The Spectacle Blog

Why Obama Blasting Walker Over Wisconsin’s New Right-to-Work Law is Absolutely Fantastic - UPDATED

By on 3.10.15 | 9:41AM

Last night, President Obama blasted Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker for signing right-to-work legislation into law:

I'm deeply disappointed that a new anti-worker law in Wisconsin will weaken, rather than strengthen, workers in the new economy," Obama said. "Wisconsin is a state built by labor, with a proud pro-worker past.

So even as its governor claims victory over working Americans, I'd encourage him to try and score a victory for working Americans—by taking meaningful action to raise their wages and offer them the security of paid leave. That's how you give hardworking middle-class families a fair shot in the new economy—not by stripping their rights in the workplace, but by offering them all the tools they need to get ahead.

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The University of Oklahoma SAE Fraternity & Our Never Ending National Conversation on Race

By on 3.9.15 | 11:08PM

It goes without saying that the racial epithets sung by members of the University of Oklahoma chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon are disgraceful especially the imagery evoked by "hang 'em from a tree" utterance.

Predictably there are those who want to start yet another national conversation on race. Case in point, Alabama based writer Edward T. Bowser:

Whenever race is mentioned in this space, I'm inevitably met with these three words: "Get over it." It's as if racism totally died out in the 1960s with giant headbands and bell bottoms.

Well, nobody told the frat boys from the University of Oklahoma that racism is out of style.

Not one day removed from thousands of marchers of various races crossing Edmund Pettus Bridge in an act of solidarity, a video clip featuring members of the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon gleefully singing a racist chant has been making the rounds online.

I refuse to post the video here, but this excerpt speaks volumes:

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Obama: Senate Republicans’ Letter Shows Common Cause with Iranian Leaders

By on 3.9.15 | 8:41PM

When asked about the open letter by Senate Republicans to Iran's leaders, President Obama quipped, "I think it's somewhat ironic to see some members of Congress wanting to make common cause with the hardliners in Iran.  It's an unusual coalition."

To paraphrase President Reagan, "Well, there he goes again." Once again, Obama is erecting strawmen. It is reminiscient of when Obama told Congressional Republicans in 2011 that the late Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi was "somebody no one should want to defend" and a "cause celebre" for Republicans when the GOP had the temerity to want to have a say in any military incursion in Libya. 

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Oh Wait: The President Did Know Hillary’s Private Email

By on 3.9.15 | 3:57PM

If, after reading that last story I posted, you were thinking to yourself, "but Emily, how is it possible that the President had no idea that Hillary Clinton was using a private email address when the President and the Secretary of State are typically in close communication?" you were not alone. It seems that the President's own staff is also confused. 

This afternoon, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest noted that, yes, the President did exchange emails with then-Secretary Clinton using her private email address, and yes, it appears that those emails went through Clinton's private server. Which, yes, means that America's top-level foreign policy discussions were probably open to any hacker who cared to take initiative. 

President Barack Obama communicated via email with Hillary Clinton while she used her personal email, according to the White House.

In a press briefing on Monday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that Obama did correspond with his secretary of state via her private email address.

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President Obama Found Out About Hillary Emails from NYT

By on 3.9.15 | 1:24PM

It seems as though Hillary Clinton's troubles with email are as likely to stick around as Kim Kardashian's platinum hair (though, thankfully, the Hillary Clinton emails are less likely to expose us all to Kanye West). And while the White House may be tangentially involved, they are making it clear that, while they might have warned Hillary Clinton's staff to take a second look at their technological subpoena-avoidance plan, they had absolutely nothing to do with her decision to conduct all State Department business on a server located somewhere below the wine cellar of her Chappaqua, New York estate.

The President, of course, decided to reiterate the White House's position this weekend. When questioned on the subject, he noted that, as you can recall, no one in his administration tells him anything. He finds out about troubles brewing with his appointees the same way you do: in the media.

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Mitch McConnell Pre-Surrendering on Debt Ceiling Just in Case

By on 3.9.15 | 12:52PM

Last week's fold on DHS funding was, apparently, only the first is a series of events designed to erode America's flailing confidence in the new, Republican Congress's ability to achieve any marked change in how business is done in Washington.

As we gear up for discussions on the deb ceiling (the one-year debt ceiling "holiday" expires within the week), we find that Congressional leadership - specifically Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell - fresh off the three-month budget ordeal that netted Republicans exactly nothing, has already planned to forgo any "extraordinary measures" that would give them a better negotiating position on raising the debt ceiling. 

Republicans will raise the government’s borrowing limit without threatening a default, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell guaranteed Sunday, placating the markets but potentially surrendering the party’s leverage as Congress gears up for another debt showdown.

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White House, NYT Really Annoyed George W. Bush Was in Selma

By on 3.9.15 | 12:04PM

The prevailing theory is that no Republicans were in Selma this weekend to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Selma march that provided a pivotal moment in the Civil Rights movement.

One quick look at various GOP leaders' Twitter streams and that notion is fairly easily dispelled. Sens. Tim Scott, Jeff Sessions, and Susan Collins were all there, as well as Rep. Kevin McCarthy, RNC chair Reince Priebus, and a number of others, including former President George W. Bush, who walked on the front lines and was given a place of honor on stage during the speeches.

Of course, George W. Bush doesn't have the kind of over-active Twitter feed to demonstrate his commitment to civil rights on, and if you were paying attention to basically any dispatch from the Selma event, you'd never even know he was there. The New York Times, for starters, cropped him and his wife Laura right out of the photo they put on their front page.

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Feinstein Says Silence on E-Mails Will Hurt Hillary

By on 3.8.15 | 8:53PM

In an interview with Chuck Todd of Meet the Press, California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein called upon Hillary Clinton to "step out and come out" concerning her e-mails. Feinstein added, "Silence is going to hurt her."

I think this is a fairly significant development. Feinstein is a longtime ally of Hillary. Not only did Feinstein back Hillary in 2008, she was calling upon her to run for the White House again back in 2013.

When a senior Democrat like Feinstein begins raising doubts about Hillary there's a good chance others will follow. 

If Democrats don't think her release of 55,000 e-mails (none of which were on her home server) is going to cut it then she is in trouble.

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Lew Soloff, R.I.P.

By on 3.8.15 | 7:37PM

Jazz trumpeter Lew Soloff passed away this morning following a massive heart attack after having dinner with his family in New York City. He was 71.

Soloff was a musician's musician playing with the likes of Gil Evans, Frank Sinatra, George Benson, Dizzy Gillespie, Marianne Faithful and Art Garfunkel. But Soloff is best known for his tenure with Blood, Sweat & Tears playing on five of their albums and on their major hits "You've Made Me So Very Happy", "Spinning Wheel" and "And When I Die".

Soloff's daughter, Laura Solomon, paid tribute to him on her Facebook page:

My dad was amazing. He could drive me f#*king crazy, but that didn't make him any less essential to my life. He loved his grandkids. He loved my sister and me. He was one of the greatest trumpet players in the world and I'm so proud to be his daughter. I'm so happy to carry on a fraction of his musicality in the now rare moments that I pick up my violin.

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Lindsey Graham Is Confused By This Series of Tubes

By on 3.8.15 | 6:10PM

This weekend, the presumptive Republican Presidential candidates kicked off what will be the longest leg of their pre-campaign careers: the endless slog through farm-centric events in flyover country in a vain effort to win over Iowa's caucus voters who haven't actually selected a viable Presidential candidate in at least the last three contests. 

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