The Spectacle Blog

Ryan Howard & Ryan Zimmerman Sue Al Jazeera America for Defamation

By on 1.5.16 | 10:29PM

Last month, I expressed hope that Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning would sue Al Jazeera America for running a report accusing him of procuring HGH.

For his part, Manning has said he will not make a decision about filing suit until after the NFL season. Although Manning is riding the bench, the Broncos in the playoffs. However, two MLB players named in the report -- Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies and Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals  - have filed suit against Al Jazeera America.

With the burden of proof on the plaintiffs, Howard and Zimmerman have a big challenge before them. But it is a matter of principle. Al Jazeera America nor any media entity can deliberately and wantonly make false claims. If Howard's and Zimmerman's suits can help curb media excesses then they will have performed a valuable public service. 

But there is no doubt that Howard's and Zimmerman's lawsuits will be bolstered if Manning joins the fray. 

White House Claims Twitter Account Was a “Top Accomplishment” in 2015

By on 1.5.16 | 4:59PM

When you don't have many domestic policy accomplishments to note, and your foreign policy largely involves ignoring anything important, a year-end review of your "best moments" will be slim, indeed.

Which, of course, explains why this year, in the White House's 2015 retrospective, they listed "joining Twitter" as one of President Obama's top events. Now, as the President's social media reach has expanded, and at least a chunk of his free time dedicated to spouting his every thought in 140 characters or less, the White House knows it has achieved at least something: simply avoiding the President's speeches and press conferences in traditional media will not completely erase him from your daily life.

“Americans also shared in some more personal moments with the President, like when he walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge 50 years after the first marches from Selma to Montgomery,” the blog post said. “Or when he sang ‘Amazing Grace’ in honor of those who lost their lives to gun violence in Charleston, South Carolina.”

Is the DNC Ready to Dump Debbie Wasserman Schultz?

By on 1.5.16 | 4:50PM

Before Christmas, Debbie Wasserman Schultz took it upon herself to lock Bernie Sanders's campaign out of the DNC voter files, including files they collected or updated, because they noticed a loophole that allowed them access to Hillary Clinton's cache. Since then, Schultz has come under scrutiny for her DNC leadership, as some progressives accuse her of being so far into Hillary Clinton's camp, she's unpacking a bear-proof picnic basket.

One group backing Sanders, RootsAction, has collected 23,000 signatures calling for Debbie's just four days.

Amid charges she’s blatantly tipping the 2016 presidential primary scales in favor of Hillary Clinton, Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz is coming under fresh fire from progressives who want her removed from her post immediately.

Robert Stigwood, R.I.P.

By on 1.5.16 | 4:46PM

Music, theater and film producer Robert Stigwood passed away yesterday at the age of 81. A cause of death has not been released at this time.

A native of Australia, Stigwood is best known for his long standing association with The Bee Gees. Stigwood was also instrumental in the formation of Cream, the supergroup consisting of Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker. Clapton had been with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers while Bruce and Baker were with the Graham Bond Organisation. Both bands had also been managed by Stigwood.

After cutting his teeth as a business manager in collaboration with the eccentric record producer Joe Meek and singer John Leyton, Stigwood would become the booking agent for The Who before making the big time with Cream and The Bee Gees. He even briefly managed The Beatles when Brian Epstein's company merged with the Robert Stigwood Organisation although The Beatles would leave Stigwood to form Apple after Epstein's sudden death.

Obama White House Minimizes Fact That Most Gun Deaths Are Suicides

By on 1.5.16 | 3:47PM

Emily has written a marvelous account of President Obama's remarks on his executive actions on gun control, tears and all. Now take a look at the beginning of the White House's "Fact Sheet" on the subject:

Gun violence has taken a heartbreaking toll on too many communities across the country. Over the past decade in America, more than 100,000 people have been killed as a result of gun violence—and millions more have been the victim of assaults, robberies, and other crimes involving a gun. Many of these crimes were committed by people who never should have been able to purchase a gun in the first place. Over the same period, hundreds of thousands of other people in our communities committed suicide with a gun and nearly half a million people suffered other gun injuries.

President Obama Cries, Announces Gun Regs, Solves National Violence Problem

By on 1.5.16 | 3:14PM

Wiping away tears at his press conference, President Obama today announced new ovearching gun regulations designed to "stop gun violence." In an extensive plan designed to curb future mass shootings, the President called for a number of reforms to existing gun laws that would, in no way, stop any of the mass shootings he mentioned in his emotional plea. 

Obama laid out executive action he is taking to require more gun sellers to get licenses and more gun buyers to undergo background checks.

Under the changes, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) will issue guidelines intended to narrow exceptions to a system that requires sellers to check with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to determine whether buyers have criminal records, are charged with crimes or have mental health conditions that would bar them from owning a gun.

Any changes to gun rules in America are fraught with political risk. The U.S. Constitution's 2nd Amendment gives Americans the right to have arms, a right that is fiercely defended.

Could Paul DePodesta Revolutionize The NFL?

By on 1.5.16 | 2:52PM

Paul DePodesta, who has spent the past five years as Sandy Alderson's right-hand man with the NL champion New York Mets, has joined the Cleveland Browns as the team's Chief Strategy Officer.

On the surface, it appears to be a very dramatic move given that DePodesta has been in MLB in some capacity for nearly 20 years. But DePodesta played football at Harvard and after graduation worked as an intern with the Baltimore Stallions the year they became the only American based CFL team to win a Grey Cup.

After cutting his teeth in MLB with the Cleveland Indians, DePodesta increased his profile with the Oakland A's as he carried out Billy Beane's vision of incorporating sabermetrics into scouting and player personnel decisions. DePodesta was a prominent figure in Michael Lewis' Moneyball (although he declined to be portrayed in the movie, Jonah Hill was cast as Peter Brand but his character was loosely based on DePodesta).

Scores of Women Attacked in Germany on New Year’s Eve “By Men of Arab & North African Appearance”

By on 1.5.16 | 12:56PM

Would liberals like to see what a war on women really looks like?

Consider what the BBC had to say about what went on in several German cities on New Year's Eve:

The mayor of Cologne has summoned police for crisis talks after about 80 women reported sexual assaults and muggings by men on New Year's Eve.

The scale of the attacks on women at the city's central railway station has shocked Germany. About 1,000 drunk and aggressive young men were involved.

City police chief Wolfgang Albers called it "a completely new dimension of crime". The men were of Arab or North African appearance, he said.

Women were also targeted in Hamburg.

But the Cologne assaults - near the city's iconic cathedral - were the most serious, German media report. At least one woman was raped, and many were groped.

Most of the crimes reported to police were robberies. A volunteer policewoman was among those sexually molested.

Bill Clinton Won’t Get The Bill Cosby Treatment

By on 1.5.16 | 11:55AM

Jeff Lord is convinced that Bill Clinton is going to get the Bill Cosby treatment:

Recall that Lefty chestnut “the war on women”? Said to be waged by the GOP against America’s female majority? Donald Trump may have effectively shut down — or at a minimum tamped down — this particular political missile that was used effectively against Mitt Romney and other Republicans in 2012. By being unafraid to say “be careful!” to Hillary (and Bill) Clinton he has effectively notified the Clinton campaign that if they try to portray Trump as sexist or anti-woman — there will be a response. In chapter and verse, reminding that there are actual women out there who have an entirely different view of both Clintons that they are all too willing to discuss. Discuss in public in the same manner Bill Cosby’s old accusers are doing. With, thanks to the prosecution of Cosby the one-time American idol, all the the massive publicity that has given immense sympathy to women with old stories suddenly seen and looked at afresh.

This is a whole lot of wishful thinking on Jeff's part.

Thomas Sowell Can Blame Steve Jobs For The Lack of On/Off Buttons

By on 1.5.16 | 10:52AM

Thomas Sowell is annoyed with technological devices for their lack of an on/off button:

My cell phone is a classic example. It does not have a single word blemishing its gleaming surface, except for the name of the manufacturer and the name of the phone company. There is ample room for words like “on” or “off” but nothing so pedestrian is allowed to upset the design.

For people who spend hours every day talking on their cell phone, no doubt it is easy enough to remember how to turn it on and off. But, those of us who have a life to live, and work to do, cannot spend our time yakking it up with all and sundry. We may keep a cell phone on hand just for emergencies — and months can go by without using it, or a year or more in my case.