The Spectacle Blog

Self-Satisfied Ear Mites

By on 6.23.14 | 12:08AM

At a much-covered hearing on IRS stonewalling of its vendetta against conservative groups, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan told IRS Commissioner John Koskinen — who has been unashamedly retailing that agency’s fantastical “the dog ate my emails” dodge — that he, Ryan, did not believe Koskinen.

Came Koskinen’s remarkable reply, “That’s the first time anybody has said they do not believe me.”

Well, John, if you plan to stick with the current incredible story, you better get used to not being believed. And if Americans don’t insist that this serious case of government abuse be sorted honestly, and offenders held responsible for their actions, Americans will have to get used to being pushed around by arrogant, self-satisfied government ear mites like Koskinen.

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The State of the Christian Right

By on 6.20.14 | 4:21PM

The Faith and Freedom Coalition held their annual “Road to Majority” conference at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in D.C. today. The gathering, hosted by evangelical leader Ralph Reed, is a conglomeration of the biggest names on the right, and a rallying point for conservative evangelicals across the country. It is a test of strength for one of the three stool legs of conservatism: traditional values.

While there were fire and brimstone speeches at this year's event, there was a clear division in the room between politicians, think tanks, and religious leaders. While many of the religious leaders focused exclusively on religious matters, the politicians and think tanks fused the two to promote their own personal agendas.

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Waiting Up for Chris Christie

By on 6.20.14 | 3:07PM

Covering a conference is hungering work if you forget breakfast, and the Road to Majority conference of the Faith and Freedom Coalition was no exception. It was time for lunch as I approached the exit. The doors were closed and, reaching to open them, I was stopped by a big man in a suit stepping in front of me.

“You don’t want to leave,” he said. “Governor Christie is about to make news. You shouldn’t go.”

With no inclination to argue and some interest in what Christie would have to say—would he announce his presidential bid? Would he fold in the face of mounting corruption allegations? This will be unfortunately nothing, won’t it?—I returned to my seat and waited for The Governor to make his way to the podium.

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Rick Santorum’s Worker Utopia

By on 6.20.14 | 12:14PM

Rick Santorum stepped up to the podium at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority Conference this morning and delivered an impassioned argument for the Republican Party to become the party of the working class. Rather than joining many of his fellow speakers in bashing President Obama or Hillary Clinton, Santorum set out his vision for the future of the GOP. The platform he created, and the pointed jab he made at Mitt Romney, seemed like early preparation for a 2016 bid. His decision not to preach to the choir, however, left his speech with a subdued reception—cordial, but hardly enthusiastic.

“We are a party, we are a movement, that continues to focus on certain issues that I believe are—well—not as relevant as they used to be,” Santorum said. Referring not only to Wall Street and big corporations, Santorum was also critiquing the Republican emphasis on small businesses and business owners, and questioned the widespread conservative rejection of President Obama’s “You didn’t build that.” The populist conservatives at the conference sat in silence as they listened to the laborer’s populism Santorum was advocating.  

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Senator Ron Johnson on the Liberal Addiction to Power

By on 6.20.14 | 11:53AM

Today in a speech to the Road to Majority Conference, Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin gave a rousing speech that infused a conservative economic push with a cry for more freedom from federal intrusion.  

Johnson took shots at both Congress in general and the liberal mood of D.C.’s power-hungry elite. When discussing Congress's microscopic approval rating, he quipped, “That’s too high.” Slamming the Democrats, Johnson said, “The other side has been more interested in power. The Left wants to get America addicted to the government.”

Johnson concluded his speech with a positive message of peace during a time of war in the Middle East: “Very shortly after I was elected I went to Afghanistan and had unlimited access to talk to all the Afghani forces there. I went up to one and asked him why he was training. He said, ‘I’m doing for my nation, I want peace.’” Johnson finished, “I want peace. All Americans want peace.” 

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IT Troubles at the IRS

By on 6.20.14 | 11:41AM

The congressional investigation of the Internal Revenue Service for improper scrutiny of conservative groups has sputtered to a stall. Faced with the loss of key emails to and from Lois Lerner, who recused herself on Fifth Amendment grounds from the investigation last year, the investigative committee, and the American public, are receiving an education in computer crashes and IRS backup policy.

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Morning Round-Up 6-20

By on 6.20.14 | 9:04AM

Feature of the Day: Mexican ‘drug lord’ arrested on way to World Cup match

Morning Headlines

Domestic                                                          

Associated Press

  1. Obama Moves to Ensure Sick Leave for Gay Couples
  2. Detroit ‘Grand Bargain’ Vote Key to Bankruptcy End
  3. Top Shiite Cleric Calls for New Government in Iraq

Politico

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Gerry Goffin, R.I.P.

By on 6.20.14 | 12:02AM

Songwriter Gerry Goffin passed away on Thursday of natural causes. He was 75.

Goffin was married to Carole King for 10 years and together they formed one of the greatest songwriting tandems in the second half of the 20th century. They met at Queens College in New York where they studied chemistry. As it turned out, their chemistry was found in music. King wrote the music while Goffin wrote the lyrics. 

Less than I week ago, my Dad and I were at the Ultimate Doo-Wop Show at New York's Beacon Theatre featuring Dion. During this show, two Goffin-King songs were performed - "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" by Shirley Alston-Reeves of the Shirelles and "Up on the Roof" by Charlie Thomas' Drifters. 

Let's also consider a few other Goffin-King collaborations:

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Good Luck Daniel Bard

By on 6.19.14 | 10:09PM

While watching the Braves-Nationals game on the MLB Network, I learned that the Texas Rangers had released pitcher Daniel Bard.

At one time, Bard was an outstanding reliever for the Boston Red Sox. Between 2009-2011, he was the eighth inning set up man for Jonathan Papelbon.

Of course, the Red Sox collapsed late in 2011. Terry Francona departed and was replaced by Bobby Valentine. We all know that led to a last place finish in 2012. One of the contributing factors to that debacle was Valentine's decision to put Bard into the starting rotation. Bard suddenly lost his velocity and then rapidly lost his control. By June, he was demoted to Pawtucket where he would remain for the rest of the year.

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Hobby Lobby and the War on Nuns

By on 6.19.14 | 5:51PM

The "war on women" continues, but not in the way you might think; in fact, the HHS mandate of Obamacare might be more of a "war on nuns."

This mandate, which wasn't passed by Congress, is the "Thou shalt provide birth control for thy employees" aspect of Obamacare. Among its victims are the Little Sisters of the Poor, a congregation of nuns who serve the elderly, and Mother Angelica's Eternal Word Television Network. Other women are also concerned that this new commandment interferes with the original ten, including Barbara Green and her daughter Darcy Lett, who are part of the family that owns Hobby Lobby. Green's and Lett's case will be decided by the Supreme Court by the end of the month.

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