The Spectacle Blog

Progress Canadian Style

By on 6.21.06 | 6:23PM

Wait times for knee and hip replacements are down, according to the Peace Arch News:

The B.C. Health ministry is reporting progress in dealing with its longest and most stubborn surgical wait lists, those for hip and knee replacements.

A new surgical unit at UBC Hospital in Vancouver has been specializing in joint procedures since April 2005, based on a successful pilot project at Richmond Hospital. The new unit has completed 205 surgeries, 60 per cent of them hip replacements.

Health Minister George Abbott said creation of the unit, plus $25 million in funding for B.C.'s five health regions to spend on joint replacement, has reduced the median wait time by 15 per cent for hips and 12 per cent for knees. The median wait for hips was reduced to 19.9 weeks for hips and 25.6 weeks for knees.

Today on the Michael Medved Show

By on 6.21.06 | 2:38PM

I'll be subbing for Michael today (3-6 pm EDT on Salem Radio Network). We'll be starting strong with Larry Kudlow of Kudlow & Co. on CNBC. Other guests include Katherine Bierman of Human Rights Watch (on Gitmo) and Andy Maybo, of the Capitol Hill Police on the Cynthia McKinney exemption to the crime of assaulting a police officer. Hope you can join us. Call in on 800-955-1776.

Meyerson Defends Democracy—for the Left

By on 6.21.06 | 12:42PM

Over in the Washington Post today, Harold Meyerson takes a swipe at Joe Lieberman for some seemingly "undemocratic" comments. Lieberman claimed in an interview that his position on the Iraq War, "is a challenge for the party -- whether it will accept diversity of opinion or is on a kind of crusade or jihad of its own to have everybody toe the line." Meyerson calls that a "stunning assertion" because if "parties were based on the acceptance of diversity of opinion on the most important issues of the day, they would lack the definition to be parties at all." He concludes, "Lieberman's problem is not that he faces expulsion from a sect but that he has chosen to stand outside what remains a big, messy tent of a party."

Stump for Steele

By on 6.21.06 | 10:42AM

We're hearing that Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele -- and the presumptive Republican Senate candidate for the open U.S. Senate seat in the 2006 election cycle -- was a standout at a function this morning at the offices of the lobbying shop Preston Gates in DC.

Preston Gates is a decidedly un-Republican firm in town, and the fact that Steele would show up and wow them is impressive. "He was exceedingly engaging and straight with us about his challenges in Maryland," says an attendee. "Given his background and the work he has been doing in Maryland, he's going to have a slightly easier time getting Democrats and independents to look at him in the race. He's very impressive."

And the Democrats know it. In a year's time Howard Dean and Chuck Schumer (head of the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee) have allowed Steele's credit report to be stolen and used for opposition research, allowed racist bile to be used against Steele with no recriminations against Democrat operatives, and spent more than $1 million of party funds to do media and voter outreach against him.

Explaining Broadband Regulation

By on 6.21.06 | 9:08AM

A reader asks us to explain in greater detail "net neutrality." He is right -- it is a confusing term, because it is a benign sounding political label to a pretty nefarious idea.

Though the Prowler and the Heritage Foundation have explained it in greater detail, essentially it would lock in the Internet's status quo. As nice as that may sound, the key part they want to lock in is that the network providers, those who build the backbone of the Internet and carry the information from content provider to consumer, do not pass on costs to content providers. Verizon and AT&T are investing billions of dollars for the next, video-driven phase of the Internet. While providers like Google, Yahoo, etc. make their billions from the free bandwidth, they do not want to pay for their free ride. The network providers would like to establish tiers of service, much like cell phone companies and even the post office do.

Keeping Terrorists Straight

By on 6.20.06 | 11:52PM

A correction: Earlier this month I wrote that "Zarqawi will probably be replaced by the Egyptian Abu Hamza al-Masri." I copied that name down during a press conference from one of those summary subtitles that Fox News uses; not sure if it was the mistake of the military spokesman who was talking at the time or of Fox News, but that seems to be a conflation of two different pseudonyms for the new al-Qaida in Iraq leader, Abu Ayyub al-Masri and Abu Hamza al-Muhajir. You can read more about him here. Abu Hamza al-Masri is actually the name of a different person, a radical cleric convicted in the UK for inciting violence and wanted in Yemen for alleged involvement in bombing plots.

Nutty Net Neutrality

By on 6.20.06 | 6:01PM

RedState has the goods on one of the key proponents of so-called "net neutrality" in the "nutroots" movement that supports the Daily Kos and As we've been reporting, individuals -- from corporate officials from companies like Google, and eBay to paid consultants and lobbyists for the companies and their trade organizations -- have committed millions of dollars to hit consumers with higher cable TV and Internet access charges so that the companies don't have to pay their fair share.

For some consumers, the cost of "net neutrality" could mean as much as $40 to $100 more a month in charges for broadband Internet access.

It appears that Jerome Armstrong has been actively pushing issues and political candidates -- and before that bad stocks -- as a gun for hire. That's not to say that the opponents of "net neutrality" don't have their own hired guns. It just appears that they have been more honest and forthright about it.

Truthout Inaccuracies

By on 6.20.06 | 4:55PM

We're just catching up to this story that Truthout editors posted on their site. You can read it here.

It's getting to the point now were Truthout's lies simply can't be sustained. It was one thing when the stories dealt with unconfirmable "meetings" and "phone calls" and "documents" from "sources close to the investigation."

Now they are citing court records and claiming that, in fact, their sources are telling them that Karl Rove has in fact been indicted, only that Fitzgerald is somehow holding it back or has transformed the indictment into some form of a carrot to ensure cooperation from Rove. This is all legally impossible, according to folks who understand this kind of thing.