The Spectacle Blog

Jeb Bush Shocked That He Is Not Already President

By on 6.11.15 | 2:12PM

Do you ever get the sense that someone doesn't like you? Its not a super-obvious thing, of course, but every once in a while, possibly, say, because I'm routinely "revealed" to be a "closeted liberal" by the comments section, I get the sense that someone just isn't about to fall all over themselves in an effort to be my friend. It doesn't really bother me - I'm fantastic, so it's really their loss - but I at least know about it. 

Jeb Bush has clearly never possessed that talent. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, he and his team apparently thought that the multitudes were simply joshing him when they said they weren't thrilled at the prospect of a third President Bush, and that everyone was simply being facetious when they noted that a Jeb Bush candidacy would make them run straight into the arms of pretty much any other Republican candidate. Except for Rick Santorum. None for Rick Santorum.

Bill Clinton Isn’t Corrupt Until Someone Proves He’s Corrupt, Says Bill Clinton

By on 6.11.15 | 1:47PM

There's a grain of truth to Bill Clinton's outburst this morning about the Clinton Foundation's shady dealings: as with most Clinton malfeasance, it's either well hidden or well constructed, with plenty of plausible deniability built into the system, so while it's very clear that something fishy is going on, it's never truly clear that something fishy is going on. 

Today, Bill gave an interview to Bloomberg, in which he responded to allegations that the Clinton Foundation was nothing more than a slush fund, useful for padding the pockets of State Department bigwigs, employing friends, and giving Chelsea Clinton employees to berate and harass (allegedly) so that she had something to do to pass the time. Instead of giving the outright denial, Bill Clinton did what Clintons usually do in these situations: ask if there's any concrete evidence.

Scholars Blast U.S. History Rewrite

By on 6.11.15 | 12:47PM

Fifty-five top historians have signed an open letter criticizing the College Board’s revamp of its Advanced Placement U.S. history curriculum, in which half a million of the nation’s brightest students enroll each year. It is the final U.S. history class many ever take.

The National Association of Scholars, which coordinated the letter, notes: “Lynne Cheney, Bruce Cole, Patrick J. Deneen, Robert George, Leon Kass, Victor Davis Hanson, and Harvey Mansfield signed the letter, among several dozen other prominent scholars.” Their letter says:

Scandals Continue To Pour In As U.S. Marshals Director On Way Out

By on 6.11.15 | 12:42PM

More scandal for the embattled law enforcement agency.

U.S. Marshals Director Stacia Hylton said that allegations of improper hiring and misuse of funds in her agency had nothing to do with her resignation Tuesday, but the day after she announced that resignation more allegations poured in from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley.

Grassley sent a letter Wednesday to Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates inquiring about additional allegations that senior executives misused funds in the Asset Forfeiture Fund for private gain.

Whistleblowers allege that three senior executives needed help with job applications so they enlisted government contractors and government employees to draft the applications. Then, the executives told the contractors charge the government for the time.

Reddit Bans Web Page For Mocking Fat People

By on 6.11.15 | 12:39PM

The popular website reddit, which bills itself “the front page of the Internet” and is known for featuring forums called “subreddits” on virtually any topic, has launched a new crackdown on behavior it says constitutes “harassment.” Its first victim? A page dedicated to bashing fat people.

The subreddit r/fatpeoplehate was previously one of the site’s most popular, with its roughly 150,000 subscribers sharing stories and pictures centered around the topic of hating on the overweight and obese (this picture is a representative example). The page was also notable for banning anybody who expressed “fat sympathy” and for its hostility towards the fat acceptance movement, which argues that the obese suffer unfair discrimination and that people can have ”health at any size.”

While Rubio Struggled, Hillary Clinton Spent $200K Per Month on Hamptons Summer Home

By on 6.11.15 | 12:04PM

As has been made clear over the last few days, Marco Rubio is simply too poor to be President. His stubborn failure to suddenly re-manifest as a lily-white septugenarian plutocrat may cost him the highest office in the land.

For Hillary Clinton, however, being richer than God is proving no problem at all. With an estimated net worth of $100 to 200 million, Hillary Clinton should obviously be making ends meet, and unlike Marco Rubio, without the aid of her book deals (though those have undoubtedly helped). At an average of $200,000 per speaking engagement, she was clearly earning more than enough to afford the finer things. And while the New York Times frets over a fishing boat, it turns out that Hillary Clinton has had seaside adventures of her own, in a lovely summer home in the Hamptons — a rental that costs a whopping $200,000 per month.

Why CEI Has the Best Party in Town

By on 6.11.15 | 1:37AM

Friend and development dude Al Canata was relieved last week to learn I couldn't make the Competitive Enterprise Institute's annual dinner, held tonight at the JW Marriott a couple of blocks from the White House.

CEI had broken the previous year's million dollars-plus fundraising record, Al said, which created a problem. There are only so many seats to go around. My voluntarily not going -- because of the fallout from the mother of all flus coupled with a catastrophic computer failure -- meant one less person he'd have to disappoint.

Some folks in DC talk about the White House Correspondents Dinner as “nerd prom,” but the real intellectual prommery happens at the CEI dinner. This year the event is so big it demands a subtitle: “Bourbon and BBQ Bash: Liberty Served Smooth and Smokin'.” Reason's Matt Welch will emcee with his hipster glasses. Vice presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina will keynote. Nobel laureate economist Vernon Smith will accept an award named after the late Julian Simon.

It Looks Like Another Islamaphobia Hoax

By on 6.10.15 | 9:26PM

One of last week's top stories was an alleged incident aboard a United Airlines flight where a Muslim chaplain from Northwestern University named Tahera Ahmad claimed she was denied an unopened can of soda because the flight attendant told her it could be used as a weapon. Ahmad further alleged a fellow passenger made anti-Muslim statements to her. However, her claims appear not to be true. Here is how Mark Hemingway of The Weekly Standard describes the situation:

Obama Admin Asks FISA Court to Ignore Ruling Finding NSA Actions Illegal

By on 6.10.15 | 1:21PM

Just a few short weeks ago, our elected legislators were very, very concerned about the future of the NSA's bulk data collection programs.

Some were absolutely convinced that forcing the NSA to submit to the rubric set forth in the Constitution requiring probable cause and a warrant to search through Americans' phone records was going to lead to the downfall of the entire homeland security structure, rending America incapable of seeking out and destroying our domestic enemies, even though it was through a program that rarely, if ever, actually worked.

Others were convinced that, without a radical realignment of the PATRIOT Act, the government was merely going to work its way around any roadblocks to authorization, thus making any argument or measure designed to curb the NSA's power almost useless in the real world. Championing a complete overhaul of the Act, done with now great distance from the events of September 11, 2001, would allow us to discern the cost of our security with a fresh eye.

Wisconsin Dem Rep Compares Marco Rubio to Ricky Ricardo

By on 6.10.15 | 1:03PM

I would say that this tirade is just a teensy bit racist, but the man delivering it is a Democratic representative from Wisconsin, so by party affiliation he's technically incapable of any kind of actual, overt racism, at least according to what I've been taught by the media that trained me.

Anyway, I'll just post this video of Rep. Mark Pocan addressing the Wisconsin Democratic state party convention this past weekend and you can decide for yourself whether his overwrought joke about House of Cards casting the Republican Presidential contenders is racially insenstitive and not funny or just racially insensitive.

To wit:

"In fact, it is going to be so entertaining, in fact, I heard that Netflix is going to create a House of Cards special series just on the 2016 primary. It’s going to be called House of Cards: Jokers Gone Wild...