The Spectacle Blog

Split Decision

By on 11.10.05 | 1:01AM

Do you sometimes get the sense that when it comes to politics, the adage "your view is as good as mine" holds true most every time? Consider two expert responses to Tuesday's Virginia election. Robert Novak says it was a disaster for Bush. Fred Barnes says it was nothing of the sort. Whom to believe? Over the years Barnes has said more than once that Novak is the finest political reporter in the business. Then again I've never known Barnes ever to be wrong. I can only draw one conclusion: Both men are right.

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Can’t Kill It If It’s Dead

By on 11.9.05 | 8:10PM

The Amtrak Board fired President David Gunn today. Chuck Schumer whined that it "decapitated Amtrak." Hello, Chuck? Methinks it wasn't running too well anyway.

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Exxon Premium

By on 11.9.05 | 6:56PM

The single-most salient feature of today's grilling of oil company executives is a number: 93 percent. It was stated by Exxon's Lee Raymond as the percentage of Exxon Stations run by local managers who set their own prices. So much for those who insist it ain't the local gouger, but rather some far away company fellow who accounts for the mysterious outrage.

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Zorro on French Riots

By on 11.9.05 | 6:20PM

French National Party leader Jean-Marie Le Pen is colorful person as Dennis Kucinich, Cindy Sheehan, or Cheech or Chong might be called colorful. He is best known for saying, "I am like Zorro...Everyone knows he exists, everyone believes he exists, but nobody has ever seen him."

Now, Monseiur Zorro has opined on the riots that have torn up so many French cities. Quoth he to the AP, the recent violence is "just the start" of conflicts caused by "massive immigration from countries of the Third World that is threatening not just France but the whole continent." Le Pen said people with immigrant backgrounds who commit crimes should be stripped of their French nationality and sent "back to their country of origin." Hmm. Maybe he's not entirely wacky. At least in comparison to the crowd of Chirac, Dominique, and Mr. Bean.

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Blair’s Defeat

By on 11.9.05 | 5:55PM

Tony Blair suffered his first major parliamentary defeat as prime minister today, according to the Beeb. According to the report, one of Blair's proposed new anti-terror law that would have allowed detention without charge or trial of terrorist suspects for 90 days was pared down to only allow suspects to be held for 28 days.

The defeat was handed Blair by his own Labour Party, leading to many suggesting, as did Tory leader Michael Howard, that Blair should resign and, as did Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy, that Blair may be a lame duck.

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A Job Opening For Mapes

By on 11.9.05 | 4:57PM

Judith Miller is gone at the New York Times and Bill Keller clears up his mysterious description of Miller's "entanglement" with Scooter Libby. Now Miller is freed up to write a book titled, say, Truth and Duty: The Press, The President, and the Privilege of Power (The Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who broke the WMD stories). That's the title, with a few changes, of Mapes' book. Mapes says she "broke" the National Guard stories. That's right: She turns her forgery fiasco into a journalistic coup. It is more accurate to say she was broken by the story. But no matter: unlike the sacked (or, as Keller puts it, "retired") Miller, Mapes realized that if she ran amok for the right cause the elite media would never pin that label on her.Â

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Journalism is Hard

By on 11.9.05 | 4:34PM

Judy Miller has been fired from the New York Times, and one of the Times's crack pavement-pounding reporters writes that "Ms. Miller could not be reached for comment."

What, they lost her phone number? And couldn't walk down the hall to the desk she was cleaning out?

UPDATE: Yes, I realize the Times story says they've "reached an agreement" to end her career, not that she's been "fired" per se. I'm reading between the lines.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Gabriel Sherman at the New York Observer's Media Mob blog somehow tracked Miller down. It sounds like the Times was trying to get her to leave (without firing her), and the sticking point was giving Miller space in the paper for a farewell, which will run tomorrow and is already posted at Miller's website.

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Stars in Texas

By on 11.9.05 | 4:11PM

California rejecting Prop 73, Virginia and New Jersey staying Democratic, where's the good news? At least Texas voters approved a marriage amendment by 76%.

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Desperate Housewives?

By on 11.9.05 | 4:07PM

That's right, the activists of the National Association for Gals (aka the National Organization for Women) are swarming the Senate to nag senators into towing their abortion-on-demand line. You'd think an organization of gals in this day and age would want to avoid sounding so shrill, but I suppose not.

"By nominating Samuel Alito, Bush hopes to send our country back to a time before civil rights, before Roe v. Wade, and before the New Deal," said NOW President Kim Gandy.
Such hyperbolic women could give ladies a bad name. And how do these "activists" have time to come to Washington? Don't they have jobs?
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The Roberts Court and Federalism

By on 11.9.05 | 4:00PM

Potentially good news from Lyle Dennison of SCOTUSblog:

The death of the Supreme Court's "federalism revolution" might have been pronounced prematurely. The argument Wednesday in two appeals from Georgia, testing disabled inmates' use of the Americans with Disabilities Act to challenge prison conditions, indicated that protecting state sovereignty has not become a forgotten cause for a number of the Justices -- including, it seems, the new Chief Justice, John G. Roberts, Jr.
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