The Spectacle Blog

James Garner, R.I.P.

By on 7.20.14 | 11:09PM

Actor James Garner passed away of natural causes yesterday. He was 86.

Garner is best known for his work on TV with his portrayal of Bret Maverick in Maverick and Jim Rockford in The Rockford Files. However, Garner also enjoyed a successful film career with roles in The Great Escape, Victor Victoria, Murphy's Romance (a role which garnered him his only Oscar nomination), an updated version of Maverick with Mel Gibson and The Notebook. My Dad mentioned a film called 36 Hours in which he plays a military intelligence officer who is brainwashed into thinking WWII has ended in an effort by the Germans to extricate information about the D-Day invasion. 

I also remember the Polaroid commercials he did with Mariette Hartley.

There was an ease in his manner that made his acting natural and without pretension. It was this ease that enabled him to resonate with generations of TV and movie viewers and will continue to do so despite the fact he is no longer with us.

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Is Huston Street Heading Down the Road?

By on 7.19.14 | 1:18AM

It is being reported that the San Diego Padres have traded closer Huston Street to the Los Angeles Angels.

Yet I am watching the Mets-Padres game as I write this and as of a few minutes ago, Street was in the bullpen in a Padres uniform. 

But if he is heading down the road it will have happened days after being at the All-Star Game for the second time in his career although he did not get into the game. 

The Angels bullpen has been the weak link in an otherwise revitalized team. When Ernesto Frieri struggled, he was traded to the Pirates for Jason Grilli who has largely filled a set up role for Joe Smith. Although Street has had a good year in San Diego I'm not sure he'll be much of an improvement over Smith who has 15 saves. Street is pitching in his 10th big league season. He won the AL Rookie of the Year in 2005 while a member of the Oakland A's. Street later pitched for the Colorado Rockies before becoming a member of the Padres in 2012. 

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Obama Calls Out Putin Over Plane Crash

By on 7.18.14 | 2:55PM

President Obama called out Russian President Vladimir Putin for escalating the conflict in eastern Ukraine during an address to the White House press corps on the downed Malaysia Airlines passenger jet late Friday morning. He described the event as “an outrage of unspeakable proportions,” though he said at this time only one American citizen is known to have been aboard the aircraft.

He confirmed that Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 “was shot down over Ukraine near the Russian border,” adding that American intelligence found that “evidence indicates the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile that was launched from an area that is controlled by Russian-backed separatists.” The president was careful to not assign direct blame for the shooting, but did enumerate the recent spate of aircraft downed by militia-launched missiles. He pointed out, however, that the separatists were supported by Russia and could not engage in the level of military action they had achieved without Russian weapons and training.

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Morning Round-Up 7-18

By on 7.18.14 | 9:51AM

Feature of the Day: After the Crash

 

Morning Headlines

 

Domestic                                                          

   

Associated Press

1. Putin Urges Ceasefire

2.  Israel Deepens Gaza Push to Destroy Hamas Tunnels

 

Politico

1. Dem Base: Fine With Clinton, Pining For Warren

2.  Plane Crash Builds Pressure on West Over Ukraine

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Just Ask Jen: Nothing Going On in the World

By on 7.18.14 | 8:31AM

Fortunately, because there is nothing important happening on the international stage, State Dept. Spokesperson/political hack Jen Psaki was able to offer a very significant, dare I say earth-shaking, tweet on Thursday evening:

https://twitter.com/statedeptspox/status/489944158203703296

I sorta wonder if she's going to delete it, though that might look just as bad at this point.

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What Does Jon Stewart Have Against Israel?

By on 7.17.14 | 11:17PM

Molly Wharton of NRO draws our attention to a Jon Stewart bit that is quite unsympathetic to Israel concerning its current conflict with Hamas. She provides a link to an editorial written by David Horovitz of the Times of Israel which makes mincemeat of Stewart's claims.  Stewart's invective against Israel comes as no surprise. Consider how Stewart framed a question about Israel to NBC's David Gregory in January 2009 shortly before the Obama Administration took office:

STEWART: Why can't American politicians criticize Israel in any way for their behavior? I'm watching these shows and there's not one person who's going, hey, this is kind of complex. Hey, Hamas is a bad actor. They shouldn't be throwing missiles. But the treatment of the Palestinian people the last 50 years. Not so nice either. 

 

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Charlie Checks the Boxes

By on 7.17.14 | 9:48PM

Charlie Crist, most recently and currently of the Democratic Party, has chosen a running mate in his likely race against incumbent Republican Florida governor Rick Scott. She is Annette Taddeo-Goldstein, chairwomanperson of the Miami-Dade County Democratic Party.

Taddeo-Goldstein operates her own translation business. Her place on the ticket, assuming, as is likely, Crist defeats life-time Democrat Nan Rich in the August primary, ticks several political boxes. She is a popular Hispanic woman in a Democrat-rich county that Crist must win big in order to have a chance against Scott.

Because Scott is not against ticking a few boxes himself, Florida will almost certainly still have a Hispanic lieutenant governor next year as Scott recently appointed former Miami-Dade property appraiser Carlos Lopez-Cantera to this essentially superfluous post. The job became available when Scott’s previous identity appointment, black woman Jennifer Carroll, did not work out and she resigned.  

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Nuclear Weapons Are Against Shiite Islam

By on 7.17.14 | 5:51PM

"Tales of 1001 Nights" (which, ironically enough, is not respected as fine literature in the Middle East itself) is the story of an ancient Persian king. In a fit of disillusioned anger, the king declares he will marry a new maiden every evening and execute her the next morning. He is thwarted when one bride distracts him with a story that never seems to end properly. The king is too eager to hear the story's end to kill the storyteller, and his wife saves her life by telling an endless spiral of stories for 1,001 nights. 

The land of Persia is now called Iran, and its nuclear negotiations with the West don't look any more likely to end by the July 20 deadline than Princess Shaharazad's stories were to end at daybreak. Iran has more than hinted at an extension of the planned six months of negotiations with Western powers in Vienna, reported Reuters. 

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Another IRS Hearing Leaves Questions Unanswered

By on 7.17.14 | 3:31PM

In another House Oversight Committee hearing today, Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole was subpoenaed to testify. Cole was specifically asked to answer questions about the investigation of the IRS by the Department of Justice.

Congressman Jim Jordan, who was chairing the hearing, opened with a strong statement condemning the DOJ’s lack of response to the allegations against the IRS:

Four days after the IRS leaked they were targeting conservatives, the DOJ under Holder said they were outraged and were going to investigate. That was last May and we have heard nothing more. How much more will it take for the administration to appoint a special prosecutor?

The ranking member, Elijah Cummings, said Republicans were only being zealous because they were looking for an opportunity to attack the administration and find a conspiracy theory:

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Passenger Jet Shot Down in Eastern Ukraine

By on 7.17.14 | 1:48PM

Malaysia Airlines lost a plane in Ukrainian airspace near the Ukraine-Russia border Thursday. The company’s official Twitter page posted at 11:36 a.m. EST that it had “lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam." Reuters reported that all 295 people aboard are dead. The jet came down over Donetsk, a pro-Russian Ukrainian separatist stronghold, crashing some twenty-five miles from the Russian border. The Russian news source Interfax reportedly broke the story citing Russian aviation officials. Its website was inaccessible as the story broke. The Associated Press reports that Anton Gerashenko, Ukraine’s interior minister, wrote on his Facebook profile that it was shot down by a Buk missile system.

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