The Spectacle Blog

The Vulnerability of the Film Critic

By on 8.16.06 | 10:45AM

I have a good friend who is a reporter for a big station in a big market. He wrote me a few days ago complaining about the explosion of blogs and net sources who reduce his work to just one small voice among the multitudes. As a frequent net writer, I had to tell him my sympathies were in favor in the democratization of discourse.

But you know who is really threatened by blog work? Film critics, that's who. Think about it. Bloggers have a tough time competing with news outlets when it comes to actual reportage, but they have no similar trouble with film review. It's a skill, not a matter of resources. If you have the ability to review film intelligently, you can compete head-on with Mr. Ebert or Entertainment Weekly.

Speaking of Nevada

By on 8.15.06 | 3:49PM

Is Club for Growth about to chalk up another win? The latest poll results for the GOP primary in Nevada's 2nd House District show Dean Heller and Sharron Angle (the Club's candidate) tied at 32%. Late in July, a different poll showed Angle down by 16 points.

As the article notes:

Eric Herzik, a University of Nevada, Reno political science professor, said he was surprised by the latest poll results.

He said Angle has clearly benefited from television ads, paid for by the Club for Growth, that portray Gibbons and Heller as liberals.

The group, which favors limited government and taxes, is credited with helping conservative Tim Walberg defeat moderate incumbent Rep. Joe Schwarz in Tuesday's Republican primary in Michigan.

"The ads have just hammered them (Heller and Gibbons), and she (Angle) has pointed out she is the most conservative candidate - and she is," said Herzik, a Republican. "They are running negative ads because they work."

Will Angle win? We'll know later this evening.

Re: George Allen

By on 8.15.06 | 1:32PM

Dave, I have to second your post. My sense of it, after watching the video and through my experience with Allen, is that when he shoots off his mouth, it is not out of malice but carelessness. He thought of a quick name for the guy, when a name was unnecessary to make his point.

Allen often speaks without thinking, best typified by his response to the question of what Thomas Jefferson (his political hero) would have thought of the prescription drug benefit: Allen hadn't considered that in voting to expand drastically the federal government.

George Allen

By on 8.15.06 | 11:59AM

Over at The Corner, Tim Graham blogs on Senator Allen's Macaca remark. I agree with everything Graham said. The press blows up every GOP racial screw up, but Biden's Dunkin Donut remark or Hillary Clinton's gas station remark, barely a whimper.

Nevertheless, I have to add that this incident makes me question very seriously Allen's judgment. First, Allen's past on racial issues has long been fodder for the Democrats and the mainstream media (but I repeat myself.) Second, surely Allen must be aware of The New Republic's scurrilous article from earlier this year--so he should be on high alert for anything that even smacks of racial insensitivity. Finally, Allen made these remarks to a gent who was running a video camera!

Is Olmert Finished?

By on 8.15.06 | 11:30AM

Golda Meir was forced to resign as Prime Minister of Israel in the wake of 1973's Yom Kippur War, should the current Olmert government face the same fate in the wake of its failure in the war against Hezbollah? Writing in the Jerusalem Post, Caroline Glick answers a resounding Yes. I'm inclined to agree.

Fiscal 9/11

By on 8.15.06 | 10:38AM

When it comes to the issue of making true cuts in government spending, I'm a bit of a fatalist. In my view, the only way things will change is if we suffer a financial disaster on the scale of 9/11 as we collapse under the weight of the welfare state.

Pork projects such as the "Bridge to Nowhere" make great headlines, but at the end of the day the only way we're going to reduce the size of government is by making serious changes to mandatory spending on entitlements. Mandatory spending already accounts for a majority of the budget, and by 2016 it's projected to swallow up nearly two-thirds, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The failure of a relatively modest Social Security reform last year, with a determined president and Republican control of Congress, left me completely pessimistic about the chances of entitlement reform. While, in polls, people will say that they want smaller government and fear the Social Security crisis in general, when it comes to actually cutting programs that they like, they are opposed.

On Fiscal Conservatism

By on 8.15.06 | 9:42AM

Current politicos and would-be public servants love to describe themselves as fiscal conservatives and social liberals. It sounds so logical. We take a solid, quantitative look at the realities of money and budgets, but we recognize that there is nothing normative in the hazy realm of morality.

Unfortunately, the apparent coherency is only skin-deep. Social liberalism (as in moral laissez-faire with regard to sex, drugs, etc.) is an untenable position in a welfare state. You can't agree to pay for everything and then allow the partiers to empty out the coffers with their crazy behavior. Down that road lies financial ruin. We can't even talk about laissez-faire morality until the welfare state is scrapped or scaled back to a point we would find unrecognizable.