The Spectacle Blog

Al Jazeera America to Shut Down in April

By on 1.13.16 | 2:58PM

Al Jazeera America announced it would be ceasing operations as of April 30th of this year.

Aside from poor ratings and poor morale, the network had recently been sued by MLB players Ryan Howard and Ryan Zimmerman for a story last month which alleged they received shipments of HGH. Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was also named in the story and planned to make a decision about legal action after the end of the NFL season. (The Broncos are currently in the playoffs).

If AJA had been found in the wrong in the Howard/Zimmerman lawsuit it would have done untold damage to their finances and reputation and would have been even worse if Manning had joined the fray. I wonder how much of a factor this lawsuit and Manning's potential action contributed in AJA's decision to call it a day.

Good-bye and good riddance.

NY Times Proclaims Iran’s Release of U.S. Navy Sailors Represents “Warmer Relations”

By on 1.13.16 | 2:42PM

The New York Times is proclaiming that Iran's quick release of 10 Navy sailors represents "warmer relations" between the United States and Iran.

Well, if seizing two U.S. Navy boats, imprisoning the sailors and showing them on Iranian state TV in violation of the Geneva Convention represents warmer relations between the U.S. and Iran then I would say things are getting downright cozy.

I suppose the Iranian rocket which landed within a mile of U.S.S. Harry Truman was just a social call.

Twits Mock the Wrong Guy

By on 1.13.16 | 1:55PM

The Daily Mail reports that the twits of Twitterworld mocked Marco Rubio for appearing bored during Barack Obama’s State of My Ego speech last night.

Good grief. These twits must not have tuned in the speech themselves. The folks who should have been mocked were those who didn’t find the speech a bore. Those who through sheer determination managed to stay awake for the duration deserve a medal, not mockery.

The Rams Return to L.A. While St. Louis Gets Burned Again

By on 1.13.16 | 12:50PM

The NFL will return to Los Angeles. Yesterday, the NFL owners gave approval to the St. Louis Rams to move back to L.A. after a 21-year absence. A new stadium is to be built on land in Inglewood owned by Rams owner Stan Kroenke. The new stadium, which is purportedly to be built entirely with private funds, is expected to be ready in 2019. Where the Rams will play until then is anyone's guess, but I would guess the L.A. Coliseum would be their temporary home.

The NFL has also given their blessing to the San Diego Chargers to move to L.A. and share the new facility with the Rams. The Oakland Raiders had also applied to relocate to L.A. The Raiders, of course, called L.A. home from 1982 to 1994. The late Al Davis infamously moved the team from Oakland to LA without NFL approval. The Raiders returned to Oakland in 1995, but are now looking to pick up stakes yet again. 

As for the Rams, prior to moving to the Midwest in 1995, the Rams had played in L.A. for nearly half a century. The Los Angeles Rams had won 2 NFL championships and had one Super Bowl appearance.

Five Things You Might Have Missed in President Obama’s State of the Union Address

By on 1.13.16 | 12:07PM

I have to be honest: I watched the State of Union on DVR so that I could fast-forward through the clapping, and get straight to the part where Joe Biden starts cracking open Natty Lights under the podium. While it was on, I drank most of a bottle of red wine and watched reruns of The Big Bang Theory. To be honest, I almost forgot the event was even on, since I haven't watched basic cable in years, but alas, I work for a political publication, so I am forced to endure, at least, a partial viewing of our nation's most time-honored, non-essential tradition: a one-hour Presidential tribute to himself.

Nikki Haley Gave The Best SOTU Response in Years

By on 1.12.16 | 11:45PM

Not only did I like South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley's response to President Obama's SOTU, but I think it was best in years. 

Haley came off as confident, engaging, intelligent, warm and personable. Frankly, that's better than most of the people the GOP has running for the White House.

While she demonstrated contempt for President Obama's policies she did so by killing him with kindness as when she said that his achievements had fallen short of his lofty words or when she noted that international agreements ought to be celebrated in Israel, not Iran. 

Haley spoke about the shooting at the Mother Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston last summer noting that the man who entered the church was welcomed with open arms, offered a chair and invited to prayer before he betrayed their good will. Despite the anger from that tragedy, she noted that people turned not to violence and vitriol, but to God. 

I like her temperament. It was music to my ears when Haley said, "We must resist the siren call of our angriest voices." Amen to that. 

Obama Peddled Fiction in His Final SOTU Address

By on 1.12.16 | 11:11PM

I watched President Obama's final SOTU address. 

When touting his economic successes, President Obama suggested that anyone who suggested that America's economy was in decline was "peddling fiction."

Frankly, Obama's final address to Congress could be summed up as just that -- peddling fiction. His whole presidency could be described in that manner whether one wants to cite "if you like your health care, you can keep it", "ISIS is the Jayvee squad" or "red lines in Syria."

He was peddling fiction when he spoke of 18 million signed up for Obamacare. Most of those are Medicaid sign ups and a lot of others are those who lost their health insurance because of Obamacare in the first place. How many people who are signed up to Obamacare are paying higher premiums and getting less care?

Obama was peddling fiction when he said he wanted to cut red tape. This from an administration which adds thousands of pages to the Federal Register every year especially where it concerns energy and the environment?

Iran Seizes 2 U.S. Navy Boats; Imprisons 10 Sailors UPDATE: Sailors Released, Kerry Expresses Gratitude to Iran

By on 1.12.16 | 6:44PM

Iran has seized two U.S. navy boats which they allege wandered into Iranian waters en route from Kuwait to Bahrain. There are 10 Navy sailors in Iranian custody.

U.S. officials say they have been given assurances that the sailors will be released tomorrow. Forgive me if the words of the Obama Administration do not inspire confidence. Even if they are released, Iran is continuing to play games with the U.S. as they did went they tested ballistic missiles and launched a rocket within a mile of the U.S.S. Harry Truman. To take a page from Bill Clinton's book, the Iranians are doing this because they can.

White House spokesman Jen Psaki says this matter will not be addressed in tonight's State of the Union. While Obama may not address this matter, he will certainly praise the Iran nuclear deal. I wouldn't expect anything less of Obama.

Monte Irvin, R.I.P.

By on 1.12.16 | 4:37PM

Former Negro League & MLB player Monte Irvin passed away yesterday at the age of 96.

Irvin's baseball career would begin in 1938 with the Newark Eagles at the age of 19 and would play with them through 1948 except for a three year stint in the Army where he served in Europe with the GS Engineers, 1313th Battalion

When he returned to the States, Brooklyn Dodgers President & General Manager Branch Rickey approached him about the possibility of being the first African-American to play in MLB. However, Irvin felt he was rusty after being away from baseball for three years and declined. Of course, Rickey would ultimately sign Jackie Robinson.

The State of The Union Isn’t Going Anywhere

By on 1.12.16 | 3:33PM

Every year without fail someone at NRO complains about the existence of the State of the Union address.

Last year it was Charles Cooke who wrote, "As a matter of basic constitutional propriety, there is something unutterably rotten about the State of the Union.” Cooke concluded by asking, "But why, one has to wonder, does Congress continue to applaud the charade?"

This year the honors belong to Kevin D. Williamson:

Somebody should kill this hideous and depraved dog-and-pony show. If not the next Republican president, then the speaker of the House, who has it within his power to simply decline to proffer an invitation to address Congress.

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