The Spectacle Blog

Yesterday, Joe Biden Insulted Ireland

By on 3.18.15 | 1:40PM

For those of you thinking that the Obama Administration's general Mean Girl-ish-ness over the Israeli election results (AND NONE FOR BIBI NETANYAHU) is the most egregious failure of our foreign policy this week, consider that we dispatched Joe Biden, our Vice President, one heartbeat away from the Presidency, to welcome the Irish Prime Minister and his wife to Washington in a joint celebration of St. Patrick's Day.

You may be asking, how, exactly, does one mess up a St. Patrick's Day celebration with actual Irish people? Sure, the tradition of wearing green tutus and drinking until passed out in a gutter is a uniquely American tradition, but that's a small defect in the otherwise incredibly close relationship between Ireland and a nation built by many of its expatriates. The answer to the question, though, is, of course, introducing Joe Biden.

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Donald Trump Forming Presidential Exploratory Committee

By on 3.18.15 | 1:22PM

Congratulations, America! Donald Trump is dropping the next season of his television show, The Apprentice, in order to figure out whether he'd like to serve you in our nation's highest office. 

This time, though, he's going one step further in his mission to rule us all with an iron hand and an impressive hair sculpture by forming an exploratory committee and picking up staffers in New Hampshire, one of the key primary states. Because if there's anything the Republican party needs right now, it's Donald Trump.

A senior adviser tells the New Hampshire Union Leader that Trump will not be renewing his contract with NBC for the reality television “Apprentice” series.

Combined with staff hires, Trump’s announcement that he will form an exploratory committee for the first time is a sign the billionaire is seriously considering running for the Republican nomination.

Trump’s statement on forming the exploratory committee hints at the razzle-dazzle to come for a turbo-charged personality known for skewering the political establishment.

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The EPA Wants To Watch You Shower

By on 3.18.15 | 1:04PM

If you're like me, a night away at a hotel means one thing: a long, hot shower. It's not that I want to deliberately drain a Holiday Inn's water heater of its supply, it's just that it's rare, when you live in an urban area and pay out the nose for your own water, to want to spend time cleaning yourself in it. And there's the added benefit, at hotels, of not being stared at awkwardly by a group of cats who don't understand the concept of bathroom doors, or why you would willingly subject yourself to water.

But, the luxury of the long, hot hotel shower may be yet another thing lost to the prying eye of Uncle Sam. Thanks to a new proposal from the EPA, a couple of fascinated felines may be the least of your worries. In an effort to get Americans to adjust their shower behavior, the government wants to cut you off, and in service of that goal, they'll be watching you shower.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants hotels to monitor how much time its guests spend in the shower.

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A Knee-Slapper of a Prospect

By on 3.18.15 | 12:38PM

TAMPA — Having been around political animals for the better part of a half-century, I know members of this peculiar species can convince themselves they can win elections that every other sentient being paying the slightest attention knows they have no chance at. Even knowing this, an item in the popular “Buzz” section of this morning’s Tampa Bay Times is a stunner.

Adam Smith, the Times political editor, is a sound reporter. So I don’t believe he’s just filling space on a slow news day. If he says Florida Governor Rick Scott is sounding out fundraisers on the possibility of Scott’s running for the U.S. Senate in 2018 when Democrat Bill Nelson’s third term expires, then Smith has some reason to believe this is so. But what a strange notion. It would be amusing if it weren’t so bizarre.

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Dems Block Human Trafficking Bill Because It Doesn’t Give Everyone Free Abortions

By on 3.18.15 | 12:25PM

We're trapped in a legislative conundrum stemming from Loretta Lynch's confirmation as head of the Department of Justice. As we get closer to that landmark vote, that will probably turn out to be an easy ride, anyway, complicated only by weeks of digging in heels over legislative minutiae, Democrats and Republicans are working to wrangle themselves into positions of power for any potential compromise.

Two weeks ago, the Justice for Victims in Trafficking Act had strong bipartisan support and it looked as though the bill would pass quickly, ushering in a few affiliated bills that would directly impact the way law enforcement handled victims of sex trafficking. The VTA itself created a sort-of "slush fund" of cash to fund victims services and law enforcement efforts, collected from the fines levied on traffickers during the judicial process. While Republicans apparently meant "victims services" to mean actual victims services, Democrats decided that "victims services" meant free abortions and so, it all fell apart.

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Andy Fraser, R.I.P.

By on 3.18.15 | 12:24PM

Bass player Andy Fraser passed away yesterday after a lengthy battle with AIDS and cancer. He was 62.

Fraser cut his musical teeth at the age of 15 with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers.

But he was best known for his days with Free. Fraser along with Free's lead singer Paul Rodgers co-wrote "All Right Now", a staple of classic rock.

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Terror in Tunisia - UPDATED

By on 3.18.15 | 10:42AM

Gunmen stormed one of Tunisia's largest museums killing eight people. Seven of the eight killed are believed to be foreign tourists. The gunmen have also taken an unknown number of hostages.

The museum is near Tunisia's parliament which was evacuated.

Although most people associate the Arab Spring with Egypt, it began in Tunisia. Unlike many of its neighbors, the transition to democracy in Tunisia has been successful enough for Freedom House to give it a free ranking, the first Arab country to ever earn such a distinction.

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Bibi Wins Big!!! UPDATED

By on 3.18.15 | 8:45AM

Let me do my best Daniel Bryan impersonation.

Yes!!! Yes!!! Yes!!!

While the exit polls indicated the Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud and the Zionist Camp led by Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog was virtually tied, by evening's end Likud had won 30 seats compared with 24 for the Zionist Camp. Herzog would concede defeat and Bibi has won his fourth term as Prime Minister. Only David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first Prime Minister has won more elections.

Bibi gambled and won.

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Two Household Names Bow Out

By on 3.17.15 | 10:07PM

TAMPA — Two of Florida’s household political name political figures have announced they will not seek the U.S. Senate seat Marco Rubio will almost certainly abandon to seek the presidency. Those who write snarky political columns — mentioning no names — will have to make do without the outrageousness of Congresswoman and Democratic National Committee chairwomanperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and without the unbearable lightness of Charlie Crist.

Wasserman Schultz announced Tuesday that she will seek re-election to her South Beach congressional seat. In a Facebook entry Monday Crist said he would not seek any political office in 2016. This is a bit surprising to those for whom Florida politics is a favorite indoor sport, as the 58-year-old Crist has done nothing but seek and hold political office since he was elected to the Florida Senate in 1992. And with Crist, the fact that he has said he will or won’t do something is no guarantee that he will or won’t do whatever it is he said he will or won’t do. 

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Rep. Aaron Schock to Resign

By on 3.17.15 | 6:48PM

Ah, Illinois.

We had just jogged past the two year anniversary of the last time a sitting Illinois politician entered a guilty plea on a Federal crime. Former Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. copped to a Federal wire and mail fraud charge on February 20, 2013. He was sentenced in August of 2013. And for two blissful years, we were free of the immediate taint of Federal corruption. At least, the current taint. 

And then, there's Rep. Aaron Schock, who, today, became the bazillionth Illinois politician to fall prey to the trappings of elected office. He will resign effective March 31, 2015.

Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock resigned Tuesday, less than 12 hours after POLITICO raised questions about tens of thousands of dollars in mileage reimbursements he received for his personal vehicle.

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