The Spectacle Blog

Morning Round-Up 3-17

By on 3.17.14 | 10:28AM

Morning Headlines


Associated Press

  1. 9/11 Mastermind: Spokesman Had No Military Role
  2. St. Pat’s Parades Proceed Amid Tension Over Gays
  3. US Lags as Commercial Drones Take Off Around Globe


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Russian Violence and Propaganda in Ukraine

By on 3.16.14 | 7:11PM

As you watch or listen to "news" broadcasts about events in Ukraine and the Crimea, sometimes actual news with varying degrees of correct information, and sometimes either witting or unwitting propaganda, today's must-read report from Oleg Atbashian is something to keep in the back of your mind as context.

Americans, and particularly naive liberals such as President Obama and much of his foreign policy team, may be inclined to consider the actions of Vladimir Putin and of Russian and Ukrainian nationalists through a filter of western democratic well-meaning...which means that just as they did with the "Arab Spring" they will misinterpret and incorrectly predict almost everything that happens, as well as misunderestimate the determination of our competitors/enemies and overestimate our influence.

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David Brenner, R.I.P.

By on 3.16.14 | 6:07PM

Comedian David Brenner passed away on Saturday of cancer. He was 78. 

Brenner has the distinction of appearing on The Tonight Show more often than any other guest. He also was a regular guest host for Johnny Carson in the 1970s and early 1980s. Brenner briefly became a competitor with Carson when he hosted a short-lived late night talk show called Nightlife with David Brenner in 1986-87. I liked that show. Apparently, I was the only one. 
Here is Brenner's Tonight Show debut in January 1971. Carson had to implore him to come back out on stage for a curtain call. As Johnny put it with a Yiddish accent, "I did good — why should I come back?" Well, he would come back more than 150 times.
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Tony Benn, R.I.P.

By on 3.14.14 | 11:42PM

Former British MP Tony Benn passed away on Friday of natural causes. He was 88. His health had been in decline since a stroke in 2012.
Benn was born into a political family with both his father and grandfather having served as MPs. After a stint as a RAF pilot in Africa during WWII, Benn was elected to the House of Commons at the age of 25 in a 1950 by-election which was called after Stafford Cripps, who was Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Labour government of Clement Attlee, suddenly fell ill.
When his father passed away in 1960, he inherited his peerage and automatically lost his seat in the House of Commons. However, Benn did not wish to accept his peerage and wanted to continue as an MP. At the time, there was no provision for a Lord to resign his peerage.
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Why NATO Should Offer Ukraine Full Membership

By on 3.14.14 | 11:15PM

On Wednesday, President Obama hosted Ukranian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk at the White House and pledged to "Stand with Ukraine".  He added that the international community "will be forced to apply costs" if Russia does not withdraw from the Crimean peninsula. 

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Trump: I Won’t Run for Governor

By on 3.14.14 | 10:02PM

Donald Trump will not run for Governor of New York.

The news comes here Friday night from the Binghamton Press/Sun Bulletin website.

Says The Donald:

“While I won’t be running for Governor of New York State, a race I would have won, I have much bigger plans in mind — stay tuned, will happen!”

The Donald speaks. The world turns. In a world where everybody from Thomas E. Dewey to Bobby Kennedy, Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton were certain presidents, and Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama were pegged as sure presidential losers… stay tuned. 


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Kerry Flip-Flops on Palestinian Recognition of Israel as a Jewish State

By on 3.14.14 | 9:45PM

Today, John Kerry did what he does best — he flipped-flopped.

This time he flip-flopped on Israel’s demand that the Palestinian Authority recognize it as a Jewish state. The Secretary of State said it was “a mistake” for Israel to raise the issue.

But just over two months ago, Kerry was pressing PA President Mahmoud Abbas to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and, at the end of January, Thomas Friedman of the New York Times reported that one of the elements of the framework for peace (a.k.a. The Kerry Plan) was for Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state. 

So I guess you could say that Kerry was for Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state before he was against it.

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HHS Official Resigns: “Offended as a Taxpayer” by Federal Bureaucracy

By on 3.14.14 | 12:23PM

Isn't it interesting how we only hear the truth about the horrendous partisanship and incompetence of the bureaucracies which control our lives when people escape from them?

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Poll: Most Americans Think Putin Stronger Leader Than Obama

By on 3.13.14 | 7:26PM

The other day I wrote a piece chiding liberals who argued that conservatives are in love with Vladimir Putin because we think he is a stronger leader than President Obama. 

Well, a majority of Americans agree with that sentiment. According to a YouGov/Economist poll conducted among 1,000 Americans between March 8-10, 78% of those surveyed believe Putin as a somewhat to a very strong leader as compared to only 45% for President Obama. Moreover, 55% of those polled view Obama as a weak leader.
So do liberals now think a majority of Americans are in love with Vladimir Putin?
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Dana Milbank Doesn’t Know What a ‘Flip-Flop’ Is

By on 3.13.14 | 1:05PM

Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank is accusing NRCC Chairman Greg Walden of flip-flopping on the clout of David Jolly's recent Florida election win.

Prior to Jolly's win, Walden said:

Whether we win it or lose it, the special elections aren't too predictive for either side going forward. If there's any advantage of a special election, it's that you can test messages, and you can test strategies, and you can test sort of your theories on voter turnout and I.D.

The morning after Election Day, Walden said:

Tonight, one of Nancy Pelosi's most prized candidates was ultimately brought down because of her unwavering support for Obamacare, and that should be a loud warning for other Democrats running coast to coast.

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