The Spectacle Blog

Alcee Hastings Will Only Work More if America Pays Him More

By on 5.19.15 | 12:45PM

In case you were wondering, America, the reason your Congress has roughly the same legislative production schedule as a pack of rabid ferrets, well, Rep. Alcee Hastings, best known for his work on the Federal bench (which came to an abrupt end when he was indicted for taking bribes from defendants), has the answer for you.

America, your Congress doesn't get paid enough. And unless you agree to give them what they believe they should earn, well, you're only going to get what you pay for. Which is, at best, that pack of rabid ferrets.

Rep. Alcee L. Hastings made the politically tone-deaf case for raising salaries for members of Congress Monday, pointing to the high cost of living in the District of Columbia.

“Members deserve to be paid, staff deserves to be paid and the cost of living here is causing serious problems for people who are not wealthy to serve in this institution,” the Florida Democrat said at a Rules Committee meeting, referring to the average member’s $174,000 annual salary. “We aren’t being paid properly,” he later added....

Claire McCaskill Won’t Watch Game of Thrones Anymore

By on 5.19.15 | 12:30PM

Last week's episode of Game of Thrones ended with a rather brutal, off-screen rape scene. Although the show's creators warned of the scene, and tried to explain how it fit into the subject character's timeline, Internet feminists, fresh out of comic book movies to complain about, latched on to the series and its writers and are now refusing to let go. Apparently, despite several Game of Thrones seasons depicting brutal violence and objectification (including but not limited to a pregnant woman being stabbed in her belly, eye-gougings, other rape scenes, beheadings, sort-of beheadings, an attack by bears, flayings and floggings), this is their hill to die on.

As Claire McCaskill desires greatly to be relevant to, well, pretty much anything, she added her two cents to the debate over whether Game of Thrones had gone a bridge too far. Of course, she thinks they did.

Israel Blasts Obama Admin Over Iran’s Violations of Sanctions

By on 5.19.15 | 12:27PM

An unnamed Israeli official has blasted the Obama Administration for ignoring a recent violation of sanctions.

Although the Obama Administration has eased sanctions against Iran, they are not permitted to purchase aircraft. Yet Iran recently purchased 15 used commercial aircraft. It is not known who sold the aircraft nor it is known which Iranian airline bought them, but the Israeli official indicated that the airlines had ties to Hezbollah and Iran's Revolutionary Guard. Iran's Mahan Air has previously been accused by the U.S. Treasury Department of shipping weapons and equipment to the Assad regime in Syria.

Israel alerted the Obama Administration to the sale, but its concerns fell on deaf ears. Aside from the Obama Administration's disdain for Israel, let us remember that they allowed Iran to take over Yemen. If the Obama Administration has no qualms about Yemen falling under the aegis of Iran do you think they are going to give a damn about Iran purchasing used commercial aircraft?

Sidney Blumenthal Resurfaces, This Time at Hillary’s State Department

By on 5.19.15 | 11:57AM

If the Clinton campaign is the greatest hits of the 1990s returning in a Time-Life boxed set to be sold on late-night television to people with chronic insomnia, Sidney Blumenthal is that Smashing Pumpkins song that happens to be the only Smashing Pumpkins song you can readily identify as a Smashing Pumpkins song because it played as literally every other video on MTV for basically your entire time in high school. That is, until Total Request Live discovered the massive appeal of bands that didn't make you want to shove the shards of a broken DiscMan headphone into your own jugular.

New BU Prof Who Tweeted Against White Males Now Taunts White Rape Victim on Facebook

By on 5.18.15 | 4:41PM

About a week and a half ago, I wrote about Boston University's decision to stand by its hiring of a new sociology professor named Saida Grundy despite her tweets about "white college males"  as a "problem population" and not patronizing "white-owned businesses".

BU initially defended Grundy "as exercising her right to free speech". However, following a backlash, BU issued a statement which read, "The University does not condone racism or bigotry in any form and we are deeply saddened when anyone makes such offensive comments.” Needless to say, the statement did not mention Grundy by name much less declare any intention of imposing any disciplinary measures.

Time for Hillary to Speak Up on Trade

By on 5.18.15 | 4:02PM

The Washington Post ran an editorial on Wednesday indicting Hillary Clinton for her silence on the trade agenda. On Thursday morning, the Post published an op-ed by Robert Kagan of Brookings titled “Clinton’s Cowardice on Trade.” Both pieces offer some valid observations, but the matter deserves more scrutiny still.

Rand Paul’s ‘No’ on Trade Promotion Authority Gets It Backwards

By on 5.18.15 | 3:59PM

Not entirely unsurprisingly, the Senate failed to reach cloture last Tuesday, falling eight votes shy of the 60 needed to start the timer on debate over Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which will be needed to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations and bring it to a timely vote in Congress. The cloture vote concerned two of four pieces of trade legislation voted out of the Finance Committee two weeks ago (TPA and Trade Adjustment Assistance). Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell excluded the other two bills, which contain language that would attract Democratic support. So, while I wouldn’t bet the ranch on TPA’s passage, there’s still room for horse trading.

In more surprising (and disappointing) news, one senator who will say “no” if TPA makes it to the floor for a vote is Rand Paul, who explained his reasoning on a New Hampshire television news broadcast: 

We give up so much power from Congress to the presidency, and with them being so secretive on the treaty, it just concerns me what’s in the treaty.

Let me take Paul’s issues with power, secrecy, and content in order.

Dem Senate Candidate Loretta Sanchez Apologizes for Racially Insensitive Remark

By on 5.18.15 | 2:26PM

Last week, one of California's potential Democratic Senate candidates, Kamala Harris, was revealed to have an aide operating a secret police force right under her nose. This week, the other choice, Loretta Sanchez is in trouble for racial insensitivity after a video of her making a gesture offensive to Elizabeth Warren (among other members of our Native American population) surfaced.

The video, which was filmed at a Democratic convention on Saturday, depicts Sanchez trying to answer the question of whether a group of "Indian American" supporters were, in fact, Native American or were immigrants from the Indian subcontinent. Sort of.

The video, which was shared on social media, shows Sanchez tapping her hand over her open mouth and making a whooping sound while speaking to a group of delegates Saturday.

Sanchez’s rival, Attorney General Kamala Harris, called the gesture “shocking.”

President Obama Has a Twitter Now

By on 5.18.15 | 2:14PM

 

Yes, you're not imagining that there was a "Barack Obama" on Twitter before today. That account is run by the scattered remnants of Organizing for America, and not by the President himself.

But now that he's entering his later years and giving up on having anything remotely resembling a policy agenda, the President has been gifted with his very own Twitter handle, @POTUS, and juding by his use of exclamation points, he's pretty excited.

I can't wait.

Hillary Clinton Wants Julian Castro for Veep

By on 5.18.15 | 2:09PM

The Democrats have finally admitted what we knew all along: far from being about fresh ideas and new faces, the DNC's 2016 ticket will be a showcase for the party's complete reliance on identity politics.

Hillary Clinton, whose only connection to "fresh" and "new" may be the marketing slogan for her preferred brand of adult undergarmets, is looking around, quite desperately, for a running mate who hasn't yet earned their AARP card. Word has it that they've settled on HUD Secretary Julian Castro. It seems he's everything the Democratic party really needs, by which I mean, a dedicated party man with a blank slate of policy leanings who just happens to be of a minority the Dems are in danger of losing. 

Hillary Clinton’s campaign is likely to choose Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Julián Castro or another Hispanic politician to be her running mate, former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros said in an interview that will air Sunday.

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