The Spectacle Blog

Asa Hutchinson is More Astute & Prudent Than Mike Pence

By on 4.1.15 | 4:51PM

What I have found most puzzling about the row over Indiana's RFRA is Governor Mike Pence's admission that he did not anticipate the backlash.

This tells me that Pence is not very politically astute. It was just over a year ago that then Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a similar law following a significant outpouring of anger and discontent. You would think Pence and Indiana Republicans would have been aware of such a possibility. Either they were caught completely off guard or they thought they could get away with it.

Now the bill has been signed into law and Pence and the Indiana GOP cannot defend their actions and have to clean up the mess they've created.

Of course, a similar bill has now been passed in Arkansas. But its newly elected Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson is saying not so fast. Hutchinson has sent the bill back to the legislature asking that it more closely mirror the federal RFRA passed in 1993.

The View to Cast Monica Lewinsky As Co-Host?

By on 4.1.15 | 1:07PM

I'm about 85% sure this isn't an April Fool's joke, but only because she can't be a worse addition to The View lineup of shrieking harpies than Rosie O'Donnell.

Barbara Walters understands that, since people have moved on to binge-watching serial Internet television programs and cable news while the work from home and/or wait patiently for their monthly Social Security checks, her now-ancient daily chat show is in need of a serious makeover. Producers thought, perhaps of replacing O'Donnell with a bevy of uncontrollable, screaming wildlife, but were apparently made aware that most viewers would not know the difference, and so Barbara Walters had to come up with a new idea on how to revamp her flagging program. 

America, it seems, has a fever. And the only prescription is more leftovers from the 1990s

Howard Dean: Obama Admin Should Walk Away From Negotiating Table with Iran

By on 4.1.15 | 1:02PM

Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean threw Joe Scarborough a curveball this morning during an appearance on Morning Joe when he agreed that the Obama Administration should walk away from the negotiating table concerning a nuclear agreement with Iran.

Dean is, of course, in favor of engaging Iran. But he agreed with Scaborough that the Obama Administration is "far, far too eager for a deal with Iran."

Needless to say, the Iranians know this and have the Obama Administration on a string.

Ronald Reagan, of course, famously walked out on Mikhail Gorbachev during the Reykjavik Summit in 1986, but it would produce the dividend of the INF Treaty the following year.

Update to ‘NSA Headquarters Stormed by Men in Drag’

By on 4.1.15 | 12:40PM

This was apparently not a terrorist incident. A man picked up the two men in drag and they spent the night partying at a motel. The two ingrates then stole their benefactor’s SUV and somehow managed to get entangled with security officers at NSA headquarters. The case is eerily similar to the Miriam Carey case in DC (here and here).

Here, too, the driver of the vehicle drove up to the NSA entrance, apparently by mistake. The driver allegedly failed to obey orders to stop, and “barriers were deployed," according to an NSA statement.  Another part of the statement, or perhaps it is a different NSA statement, says that the car "accelerated toward an NSA police car blocking the road.” 

Ed Schultz Wins TV Argument By Shutting Off Mic

By on 4.1.15 | 12:29PM

We already know that Ed Schultz, like many of his cable network prime-time chat show hosts, has an odd definition of what can be considered a "civil conversation," but an argument yesterday with Heritage Foundation fellow Ryan Anderson took the Schultz show to a new level of discourse.

After a brief argument, where Anderson explains the legal rameficiations of the Hobby Lobby v. Burwell decision on existing Religious Freedom Restoration Acts, and how Federal district and circuit courts have long since determined that even state RFRAs that fail to mention corporations by name as a protected group share in RFRA's protections, Anderson then goes on to explain how RFRA does not allow for blatant discrimination, though Schultz seems to think that's the position of the "right wing." After finding he can get nowhere, Ed Schultz decides to end the argument he's losing by cutting off Anderson's mic.

Clinton Fading in Florida

By on 4.1.15 | 11:22AM

For the first time in this too-soon-with-us presidential cycle, Hillary Clinton does not lead all possible Republican challengers in Florida, home of citrus, sandy beaches, and 29 electoral votes. 

A Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday shows Mz. Hillary trailing Jeb Bush by 45 to 42 percent. In early February Quinnipiac had the race 44 to 43 Clinton. Marco Rubio, who all and sundry believe will hop into the presidential race April 13, has closed to 44-46 behind Clinton. Last month he trailed Clinton by 10 points. Even Rand Paul is now within hailing distance of Clinton at 43 to 46 percent.

The poll also shows Clinton has a serious problem on the issue of trustworthiness. Whether it’s sparked by La Clinton’s recent email peccadillos or comes from her long-time casual relationship with the truth, only 41 percent of Floridians tell Quinnipiac they consider Clinton honest and trustworthy, while 50 percent say they don’t. Bush is above water in this dimension by 54 to 35 percent.

The Real Deadline for a Nuclear Deal with Iran is January 20, 2017

By on 3.31.15 | 9:47PM

As you probably know by now, today's deadline for a framework of a nuclear deal with Iran has been extended by 24 hours.

Leading up to the extension was more concessions by the Obama Administration and its P5 + 1 partners including keeping the Fandow enrichment facility open, putting off disclosing their "potential military dimensions" of their nuclear program to the IAEA indefinitely and all the while Iran is hardening its position.

If they don't reach an agreement in 24 hours, well, no big deal. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest says today's deadline is "arbitrary". This a fortnight after stating the Obama Administration and its P5 + 1 partners would walk away from the negotiating table if an agreement was not reached.

Is Something Amiss in the Obama Household?

By on 3.31.15 | 5:23PM

Here is a photo taken yesterday of Barack Obama giving Vicky Kennedy, wife of the late Senator Edward Kennedy, a warm, heart-felt hug at the dedication of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute yesterday. But where is his wedding ring?

On March 12 the first couple took separate planes to Burbank where each appeared in a show: he on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, she on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Michelle looked radiant cavorting with Ellen.

Barack and Jimmy were clearly yucking it up and having a high old time. In these photos, Barack does not look detached and Michelle does not look angry; this is a departure from their usual mien.

Goodluck Jonathan’s Bad Luck

By on 3.31.15 | 5:01PM

Goodluck Jonathan's luck has turned bad.

Today, he conceded defeat in Nigeria's elections. Goodluck Jonathan took office in 2010 and was elected in his own right in 2011. Needless to say, he had the most interesting name of any head of state in the entire world.

He lost to Muhammadu Bahuri, who led the country as its military dictator from 1983 to 1985, whose election campaign was being managed by David Axelrod's consulting firm.

Cuomo Bans Travel to Indiana But Not Cuba

By on 3.31.15 | 4:01PM

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has seen his dreams of being President in 2016 fade away, like the waning career of his live-in girlfriend, Food Network's Sandra Lee, but he's not about to give up his quest to be a progressive hero.

Responding to the outcry over Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Cuomo is bravely banning all non-essential state-sponsored travel to Indiana, in the hopes that preventing possibly twelve New Yorkers from interacting with the government of a midwestern state will somehow convince Indiana Gov. Mike Pence that he has sided, somehow, with anti-gay bigots. Before Indiana can be thoroughly relieved that it will get a short but well-earned break from New York, they will first have to read through Cuomo's strongly worded letter admonishing their "legally sanctioned discrimination" and whatnot.