The Spectacle Blog

Smoking Nags on the March

By on 12.7.05 | 2:46PM

They won again today, this time in Chicago.

We received some interesting comments on my earlier post on the D.C. smoking ban. This issue seems to test conservatives who may personally enjoy smoke-free restaurants, but believe in limited government. Good conservative friends argue, "But my clothes don't smell like smoke at the end of the night." Surely, there's a better justification -- somewhere -- for the imposition of smoking bans. Yet that's what the pro-ban arguments boil down to: a pleasant eating experience. If conservatives believe that is government's business, limited government is dead. D.C. Councilman Carol Schwartz offered a compromise resolution which would ban smoking except in businesses that install high powered fans to clean the air, etc. In other words, businesses could eliminate the health risk. The D.C. Council roundly rejected her proposal.

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“An Enormous Defeat”

By on 12.7.05 | 2:00PM

So says Andrew Cochran over at the Counterterrorism Blog regarding Sami Al-Arian's acquittal yesterday on 8 of the 17 charges brought against him. Cochran calls it "the most important terrorism-related trial in the U.S. since the 9/11 attacks." Worse, he concludes that "the verdicts are an enormous defeat for the Justice Department and, I predict, will have a chilling effect on all planned terrorism prosecutions, especially in Florida … Yes, the government can retry Al-Arian on the deadlocked counts, but realistically, that will be very tough."

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I Gave Clinton My Money…

By on 12.7.05 | 1:42PM

...and all I got was a lousy T-shirt. This quid pro quo is truly a bummer. You used to be able to give the Clintons money and receive in exchange a night in the Lincoln Bedroom or loosened export controls on key military technology.

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Bush’s Speech to the Council on Foreign Relations

By on 12.7.05 | 1:27PM

Catch his full remarks here. Some highlights:

On September the 11th, 2001, our nation awoke to another sudden attack. In the space of just 102 minutes, more Americans were killed than we lost at Pearl Harbor.

Like generations before us, we accepted new responsibilities and we confronted new dangers with firm resolve.

Like generations before us, we're taking the fight to those who attacked us and those who share their murderous vision for future attacks.

Like generations before us, we face setbacks on the path to victory, yet we will face this war without wavering. And like the generations before us, we will prevail.
...
Senator Lieberman is right. There's an important debate going on in our nation's capital about Iraq. And the fact that we can debate these issues openly in the midst of a dangerous war brings credit to our democracy.

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Churches Closing on Christmas

By on 12.7.05 | 12:48PM

Via Mirror of Justice, CNN reports that some seeker-friendly (read: watered-down) evangelical churches will close on Christmas -- particularly shocking news, since Christmas falls on a Sunday this year. These churches normally mark the feast day on Christmas Eve, and so will relieve members from the Sunday obligation because Christmas is a "family day." I don't even know where to start with this one...

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Congress Taking on the BCS

By on 12.7.05 | 12:33PM

The House Commerce Committee is looking at the Bowl Championship Series today. That's right. College football. Led by Congressman Joe Barton (R-Texas), the committee will attempt to nag bowl officials into a playoff format.

Their justification? That college football's a big business and sometimes the BCS choices end in "sniping and controversy." Typically, we call that winning and losing.

C-Span plans to air the spectacle sometime tonight after 8 p.m.

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Battle Over Narnia

By on 12.7.05 | 12:08PM

RedState is keeping an eye on the vitriol against The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, to be released Friday. They're dubbing this project the "Narnia Hate Watch." While I'm not sure it will reach such heights, Paul Cella writes, "Not since Passion of the Christ have we seen such hatred for a film yet to be released." Oh well. I've eagerly awaited the film for over a year and plan to see it this weekend.

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Campbell Wins, To Join RSC

By on 12.7.05 | 11:59AM

John Campbell joins the ranks of the House Republicans in Washington today after winning SEC Chairman Chris Cox's old seat in California last night. Reports from the House indicate that Rep. Campbell will join the Republican Study Committee (the good guys).

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Day of Infamy

By on 12.7.05 | 11:53AM

As most every American knows instinctively, today is Pearl Harbor day. All over the country local newspapers and even some major papers are carrying stories and reflections, on this, the 64th anniversary of Japan's attack on America. My own local papers, alas, the Washington Post and the New York Times, ran nothing on the event. Though you can link to an AP story posted yesterday on their websites that was posted yesterday.

Of course, the Washington Times comes through in a major way. And of the networks, NBC headlined the anniversary in its morning lineup, right before the interview with Howard Stern.

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McCain on Imus on Torture

By on 12.7.05 | 8:57AM

So let's get this straight -- McCain said that no good information comes from torture because they (the torturees) will "say what they thnk you want to hear to stop the pain." Imus asked about the exception for an impending nuke. McCain, seeking to be reasonable, agreed that in that "one in a million" situation, "go ahead and do it. It's justifiable." Why would torture work in that situation and not others?

First of all, I'd like someone to cite any examples of torture committed by U.S. military personnel that have gone unpunished. Second, absent any proof to the contrary, I'd like Senator McCain and others like him to stop saying, as he did on Imus this morning, that "this torture has to stop." By saying "it" has to stop, he is saying that "it" is going on and accusing our troops of breaking the law. Third, will Senator McCain take his "exception" to the rule to its logical conclusion?

It's okay to torture when it may help save the lives of a million innocent people. How about half a million? Or 250,000? Or 10,000? Or 100? Or 10? (Am I sounding like Father Abraham?)

How about saving a platoon of U.S. Army Infantrymen from an ambush?

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