The Spectacle Blog

Why It’s Too Bad 13 Hours Wasn’t Released in September Instead of This Weekend

By on 1.14.16 | 12:46PM

The movie 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi premiered earlier this week in Los Angeles and will get wide release come tomorrow.

Last night, Megyn Kelly interviewed several relatives of those who perished in Benghazi and discussed what the implications the film might have for the 2016 presidential election.

Honestly, I don't think the film will have much impact on the election. It isn't a question of the subject matter at hand, but rather the timing of the movie's release. The election is nearly 10 months away and, except for the people who lost loved ones and conservative Americans already committed against Hillary Clinton, the movie will be a distant memory.

This would not have been the case had the movie been released on September 9th, two days before the 4th anniversary of the attack and exactly 60 days before the election. That would put 13 Hours smack dab in the middle of the election season. 13 Hours would very much be on the mind of voters in a way it won't be with a January release.

I Have Not Seen Any of The Films Oscar Nominated for Best Picture of 2015

By on 1.14.16 | 12:08PM

This morning the Motion Picture Academy of Arts & Sciences announced the following eight films had been nominated for Best Picture at the 88th Academy Awards which will take place on February 28th:

The Big Short

Bridge of Spies


Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant



I have seen none of these pictures. This is quite unusual. Even in this era where up to 10 films can be nominated for Best Picture, I have usually seen at least one or two of the movies nominated. But not so for 2015. In November, I very nearly went to see Spotlight which tells the story of how The Boston Globe broke the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal. The night I was going to see it was the same night of the Paris terrorist attacks. I stayed home in no mood to watch any movie and haven't felt the need to see it since.

Whoever Wins The $1.5 Billion Powerball Jackpot Will Join Bernie Sanders’ Enemies List

By on 1.13.16 | 9:19PM

Should anyone win tonight's $1.5 billion Powerball jackpot that person will attain wealth, short-lived fame and earn a place on Bernie Sanders' enemies list.

When Sanders talks about "millionaires and billionaires" he means Powerball winners every bit as much as CEOs and hedge fund managers.

Yet I bet many a Sanders' supporter bought Powerball tickets. Maybe the winner will be a Sanders' supporter and if this Sanders' supporter offers Bernie his or her money just maybe Bernie won't mind "millionaires and billionaires" just this one time.

Can you see it? Billionaires for Bernie!!!

The Sorry State of American Politics

By on 1.13.16 | 7:14PM

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:

The media rightly ridicule the bigotry and ignorance of the Republican voters who are responsible for Donald Trump’s buoyancy in the polls.  But your report today on Hillary Clinton’s proposed 4% “surcharge” on millionaires reveals that Democratic voters are also infested with a mix of bigotry and ignorance that, although different in detail from that of the Republicans, is no less uncivilized and dangerous (“Hillary Clinton Proposes 4% Income-Tax Surcharge for Wealthy Americans,” Jan. 12).

Tug-of-War Over Federal Lands Leads to Standoff

By on 1.13.16 | 6:54PM

Lost in all the hoopla over “y’all queda” and “VanillaISIS” is any basic history of how public rangelands in the West — and in eastern Oregon in particular — got to this point. I’ve seen no mention in the press of two laws that are probably more responsible than anything else for the alienation and animosity the Hammonds felt towards the government.

The first law, the Public Rangelands Improvement Act of 1978, set a formula for calculating grazing fees based on beef prices and rancher costs. When the law was written, most analysts assumed per capita beef consumption would continue to grow as it had the previous several decades. In fact, it declined from 90 pounds to 50 pounds per year. The formula quickly drove down fees to the minimum of $1.35 per cow-month, even as inflation increased the costs to the government of managing the range. 

NARAL Slams…Nancy Pelosi?

By on 1.13.16 | 4:47PM

Thanks to an enterprising reporter, Nancy Pelosi received a nastygram this morning from one of her favorite organizations: NARAL. 

In an interview, captured by Roll Call, Nancy Pelosi, who supports abortion rights despite being what she describes as a "devout Catholic," claimed that the Center for Medical Progress videos, which captured Planned Parenthood executives describing a heinous organ-harvesting procedure using aborted fetuses, had been "doctored." Whe she was corrected by the reporter, who said that an independent review had found no evidence of doctoring,  she claimed that Republican efforts to defund the abortion provider were actually centered around denying family planning services and contraception. Then, asked whether she could explain her opposition to a bill that outlawed abortion after 20 weeks gestation, she first claimed late-term abortions were illegal, then clairified her statement by saying that she "[does not] believe in abortion on demand" — a shock, I'm sure, to most of her supporters.

The Biggest Difference & Similarity Between American & Canadian Lotteries

By on 1.13.16 | 4:40PM

In a few hours from now, the Powerball numbers will be drawn. The jackpot is presently at $1.5 billion (and growing). But not everyone is happy about it.

Michelle Malkin calls Powerball "a government-sponsored gambling racket." Malkin objects the cut state governments receive from Powerball and other lotteries. Yet I can't help but wonder if she too has bought a ticket. Or two.

I wonder if Malkin would prefer Canadian lotteries. They are tax free. Granted the jackpot isn't as large. Lotto 649 (it's called that because you can pick six numbers between 1 and 49) sold its largest winning ticket worth $64 million (about $45 million in U.S. Dollars) last October. Canada's federal and provincial governments get none of that money. Again, $64 million Cdn isn't a $1.5 billion U.S. but it belongs solely to the winner.

Al Jazeera America to Shut Down in April

By on 1.13.16 | 2:58PM

Al Jazeera America announced it would be ceasing operations as of April 30th of this year.

Aside from poor ratings and poor morale, the network had recently been sued by MLB players Ryan Howard and Ryan Zimmerman for a story last month which alleged they received shipments of HGH. Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was also named in the story and planned to make a decision about legal action after the end of the NFL season. (The Broncos are currently in the playoffs).

If AJA had been found in the wrong in the Howard/Zimmerman lawsuit it would have done untold damage to their finances and reputation and would have been even worse if Manning had joined the fray. I wonder how much of a factor this lawsuit and Manning's potential action contributed in AJA's decision to call it a day.

Good-bye and good riddance.

NY Times Proclaims Iran’s Release of U.S. Navy Sailors Represents “Warmer Relations”

By on 1.13.16 | 2:42PM

The New York Times is proclaiming that Iran's quick release of 10 Navy sailors represents "warmer relations" between the United States and Iran.

Well, if seizing two U.S. Navy boats, imprisoning the sailors and showing them on Iranian state TV in violation of the Geneva Convention represents warmer relations between the U.S. and Iran then I would say things are getting downright cozy.

I suppose the Iranian rocket which landed within a mile of U.S.S. Harry Truman was just a social call.

Twits Mock the Wrong Guy

By on 1.13.16 | 1:55PM

The Daily Mail reports that the twits of Twitterworld mocked Marco Rubio for appearing bored during Barack Obama’s State of My Ego speech last night.

Good grief. These twits must not have tuned in the speech themselves. The folks who should have been mocked were those who didn’t find the speech a bore. Those who through sheer determination managed to stay awake for the duration deserve a medal, not mockery.