The Spectacle Blog

Two Questions for Jeff Lord Re: Donald Trump’s Criticism of The Draw Muhammad Exhibit

By on 5.4.15 | 2:57PM

Jeff Lord has written an eloquent defense of the "Muhammad Art Exhibit & Contest" in Garland, Texas which was disrupted by two gunmen who were killed by local authorities:

Question? Is this America anymore? Or is this now to be government by lynch mob? Whether in Baltimore or Garland, Texas?

And what will President Obama say? Will he stand up for the free speech of Americans? Not with some mealy mouthed if-this-than-that attempt at moral relativity — but with flat out, stand-up support for the Constitution and the right of free speech? News reports say the Garland police were prepared in case this kind of thing happened — but the question really should be: Why should police or anyone else have to prepare for a murderous assault on a free speech event?

Those of you who are familiar with Jeff's writing will know that he also regularly sings the praises of Donald Trump as he did last week in the wake of the Baltimore riots.

Scott Walker’s Latest Scandal - He’s Indebted to Sears!

By on 5.4.15 | 1:10PM

When I first started on campaigns, "silly season" as the point where things veer off course from discussions of policy into the weeds of personal attacks, used to start in the summer right before the Presidential (or other) election. As time has gone on, in the decade or so I've spent flailing about in communications, "silly season" has gotten earlier and earlier. 

Now, it's jsut basically the whole campaign.

So why fear it, right? Why not embrace it. After all, if we're starting this early digging up Scott Walker's credit card statements, the foundational, constructive arguments as to why Scott Walker shouldn't be President must be all but done away with. After all, he's beaten the most ardent special interest groups on the left three times in four years, what could possibly be left to stick other than that he owes a slightly-higher-than-normal amount to a discount department store?

Scott Walker owes Sears up to $50,000.

Are Marilyn & Nick Mosby The New Clintons?

By on 5.4.15 | 12:52PM

I read Ben Stein's weekend column on last week's Baltimore riots. He was not kind to prosecutor Marilyn Mosby writing that she "should not be allowed to be a law clerk, let alone a state’s attorney/prosecutor."

What Ben doesn't mention is that Mosby's husband Nick is a Baltimore city councillor who was interviewed by FNC's Leland Vittert at last week's riots. While Mosby condemned the violence, he did not hesitate to rationalize it:

This is about the social economics of poor urban America. These young guys are frustrated, they're upset and unfortunately they're displaying it in a very destructive manner. When folks are undereducated, unfortunately they don't have the same intellectual voice to express it the way other people do, and that's what we see through the violence today.

When Vittert steered the conversation back to the rioters, Mosby went on the defensive:

Carly Fiorina, Dr. Ben Carson Join Presidential Field

By on 5.4.15 | 12:36PM

Today, both Carly Fiorina and Dr. Ben Carson announced that they're running for President, Carly on ABC's Good Morning America, and Ben in front of a hometown crowd in Detroit. The Republican field is now looking intensely crowded, and there are still several candidates expected to throw their hats in the ring who have yet to officially declare their Presidential intentions. 

Of the two that announced this morning, Fiorina had the more aggressive campaign kickoff, launching her program by literally shutting down Hillary Clinton.

"I am running for president. I think I am the best person for the job because I understand how the economy actually works," she said.

"Our nation was intended to be a citizen government. ... [Americans] believe we need to return to a citizen government, and so, I think it's totally reasonable to look outside the political class."

Thoughts on the GOP Presidential Bids of Carly Fiorina & Ben Carson

By on 5.4.15 | 11:27AM

I find it interesting that both Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson are announcing their presidential bids today.

Neither candidate has ever held political office and I suspect if either of them had they wouldn't announce their candidacy for the highest office in the land on the same day. By announcing on the same day both have cancelled each other out in terms of press coverage thus minimizing the impact of their respective announcements.

Of the two, I'd say Fiorina will make the bigger impact in the GOP race. Fiorina has generally been well received and exceeded expectations whenever she's had the opportunity to speak to conservative crowds.

I do think Debra J. Saunders syndicated column (which was featured here at TAS last December) raises some concerns. Fiorina still owes people money from her failed 2010 campaign to unseat the soon to be retired California Senator Barbara Boxer. Saunders wrote, "When HP fired Fiorina, she walked away with a $21 million golden handshake. But when Fiorina lost the Senate race, some of her employees didn’t get a handshake. They got a finger."

Two Gunmen Killed by Police After Opening Fire at Muhammad Art Exhibit in Texas

By on 5.4.15 | 12:34AM

Two gunmen opened fire outside an event in Garland, Texas which was exhibiting drawings of Muhammad. The event featured Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders.

A security guard was wounded, but was released from hospital. Local police shot and killed the two gunmen. Their identities have not been released as of this writing.

In January, 12 people were killed at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris followed by an attack at a free speech conference in Denmark in February that left one person dead. Cartoonist Lars Vilk was the apparent target of the attack. 

This is a global campaign of intimidation. The only answer to it is to have more of these exhibits.

Brewers Fire Ron Roenicke; Hire Craig Counsell

By on 5.3.15 | 11:39PM

In my 2015 MLB Predictions piece, I wrote the following about Milwaukee Brewers manager Ron Roenicke:

Don’t be surprised if skipper Ron Roenicke gets the ax before the season is done.

Well, tonight the Brewers fired Roenicke.

The Brewers' 7-18 record was the worst in MLB and already 11 1/2 games back of the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central.

In 2014, the Brewers led the NL Central for most of the season, but would experience an epic collapse beginning in late August in which they lost 22 of their final 31 games and finished a distant third behind the Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates (who ended up with their second consecutive NL Wild Card spot). 

Most teams don't recover from a thing like that the following season and thus needed a change in direction.

Roenicke took over the team in 2011 and took the Brewers to the NL Central title only to lose to the eventual World Series champion Cardinals in the NLCS. 

Astros Win 10 in a Row or The AL Now Has a Problem with Houston

By on 5.3.15 | 10:43PM

The Houston Astros beat the Seattle Mariners 7-6 this afternoon to win their 10th consecutive game. 

At 18-7, they own the best record in the American League with only the St. Louis Cardinals having a better overall record in MLB.

Of course, the difference is that no one is surprised by the success of the Cardinals. The same cannot be said of the Astros who between 2011 and 2013 had the worst record in MLB. In 2014, the Astros won 70 games, but this was not enough to save Bo Porter's job. When the Astros hired A.J. Hinch in the off-season it didn't set off rockets given Hinch's unsuccessful year and a half stint with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2009 and 2010. 

The AL West was supposed to be a three way battle between the Angels, Mariners and A's. Well, not only do none of these teams have winning records, the Astros already have a 7 game lead on the Angels.

60 Minutes Doesn’t Recognize The Difference Between Israeli & Palestinian Children

By on 5.3.15 | 8:59PM

This evening 60 Minutes profiled Dr. Jim Gordon, a Georgetown psychiatrist who is counseling both Israeli and Palestinian children who survived rocket attacks following last summer's war between Israel and Hamas.

The way the story was presented was that both Israeli and Palestinian children were traumatized by the conflict. But what they didn't emphasize was how these children are socialized. Two of the Palestinian children had drawings of themselves as martyrs and suicide bombers. There's a good chance that those Palestinian children who Dr. Gordon counseled probably watched this childrens' program in which an adult in a bee costume tells them to shoot all the Jews.

Needless to say, the Israeli children did not draw pictures of themselves as martyrs or suicide bombers. 

Freddie Gray’s Death Isn’t About Black & White, It’s About the Gray Area of Power

By on 5.3.15 | 2:08AM

The death of Freddie Gray and the protests and riots which followed in Baltimore have once again been presented in terms of a local police department declaring war on African-Americans.

And yet three of the six Baltimore police officers charged in connection with Gray's death are African-American. 

The death of Freddie Gray isn't a question of black and white. Rather it is a question of the gray area of power. 

As Abraham Lincoln put it, "If you want to test a man's character, give him power." We would be hard pressed to find a class of people who are bestowed with more power than police officers. Most police officers utilize this power responsibly. But when police officers who don't exercise this power responsibly it can result in the unnecessary loss of life. While Freddie Gray did have a criminal record, the last I checked making eye contact with a police officer isn't illegal in this country, much less warranted the loss of his life. 

Pages