The Spectacle Blog

Ted Cruz: Imagine Abolishing The IRS, It’s Easy If You Try

By on 3.23.15 | 2:34PM

In launching his presidential campaign today, Senator Ted Cruz showed he has a fondness for the word imagine using it 38 times in his speech. On one of those occasions, Cruz even implored his audience to text the word.

Now there's nothing wrong with the word imagine in of itself. I suppose Cruz and his team intended imagine to be their answer to Barack Obama's use of the word hope. The only problem is that the word imagine is so strongly associated with John Lennon and naturally a lot of people picked on up on it and are having fun with it including The Daily Caller.

Well, it might just my imagination (sorry, I couldn't resist the temptation), but I don't think Cruz and company were seeking to be associated with the late Beatle. If this is the case then they might have better suited to choosing a different theme word for the campaign.

Ted Cruz Is No Ronald Reagan

By on 3.23.15 | 11:39AM

Towards the conclusion of his 2,700 word plus article on Ted Cruz's forthcoming GOP presidential bid announcement, Jeff Lord acknowledges, "Ted Cruz is, of course, not Ronald Reagan. As with every other human on the planet, there was only one Reagan."

Yet this does not prevent Jeff from making 67 other references to Ronald Reagan in his piece.

I just don't see it.

Now don't get me wrong. Ted Cruz has very quickly found his way to the national stage. But then again so did Barack Obama. And much like Obama, he's throwing his hat into ring scarcely two years into his Senate term without much in the way of achievement. While the two men are diametrically opposed ideologically, I see more parallels between Cruz and Obama than I do with Cruz and Reagan.

Ted Cruz First To Declare For President

By on 3.23.15 | 11:27AM

It's morning in America. Although, given that I'm under 2 inches of snow and Ted Cruz is dominating the news cycle, it's more likely to be a morning in December of 2013, than one in March of 2015. But whatever. Happy Presidential Election Kickoff Day, everyone!

And, as announced, Senator Ted Cruzis the first out of the gate to declare his intention to compete for the Republican Presidential nomination. He officially launched his campaign for President this morning, with the obligatory "video that looks like it was cobbled together after someone ran a search for "America" on a stock photo site. Cruz's is entitled "A Time for Truth," and it is very, very patriotic. There are many waving flags, tow-headed children, working Americans, baseballs flying and things of that nature.

His longer, more comprehensive ad, which features him in shirtsleeves talking about his American-ness, is here

Welcome Aboard, Jay Homnick!

By on 3.20.15 | 4:47PM

Welcome aboard, Jay Homnick! Jay has become our latest senior editor.

Perhaps you read his recent piece on how President Barack Obama, working with the Ford Foundation—yes, the Ford Foundation!—and the non-political State Department, attempted a second-story job on the recent Israeli election and failed ignominiously (“Heavy Meddle: Obama in Jerusalem”). Possibly just today you read of how the nascent Israel Air Force was founded by expat Yankee Jews whose exploits in World War II on behalf of the Allies whetted their appetite to go off to Israel and fight in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence. Many of the nonagenarians were still alive and kicking when Nancy Spielberg began her documentary on them in 2011. Jay has a prevenient sense for a dramatic story and he will be bringing it to AmSpec.

Ferguson & The Imperviousness to Reason

By on 3.20.15 | 2:45PM

Although it has been factually established that Michael Brown never uttered the phrase "Hands up!!! Don't shoot!!!" there will be always be those who are impervious to reason.

Exhibit #A would be Cristian Farias in this piece he wrote a couple of days ago in The New Republic titled "Hands Up, Don't Shoot Was Not Based on a Lie":

Marie Harf: You Didn’t Like My Jobs for Jihadis Idea Because You’re Sexist

By on 3.20.15 | 12:33PM

I'll give one thing to State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf: when backed into a corner, she sticks to her guns. She doesn't allow anyone or anything to force her into self-reflection. 

We knew already that Ms. Harf thought her "Jobs for Jihadis" quip - that terrorism, and specifically ISIS, attracts people because they can't find other means of financial stability - was on the money, and that she considered herself just to be repeating the company line. But now, in a speech to what appears to be a group of journalism students, Ms. Harf would like to clarify that, not only was the reaction to her comment overblown, it was overblown because you are all a bunch of sexist, ageist rubes

Obama Might Have Purchased the House from Magnum P.I.

By on 3.20.15 | 11:52AM

Now, obviously, you're all going to whine "why am I covering something so dumb? Aren't children starving in Asia? Isn't Katy Perry probably pregnant? Why aren't you devoting your precious time and energy to these world-altering things?" Besides having been a political gossip blogger for five years, this issue, America, is really important to me.

I love Magnum P.I. and Barack Obama is about to ruin it for me. And frankly, it is an insult to everything I hold dear, including but not limited to, Mr. Tom Selleck's glorious 1980s mustache, which he wore with great aplomb as he tooled around Hawaii solving mysteries and generally just making hot pants on dudes a thing. Magnum, P.I. set the standard in my life for all men to live up to. Which is why I married a guy with a huge collection of Aloha shirts. Just short of a year ago, I completed one of my bucket list missions and saw T.C.'s chopper in action, taking off across the beach at Turtle Bay and it was possibly the greatest moment of my life.

So you will understand why this is personal.

Malcolm Fraser, R.I.P.

By on 3.20.15 | 11:49AM

Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser passed away today following a brief illness. He was 84.

Fraser was first elected to Australia's House of Representatives in 1955 when he was only 25. He would rise steadily through the Liberal Party ranks and become Minister of the Army under Harold Holt (who would disappear while swimming the following year). After the Liberals lost power to Gough Whitlam's Labor Party in 1972, Fraser campaigned to be Liberal Party leader but lost to Bill Snedden. However, when Snedden could not unseat Whitlam in the 1974 federal election, Fraser successfully challenged Snedden for the Liberal Party leadership and become leader of the official opposition in March 1975.

Michael Brown (a.k.a. Michael Lookofsky), R.I.P.

By on 3.20.15 | 9:28AM

Michael Brown (a.k.a Michael Lookofsky) who composed the classic "Walk Away Renee" at the age of 16, passed away on March 19th. He was 65.

Brown was the principal songwriter and keyboard player for The Left Banke. Although he would never match the success of "Walk Away Renee", they did have one other notable hit called "Pretty Ballerina". Baroque pop became a short-lived craze and Brown was at the center of it.

After leaving The Left Banke, Brown was a member of several other groups like Montage, Stories (which would have a big hit with "Brother Louie" after he left the band) and The Beckies.

After the mid-1970's, Brown more or less disappeared from the music scene although he would make a handful of appearances when The Left Banke reunited circa 2012-2013.

Open Letter to the Professor Who Banned a Student for Disputing Rape Statistics

By on 3.19.15 | 10:01PM

At Reed College in Oregon, a student claims that his professor banned him from class because he disputed the existence of a "rape culture" in the United States as well as the (obviously bogus but often stated) statistic that one in five college women is the victim of sexual assault. The student, Jeremiah True, has begun a petition calling on the professor to allow him back into class. I have signed it and I encourage you to do so as well.

I don't know to a certainty that the story is true or complete. Nevertheless, the following is the text of an e-mail I just sent to the professor in question.