The Spectacle Blog

Preemptive Reading

By on 11.30.05 | 9:41AM

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in a recent interview, defended the Administration's policy of detaining potential terrorists, as a necessary component of the "War on Terror." Apparently Administration policy wonks have been re-reading works by 19th-century philosopher Jeremy Bentham, who advocated arresting people from groups with a tendency to commit crimes. Bentham also advocated torture as a means of securing "confessions."

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Today’s Speech on Iraq

By on 11.30.05 | 8:16AM

The president will outline his strategy for winning in Iraq today in what is being billed as a major speech to be delivered at the US Naval Academy. According to information being released by the White House, the president will say that victory in Iraq comes in three parts:

*Short term, Iraq is making steady progress in fighting terrorists, meeting political milestones, building democratic institutions, and standing up security forces.

*Medium term, Iraq is in the lead defeating terrorists and providing its own security, with a fully constitutional government in place, and on its way to achieving its economic potential.

*Longer term, Iraq is peaceful, united, stable, and secure, well integrated into the international community, and a full partner in the global war on terrorism.

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390-Horsepower Lawn Ornament Contest

By on 11.30.05 | 7:19AM

Duane Patterson, one of the evil geniuses behind the Hugh Hewitt Show, picked up on the idea of using my new car as a lawn ornament. If you are adept at photoshopping, and want to win a Crosley Solo radio for your imaginative entry, check out the contest we're running on Some of these are pretty funny. Duane will pick the top ten and post them separately for a listeners' vote to pick the winner. Have at it, folks.

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Last Blog Before One-Handedness

By on 11.30.05 | 5:31AM

In about 20 minutes, I'll leave my desk for minor shoulder surgery which will put me in a sling for a few weeks. How I'll manage to type, which is life itself for me, I don't know.

So a last blog note before going under. On Yesterday's "On Point" broadcast on NPR, host Tom Ashbrook introduced a show about what he called "a sickening culture of corruption" in the Republican party. I do not sympathize with bribe-takers like Randy "Duke" Cunningham, but I do want to remind Mr. Ashbrook of an earlier Presidential administration. Maybe three names will do the trick: Mochtar Riady, John Huang, Ron Brown.

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Post-Duke Appropriations

By on 11.29.05 | 3:08PM

Now that "Top Gun" has flown the coop, the interesting stuff begins.

Republicans in the House we are talking to say that the Cunningham exit will be the first real test to see how much influence Leader in Limbo Tom Delay actually still has.

Duke Cunningham had a seat on House Appropriations, and now that seat is up for grabs. The thinking is that another California Republican will get it, but word out of leadership office is that that seat is not necessarily a lock for a Left Coast heiney. Appropriations Committee chair, Jerry Lewis, a Californian, has told other committee members that he intends to fight hard to keep Cunningham's seat in California's grips.

Acting majority leader Roy Blunt is said to be pushing to give the Approps seat to a loyal Republican not necessarily from California, though no names have yet been floated. Obviously, Appropriations seats are some of the most coveted in the House.

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My Tai

By on 11.29.05 | 2:54PM

Put aside the indictments, scandals, and tearful confessions for a moment. "Cute" is not usually a word attributable to almost anything here in DC. But today, the Tai Shan countdown begins. And "cute" is merely one adjective for this newest resident of Washington. D.C's pandas-on-loan from China have paid off in PR, if not in tax dollars, for Washington. Tai Shan (meaning "peaceful mountain" -- yes, yes, the name has evoked lots of chatter in the capital), our little panda, was born to proud parents four months ago, and he will make his inaugural public appearance next week. What an auspicious, harmonious, prosperous, and blessed event this Inauguration will be, for who can possibly hate a little panda?

To see a pre-public video clip, click here.

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Merry Holiday

By on 11.29.05 | 2:49PM

I must say I am encouraged by the backlash I sense this year against the nutty, runaway trend in our society whereby the term "Christmas" continues to be replaced with the word "Holiday." From the protests against Wal-Mart, to Speaker Denny Hastert's laudable recent order that the Capitol Christmas Tree -- re-named the Capitol Holiday Tree a few years back -- be restored to its proper name, to FNC's near-obsession with the issue, it's just nice to see that not everyone is willing to tolerate this nonsense anymore.

Sure we've got a long way to go on this one, but at least the creatures are stirring, so to speak...

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Today on the Hugh Hewitt Show

By on 11.29.05 | 1:14PM

I'm subbing for Hugh again today, 6-9 p.m. on Salem Radio nationwide.

We'll be talking about the daily stuff, but this one takes the cake. Our fave Promise Maker -- Sen. Ernst Stavro Spectre -- is now saying that Terrell Owens is being treated too harshly by the NFL. Republicans seem tolerant of his, ah, flexible compliance with the promises he's made on everything from judicial confirmations (several of which are held up in Committee and between Committee and the floor) and he's apparently holding up the reauthorization of the Patriot Act by his single refusal to sign the conference report.

Those actions directly conflict with the promises he made to get the committee chairmanship. Bad enough, no? But now he's interfering with the NFL. This man has to be stopped.

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Lieberman on Iraq

By on 11.29.05 | 12:31PM

Sen. Joe Lieberman's piece in today's WSJ is both right on the substance and enormously important. He is right in saying we can't cut and run, and explains why quite well. The piece is important because it shows that there still are Democrats who aren't giving in, as Jack Murtha did, to the vast majority of their leaders who believe the only answer to Iraq is to create another Vietnam.

But Lieberman's money quote is not on those central points at all. At the end of the article, he quotes past of a conversation he had with a Marine commander:

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