The Spectacle Blog

NSA Was Totally Going to Stop Spying Until Edward Snowden Showed Up

By on 3.31.15 | 3:16PM

Edward Snowden doesn't seem to be enjoying his Russian home - word has it that he's looking to barter a plea deal with the United States in order to make a return - but in the wake of his massive intelligence leak that blew the lid off of the NSA's data collection program, it was at least assumed that his actions were responsible for halting, or at least reeling in, the program itself.

Now, the NSA, which has been facing backlash over its program for more than a year, especially from privacy advocates that argue that even if the collection program stopped terrorism, that Americans should have been informed of the privacy they were giving up, says that it's because of Edward Snowden that the program continued for so long. In fact, according to intelligence officials, the NSA was totally on the way to scrapping the program when Snowden leaked his information to journalists.

Because if there's anything you can count on a government entity to do, it's to discontinue an ineffective program. Or something.

Harry Reid: “I Lied About Romney, But He Didn’t Win, Did He?”

By on 3.31.15 | 1:06PM

I blacked out for a good portion of the 2012 election cycle, because at the time, I was helping out the Romney campaign and competing with the rest of the GOP to see how quickly I could spiral into a substance abuse problem, just to make it all seem okay. But I do remember, vaguely, Harry Reid's speech on the floor of Congress, where he claimed that Mitt Romney hadn't paid taxes for the last decade, because an anonymous source told him so and had the records to prove it.

Single Device User Hillary Clinton Actually Used Two Devices At State

By on 3.31.15 | 12:49PM

Remember when Hillary Clinton stood in front of a press gaggle at the United Nations and claimed that she used her personal email in order to simplify her communications routine, as her tiny little female brain was unable to account for two mobile devices at the same time, despite her quick adaptation to the iPad in addition to her phone? Sure, we all do. I missed lunch for it. The things I do for you people.

Well, it turns out that, once Clinton released her emails to the Associated Press, she was betrayed, somewhat ironically, by her real inability to use two devices. In at least one communication with her senior aide Huma Abedin, where Clinton mistakenly replied to a very important State Department email about drone debris in Pakistan, with a series of queries about benches and floral arrangements.

Kerry: Nuclear Deal With Iran Possible “If Allah Wills It!”

By on 3.31.15 | 12:42PM

Over the weekend, when al-Monitor reporter Laura Rozen asked Secretary of State John Kerry if a nuclear deal with Iran is possible, he replied in Arabic, "Inshallah." (H/T The Gateway Pundit).

Translated into English that means "Allah willing" or "If Allah wills it."

I have two comments.

First, I doubt we would ever hear John Kerry say "It's God's will" or invoke Jesus except when it comes to supporting Obamacare.

Second, even if Allah wills a nuclear deal between the U.S. and Iran, the same cannot be said of the will of the Senate. Of course, the Obama Administration will probably try to get around the Senate. The Obama Administration may answer to the will of Allah, but a Republican administration answers to the will of Americans.

The Reason Wilco Isn’t Boycotting Other RFRA States

By on 3.31.15 | 10:27AM

Emily takes Wilco to task for boycotting Indiana in protest of the passage of its RFRA statute, but not 9 other states which are on their tour that have RFRA on their books.

But there's a reasonable explanation. The RFRAs that were passed in the 9 other states in question only applied to religious assemblies and institutions, not to for profit entities. One of the states Emily cites is Louisiana which states its law is applicable "to a church, association of churches or other religious order, body or institution which qualifies for exemption from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) or (d) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986."  

It's true that the Hobby Lobby decision has effectively amended those statutes, but that decision is clearly beyond the control of the state legislature in Louisiana and the other 8 states with RFRA statutes. Thus Wilco has no reason to cancel their tour dates in those states.

Wilco Cancels IN Show But Not Shows In 9 Other RFRA States

By on 3.30.15 | 7:39PM

Wilco, which is a band that you'll know if, like me, you were a depressed kid in college in the early 2000s, who thought that listening to whiny musicians would make you seem "cooler" to the other depressed kids in college in the early 2000s, has cancelled it's Indianapolis tour date in protest over the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act. 

Biden Remembers Ted Kennedy — And the Senate Locker Room

By on 3.30.15 | 5:08PM

The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate opens today in Boston, and the ribbon cutting, which featured a line of VIPs and high-profile speakers, has lent itself to a wealth of unintentionally hilarious Ted Kennedy tributes. 

First, President Obama, who opened the Center, took a moment to consider a world where we were all more like Ted Kennedy: a world where, I suppose, we all conducted ourselves with blatant disregard for the human beings around us, as we failed repeatedly to bridge any sort of partisan divide, pursuing our own dogged commitment to amassing influence and tolerating large quantities of alcohol. 

And then, Vice President Joe Biden, who, like many people, recalled that the erstwhile Senator was Virgil-like guide into the deeper, darker areas of Senate life.

Like, the naked ones.

Tripping With the Obamas

By on 3.30.15 | 2:37PM

The first couple are falling all over themselves lately. First Michelle, dressed in what the Daily Mail described as “silver stilettos,” took a stumble when she reached for the hand of Emperor Akihito during her Japan trip earlier this month. She ought perhaps to have stayed down, for when she righted herself she towered over the unfortunate man and his Empress. From the photos, she needed to squat in order to shake the Emperor’s hand, and to incline her head in order to converse.

Clinton Musical to Premiere Off Broadway

By on 3.30.15 | 1:57PM

Are you ready for Clinton: The Musical, America? 

Well, tough. It's happening whether you like it or not. This spring, two Australian playwrights are bringing the former First Family to the American theater scene, allowing you to pay actual money to relive the 1990s in all of its terrible, Clinton-y glory. 

The cast of characters includes Dick Morris, Newt Gingrich, Monica Lewinsky and former Clinton special prosecutor Kenneth Starr, who sings "A Starr Is Born" and "Sexual Relations." There's a dancing press corps and music that takes you back to Celine Dion, Hanson and the Spice Girls.

"It really does its job of taking down America and uplifting it at the same time, in a weird sort of way," said Dan Knechtges, the Tony Award-nominated director and choreographer. "Nothing is sacred."

Two men will play the 42nd president — one a wholesome, intelligent Clinton, and another a randy, rogue one (Tom Galantich and Duke Lafoon share the task.) Only Hillary can see both.

NSA Headquarters Stormed by Men in Drag

By on 3.30.15 | 1:38PM

The Daily Mail is reporting that two men dressed as women tried this morning to ram the through NSA headquarters at Fort Meade, opening fire on a security guard who tried to stop them.

It’s not yet known if this was a terrorist incident, but if it was, is dressing in drag now à la mode for this crowd?