The Spectacle Blog

Canada’s NDP Takes a Leap & Ousts Thomas Mulcair

By on 4.10.16 | 6:27PM

Today, delegates at the Federal NDP Convention in Edmonton voted to oust leader Thomas Mulcair and have a race for a successor. Mulcair appealed to delegates to remain as leader. Although a simple majority of delegates would have technically kept his job, but in February outgoing NDP President Rebecca Blaikie (basically the equivalent of being Chair of the Democratic National Committee) said Mulcair needed 70% of support from delegates to carry on. Mulcair will remain leader until his successor is chosen. 

The Attack on Mark Levin

By on 4.9.16 | 11:12AM

Well, this is just great.

Amid the usual clamor of a hot presidential primary season, over here at the Conservative Tree House, someone named “sundance” posted this:

The Senate Conservatives Fund (PAC) purchasing massive quantities ($400,000) of Mark Levin’s books in exchange for favorable candidacy political opinion. Conveniently Hidden by the radio host who avoids mentioning the financial conflict created.

Then again, Levin never informed his audience of his family working within the Staff of Senator Ted Cruz either. Does Levin’s endorsement, when contrast against the crony-constitutional advocacy, clarify with a little sunlight? You decide.

OK, Sundance. I’ve decided.

Ross Stripling Stripped of Chance To Throw No-Hitter in MLB Debut

By on 4.9.16 | 3:00AM

The Los Angeles Dodgers did not know what to expect of pitcher Ross Stripling in his MLB debut.

Stripling, who was named the Dodgers' fifth starter after injuries to Hyun-Jin Ryu, Brandon Beachy and Mike Bolsinger, would exceed all expectations by not allowing a hit against the San Francisco Giants.

However, Stripling was deprived of the chance to become the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter in his MLB debut since Cincinnati Reds pitcher Bumpus Jones in 1892 when Dodgers manager Dave Roberts removed Stripling after walking Angel Pagan 7 1/3 innings into his masterpiece. Even Giants fans booed Stripling's removal.

Dodgers reliever Chris Hatcher promptly gave up a game tying hit to Trevor Brown. Minutes later, Roberts was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. It was the first time in nearly 20 years as a player or coach that Roberts had ever been ejected from a game. Somehow I have a feeling he won't go 20 years before his next ejection.

Bill Clinton is Right About Black Lives Matter, But That Won’t Matter for Hillary UPDATE

By on 4.7.16 | 11:31PM

As you probably know by now former President Bill Clinton got into a raucous shouting match with Black Lives Matter protesters while speaking at a rally on behalf of HIllary Clinton in Philadelphia.

To be sure, much of his address was self-serving as was the case when he said this country needed a President "who will tell you the truth." The Clintons have scarcely a passing acquaintance with the truth.

But even the most accomplished of liars occasionally drops a kernel of truth:

I don't know how you would characterize the gang leaders who got 13-year-old kids hopped up on crack and sent them out onto the street to murder other African-American children. Maybe you thought they were good citizens .... You are defending the people who kill the lives you say matter. Tell the truth. 

Explaining Trump

By on 4.7.16 | 10:02PM

I had an interesting chat a few days back with a friend of mine, a very plugged-in political reporter. Like a good reporter, he aspires to neutrality, but he can’t hide his distaste for Cruz and his appreciation for Trump. What gets him about Cruz is the pose of smarmy rectitude, which he sees as entirely hypocritical. I can see that, but what surprised me was his analysis of what’s behind Trump’s appeal: his compassion. Ordinary voters sense that he’s on their side, as opposed to people who really don’t care a fig about them.

There isn’t much compassion around these days, not from people who think ordinary Americans are bigoted meth addicts who deserve to die out. From Obama you expect that, but this is from people we thought were on our side!

Compassion is also absent from people who see politics as a kind of political geometry. Start with the right postulates and axioms and the theorems will line up nicely. That’s how Mitt Romney came up with his 59-point plan. Anybody remember that? Maybe just one point? Bueller? Bueller?

Thoughts on Rudy Giuliani’s Endorsement of Trump

By on 4.7.16 | 6:43PM

I don't think we should be surprised that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani picked Donald Trump over Ted Cruz.

Given that Cruz made a point of maligning so-called "New York values", an endorsement from a former Big Apple mayor would have been a Brooklyn Bridge too far.

Yet when one thinks of Giuliani one invariably thinks of his response to 9/11. Notwithstanding Trump's eloquent statement during a GOP debate about the aftermath of 9/11, he has also blamed former President Bush for the attacks rather than al Qaeda and erroneously claimed thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheered on the attacks. Such statements ought to have given Giuliani pause. That he did not is lamentable. 

Marine Pooch Is Honored

By on 4.7.16 | 3:33PM

Not all Marines can say “Sir, Yes sir!” or “Semper Fi.” But they too serve, witness the story of Lucca, a brave and loyal Marine dog trained to search out roadside bombs.

Home and retired for four years, Lucca has been awarded the Dickin Medal by the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, a British charity. 

The group calls the honor the equivalent of the Victoria Cross. Whatever it’s equivalent to, it’s deserved. The final bomb of many that Lucca found in protecting human Marines in Afghanistan ignited and cost her her left front leg (though looking at the film of her playing now in the preceding link, this does not seem to have slowed her down much).

Lucca gets high praise from the Marines she served with, including Gunnery Sergeant Christopher Willingham, with whom Lucca now lives near Camp Pendleton in California. Willingham says he sees it as his mission to spoil Lucca in her retirement.

Exactly so. Thank you for your service Sergeant, and for yours, Lucca.

Merle Haggard Could Be Traditional Too

By on 4.7.16 | 2:08PM

Merle has looked pretty haggard for years. And, alas, Wednesday he succumbed to illness on his 79th birthday. Not in Muskogee, Oklahoma, but in California. (Merle wasn’t born in the city he made famous, but near Bakersfield, California, where his Oklahoman family had fled during the Great Depression to escape Dust Bowl miseries.)  If God is a country music fan, which I am convinced He is, Haggard’s reward will be substantial.

A tip of the cowboy hat (though Merle himself seemed to prefer feed-store baseball caps over Stetsons) to Aaron Goldstein for his earlier tribute to Haggard.  Aaron is right to celebrate Haggard’s patriotic songs and his “outlaw” music that set him apart from the standard and more slick Nashville sound. Like so many country stars, Haggard lived his songs before he wrote and sang them. In his early years, the eventual “outlaw” singer did appear to be studying for the gallows. Happily, he finally decided on singing over safe-cracking.  

Bernie Sanders: Israel Committed War Crimes By Killing 10,000 Civilians in Gaza During 2014 Conflict With Hamas

By on 4.7.16 | 11:17AM

Bernie Sanders was interviewed by the editorial board of the New York Daily News and raised eyebrows with his comments on Israel.

Sanders, who is Jewish, was commenting on the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza in 2014. He stated, “I think most international observers would say that the attacks against Gaza were indiscriminate and that a lot of innocent people were killed who should not have been killed.” Bernie went on claim that Israel killed 10,000 Palestinian civilians during this period. "I don't have it in my number ... but I think it's over 10,000," Sanders continued. "My understanding is that a whole lot of apartment houses were leveled. Hospitals, I think, were bombed. So yeah, I do believe and I don't think I'm alone in believing that Israel's force was more indiscriminate than it should have been."

It’s ‘Mister Trump’ Now

By on 4.6.16 | 4:12PM

How surprising! Trump used a classical allusion in calling his chief rival “a Trojan horse,” sent by Republican Party bosses to “steal the nomination from Mr. Trump.”

Did he say “Mr. Trump”? He did. The boastful billionaire has suddenly become more deferential, if only self-deferential — referring to himself in the third person and affixing a “mister” to the stand-alone moniker, as if to underline a newly discovered maturity, a few weeks shy of his 70th birthday.

However, what is more impressive — coming from a man who has authored more books (16) than he has ever read — is the reference to the great wooden horse, with the bellyful of warriors, which the wily Greeks left in front of the gates of Troy, after failing to conquer the city through a long siege. Does this signal a desire to elevate his language in the final stages of the primary?

But surely Trump does not want to tempt fate by sounding the alarm against a Trojan horse. It was fatal to the first who did it. Perhaps a reader or friend will be kind enough to tell him about it.