The Spectacle Blog

#FreakoutFriday: The ZIKA Virus!

By on 2.5.16 | 12:00PM

Who isn’t a little freaked out about Zika—the mosquito-transmitted infection common in Africa and Asia and now showing up in South America? The disease is horrifying; preying on the most vulnerable humans—fetuses still growing in their mother’s wombs. Sadly, mothers who become infected with Zika are giving birth to children with deformities and brain damage. Zika is expected to reach certain areas of the United States this spring. To date, there have been 31 reported cases of Zika in the U.S; each case involving tourists who contradicted the illness outside the United States, before returning home. 

While I’m not suggesting you should freak out about Zika, you should take precautions if you’re pregnant or plan to get pregnant in the near future (read this excellent essay for tips). Yet, what’s most frustrating and worthy of a freak out is that anti-GMO activists are urging governments to dismiss a potentially life-saving solution—genetically modified mosquitos.

Santorum Should Have Told Morning Joe How Rubio Weakened Obamacare

By on 2.5.16 | 10:16AM

After endorsing Marco Rubio's candidacy, Rick Santorum went on Morning Joe and couldn't name any of Rubio's accomplishments in the Senate.

It is utterly inexcusable on both Santorum's part for a lack of due diligence and on the part of the Rubio campaign for not having a key surrogate prepared. for tough questioning.

It's all the more inexcusable when one considers that Rubio has probably done more to make Obamacare fail than anyone on Capitol Hill.

After all, it was Rubio who cleverly inserted a provision in the Omnibus Spending Bill in 2014 which barred the federal government from bailing out health insurance companies in the so-called risk corridor fund saving taxpayers billions of dollars.

While it was a temporary provision, it did much to damage Obamacare and expose its lack of financial viability.

Maurice White, R.I.P.

By on 2.5.16 | 9:38AM

Maurice White, best known as the driving force behind Earth, Wind & Fire, passed away on Wednesday after a lengthy ordeal with Parkinson's Disease. He was 74.

White began his musical career as a session drummer in the early 1960's. You can hear White on drums on Fontella Bass' "Rescue Me".

White had a long standing association with jazz legend Ramsey Lewis. He would join the Ramsey Lewis Trio as its drummer in 1966 after Isaac Holt and Eldee Young left the group to form Young-Holt Unlimited. After three years with Lewis, White left to form what would eventually become Earth, Wind & Fire.

At the height of Earth, Wind & Fire's success, White would reunite with Lewis in the mid-1970's to co-produce three of his albums - Sun Goddess, Don't It Feel Good and my personal favorite Salongo.

White also worked with Deneice Williams and The Emotions.

Shrillary Returns; Hillary Accuses Bernie of Smearing Her in MSNBC Debate

By on 2.4.16 | 11:19PM

Against my better judgment I watched the Democrat debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on MSNBC. It will be difficult to fall asleep because I can't get Hillary's voice out of my ears.

The debate marked the return of Shrillary. The former Secretary of State was on the defensive about her links to Wall Street. At one point, she accused Bernie of deploying "an artful smear" against her for which drew her jeers from a mostly sympathetic crowd. If there is anyone in this country who knows about smearing people it is Hillary Clinton who then proceeded to suggest that Bernie was conspiring with Karl Rove against her and was responsible for the 2008 financial crisis. 

Donald Trump To Change Tactics in New Hampshire

By on 2.4.16 | 5:45PM

This afternoon, you may have seen a story that seems to say that Donald Trump has dropped 9 points in New Hampshire since Iowa. It's based on a Public Policy Polling infographic that seems to demonstrate a drastic drop in Donald-related interest, but it doesn't tell the whole story. 

The first poll was taken among people who self-identified as Republican. The second, lower poll, was taken among people who are routine caucus-goers. The number is lower, yes, but not for the reasons stated, though it does still demonstrate a systemic problem with Trump's campaign - the problem he and others probably feared: that fervor over his candidacy doesn't necessarily translate into votes.

Trump seems to have gotten the message in New Hampshire, but does he have enough time to successfully change course? 

Iowa Dem Who Won’t Release Caucus Results Has “HRC 2016” License Plate

By on 2.4.16 | 4:17PM

If you're still caught up on Trump's post-Iowa Twitter tantrum, you're missing the real major meltdown - the Democratic party's Iowa caucus nightmare. Votes aren't counted! Bernie Sanders is denied the win he truly deserves! Progressives are so livid they've cancelled drum circles and are planning massive protests in their respective University teachers lounges! They are loading up on Whole Foods Kombucha, rending their hemp sweaters and crashing their Subaru Outbacks into unsuspecting corn fields!

None of this is helped by the fact that the Iowa Democratic leadership refuses to release the raw vote totals, and instead, insists that Iowa caucus-goers should just "trust them" when it comes to Hillary's runaway win. While that's a suspicious request in and of itself, there's reason to believe the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy goes even deeper. It turns out that the Iowa Democratic Party chair, who refuses to release Monday's raw data, is an unabashed Hillary supporter whose license plate reads, "HRC 2016."

Carly Fiorina Should Be Included in This Saturday’s NH Debate

By on 2.4.16 | 4:01PM

Republicans will debate on Saturday night in New Hampshire. Aside from Jim Gilmore, the only Republican who has not been invited by ABC to participate in this debate is Carly Fiorina and she is not happy about it. In an open letter to the RNC, Fiorina writes:

To review, we beat Governors Christie and Kasich in Iowa this week when voters actually had their say. This campaign has the same number of delegates as Governors Bush and Kasich while Governor Christie has zero. We’re ahead of Dr. Carson in New Hampshire polling. We are 6th in hard dollars raised and have twice the cash on hand as either Governors Christie or Kasich. We are already on the ballot in 32 states, and there is a ground game with paid staff in 12 states. Yet, all of these candidates will be invited to the ABC debate. I will not.

Hillary Clinton Says “Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy” Still Exists

By on 2.4.16 | 1:45PM

This morning, the Des Moines Register officially called on Democratic party bigwigs to order a recount of Democratic ballots cast in Monday's Iowa Caucus. Apparently, the "quirky process" that they said led to the neck-and-neck result (which, apparently, came out in favor of Hillary Clinton, though no one seems to be able to say that with any clarity), was just a little too quirky for their taste - votes settled by coin flips, delegates seemingly assigned at random, a candidate who took credit for a win hours before anyone declared any official end to the process, and a sneaky suspicion that votes simply "went missing" in various urban precincts, all of whom, strangely, favored Bernie Sanders. 

Saloon Series — How Manhattan Made a Mockery of Prohibition

By on 2.4.16 | 12:08PM

"It should not be forgotten," writes historian Ellen NicKenzie Lawson, "that one possible derivation of the word Manhattan is the Native-American word manahachtanienk, which translates as 'place of general inebriation.'" It thus should not surprise that when the federal government imposed Prohibition, New York City became the nation's biggest scofflaw.

Drinking was a normal daily activity for many city dwellers. The poor drank in rough taverns and the working classes in beer saloons. The rich and learned had opulent clubs like the Union Club (est. 1836) and Century Association (est. 1847) where they could knock back Madeira, Champagne and anything else their bellies desired.

Hillary Claims She Wasn’t Planning to Run for President When She Accepted $675,000 From Goldman Sachs

By on 2.3.16 | 11:42PM

Against my better judgment, I watched the Democrat Town Hall on CNN hosted by Anderson Cooper. The event was broadcast in Derry, New Hampshire. 

While I think Hillary Clinton acquitted herself better than her appearance at an Iowa town hall event last week, she actually claimed that when she accepted $675,000 to make speeches to Goldman Sachs she wasn't thinking about running for President.

If I were living in New Hampshire and found out Hillary was coming to my neighborhood, I would lock up all my wordly possessions. 

Hillary Clinton has spent every waking moment of the past 15 years thinking about being President of the United States. 

Say what you will about Bernie Sanders. Much of what he says is wrong and most of his policies will not work out as he hopes. But never for a moment do I think Bernie is lying. 

When it comes to Hillary, every word out of her mouth including it and is are probably lies.