The Spectacle Blog

Sidney Reilly, Please Call Your Office

By on 12.28.05 | 8:54AM

According to an Agence France Press report yesterday, five Pakistani immigrants living in Greece have filed legal charges of abduction and torture against Greek and British intelligence agents whom they allege kidnapped and interrogated them after the July bombings in London. We are shocked, shocked to find intelligence gathering going on in Europe. Surely the EUnuchs' human rights court won't permit this sort of thing to continue. It might actually prevent future attacks.

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Defending Al Sharpton

By on 12.27.05 | 2:10PM

Glenn Reynolds links to liberal blogger Ed Cone slagging the Reverend Freddy's Fashion Mart for endorsing LoanMax, an outfit that provides high-interest loans to high-risk borrowers. What would Cone prefer? That poor people just not be allowed to borrow money? Or that banks be required to float risky loans (which would, of course, just raise interest rates for everyone)? See Mike Lynch in the April 2002 Reason for a fuller discussion of the misguided attack on those who provide financial services to the poor (Lynch focuses on the check cashing industry, but his argument applies here, too).

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FISA Interference?

By on 12.27.05 | 10:31AM

Saturday's Seattle Post Intelligencer -- not known as part of the vast right wing media conspiracy -- reported that the FISA court -- supposedly the speedy authorizer of intelligence surveillance warrants -- was holding up and ordering "substantive modifications" to search warrant requests.

Interestingly, the report says that in the first 20 of the court's 21 annual reports, none of the requested warrants were turned down or even modified. But since 2001, at least six warrants were turned down and 173 subjected to substantive modification. So much for the speed this court issues warrants. Now the Bush administration is offering to brief the court on the warrentless NSA searches. Why now? Here's the money quote:

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About Our Holiday Schedule + Enemy of the Year

By on 12.26.05 | 10:20PM

We'll be back with a daily lineup on Wednesday, December 28, leading up to a farewell of sorts to 2005 on Friday. Meanwhile, nominations are being accepted for Enemy of the Year. Send yours to Everyone is eligible, if you catch our drift.

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Monday Night Football Fumble

By on 12.26.05 | 10:18PM

When Ted Koppel signed off from ABC's Nightline after more than a quarter century of high-toned service, no one except a few dutiful liberal TV critics paid note. Even fewer viewers are probably even aware that Koppel's show has survived him in some form.

A much greater national tragedy is the demise of ABC's "Monday Night Football" after tonight. It will survive, yes, but on ESPN, thus depriving all owners of portable TV's of easy access in the future whenever they are beyond reach of cable. Of course, some might say "Monday Night Football" was never the same after Howard Cosell's departure. (At least those of us who still remember the obnoxious Howard.) Maybe Dennis Miller should have been kept on longer. And remember the brief time when it appeared Rush Limbaugh might join the Monday night announcing team? Unlike over-the-hill John Madden, he would have saved the show.

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UN-relief for Tsunami Victims

By on 12.26.05 | 6:41PM

Seems like only yesterday when the UN's disaster relief chief was chastising America for being too stingy in our efforts to aid tsunami victims last January. Now we know why, thanks to the Financial Times.

According to a report in today's FT, the UN received about $1.1 billion. Of that, some $590 million has been spent. But it seems about a third of that expenditure, some $193 million, was absorbed by UN overhead. And if we weren't so stingy more could go for UN expense accounts and dinners at Delmonicos instead of for relief to disaster victims. Heartless of us, ain't it?

At least most of what we did send to Southeast Asia, including thirty-plus navy ships, tens of thousands of men and thousands of tons of food and water coulcn't be deposited in UN accounts. The UN: always there when they need us.

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MRC Wake-up Call

By on 12.26.05 | 10:24AM

How better to celebrate Boxing Day than with the Media Research Center annual awards for the year's worst reporting?  This is an hilarious -- and, unfortunately, entirely accurate -- summary of the year's worst media nonsense.  Take the time to read it all, and brace yourselves for the onsluaght in '06.  Hard to see how anyone will be able to top this year's worst: NBC's Brian Williams.  This is the money quote from an exchange he had in June with Andrea Mitchell:

Andrea Mitchell: "It is an iconic picture: American hostages, hands bound and blindfolded, being paraded outside the U.S./>/> embassy in Tehran/>/> by their captors. But has one of those student radicals now become Iran’s newly elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?...Tonight, U.S. intelligence officials say that they will continue to study this, but may never have definitive proof of what the role was of Iran’s new president, Brian.

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Re: And Goodwill to Men

By on 12.24.05 | 4:46PM

Tonight is one of the many nights we should all be thankful for the freedoms we have as Americans, and remember those who are unable to be with their families because they are out defending ours.

And while we are being thankful and generous, so is our president. He's issued 11 presidential pardons. Among them are three moonshiners, a bank robber and a lawyer. Moonshiners, ok. Bank robber? Maybe. Lawyer? Now that's carrying the Christmas spirit a bit too far.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukah everyone.

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…And Goodwill To Men

By on 12.24.05 | 3:45PM

Mohammed at Iraq the Model surveys the latest developments vis-a-vis the post-election power struggle, and adds:

Christmas is here but this year Christians in Iraq decided to cancel all celebrations and parties they usually have in their social clubs and will limit the celebrations to ceremonies in churches for fear from terror attacks.
If you pray, take a moment and pray for peace in Iraq.

Merry Christmas to all…

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Tomorrow on MSNBC

By on 12.23.05 | 3:14PM

I'll be on tomorrow morning about 0815 talking about the NSA intelligence op, trying to show again that it really, no kidding, was legal. Preaching to the heathen, trying to do the Lord's work. Sigh.

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