The Spectacle Blog


By on 2.14.06 | 8:25AM

Sitting in the White House press room yesterday, the most interesting dynamic was watching the TV pretty people down front mugging for the camera. But the more important to the hectoring and lecturing going on by the media, was the talk of the TV and big-media types before the cameras went on and Scott McClellan took the podium.

What really cheeses these guys off isn't so much that the White House didn't tell them. It's that a private citizen gave the story first to a local reporter down in Texas. Again and again, we kept hearing something along the lines of, "I can't believe a local paper got it first."

There is a sense of betrayal that the White House actually expected reporters who cover the President and Vice President to get a story on their own. They are so used to have it spoon-fed to them, either through press release, pool report or illegal leak.

Send to Kindle

Happy St. Valentine’s Day

By on 2.14.06 | 6:57AM

No, today isn't for Eve Ensler to vulgarize. It's the feast day of a martyred bishop of the third century. The day's special consecration to lovers came later, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, a very reliable source in my experience. The History Channel's account, which is suspiciously saccharine (maybe because it credits American Greetings, the card company), cites a legend that St. Valentine married soldiers to their loves in defiance of the emperor and even wrote the first valentine. One "lives of the saints"-style account has him as a priest assisting persecuted Christians. And another agrees that he wrote the first valentine, but that it was a note to his daughter on the eve of his martyrdom.

Send to Kindle

Full CPAC Straw Poll Results

By on 2.14.06 | 6:41AM

Over at Hotline On Call. Interesting to see Bill Frist edging out Mitt Romney among the single-digit crowd. The CW, holding that Frist's decidedly mixed performance as Majority Leader makes him damaged presidential goods, still seems right. But juding from how Frist answered when I asked him about his presidential aspirations last week -- you can listen here -- I'd say he's still seriously considering a run.

UPDATE: Rob Bluey has the results for the Democratic nomination, too. Mark Warner is the only one besides Hillary to crack double digits in CPAC-goers' predictions. This seems right, as Warner's ability to court different parts of the Democratic coalition simultaneously is likely to make him Hillary's strongest competition.

Send to Kindle

The AMMP Whines Foul

By on 2.13.06 | 6:27PM

That's the American Mainstream Media Party, a term coined by Newsweek's Howard Fineman and a notion reiterated by the WSJ's James Taranto in our pages this month. Taranto/>/> explains:

This is not just a matter of "liberal bias." When it comes to matters of war and scandal, journalists see themselves playing a role that is not impartial but adversarial vis-à-vis the government. But the media's adversarial culture asserts itself far more strongly when a Republican is in the White House.

The AMMP's coverage of the Cheney hunting accident has veered -- quickly, in less than a day -- into the absurd.

Send to Kindle

NOW’s Valentine for You

By on 2.13.06 | 4:42PM

The NAGs (the National Organization for Women) just sent an email wishing folks a "Happy Contraception Awareness Week." How sad. And typical.

Send to Kindle

First Victim of Lobbying Reform

By on 2.13.06 | 3:41PM

Rumors on Capitol Hill have the venerable power dining establishment, La Colline, closing its doors soon. According to several sources, staff of the French restaurant have been informed that the property, which sits about two blocks away from Senate office buildings, has been sold. Word is investors of other restaurant properties in D.C. have bought it up with the intent of refurbishing and opening a new dining spot.

La Colline is a favorite spot for early morning Senate fundraising breakfasts, as well as power lunches. It was the scene of a number of infamous late-night bull sessions between Sens. Ted Kennedy and Chris Dodd.

Send to Kindle

Israeli strke on Iran: options grow

By on 2.13.06 | 3:33PM

New source with regard Israeli capability of striking Iran, notes the credibility of media reports before this present war and the rise of hallucinatory Ahmadinejad, that Israel has three critical self-developed weapons systems and one acquired weapons system that create many tactical options in the event that a decision is made to deter Iran nuclear weapons fuel cycle at Natanz and other deep and hard sites..

Israel has long been understood by its ally United States as in possession of multiple nuclear weapons that are miniaturized for missile warhead mounts: to this point, on September 22, 1979, an American Vela-class spy sat detected an Indian Ocean double flash that was consistent with previous Chinese and French tests. Also, Israel, since 2000, is said to be in possession of a medium range ballistic missile that can strike a target at a range of nine hndred niles. Also, Israel, since 1999, is said to possess several German built Dolphin class submarines capable of firing warhead missiles from the Indian Ocean at any time.

Send to Kindle

Selective Confusion

By on 2.13.06 | 12:30PM

In light of the continued carpet bombing by the media and Democrats about the mass confusion surrounding the Medicare drug benefits, here's something to consider from a recent news report from CBS 6 Albany News.

"The demise of nursing homes is also being fueled by a growing preference among seniors for alternative care settings like adult day care, assisted-living facilities and home-based care."

There are 45 prescription drug plans available to seniors in my home state of New Jersey. By comparison there are 75 different types of alternative care settings for seniors with different types of services, different monthly payments, locations, etc. The average cost of long-term care is about $20 K a year, which is nearly ten times more than what most seniors with two or more chronic illnesses will spend on drugs.

So let me get this straight: Four million seniors and their families are too confused to choose drug plans but they are more than able to select from twice as many alternative care communities that involved ten times more money?

Maybe I am the one who is confused.

Send to Kindle

Re: Shot Heard Round The World

By on 2.13.06 | 12:18PM

The press has just besieged Scott McClellan on the topic of Cheney's stay fire. Should the Vice President resign? Should criminal charges be filed? Isn't this too dangerous an activity for important persons to be doing?

These and other urgent questions occupy the conference. But the mask finally slips when one intrepid reporter suggests the trickle-up of shooting news from incident site to White House was reminiscent "of the levee story."

Oh, but did McClellan ever reject that insinuation. The press is rabid over the story's breaking in Corpus Christi courtesy of a private, not public, personage -- i.e., no splash for the national news. The White House communications bureaucracy might have a faulty pipeline -- one imagines it should be kept in the loop on matters such as these. But should the government PR machine dance to the media tune of instant access to instant news? Cheney accidentally kills a man -- news. Cheney accidentally shoots a man -- at what point is the public on a need-to-know basis?

Send to Kindle

Murtha on McLaughlin

By on 2.13.06 | 12:15PM

Jack Murtha appeared on John McLaughlin's "One on One" program this weekend. (I've never seen it, but it's his "in-depth" interview show on PBS.) McLaughlin brought up my article on Murtha's lobbyist brother and Abscam past.

For starters, I can't figure out why McLaughlin's bringing this up. As far as I know, the article didn't make much of a splash. Thorough Google, Technorati, and Lexis Nexis searches turned up a negligible response. So either McLaughlin found the article in pre-show prep, or Murtha put him up to it so as to get a response on the record with a friendly interviewer. If it's the latter, he couldn't have found a better venue:

Send to Kindle