The Spectacle Blog

Saluting the Venerable Queen

By on 4.21.16 | 11:50PM

Queen Elizabeth II is 90 years old today. She appears to be in robust health, and could reign for many more years. (Remember, her mother lived to be 101.) Let’s hope she does, because her son Charles is a couple of kippers short of a full English breakfast.

To an American, the idea of a queen, or a king, is more than a bit strange. Eccentric even. But if a country is to have one, it’s hard to imagine anyone doing a better job of it than Elizabeth II has for more than 60 years. She’s smart, always dignified, knows when to put her oar in and when not to. When she gives advice it’s pretty good.

When Elizabeth II became queen in 1952, Winston Churchill was prime minister. The talent pool on the political side has deteriorated seriously since then. Granted I’m getting a look-in from a long way away at a system no American fully understands. But from where I sit it looks like Elizabeth represents adult supervision where it’s badly needed.

Speaking of adult supervision, she’s been a rock during all of the bad times, many of them self-induced, for her own family, many of whose apples have fallen a good distance from the solid tree. 

Jake Arrieta Tosses Second Career No-Hitter

By on 4.21.16 | 10:24PM

Jake Arrieta has done it again. 

The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner threw the first no-hitter of the 2016 MLB season and his second career no-hitter. This time Arrieta no-hit the Cincinnati Reds en route to a massive 16-0 victory for the Chicago Cubs. Six of the Cubs runs were driven in by Kris Bryant who homered twice in the game.

Arrieta threw his first no-hitter last August against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Interestingly, both no-hitters have come away from the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. In fact, Arrieta was on the wrong end of a no-hitter at Wrigley when Cole Hamels tossed one in his final appearance with the Philadelphia Phillies last July. In fact, it's Arrieta's only loss since the 2015 All-Star Break 

Arrieta is one of five active pitchers to have two no-hitters to his credit. The others are Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals who threw both of his no-hitters in 2015, Reds pitcher Homer Bailey, Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers and free agent pitcher Tim Lincecum. 

Chyna (a.k.a. Joanie Laurer), R.I.P.

By on 4.21.16 | 4:46PM

Former professional wrestler and actress Chyna (a.k.a. Joanie Laurer) was found dead in her home yesterday and may have dead for several days as she was last seen in public on Monday and had not responded to phone calls since. No cause of death has been reported, but she did have a lengthy history of substance abuse. She was 46.

Chyna was one of the most popular figures in the WWE (then known as the WWF) in the late 1990's and early 2000's. With her muscular physique, she was often booked into matches with male wrestlers. Her popularity was such that it transcended wrestling with appearances on shows like 3rd Rock From The Sun and a New York Times best-selling autobiography If Only They Knew which detailed a troubled relationship with her family including when her father took out $40,000 worth of loans in her name destroying her credit. It could be said that Chyna was the Ronda Rousey of her day.

ESPN Fires Curt Schilling Because He Thinks Men Shouldn’t Go Into The Ladies’ Room (So No More ESPN Sunday Night Baseball For Me)

By on 4.20.16 | 11:51PM

ESPN has fired former MLB pitcher Curt Schilling as a color commentator on its baseball broadcasts because he reposted this meme on Facebook:

LET HIM IN! To the restroom with your daughter or else you're a narrow minded, judgemental, unloving racist bigot who needs to die!!!

And because Schilling saw fit to post this meme, the left-wing media basically called Schilling a narrow minded, judgemental, unloving racist bigot who needs be fired by ESPN. Tonight they got their pound of flesh. He had been in the Left's sights since posting a tweet likening Islamic terrorists to Nazis last September which earned him a suspension from the network.

Conservatives Had a Very Good Night — In Manitoba

By on 4.19.16 | 11:39PM

It was a good night for conservatives -- in Manitoba.

The Canadian prairie province ousted the NDP government of Greg Selinger in favor of the Progressive Conservative Party led by Brian Pallister. As of this writing, the Tories are elected or leading in 41 seats, with the NDP reduced to 13 seats with three seats for the Liberals (although their leader Rana Bokhari has lost her seat). The Green Party appears to be shut out. 

The Manitoba NDP had the longest reigning provincial government in the country having been in power since 1999 first under Gary Doer (who would later become Canadian Ambassador to the U.S.) and then Greg Selinger. Support for the NDP severely declined after Selinger reneged on a promise to not raise the provincial sales tax from 7 to 8%. This would lead to a cabinet revolt and a departure of five cabinet ministers and a challenge to Selinger's leadership. While Selinger survived the challenge to his leadership, the writing was on the wall. 

Hillary & Trump Rebound in New York

By on 4.19.16 | 11:04PM

Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton rebounded tonight in New York.

With 83% of the vote tallied, Trump has won 60% of the vote as compared to 25.2% for John Kasich and 14.8% for Ted Cruz. The "New York Values" quip did Cruz lasting damage.

While a victory in the Empire State was no surprise, with Trump's campaign has been at a low ebb over the past month, a decisive victory is certainly a shot in the arm. Trump should also do well in one week's time when five Northeastern states vote - Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. 

But Trump was speaking absolute nonsense in his victory speech tonight when he claimed that Cruz was mathematically eliminated from winning the convention. Cruz is likely to fare better in May when Indiana, Nebraska and West Virginia vote as well as Pacific Northwest states Washington and Oregon. The biggest race of them all is in California on June 7th. So this thing is far from over.

Milt Pappas, R.I.P.

By on 4.19.16 | 10:39PM

Former MLB pitcher Milt Pappas has died of natural causes. He was 76.

Pappas pitched in the bigs from 1957 at the age of 18 through 1973 with the Baltimore Orioles, Cincinnati Reds, Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs. While never a premier pitcher, he consistently won in double digits and would finish his career with 209 wins becoming the first big league pitcher to have 200 wins without the benefit of a 20-win season. 

He first attracted attention as part of the "Baby Birds" Orioles team in 1960 that gave the New York Yankees a run for their money. The Orioles had three starting pitchers 22 and under - Chuck Estrada, Steve Barber and Pappas. That season, Pappas won 15 games. Of his 209 wins, 110 of them came with the Orioles resulting in two AL All-Star appearances including as the starting pitcher in the 1965 All-Star Game.

Who Died and Made Dodd-Frank Regulators Gods?

By on 4.19.16 | 4:28PM

Meet the new deities. They apparently sit on the Financial Stability Oversight Council and other regulatory agencies, especially those created by the Dodd-Frank banking “reform” act.

Obama administration officials and Dodd-Frank cheerleaders have been simply apoplectic in their reactions to U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer’s carefully reasoned March 30 decision reversing FSOC’s designation of the MetLife insurance company as “systemically important,” or too-big-to-fail. Expect similar reactions to a bill, H.R. 3340, voted out of the House last week that makes FSOC more accountable to Congress by placing its budget under the appropriations process. Similarly, the House Financial Services Committee approved a bill last week, H.R. 1486, that would put Dodd-Frank’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau spending on budget as well.

If You Have No Good Intellectual Arguments, Accuse Your Opponents of Being Shills

By on 4.19.16 | 3:45PM

The stupidest, lamest, and couldn’t-be-more-mistaken charge often leveled at those who find great merits in free markets (such as me and my colleagues at GMU Economics and the Mercatus Center, and my dear friends at institutions such as the Cato Institute and the Hoover Institution) is that we’re “bought off by” or are “paid shills for” rich business people.

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