The Spectacle Blog

Superman’s Values

By on 6.30.06 | 7:47PM

The Hollywood Reporter article splashed on the Drudge Report right now contains a factual error: It's not true that "[e]ver since artist Joe Shuster and writer Jerry Siegel created the granddaddy of all comic book icons in 1932, Superman has fought valiantly to preserve 'truth, justice and the American way.'"

In fact, as Erik Lundegaard explains in a NYT op-ed today, Superman originally stood simply for "truth and justice." In the radio show that ran from 1940 to 1951, it became "truth, justice, and the American way" in 1942, then went back to simply "truth and justice" by 1944. In a 1948 screen serial, it was "truth, tolerance, and justice." On the 50s TV show, it was "truth, justice, and the American way" again. On the 1966 Saturday morning cartoon, it was "truth, justice, and freedom."

Ben’s Big Misconception

By on 6.30.06 | 6:13PM

Ben Stein writes in his column today:

You can't call members of various ethnic groups by slurring words that were common when I was a child. That's called hate speech, and it's barred by law in most if not all parts of the nation.
This is not true, and it's a little astonishing that Ben believes this. Hate speech is very much protected by the First Amendment, as affirmed most famously in National Socialist Party of America v. Skokie (Described here). Speech codes at public universities have also been found unconstitutional, most notably in the widely-cited 1989 federal district court case Doe v. University of Michigan.

I wrote about flag-burning last year.

Lipstick on a Pig

By on 6.30.06 | 5:02PM

I'll close this little tussle with Rep. Jack Kingston's office by congratulating them with utilizing the 'net to communicate with constituents (which they're quite good at doing themselves).

You can dress up a legislator all you want: in nice suits, with funny give-and-takes with Stephen Colbert, a genial presentation, video features, and more. Which is great, and even entertaining at times. But at the end of the day, it's a lot of work to obscure a mediocre conservative record -- like putting lipstick on a pig.

Reveal National Secrets, Get Invited to WH Dinner

By on 6.30.06 | 3:59PM

Evidently, it is politics as usual at the White House. President Bush hosted not only Prime Minister Koizumi but also journalists for newspapers which revealed the SWIFT program: the New York Times' David Sanger, and the Los Angeles Times' Doyle McManus. McManus has defended the publication the story for the L.A. Times.

Message from the White House: we're mad, but we leave it "on the field."

Will Conservatives Seize The Opportunity?

By on 6.30.06 | 1:39PM

I wonder if, instead of griping and complaining, our side should be sending the Supreme Court a thank you note for its Hamdan decision. Bear with me.

In today's giddy editorial lauding the decision, the Washington Post makes this observation:

The central part of the ruling declares that the special military commissions set up on President Bush's order to try alleged members of al-Qaeda are unlawful. It gives the administration a simple choice. It can proceed with cases under current law, using standard military courts-martial, which provide fuller procedural protections for the accused than do the commissions. Or it can go to Congress for specific authorization to deviate from those rules. [Emphasis added].

(The New York Times makes a similar argument today.)

Re: Jack’s Three Hats

By on 6.30.06 | 1:04PM

Dave, the simple fact is that Kingston has been infected by Potomac Fever. He not only enjoys spending Other People's Money, he also thinks that he knows what's best for the rest of us--witness his recent "Fuel Choices for American Security Act."

I, along with James Dellinger, have written about it here. In brief, Kington's bill decides the "right amount" of ethanol that the U.S. should use and the "right amount" of money that needs to be invested in electric/gas hybrid technology. Kingston likes to say that this bill gives the market a boost. At one of the press events promoting the bill (photo here) I asked why, if the ideas in the bill were so good, why wasn't the market already doing these things? I might as well have cracked a loud fart at a funeral.

Great Man, Good Man

By on 6.30.06 | 11:05AM

In the course of my normal web travels, I learned that Ed Capano, longtime publisher of National Review, is retired effective today. When I was just starting out in New York, I got to know Ed and will never forget how kind and helpful he was to me.

NRO has some great tributes up this morning.

God bless you, Ed. The movement is in your debt.

Jack’s Three Hats

By on 6.30.06 | 10:03AM

Jack Kingston fires back at conservative bloggers who questioned his commitment to eliminating wasteful pork and shrinking the size of goverment.

His press secretary implies that I thought he should "hide under a rock" and not expose sunlight. I meant that hiding under a rock would be in his best interests. Clearly, the taxpayers and conservative press benefit from Kingston being so blunt in his unwillingness to practice true fiscal discipline.