The Spectacle Blog

ABC’s Ode to Gorby

By on 7.12.06 | 5:18PM

Really, there is some historical revisionism that is just beyond the pale, but, coming from the mainstream media, just as predictable. So it is any time one of the big networks digs the sainted Gorbachev out from under whatever dacha he is enjoying while "advising" the "moral person" of Vladimir Putin. See this ABC piece today from Claire Shipman. Let us count the ways that it distorts history. First, the lede sentence alone is absurd: Mikhail Gorbachev is generally regarded as the man who broke down the "iron curtain" that separated the communist world from the West and thawed the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. Yeah, RIGHT. Gorby just stepped up to that curtain and tore it from its moorings. Deliberately. On his own. There never was a guy named Ronald Reagan, much less a Pope John Paul II, a Thatcher, a Walesa, a Havel....

Then there is this:

War Warning

By on 7.12.06 | 1:59PM

The surest sign that things are going well in Iraq is the growing violence in Palestine and across the Lebanese border into Israel. The latest attack -- this time by Iran-financed Hizballah terrorists -- added two Israeli soldiers to the number of hostages now held. This is the result not of Israel's Gaza incursion but the fact that the Israelis -- like us -- aren't taking the battle to the source of the enemy.

In Israel's case, the center of gravity lies in Syria and in Egypt. For us, it's in Syria and Iran. The longer we and the Israelis wait, the greater the cost to both nations in blood and treasure.

It's 1973 all over again. If Israel sends a force into Lebanon it will probably face Syrian troops. We're awaiting reports of Syrian tank dispositions, and the movement of Egyptian and Saudi air forces. Watch. Watch closely. This is about to be a very big war.

Re: Bilingual Ballots: No, Non, Nyet!

By on 7.12.06 | 12:53PM

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) is pushing an amendment that would strip that provision from the bill. He too cites the argument that a language unifies a country, and Mr. Hogberg's right/privilege distinction is well-taken. There are other considerations too. Competency in English is a requirement of citizenship, which is a requisite for voting. Thus, as George Will pointed out, bilingual ballots not only render this provision pointless but are in direct conflict with existing law. Finally, there is the insulting practice of "surname analysis" (see Jan Tyler's testimony) which allows a district to predict how many bilingual ballots and translators it may need by measuring, for example, how many Martinez's live in a particular voting district.

That’s One Way to Raise Money…

By on 7.12.06 | 12:17PM

Congressional Democrats are using the images of flag-draped coffins to raise money.

The rest of the ad is also quite awful: you would think the apocalypse is upon us, with the flashes of high gas prices, hurricanes on the radar, and car bombings (presumably in Iraq). Overall, times are pretty good. The Democrats' success depends on the times staying bad.

We’re Back to That

By on 7.12.06 | 11:43AM

In today's Washington Post, the major op-ed reaction to yesterday's terrorist bombings in Bombay is offered by Xenia Dormandy of Harvard's Kennedy School who until last August was director for South Asia on the National Security Council -- presumably the Bush Administration's NSC. What's odd about the piece is already evident in the subtitle, "Pakistan Needs to Respond to Militants." The term "militants" or "militant groups" appears four additional times in Dormandy's column. What's missing? Any use at all of the word "terror" or its cognates. Thus the Bombay bombings had nothing to do with terrorism, terrorists, or the global war on terror. For future reference, don't confuse 7/11 with 3/11, 7/7, or 9/11.

Don’t Put Your Stock in Bonds

By on 7.11.06 | 6:05PM

"Sources" within major league baseball believe that Barry Bonds will be indicted for perjury and tax evasion by a San Francisco grand jury when it disbands in the next few weeks, according to a report in the New York Daily News. I hope they're correct. Where they're not correct is when they write:

"A Bonds indictment, coming just two months after he passed Babe Ruth on the all-time home run list, would be a public relations calamity for the game."

On the contrary. A Bonds indictment is like a disinfectant, albeit tardy and incomplete, for the game. And on the more cynical side, it may spare Bud Selig and his minions from their true public relations calamity: having to congratulate this loathsome figure on breaking the game's all-time homerun record, when most everyone watching would know the achievement was a fraud.