The Spectacle Blog

National Zoo Panda Sees Snow for the First Time

By on 1.7.15 | 2:32PM

I don't want to demean the seriousness of today's other news and the discussion we're having about it, but maybe we could all use a little cuteness break today. Everything that's happened is very scary. I'm grateful that there are men and women who fight day in and day out on the front lines to protect me. I'm grateful I have commenters to remind me of that. And I'm grateful that the National Zoo has an adorable panda that likes to play in the snow.

So let's all drop everything and enjoy Bao Bao's first snow day. Because it's fantastic.

You may now resume your regularly scheduled news cycle.


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A Further Thought on the Charlie Hebdo Terrorist Attacks & Where is Molly Norris Now?

By on 1.7.15 | 1:14PM

Emily has written a very thoughtful piece in reaction to the terrorist attacks at Charlie Hebdo in Paris and I share her feelings of despondence.

Yet I must quibble with this particular sentence:

This isn't really terrorism, because that assumes that there isn't a larger plan other than to make people afraid and disrupt the casual way in which we go about our daily lives.

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The Charlie Hebdo Murders and Freedom of the Press

By on 1.7.15 | 11:27AM

Aaron wrote this morning about the horrific murder of twelve people at the headquarters of the French satire magazine, Charlie Hebdo, but I can't get it off my mind. It's bothering me in a way very few things really do: in a Columbia-law-students-refuse-to-take-their-finals-because-of-emotional-distress sort of way. Every day of my life, for almost ten years now, I've said something rude and uncouth on the Internet. My generation, of course, views this as practically a human right. And my audience, confrontational as it can be at times, has always been civil. Like yesterday, I can literally spend days of my life making fun of our elected leadership and the people who put them into power, and while I might get a nasty email every once in a while criticizing my grammar or my irrational hatred of Mike Huckabee, the biggest risk of my writing career is supposed to be carpal tunnel, not the potential to be gunned down by a cadre of Islamic fundamentalist lunatics.

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Terrorists Kill 12 at French Satirical Magazine; Shout “We Have Avenged the Prophet Muhammad!” - UPDATED

By on 1.7.15 | 9:01AM

A horrific terrorist attack has occurred in Paris at the headquarters of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo resulting in a dozen deaths. Seven others have been injured and the attackers are still at large at this hour. Among the wounded is a police officer who exchanged fire with the assailants as they fled the scene. The terrorists shouted, "We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad!"

This is not the first time the offices of Charlie Hebdo have been attacked. In November 2011, their offices were firebombed right before they released a "Sharia edition" of their newspaper featuring Muhammad as a "guest editor." In 2006, Charlie Hebdo also published the infamous Danish cartoons which originally appeared the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

Charlie Hebdo's last posting on its Twitter account featured a satirical picture of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

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Why Is the U.S. Stiff-Arming Nigeria?

By on 1.6.15 | 6:03PM

The January 5 editorial in the Wall Street Journal titled “#BokoHaramIsWinning” should serve as a wake-up call to the Obama administration. News reports of the ruthless, radical Islamist terrorist group’s takeover of an army base followed by the multi-national anti-Boko Haram force abandoning another base just yesterday is cause for great concern to Nigeria and its neighbors.

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Creepy Photos of the 114th Congress

By on 1.6.15 | 4:38PM

Just in case you missed the great disturbance in the Force, like a thousand voices crying out at once and then suddenly silenced, that was the 114th Congress being gaveled into session (Gavelled? Gavellded?), we should most certainly relive the day in pictures. 

Let's start with the kiss heard round the Beltway. The one of forbidden love. The kiss of control over Congress.

"No Nancy, not here. Just wait...until times are different. Until we've cleared the CRomnibus. Until Netflix gets The Notebook back on it's ready-to-stream menu."

But John Boehner wasn't the only one getting his mack on for the swearing in. This day belonged to Joe Biden. And Joe Biden was going to savor it.

Here he is trying to steal what appears to be Orrin Hatch's wife.

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Why It’s a Good Thing Boehner Didn’t Lose His Job Today

By on 1.6.15 | 3:49PM

Like many conservatives, I'm not a huge fan of John Boehner.

Over the years, he has not been consistent in cobbling together an effective legislative agenda and does not do so well when he has to confront President Obama. His willingess to blink on immigration is a strong indication of his hesitancy to confront Obama. This is particularly egregious given Obama's usurpation of Congressional jurisdiction.

But all things considered, it is probably for the best that Boehner was not ousted as Speaker of the House today. Two months ago, Boehner helped lead the GOP to its biggest congressional majority in nearly seven decades. Had he been ousted today, President Obama would not only have a field day, he'd have the field for the rest of the year. Obama could sit on the sidelines and watch Republicans fight to the death. This would give plenty of fodder to a liberal media only too happy to feed on it.

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Big Unit, Pedro, Smoltz & Biggio Headed to Cooperstown

By on 1.6.15 | 3:10PM

Hours before the BBWAA was due to come out with its Hall of Fame announcement, I offered my ten picks for Cooperstown on the main page. Well, the BBWAA have released their ballot and the Class of 2015 will represent the largest contigent of players sent to Cooperstown in 60 years.

Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio got the call. The Big Unit, Pedro and Smoltz were inducted in their first year on the ballot while Biggio made it in his third year on the ballot. Last year, Biggio fell short of induction by two votes. This year Biggio got in with 82.7% of the vote.

The Big Unit did not attain the 98.8% of the vote Tom Seaver received in 1992, but his 97.3% of the vote was marginally better than the 97.2% of the vote Greg Maddux received last year. Pedro got 91.1% while Smoltz received 82.9%.

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Obama Issues Keystone XL Veto Threat

By on 1.6.15 | 2:14PM

Approximately one hour into the 114th Congress (not the 118th, as previously - gawd, I'm not that old yet), the Obama Administraiton has already issued its first veto threat, because if there's anything that screams "do-nothing Congress" it's the White House officially condeming Congress's first major vote before it even happens

Tomorrow at 9am, a Senate committee will convene to discuss the Keystone XL pipeline, which will carry petroleum from Canada's tar sands to American refineries, creating thousands of union jobs along the way, and preventing that same petroleum from boarding an already-waiting boat to China, where it will be used to make cheap American toys and generic foodstuffs for export. The White House is, of course, more concerned with the environmental impact no one thinks is actually a thing, and the optics of approving thousands of homegrown American jobs while Republicans are in power.

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John Boehner Keeps His Speaker Slot

By on 1.6.15 | 1:51PM

Expect more bills outlawing taxes on tanning.

By a vote that went almost exactly as expected (although who saw Yoho totally pulling a #YOLO and voting for himself?), John Boehner will remain speaker of the house. He lost 25 votes, which was dangerously, yet not incredibly close to the 29 needed to unseat him. It is entirely possible that had opposition shored up behind a candidate that did not co-sponsor a "Birther bill" (or, for that matter, behind any one candidate at all), or started courting support earlier than three days ago, John Boehner would not be Speaker of the House. Alas, Boehner's tears today will be tears of relief. 

You may now commence airing your righteous anger and/or your excitement at the total badassness of the recently-released Coachella lineup in the comments section. 

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