The Spectacle Blog

The Dark Side of Browne

By on 3.8.06 | 2:01PM

I've stayed quiet on Harry Browne, mostly on "don't speak ill of the dead" grounds. Besides, I said my piece on Browne's surrender-immediately foreign policy back in 2004 (see here and here). But I can't let all the eulogizing pass without mentioning something.

Browne violated Libertarian Party conflict-of-interest rules to secure the nomination in '96. (His campaign was also accused of mis-spending funds, though that's a murkier issue.) When Liberty magazine reported on this in 2001, the LP responded by refusing to grant press credentials to my fellow Liberty intern Jim Barnett at the 2002 convention (he ended up having to buy a party membership). This was pretty petty and stupid, especially since Liberty is, other than LP house-organs and activist's newsletters, pretty much the only magazine that has consistently bothered to take the Party seriously.

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Over the Top vs. Bush

By on 3.8.06 | 2:01PM

Several thoughts about this Dana Milbank piece. First, it's at least a little absurd to identify Andrew Sullivan as a "conservative" blogger. He may lean conservative on some things, but he's more of an eclectic and sneering critic of everybody, right/center/left alike, than he is readily identifiable in any particular philosophical camp except his own camp of one. Second, while I agree with the gist of the criticisms of Bush's fiscal record and of some of his administration's other failings, it strikes me that both Sullivan AND Bartlett go way over the top; they paint Bush almost as if he's flat-out EVIL in all caps rather than as merely flawed. And really, doesn't Bartlett lose credibility when he says he would vote for Bill Clinton over W???? Methinks a little perspective, and a chill pill, is in order.

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Bet on Kansas

By on 3.8.06 | 1:44PM

Conservatives should be paying attention to the legislative session unfolding in Kansas, where state officials are considering passage of a bill that would allow the state to own and operate casinos in order to generate revenue to fund education budget shortfalls.

The bill, which has been floated before and failed, is a pet project of the governor, Democrat Kathleen Sebelius, and right now Republicans in the statehouse are telling associates that they support the legislation.

This is all the more mindboggling given that most Republicans in Kansas haven't seen much of the legislation's language. Given what Washington Republicans have just gone through with Indian casinos, Jack Abramoff, and lobbying, do they really think it's a good idea to get in bed with state-owned and operated gambling? And it if it isn't state-operated, just who is going to run these parlors of sin and temptation for them? Donald Trump?

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Soros Bullish on Katrina Fallout

By on 3.8.06 | 1:16PM

George Soros' Open Society Institute is preparing to dole out a goodly sum to ensure that all the positive, fawning coverage Hurricane Katrina's death and destruction has been receiving finally gets balanced out a bit with the hitherto unheard bad news:

The Katrina Media Fellowships, sponsored by The Open Society Institute (OSI), will support media makers working in print and radio journalism, photography, and documentary film and video to generate and improve media coverage of critical issues of poverty, racism, and government neglect in the Gulf Region that were laid bare by Hurricane Katrina. This one-time fellowship will be awarded to mid-career or veteran print or radio journalists, photographers, or documentary filmmakers with proven track records as serious media-makers. OSI will give special consideration to applicants who have been displaced from or are residents of the Gulf Region. OSI expects to award 12-15 fellowships. Fellowship recipients will be announced in mid-May 2006 and receive between $15,000-$35,000, to cover a stipend and project expenses.

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Re: The Fairer Sex

By on 3.8.06 | 12:48PM

Dave: either a socialist plot or plain human bad habit. Like the pagans of Rome we name our months for our gods.

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Re: The Fairer Sex

By on 3.8.06 | 12:23PM

So James, does that mean that the designation of March as National Women's History Month must have been a Socialist plot?

Or perhaps a presidential one: it's an opportunity for politicians to pander. In President Bush's case, he used yesterday's bully pulpit to tout the accomplishments of women in Iraq and Afghanistan. This was the right move: highlighting freedom where there was so little. But the rest just smacked of false hamming it up -- Look! I like women! I even have women friends and cabinet officers. I even married one! The Bill Clinton legacy continues...

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The Fairer Sex

By on 3.8.06 | 12:10PM

In accordance with Socialist Party tradition, today marks International Women's Day (official United Nations enthusiasm provided here). It's a fine occasion to consider the latest hip sexaholic feminist manifesto to hit bookshelves -- Sex and the Seasoned Woman: Pursuing the Passionate Life. Lakshmi Chaudry has hit back, from that other side of feminism you hear nothing about. I review in detail here.

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Overload?

By on 3.8.06 | 11:57AM

Well, almost. On today's Hugh Hewitt Show, there's almost too much to talk about. We'll get an Iraq update from Gen. Kimmett of CENTCOM, talk to Cong. Dan Lundgren (former California attorney general) about the expanding story of Meatheadgate (Rob Reiner's slush fund "First Five Commission"), Arizona Gov Napolitano sending national guard troops to the Mexican border, the Dubai port deal snafu, and a whole bunch more. Too bad we only have three hours. See ya on the radio.

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Re: A Conservative Budget

By on 3.8.06 | 11:04AM

The RSC budget's out. The quick synopsis: it's great, but it has the chance of a snowball in hell. It's here as a Word document. The highlights:

-It's boldly titled the "Contract for America Renewed." It apparently takes this title from its heavy reliance on a 1995 Contract for America budget, H.Con.Res. 67, which the House passed.

-Eliminate USAID, Millenium Challenge Accounts, and assistance to Egypt. That saves about $32-33 billion over five years.

-Eliminate the space shuttle and President Bush's Mars/Moon initiative. Good riddance to both. Savings: about $18 billion over five years.

-Eliminate Amtrak, the transportation bill earmarks, and the essential air service; privatize the FAA; and devolve federal highway aid. Savings: about $72 billion over five years.

-Eliminate Community Development Block Grants. $21 billion over five years.

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