a secret. Say what you will about Israel's nuclear program. Israel developed it not to threaten its neighbors, but to deter them. The U.S. and the rest of the civilized world understood that. The same cannot be said of Iran's nuclear ambitions.

It is worth noting that while the Obama Administration released Israel's nuclear information it redacted information in the 1987 document on the nuclear programs in West Germany, Italy, France and other NATO allies.

Harry Reid Will Not Seek Re-Election in 2016

By on 3.27.15 | 9:00AM

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has revealed to The New York Times that he will not seek re-election in 2016.

I can't say that I'm sorry to see him go even if it means he'll probably be replaced by Chuck Schumer. But there's a good chance a Republican could win his seat though one wonders if his son Rory will seek the Democratic nomination.

Whether it was declaring the War in Iraq lost before the surge, his vicious personal attacks against Mitt Romney and the Koch Brothers on the Senate floor represent much of what is wrong with 21st century liberalism in America.

For his part, Reid denies his departure is a result of either the Democrats losing the Senate in last November's mid-term elections or because the facial and eye injuries he sustained while exercising at home on New Year's Day. Reid told the Times, “I want to be able to go out at the top of my game. I don’t want to be a 42-year-old trying to become a designated hitter.”

Reid's date of expiration passed long, long ago.

John Renbourn, R.I.P.

By on 3.26.15 | 9:52PM

Guitarist John Renbourn was found dead this morning after failing to turn up for a gig with Wizz Jones last night in Scotland. Renbourn had a massive heart attack. He was 70.

Although Renbourn played in a variety of styles, he was best known for playing traditional folk music with Pentangle.  Renbourn also played sitar and banjo.

Take a listen to Renbourn's guitar work on the Pentangle song "Light Flight".

US Considers Letting Iran Have an Underground Nuclear Bunker

By on 3.26.15 | 3:27PM

Good news, everyone! It turns out, if Iran likes its secret, underground, bomb-proof nuclear bunker, thanks to the actions of the Obama Administration, Iran can keep its secret, underground, bomb-proof nuclear bunker