The Spectacle Blog

American Teenager Among Five People Killed in Terrorist Attacks in Tel Aviv & The West Bank UPDATE

By on 11.19.15 | 2:52PM

While Paris does its best to recover from last Friday's terrorist attack, Palestinian terrorism is a sad fact of life in Israel. A sad fact of life that has escalated in recent months mostly with Israelis being randomly and wantonly stabbed.

Today is yet another one of those days. Two Jews were stabbed to death by a Palestinian while in prayer at a Tel Aviv office complex. Meanwhile, in the West Bank, a Palestinian gunman opened fire at motorists stuck in a traffic jam in Gush Etzion killing three people one of whom is an American teenager. The second victim was an Israeli man in his 50's while the third was a Palestinian bystander. The gunman fled the scene, but was captured by Israeli security forces. Seven other people including five Americans were wounded but did not sustain life threatening injuries.

Dems Won’t Whip Rank-and-File to Oppose Syrian Refugee Bill

By on 11.19.15 | 2:01PM

You wouldn't know it by the Facebook memes, but right now, a fairly large bipartisan majority of the U.S. Congress is supportive of a bill that would increase scrutiny on incoming Syrian refugees, requiring an FBI background check in addition to security screening measures already in place. 

I can't tell you whether this is a truly necessary development or not — it seems oddly timed to take advantage of a groundswell of grassroots support, particularly given that Congress has been struggling with the issue of Syrian relief for a while now — but the White House most certainly considers it their hill to die on, and has been busy issuing veto threats and holding emergency briefings with top Democratic elected officials in what seems like a last-ditch effort to table the twin House and Senate bills. 

ABC Caves in to Obama Over Syrian Refugees

By on 11.19.15 | 1:21PM

As you may know, the city of Paris, France is in turmoil right now. A horrifying terrorist attack occurred there, killing at least 120 people. A lot of people believe the attack was carried around by ISIS. The mastermind behind the attack is now dead, and now France is taking drastic measures to make sure ISIS is defeated.

Obama Says Syrian Refugees No More Dangerous Than Tourists; 14 of the 19 9/11 Hijackers Had Tourist Visas

By on 11.19.15 | 12:58PM

In his latest salvo on Syrian refugees, President Obama declared they pose no more threat to the United States than tourists. While at the APEC Conference in Manila, Obama stated, “The idea that somehow they pose a more significant threat than all the tourists who pour into the United States every single day just doesn’t jive with reality.”

Turkish authorities evidently disagree with Obama's assessment. Yesterday, they arrested eight people affiliated with ISIS posing as Syrian refugees who had just flown into Istanbul from Casablanca. I wonder if any of them said, "We'll always have Paris." These aren't exactly your average tourists.

Then again some tourists can be dangerous. After all, 14 of the 19 9/11 hijackers were in this country on tourist visas.

Clinton Campaign Threatens Chicago Comedy Club for Making Fun of Her

By on 11.19.15 | 12:38PM

Poor, sweet, shrinking violet Hillary Clinton is very angry with a Chicago comedy club, the local Laugh Factory franchise, for making a video poking fun at her. After all, there's absolutely nothing funny about Hillary Clinton and anyone who thinks otherwise should face a severe and swift punishment.

At least, that's what the Laugh Factory owner says the Clinton campaign actually thinks. Five of the house comedians made a video called "Hillary v. The First Amendment" (ironically), mostly recylcing old jokes about Hillary's wardrobe, hairstyle, close relationship with Huma Abedin among other, occasionally crass observations. The Laugh Factory posted the video online, something triggered a warning klaxon in Clinton world headquarters, and Jamie Masada, the club's owner, quickly got an earful from a "prominent" Clinton campaign staffer who demanded the video be taken down, requested the names and home addresses of the comedians in the video, and threated to shut Masada down if he didn't comply.

Donald Trump “Won’t Rule Out” Database, Warrantless Searches for Muslims

By on 11.19.15 | 12:12PM

Donald Trump has been tough-talking on the Syrian refugee crisis for a few days now, drifting in and out of rationality as the situation dictates. With many of his fellow candidates doomed to actually have to cast a vote on the subject, the Donald is free to pontificate on the subject of national security as he wants, when he wants and with as little regard for human dignitity and the confines of the Constitution as necessary.

This morning, Yahoo news published a lengthy interview with the real estate mogul, in which they asked him how he would handle the issue of terrorism, given that the subject itself is rather difficult to police. Trump doesn't know, but there is a laundry list of items he won't rule out, some of which don't quite jibe with the First Amendment

We’re going to have to do thing that we never did before,” he said during a Yahoo interview.

“Some people are going to be upset about it, but I think that now everybody is feeling that security is going to rule,” Trump said.

Sometimes There Are No Good Options

By on 11.19.15 | 10:17AM

Like many libertarians, I reject the notion that national defense is an arena that is somehow exempt from the rule that politicians and bureaucrats are untrustworthy stewards of the general welfare. And like many libertarians, whenever I express opposition to, or even skepticism of, some U.S. military adventure, I get gushers of grief from people who insist that I’m “naive,” “childish,” and (my favorite, from a recent e-mail) “a stupid America hating dip s[--]t hippie disguised as a free market blogger.”

Arrieta & Keuchel Win NL/AL Cy Young Awards (My Arrieta NL Cy Young Prediction Comes True)

By on 11.18.15 | 9:08PM

Houston Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel and Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs have been named the 2015 AL and NL Cy Young Award winners. 

Normally I would talk about the AL winner first, but I will make an exception here. The reason for this is because I predicted Arrieta would be the NL Cy Young winner prior to the 2015 season:

Excitement was further aroused with the signing of free agent pitcher Jon Lester, owner of two World Series rings with the Red Sox. The biggest beneficiary of Lester’s presence will be Jake Arrieta, who finally began to realize his potential in 2014. I see Arrieta building on 2014 and turning in a season that will earn him an NL Cy Young Award.

Well, Arrieta did the rest winning an MLB leading 22 games, posting an ERA of 1.77 and striking out 236 batters against only 48 walks in 229 innings pitched. Arrieta also led the NL in complete games and shutouts. 

Kerry Backtracks on Charlie Hebdo Statements, But Don’t Worry He’ll Say Something Stupid Again

By on 11.18.15 | 8:42PM

Secretary of State John Kerry backtracked from his remarks to U.S. Embassy in Paris that there was "a legitimacy" or "rationale" to January's terrorist attacks against Charlie Hebdo.:

Now, let me make my point as clearly as I can:  There are no grounds of history - religion, ideology, psychology, politics, economic disadvantage, or personal ambition - that justify the slaughter of unarmed civilians, the bombing of public places, or indiscriminate violence towards innocent men, women, and children. And such atrocities can never be rationalized, and we can never allow them to be rationalized. There's no excuse.