The Spectacle Blog

10 Observations of Obama’s 2015 SOTU Address

By on 1.20.15 | 11:14PM

Here are my 10 observations from President Obama's hour long State of the Union address.

 1. President Obama began the speech by making the case that 15 years into this century that we've turned the page from a century that was "dawned with terror" along with "two long and costly wars." With the acension of ISIS and the fact we've had to return troops to Iraq what makes Obama certain we won't do the same in Afghanistan. Will Afghanistan adopt the same model against terrorism as Yemen? As Obama speaks, a possible coup is underway in Yemen. Al Qaeda is not on the run. Far from it. Not only have we not turned the page, it has yet to be written.

 2. Obama paid tribute to our troops. It's too bad he couldn't do the same for those veterans receiving care at the VA Hospital in Phoenix which had been plagued by scandal under his administration's watch. Instead of visiting them last week, his motorcade just drove on by.

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Thoughts on The Row Over American Sniper

By on 1.20.15 | 5:00PM

Here is what I wrote last week upon learning American Sniper was one of seven movies nominated for Best Picture:

I was pleasantly surprised to see American Sniper receive a Best Picture nomination. I don't think Hollywood would have nominated a movie about the Iraq War from the point of view of someone who viewed it as a worthy mission released during the Bush Administration. While there are criticisms that the movie is too pro-American there is probably been just enough distance from the time Chris Kyle served in Iraq to judge the film on its own merits. American Sniper received six nominations including a Best Actor nomination for Bradley Cooper who portrays Kyle. Interestingly, Clint Eastwood did not earn a Best Director nod. Maybe Hollywood still hasn't forgiven Eastwood for his empty chair speech at the RNC in 2012.

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You’re Still Paying for Past SOTUs

By on 1.20.15 | 3:27PM

The State of the Union is an annual celebration of what the government can do for you, regardless (mostly) of party, designed to capture the imagination of a public that is primarily agitated that they can't find their regularly scheduled reality television on the major cable networks, if anyone still watches any of that. It's usually a laundry list of government programs or government ideals that end up costing more than they're worth or never pass in the first place.

Barack Obama has been slightly more effective at making his SOTU wishes come true, and according to the National Taxpayers Union, we've paid handsomely for it. Well, except for 2012 when he was in the midst of a campaign. Then, we got a $28B reprieve while he geared up to sock us again in 2013.  

President Obama has proposed an average $41.7 billion in new government spending in each of his State of the Union addresses, according to the National Taxpayers Union Foundation.

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We May Soon Cry for Argentina

By on 1.20.15 | 12:41PM

Argentina is in turmoil over the sudden death of Alberto Nisman, a prosecutor who late last week accused Argentinian President Christine Fernandez de Kirchner and other government officials with conspiring with Iran to put the kibosh on investigating Iran's role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires which left 85 people dead. Nisman had been investigating this for a decade and It is alleged that Kirchner offered Iranians suspected in the bombing immunity in exchange for Iranian oil.

Nisman was scheduled to testify before a congressional hearing on Monday, but was found dead of a gunshot wound on Sunday. Argentinian officials claim that Nisman committed suicide, but the public isn't buying it and have taken to social media and to the streets with the slogan, "Yo Soy Nisman", a play on "Je Suis Charlie".

Elections are due in October. Kirchner is prohibited from running. But if a prosecutor can be murdered hours before giving damning testimony then anything is possible. We may soon cry for Argentina. 

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State of the Union Live Drink…Errr…Tweeting!

By on 1.20.15 | 12:27PM

As per tradition, at 9pm EST/8pm CST, we'll be breaking into the liquor cabinet in order to enjoy the State of the Union as it was meant to be enjoyed: by getting increasingly drunk as the speech progresses, theoretically according to the official rules set forth by Cloture Club, but more likely on an ad hoc basis relating specifically to our individual policy interests and tolerance for Obama's key phrases.

By "we," I mean myself and my #Chatterbox co-host (and American Spectator's resident domestic goddess) Amelia Hamilton. And also you, too! Thanks to the advent of social media, you can follow our #SOTU updates in real time on Twitter, by following us individually (I'm @emzanotti, she's @ameliahammy), or by following along with the hashtag, #Chatterbox. We guarantee a good time. And possibly an informative time. 

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Tonight’s Official State of the Union Guest List

By on 1.20.15 | 12:04PM

We already know that the State of the Union will feature a $320 billion "Robin Hood" tax hike, which is ridiculous, not just because it's both a blatant attempt at income redistribution and because it's designed, primarily to troll Republicans, but because the "real" Robin Hood actually stole the wealth from the corrupt beneficiaries of a tyrannical government and gave it back to a citzenry taxed into poverty. 

Anyway, the bigger concern is who will be there to witness either the last Obama State of the Union that really matters, as he has approximately six months until he officially becomes a lame duck and can take up golfing with such regularity, he can be on the pro tour before Hillary's inaugrual pantsuit returns from the dry cleaners. Alongside various high-profile media figures from the year, the official White House guest list usually includes a cadre of characters carefully selected from the White House correspondence pile. This year is no exception

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Dallas Taylor, R.I.P.

By on 1.19.15 | 8:03PM

Drummer Dallas Taylor, best known for his stint with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, died yesterday at the age of 66

Taylor appears on the cover of the CSNY classic Deja Vu. He would also later drum with the group Manassas which was founded by Stephen Stills and Chris Hillman of The Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers. 

Unfortunately, Taylor had a very nasty alcohol and drug problem. Even The Who's Keith Moon, who once had to be replaced by a fan in the audience because he was so high, told Taylor he did too many drugs and drank too much. When Keith Moon tells you that you're doing too many drugs then you've got a big problem.

He would eventually get sober and became a highly respected alcohol and drug counselor. Despite his sobriety, Taylor would eventually need a liver transplant in 1990 and his wife would donate him a kidney in 2007. 

Dallas Taylor did manage to save his life in time to help save others. 

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Mr. Scherzer Goes to Washington…For $210 Million

By on 1.19.15 | 7:49PM

Pitcher Max Scherzer has reportedly signed a seven-year deal with the Washington Nationals worth $210 million. The money is apparently being deferred which means Scherzer will be on the Nats payroll through 2028. 

It isn't quite Clayton Kershaw money, but he did get more than $200 million.

Scherzer has spent the past five seasons with the Detroit Tigers where in 2013 he won the AL Cy Young Award going 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA and 240 strikeouts. He wasn't too shabby last season with an 18-5 accompanied by a respectable 3.15 ERA along with 252 strikeouts.

Unless the Nats trade either Doug Fister or Jordan Zimmermann, their rotation will consist of Scherzer, Steven Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Fister and Zimmermann with Tanner Roark moving to the bullpen. If the Nats hang on to both Fister and Zimmermann then they are going for broke in 2015. The Nats won the NL East in 2012 and 2014, but failed to advance beyond the NLDS. 

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What Would Have MLK Thought of Al Sharpton?

By on 1.19.15 | 6:53PM

If Martin Luther King, Jr. were still alive, he would be 86 years old. 

If Martin Luther King, Jr. were still alive, I wonder what he would think of Al Sharpton.

Last week, Sharpton took a break from denouncing white police officers to criticize the Motion Picture Academy because no black actors were nominated this year although the MLK, Jr. biopic Selma did earn a Best Picture nomination.

I guess Sharpton needs more shakedown money to pay his $4 million tax bill. Because if you believe a word that Sharpton says then Martin Luther King, Jr. never accomplished a thing in his life because Sharpton would have you believe that Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown are the present day incarnation of Emmett Till. Racism, like poverty, will always be with us, but the world in which Emmett Till lived is long, long gone. But to say we've moved beyond the Emmett Till means less money in Sharpton's pocket.

Sharpton should have been ostracized the moment he was convicted of libel for falsely accusing Steven Pagones for raping Tawana Brawley. Instead, he has his own TV show and is feted by President Obama and Rand Paul alike.

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Jane Fonda Still Can’t Figure Out Why Vietnam Vets Don’t Like Her

By on 1.19.15 | 1:08PM

I'm choosing to ignore the shapeless bag of doughnut grease who surfaced out of 2003 to troll Twitter over the weekend, but there's at least one has-been celebrity who washed up on shore over the weekend whose existence I'll acknowledge: Jane Fonda, who despite having done next to nothing since starring in a romantic comedy with Jennifer Lopez almost a decade ago, still gives speeches on the regular to crowds of people looking to relive the 1960s. 

This weekend, her speech in Maryland drew ire from Vietnam veterans who haven't forgotten (rightly) that "Hanoi" Jane Fonda handed a propaganda masterpiece to the North Vietnamese when she decided it was appropriate to visit a Communist military base and dry-hump a cannon. Clearly confused as to why, nearly fifty years later, people who actually fought in that conflict still take it personally, Jane Fonda tried to alleviate the hurt feelings by acknowedging that she, too, is sad. 

About 50 military veterans and their supporters protested an appearance by Jane Fonda in western Maryland.

The 77-year-old was at the Weinberg Center for the Arts in Frederick for a speaking engagement Friday.

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