The Spectacle Blog

A C-Minus Government Calls for a Convention of the States

By on 10.22.14 | 4:51PM

Americans aren’t too impressed with the performance of their government.

A fresh poll by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal reveals how voters grade elected officials: a C-minus, or a 2.1 GPA. Individual politicians and parties scored even lower.

Approval for Congress’s job performance reached an all-time low since NBC and the WSJ began polling in 1995. Barely 40 percent think President Obama is doing a good job, and the numbers only get worse from there. Only one in four Americans believe the country “is on the right track.”

One number might scare incumbents up for re-election next month:

Fifty-five percent of respondents say they would vote every member of Congress out of office if they could.

Most people prefer a new face to a political veteran. Recent Gallup polls concur that Americans are increasingly fed-up with Congress and ready for a shake-up.

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Democratic Lead Among Women Evaporates

By on 10.22.14 | 3:37PM

According to a new AP-GfK poll, the Democratic lead among women has almost completely evaporated. Turns out, a couple of years to think about their vote, and probably fewer commercials berating Republicans for their systemic oppression of American women by forcing them to purchase generic birth control pills at Wal-Mart will greatly alter the split between parties among female voters.

Women have moved in the GOP's direction since September. In last month's AP-GfK poll, 47 percent of female likely voters said they favored a Democratic-controlled Congress while 40 percent wanted the Republicans to capture control. In the new poll, the two parties are about even among women, 44 percent prefer the Republicans, 42 percent the Democrats.

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Canadian Soldier Shot at Nat’l War Memorial in Ottawa; Shots Reportedly Fired on Parliament Hill - UPDATED

By on 10.22.14 | 10:39AM

A Canadian soldier standing guard at the National War Memorial in Ottawa has been shot.

Shots have been also been fired down the street inside and outside of Parliament Hill. Witnesses describe the gunman as carrying a rifle and having long hair. As of this writing, he is still on the loose.

This incident comes only 48 hours after one Canadian soldier was killed and another was injured by a Muslim convert and ISIS sympathizer in Quebec who ran them over with his vehicle. The assailant, Martin Rouleau, was later shot and killed by police.

While it is possible these events might be unrelated, given the proximity of these incidents it is not unreasonable to believe this is the work of another ISIS sympathizer.

At this point, one can only hope the soldier survives his wounds, that no one else has been hurt and the gunman is apprehended.

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Alison Lundergan Grimes’ Family Runs a Joint Called “Hugh Jass Burgers.”

By on 10.21.14 | 5:07PM

If there really is a #waronwomen, Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes might just come from one of its founding families. Ms. Grimes is the heir to the Hugh Jass burger fortune, at least in theory, and a legacy that stems from her family's Kentucky burger joint, whose menu celebrates the finer things in life, like giant, juicy female booty. 

 Hugh Jass Burgers -- say it out loud to get the joke -- has menu items like "Charlotte's Rack, sure to be voted biggest rack" named after Grimes' mom and "Abby's Hugh Jass," a burger named after her sister. They also sell souvenirs like an apron with "Check Out My Buns" emblazoned across it.

The restaurant's approach has raised eyebrows, especially since Grimes' camp accused the GOP of sexism.

"I am the Kentucky woman who my Republican colleagues in this state so gentlemanly refer to as an empty dress," Grimes said.

When we tried to ask Grimes about her family's use of double entendre, she refused to answer, letting her security detail lead her away from reporters.

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Ruth Bader Ginsberg Has a Secret Supply of Tee Shirts With Her Face on Them

By on 10.21.14 | 4:57PM

When my friends and I still operated the "Hey Girl, It's Paul Ryan" Tumblr, we did so without so much as a "Thank You" from our economic and legislative muse. One of us got a picture with him or something at a campaign rally in Wisconsin, but the rest of us got form Christmas cards and rumors of annoyance. Eh, that's life. Next time, we'll do a Tumblr about Joe Biden. Maybe with Journey lyrics.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who inspired the Tumblr Blog, "Notorious RBG," has a significantly different approach to her social media fandom. Since the blog started selling tee shirts, one of their main consumers has been the Supreme Court Justice herself, who stocks up on Notorious RBG tees to hand out to friends

Ginsburg: I think a law clerk told me about this tumblr and also explained to me what Notorious RBG was a parody on. And now my grandchildren love it and I try to keep abreast of the latest that’s on the tumblr. I have—and in fact I think I gave you a Notorious RBG—

Totenberg: Two of my three. I bought one.

Ginsburg: I have quite a large supply.

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Wendy Davis Says Greg Abbott Hates Sex Toys

By on 10.21.14 | 12:59PM

Common sense - even in politics where it isn't so common - would dictate that once you get into a hole, you stop digging. But Wendy Davis has never been accused of having common sense in her political strategy, unless, of course, as I suspect, her candidacy is an elaborate prank pulled on the people of Texas, and she is actually a middle-aged actress from southern California hired by Funny or Die

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Michele Bachmann is Under Threat from ISIS

By on 10.21.14 | 12:29PM

Even though Michele Bachmann hasn't been on the frontlines of foreign policy criticism of late, she has made herself ISIS's Congressional target numero uno. Apparently, ISIS recently released a video that featured the Congresswoman's voice but blurred out her image, probably because an unveiled woman in a pantsuit being allowed to speak on important issues is just a teensy bit too much for their masculinity to handle.

Rep. Michele Bachmann has been provided with a “limited” protection detail after a picture of her appeared in a video by the Islamic State, a source confirmed to Fox News.

However, the source said, the temporary protection from the U.S. Capitol Police is not a full-blown, around-the-clock detail as is provided to top congressional leaders. According to the source, this sort of temporary detail is provided at times to members of Congress if there is a reasonable threat to their safety.

The protection detail was first reported by Politico.

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Canadian Soldier Killed, Another Injured by Muslim Convert in Hit & Run in Quebec

By on 10.21.14 | 11:06AM

Yesterday, two Canadian soldiers were deliberately hit by a vehicle in St. Jean-sur-Richelieu, about 30 miles south of Montreal. One of the soldiers died while the other is expected to survive. The name of the deceased soldier has not been released at the request of his family.

Police pursued the driver and eventually shot and killed him. The driver has been identified as Martin Rouleau, a 25-year old man who converted to Islam and went by the name Ahmad the Converted on his Facebook page.

The Conservative government of Stephen Harper almost immediately concluded that the incident was a terrorist attack but Official Opposition and NDP leader Thomas Mulcair chided the government for bringing up the link to terror in the House of Commons. As usual, Harper is right and Mulcair is wrong.

Recently, the Canadian government sent a small contigent of forces into Iraq to assist the U.S. effort to combat ISIS.

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My 2014 World Series Prediction

By on 10.21.14 | 10:28AM

Yesterday, I had a piece up on the upstart Kansas City Royals.

This notwithstanding, I am picking the Giants in five. The World Series MVP will be Giants second baseman Joe Panik.

I do hope Bruce Bochy finds a way to get Tim Lincecum into a game. In four years, he's gone from Cy Young to Sigh.



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Gough Whitlam, R.I.P.

By on 10.20.14 | 11:08PM

Former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam passed away today at the age of 98.

Whitlam came to power in 1972 under the Labor banner wresting power from the Liberal-Country coalition which had ruled the country for nearly a quarter century. Labor would earn a second term in 1974, but in November 1975 the Whitlam government was controversially dismissed by Australian Governor General John Kerr and made Liberal leader Malcolm Fraser caretaker Prime Minister and ordered an election. This would lead to a constitutional crisis. But instead of being angered at Kerr's heavy handedness, Australians took out their anger out on Whitlam's unpopular economic policies and elected Fraser's Liberals to a large majority government. Fraser would defeat Whitlam again in the 1977 elections after which Whitlam stepped down as Labor Party leader. 

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