The Spectacle Blog

Guy Who Filmed Eric Garner Death Gets Indicted

By on 12.4.14 | 1:00PM

The Eric Garner case is hitting home with people on both sides of the aisle, and for good reason. It's hard to imagine a more terrifying scenario: stopped by the police for a minor infraction based on a ridiculous tax law, dead in seconds after repeatedly begging for mercy from authorities, who stood by almost completely uninterested. The video of Garner being choked by an officer isn't just about an overreaching authority at every level, from legislative to on-the-street enforcement, it is, as Matt Lewis notes in his piece at The Week, a horrifying example of utter callousness at the value and dignity of human life. 

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Markakis Signs Four Year, $44 Million Deal with Braves

By on 12.3.14 | 11:06PM

After nine seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, Nick Markakis has signed a four-year, $44 million contract with the Atlanta Braves. Markakis is an Atlanta native.

A first round draft pickby the O's in 2003, Markakis made the big club in 2006 and has been a mainstay in the Orioles' lineup. His best overall season was in 2007 when he hit .300 with 23 HR and 112 RBI. In recent years, a wrist injury has limited his power. This season he hit only 14 HR and 50 RBI in 155 games although he hit a respectable .276 for the AL East champions. Markakis also won his second Gold Glove. 

It is interesting that the Braves gave up on Jason Heyward and have now signed Markakis who is six years older. While Markakis will probably not regain his earlier power numbers, his defense is superb and is still a solid hitter. Entering the 2015 season, Markakis has 1,547 hits. If he stays healthy, Markakis has an outside shot at 3,000 hits. Markakis has a lifetime batting average of .290 with 141 HR and 658 RBI. 

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Thoughts on the Grand Jury Decision in the Death of Eric Garner

By on 12.3.14 | 9:18PM

Let me begin by commenting on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's speech following the decision of a Staten Island grand jury not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the choking death of Eric Garner last summer. Clearly, de Blasio is a graduate of the Obama/Holder School of Demagoguery. Like Obama and Holder, de Blasio likes to make every public matter about him and about race. "We are dealing with centuries of racism that have brought us to this date," de Blasio railed. How does de Blasio know the NYPD wouldn't have treated Eric Garner in the same manner if he were white? The mayor spoke at length about his son, Dante, and how he had to teach him to protect himself from the police. He effectively tarred and feathered his own police department. It was simultaneously shameful and shameless.

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Ian McLagan, R.I.P.

By on 12.3.14 | 8:35PM

Keyboardist Ian McLagan died suddenly of a massive stroke. He was 69.

McLagan was best known for his days with the Small Faces which later morphed into The Faces when lead singer Steve Marriott was replaced by Rod Stewart. 

McLagan's post-Small Faces/Faces career saw him work as a session man and sideman with the likes of The Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry and Billy Bragg among many others. The British born McLagan made his home in Austin, Texas where he formed The Bump Band in the late '70's. Earlier this year, McLagan joined the garage rock band supergroup The Empty Hearts.

The above video is the Small Faces' classic "Tin Soldier" featuring P.P. Arnold on backing vocals. But my favorite part of this song is McLagan's keyboard riff which begins the song. 

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CIA Thinks “State of Affairs” is Terrible

By on 12.3.14 | 5:00PM

Not that any of you watch cable television, but there's been a small epidemic of female-driven primetime dramas about what it's like inside the office of the Secretary of State. In pretty much every iteration, a plucky, courageous and outspoken, if somewhat inexperienced low-level CIA or State Department staffer, has their brillance recognized when they're shoved into the Secretary of State position. These blonde, pantsuited heroines, whose profiles are clearly based on no one in particular, are forced to navigate the torrid waters of foreign policy, while holding down their positions as Mama Bear to unruly children and an inattentive husband at home. To accomplish this, they wear dark-rimmed glasses to look smarter and say Very Serious Things while standing in rooms with lots of computers with maps on them.

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Former Dem Staffer Won’t Do Time for Sexual Assault

By on 12.3.14 | 3:18PM

While the media has been busily raking Elizabeth Lauten over the coals for her critique of the Obama daughters' fashion sense (the horror!), a former Democratic staff director for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee pleaded guilty to " third-degree sexual abuse, two misdemeanor counts of sexual abuse and one count of misdemeanor threats."

Apparently, Donny Ray Williams, charming as he is, wrangled a female colleage to his apartment by promising that he could introduce her to important Senate people, then spiked her drink with Ambien, waited until she was asleep and then raped her. And as if this wasn't #WaronWomen, #RapeCulture-y enough for you, Donny felt he was so successul at assaulting his female colleagues, he tried it again. 

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White House Not Totally Sure if Ash Carter is SecDef Nominee

By on 12.3.14 | 1:41PM

"Ash Carter" is far too close to "Ashton Kutcher" for my tastes, and I'm going to stand by that as the reason I'm not fully supporting his nomination. Well, that, and I'm pretty sure that he's the Obama Administration's only choice that would effectively rubber stamp any administration decision on handling foreign policy matters, even if the decision is blindingly stupid. He's certainly not my first choice, and I've only had 24 hours to review his record, which is scant, to say the least.

The good news for me, I guess, is that he's not the Obama Administration's first choice, either. According to a CNN story about Chuck Hagel's rather sudden departure as Secretary of Defense, even as the White House was drying the ink on Ash Carter's press release, the President's staff was still scouring the Internet for a slightly better defense secretary.  

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Jean Béliveau, R.I.P.

By on 12.3.14 | 11:22AM

Montreal Canadiens legend Jean Beliveau died last night. He was 83.

Beliveau is arguably the best player to wear a Habs uniform. No NHL player has ever won more Stanley Cups. He was a part of 10 Stanley Cup teams in a career that spanned nearly two decades. Beliveau retired in 1971 and would be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame the following year when it waived its usual three year waiting period. Beliveau's name would appear on seven additional Stanley Cups as an executive for the Canadiens; the last being in 1993. It was the last time a Canadian NHL team won the Stanley Cup.

I did not know that Beliveau was offered a seat in the Senate by Tory Prime Minister Brian Mulroney in the 1980's nor was I aware that he was also offered the position of Governor General by Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien in 1994. However, Beliveau declined both appointments.

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Torii Hunter Returns to The Twins UPDATED

By on 12.2.14 | 9:52PM

Outfielder Torii Hunter will finish his big league career where it started. Hunter has reportedly signed a one-year, $10.5 million deal with the Minnesota Twins.

Hunter was a first round draft pick of the Twins in 1993. He made his big league debut with the club late in 1997 and soon became a fixture in centerfield winning 7 of his 9 career Gold Gloves over parts of 11 seasons. Hunter signed with the Los Angeles Angels as a free agent prior to 2008 and spent four seasons with them before moving on to Detroit where he spent the last two seasons with the Tigers. Hunter has played in the post-season on eight occasions in his career (four times with the Twins and twice each with the Angels and Tigers), but has never played in the World Series.

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Your New Ambassador to Hungary Used to Produce Soap Operas

By on 12.2.14 | 3:46PM

The White House had trouble today explaining why the former producer of The Bold and the Beautiful, Colleen Bell, is our new ambassador to Hungary. ABC's John Karl, asking questions of Josh Earnest wonders  does she have any qualifications to be named ambassador to a major European nation, apparently missing the memo that the only major qualification you need in this or any administration to named as ambassador to a major European nation is a fairly fat pocketbook (or, in this case, the ability to get others to open their fairly fat pocketbooks).

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