The Spectacle Blog

Polls Give a Nod to Non-Interventionists

By on 7.21.14 | 3:12PM

As politicians across the country continue to fight amongst themselves over wedge issues that the average voter does not care about—specifically birth control—Ukraine, Iraq, Israel, and several other countries are on fire. As foreign policy continues to come to the forefront, a debate is raging over what involvement the United States should have in helping settle these crises. One thing, however, is clear: the McCains and Grahams of the Senate are losing popularity.

According to a poll done by Politico, while Republicans have a seven-point advantage on foreign policy, the hawks are losing their edge by a wide margin:

In the big picture, two-thirds of respondents agreed with the statement that U.S. military actions should be “limited to direct threats to our national security.” Only 22 percent agreed with the statement that as a “moral leader,” the United States “has a responsibility to use its military to protect democracy around the globe."

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A Tribute to the Onion

By on 7.21.14 | 11:41AM

Let the world take note of the Onion and its incredible commentary on the Middle East. On Friday, it tackled the escalating conflict in Gaza with the headline: “Palestinians Starting To Have Mixed Feelings About Being Used As Human Shields.” The piece employs sarcastic understatement with aplomb, pointing out the lunacy of human action.

It would ruin the humor to try and summarize the deceptively mundane “news” article that follows that title. It’s the truth artfully concealed as a lie, however. Whether or not Palestinians have awoken to the reality that it is their leaders who put them in the line of fire and give Israel cause to retaliate, the Onion points out that truth for anyone who gets their news on the Internet.

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Morning Round-Up 7-21

By on 7.21.14 | 9:28AM

Feature of the Day: The Russian Public Has a Totally Different Understanding of What Happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 17


Morning Headlines




Associated Press

1. Gaza Official Says Israeli Shells Hit Hospital

2.  Dutch Anger Swells at Treatment of Ukraine Bodies



1. Politico Poll: Stay Out of Ukraine, Middle East

2.  On Open Mic, Kerry Talks Israel

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James Garner, R.I.P.

By on 7.20.14 | 11:09PM

Actor James Garner passed away of natural causes yesterday. He was 86.

Garner is best known for his work on TV with his portrayal of Bret Maverick in Maverick and Jim Rockford in The Rockford Files. However, Garner also enjoyed a successful film career with roles in The Great Escape, Victor Victoria, Murphy's Romance (a role which garnered him his only Oscar nomination), an updated version of Maverick with Mel Gibson and The Notebook. My Dad mentioned a film called 36 Hours in which he plays a military intelligence officer who is brainwashed into thinking WWII has ended in an effort by the Germans to extricate information about the D-Day invasion. 

I also remember the Polaroid commercials he did with Mariette Hartley.

There was an ease in his manner that made his acting natural and without pretension. It was this ease that enabled him to resonate with generations of TV and movie viewers and will continue to do so despite the fact he is no longer with us.

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Is Huston Street Heading Down the Road?

By on 7.19.14 | 1:18AM

It is being reported that the San Diego Padres have traded closer Huston Street to the Los Angeles Angels.

Yet I am watching the Mets-Padres game as I write this and as of a few minutes ago, Street was in the bullpen in a Padres uniform. 

But if he is heading down the road it will have happened days after being at the All-Star Game for the second time in his career although he did not get into the game. 

The Angels bullpen has been the weak link in an otherwise revitalized team. When Ernesto Frieri struggled, he was traded to the Pirates for Jason Grilli who has largely filled a set up role for Joe Smith. Although Street has had a good year in San Diego I'm not sure he'll be much of an improvement over Smith who has 15 saves. Street is pitching in his 10th big league season. He won the AL Rookie of the Year in 2005 while a member of the Oakland A's. Street later pitched for the Colorado Rockies before becoming a member of the Padres in 2012. 

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Obama Calls Out Putin Over Plane Crash

By on 7.18.14 | 2:55PM

President Obama called out Russian President Vladimir Putin for escalating the conflict in eastern Ukraine during an address to the White House press corps on the downed Malaysia Airlines passenger jet late Friday morning. He described the event as “an outrage of unspeakable proportions,” though he said at this time only one American citizen is known to have been aboard the aircraft.

He confirmed that Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 “was shot down over Ukraine near the Russian border,” adding that American intelligence found that “evidence indicates the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile that was launched from an area that is controlled by Russian-backed separatists.” The president was careful to not assign direct blame for the shooting, but did enumerate the recent spate of aircraft downed by militia-launched missiles. He pointed out, however, that the separatists were supported by Russia and could not engage in the level of military action they had achieved without Russian weapons and training.

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Morning Round-Up 7-18

By on 7.18.14 | 9:51AM

Feature of the Day: After the Crash


Morning Headlines




Associated Press

1. Putin Urges Ceasefire

2.  Israel Deepens Gaza Push to Destroy Hamas Tunnels



1. Dem Base: Fine With Clinton, Pining For Warren

2.  Plane Crash Builds Pressure on West Over Ukraine

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Just Ask Jen: Nothing Going On in the World

By on 7.18.14 | 8:31AM

Fortunately, because there is nothing important happening on the international stage, State Dept. Spokesperson/political hack Jen Psaki was able to offer a very significant, dare I say earth-shaking, tweet on Thursday evening:

I sorta wonder if she's going to delete it, though that might look just as bad at this point.

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What Does Jon Stewart Have Against Israel?

By on 7.17.14 | 11:17PM

Molly Wharton of NRO draws our attention to a Jon Stewart bit that is quite unsympathetic to Israel concerning its current conflict with Hamas. She provides a link to an editorial written by David Horovitz of the Times of Israel which makes mincemeat of Stewart's claims.  Stewart's invective against Israel comes as no surprise. Consider how Stewart framed a question about Israel to NBC's David Gregory in January 2009 shortly before the Obama Administration took office:

STEWART: Why can't American politicians criticize Israel in any way for their behavior? I'm watching these shows and there's not one person who's going, hey, this is kind of complex. Hey, Hamas is a bad actor. They shouldn't be throwing missiles. But the treatment of the Palestinian people the last 50 years. Not so nice either. 


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Charlie Checks the Boxes

By on 7.17.14 | 9:48PM

Charlie Crist, most recently and currently of the Democratic Party, has chosen a running mate in his likely race against incumbent Republican Florida governor Rick Scott. She is Annette Taddeo-Goldstein, chairwomanperson of the Miami-Dade County Democratic Party.

Taddeo-Goldstein operates her own translation business. Her place on the ticket, assuming, as is likely, Crist defeats life-time Democrat Nan Rich in the August primary, ticks several political boxes. She is a popular Hispanic woman in a Democrat-rich county that Crist must win big in order to have a chance against Scott.

Because Scott is not against ticking a few boxes himself, Florida will almost certainly still have a Hispanic lieutenant governor next year as Scott recently appointed former Miami-Dade property appraiser Carlos Lopez-Cantera to this essentially superfluous post. The job became available when Scott’s previous identity appointment, black woman Jennifer Carroll, did not work out and she resigned.  

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