The Spectacle Blog

Pope Francis in Full

By on 4.17.14 | 1:19AM

Pope Francis’s recent remarks on clerical sexual abuse received plenty of deserved attention in the secular press. Less attention, however, has been paid to other no less emphatic comments he made in that same appearance, perhaps because they were so thoroughly traditional in reaffirming, in his words, “the right of children to grow up in a family with a father and a mother capable of creating a suitable environment for the child’s development and emotional maturity.”

What’s more, Francis decried all efforts at “educational experimentation with children,” noting that “The horrors of the manipulation of education that we experienced in the great genocidal dictatorships of the twentieth century have not disappeared.”

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Eugenics Makes a Comeback

By on 4.16.14 | 5:22PM

Shrouded in the garb of “reproductive freedom” and “equality," President Obama is launching a new eugenics initiative through a program designed to reduce pregnancies and births among teenage black and Hispanic women.

As reported by the Daily Caller, the Centers for Disease Control described the purpose of the program:

to demonstrate the effectiveness of innovative, multicomponent, communitywide initiatives in reducing rates of teen pregnancy and births in communities with the highest rates, with a focus on reaching African American and Latino/Hispanic youth aged 15–19 years.

No doubt America’s teen pregnancy rate is too high, but the wording of this mission statement is clear: stop the pregnancies, but also stop the births. This isn’t a campaign for stronger families or abstinence, but rather for contraceptives and ultimately abortions intended to reduce the black and Hispanic populations.

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Hate Crimes? Me Too!

By on 4.16.14 | 1:44PM

Michael McGough of the Los Angeles Times offered some clearheaded thinking about so called "hate crimes" in his column yesterday. McGough wrote in the wake of the tragic killings allegedly perpetrated in Kansas City by Frazier Glenn Cross, an elderly Nazi sympathizer and contributor to the macbre mystique around creeps with three names. Cross will likely be prosecuted under hate crime legislation. His victims were not Jewish, but presumably he thought they were, as his targets were Jewish community centers. And so McGough made this provocative and rightheaded statement: "[T]hese killings are a reminder of the perplexities that surround hate-crime laws. No one would suggest that the loss of these lives would be any less horrible if the gunman had chosen his victims at random and without regard to their (assumed) religion."

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Morning Round-Up 4-16

By on 4.16.14 | 10:10AM

Feature of the Day: Why Are So Many Older Veterans Committing Suicide?

Morning Headlines


Associated Press

  1. End of NYPD Muslim Surveillance Program Ended
  2. Detroit Strikes 2nd Deal With Its Retirees


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Zander Hollander, R.I.P.

By on 4.16.14 | 12:11AM

Sports journalist and archivist Zander Hollander passed away on Friday of Alzheimer’s. He was 91.

Those of you who put up with my numerous articles and blog posts on baseball can blame Hollander. The very first baseball book I read was Hollander’s The Complete Handbook of Baseball — 1980 Seasonwhen I was 7 years old. My Mom bought the book for my Dad. Somehow it never made its way into his hands. Willie Stargell, who was 1979 Co-NL MVP with Keith Hernandez, was on the front cover and 1979 AL Cy Young Award winner Mike Flanagan was on the back cover. Both men sadly are no longer with us. 

There are things from that book that I still remember like Detroit Tigers catcher Lance Parrish being a former bodyguard for Tina Turner, San Diego Padres pitcher John Curtis was an essayist, and future NBA great Danny Ainge was trying to make the grade as a second baseman for the Toronto Blue Jays.

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Will Photo Radar Finally End in Colorado

By on 4.15.14 | 10:30PM

Here in Colorado, a Republican state senator is taking his third shot at banning photo speed cameras and photo red light cameras. In large part due to Democrats' concerns with privacy following the revelations about NSA spying, Senator Scott Renfroe now has key Democratic support, including the president of the state senate and the speaker of the state house of representatives.

The Denver Post recently published an editorial arguing (unconvincingly) that the use of photo radar should be limited but not banned.

In my current piece for the Denver Post, I strongly disagree:

UPDATE: In testimony to the Colorado Senate committee hearing the photo radar ban bill, the Denver Auditor implicitly skewers the city's program with a few facts:

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Advantage Jolly: Sink Won’t Run

By on 4.15.14 | 5:51PM

Democrat Alex Sink announced Tuesday she will not run against Republican Congressman David Jolly in November for the 13th Congressional district seat in the U.S. House. Sink, a retired banker and former one-term Florida’s former Chief Financial Officer, lost a special election to Jolly in March for the remainder of the term of former Congressman Bill Young, who died in office in October.

The March election was a close one, with Jolly taking the seat by a little less than two points, about the margin of registered Republican voters in the district over Democrats. Most in the politics industry thought Sink would run again. Her late departure from the race makes it difficult for Democrats to come up with a strong candidate to oppose Jolly, who is a capable campaigner with views that are compatible with the congressional district, which includes the city of Clearwater and most of St. Petersburg.

Candidates must file for the race by May 2. The only other Democrat to express interest in running for the seat is the Rev. Manuel Sykes of St. Petersburg. Sykes is pastor of Bethel Community Baptist Church and president of the St. Petersburg chapter of the NAACP.

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Ben Carson Hurts Obama’s Feelings

By on 4.15.14 | 4:38PM

Apparently Ben Carson managed to chip at President Obama's ego during last year's National Prayer Breakfast, as revealed by the Daily Caller.

The information came from confessions in Carson’s new book One Nation: What We Can All Do To Save America’s Future:

“He did not appear to be hostile or angry,” Carson writes of Obama, “but within a matter of minutes after the conclusion of the program, I received a call from some of the prayer breakfast organizers saying that the White House was upset and requesting that I call the president and apologize for offending him. I said that I did not think that he was offended and that I didn’t think that such a call was warranted.”

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Game of Thrones: Marriage, Murder, and Spoilers

By on 4.15.14 | 3:53PM

It was a dragonless night on the Game of Thrones political battlefield, but it certainly did not want for violence. Instead, viewers were greeted with one of Ramsey Snow’s torture scenes, Melisandre's human sacrifice of infidels in the name of the lord of light, another royal wedding, and another royal funeral. Joffrey has tortured his last court jester!

First, a few words on the torture scene. Ramsey Snow fed his female victim to the dogs. I gritted my teeth as I awaited the camera to pan onto the victim ripped apart by hounds. But it didn’t. There was no glimpse of her bloody body. Has HBO reached its limit on showing violence?

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Food Stamps Gone Crazy

By on 4.15.14 | 3:10PM

For the first time since 1976, the number of people receiving food stamps outnumbers the number of women working full-time.

If that sounds impossible, just look at the numbers. In 2013, 46,609,000 people collected food stamps while only 44,059,000 women had full-time jobs. That’s a 2.5 million difference.

Even more concerning is the growth rate of the food stamp program. In 1969, when the program was first introduced, only 2,878,000 people qualified. Today’s astronomical enrollment reveals an increase of 1,552 percent. If this 34 percent average annual increase were to continue, the entire U.S. population will be on food assistance in the next six years.

This should absolutely shock us. It reveals just how monstrous our welfare programs have become—and this is only the food stamp program.

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