The Spectacle Blog

MLB Notes for April: How About Those Houston Astros?

By on 5.1.15 | 11:47AM

It's hard to believe the first month of the season is already over. Here are my observations of each AL and NL division.

AL East

This is anybody's division. New York Yankees (13-9) hold a one game lead over the Boston Red Sox & Tampa Bay Rays (both 12-10). The defending AL East champion Baltimore Orioles are at .500 (10-10) while the last place Toronto Blue Jays (10-12) are only 2½ games out. The Yankees and Rays are doing surprisingly well although I wonder about the Yankees given that Masahiro Tanaka is hurt again while C.C. Sabathia is 0-4 with a 5.96 ERA.

AL Central

Ben E. King, R.I.P.

By on 5.1.15 | 10:33AM

Legendary soul singer and songwriter Ben E. King has passed away yesterday. King was 76. No cause of death has been given, but the news was confirmed by King's old friend and fellow performer Gary U.S. Bonds.

King began his musical career with The Drifters. He would sing lead on classic hits such as "There Goes My Baby", "This Magic Moment" and "Save The Last Dance For Me".

King would leave The Drifters in 1960 and score two big hits the following year with "Spanish Harlem" and "Stand By Me" which he co-wrote with Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller.

"Stand By Me" would become a rock 'n roll standard and has been recorded by the likes of John Lennon, Gene Clark, Mickey Gilley, Maurice White and Prince Royce.

Did the U.S. Deny a Visa to an Iraqi Nun for Fear She Might Seek Sanctuary?

By on 4.30.15 | 4:25PM

Before I started this piece, I did a quick Google search using the term "ISIS Killing Christians" in order to help demonstrate a point that the Obama Administration, while licking the boots of Iranians and gleefully ignoring the forward march of radical Islamists across Iraq and Syria in order to concentrate on easier topics, has turned a blind eye to the murder of hundreds, if not thousands, of Christians in ISIS-controlled areas. 

My search, which focused on news stories, turned up over 2.2 million results.

Kid Cuts Off Barack Obama, Says He’s Heard Enough

By on 4.30.15 | 3:33PM

This afternoon, President Obama participated in a Discovery Education "virtual field trip," where he discussed current events with middle school students in person and via livestream from a middle school in Washington, D.C. 

He found out the hard way that, while the media may tolerate his long-winded answers that say quite a bit while also saying basically nothing, ten to 12 year olds are not as forgiving. The panel's middle school moderator, Osman Yahya, an adorable, bespectacled kid whose achievements earned him the right to question the President, was a more professional political moderator than almost anyone who's hosted the President in the past. 

Behold, the deft with which young Osman tells the President, as politely as possible, to please wrap it up after the Commander in Chief had rambled on for several minutes about his approach to writer's block, something a man with a team of speechwriters wouldn't be very familiar with.

George Soros, Wealth Redistribution Advocate, Owes a Lot in Back Taxes

By on 4.30.15 | 1:41PM

George Soros is widely understood to be the mastermind behind a global effort to institute a very significant wealth redistribution scheme. He loves to say that the rich should be poorer, the poor should be richer and that a high rate of taxation should be responsible for bridging the divide. In pursuit of making this agenda real, George Soros has poured millions, if not billions, in the coffers of soak-the-rich progressive politicians across the globe, but mostly in the United States, where his influence is felt across the Democratic party. He is the crowned king and leader of the great unwashed - those merry but dedicated few who still think Che Guevara is a hero to millions, that Communism would succeed if they only just tried it one more time, and that grilled cheese sandwiches are best made on a carbourator idling outside of a Grateful Dead cover band concert.

Jeb Bush Seems to Be Courting Rapper Pitbull for His Campaign

By on 4.30.15 | 1:11PM

We all know that Marco Rubio has an iPod (do they make iPods anymore? Is that still a thing? I haven't seen one since, like, 2006), full of the latest from our nation's brightest and best hip hop stars, and has distinct, if detailed opinions on all of the major issues facing today's rappers and rap fans. He prefers West Coast rap to East Coast rap, does not believe that Lil' Wayne has the right to call himself the new Tupac (who he believes was more insightful than his rap rival Biggie Smalls), and, while he doesn't dislike Pitbull, believes that his music is less message and more booty

Which probably explains why, in the great race to court Pitbull as a campaign asset - his ability to generate enthusiasm in the Hispanic community is, apparently, unparalleled - the clear leader in the game is not Marco Rubio, but Jeb Bush.

At Around $700, Michelle Obama’s State Dinner Gown is Her Most Egalitarian

By on 4.30.15 | 12:54PM

Last night, as Baltimore's riots finally wound down to a bonfire, the White House again celebrated a major, five-star event destined to showcase the Obama Administration's deep connection to the poor people of this fair land. Last night's fete was in honor of the Japanese Prime Minister who was in town on an official state visit.

While Michelle Obama is known, generally, for her lavish design choices — remember, for a moment, that $2000 sundress that looked like it had been purchased at Target — last night, possibly in response to criticism of the White House and DC media's out-of-touch Correspondents' Dinner performance, the First Lady instead chose a modest gown by Japanese-American designer Tadashi Shoji that would likely retail for around $700, much less than the average monthly rent in most urban areas.

Fred’s Thought of the Day: Gay Marriage Decision Ramifications

By on 4.30.15 | 7:42AM

The ramifications of the same-sex marriage decision are many whichever way it goes. One could tell that from the comments and questions from the bench on Tuesday. However, the legal principle involved is very straightforward. And in deciding the case, the Court will be making a statement about the Court itself that will be even more far-reaching than the decision.

The legal question is whether the Court should follow legal precedent, so well established that it has never been seriously challenged up until now, or whether the Court should change with the times and make decisions based upon what it perceives those changes to be. The old-precedent-versus-evolving-Constitution argument has been with us for some time, but with the liberal interpretation always giving lip service to precedent, too. With the marriage case, however, there can be no avoiding what is really going on. The issue is too clear to sustain the usual word games.

Elizabeth Warren Will Be Watching Bernie Sanders’ White House Bid Very Closely

By on 4.29.15 | 8:28PM

Emily has a lot of fun with Bernie Sanders' White House bid which is expected to be launched tomorrow.

However, I look at it a little bit differently. 

In February 2011, I spoke with Sanders briefly after he appeared at a gathering here in Boston. It was not long after he filibustered the tax compromise between President Obama and the Republican Congress. Sanders wasn't exactly enthusiastic about Obama. So I asked him if he thought he'd face a primary challenge. Sanders replied, "I wouldn't be surprised, but I don't have the answer for that."

Three Observations About Hillary’s Speech on Criminal Justice Reform

By on 4.29.15 | 5:07PM

I have read Hillary Clinton's speech on criminal justice reform and have three observations I would like to make.

First, Hillary gave the speech at Columbia University under the auspices of the David Dinkins Leadership and Policy Forum. Hillary said that Dinkins "leadership helped lay the foundation for the dramatic drop in crime in the years that followed." Those would be the years that Rudy Giuliani was mayor. Let me put this way. Would Hillary have walked through Times Square while Dinkins was mayor?

Second, Hillary bemoaned this country's high incarceration rates:

It's a stark fact that the United States has less than 5 percent of the world's population, yet we have almost 25 percent of the world's total prison population. The numbers today are much higher than they were 30, 40 years ago, despite the fact that crime is at historic lows.

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