The Spectacle Blog

Right Now Argentinians Are Crying

By on 7.13.14 | 6:52PM

I did not watch the World Cup Finale between Germany and Argentina other than to catch a few glimpses of it in front of various watering holes along Mass Avenue in Cambridge while I was listening to the Red Sox-Astros game (I think I might have been the only person in Boston tuned into baseball today). I had to navigate around crowds which had swelled outside these establishments. 

As I was crossing the Mass Ave Bridge back into Boston, I found out that Germany scored in the 113th minute of the match winning 1-0.

It is Germany's fourth World Cup title (the other three were won as West Germany). Only Brazil has won more World Cup tournaments. It was the third time the Germans and Argentinians hooked up in the World Cup Final with Germany now having won two of the three contests.

No doubt there is a great deal of crying in Argentina as this must its most disappointing day since they lost The Falklands War to the British. 

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The VA: Inept Bureaucrats or Worse?

By on 7.11.14 | 4:28PM

A shocking lack of self-awareness has befallen the Obama administration over the past several weeks, specifically when it comes to its own handling of the Veterans Affairs scandal. It began back in early May, when, after calls increased for VA secretary Eric Shinseki to be canned, the president “regrettably,” and after a lot of prodding from members of Congress on both sides, accepted the resignation, despite a clear need for a change of leadership.   

After the resignation things only got worse for the VA, with shocking reports of widespread backlash against whistleblowers at VA hospitals. Almost one in four whistleblowers reported being punished in one way or another, from having their hours docked to being moved to another position.

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Did the Marxist Philosopher Slavoj Zizek Plagiarize a White Nationalist Magazine?

By on 7.11.14 | 4:24PM

It certainly looks that way. The other night I was reading my galley copy of Adam Kirsch's forthcoming essay collection, Rocket and Lightship. It's full of good stuff, but the best piece in it is about the Slovenian Marxist gadfly Slavoj Zizek. Zizek is a strange character: a social democratic dissident turned unapolegtic Leninist; a pop-culture loving obscurantist; a millionaire philosopher. He is also, Kirsch intimates, without quite saying as much, an anti-Semite.

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United Auto Workers: Chattanooga’s Creepy Stalker

By on 7.11.14 | 3:21PM

Have you ever gone on a couple dates with someone, but then decided it just wasn’t going work out? It’s a tough spot to be in, especially when you know they are totally into you and you have to be the one to call it off.

Chattanooga was in that position in February of this year with the United Auto Workers (UAW). Ever since Volkswagen opened its American manufacturing headquarters in Chattanooga in 2011, the UAW has been the city’s heavy-breathing suitor. Give them this: the union has been very persistent. Caving to their determination, Volkswagen finally agreed to go on a few dates.

It never was a fairytale affair by any stretch. Rather, the UAW begged for affection on the grounds that the relationship was a rational fit. More sales than romance, really.

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Stockman: Arrest Lois Lerner

By on 7.11.14 | 2:06PM

After evidence surfaced on Wednesday showing that Lois Lerner had sent suspicious emails inquiring as to the way electronic records were handled by the IRS, the fervor reached a climatic peak in some conservative circles. Congress, mostly on party lines, 231-187, with six Democrats joining Republicans, voted back in May to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress. With this new information, Congressman Steve Stockman has introduced a resolution to arrest Lerner.

Announced in a press release, Stockman said:

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LeBron Returns to Cleveland

By on 7.11.14 | 2:01PM

After four years in Miami where he played in four straight NBA Finals (with two NBA Titles), LeBron James is returning home to Cleveland to play with the Cavaliers.

James told Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated:

When I left Cleveland, I was on a mission. I was seeking championships, and we won two. But Miami already knew that feeling. Our city hasn’t had that feeling in a long, long, long time. My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question. But what’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio.

The NBA's premier player, however, is well aware there are big odds against the Cavaliers:

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Teutonic Trust Issues

By on 7.11.14 | 11:43AM

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was on her seventh trip to China when she was informed that a double agent had been seized in Munich. The spy, who was an employee of the German foreign intelligence agency the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), was detained last Wednesday after attempting to sell services to Russia. But the real revelation came when, interrogating him, Germany’s counterintelligence agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BFV), discovered that the turncoat had conducted espionage operations for the CIA over the past two years. He has earned approximately $34,000. His most recent assignment: passing along to his handlers any information he could find on the German investigation of the NSA’s surveillance of Merkel.

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Morning Round-Up 7-11

By on 7.11.14 | 10:03AM

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Injuries Sideline Masahiro Tanaka, Yadier Molina & Brandon Phillips

By on 7.10.14 | 11:21PM

Three of MLB's bigger stars will miss significant time due to injury. 

The New York Yankees will be without their Japanese ace Masahiro Tanaka for at least six weeks. He went on the DL yesterday with elbow trouble following a poor outing against the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night. A MRI revealed a partial tear of his UCL. The Yankees are hoping Tommy John surgery won't be required. Even if their optimistic projections are correct the loss of Tanaka is a big blow. He led the AL with 12 wins. As of this writing, the Yankees are 46-44 and 3 1/2 games back of the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East. If not for Tanaka the Yankees would be nowhere.

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On Immigration, Where Obama Fails, Conservatives Can Rise

By on 7.10.14 | 6:15PM

As violence erupted in Central America, thousands of people fled to the U.S.-Mexico border, crossing into Texas, California, and Arizona. This crisis has sparked ire on both sides of the political aisle. The president, however, has refused to even visit the border. He called such a visit a “photo op”:

“Nothing has taken place down there that I’m not intimately aware of,” Obama said during a hastily arranged news conference here, where he began a two-day visit to the state for Democratic fundraising and an economic event. “This is not theater.”

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