The Spectacle Blog

Five Observations of Obama’s Speech to the Adas Israel Congregation

By on 5.22.15 | 3:17PM

I have read President Obama's speech to the Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C. and would like to offer the following five observations.

1. Consider what I wrote about Obama and Israel almost exactly four years ago today:

If you hear President Obama speak about the "unbreakable bonds" between the United States and Israel then chances are he has probably just said or done something to fritter away at those bonds.

Obama Says He Criticizes Israel to Maintain Credibility

By on 5.21.15 | 10:42PM

President Obama purportedly tries to make nice with Israel in his interview with Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlanticbut he can't help himself. It's Obama being Obama:

One Donor Who Actually Holds Republicans Accountable on Spending and Taxes

By on 5.21.15 | 6:43PM

Thankfully, at least some political donors exist who are willing to hold Republicans’ feet to the fire on cutting spending, reducing taxes, and eschewing unfair corporate incentives.

In North Carolina, The News & Observer of Raleigh reports that donor and widely respected school-choice advocate Bob Luddy plans to divert a $25,000 donation away from N.C. House Republicans based on a proposed House budget that raises spending without cutting taxes.

As the Observer reports:

Luddy complained that the budget advancing to a major vote on Thursday does not include new tax cuts and extends tax breaks for specific industries. He called the spending plan too “liberal” and said he’s decided to withold [sic] his planned, annual donation to the House Republicans’ campaign committee.


Exposure to Conservative Ideas is Apparently a Form of PTSD

By on 5.21.15 | 4:47PM

Marion Barry’s Son Gets Probation For Violent Bank Assault

By on 5.21.15 | 4:10PM

Son to D.C.’s infamous ‘Mayor for Life’ Marion Barry pleaded guilty Wednesday to assault charges stemming from a January outburst in which he threw a trash can at a teller in a downtown bank.

Despite already being on probation, Marion Christopher Barry was sentenced to 12 months of supervised probation and mandatory attendance of anger management classes, NBC4 Washington reported.

Barry was on probation for DUI and drug possession charges dating back to last year, which forced him in to another hearing Wednesday to face contempt of court charges. The judge in that case showed some leniency and let Barry avoid jail time for the next 30 days while he completes alcohol monitoring and counseling.

In January, Barry attempted to get $20,000 out of his bank account, which was already overdrawn by $2,000, but a teller told him he could not do that. Barry then lowered his request to $6,000, but the result was the same.

Barry then became irate, telling the bank teller, “I’m going to have someone waiting for you when you get off, you bitch.”

Meanwhile, The Washington Nationals Take Over 1st Place in NL East Despite Ejection of Bryce Harper

By on 5.21.15 | 3:11PM

Larry righteously objects to Marvin Hudson's ejection of Washington Nationals superstar Bryce Harper and his manager Matt Williams last night.

Yet, lost in all the spectacle, the Nats beat the New York Yankees 3-2 to gain sole possession of 1st place in the NL East.

Of course, the Nationals were widely expected to run away with the NL East title before the season began, but got off to a 7-13 start. On April 27th, the Nats were in last place in the NL East, 8 games back of the New York Mets who were the biggest story in MLB in April.

Well, as the old saying goes, "Riding high in April. Shot down in May."

Since their 15-5 start, the Mets have gone 8-13 while the Nats have gone 17-4 during that same period. Washington has won 11 of its last 14 games.

Much of the Nats success can be laid at the doorstep of Bryce Harper who has hit 9 HR in last 12 games. He's hitting .333, leads the NL in HR (15), RBI (38) and walks (37) for an astounding .472 OBP.

Open Letter to Rob Manfred, Commissioner of Baseball

By on 5.21.15 | 1:57PM


I know you already understand this. But maybe Marvin Hudson doesn’t. And reminders, even of the obvious, never hurt.

People who like baseball, the folks on whom the future of your game and your job depend, shell out handsomely to go to the ballpark, or tune in on television, to watch gifted athletes like, to pick someone at random, Bryce Harper, perform. They don’t go to the park or tune in to watch guys like Marvin Hudson call balls and strikes (even when they get it right most of the time). And they sure as hell don’t go there to watch Marvelous Marv pitch Harper for some, please excuse the technical language, chickens**t infraction.

Rand Paul’s Filibuster Was a Bust

By on 5.21.15 | 12:59PM

When Rand Paul filibustered about drones two years ago, Ross Kaminsky declared, "Rand Paul created a political earthquake."

If that's the case then Paul's filibuster against extending the Patriot Act registered barely a tremor by comparison. You could say his filibuster was a bust.

Now I couldn't stand with Rand then and I won't now. However, I did give him full marks for political theater at the time. I can't say the same this time around.

Aside from the substance of Paul's position, the problem with doing a second filibuster is that the novelty has worn off. Ted Cruz did his filibuster six months later.

Let me put it this way. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington didn't have a sequel for a reason. A filibuster is a one shot, Hail Mary pass. You can't go to it again and again.

Rand Paul is a textbook example of style over substance and sizzle but no steak. This time around there was no sizzle and when there's no sizzle you have an empty frying pan.

White House Keeping Record of @POTUS Tweeters

By on 5.21.15 | 11:19AM

If you want to register a complaint with the Obama Administration, it's probably best you air your grievances without directly tagging them in your Tweet.

Unless, of course, you'd like your Tweet logged, preserved and archived for posterity in a searchable database the White House will use to tag Twitter users who make routine comments that are "concerning" to the powers that be.

Case in point? After Barack Obama belatedly joined Twitter on Monday — in his official, presidential capacity — dozens of Twitter denizens began tweeting him sex jokes, threats and other unprintable inanities. (We counted nearly 500 tweets dropping f-bombs at POTUS in the past day.)

But the joke’s actually on them: Not only does the Secret Service already monitor Twitter for threats, but the White House is archiving each and every thing @POTUS tweeters say. Ashley Feinberg flagged this relevant piece of the White House Online Privacy Policy:

Thoughts on the Letterman Finale

By on 5.21.15 | 9:35AM

I stayed up to watch David Letterman's final show and I am now paying the price for it in lost slumber.

But, as I wrote the other day, I did it for my hometown boy Paul Shaffer. When am I ever going to see someone from Thunder Bay on TV again? Well, I suppose I could watch the NHL playoffs. Marc Staal has a good chance of going back to the Stanley Cup Finals with the New York Rangers.

It was the first time I'd seen the show in a couple of years and clearly I haven't missed much. Dave had already left the building and was going through the motions. The only time I laughed at anything he said was during the flashbacks to his interaction with kids and the Taco Bell skit from almost 20 years ago.