The Spectacle Blog

Iran and MAD

By on 8.8.06 | 4:13PM

Middle East guru Bernard Lewis has a must read article in today's WSJ that lays out why we cannot depend on the Cold War doctrine of mutual assured destruction (MAD) to deter Iran from using nuclear weapons if they do acquire them. Iran/>/>’s leaders have an apocalyptic view of the world and believe that death at the hands of infidels is a pathway to heaven.

I found this section of Lewis’s piece particularly haunting:

Remember To Chew Your Food 25 Times…

By on 8.8.06 | 2:18PM

A great column from the Foundation for Economic Education. Money quote:

A prime example is New York City. It established an Office of Emergency Management (OEM) in 1996, which allegedly "works to mitigate, and plan and prepare for emergencies . . . and seek funding opportunities to support of [sic] the overall preparedness of the City of New York." Why do I suspect that bit about funding is its real raison d'etre?

No matter: the OEM considers us all morons, unable to discern its true intent, if its "Quick Heat-Beating Tips" are any indication. First on the list is "Stay out of the sun." Whoa-ho! There's a novel idea! And leave your fur coat in the closet: instead, opt for "lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothes." We should also "drink plenty of . . . water," and "keep rooms well-ventilated with air conditioners and fans." Duh. Folks without a.c. or fans can "keep [their] windows open." Such invaluable tips are one reason we pay Our Rulers the big bucks.

A Real Health Care Crisis

By on 8.8.06 | 11:54AM

Investor's Business Daily on John Kerry's health care plan:

Want a real crisis?

Absolve people of their duty through a universal third-party payer - the government - and watch a problem erupt. With little or no money coming out of their pockets, people will overuse the system, sending costs even higher through increased demand. The strain placed on medical professionals will make waiting times unbearable. With no mechanism for self-rationing in place - such as personal responsibility or cost - the government will ration care.

Opportunity of a Lifetime

By on 8.8.06 | 1:57AM

A classified ad I noticed last evening in the newsletter of the home association of the neighborhood next to mine. I haven't stopped laughing since. (Yes, it is a liberal neighborhood.)

SOCCER COACH WANTED: I am looking for a soccer coach to teach a group of three or four, 4 year olds soccer. Soccer playing and or coaching experiences required. Focus on listening, teamwork and social skills. If you are interested please send an email to [address withheld]. Thanks.

Last time I saw children this young playing soccer, they were all scurrying in the wrong direction, their mothers chasing after them.

Time to Buy U.S. Stocks…

By on 8.7.06 | 1:32PM

Paul Krugman in today's NY Times:

These are the dog days of summer, but there's a chill in the air. Suddenly - really just in the last few weeks - people have starting talking seriously about a possible recession.

Re: Novak Scrapes the Bottom of the Nutty Barrel

By on 8.7.06 | 12:56PM

Right on, David! I was thinking the same thing when I read Novak this morning. Writing, "Only a conspiracy theorist might claim…" allows him to appear as if he's distancing himself from conspiracy theorists while at the same time spreading a conspiracy theory.

Whining about how it's taboo to criticize Israel has been the latest tactic of Israel-bashers (see Walt/ Mearsheimer), because if you criticize their arguments, they just point to it as further evidence of a "criticism-free" zone.

Novak Scrapes the Bottom of the Nutty Barrel

By on 8.7.06 | 12:07PM

Robert Novak is usually a sanguine columnist, but when it comes to Israel, he often dives off the deep end of an empty pool and hits his head on the bottom. Case in point is his column today:

Reports of Israeli air attacks on Qana in Lebanon, killing at least 28 people including 19 children July 30, threatened Israel with a American public relations calamity. But this soon was eclipsed on cable television and front pages of many newspapers by actor Mel Gibson's drunken anti-Semitic rant.

The attention by much of the news media turned from Lebanon to Gibson attempting an apology sufficiently abject to satisfy the Anti-Defamation League. Only a conspiracy theorist might claim this was an intentional escape route for American politicians to avoid a possible Israeli atrocity, but it certainly served that purpose. Washington remains largely a bipartisan, criticism-free zone for Israel.

Return of the McGovernites

By on 8.7.06 | 11:45AM

Over at Opinion Journal, Martin Peretz reflects on the ascendance of Ned Lamont, who represents the return of the "peace" Democrats and an early Christmas present for Republicans.

Since Sept. 11, and especially since the Iraq War, the Democratic Party has faced a dilemma. Should it appeal to the vehemently anti-War Left at the risk of alienating moderates? Or should it target moderates at the risk of alienating the base of the party? While John Kerry did seem to have a special knack for flip-flopping, his need to do so was rooted in the intra-party warfare among Democrats. He had to criticize the Iraq War as a big mistake to satisfy Howard Dean voters while still sounding hawkish enough to attract moderates. As a result he had no discernable position on the war.

Santorum Still In It

By on 8.7.06 | 10:43AM

This morning sees yet another poll showing Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum narrowing the gap with Democratic challenger Bob Casey, Jr.

Now down to six points, Santorum's race seems to be playing out the way his folks had been predicting months ago, when he was down 21 points: that the gap would narrow as more voters saw and heard Casey. The fact that the Green Party is in the midst of this probably doesn't hurt either.

As Real Clear Politics points out, Santorum has to get his personal numbers up, but a month of August town hall meetings, and getting out across the state will help do that.