The Spectacle Blog

Another Daily Goes Belly-Up

By on 5.3.16 | 8:00PM

The Tampa Tribune, a daily that has published in the Big Guava since 1895, is no more. It was announced Tuesday afternoon that the Tampa Bay Times, the publication formerly known as the St. Petersburg Times, bought the Tribune for an undisclosed amount. Tribune subscribers will begin receiving the Times Wednesday morning. There will be job cuts at the Tribune to reduce redundancy.

The Tribune has been wasting away for years, losing circulation, advertising linage, and suffering the shrinking news hole that comes with these doleful developments. This news about news in the Tampa area shouldn’t surprise anyone.

The Times, already the largest newspaper in Florida before the purchase, hasn’t enjoyed boffo finances itself in recent years, but has been doing much better than the Tribune.

I’m Surprised Trump Didn’t Claim Cruz’s Dad Was Friends With John Wilkes Booth

By on 5.3.16 | 6:31PM

It doesn't surprise me that Donald Trump would claim that Ted Cruz's father was seen with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before JFK's assassination.

Honestly, I'm only surprised that Trump didn't claim that Rafael Cruz wasn't part of John Wilkes Booth's conspiracy to assassinate President Lincoln. 

Why does Trump do such things? For the same reason that he says he could commit mass murder in Times Square and not affect his poll numbers. Because he can.

These are the excretions of someone who lives in the gutter. But because Trump lives in any palace of choosing and because he's been on TV for so long, a critical mass of this country accepts what he says at face value no matter how stupid it is.

Schilling Now a Non-Person

By on 5.2.16 | 6:43PM

ESPN was not done with Curt Schilling after firing him for having the temerity, against left-wing fashion, to suggest publicly that men should use the men’s room. Taking a page from the old Soviet Union, that very political network is working to make Schilling a non-person.

Before Sundays’ Red Sox/Yankees game, ESPN re-broadcast “Four Days in October,” the documentary on the 2004 American League Championship Series, perhaps the most dramatic and unlikely comeback in sports history. The Red Sox were down three games to none to the Yankees and just an inning away from elimination. Then the magic stuff began: the most consequential stolen base in baseball, more long-ball heroics by Big Papi, and a heroic pitching performance by Schilling.

When I first saw the dramatic series some years back, it properly included Schilling’s victory in game six of that series, when he pitched with an injured and tacked together ankle, the famous bloody sock game.

Second Amendment Rights for Me But Not for Thee

By and on 5.2.16 | 2:25PM

The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees that no state shall “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Among lawyers, the buzzword we looking for in an equal protection case is “strict scrutiny,” because chances are that once the court has said that standard applies, the government will lose. Nevertheless, there are plenty of cases — including last term’s Obergefell decision on gay marriage — in which a government action has transgressed even less rigorous levels of scrutiny.

Congress Needs to Halt DOL Regulatory Onslaught

By on 5.2.16 | 2:10PM

Last week, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) called out recent Department of Labor policies as having a “chilling effect” on the economy. Ryan’s statements were in response to an anemic rise in the country’s gross domestic product of only 0.5 percent in the advanced first quarter estimates.

Of note, Speaker Ryan mentioned two DOL policies, the overtime rule and joint employer guidance, which pose a threat to economic growth.

The DOL’s proposed overtime rule dramatically expands overtime pay eligibility to millions of salaried employees (5 million by DOL estimates and 12.5-13.5 by Employment Policy Institute analysis) by raising the salary threshold exemption from $23,000 to around $50,000 (recently Politico reported the DOL is considering a $47,000 threshold down from the proposed $54,000).

Claiming Hitler Was a Zionist is to Deny Anti-Semitism

By on 5.1.16 | 1:33PM

Ken Livingstone, the former Labour MP and Mayor of London, who was suspended by the Labour Party for claiming that Hitler was a Zionist is standing by his claim by invoking Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

In an interview following the suspension, Livingstone said, "I never regret saying something that is true. How can I have hurt and offended the Jewish community when the prime minister of Israel said exactly the same thing?"

Livingstone was referring to comments Bibi made last October at the 37th Zionist Congress in Jerusalem that suggested that Hitler only wanted to expel the Jews until the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini gave the Hitler the idea of extreminating them. At the time, I parted company with Bibi making the case that Hitler didn't need any encouragement when it came to killing Jews although the Grand Mufti was more than happy to give it.

MLB Notes for April: Cubs & White Sox Top the NL/AL

By on 5.1.16 | 2:48AM

The Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox last met in the World Series in 1906. At the end of April, baseball fans in Chicago have reason for optimism this October as both teams own the best record in their respective leagues.

While few are surprised with the Cubs 17-5 record, the Chisox 17-8 start is MLB's biggest surprise considering the drama that ensued following Adam LaRoche's abrupt retirement concerning the presence of his son in the clubhouse. Instead of demoralizing the team, the incident has evidently given them a purpose.

Adam Conley Gets The Ross Stripling Treatment; Denied Chance to Complete No-Hitter

By on 4.30.16 | 12:21AM

If there's any team that needed a shot in the arm tonight it was the Miami Marlins. As Larry noted their All-Star second baseman Dee Gordon has been suspended 80 games for testing positive for PEDs. 

For 7 1/3 innings, it looked like they would get that shot in the arm. Marlins lefty pitcher Adam Conley did not allow a hit to the Milwaukee Brewers. But after 116 pitches, Marlins manager Don Mattingly removed Conley from the game and put Jose Urena into the game. Urena kept the no-no going until the ninth when Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy hit a bloop single. The Brew Crew would score three runs, but the Marlins would win the game 6-3. 

Three weeks ago, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling threw 7 1/3 innings of no-hit ball (in his MLB debut no less) when he was taken out of the game by Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. Dodger reliever Chris Hatcher promptly gave up a game tying HR to San Francisco Giants back up catcher Trevor Brown. The Dodgers would lose in extra innings.

Tinker Bell’s Part-Time Job

By on 4.29.16 | 11:40AM

Miami Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon, last year’s National League batting champion, has been suspended for 80 games for violating MLB’s policy on performance enhancing drugs. Quite a Major League kick in the shins and deflator after the Marlins just swept the Dodgers four games in L.A.    

The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced the suspension while reporting that Gordon tested positive for “exogenous testosterone and Clostebol,” two pharmaceutical no-nos. Gordon will be eligible to return to the team July 29 when the Marlins play the St. Louis Cardinals in Miami. Gordon, his agent, and the Miami Marlins said the things you would expect them to say about this. These remarks after players are caught juicing have become so predictable that Crash Davis might include them in future lessons on baseball clichés.

Advice from Pascal

By on 4.29.16 | 10:17AM

Pascal advises the NeverTrump crowd. You say you will not vote for either Trump or Clinton?

“Yes; but you must wager. It is not optional. You are embarked. Which will you choose then? Let us see. Since you must choose, let us see which interests you least.”