The Spectacle Blog

Rob Ford, R.I.P.

By on 3.22.16 | 12:46PM

Former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has succumbed to cancer at the age of 46.

Elected mayor of Canada's largest city in 2010, you were either part of Ford Nation or you were not. Ford was rough around the edges and his conservative politics made him a target of liberal elites, but at the same time he remembered people's names, personally returned phone calls of his constituents and more often than not got things done. This resulted in a great deal of goodwill.

Unfortunately for Ford he would become an international figure of ridicule in 2013 when a cell phone video showed him smoking crack cocaine. At first, he denied it, but once the video was revealed his public behavior disintegrated and Toronto City Council stripped him of many of his powers.

Who Are Those Guys?

By on 3.22.16 | 11:47AM

It’s a nice parallel William Murchison draws this morning between the plight facing the current Republican Party and that facing Butch and Sundance at the top of the cliff.

There was another question, frequently asked in that amusing movie, which might apply to the GOP just now, to wit: “Who are those guys?” It was difficult to say, pre-Donald, what the Republican Party stood for (except intermittently — not much). Now it’s impossible.

Raindrops will be falling on GOP heads for some time to come, I gotta tell ya. But they will be terrific rain drops. And Mexico will pay for them.

President Obama and ‘President’ Castro

By on 3.22.16 | 10:33AM

News reports about President Obama’s visit to Cuba are regularly referring to his meeting with “Cuban President Raul Castro.” But Castro is not a president in the same sense that President Obama is. He’s not even a president in the dictionary sense. The Oxford English Dictionary defines “president” as “the elected head of a republican state.” Raul Castro was not elected, and Cuba is not a republic. Castro is a military dictator. That may not be a polite thing to say, but journalists are supposed to tell the truth, not worry about the feelings of the powerful.

Thoughts on The Islamic Terror Attacks in Brussels

By on 3.22.16 | 10:25AM


Islamic terror has struck the Belgian capital of Brussels. Two bombs were detonated at Brussels' airport and another at a subway station. As of this writing, 34 people are dead with nearly 200 people wounded.


Prior to the first explosion at the airport, witnesses heard gunshots and shouting in Arabic.


The attack comes only four days after the capture of Salah Abdeslam who was involved in last November's Paris terror attacks & had remained at large. Abdeslam was captured in the Molenbeek section of Brussels, the same neighborhood where the bomb in the subway station was detonated.


Young Lauren Chilton Visits Cuba

By on 3.22.16 | 10:10AM

Economist Steve Pejovich’s granddaughter Lauren Chilton — a second-year economics major at the University of Texas — recently visited Cuba with her parents. Here’s a letter that Ms. Chilton wrote to her family members about the experience. I share her letter here, in full, with permission. (I put in bold my favorite paragraph.)


My trip to Cuba has provided me with insight I never saw coming. I loved every waking second of being there. The country has not experienced tourists, so no one is begging on the streets and barely anyone tried to get money out of us (besides the musicians). But it made me think about communism and it’s huge part of our history. I am so proud of being a part of our family as it has guided me to be the person I am today.

Bill Clinton Calls Obama’s Legacy “Awful”

By on 3.22.16 | 12:03AM

Speaking on behalf of Hillary Clinton at a rally in Spokane, Washington this evening, former President Bill Clinton dropped this bombshell:

If you believe we can rise together, if you believe we've finally come to the point where we can put the awful legacy of the last eight years behind us and the seven years before that where we were practicing trickle-down economics, then you should vote for her.

Now I'm sure by tomorrow morning, Team Hillary will say Bill had a long day and misspoke. But the former President made a very specific point of condemning both the Bush & the Obama Administrations. Considering that Hillary has tethered herself to Obama and has criticized Bernie Sanders for being insufficiently supportive of him this could undermine Hillary's campaign perhaps in a way that even the e-mail scandal wouldn't.

Then again if Bill Clinton falls in the forest will the mainstream media make a sound?

Raul Castro: Cuba Doesn’t Have Political Prisoners

By on 3.21.16 | 4:25PM

During a joint press conference today in Havana with President Obama, Cuban dictator Raul Castro bristled at reporters' questions about human rights and declared his country had no political prisoners:

What political prisoners? Give me a name, or names, or after this meeting is over you can give me a list of political prisoners and if we have those political prisoners they will be released before tonight ends.

In fact, prior to Obama's arrival yesterday, Cuban authorities detained activists with the dissident group The Ladies in White. They did the same prior to Pope Francis' visit to Cuba last September.

What David Brooks Wrote About Trump Could Be Just As Easily Said of Obama

By on 3.18.16 | 9:51PM

I am almost in complete agreement with David Brooks regarding his assessment of Donald Trump in his latest New York Times column:

He is a childish man running for a job that requires maturity. He is an insecure boasting little boy whose desires were somehow arrested at age 12. He surrounds himself with sycophants. “You can always tell when the king is here,” Trump’s butler told Jason Horowitz in a recent Times profile. He brags incessantly about his alleged prowess, like how far he can hit a golf ball. “Do I hit it long? Is Trump strong?” he asks.

So why am I almost in agreement with Brooks?

Well, to put it very simply, what Brooks has written about Trump could just as easily be said of Obama.

You Know It’s All Over for Bernie Sanders When He Says He Wants to Save The Taxpayers’ Money

By on 3.17.16 | 9:44PM

Down less than half of 1% of the vote against Hillary Clinton in the Missouri Primary, Bernie Sanders was within his rights to demand a recount.

But Bernie has opted not to do so because he would "prefer to save taxpayers of Missouri more money."

Given that Bernie's platform is in the neighborhood of $18 trillion this might very well mark the first time he has ever invoked fiscal responsibility.

All this tells me that Bernie knows it's over. With Obama having given the edict to Democratic donors that it is now time to unite behind Hillary, Bernie sees little point in fighting a battle he knows he's going to lose.

It's been a pretty good run for Bernie; better than anyone possibly expected. But not good enough. 

Sheldon Adelson Is Warming to Donald Trump

By on 3.17.16 | 3:22PM

The Times of Israel is reporting that when big-time Republican donor and pro-Israel philanthropist Sheldon Adelson was recently asked whether he could support Donald Trump, he responded “Why not? Trump is a businessman. I’m a businessman.” So much for the concerns some have about Trump’s comments on the need to maintain an attitude of “neutrality” going into negotiations on an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.