The Spectacle Blog

Barack Obama Thanks Japan for Anime, Emoji in Preparation for State Dinner

By on 4.28.15 | 4:32PM

Although we may be still considering what impact today's events in the waters just off of Iran will have on our larger foreign policy agenda, the White House is continuing its hapless diplomatic strategy unabated.

Today, as the White House prepares for the Obamas' eighth state dinner - a soire in honor of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe - the President had some kind words at a joing press conference, thanking Japan for all of its important contributions to world culture, including Karate, anime, emoji and karaoke.

President Barack Obama said Tuesday that, among other things, the arrival of Japan’s official delegation is an opportunity to celebrate the country’s cultural contributions to the United States, like karaoke and emojis.

“Today is also a chance for Americans, especially our young people, to say thank you for all the things we love from Japan. Like karate and karaoke,” Obama said to laughter during remarks at an arrival ceremony with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. “Manga and anime. And, of course, emojis,” he added.

President Obama Speaks on Baltimore, Blames…Republicans?

By on 4.28.15 | 4:12PM

I'm honestly surprised it took 72 hours for the narrative to play out this way. That seems like an inordinantly long time for this particular President to take to blame the opposing party - which has been doing an excellent job, of late, proving that it was Harry Reid who was the cornerstone of the do-nothing Congress - for the systemic violence that has plaugued the city of Baltimore since late last week. Of course, we do have to give him a slight berth; after all, Saturday was the White House Correspondents Dinner, Sunday was the first real "golf outside" day of the year, and he's got a very special State Dinner tonight to prepare for.

Thankfully, though, he hadn't forgotten his one official obligation. And today, in his speech, he made clear that the reason the citizens of Baltimore are rioting out of control is - wait for it - because Republicans have failed to pass his legislative agenda.

Kirk Gibson Diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease

By on 4.28.15 | 4:00PM

I have just learned that former MLB player and manager Kirk Gibson has been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.

Gibson, 57, had recently been hired to do color commentary for the Detroit Tigers' TV broadcasts. From 2010 to 2014, Gibson was the manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks leading them to a NL West title in 2011. However, Gibson would be dismissed in the final week of the 2014 season after finishing worst record in the NL.

Gibby, of course, is best remembered for his days with the Detroit Tigers and the Los Angeles Dodgers winning World Series with these teams in 1984 and 1988, respectively. He took "Goose" Gossage deep in the deciding game of the '84 Fall Classic against the San Diego Padres and four years later hit a walk off home run off another Hall of Fame closer Dennis Eckersley in his only plate appearance in the '88 Series. Gibson would also be named NL MVP in 1988.

Iran’s Act of Aggression Won’t Deter Obama Administration

By on 4.28.15 | 1:00PM

As Emily has noted, Iran has seized a cargo ship with a Marshall Islands flag.

Given that the U.S. retains responsibility for the defense of the Marshall Islands there can be no doubt that the Iranians deliberately targeted this ship.

Sadly this incident will not deter the resolve of the Obama Administration in obtaining a nuclear agreement with Iran. As long as the Obama Administration argues that when the Ayatollah Khamenei chants "Death to America" it is a rallying cry for a nuclear agreement with Iran then they will surely brush this incident off even if they are sending ships to the Strait of Hormuz.

Where Are The Rest of Baltimore’s Mothers?

By on 4.28.15 | 12:45PM

You've probably seen this video by now. If not, it is well worth watching.

When one mother in Baltimore saw her son participating in yesterday's riots on TV, she sprang into action and gave him an old fashioned whuppin'.

Normally, I don't go for that sort of thing, but there are occasions when someone needs to have sense knocked into them. It's the sort of the sense that can only be imparted by a mother.

Needless to say, that kid is going to be embarrassed for a very long time.

Which leads me to this question. Where were the rest of Baltimore's mothers? Had they come out in force they might not have needed the National Guard.

British Media: Iran May Have Fired On, Boarded American Cargo Ship; UPDATE: Marshall Islands Ship, Pentagon Tried to Help, Iranians Have Reportedly Release Ship

By on 4.28.15 | 11:42AM

Reports on this are unconfirmed and the United States is denying, but British media (including the Telegraph and the BBC) is reporting that a US cargo vessel was fired on and then seized by Iranian officials this morning, and has been taken to an Iranian port. The Iranians maintained that the ship was trespassing in the Persian Gulf.

Iranian forces have reportedly fired at and seized a US cargo ship with 34 sailors on board, according to Saudi Arabian state TV.

The vessel has been directed to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas on the southern coast, Al-Arabiya has reported.

It remains unclear why or if the ship was captured, and whether the shots injured anyone on-board, as neither US nor Iranian officials have confirmed the allegations. The US Fifth Fleet off the coast of Bahrain had no immediate comment on the report, according to Reuters.

Iran's semi-official Fars news agency suggested that the ship was trespassing in the Persian Gulf.

Baltimore Cleans Up, No Thanks to the Media

By on 4.28.15 | 11:24AM

This morning, as the Baltimore Fire Department puts out the last of the blazes that burned overnight, and looting has subsided to a minimum thanks to the overnight appearance of the Maryland National Guard, the residents of Baltimore are coming out of their houses to clean up and rebuild

Looted storefronts were being boarded up, burned cars hauled away and as many as 15 police officers recovering from injuries suffered during the rioting that broke out when high school kids used social media to launch a coordinated "Purge," the slang term taken from a movie and meaning a night where laws are not observed.

Amid the rioting Monday night that led to 200 arrests, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake strongly condemned the "thugs" behind the mayhem and announced a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew beginning Tuesday and lasting at least a week.

The Angels Will Rue Trading Josh Hamilton Back to Texas

By on 4.27.15 | 11:21PM

Let me step away from the violence in Baltimore for a moment and talk a little baseball. I want to comment on Josh Hamilton's return to the Texas Rangers.

This deal came to the light over the weekend and it was made official today. The Angels dealt Hamilton back to Texas in the third year of a five year, $125 million contract. After winning the AL MVP with the Rangers in 2012, Hamilton had two lacklustre seasons in Anaheim and then during the off-season had an alcohol and cocaine relapse which he disclosed. 

Texas fans booed Hamilton lustily when he signed the free agent with the Angels. I believe all of that will now be forgotten. Hamilton had off-season shoulder surgery and is not expected to play until late next month. Although I don't believe the Rangers will get the Hamilton of 2008 through 2012, I think the Angels will rue trading him. It is very unusual to trade someone within the division. Hamilton is a man with something to prove and the result could be a lot of Rangers wins over the Angels this season. In which case, the Rangers have a chance to party like it's 2010 and 2011.

 

Baltimore is Burning!

By on 4.27.15 | 10:29PM

Baltimore is burning!

It would seem that everything that could possibly go wrong has gone wrong.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake finally called in the Maryland National Guard. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan did not indicate when Rawlings-Blake made the call. While Hogan tried to be diplomatic he made a point of saying that he was waiting for her call. He must have waited a long time.

Yet as of this writing the National Guard are nowhere to be seen. Mayor Rawlings-Blake will impose a curfew tomorrow night. That's a day late, a few million dollars short and possibly some lives needlessly thrown away. Rawlings-Blake can call the rioters behavior "idiotic" but it was her idiocy which gave "those who wished to destroy things the space to do that" on Saturday night. With the police outnumbered and in retreat, he has now given the rioters the space to destroy Baltimore as we know it. 

Mayor of Baltimore: “We Gave Those Who Wish to Destroy Things Space to Do That”

By on 4.27.15 | 5:51PM

As I write this, the city of Baltimore is inching ever closer to martial law. Following the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old Baltimore man who died of injuries -including a spinal injury - sustained in an arrest after police did not get him timely medical care, violent protests, which started Saturday night but had temporarily calmed, resumed. On Saturday, according to the New York Times, 31 adults and several juveniles were arrested, six police officers were injured and tens of thousands of dollars of damage was done to residential and commerical property.

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