The Spectacle Blog

Which Donald Trump Will Show Up?

By on 8.5.15 | 3:47PM

In every discussion of tomorrow's Republican presidential debate, the talking heads ask a question like this: "Will Donald Trump act 'presidential' or will he continue to be the bombastic bomb-thrower we've seen so far?" In short, "Which Donald Trump will show up?"

How strange is it that the man leading the GOP polling is so poorly understood (or, even worse, so well understood) that you don't know "who will show up?"

Sure, there's something to be said when it comes to business and even politics to have your opposition slightly wrong-footed. But how can someone so volatile and unpredictable actually be presidential material? I just don't get it.

Iran Deal Negotiations Will Not Ruin President’s Vacation

By on 8.5.15 | 1:18PM

The President will depart DC this week for Martha's Vineyard, where he will enjoy a fortnight of frolic among the bourgeoisie, playing rounds of golf and eating all sorts of over-priced seafood, possibly while dressed like someone's mother in a 1985 commercial for paper towels.

Meanwhile, he's supposed to be convincing members of Congress that the deal he and John Kerry negotiated with Iran, which will lift sanctions in return for basically nothing but Iranian assurances that they will not turn western Europe into a sea of green glass in a nuclear disaster. Although he gave a short speech and Tweeted out a couple of lame reasons for supporting the deal ("its deal or war!" - never mind Iran is already basically at war with everyone, anyway), he's leaving most of the convincing to his staff, who will call him to intervene with Democratic turncoats only if his influence is truly necessary.

Hillary Clinton Brings Out Southern Drawl for SC Dem Chairman

By on 8.5.15 | 1:00PM

Hillary Clinton would like to remind you that, for a large chunk of her life, she was forced to live in Arkansas, where almost nobody had a copy of Mao's Little Red Book, and people still did things like eat squirrels cooked on hot plates. While those moments still give her significant pause now and again - and probably recurring night terrors - she does find them useful when she needs to communicate with people who live below the Mason-Dixon line.

Yesterday, Hillary met with the South Carolina Democratic chairman and appeared on his public access television show, where she demonstrated how well she knows the "language of the South," by falling into a fake Southern accent. 

The Weekly Standard compiled the greatest hits from the interview. They have also helpfully demonstrated her level of pandering with a "cowboy boot scale," one boot being less pander-y, five boots being one step away from decorating her campaign bus with Truck Nutz.

Detroit Tigers Release President & GM Dave Dombrowski; Could He Be Bound for Boston?

By on 8.4.15 | 10:09PM

In an unexpected move, Detroit Tigers owner Mike Ilitch released President and GM Dave Dombrowski from his contract which was due to expire at the end of the season.

Ilitch, who is also the founder of the restaurant chain Little Caesar's, issued the following statement, "I have decided to release Dave from his contract in order to afford him the time to pursue other career opportunities."

And what could those career opportunities be? ESPN baseball reporter Jayson Stark immediately speculated that Dombrowski could be headed to Boston. Over the weekend, it was announced that Larry Lucchino would be departing as Red Sox President and CEO at the end of the 2015 season. It was expected that the Red Sox would promote either Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy or Fenway Sports Group President Michael Gordon to succeed Lucchino. But Dombrowski's sudden departure throws all that out the window. 

Potential Primary Voters Forced to Endure Chris Christie Birth Control Lecture

By on 8.4.15 | 8:02PM

Once upon a time, Chris Christie used birth control. 

The point of the speech was to discuss how that didn't make him a "bad Catholic" (or something), but it really ended up giving some prospective voters an education in parts of Christie's life that they were demonstrably uninterested in. Keep your eye on the poor man in the foreground, ostensibly not having any more of his lunch. And possibly never eating again. 

Dear heaven, make it stop

And here you all made fun of me for pointing out how horrifying these kinds of lectures can be when Rick Santorum gave one about how his seven children were proof that he knew how to get it on in the bedroom, or when Bernie Sanders wrote about his S&M fantasies in a Vermont alternative weekly.

That was merely the tip of the iceberg, America. Just wait. Hillary Clinton is next. 

10th Place

By on 8.4.15 | 6:18PM

The one bit of suspense when it came to who would participate in the prime time Fox News/Facebook Republican presidential debate was who would grab the 10th and final spot on the stage. Rick Perry had seemed likely to be there along with Chris Christie until Ohio Governor John Kasich's rapid rise -- still far behind the front-runners but impressive given his very recent entry into the race.

Fox News' Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly just announced that Christie and Kasich will indeed be on the stage for the two-hour 9 PM Eastern debate whereas Perry will be relegated to the earlier "forum" for the other seven Republican candidates which will take place on the same stage as the main event. Perhaps seeming more unfair to some than Perry being off the stage is Christie's being on it, but the numbers are the numbers.

Here are the top ten, as determined by an average of recent polls by Bloomberg, CBS, Fox News, Monmouth University, and Quinnipiac University:

(Percentages listed where the Fox announcers gave the number during the announcement.)

Green Alarmism about Sunscreen Debunked

By on 8.4.15 | 4:56PM

Often spoon-fed alarmist hype by green activist groups, reporters rarely get the science right about the risks associated with trace chemicals found in consumer products. Accordingly, kudos go to the author of a piece published on Fox News (originally published on, which debunks activist-generatedmisinformation about chemicals used to make sunscreens. In the past, I have pointed out that Fox News has blindly reported misinformation pushed by greens, particularly the Environmental Working Group, so this latest report is refreshing. 

The story explains:

Thoughts on the Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse Against Former British PM Edward Heath

By on 8.4.15 | 4:53PM

Four local police forces in Britain as well as the Independents Police Complaints Commission are investigating allegations of child sexual abuse by former British Prime Minister Edward Heath.

Known as Ted Heath, he brought the Conservative Party to power in 1970 by defeating Harold Wilson’s Labour government. In early 1974, Wilson and Labour would regain power. The following year, Heath was successfully challenged for the Tory party leadership by Margaret Thatcher who, of course, would become Prime Minister at the end of the decade. Heath would remain an MP until his retirement in 2001, having served in the British House of Commons for more than 60 years. He died in 2005 at the age of 89.

It is being reported that these allegations could have come to light in the ’90s when one of the local police forces was investigating a brothel owner, but was dropped after she threatened to expose Heath in court.

Scientists Back Besieged Climate Researcher

By on 8.4.15 | 4:48PM

More than 500 scientists and colleagues of Willie Soon, Ph.D., signed and sent a letter, along with supporting documents, to the Smithsonian Institution’s Board of Regents.

The letter and supporting materials defend the award-winning solar physicist against allegations he failed to disclose conflicts of interest in publications critics say require such acknowledgments.

The letter notes Soon, a researcher for a quarter of a century at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, part of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, has always strictly followed Harvard-Smithsonian’s conflict of interest guidelines.