The Spectacle Blog

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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Conservatives and Social Justice

By on 6.25.14 | 12:13PM

Arthur Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, began AEI’s new “Vision Talks” Monday with “a conservative vision for social justice.” His condemnations of current conservative attitudes towards the poor and the communication gap between conservative leaders and the impoverished they would like to help rang painfully true. Progressives’ attempts to solve the problem of poverty have failed. It's time for a conservative plan to help the impoverished achieve the fullest expression of the American dream of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In doing so, conservatives must guard against abstracting the humanity of impoverished persons just as progressives do.

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Comcast Isn’t the Free-Market Choice in the Internet Wars

By on 6.25.14 | 10:59AM

Free-market types have been rallying behind Comcast and against Netflix for some time now. For the sake of context, the debate is over whether Comcast should be able to "throttle" access to Netflix across its Internet service. Netflix, hosting streaming video, absorbs an incredible amount of broadband Internet access that can ostensibly stress Comcast’s infrastructure. Those of a more conspiratorial bent cite Comcast’s desire to protect traditional television from the Internet upstart as the reason behind throttling Netflix.

The aforementioned free-marketers have been using some variation of the argument that Comcast can do whatever it wants with its wires. Or interconnected tubes. Or whatever infrastructure provides the Internet. Further, Comcast should be free to price its service in any way it desires assuming the market can bear those prices.

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Morning Round-Up 6-25

By on 6.25.14 | 10:56AM

Feature of the Day: Hey, remember that time Google accidentally made Skynet?

Morning Headlines

Domestic                                                          

Associated Press

  1. Cochran Win in Miss. A Blow to Tea Party Movement
  2. AP Sources: Christie Faces Another Bridge Probe
  3. Ukraine to Sign EU Deal That Sparked Revolution

Politico

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The Elephants Are Out of the Zoo in Mississippi

By on 6.24.14 | 5:09PM

The American Spectator has already predicted a win for Tea Partier Chris McDaniel in today's special Mississippi primary run-off. Senator Thad Cochran's embarrassing loss to McDaniel in the earlier June election (he took 48.9 percent of the vote, McDaniels took 49.5 percent, and the rest went to a spoiler) could already have been his coup de grace. A June 20 poll reported by Politico gave him 52 percent with Cochran at 44 percent.

Although the Mississippi run-off is good for race-horse politics, what truly makes it a national story is the fact that GOP elephants seem to be out of the zoo on this one. According to Fox News:

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America’s Hypocritical Oath: Political Correctness

By on 6.24.14 | 3:55PM

In an interview with Playboy this week, Gary Oldman defended Mel Gibson and Alec Baldwin for their “politically incorrect” diatribes. “We’re all f—ing hypocrites,” he argued, with good reason.

Though he did not do so eloquently, Oldman, a libertarian, is making an important point. Humans are a living paradox. “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function," as F. Scott Fitzgerald said.

We are imperfect, and more often than we’d like to admit, we are wrong. Yet, with the rise of the Information Age, things you say and do are more accessible and more public. Thus opportunities to trip over someone’s fragile sensibilities have increased exponentially.

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Your Daily Dose of Trey Gowdy Shouting at Obama Administration Officials

By on 6.24.14 | 3:39PM

From me to you, because you know you want some and because I want to up my clicks for the month. IRS Commish John Koskinen, quite possibly the smuggest bureaucrat in the historical pantheon of smug bureaucracy, claimed he hasn't seen any evidence of lawbreaking in the IRS's mass deletion of Lois Lerner's emails. As Gowdy delicately noted, it's rather difficult to clear anyone of lawbreaking when you don't know anything about the law:

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When It Comes to Paid Family Leave, the Question is How

By on 6.24.14 | 11:05AM

President Obama’s speech at the White House Summit on Working Families saw digressions into raising the minimum wage and self-satisfied referrals to the Affordable Care Act. But its focus was on paid family leave and pregnancy accommodations, and ought to be seen by conservatives as a challenge to meet legitimate needs without sacrificing principle and expanding centralized authority. The president advocated for the federalization of employment laws as he called for Congress to leave “none of our country’s talent behind.” Conservatives should provide an alternative.

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