The Spectacle Blog

Eric Holder Oversteps

By on 4.11.14 | 11:51AM

Eric Holder has overstepped his boundaries and the U.S. Sentencing Commission is not pleased.

Last month Holder was invited to the Commission’s meeting regarding a proposed amendment to reduce drug trafficking sentences by two levels. The Commission was not informed, however, that the night before their meeting at around 11 p.m., Holder had already acted.

“[Holder] ordered all of the assistant U.S. attorneys…to argue for the two level reduction…before the commission had acted and before Congress had the opportunity to vote,” Commissioner Ricardo Hinojosa said.

Although the Commission passed the amendment unanimously, Hinojosa said he was “surprised at the attorney general’s steps taken to deal with this reduction outside the legal system.”

Hinojosa explained that the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 gives the Commission the right to suggest and pass sentencing guidelines or amendments to existing guidelines for Congress. Then, Congress has the legal right to discuss, alter, or vote down said suggestions.

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Morning Round-Up 4-11

By on 4.11.14 | 10:15AM

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Louisiana GOP to Sex Scandal Congressman: Resign, Hypocrite!

By on 4.10.14 | 1:27PM

The chairman of the Louisiana GOP today called for the resignation of Rep. Vance McAllister, saying the Republican congressman's sex scandal exposed "extreme hypocrisy."

A video released this week showed McAllister, who is married and has five children, kissing a married female staffer. The staffer's husband has said his marriage was destroyed by his wife's affair with the congressman. McAllister won a special election last year to fill the seat vacated by former Rep. Rodney Alexander's appointment to a state office under Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration.

The statement issued Thursday morning by Roger Villere, chairman of the Republican Party of Louisiana:

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Committee Votes to Hold Lois Lerner in Contempt

By on 4.10.14 | 1:24PM

The House Oversight Committee has voted to hold Lois Lerner in contempt 21-12.

After repeatedly pleading the Fifth upon declaring her innocence and refusing to aid in the committee’s investigations, Lerner will be held in contempt of Congress.

Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings, the committee's ranking member, declared that the vote was a challenge to citizens’ rights and that the founding fathers were not about a “gotcha type of system.” He added that he was thinking about his “children’s children” and how he and his colleagues will be viewed in the future.

Congressman Trey Gowdy responded that the American people also have rights, which they, unlike Lerner, did not waive by declaring themselves innocent in front of a congressional committee.

Chairman Darrell Issa stated that “refusal to testify and being held in contempt can be resolved by testifying.” He said all he wants is the truth.

“We’d like to know the other half of the story,” he added.

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Artists Don’t Owe You Anything

By on 4.10.14 | 11:20AM

Popular works of entertainment, be they mutant teenagers flying across the big screen or young heroines flourishing in post-apocalyptic scenarios on the printed page, are subject to endless criticism. Richard Roeper has made a career doing this very thing.

However, in the age of the Internet, a new form of criticism has emerged. I call it Goldilocks syndrome. This is defined as criticizing art based on the critic’s view of what the art should be. In other words, this porridge is too hot (based on what? Your subjective tastes? What about the creator’s desire for the porridge?) or this porridge is too cold. True evaluation of art has to take the work on its own terms in its own context. Another way of phrasing this would be to ask the question: "What was the artist’s goal in creating this work and how well did he achieve it?"

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Morning Round-Up 4-10

By on 4.10.14 | 10:06AM

Feature of the Day: Can You Identify These Cities From Their Light Signatures?

Morning Headlines


Associated Press

  1. Police Seek Motive of School Stabbing Rampage


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Aaron on Aaron

By on 4.10.14 | 12:08AM

When I wrote my tribute commemorating the 40th anniversary of Hank Aaron's 715th career home run last night, I was not aware of his comments likening Republicans, conservatives and others who disagree with President Obama to the KKK to which Larry Thornberry has drawn our attention.

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Israel ‘Deeply Disappointed’ in Kerry

By on 4.9.14 | 5:59PM

According to the New York Times, an unnamed official in the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated that Netanyahu is "deeply disappointed" in Secretary of State John Kerry for blaming Israel for the collapse of peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. 
During testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday, Kerry said Israel's announcement of the construction of 700 homes in East Jerusalem was to blame. Kerry said, "Poof, that was the sort of the moment. We find ourselves where we are."
Deeply disappointed is putting it mildly.
Over at Commentary, Jonathan Tobin rips Kerry to shreds over his outlandish claim.

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Ladies: You Can’t Have It All

By on 4.9.14 | 5:07PM

In a low-blow attempt to make Republicans look like evil, money-hungry white guys who don’t care about women, Democrats recently introduced equal-pay legislation for the third time since 2010.

Unsurprisingly, Republicans voted no:

Republicans said the bill would make it hard for companies to award merit pay or offer flexible work hours in exchange for lower pay and expose employers to costly, frivolous lawsuits.

Ignoring the tired debate over whether Republicans hate women, let’s ask the relevant question: Do women really make less than men?

The 23 percent pay gap myth was already busted. Megan McArdle argued today that if you compare apples to apples—a man and a woman of the same age who work the same number of hours in the same profession with the same educational status—the gap shrinks to 5 percent.

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