The Spectacle Blog

Happy Birthday, Vin

By on 11.29.15 | 1:55PM

Today is Vin Scully’s 88th birthday. Folks who listen to this vibrant and articulate broadcaster may find this number hard to believe. But it’s true. DOB 11/29/27 — do the arithmetic. Vin’s many fans across the nation wish him the best of days and many happy returns.

Vin has been calling Dodgers games, and lots of other sporting events, since 1950. He has told us that 2016 will be his final year in the booth. This makes his many fans — count me in this lot — both sad at this leaving and thankful for the many wonderful hours he has given us.

Happy birthday, Redhead.

Thoughts on the Planned Parenthood Shooting in Colorado Springs UPDATE

By on 11.28.15 | 6:15PM

As you know by now, three people, including a police officer, were murdered at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs on Friday. After a standoff that last five hours, the gunman surrendered to police. The suspect has been identified as Robert Lewis Dear, a man in his late 50's who had recently moved to Colorado from South Carolina and has had a number of skirmishes with the law arising from disputes with his ex-wife and various neighbors over the past two decades.

It is not clear that if Dear deliberately targeted Planned Parenthood, a point even Vicki Cowart, the President of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, acknowledges. However, Cowart went on to decry "extremists" who she blamed for "creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country." Here is Cowart's statement in full:

Philadelphia 76ers Set NBA Record With 27th Consecutive Loss

By on 11.28.15 | 1:04AM

The Philadelphia 76ers have hit the record books for all the wrong reasons.

With a 116-114 loss on Friday night to the Houston Rockets, the 76ers have set a NBA record with their 27th consecutive loss. The losing streak dates back to last season when they lost their final 10 games. They are now 0-17 this season.

The single season record for consecutive losses is still 26 which is shared by the 2010-2011 Cleveland Cavaliers and last year's edition of the 76ers. 

Their next game takes place on Sunday against the Memphis Grizzlies. Should they lose to the Grizzlies and lose again to the L.A. Lakers on Tuesday, the 76ers will set an NBA record by losing their first 19 games. The New Jersey Nets (now the Brooklyn Nets) began the 2009-10 season with 18 consecutive losses. 

Philadelphia is no stranger to long losing streaks. In 1961, the Philadelphia Phillies lost 23 consecutive games which is MLB's longest losing streak in the modern era.

First It Was the Washington Redskins, Now It’s the Edmonton Eskimos’ Turn

By on 11.27.15 | 10:18PM

For some time now there has been concerted effort to change the name of the NFL's Washington Redskins. 

Well, now with the Edmonton Eskimos due to play in Sunday's Grey Cup (the Canadian Football League's equivalent of the Super Bowl, only it's been around for more than 100 years) against the Ottawa RedBlacks, there is now a call for the Eskimos to change its name. In an op-ed in the Toronto Globe and Mail, Natan Obed, President of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (which is Canada's largest Innu organization), claims the Eskimos name imposes colonial terminology upon them:

The word Eskimo is not only outdated, it is now largely considered a derogatory term. It has never been our term. When Inuit mobilized in the 1970s to protect our rights, we started using the term Inuit to describe our people because that is our way of describing ourselves. No other society has a right to impose their terminology upon us.

Obama Lectures America on Syrian Refugees By Likening Them to The Pilgrims

By on 11.26.15 | 9:52PM

In his Thanksgiving address, President Obama once again lectured Americans about the Syrian refugees. This time, he likened them to the Pilgrims. "Nearly four centuries after the Mayflower set sail, the world is still full of pilgrims – men and women who want nothing more than the chance for a safer, better future for themselves and their families,” Obama said. “What makes America America is that we offer that chance.”

Would we be put into the position to offer this chance if President Obama had been serious about enforcing red lines in Syria? Consider what historian Walter Russell Mead wrote a little over a week ago:

CNN: Israel? What Israel?

By on 11.26.15 | 2:03PM

Most of the Muslim and Arab world would love Israel to just disappear.

Well, CNN did its best to accommodate that desire. In an article on CNN Money about ISIS, it featured a map of the Middle East. Although this map showed Jerusalem, it was shown as the capital of Palestina. This is a Spanish/Portugese translation of Palestine.

When diligent readers brought to this to CNN's attention, they replaced it with one of Aleppo, Syria. 

Evidently CNN can't bring itself to admit that Israel exists. 

Labour MP John McDonnell Actually Read From Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book at Westminster

By on 11.25.15 | 3:03PM

Labour MP John McDonnell, who serves as the party's Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, actually read from Chairman Mao's Little Red Book in the British House of Commons in an exchange with George Osborne who is the Chancellor of th Exchequer in David Cameron's Tory government:

Let me quote from Mao, rarely done in this chamber, 'We must learn to do economic work from all who know how. No matter who they are, we must esteem them as teachers, learning from them respectfully and conscientiously. But we must not pretend to know what we do not know'.

I thought it would come in handy for you in your new relationship.

McDonnell then tossed the book across the dispatch box towards Osborne. But Osborne had a beautiful reply:

So the shadow chancellor literally stood at the Despatch Box and read out from Mao's Little Red Book.

Opening the book, he went on: "Oh look! It's his personal signed copy.

Suspended CNN Reporter Conspired With Clinton Campaign to Smear Rand Paul

By on 11.25.15 | 1:01PM

Earlier this week, Elise Labott, a CNN reporter, took to Twitter to express her frustration over a House bill that would have "limited" incoming Syrian refugee applications by requiring an additional signature from the FBI, signing off on an application that the Syrian refugees had to complete anyway. Her effort at editorialization cost her a couple of weeks vacation without pay. 

But now, thanks to a small cache of emails, published by Gawker, we can confidently say that Labott's foray into opinion journalism wasn't an isolated incident. In fact, Labott appears to have an open line of communication with Clinton aide, Phillipe Reines, and, at one point, took direction from the Clinton campaign, attacking Sen. Rand Paul on Twitter at their behest and with their Tweet.

Golden State Warriors Set NBA Record with 16-0 Start; Philadelphia 76ers Could Be 0-16 Tonight UPDATE

By on 11.25.15 | 10:51AM

The defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors appear to be even better than they were last year.

Last night, the Warriors trounced the L.A. Lakers 111-77 setting an NBA record by winning their first 16 games. The record had previously been held by the 1948-49 Washington Capitols and the 1983-84 Houston Rockets.

The strangest thing about this winning streak is that they have been doing it without head coach Steve Kerr who is recovering from back surgery. Luke Walton, son of NBA legend Bill Walton, has been the interim head coach. However, under NBA rules, Kerr gets all the credit for wins and losses. Or should I just say wins?

The Warriors can extend their record to 17 straight wins on Friday night when they visit the Phoenix Suns.

Cynthia Robinson, R.I.P.

By on 11.24.15 | 4:36PM

Cynthia Robinson, trumpet player and back up vocalist for Sly & The Family Stone, has passed away at the age of 69 of cancer.

Sly & The Family Stone is probably best remembered for their appearance at Woodstock. They were an unusual band as its members were both black and white, men and women. They had a string of hits in the late '60's and early '70's including "Dance to the Music" (in which she is mentioned by name), "I Want To Take You Higher" and "Stand". Stone and Robinson were also the parents to a daughter named Phunne. Robinson was the only original member to remain alongside Stone when the band fell apart in 1975 although she did also play in bass player Larry Graham's band Graham Central Station. Robinson toured with The Family Stone (sans Sly Stone) as recently as this summer.

Here is a clip of Sly & The Family Stone playing an extended version of "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" on Soul Train with Robinson featured on trumpet.