The Spectacle Blog

Movie Selections

By on 10.22.06 | 7:11PM

We need help. Sharon and I are debating what movie we should watch after the latest Redskins debacle. We are stuck choosing among:

The Titanic (not the Leonardo de Whatever version); They Died with Their Boots On (Errol Flynn, et al); The Alamo (with the Duke) and The Poseidon Adventure (the original, with Shellly Whatsername).

Any better suggestions? Hamlet? King Lear?

A Very Scary Scenario

By on 10.20.06 | 1:01PM

Here is part of an interview between Amy Goodman of Democracy Now and actor-cum-liberal activist Mark Ruffalo. I want you to read this passage and then guess how Ruffalo's sentence ends:

AMY GOODMAN: How dangerous is it or popular is it to speak out in Hollywood?

MARK RUFFALO: I'm terrified, really, to be honest with you. I know that a lot of people in Hollywood feel the way I do. A lot of people who have come out, have been, you know…

RE: Conservatives vs. Conservatives

By on 10.20.06 | 12:23PM

I always love it when the New York Times runs one of these stories. You mean conservatives are arguing with each other?!?!?! And in other headlines, Water Is Wet!

Someday maybe the Times and other liberals like them will figure out that the constant debate going on among the conservative movement is one of the sources of its strength. Of course, that would mean that the left would have to realize that by and large they don't like debate. Witness, for example, what happened to Brendan Nyhan when he criticized the blog Eschaton.

John Lynch’s B

By on 10.20.06 | 11:42AM

NH Gov. John Lynch received a B in the Cato Institute's latest governor's rankings. He must've been graded on a curve. Lynch was praised for opposing a sales or income tax. Well, no one can get elected governor in NH without making that pledge, so no points are earned there. The question is what has he done as governor to prevent a sales or income tax from being implemented. The answer is: Nothing.

The big budget issue in New Hampshire is education funding. The Supreme Court has ordered the state to define "adequate education" and pay for ALL of it. New Hampshire would be the only state in the nation that relies on state rather than local funds to pay for public education. For his entire first term Lynch embraced the court's ruling, obliquely, but he embraced it. And he worked against attempts to overturn the ruling by constitutional amendment.

The Concise Case for a Republican Congress

By on 10.20.06 | 11:08AM


Democrats say the Republican head of the House Intelligence Committee had no grounds to suspend a staff member who's come under scrutiny for the leak of a secret intelligence assessment.

The unidentified staff member, a Democrat, was suspended this week by Chairman Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., and is being denied access to classified information pending the outcome of a review, Hoekstra's spokesman, Jamal Ware, said Thursday.

The Intelligence Committee's top Democrat, Jane Harman of California, wrote to Hoekstra that she was "appalled" by his action, which was "without basis." ...

In a letter to Hoekstra dated Sept. 29, Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Ill., a committee member, said the Democratic staffer requested the document from National Intelligence Director John Negroponte three days before a Sept. 23 story by the Times on its conclusions.

Something else for the Intel Committee to investigate: The possibility that Jane Harman is a GOP double agent.

Liberals vs. Liberals

By on 10.20.06 | 10:41AM

From conservative infighting, we move to liberal infighting. In a recent essay in the London Review of Books, Tony Judt heaved the worst insult you could possibly throw at American liberals - he accused them of being insufficiently anti-Bush. "Why have American liberals acquiesced in President Bush's catastrophic foreign policy?" Judt asked as his opening salvo. Not to take that lying down, the American Prospect has published a manifesto signed by prominent liberals, dismissing Judt's claims as "nonsense" and arguing that yes, in fact, they really really hate Bush and have been saying so all along.

Among the 46 signatories are Bruce Ackerman and Todd Gitlin (the manifesto's author's), Eric Alterman, Robert Reich, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Jane Smiley, and Michael Tomasky.

Conservatives vs. Conservatives

By on 10.20.06 | 10:39AM

The NY Times has an article today on one of its favorite topics: conservative infighting. The gist of this particular piece is that conservatives are already debating which wing of the movement is most to blame for the current predicament of the Republican Party. Is it the free spenders? Is it the internationally adventurous neoconservatives? Is it the religious right? Did the party turn off its base by not being firmer on immigration? Or did it alienate other voters by being too anti-immigrant?

I think my favorite part of the article was this closing quote from Newt Gingrich:

"I would rather have a movement active enough to bite itself rather than a movement so moribund it didn't realize it was irritated."

In keeping with tradition, I want to take issue with this:

Watch for a Continuing Image Makeover

By on 10.20.06 | 9:38AM

A Washington Times article today explains how Rep. Nancy Pelosi is not a shoo-in to become Speaker should Democrats take over the House, despite a Republican campaign to scare voters into thinking it's inevitable with a Democrat victory. But in an apparent effort to fortify her leadership candidacy should that happen, her staff is playing up qualifications other than the fact that she's a San Francisco liberal:

Pelosi spokeswoman Jennifer Crider said,..."Republicans are without a single winning issue, so it's no wonder they are desperately trying to falsely smear a churchgoing grandmother who has made fiscal responsibility, bipartisanship and middle-class tax cuts a priority."

Yeah, and she parks in the handicap spots near the front door, sits in the same front pew every Sunday, and eats dinner at 4:30 every evening so she can get her senior citizen discount.

A Newsweek profile of Pelosi drifts into this territory also:

On the Ground in Athens, GA

By on 10.20.06 | 8:32AM

I got my start with TAS by writing about Georgia politics and then promptly wandered off into federal politics, culture, and religion. A local election marks my return.

If the race for state senate between Jane Kidd (D) and William Cowsert (R) is any indication, then the Democrats think this is their year and that they have simply got to convert. Kidd's seat is an attempted hold for Democrats, but it's more like a takeover if they hold because the GOP recently redrew the seat.

Literally every day, I receive a glossy full-size mail-out from Kidd's campaign. Some declare her virtues. Others proclaim Cowsert's shortcomings. At the price, she could have just sent me forty bucks or so and asked for my support.

On top of the mail, I have been the target of push-polling. I was asked to participate in a political survey and readily agreed, hoping I could improve poll results for the GOP team. After answering a couple of questions I realized this was no scientific poll and would not be published in the newspaper.

I was asked if it would affect my vote if I were told Republican Cowsert: