The Spectacle Blog

Obama Is In No Position To Say The Presidency Isn’t a Reality Show

By on 5.6.16 | 4:49PM

In response to Donald Trump's impending ascension to the Republican Party nomination, President Obama does what he does worse - lecture. To wit:

We are in serious times, and this is a really serious job. This is not entertainment. This is not a reality show. This is a contest for the presidency of the United States. Every candidate, every nominee, needs to be subject to exacting standards and genuine scrutiny.

And what would President Obama know about being subject to exacting standards and genuine scrutiny? President Obama is in no position to criticize Donald Trump's candidacy as a reality show when his entire political career has been a reality show with a fawning press in tow.

Say Hey!

By on 5.6.16 | 1:35PM

Can it be so? Surely not. But look at the calendar and do the arithmetic. It’s true. Willie Mays is 85 years old today. Willie Mays! He was born on May 6, 1931 in Westfield, Alabama. 

I hope Willie is doing well and wearing his years comfortably. They’re making a bit of a fuss about the anniversary, as well they should, in San Francisco, where Willie played most of his 22 Major League seasons (would have been 24 save for the two years Willie served in the Army). As the news gets out, I’m confident baseball fans everywhere will take a moment to celebrate this elegant athlete.

Tow Truck Driving Trump Supporter Brags About Abandoning Bernie Supporter on Highway

By on 5.5.16 | 11:55PM

It's bad enough that a Trump supporting tow truck driver saw fit to deny to assist a stranded motorist in North Carolina because she had a Bernie Sanders sign in her car, but he sees fit to brag about it. 

Ken Shupe, the driver of the tow truck, boasted, "I'm a conservative Christian, I've just drawn a line in the sand. I'm not going to associate or conduct business with them." 

It would seem that Mr. Shupe missed Sunday school the week his church taught "Love thy neighbor." Of course, I'm not surprised a Trump supporter would be so utterly lacking in virtue and quick to defame the character of others. Shupe claimed that he has towed other socialists who have seen fit not to pay him. Of course, since Shupe had no way of knowing whether Cassandra McWade would have stiffed him he bore false witness against her by accusing her of sins she did not commit. To make matters worse, McWade is disabled. 

Holocaust Remembrance

By on 5.5.16 | 10:49AM

Last night was the start of Holocaust Remembrance Day. Jews consider the day to begin and end in the evening, so that the progress is from darkness to light. If you visit the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, you are forced to follow a path that leads to a series of walls. You become claustrophobic and disoriented. There appears to be no exit.

Then the Museum miraculously opens up to a blaze of light, which also is dizzying, but sublime. It’s freedom.

This year Holocaust Remembrance Day brought back a poignant memory. Shortly after my parents and I arrived in Montreal from the German refugee camp where I was born, my dad took me to a downtown department store where a Santa was taking Christmas requests from children. We were to sit on his lap and whisper our requests in his ear. I told him I wanted a grandma, and he nodded. Later I asked my dad when Santa would deliver on his promise, and dad had to tell me it was all pretend. For me, there would be no Santa Clause.

Donald Trump’s Hits and Misses in Foreign Policy

By on 5.4.16 | 2:13PM

Donald Trump has offered his foreign policy vision. It was a bit of a mishmash, but he is no Neoconservative and broke with pro-war Republican orthodoxy in important ways.

The speech, delivered last week in downtown Washington, was standard campaign fare, intended to demonstrate that the candidate was serious, and included some of the usual bland generalities.

Still, there was considerable good in the talk.

After the Cold War, he noted, “Logic was replaced with foolishness and arrogance, which led to one foreign policy disaster after another.” Hard to argue with that. Moreover, said Trump, it was a mistake to believe that the U.S. could impose Western-style democracy on countries “that had no experience or interests” in the process.

Indeed, he noted that “the legacy of the Obama-Clinton interventions will be weakness, confusion and disarray, a mess.” It actually is the Bush-Obama-Clinton interventions, but point taken. “Our actions in Iraq, Libya and Syria have helped unleash ISIS,” Trump added.

Characteristic Kasich

By on 5.4.16 | 12:49PM

In characteristic fashion, John Kasich has suspended his campaign, which saw him in fourth place running among three active candidates. What’s worse, we’ll never hear Trump say the nice things about him that he said about Ted Cruz after Cruz’s withdrawal last night. There are those who think Kasich will still make a good veep for Trump, though more than once Kasich has put the kibosh on any such future for himself. So whatever immediate future he has will now be all up to Trump.

I’ll remember him most for the great job he did in the food-fight debate that saw Trump, Cruz, and Marco Rubio go at it. Only to have Kasich follow up in the next debate by patting himself on the back for the great job he did in the previous debate. Oh, well. Characteristic Kasich.

NYT’s Sensationally Incorrect Headline and Other Climate Notes

By on 5.4.16 | 12:45PM

The silliest news items are those that belie their headlines, as is the case with a sensational front-page story in Tuesday’s New York Times, titled “Resettling the First American ‘Climate Refugees.’” From the eye-popping title, one would think that the subjects of the article are refugees fleeing the impacts of climate change. This would indeed be news! After all, just two weeks ago, I read in The New York Times that Americans don’t care about climate policy because the primary effect of global warming has been to render the weather more pleasant. It would be strange, and quite news-worthy, if climate change were leading to refugees at the same time it is making the weather more comfortable.

But it turns out that the headline is grossly misleading. Half-way down the article, the reporters clarify that:

Bernie Upsets Hillary in Indiana

By on 5.3.16 | 9:59PM

While Donald Trump has put the Republican nomination away, Hillary Clinton can't quite close the deal as Bernie Sanders upset Hillary with a 7-point win in Indiana.

Unlike Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders isn't going away nor are his supporters at least for now. 

So what happens to Bernie's supporters when their candidate doesn't get the Democratic Party nomination? I suspect the Millenials will support Hillary. Trump's racist tropes about Mexican and Muslims simply do not resonate with people under 30. But older Sanders' supporters who have faced tough economic times might not be so eager to cast their lot with Hillary and cast a protest vote for Trump. 

The longer Bernie is in the race the more this will be a factor.

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