The Spectacle Blog

Islamophobia-phobia at the Times

By on 1.8.15 | 3:49PM

In a Thursday editorial the nation’s leading Leftist newsletter, the New York Times, said some of the right things about freedom of expression in the wake of the Islamist abomination in Paris. But the authors of the opinion piece couldn’t bring themselves to use the adjective “Islamic” in front of “terrorism” in the lead. They did, however, finally get around to saying who the bad guys were.

But the Timesmen could barely finish their condemnation of the latest horror without moving on to a matter that these Manhattan shut-ins fear at least as much, sometimes I think more, than Islamist bullets, bombs, and beheadings. “This is also no time for peddlers of xenophobia to try to smear all Muslims with a terrorist brush,” the Times lectures.

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Shockingly, Cuba Not Interested in Releasing Political Prisoners

By on 1.8.15 | 1:00PM

Now that we're friends with Cuba and the entire Western Hemisphere is one giant hippie hug of happiness, you would expect that our administration would be following up on its request to have 53 political prisoners released. After all, that's the deal we made: we'll start buying your cigars and staying in your hotels and enriching your proletariat, if you let us have all of those Americans you've been holding all these years in Cuban jails.

You, of course, would be making assumptions far beyond your pay grade. You see, the White House assumed that once a deal was announced, Cuba, being the civilized nation that it is, would simply honor the plan. After all, now that the US had made a decision so lauded by global forces, it certainly wasn't going back on it. Cuba, of course, doesn't see it that way. Although the State Department is still laboring under the notion that all 53 prisoners have already boarded planes bound for Miami, it seems Congress has heard a different story. And now everyone's confused.

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Howard Dean: Charlie Hebdo Attackers Aren’t Muslim Terrorists

By on 1.8.15 | 12:47PM

During an appearance on MSNBC yesterday, former Vermont Governor and DNC Chair Howard Dean said those responsible for the attacks at Charlie Hebdo in Paris aren't Muslim terrorists:

I stopped calling these people Muslim terrorists. They're about as Muslim as I am. I mean, they have no respect for anybody else's life, that's not what the Koran says. And, you know Europe has an enormous radical problem. ... I think ISIS is a cult. Not an Islamic cult. I think it's a cult.

So Dean says he's stopped calling these people Muslim terrorists. I wonder if this means Dean has also stopped calling Republicans "pretty much a white, Christian party".

Yesterday at NRO, Andrew McCarthy took aim at politicians who insist on insisting these attacks have nothing to with Islamic ideology:

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Zoo Won’t Let de Blasio Hold Groundhog After He Killed One Last Year

By on 1.8.15 | 12:08PM

The NYPD isn't the only city organization that has lost complete confidence in the esteemed Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio.

After he dropped the groundhog during last year's Groundhog Day celebrations, the Staten Island Zoo has unequivocally banned De Blasio from holding or handling any more of their animals in a celebratory setting. 

Mayor de Blasio won’t be killing any more groundhogs — zoo handlers are forbidding the butter-fingered mayor from holding the critter at the annual shadow-sighting ceremony on Feb. 2, The Post has learned.

The ban came after The Post first revealed that the groundhog de Blasio fumbled and dropped last year died a week later of internal injuries — and then Staten Island Zoo officials covered up the death...

“No one will be allowed to touch the groundhog,” one zoo insider briefed on the new policy told The Post.

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Barbara Boxer Declares Retirement To Shorts-Wearing Grandson

By on 1.8.15 | 11:39AM

As expected, Sen. Barbara Boxer is declaring her retirement ahead of the 2016 cycle. After she finishes out her current term in Congress, the longtime Senator will be forced to turn her unexplained ire on Neiman Marcus personal shoppers instead of Army brigadier Generals.

She made the announcement this morning on her official website with a video of herself doing a serious media interview with her grandson Zach, who stands in for DC reporters, and who clearly felt no need to dress up for the occasion. 

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British Muslim Cleric Praises Charlie Hebdo Attacks

By on 1.8.15 | 9:36AM

Earlier today, Emily brought this op-ed written in USA Today by British Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary to my attention. In the piece, Choudary defends yesterday's attacks at Charlie Hebdo in Paris which resulted in the deaths of 10 journalists and two police officers. Choudary argues Charlie Hebdo brought the attacks upon themselves:

Muslims consider the honor of the Prophet Muhammad to be dearer to them than that of their parents or even themselves. To defend it is considered to be an obligation upon them. The strict punishment if found guilty of this crime under sharia (Islamic law) is capital punishment implementable by an Islamic State. This is because the Messenger Muhammad said, "Whoever insults a Prophet kill him."

However, because the honor of the Prophet is something which all Muslims want to defend, many will take the law into their own hands, as we often see.

Within liberal democracies, freedom of expression has curtailments, such as laws against incitement and hatred.

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Night Falls in Paris

By on 1.7.15 | 4:53PM

As the day draws to a close in France, thousands upon thousands have gathered in the Place de la Republique to show outrage and solidarity in the face of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack. The crowds are carrying signs, chanting "Liberte," and are projecting the words, "Not Afraid" alongside Charlie Hebdo covers onto Republique's famous center monument. The protests have now gone on for five hours.

These photos are all from Sam Schechner's Twitter feed. Schechner is a tech correspondent for the Wall Street Journal currently stationed in Paris. 

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Charlie Hebdo Terrorists May Be Affiliated with Al Qaeda in Yemen

By on 1.7.15 | 4:20PM

As of this writing, the three people responsible (two gunmen and a getaway driver) for the terrorist attacks at the offices of Charlie Hebdo are still at large.

Witnesses say the terrorists spoke perfect French and claimed that they were with al Qaeda in Yemen.

Unlike the so-called "lone wolf" incidents such the shootings in Ottawa last October and the hostage situation last month in Sydney, this operation appears to have been carried out with more planning and sophistication. Indeed, the official magazine of al Qaeda in Yemen, Inspire, included Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier as part of its 2013 "Wanted Dead or Alive for Crimes Against Islam" list.

Of course, if the terrorists were fluent in French that means they were either born in France or emigrated there when they were very young.

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Slain Charlie Hebdo Editor’s Epitaph: “I Prefer to Die Standing Than Living on My Knees!”

By on 1.7.15 | 3:34PM

It could be said that the people who worked at Charlie Hebdo knew this day could come.

Charlie Hebdo's Editor Stephane Charbonnier (a.k.a. Charb) was among those killed today.

Amid the threats against Charlie Hebdo, Charb told his staff, "I prefer to die standing than living on my knees."

Clearly the people who worked at Charlie Hebdo lived and died by those words.

Je suis Charlie.

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National Zoo Panda Sees Snow for the First Time

By on 1.7.15 | 2:32PM

I don't want to demean the seriousness of today's other news and the discussion we're having about it, but maybe we could all use a little cuteness break today. Everything that's happened is very scary. I'm grateful that there are men and women who fight day in and day out on the front lines to protect me. I'm grateful I have commenters to remind me of that. And I'm grateful that the National Zoo has an adorable panda that likes to play in the snow.

So let's all drop everything and enjoy Bao Bao's first snow day. Because it's fantastic.

You may now resume your regularly scheduled news cycle.

 

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