The Spectacle Blog

Obamacare and the Sting of Empty Promises

By on 7.22.14 | 4:38PM

“If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan.”

Every American remembers hearing this empty promise. I bet you can even hear the inflection of the president’s voice as you read that line.

Or how about our president telling us how much money his new health care law would save us? If not, let’s refresh our memory:

I couldn’t even watch the whole thing. After a while, you just get sick of the lies.

So here’s a new question for President Obama: “Where’s my $2,500?”

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Yankees Acquire Chase Headley from Padres

By on 7.22.14 | 2:09PM

A few days after unloading closer Huston Street, the San Diego Padres have dealt third baseman Chase Headley to the New York Yankees for infielder Yangervis Solarte and pitching prospect Rafael De Paula.

The one reason I enjoyed watching Padres game was that every time Headley's name was mentioned I would repeat his name in the manner the late Harvey Korman did in Blazing Saddles when everyone referred to him as "Hedy Lamarr". That's Hedley!!!

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Court Issues Devastating Ruling Against Obamacare

By on 7.22.14 | 11:49AM

In a highly anticipated decision, this morning the D.C. Circuit Court ruled on the Halbig v. Burwell case argued back in March. The decision, which had court-watchers on edge for a better part of a month, was closely watched because of its potential impact on Obamacare subsidies and the power the IRS had to distribute those subsidies. In short, the text of Obamacare only provides for subsidies to be used in state exchanges. The lawsuit argued that this made federal exchanges, established when thirty-six states refused to set up their own exchanges, ineligible for subsidies. 

The ruling was a 2-1 decision against the government, with a concurring decision and a dissent. It mostly examined the idea of textualism versus intent by members of Congress. In the concurring opinion, Judge Randolph gets to the heart of the issue by quoting former Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis in another case:

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Beetles Don’t Necessarily Like The Beatles (Especially George)

By on 7.22.14 | 11:48AM

I'm not making this up. Apparently, a tree planted in honor of the late George Harrison has been killed by Beetles. So yes we have a Beetle on Beatle crime.

Well, I suppose all things must pass.

It's kind of odd though. Earlier this morning, I finished reading Marc Shapiro's posthumous biography of Harrison titled Behind Sad Eyes: The Life of George Harrison. Only a few hours passed between reading about Harrison's last days on earth and this tree. I bought it over the weekend at a bookstore on Carmine Street in Greenwich Village called Unoppressive, Non-Imperialist Bargain Books. Although I was glad to see books by Bob Newhart aren't considered imperialist, I must say the repeated playing of Peter, Paul and Mary songs was indeed quite oppressive.

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A Crack In Obamacare?

By on 7.22.14 | 11:03AM

On a 2-1 vote, a panel of the DC Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the Obamacare law as written does not permit subsidies for those who purchase health insurance through the federal exchange rather than through state-created exchanges.

It is clearly the right decision based on the text of the law, but it was nevertheless far from a foregone conclusion that the court would rule this way.

It is premature for major celebrations by opponents of Obamacare...which I'll get into in an article later today or tomorrow.

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Remaining Iraqi Christians Expelled

By on 7.21.14 | 4:18PM

The most prominent Christian landmark in Iraq was emptied of its Christians on Sunday. Mar Behnam is a Syriac Catholic church that was built by a fourth-century Assyrian king. The church was his penance for killing his son, a Christian convert. It is now under the control of Islamic extremists from ISIS, and the monks having been sent away with nothing but the clothes on their backs, according to AFP. They walked for miles before Kurdish Peshmerga forces picked them up and took them to Qaraqosh. 

The monks were the last Christians to leave the plains of Iraq; a few still live in Baghdad, but the rest have fled to Kurdistan.

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Uber Trolls Washington

By on 7.21.14 | 4:06PM

In a proverbial middle finger to authorities in Washington, D.C., Virginia, and other states, the popular taxi service Uber’s advertising has gone from clever to downright hysterical. Uber is offering free rides in the Tyson and Reston areas of Northern Virginia this week.

Uber’s campaign is brilliant because of its message. Coinciding with the long-expected opening of the Washington Metro Transportation Authority's silver line, which starts at Dulles airport and joins the orange line in Rosslyn, Uber is promoting free rides with the code name “SILVERLINE” to and from Tyson’s Corner.

This is a direct dig at some of the actions taken against the company in both D.C. and Virginia. According to Blake Seitz and the Washington Examiner, the D.C. Taxi Operators Association staged a major protest:

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A Big Victory for Property Rights in Virginia

By on 7.21.14 | 3:44PM

Property rights took a significant step forward in Virginia earlier this month when the “Boneta Bill,” which protects farmers and other residents from heavy-handed zoning policies, officially became law. The bill grew out of a dispute between Martha Boneta, who owns and operates the sixty-four-acre “Liberty Farm” in Paris, Virginia, and local government officials. Liberty Farm is about an hour car ride from Washington, D.C.

The case, which has attracted national attention, reached a critical turning point in August 2012 when the Fauquier County Zoning Board of Appeals voted to uphold a series of $15,000 per day fines against Boneta based on amendments made to the county’s zoning ordinance. The fines, which have never been enforced, were issued against Boneta for hosting a birthday party for eight ten-year-old girls and for advertising pumpkin carvings, according to a press release from the Farm-To-Consumer Legal Defense Fund.

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Polls Give a Nod to Non-Interventionists

By on 7.21.14 | 3:12PM

As politicians across the country continue to fight amongst themselves over wedge issues that the average voter does not care about—specifically birth control—Ukraine, Iraq, Israel, and several other countries are on fire. As foreign policy continues to come to the forefront, a debate is raging over what involvement the United States should have in helping settle these crises. One thing, however, is clear: the McCains and Grahams of the Senate are losing popularity.

According to a poll done by Politico, while Republicans have a seven-point advantage on foreign policy, the hawks are losing their edge by a wide margin:

In the big picture, two-thirds of respondents agreed with the statement that U.S. military actions should be “limited to direct threats to our national security.” Only 22 percent agreed with the statement that as a “moral leader,” the United States “has a responsibility to use its military to protect democracy around the globe."

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