The Spectacle Blog

Stiff Webb

By on 6.29.06 | 6:02PM

Responding to the post below, a reader notes how awfully stiff the candidate is. Our American Spectator intern, Maggie McGlynn, and I had a chance to catch Jim Webb and Mark Warner this afternoon in Alexandria for a very brief press availability.

It appears someone has given Jim Webb a good talking to about presentation. His hands, feet, and face are fixed, as he gives short, controlled answers. Having Webb next to Warner reminded me of bumbling Linc Chafee next to John McCain in 2000 as Chafee ran for his late father's seat. Not a pretty contrast. Ms. McGlynn and I noted that when Webb was asked about supporting a possible presidential run by Mr. Warner, Warner literally grabbed Webb by the shoulders (in a friendly but awkward way), apparently to control any outbursts. Webb is a man on a tight leash.

More on Voting Wrongs

By on 6.29.06 | 5:21PM

My successors at the Mobile Register agree with my earlier post and a post by Dave Holman about a provision of the Voting Rights Act that, in contrast to the excellent rest of the act, really ought to be jettisoned. The Register adds a few facts I didn't know and haven't earlier reported. And one point I also did not make is that the sheer expense, in man-hours and paper and rigmarole, of the provision, at both the state and federal levels, is highly burdensome. Here's hoping Congress gets the Register's message.

Guilty in Alabama

By on 6.29.06 | 4:46PM

The Mobile Register reports that former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman has been found guilty on multiple counts, including bribery, in a long-running trial. Finally. And deservedly. The man has shown dishonesty again and again and again. The very first time I ever saw him in person, he looked directly into my eyes and told me a whopper of a lie. Good riddance to him.


By on 6.29.06 | 1:17PM

I haven't read the decision yet, and have no immediate plans to do so (it's 185 pages, and I'm busy with a long feature for a different magazine). But as with the McCain Amendment, I wonder if the effect of extending Geneva protections to al Qaeda won't be to encourage rendition of al Qaeda detainees to less scrupulous countries. That would be an unhappy result (from both a humanitarian and a strategic perspective), though without digging into the opinion I can't say if there might be a legislative or other policy remedy to the problems the case raises.

Hamdan; First reactions

By on 6.29.06 | 12:33PM

Dave: I don't read the Hamdan decison quite that way. First impressions (wading through the damned 185 pages) are that the Supremes:

1. specifically do not rule on the issue of Hamdan being a POW with rights under the Geneva Convention;

2. say that the urgency requirement justifying military tribunals in the field aren't present here, so the president lacks legislative authority to convene these tribunals; and

3. and most bizarrely, they say that the "non-signatory" provisions of the Geneva Conventions apply to al-Qaeda. That they do this, Stevens's opinion brushing by the point that al-Qaeda fails to comply with the terms of Geneva in any respect, is simply bizarre.

Al Qaeda as a Foreign State

By on 6.29.06 | 11:44AM

That is what the Supreme Court has apparently ruled today in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (pdf). The U.S. will be bound by the Geneva Convention in its war on al Qaeda -- even though al Qaeda is not party to the treaty.

Hopefully, President Bush has better lawyers than Harriet Miers who understand how to overcome this challenge.

No Blow Too Low

By on 6.29.06 | 11:12AM

The poisonous, threatening tone of the left is not confined to the Huffington Post. If you had any doubt after my report on the threatening phone calls to Swift Boat veterans, check out the comments on this post at a popular blog.