The Spectacle Blog

Study Finds John Kerry Worst Secretary of State In the History of Ever

By on 2.5.15 | 1:18PM

We all knew it. Even he probably knew it. But now, there's scientific proof.

John Kerry is the worst Secretary of State in history according to a survey of professors at the top 25 foreign policy schools conducted by Foreign Policy Magazine, losing out, even, to "Don't Know."

Foreign Policy magazine this week announced the results of its 2014 Ivory Tower survey of 1,615 international relations scholars from 1,375 U.S. colleges.

One question they were asked was: “Who was the most effective U.S. secretary of state of the past 50 years?

The winner? Nobel Peace Prize winner Henry A. Kissinger, who was secretary for four years during the Nixon and Ford administrations. Since the Vietnam thing didn’t turn out so well, the scholars must have been grading him on openings to China and the Soviet Union when he was at the National Security Council?

Kissinger got 32.21 percent, extraordinary in such a large field.

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Hillary Clinton’s Million-Dollar Air Travel

By on 2.5.15 | 1:00PM

Hillary Clinton is, maybe not best know for her utter destitution upon her husband leaving office in the early 2000s, but may be most recently known for her claim that she and Bill struggled desperately to make ends meet once they were relegated to only two homes and lucrative speaking tours that paid in the six figures per appearance. 

It now seems that those hard times were even shorter than previously imagined. Starting with her campaign for President in 2007, Hillary Clinton may have been chowing down on ramen noodles and buying pantsuits made of polyester instead of silk shantung, but she wasn't skimping on air travel

Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney each finished second in their party’s primaries when they ran for president in 2008, but they took dramatically different routes to arrive at the same result — literally, in a way.

A deeper look into the candidates’ campaign expenditures reveals that Clinton spent more than nine times as much as Romney did on private jets during the 2008 race.

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NBC’s Brian Williams Probably Didn’t Get Shot At In Iraq

By on 2.5.15 | 11:23AM

There are a lot of things from my earlier years I don't really remember orrectly, largely due to a mix of Country Time Lemonade and cheap vodka, but they're mostly innocous things, like how the cat ended up with a red wine stain on its back, how my furniture ended up in that particular formation, or whether Chicago's baseball team had, in fact, won the World Series sometime in April of 2009. I think, though, if I'd been shot at in a helicopter while covering a story in Iraq, I'd have remembered it correctly. It seems like a big event that people could corroborate, right, so that even if I wasn't clear on the details, someone who'd been there would be.

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Ben Carson Injects Dose of Reason Into Vaccine Discussion

By on 2.4.15 | 2:57PM

I have very strong reservations about the viability of Ben Carson as a presidential candidate. While there are silly and stupid things happening in this country, America ain't Nazi Germany.

Nevertheless, I am glad to see that Carson has injected a dose of reason into the hysteria over vaccines:

Certain communicable diseases have been largely eradicated by immunization policies in this country and we should not allow those diseases to return by foregoing safe immunization programs, for philosophical, religious or other reasons when we have the means to eradicate them.

In recent days, both Chris Christie and Rand Paul (who are usually on the opposite side of things) have both taken heat on comments they have made that vaccines should be voluntary rather than mandatory. Paul got into a shouting match with CNBC's Kelly Evans about it a couple of days ago in which he claimed that vaccines caused "profound mental disorders" in some children.

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Sir Martin Gilbert, R.I.P.

By on 2.4.15 | 12:32PM

British historian Sir Martin Gilbert passed away yesterday after a lengthy illness. He was 78.

Gilbert is best known for being the official biogrpaher of Sir Winston Churchill. Shortly after Churchill's death in 1965, Gilbert was approached by the former Prime Minister's son Randolph Churchill to assist him on writing his father's biography. He would become Churchill's official biographer following Randolph Churchill's death in 1968. Gilbert would go on to write 30 books about Churchill and wrote 80 books in all.

In addition to Churchill, Gilbert also wrote extensively about WWI, WWII, The Holocaust, Jewish history and also published historical atlases. Gilbert would be appointed by then British Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2009 to the Chilcot Inquiry which looked into Britain's role in the War in Iraq.

To give you a taste of Gilbert's writing, here is an essay he wrote about The Final Solution from The Oxford Companion to World War II. It begins:

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Ted Cruz Smoked Pot in High School

By on 2.4.15 | 11:44AM

I feel like this has been the week where Presidential contenders drop information about themselves that they feel to be controversial. After all, with the advent of the Internet, October surprises have gotten lamer and lamer, and it's best to get the real stuff out of the way when everyone is fully obsessed with, say, Rand Paul's somewhat-incoherent position on the potential for vaccine injuries. 

Ted Cruz, fearing that the limelight had left his little corner of the high school auditorium, decided this morning to announce that, this one time, at band camp, he tried marijuana. And like the clean-cut 1950s sitcom child he was and is, he hated it and never smoked it again.

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, known for brandishing his staunchly conservative views, coughed up to smoking marijuana as a teenager, NBC News has confirmed.

A spokesperson told the Daily Mail on Tuesday that the potential 2016 presidential candidate tried it in his teens, but did not elaborate on how many times.

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Dead Argentine Prosecutor Drew Up Arrest Warrant for President Fernandez-Kirchner

By on 2.4.15 | 11:20AM

The death of Argentinian prosecutor Alberto Nisman has taken another twist.

A draft of an arrest warrant for Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Foreign Minister Nestor Timerman and several other top government officials was found in a trash can in Nisman's apartment. It should be noted these warrants did not make it into the Nisman's final report.

These revelations come only days after an Argentinian judge declined to hear allegations that Kirchner made a deal with Iran to subvert the investigation into the 1994 bombing of the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires which claimed the lives of 85 people.

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King Abdullah Vows to Go All Clint Eastwood on ISIS; Krauthammer Advises Caution

By on 2.4.15 | 10:08AM

In response to the ISIS video showing Jordanian pilot Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh being burned alive, Jordan has hung two terrorists including Sajida al-Rishawi who was involved the Amman hotel bombings in November 2005.

Jordan had previously been willing to release al-Rishawi in exchange for al-Kaseasbeh. However, Jordan demanded proof of life and the deal went south. It turns out that al-Kaseasbeh was killed on January 3rd.

King Abdullah was in Washington yesterday meeting with President Obama and Congressional leaders when the video was released. According to GOP Congressman Duncan Hunter, Jr., King Abdullah vowed revenge against ISIS and quoted lines from the Clint Eastwood movie Unforgiven.

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It Isn’t Easy Being Stupid

By on 2.3.15 | 7:23PM

A nine-year-old boy has been suspended from the fourth grade of his Odessa, Texas government school for telling a classmate that he could make the classmate disappear through the use of a magic ring.

This flight of childish fancy was animated by Alden Steward, the malefactor in this case, having recently seen The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, and obviously having been charmed by it. No character in the movie warned Alden not to try this at home, let alone at school. 

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Why I Am Concerned About Sudden Resignation of Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister

By on 2.3.15 | 3:56PM

John Baird, who has served in cabinet since Stephen Harper's Conservatives came to power in Canada in 2006 and has been Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs since 2011, resigned suddenly today during a speech in the House of Commons.

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