The Spectacle Blog

Sandy Hook Families File Lawsuit Against Gun Manufacturer

By on 12.15.14 | 3:58PM

An attorney representing nine of the families who lost loved ones at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut two years ago have filed a lawsuit against Bushmaster, a Maine based gun manufacturer for negligence.

I don't see this lawsuit going anywhere. It's true that gun manufacturers have been sued in the past. Indeed, back in 2004, Bushmaster agreed to pay the eight families who lost loved ones to the D.C. Sniper $550,000 after being sued by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. However, the passage of The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act in 2005 gave gun manufacturers increased protection against such liability. As the NRA (who strongly supported the legislation) argued, "Suing the firearms industry for street crime is like suing General Motors for criminal acts involving Buicks." The argument is every bit as applicable to school shootings.

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Big Cromnibus Winners: NSA, Hungry Kids, Farting Cows

By on 12.15.14 | 3:38PM

If there was any good news to come out of this weekend's CRomnibus festivities, it was that you can now make any Democrat immediately cringe by implying that Eizabeth Warren is their side's equivalent of everyone's favorite showboating Republican Presidential contender, Ted Cruz. But that's about it. The rest of the CRomnibus is just an endless string of soul-crushing spending provisions, Wall Street handouts, and complete budget funding for a bunch of agencies you don't even know exist until you accidentally run afoul of them.

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Jeb Bush Loses Weight, Writes Book, Releases Emails

By on 12.15.14 | 3:10PM

So far, the Republican field, which is expected to be an embarrassment of riches come the 2016 primary season looks far more like a straight-up embarrassment. From the Dr. Carson miniseries to the threat of a second wave of Rick Santorum branded sweater vests to the threat of Mike Huckabee in general, we're not looking at banner slate of early-adopters.

But while these two might not fit the bill from a more libertarian perspective, conservatives might get their very own early candidate to despise. Word on the strees is that Jeb Bush is all set to announce his candidacy for 2016. He's lost some weight, he's written an e-book, and for Christmas, he's gifting you 250,000 emails from his time as Florida governor.

You're welcome, America.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said on Sunday he will release 250,000 emails from his two terms in office and write an eBook outlining his governing philosophy. The moves have set the political sphere atwitter with speculation he's closer than ever to deciding to run for president in 2016.

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Joe Biden Told a Campaign Story that Might Have Been the Plot to The Godfather

By on 12.15.14 | 2:07PM

Joe Biden was honored last Wednesday by the womens' rights group "Vital Voices," which exists to help combat domestic violence against women. While accepting his award for doing his part in the vast #WaronWomen, Joe, who will need to court the female vote in order to defeat his two potential primary foes, Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren (both nominally female), told a story about how, when he was a kid, he beat the ever-living tar out of a boy who pushed his sister off of a bicycle

Biden regaled the audience with a brutal anecdote about his youth — when he was Joey Biden — that he insisted was totally true.

“I remember coming back from Mass on Sunday,” Biden explained, according to the Beast. “Always the big treat was, we’d stop at the donut shop.”

His father was waiting in the car, as was the custom, he said. On this occasion, Biden’s sister, Valerie, “tugged on” the future vice president’s arm and said, “‘That’s the boy who kicked me off my bicycle.’”

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Cries of Islamophobia Follow Sydney Terror Attack

By on 12.15.14 | 12:26PM

At this hour, it is unclear how many people died during the Sydney terror attack.

But cries of Islamophobia are alive and well. Take this item:

ANTI-ISLAMIC sentiment has flooded social media in the wake of the Sydney siege, but there is a campaign gathering steam that will restore your faith in humanity.

A Twitter movement, #illridewithyou, has sprouted with everyday Australians offering to ride on buses and trains with Muslims, or give them a lift to work tomorrow, in order to keep them safe.

While the report goes on to show tweets in support of the #illridewithyou campaign, the report does not show any of the so-called "anti-Islamic sentiment" that "has flooded social media" as a result of the Sydney terror attack, much less reported any violence against Australian Muslims.

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Sydney Terrorist is “Self-Styled” Iranian Sheik Out on Bail

By on 12.15.14 | 12:04PM

There was some consternation on Twitter yesterday about the validity of the Sydney "lone wolf" terrorist's allegiances. Twitter could not figure out whether he was holding hostages in a chocolate shop because he was "legitimately" part of ISIS, or whether he just happend to get bad service and was merely fed up with the holiday season and taking it out on corporate chocolate hegemony. After all, social media couldn't tell if he had a real ISIS flag of just the slightly-less-threatening "Shahada flag," an "expression of Islamic faith." Considering he was taking hostages, that argument was basically splitting hairs, but it takes a lot for the media to speak with authority on religions these days. Or something. 

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ISIS Beheads Four Iraqi Children for Refusing to Convert to Islam

By on 12.15.14 | 10:49AM

Four Iraqi children under the age of 15 were recently beheaded by ISIS for refusing to Islam.

The children were affiliated with Iraq's lone Anglican church. Canon Andrew White, known as "The Vicar of Baghdad" until he was forced to flee to Israel in October, recounted the story in an interview with the Orthodox Christian Network:

Islamic State turned up and said to the children, “you say the words that you will follow Mohammad”’, he said, his voice cracking with emotion.

‘The children, all under 15, four of them, said “no, we love Yesua; we have always loved Yesua; we have always followed Yesua; Yesua has always been with us”.

‘They [ISIS] said, “Say the words.” They [the children] said, “No, we can't”.

‘They chopped all their heads off. How do you respond to that? You just cry.

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Hostages Held in Sydney Cafe; Captives Forced to Hold Islamic Flag - UPDATED

By on 12.14.14 | 11:21PM

At this hour, a gunman has taken at least 13 people hostage in a Sydney cafe. The gunman has forced several of the captives to hold a black Islamic flag, possibly an ISIS flag.

Hopefully authorities can bring the hostages to safety and detain the gunman. That might be difficult if the gunman is on a suicide mision and plans to take as many people with him as he can. 

UPDATE: The standoff continues, but five of the hostages managed to escape. The gunman claims he has bombs distributed throughout the city and is demanding an ISIS flag and a phone call from Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

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All Dogs Go to Heaven

By on 12.12.14 | 10:51PM

I don’t know about you, but I was delighted by Pope Francis’ statement (not ex cathedra) that dogs go to Heaven. It just seemed so right. Especially since he didn’t mention cats. I kept thinking about Christ’s promise that whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven. (Sounds even better in the original Latin.)

I think most people must have smiled at this. Many would have recalled how the first St. Francis loved animals, and how they are blessed at church. Is anything more faithful and loving than one’s dog?

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Michele Bachmann Wished Barack Obama a Merry Christmas And Told HIm to Bomb Iran

By on 12.12.14 | 3:48PM

When you get an invitation as rare as an invitation to a White House Christmas Party (even if you're a member of Congress, who gets one every year), you need to make your few seconds with the President count by making your deepest Christmas wishes known, just like you did when you were forced to sit on a mall Santa's lap for an awkward photo in your formative years. And Michele Bachmann, who will retire from Congress this year after a career of dedicated service to our country, decided to do exactly that this year, when she had the President's ear for a brief time after her family took a photo with him.

All Michele Bachmann wants for Christmas, it turns out, is to bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R., Minn.) knew the White House Christmas party this week would be her last chance as a member of Congress to speak directly to President Obama. She didn’t waste the opportunity.

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