The Spectacle Blog

Puerto Rico Edges to Default

By on 6.29.15 | 4:24PM

Greece is expected to default on its government debts tomorrow as its bailout package from the European Union (EU) expires. The country will also hold a referendum on Friday on whether to accept the latest round of terms from its EU funders. Greece continues to grab all the headlines, but there is another government closer to home that is in a similar situation: Puerto Rico. Over the weekend, the governor of the island announced that Puerto Rico is unable to repay its $70 billion in debt.

The Washington Post describes the situation:

REPORT: Why Public Sector Unions Can Easily Break The Law

By on 6.29.15 | 4:15PM

Focusing on Michigan, a report released Monday by The Mackinac Center makes the case that there are not adequate laws to stop public sector unions from engaging in illegal activities.

In many states, like Michigan, and the federal level, public sector union members can be charged hundreds if not thousands of dollars a year in union dues. Unfortunately, as the report “Bringing Financial Transparency to Michigan’s Public Sector Unions,” argues, public sector unions are not held to the same standard of transparency and accountability their private sector counterparts are.

“This means that public school employees, state and county workers and all the other unionized public employees in Michigan do not have access to detailed financial information about the union to which they pay dues,” the report noted.

John Kasich Is Running for President, Too

By on 6.29.15 | 1:11PM

At this point, if you've ever wanted to be President at any point in your life, up to (and including) that time in Kindergarten where you were asked to draw your future career and your teacher forced you to choose President because, it turns out, being a fire truck wasn't a real option, now is the time to declare your intention and file your official paperwork. The clown car still has some room for anyone willing to squeeze into the middle seat (Donald Trump isn't worried about you crushing his hair, anyway, since he says he'll debut a brand new 'do for his inevitable inauguration).

John Kasich, not content to restrict his moderate conservatism and spiceless personality to the boundaries of the state of Ohio, is the latest in a series of unliklies to take the plunge, despite no evidence that anyone knows who he is or cares that he's interested in being the Commander in Chief.

Hillary Clinton Edited, Withheld State Department Emails

By on 6.29.15 | 12:39PM

I'm tired of writing and reading about the Supreme Court, and I've seen so many rainbows this weekend I'm pretty sure I have resultant visual color fatigue issues. So let's move on to more interesting fare than whether or not the very foundations of our republic are crumbling - specifically, whether Hillary Clinton's famed cache of personal emails was as properly sorted, dying ambassadors from yoga schedules, as she claimed at her UN press conference.

It should surprise literally no one that a further investigation into Hillary Clinton's work email seems to demonstrate that the presumptive Democratic frontrunner might have taken some artistic liberties with the "work-related" communications she returned to the State Department after her tenure. By which I mean, she was extremely selective in what she submitted and may or may not have "selectively edited" a few key communications themselves.

Concluding Colorado’s GOP Chaos (I Hope)

By on 6.28.15 | 11:59PM

To my readers, acquaintances and friends who are involved with Colorado Republican politics, whether as participants or spectators:

The last couple of weeks have seen the Colorado Republican Party organize the most remarkable circular firing squad I’ve ever seen, even for an organization famous for them. I haven’t been a Republican for quite a few years and I have no particular love for the GOP but whenever a Democrat gets elected I feel as if something bad just happened to my children. So I have a more than passing interest in the party’s effectiveness even if I won’t get involved in its operations – or machinations – because it seems so full of people who do what so many have done during the last 14 days.

So let’s discuss what has been achieved:

Chris Squire, R.I.P.

By on 6.28.15 | 1:32PM

Chris Squire, bass player for the prog rock group Yes, has passed away just over a month after being diagnosed with acute erythroid leukemia. He was 67.

Squire was a founding member of Yes in 1969 and remained with the group until his diagnosis. When Yes resumes touring in August, it will mark the first time that the group has performed without Squire. 

When I saw former Yes lead vocalist Jon Anderson in concert back in March 2012, he recounted that at the height of their fame the group hired a roadie whose only job it was to rouse Squire from his sleep.

Ryne Sandberg Resigns as Phillies Manager; Pete Mackanin Named Interim Manager

By on 6.26.15 | 8:54PM

Ryne Sandberg has announced that he is stepping down as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies.

At 26-48, the Phillies have the worst record in MLB. This was expected to be the case on a team of over the hill veterans and not ready for prime time players. There is a glimmer of hope in young Makiel Franco. But I suspect that while Franco will put up some good numbers, it will be a while before the Phillies start winning again.

Perhaps the prospect of being on the wrong end of a no-hitter or a perfect game by Max Scherzer put Ryno over the edge. Scherzer went 5 1/3 innings before he allowed a Phillie to reach base. 

Sandberg took over the club late in the 2013 season succeeding Charlie Manuel who led the Phillies to a World Series title in 2008. But the Phillies are in limbo until GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. moves the likes of Cole Hamels, Jonathan Papelbon, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard and frees up some salary. In part of three seasons, the Phillies went 119-159 under Sandberg.

Central Committee on a Roll

By on 6.26.15 | 12:44PM

Word is getting around that the Central Committee today, by a 5-4 decision, has discovered and will impose on the country a constitutional right to homosexual marriage in all 50 states.

Most surprising about today’s diktat is how surprised so many folks on the right claim to be by this totally predictable event. The headlines on various conservative sites shout about a “surprising,” even a “stunning” decision. This follows weeks of commentary by conservatives who’ve said the court would rule narrowly on this issue, that it would not force major social change on the country from on high. These folks, I submit, haven’t been paying attention.

Of late, the cultural left has been enjoying success after success, with the help of the legal profession, which, from law schools through the SCOTUS, has been slowly but systematically replacing law with left advocacy. What the cultural left wants is what the law is, and what the cultural left doesn’t like ist verboten.

Expect more. The cultural left is in the driver’s seat and is plowing through our institutions like Sherman plowed through Georgia. And who’s going to stop them, or even slow them down?

Thoughts on the SC’s Decision to Legalize Same Sex Marriage Nationwide

By on 6.26.15 | 12:43PM

As with the Obamacare decision a couple of days ago, I don’t think there are many people who are surprised at the outcome of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision to legalize same sex marriage.

Although I have long been in favor of same sex marriage, there are serious shortcomings in the constitutionality of Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion. Our old friend Quin Hillyer is right to say that his ruling does not square with the opinions he expressed on states’ rights in U.S. v. Windsor scarcely two years ago. Kennedy’s ruling is rooted in convenience not in constitutionality, rooted in political expediency rather than principle. Given the rulings which have taken place over the past 48 hours, the Constitution might as well be relegated to a museum piece alongside the Confederate flag. It shouldn’t of course. The Constitution is simply too important to give up so easily. Yet it won’t be easy to restore it to its proper place in American jurisprudence.

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Same Sex Marriage

By on 6.26.15 | 11:58AM

For once I can legitimately blame Anthony Kennedy for my problems. I mean, I sort of always could, because I had Judge Bork as a professor in law school, and I wouldn’t have had to endure his weird lectures on the right to engage in necrophilia (which came in handy today, weirdly) as being part of the “penumbras and emanations” of the Bill of Rights that ultimately created the “right to privacy,” and his penchant for carrying around fried foods in his suit pocket (true story). But today, Anthony Kennedy has made a generation of lawyers just feel really, really tired. 

Writing for the majority, Kennedy ruled, with the Supreme Court, that state bans on gay marriage are unconstitutional, striking down, specifically, statutes in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana, within the Sixth Circuit. States don’t have to be in the marriage business, he said, but where they are, they can’t discriminate. 

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