The Spectacle Blog

Crusher, RIP

By on 11.2.05 | 9:53AM

Well, to take a brief moment out from the Senate hijacking story, I’d like to note the passing of  Reggie “the Crusher” Lisowski, who died at 79 on October 22. His passing transports me back to my Illinois/>/> boyhood, when he and his tag team partner, Dick the Bruiser, plied their trade on Channel 44, usually following White Sox games announced by a boozy Harry Caray. That was before the days when Harry became avuncular as the Cubs’ announcer. Back then, Harry had an edge to him, just like the White Sox. Just like the 1970s.

Anyway, the Crusher was famous for his “bolo” punch, which I imagine he stole from Kid Gavilan, but never mind. As the Washington Post obit relates:

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Brutalized

By on 11.2.05 | 9:09AM

The thing to remember about yesterday's Senate Democrat coup is that the Republicans were routed. Senator Frist can fume and fulminate all he wants, but the gang of Reid, Durbin, and Schumer got what they wanted. It was Republicans who caved. "Republicans Bristle but Agree to Speed Probe Of Prewar Intelligence," the Washington Post subhead reads. Last night on the excellent John Batchelor radio program, Lawrence Kudlow lit into Frist. So much for conservative solidarity. To add insult to injury, the Post's Senate sketch writer Dana Milbank captures Frist saying, "I've got to go figure out what we need to do." The embarrassment and humiliation may all be short term. Just how short we'll find out today at 12:06 p.m., when Rush comes on.

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Anglicans Against ANWR

By on 11.2.05 | 8:48AM

In another sign that the Episcopal Church is just another branch of mainstream Protestantism (yes, some still think it can be saved for orthodoxy), the American church of the via media has co-sponsored a full page color ad in the Washington Post today (A9) bleating about drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. They join the Sierra Club, Friends of Animals, the National Resources Defense Council, and others. It's not that the Episcopalians don't take stands. It's that they only take stands for liberalism.

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Reading Between the Lines

By on 11.2.05 | 6:56AM

Major newspaper coverage of yesterday's Democratic fit in the Senate barely allows their readers a full picture.

The New York Times headline, "Partisan Quarrel Forces Senators to Bar the Doors," captures Democratic decorum, but the story provides little context.

The Post treats the stunt with undeserved dignity but squeezes in the bigger picture just after the jump:

Friday's indictment of top White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby on perjury and obstruction charges gave Democrats a new opening to demand that more light be shed on these issues, including administration efforts to discredit a key critic of the prewar claims of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

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Phase In

By on 11.2.05 | 12:33AM

One revealing facet of the Democrats' Senate shutdown Tuesday afternoon was the emergence of "Phase 2" (sometimes spelled "Phase II" or "Phase Two") as a key talking point, with Democrats complaining that Senate Republicans with Intelligence Committee chairman Pat Roberts in the lead had failed to deliver on their promise upon completion of phase one in July 2004 to conduct and complete a follow-up inquiry after the fall elections into intelligence before the Iraq war. But who knew that was such a sore spot?

Surely if Democrats were unhappy with the pace of Phase II, there would have been stories about it in the press. But a Nexis search of the Washington Post and New York Times turns up next to nothing on that score. Last August 2, for instance, Intelligence Committee member Dianne Feinstein released her letter of July 31 to Chairman Roberts complaining about the committee's failure to complete Phase II, but her unhappiness failed to generate any coverage or Democratic momentum.

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Non-Vintage Stuff From Reid’s Whinery

By on 11.1.05 | 5:40PM

In the end, it is impossible to understate the importance of what went on in the Senate today. The fanfare, the rumors, and all the nonsensical puffery came down to this: the Dems are clinically depressed that Patrick Fitzgerald didn't deliver for them an indictment -- not only of Karl Rove -- but of the Iraq war itself.

If you watched Jay Rockefeller -- he being one of the three under criminal investigation for leaking details of a top-secret satellite program -- huffing and puffing about what the Senate Intelligence Committee wasn't doing but should, you heard every whine the liberals have about the war. Not only should they be investigating former DoD Undersecretary for Policy Doug Feith, but they should also be investigating: detainee abuse, interrogation methods, rendition of terrorist prisoners to other nations and -- yes -- the whole issue of whether intelligence was manipulated by the Bush administration to lie America into war.

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What You Think You Know is Wrong

By on 11.1.05 | 5:16PM

The Heritage Foundation hosted a book forum today for Richard Miniter, author of Disinformation: 22 Media Myths that Undermine the War on Terror. You can watch it (or listen to it) here. At about 26 minutes in, you'll hear me ask a question that prompts Miniter to quip, "You guys at the Spectator really like to stir up trouble, don't you?"

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Blah, blah, blah

By on 11.1.05 | 3:46PM

Seems like there's a great deal less than met the eye in the Dems' closing the Senate to discuss classified information. According to Schumer, who just couldn't stay away from a TV camera any longer, and just spoke to the cameras, they're demanding a Senate investigation into their allegations that the intel data used to justify the war was manipulated. They say that Pat Roberts (R-Kans), chairman of the intel committee, promised an investigation last year and hasn't come through. So now the Dems are blocking any other action in the Senate to get their investigation.

Think about the Robb-Silberman report. Former Virginia Dem Senator Chuck Robb and Judge Lawrence Silberman -- neither shy guys nor Bush flaks -- did that same investigation over a year ago, and came to the conclusion that there was NO manipulation of the intel to justify the war. If that's all there is to this stunt, there's nothing to it at all. Schumer was optimistic that Republican leaders would cave and start another investigation.

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Motivations

By on 11.1.05 | 3:44PM

Chuck Schumer is now off the floor telling reporters that Democrats have "for the longest" time been attempting to get the Senate Intelligence to keep its promise to investigate the use of intelligence in going to war and liberating Iraq. He claims that ranking Democratic Jay Rockefeller had been attempting to get the committee as late as last Friday to take up the issue.

But according to Senate Intelligence Committee staffers, Rockefeller and committee chairman Sen. Pat Roberts have been collegial about the issue.

A Senate Minority Leadership staffer says this plan to shut down the Senate was hatched last night, as staff and Democratic Senators looked over the wreckage of what they believed was going to be their finest few days in a long time: an indictment of a White House official, a struggling President, a conservative judicial nominee, a splintering conservative base.

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News From the Hill

By on 11.1.05 | 3:06PM

FORTHCOMING NEWS RELEASE:
SENATE REPUBLICANS HOLD A MEDIA AVAILABILITY ON IRAQ WAR INTELLIGENCE
NOVEMBER 1, 2005
SPEAKERS: U.S. SENATOR BILL FRIST (R-TN),
SENATE MAJORITY LEADER
U.S. SENATOR TRENT LOTT (R-MS)
U.S. SENATOR JON KYL (R-AZ)
U.S. SENATOR RICK SANTORUM (R-PA)

FRIST: About 10 minutes ago or so, the United States Senate has been hijacked by the Democratic leadership. I say that because with absolutely no warning at the leadership level, no warning whatsoever, some time after 2 o'clock today, the Democratic leader appropriately took the floor -- took control of the floor of the United States Senate and put us in, according with the Senate rules, a private session, which is not a public session -- and we'll describe that in a little more detail -- which at least in recent history is unprecedented.
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