The Spectacle Blog

By the Numbers

By on 2.17.15 | 1:09PM

The New York Yankees have more non-working numbers than Ma Bell. The team has most recently announced that three more uniform numbers are going on the shelf permanently, those worn by Bernie Williams (51), Andy Pettitte (46), and Jorge Posada (20).

These are all worthy players, but all short of Hall of Fame credentials. And Pettitte didn’t even spend his entire career with the Pin Stripes. So, with no disrespect meant to these three fine ballplayers, it’s reasonable to ask, where does this stop? And at a certain point, what will the Yankees do for uniform numbers for current players?

Before this week’s announcement, the Yankees has already retired 18 uniform numbers, including all of the single digits (They’re all here if you’re curious — Derek Jeter’s #2 isn’t on the list yet but soon will be). Now the team is up to 21 numbers off the training table.

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NYT: Anger of Danish Jihadist “Loosely Tied to Islam”

By on 2.17.15 | 1:02PM

Omar al-Hussein, the Danish jihadist who shot and killed two people at a free speech conference and a synagogue in Copenhagen, got a write up in The New York Times yesterday. The headline reads:

Anger of Suspect in Danish Killings Is Seen Only as Loosely Tied to Islam

The article, co-written by Andrew Higgins and Melissa Eddy, begins by quoting a Danish sociologist named Aydin Soei who had met Hussein while studying Danish inner cities in 2008 which eventually led to a book called Angry Young Men:

As the authorities across Europe try to figure out how radical Islam turns a tiny but dangerous minority of young Muslims into terrorists, Mr. Soei, the sociologist, said that Mr. Hussein, 22, was an exemplar of a phenomenon of Europe’s urban neighborhoods, not a product of the teachings of the Quran or their distortions by militant preachers.

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White House To Tackle Extremism on Social Media, Just Not that Kind

By on 2.17.15 | 1:02PM

Today, the White House kicks off a three day journey, deep into the bowels of social media, to root out and discuss the origins and spread of extremism in places like Facebook and Twitter. The Social Media Summit will feature officials and experts from 60 countries, and will focus on how social media creates the perfect environment to foster rhetoric that leads to violence and how economically marginalized people are targeted through social media to join up with extremist groups.

Unfortunately, while there is plenty of evidence that terrorists, generally, and ISIS, specifically recruit and network on social media (a friend of mine even had an ISIS fighter comment on a very lovely photo of her dog just recently), the White House will turn the summits attention to more pressing issues in the social media sphere, like how to use celebrities to reach out to communities suffering from terribly high unemployment, and how to make "hastag activism" more effective

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Protesters March On Scott Walker’s Parents Home For Some Reason

By on 2.17.15 | 12:04PM

Yesterday, a group of Wisconsin "college students" (and paid union activists) who should have been studying, celebrated Presidents Day by marching on Scott Walker's Wisconsin home, while shouting a bunch of slogans they must have picked up from their Vietnam Era professors and holding signs demanding that their four-year universities receive more public funding because they simply cannot afford to finance their Native People Gender Studies degrees all on their own.

The rousing group of 100 marched around for hours in the cold, presumably to convince Gov. Walker, by shouting at him, that they deserved more money to fund teachers, so that they could pay dues to their union, so that the union could continue to spend money marching around for hours in the cold shouting for more money. 

Rallying against Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed state budget, more than 100 protesters gathered outside of his Wauwatosa home from about 5:10 to 5:25 p.m. Monday.

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Fed. Court Blocks Executive Amnesty. For Now

By on 2.17.15 | 12:00PM

The Obama White House may be preoccupied with trying to figure out how best to water down Middle Eastern conflicts into mere questions of unemployment, and busy putting together the First Lady's schedule for her whirlwind round of vacations ahead of retirement, but they'll also have to scramble their lawyer corps this morning, as a Federal District Court judge in Texas has issued a temporary injunction on Barack Obama's executive amnesty order

The order will halt execution of any of the program's initiatives, some of which were scheduled to start this week. It could yet be stayed by the Fifth Circuit (even by tonight, if things move really quickly), but for now, the Administration will need to come up with a Plan B. 

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Wendell Kim, R.I.P.

By on 2.17.15 | 9:30AM

Wendell Kim, who served as a third base coach for the San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs, died on Sunday of Alzheimer's. He was 64.

Usually you don't notice third base coaches. But Kim was hard to miss. He was the first Korean to ever put on a big league uniform, usually the shortest guy on the field and the most demonstrative. Kim sent baserunners home with reckless abandon. It was not unusual for the runners he sent to get thrown out at home plate and I saw more than my share at Fenway Park the first year I began attending games in 2000. This earned him the simultaneously affectionate and derisive nickname "Wave 'Em Home Wendell".

But Kim paid his dues. He spent nearly two decades in the Giants' minor league system as a player, coach and manager before getting the call in 1989. That year, the Giants would win the NL pennant. He would never get back to the Fall Classic, but he spent 15 seasons on big league fields. I'm sure there are a lot of folks out there who would gladly trade places with him.

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Lesley Gore, R.I.P.

By on 2.16.15 | 9:48PM

Singer Lesley Gore passed away today of lung cancer. She was 68.

Born Lesley Goldstein in Brooklyn, Gore would hit the top of the charts at the age of 16 with "It's My Party".

Although she would never record another number one song, she did have a string of Top 20 hits during the 1960s including "Judy's Turn to Cry", "You Don't Own Me" and the Marvin Hamlisch penned "Sunshine, Lollipops & Rainbows". Gore also occasionally acted appearing in two episodes of Batman.

In 1980, Gore and her younger brother Michael were nominated for an Academy Award for co-writing the song "Out Here on My Own" for the film Fame. During the '80s and '90s, Gore was a fixture on the oldies circuit. In the last decade of her life, much of Gore's public activity revolved around LGBT issues after revealing she was a lesbian in 2005.

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Sisi Stands Up For Coptic Christians; Launches Airstrikes Against ISIS

By on 2.16.15 | 8:41PM

In retaliation for the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians by ISIS in Libya, Egypt has launched airstrikes against ISIS targets in Libya. 

What I think is extraordinary about this retaliation is that Egypt is doing this on behalf of a religious minority that has not traditionally enjoyed much esteem in Egyptian society. I cannot imagine Hosni Mubarak being moved to this kind of action had he still be in power. But General Sisi has cultivated good relations with the Copts and now he is standing with them in their hour of need.  

While it's heartening to see both Jordan and Egypt standing firm, the United States needs to be all in and the Obama Administration's AUMF is barely going through the motions.

 

 

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It Looks Like Obama Thinks The Beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians is Random Too

By on 2.16.15 | 8:19PM

When President Obama commented Friday on the Chapel Hill shootings in which three Muslims were murdered in cold blood he made a point of stating, "No one in the United States of America should be targeted because of who they are, what they look like or how they worship."

If only the President could imagine the same level of passion when people are murdered because they are Jewish or Christian. 

As we are painfully aware, Obama could not bring himself  to characterize the murder of four Jews who were murdered at the Hyper Cacher grocery store in Paris as anti-Semitic.

Well, nor does it seem, is the Obama White House capable of acknowledging the beheading of Egyptian Christians in Libya. The Obama Administration only acknowledges them as "Egyptian citizens". At least, the White House didn't call the act random - yet.

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Long Pants Wouldn’t Hurt Either

By on 2.16.15 | 8:01PM

It’s rare that one has a chance to strike a blow for civilization while on a late afternoon exercise walk. But I have just enjoyed such an opportunity.

At about minute 20 into my walk, and while I was listening to a book on CDs on my old Sony Walkman, a 40ish fellow wearing shorts, a T-shirt, and a baseball cap with the bill pointed backwards, carrying some circulars, said to me as I approached, “If you live around here I’d like to talk to you about being your city councilman.”

I don’t know this guy from Adam’s housecat, and my area of South Tampa is represented by a popular Democrat who is going to win the council seat easily. So it really doesn’t matter who this solicitor is. But what a strange costume for a guy fishing for votes other than at a high school or at a shopping mall game room. So as I passed him I said, “Now’s not a good time, as you can see. But here’s some free political advice. There are mostly adults behind the doors you’re knocking on here, so turn your damn baseball cap around frontwards.”

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