The Spectacle Blog

Ferguson Grand Jury Has Reached a Decision

By on 11.24.14 | 3:42PM

This is developing.

The grand jury assembled to determine whether Officer Darren Wilson should face charges in the death of Michael Brown has reached a decision. News outlets expect to hear from the County Prosecutors Office in Missouri and from the Governor's Office either around 5pm EST today or early tomorrow morning. Cable news anchors have been ordered to pack up the tents they've been sleeping in in Ferguson for the last month as they waited for the decision and get into makeup. 

I made the last part up, but you know it's happening.

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Jonathan Gruber is Going to Need a Job Pretty Soon

By on 11.24.14 | 3:37PM

The Gruber tapes, which detailed chief healthcare law adviser Jonathan Gruber's intimate thoughts and feelings on the intellectual inferiority of the American public, may not have had the rousing media impact that they should have had, but they are impacting something: Jonathan Gruber's employment status.

Apparently, after the White House and Congress were done with him, Gruber was hired on in a few states to help them organize individual healthcare platforms. Last week, Vermont, which had hired Gruber at his going rate of $400K, let him go after only paying him $160K. The Democrat governor there insisted that his comments were unacceptable, and that they did not reflect how Vermont's government did things, even if the Federal government was happy to embrace Gruber's unique marketing strategies. Yesterday, Gruber found himself out another gig in North Carolina.

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Barack Obama: A GOP President Had Better Not Follow My Lead

By on 11.24.14 | 12:28PM

One of the dangers of using the Executive Action to accomplish your campaign goals six years after the fact and despite having an agreeable Congress right about the time you could have fulfilled your campaign promises, is that, if the EA survives the endless litigation and bellyaching it's headed for, future Presidents who don't share your inclusive attitude on undocumented workers, and for that matter, on basically anything else, may also use the EA to accomplish their goals.

Fortunately, President Obama has considered that eventuality and has issued an expert opinion on the subject. No, President Rick Santorum will not be allowed to use Executive Action to enact his agenda when Congress fails to heed his advice about scantily-clad ladies of the Internet and the overwhelming corporate tax burden. Why? Because Barack Obama says so.

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WaPo Feels Compulsive Need to Fact Check SNL Skit on Executive Actions

By on 11.24.14 | 11:31AM

By now, I'm sure you've seen Saturday Night Live's Schoolhouse Rock-themed cold open making fun of President Obama's use of executive actions to bypass a Congressional deadlock on a rather important subject. But just in case you haven't:

It's pretty good, or as good as we can expect Saturday Night Live to be, though things seem to have gotten better now that Seth Meyers is only writing terrible jokes for himself. And, perhaps despite itself, it actually does a decent job of explaining how Obama's use of executive action compares to the measure's traditional use. Someone in the writer's room actually passed high school civics. 

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Chuck Hagel Out as SecDef

By on 11.24.14 | 11:03AM

President Obama today again followed in the footsteps of President Bush and forced his Secretary of Defense to resign in the wake of a devastating mid-term election. Chuck Hagel, who was brought in to be a "tougher", more "authoritarian" hand (thanks John McCain!) for the administration as it attempted to negotiate peace in the Middle East, will end his tenure shortly.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down amid criticism of the president’s national security team on a series of global issues, including the threat posed by the militant group known as ISIS.

Senior defense officials confirmed to NBC News Monday that Hagel was forced to resign.

The officials say the White House has lost confidence in Hagel to carry out his role at the Pentagon. According to one senior official, “He wasn’t up to the job.”

Another senior administration official said that Hagel has been discussing a departure from the White House "for several weeks."

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I Blame Both Obama & McCain for The Hagel Debacle

By on 11.24.14 | 10:59AM

President Obama has politely relieved Chuck Hagel of his duties as Secretary of Defense.

I love how The New York Times spins that Hagel just didn't fit on Team Obama as if Obama hadn't appointed him in the first place.

But I blame John McCain just as much for the Hagel debacle as I do President Obama. After all, Hagel's nomination was on the ropes. Bob Woodward said that it was doubtful that Democrats would support and McCain saves him. Here is what I wrote about the matter in February 2013:

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¿Como Se Dice ‘Activist’ en Español?

By on 11.22.14 | 12:00PM

In an email to members and interested parties, the nation’s foremost upscale Earth worship cult, the Sierra Club, asked all and sundry to write Caesar Obamus to thank him for allowing millions of citizens of other countries in the United States illegally to stay here as long as they please.

Inquiring minds are entitled to wonder what essentially erasing our southern border has to do with clean air and water, the ostensible purpose for the existence of said cult. Anticipating this puzzlement, the email goes on to say:

Many of our immigrant communities are on the front lines of environmental degradation, fighting to protect their families from dangerous air and water pollution, and record-setting storms. Yet, undocumented immigrants have often lacked the most basic protections that would allow them to safely speak up and seek justice. Instead, many have had to live in fear of having their families ripped apart, making their neighborhoods easy targets for polluters.


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LaRoche Signs Two Year Deal with White Sox

By on 11.21.14 | 8:45PM

First baseman Adam LaRoche has signed a two-year, $25 million contract with the Chicago White Sox.

LaRoche, who turned 35 earlier this month, has spent 11 seasons in MLB and the past four with the Washington Nationals. In 2014, LaRoche hit .259 with 26 HR and 92 RBI. The Nats parted ways with LaRoche as Ryan Zimmerman will be moved to first base in 2015 despite missing 101 games due to injuries. 

I think this is a nice pick-up for the Chisox. LaRoche will give 2014 AL Rookie of the Year Jose Abreu some protection in the lineup. My guess is that LaRoche will play first and Abreu will DH. 

The White Sox are LaRoche's sixth team. Prior to his stint in D.C., LaRoche played for the Atlanta Braves (twice), Pittsburgh Pirates, Boston Red Sox and the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

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Obama’s Power Grab

By on 11.21.14 | 6:36PM

Since I wrote a book on the rise of presidential power back in April, I’m tempted to say “I told you so.” As it turns out, 2014 was a good year to publish The Once and Future King.

But even then, I didn’t quite anticipate the inability of some of my friends on the Right to get it. Obama’s amnesty was lawful, they say, what’s your problem. In a way, they’re right. The amnesty is lawful, I believe, in the sense that (sadly) I don’t think the Supreme Court will set it aside. But that doesn’t begin to describe what happened—and the best way of explaining that is to invoke an old puzzler from Greek philosophy—the sorites paradox.

Here’s how it goes. Imagine a hill composed of a bunch of pebbles. Take a pebble away and it’s still a hill. Do it again and the hill remains. You can always take one more pebble away without materially altering the hill. Until the last pebble is removed and there’s no more hill. But you did this without at any one time removing the hill. That’s the paradox. The hill is removed, but no one removed it.

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Thoughts on Obama’s Amnesty Speech

By on 11.21.14 | 11:12AM

I did not watch President Obama's amnesty speech last night. However, I did read it this morning and would like to share my thoughts on it with you.

Obama is in fine disingenuous form. Obama says "our immigration system is broken -- and everybody knows it" and then a minute later says, "Overall, the number of people trying to cross our border illegally is at its lowest level since the 1970s. Those are the facts." On one hand, the immigration system is broken, but on the other hand, it is working better than ever before.

The President tells us he's taking this action because the GOP controlled House of Representatives would not permit a vote on comprehensive immigration reform. He then went on to tell the House to "pass a bill." Does anyone think for a moment that Obama wouldn't veto an immigration bill passed by the House?

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