The Spectacle Blog

Season Five, Episode Five

By on 1.23.06 | 10:10AM

Tonight 24 returns to its normal once-a-week, one-hour regular episode schedule (woe is us!). After four hours, 15 terrorists done away with, two girlfriends, the detection of a new mole, and Jack's return to vigilante/CTU agent status, the next hour should set the stage for the rest of the season -- trying to stop the release of a chemical weapon attack.

In case you have missed a few episodes here and there (shame on you), catch up with Paul Beston's insightful analysis of the show, from our July/August issue.

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March for Life

By on 1.23.06 | 9:45AM

In less than 90 minutes the annual March for Life marking the anniversary of Roe v. Wade gets underway on Constitution Avenue along the Mall in Washington, D.C. Local coverage has been skimpy and rather insulting. The Washington Times's metro section item, "Life March to Shut Roads" (in Washington traffic is the one vital issue), underscores that some "19 surveillance cameras" have been set up along the route "to watch for suspicious activity during the March for Life rally and any counterdemonstrations." The idea that pro-lifers, the most pleasant and normal of protesters imaginable, would need to be monitored speaks volumes about the many warps in our culture. But at least the Times saw fit to publish the name of the march. The Washington Post couldn't bring itself to do that. Its item, headlined "Abortion Opponents to Mark Roe v. Wade," says nothing about surveillance. But neither does it use the word "life" even once.

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Re: Stuck on Stupid

By on 1.23.06 | 9:17AM

Dave: You're dead bang right on all but one point. They ain't the Boys of '92. They're the Girlie Men of 1968. And they always will be.

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Re: Stuck on Stupid

By on 1.23.06 | 9:01AM

Jed, I was fortunate enough to miss Meet the Press. But I was flipping through books at Borders yesterday and came across the Carville/Begala screed. Those guys usually have pragmatic, quality prescriptions for the Democrats, but the book is a disappointment. It's safe to say they're drinking the Kool-Aid. The book is Democrat talking points, even getting so lazy as to recite the Valerie-Plame-was-outed-by-a-meanie-administration talking points. That pseudo-scandal isn't sticking outside the Beltway. But chances are, the Boys of '92 won't sell many copies in flyover country.

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Stuck on Stupid

By on 1.23.06 | 7:38AM

For those of you fortunate enough to have missed Meet the Press yesterday, Paul Begala and James Carville were there to flack their new book on how to revive the Dems. But their prescription cannot survive their own mindset.

Carville insisted that the Dems' problem is not that they're too liberal, but that they were ineffective in getting their message out in way people can understand. Begala, of course, agreed. What these guys are wilfully ignorant of is the fact that the American people understand them all too well. Unreconstructed McGovernite liberalism don't sell, especially in time of war. You can shout it from the rooftops, but they won't believe you. Which bodes well for '08.

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Pro Bono Whose Publico?

By on 1.22.06 | 6:28PM

It’s a curious phenomenon of the law. The bigger the client and the bigger the law firm, the less likely one really knows what the other is doing. Take the business of pro bono publico (for the public’s benefit) representation, or “pro bono” in legal jargon. Lawyers -- yes, even lawyers -- want to perform charitable acts. So many lawyers and many law firms donate a portion of their time every year to represent those who cannot afford representation. They still get paid because their law firms are getting paid for the rest of their work and the work of the lawyers who aren’t doing their pro bono turn.

So the law firms' other clients are picking up the tab for the pro bono work, and many take pride in what their lawyers do. But one wonders what clients would think of their lawyers doing pro bono work for terrorists?

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Barghouti wins, Israel loses

By on 1.22.06 | 3:34PM

The Palestinian parliamentary elections on Wednesday January 25, 2006, will deliver a triumph for the terror gang of Hamas, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Tehran-Damascus-Cairo axis powers, and will deliver a mortal blow to the kidney-failing Fatah under insufferable Mahmud Abbas and his kleptocratic cronies.

The US State Department, backing Fatah and Abbas with cash and policy, is at the doorstep of a policy vacuum in the region. Abbas cannot and does not know how to form a coalition of Fatah and Hamas, and will be in the stupid position of denying democracy and fair election results in order to please his US-EU masters who are preaching democracy for the Ummah. Cancel democracy to suck up to democracy?? Abbas is more compromised than a rifle company raised in Hollywood.

What will follow the January 25 results, with Hamas commanding 50 or 60 seats in the 132 member PA parliament, will be farce, doggerel, shameless doubletalk as only the mumbles society at State can manage.

But is there no future for Fatah?

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If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Pay The Opposition

By on 1.22.06 | 9:50AM

The dark humor of Batchelor's high and wild prose poetry on Syria, below, gets one feeling like a doomed revolutionary, and the fun of revolutions is to be had in "letting the chips fall where they may." Overturning the status quo, as an analytical imperative, can be eclipsed by a second-order emotional imperative upon realizing that whether or not one wins or loses is still entirely up for grabs. What one was willing to do to start a revolution often falls short of what one is willing to do to win it -- kicking over the status quo creates policy options by creating chaos, and a certain improvisory spirit is demanded.

So after championing Palestininan democracy, America turns to USAID to funnel $2 million into Fatah, hoping, suddenly rather desperately, to fend off a big victory for Hamas at the polls. "U.S. and Palestinian officials," the Washington Post reports, "say they fear the election, scheduled for Wednesday, will result in a large Hamas presence in the 132-seat legislature."

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John Kerry at Tora Bora

By on 1.21.06 | 5:50PM

"Isn't it time we had the truth? Yes or no, did Osama Bin Laden escape from Tora Bora in 2001?" -- John Kerry, Daily Kos, January 20, 2005

John Kerry, the world famous Francophiliac junior senator from Massachusetts, now begins blogging at the cozy Dem cave of Daily Kos with the same high dudgeon of his late campaign.

It is strangely nostalgiac to hear John Kerry's rightous tone sound exactly the same today as it did the last time he was on the stump, November 2, 2004. It feels fourteen months as if it is fourteen minutes, because he launches into the podium pounding mode about Osama Bin Laden, Tora Bora, what Bush didn't do, war on terror, yes or no, war, war, bring it on, me, Bush, me.

The Kerry charge, from the last weeks of the campaign, as I best recall it, since it seems like last year's runner up movie for the Golden Globes, is that George Bush ran down and trapped the scared, hallucinatory, mass-murdering OBL in the perilous landscape of the Tora Bora mountains in November and December, 2001, and then, because George Bush is a wimpy, stupid, slab-sided, Cheney-creepy commander in chief, George Bush let OBL get away.

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Dead Arafat, Live Casus Belli

By on 1.21.06 | 3:37PM

In Damascus, the usually unoriginal and clumsy Bashar al-Assad now announces a shrewd, dangerous new game when he charges that Israel assassinated the dead Egyptian national Yasser Arafat.

"Among the many assassinations that Israel has carried out in a systemic and organized manner, the most dangerous one was the assassination of Arafat." He adds, "This was done secretly, under the watching eyes of the world. But no country responded -- as if nothing happened at all."

This is not the idle blame-shifting of a rascal. I read al-Assad's charge as a cunning invention of a useful casus belli to attack Israel and its supervisors the U.S., the UN, and anyone of the road map that want to get in the way. Since Damascus and Tehran routinely pay for and order attacks on Israel already, Bashar al-Assad is not searching for a reason to attack, he is naming the reason to continue the attacks, to increase the pace going into the March elections in Israel

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