The Spectacle Blog

A Conservative Case for Organized Labor

By on 7.7.14 | 1:54PM

The Daily Beast declares that “the right has good reason to keep organized labor alive.” They are correct, which is surprising, but they miss a few things worth thinking about, which is perhaps less surprising.  

Responding to the Harris v. Quinn Supreme Court decision, James Poulos argues that Justice Kagan’s dissent points to the imminent issue in labor politics: the purpose of unions’ existence.

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Thoughts on the Arrests of Six Israelis in Murder of Palestinian Teen

By on 7.6.14 | 8:58PM

Six Israelis have been arrested in connection with the murder of a Palestinian teen last week in apparent retaliation for the murder of three Jewish teens who were kidnapped by Hamas.

Of course, these six Israelis are entitled to due process. But if they are convicted for the crime which they have been accused I think this can be said with certainty. Israelis will not be naming their schools, streets and soccer fields after these men. Nor have Israelis taken to the streets to hand their children candies. Israelis do not consider the death of Mohammed Abu Khdeir cause for celebration. 

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We’ve Not Heard The Last of Eugenie Bouchard

By on 7.5.14 | 1:07PM

I know Roger Kaplan does the tennis beat around here, but I would remiss if I didn't make note of the stellar performance of Eugenie Bouchard at Wimbledon. Bouchard became the first Canadian to reach a Grand Slam final, but lost in straight sets to Petra Kvitova 6-3, 6-0. This was Kvitova's second Wimbledon title having won it previously three years ago when she defeated Maria Sharapova. 

Bouchard is in her second year on the WTA tour. Prior to Wimbledon, Bouchard reached the semi-finals at both the Australian and French Opens. At 20, Bouchard is just beginning to come into her own and despite being dominated by Kvitova today we have not heard the last of her. It will be interesting to see what Bouchard does at the U.S. Open later this summer.

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A’s Acquire Samardzija & Hammel from the Cubs

By on 7.5.14 | 1:10AM

As if the Oakland A's didn't already have the best starting rotation in baseball, they go out and acquire Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the Chicago Cubs. In exchange, the Cubs get pitcher Dan Straily and prospects Addison Russell and Billy McKinney. 

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Richard Mellon Scaife, R.I.P.

By on 7.4.14 | 3:05PM

Philanthropist and longtime conservative activist Richard Mellon Scaife passed away this morning less than two months after being diagnosed with an inoperable cancer. He had turned 82 yesterday. 

Scaife is perhaps best known for his association with The American Spectator during the 1990s. With Scaife's help, The American Spectator, among other things, investigated the financial dealings of Bill and Hillary Clinton in connection with the Whitewater scandal. The liberal press dubbed it as "The Arkansas Project". These articles would eventually help lead to President Clinton's impeachment by the House of Representatives. In the '90s, Scaife was to liberals what the Koch Brothers are to them today. Hillary Clinton no doubt had Scaife in mind when she uttered the phrase "vast right-wing conspiracy". Yet when Barack Obama emerged on the scene in 200, Scaife surprised many with his endorsement of Hillary in the 2008 Pennsylvania Democratic Primary. 

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The Day Lou Gehrig Became The Luckiest Man on the Face of the Earth

By on 7.4.14 | 12:42PM

The Fourth of July is synonymous with American independence. 

But it also marks one of the most important events in the history of baseball.

It was 75 years ago today that New York Yankees legendary first baseman Lou Gehrig bid baseball farewell. Gehrig, who had played in 2,130 consecutive games going back to 1925 and had driven in 100 or more runs for 13 consecutive seasons, inexplicably lost the ability to play. Gehrig was soon diagnosed with ALS, a disease so rare that it would bear his name. He would play his last game on April 30th.

The Yankees chose to honor him on the Fourth of July prior to a doubleheader against the Washington Senators. Although Gehrig was educated in Columbia University, he was reticient man who did not like the spotlight. However, on this day, Gehrig would deliver one of the most memorable speeches in American history.

Gehrig would be dead less than two years later.

 

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The Beer Spectator: In Support of Smoking

By on 7.4.14 | 10:04AM

My favorite smoking section is located outside the Barnstable County Superior Court on Cape Cod. Across the street from the entrance, there is a lone sign amidst the weedy grass of the parking lot median. “Smoking Section,” it declares. Smokers are not welcome to stand on the sidewalk in front of the court. No, they must walk across the street, where all can judge them.

Everybody witnesses smoking, and everybody reacts in their own ways. Some ignore it. Some cough artificially. Some announce the health hazards of smoking, as if the graphic warnings on the packs didn’t tell us enough.

Why submit oneself to such ostracization?   

It’s simple: smoking, whether it’s a cigarette, a cigar, or a pipe, is soothing. It’s social, invigorating, and recreational. It doesn’t matter how high taxes are or whether the MPAA rates a movie because of smoking on screen; some people just want their fix.

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Lena Dunham Weighs in on Hobby Lobby

By on 7.3.14 | 2:14PM

As a twenty-four-year-old woman with friends on all sides of the political spectrum, I’ve heard quite a bit about the Hobby Lobby decision over the past couple days. I’ve seen a few thoughtful responses, but mostly I’ve been struck by the illogical and factually incorrect criticisms from otherwise intelligent and well-educated friends. If someone looked at my Facebook and Twitter feeds, he would surely think that birth control was banned forever and soon there will be babies everywhere.

The panic-stricken tirades came straight from the top. Feminist actress Lena Dunham tweeted, “Women's access to birth control should not be denied because of their employer's religious beliefs.” Sandra Fluke experimented with different fonts in Photoshop to send the message that “we’re sick and tired of SCOTUS putting corporate interests ahead of women’s rights!” Meanwhile, the writers at the Salon.com office just ran around screaming about Armageddon.

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Move Over Jimmy Carter: Obama Most Unpopular President Since World War II

By on 7.3.14 | 1:39PM

A poll released by Quinnipiac University this morning has some devastating numbers for President Obama. The title of the poll, “Obama is First as Worst President Since WWII,” says it all, but let’s look at some of the other numbers.

According to Quinnipiac, Ronald Reagan is seen as the best president since World War II, with 35 percent taking that view. Reagan almost doubled Clinton’s 18 percent, with JFK trailing close behind Clinton at 15 percent. When you break down the results, the independent vote makes the difference, with 66 percent of Reagan’s support coming from that block. Meanwhile, Clinton’s support tends to be more partisan, with 34 percent of his vote coming from Democrats.

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Rick Perry a ‘West Coast Metrosexual’ For Giving Up Cowboy Boots

By on 7.3.14 | 11:35AM

In Texas they take these things seriously. Word has slipped that Rick Perry has taken off his cowboy boots for good, saying they worsen the back pain that was reportedly the proximate cause of his 2012 presidential campaign's worst moment.

But that don't sit well with the state's land commissioner, Jerry Patterson. “Tell Rick that boots can be purchased with normal heels,” Patterson commented to a columnist for the Austin American-Statesman. “I lament the fact that our governor could now pass for a West Coast metrosexual and has embarrassed us all with his sartorial change of direction.”

The New York Times further notes that:

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