The Spectacle Blog

Robin Williams, R.I.P.

By on 8.11.14 | 9:15PM

Actor and comic genius Robin Williams was found dead in his home this morning of an apparent suicide. He was 63. 

The world became much sadder and a lot less funny. 

Williams possessed a gift for improvisation. This was apparent from the moment he appeared on Happy Days in a guest spot. That guest spot would result in his own TV series Mork & Mindy co-starring Pam Dawber. 

It took awhile for Williams to achieve success on the silver screen, but he would have a string of hit movies including Moscow on the Hudson, Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poet's Society, Awakenings, The Fisher King, Mrs. Doubtfire and Patch Adams. Williams would win Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Good Will Hunting. 

Last year, Williams returned to the small screen in the CBS sitcom The Crazy Ones co-starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. However, it was cancelled after only one season.

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Could Cameras on Cops Have Prevented the St. Louis Incident?

By on 8.11.14 | 6:02PM

Tragedy struck the community of Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, on Saturday, when police shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown. Despite officials’ urgings to remain calm, protests almost immediately formed with local residents accusing the police of brutality and murder. The officer who pulled the trigger is on leave and pending investigation.

As news spread of the shooting, Ferguson residents began converging on the scene of the shooting. According to Reuters, one of the witnesses stated:  

"We wasn't causing harm to nobody, we had no weapons on us at all." Dorian Johnson says he was walking home with his friend Mike Brown when a police officer in a car told them to get out of the street. The two kept walking when Johnson says the officer got out of the car and fired a shot. The two took off running.

Johnson continued:

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Erdogan Remakes Turkey in His Own Image

By on 8.11.14 | 5:48AM

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk created a secular republic out of Ottoman Turkey as the Sultanate died in 1921. He was president of Turkey for fifteen years. Now, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has won the nation’s first direct presidential election. Erdogan has been prime minister of Turkey since 2003, and he has promised to fashion the role of president — after Atatürk one of little actual authority — into a position of power. To what degree the term “secular” will accurately describe this “new Turkey” Erdogan hopes to create has yet to be seen. But one suspects the father of the Turks would find much about it left to be desired. 

The BBC, describing Atatürk’s creation of the modern Turkish state, writes:

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Can Hillary Credibly Criticize Obama?

By on 8.11.14 | 12:22AM

On Sunday, The Atlantic came out with an interview of Hillary Clinton which was conducted by Jeffrey Goldberg. 

The highlights of the interview was Hillary's criticism of the Obama Administration's failure to back the Syrian rebels early on and its failure to prevent the rise of ISIS in Iraq and also gave a staunch defense of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.

While Hillary's critique of the Obama Administration is spot on it does lack a certain credibility. It's not as if she is a detached observer. As President Obama's Secretary of State for four years, she was instrumental in the development of very policies she now sees fit to criticize. Let us not forget that it was Hillary who once called Bashar Assad a reformer and ripped Netanyahu every way possible. She also once stated that Israel lacked "empathy" and "generosity" towards the Palestinians. 

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Angels Best Red Sox in 19 Innings - UPDATED

By on 8.10.14 | 4:15AM

I have just finished watching a 19 inning marathon between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Angels.

The Angels won 5-4 on a solo HR by Albert Pujols off Brandon Workman who had just come into the game.

But it nearly didn't end there. Red Sox manager John Farrell asked the umpires to review the call as it appeared a fan might have reached over the fence for the ball. However, the umpires upheld the call and the game was over at long last. 

I had a weird feeling this would happen. Back in 2000, I watched a 19 inning marathon between the Red Sox and Seattle Mariners. I remember Jeff Fassero being brought in the bottom of the 19th and he promptly surrendered a walk off HR to Mike Cameron. The Mariners also won that game 5-4.

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The Wisdom of Jeane Kirkpatrick

By on 8.9.14 | 10:11AM

I sat at a table with Jeane Kirkpatrick, some years back. A charming lady, much reviled by the Left for suggesting in Commentary that the U.S. should not be quick to reject the friendship of non-democratic regimes which were friendly to this country.

We've now arrived at an anti-Kirkpatrick moment, where we reject the friendship of countries, democratic and non-democratic that are friendly to the U.S., and seek to befriend the non-democratic regimes that hate us.

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It’s Not So Cool to Be Mile High in Colorado After Legalization

By on 8.8.14 | 7:09PM

We probably could have predicted it: Colorado teens are smoking less pot now that it is legalized, reports the Washington Examiner. After all, what’s cool about smoking weed when everyone is doing it? While it is still illegal for teens to smoke marijuana in Colorado—the legal age is 21—it puts a serious damper on the drug’s mystique when tourists are flocking into the state to light up a blunt or nosh on pot brownies.

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‘The Giver’ Movie: Translating Big Ideas From a Little Book

By on 8.8.14 | 3:35PM

Filmmakers adapting Lois Lowry’s The Giver to the silver screen — fitting to the monochromatic utopia she created — have a tall order. I attended a prescreening of the Weinstein and Walden Media film on Wednesday (signing in the process an embargo not to review the movie until next week), but I can probably say that the adaptation remains true to the themes highlighted in the well-loved novel.

The story’s protagonist, Jonas, is the new “Receiver of Memories,” a historian a la George Santayana in a history-less society. He who must dispense wisdom for the present based on memories of the past must grapple with the guilt of moral knowledge as a member of an amoral society. 

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Inspectors General: Obama Administration Blocks Investigations

By on 8.8.14 | 3:25PM

In a scathing letter released this morning, forty-seven inspectors general hammered the Obama administration, specifically singling out several bureaucratic agencies that have been less than forthcoming in ongoing investigations. The letter, addressed to several congressmen—including Darrell Issa, House Republicans’ chief watchdog as the chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform—sums up what many were already thinking: the administration is stalling.

The letter, which can be found in full here at the Washington Examiner, begins:

The undersigned federal Inspectors General write regarding the serious limitations on access to records that have recently impeded the work of Inspectors General at the Peace Corps, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Justice. 

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Pessimistic Americans Contemplate their Children’s Grim Future

By on 8.7.14 | 6:04PM

The Wall Street Journal published a poll this week in conjunction with NBC that found, among other things, 76 percent of respondents did not feel confident that their children’s generation will have a better life than they. That’s up from 60 percent in 2007. We’re jaded—which, in a nation built by immigrants striving to better their families’ fortunes, seems somehow wrong.

A CBS and New York Times poll cited in a Gallup compilation shows a peak in American optimism in December of 2001. Seventy-one percent of respondents believed in a brighter future for the next generation, despite the burst of the dot-com bubble and the attacks on the Twin Towers. When the world was at its worst, we felt up to the task of putting the pieces back together, united by a common enemy and a kind of renewed patriotism

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