The Spectacle Blog

OPM Made It Very Easy for The Chinese To Hack Their Personnel Files

By on 6.19.15 | 11:31AM

The Office of Personnel and Management was hacked by China recently in what some are calling the worst security breach in American history, bigger it seems than the metric ton of NSA secrets that Edward Snowden piled on The Guardian.

To catch you up, the Chinese apparently wormed their way into the OPM's personnel files and stole, well, everything, from social security numbers to basic personal information files, from pretty much anyone who has ever presented the information to the Federal government, including all employees and applicants. In other words, the Chinese now have the sensitive information of possibly millions of Americans. Now, they've already said that they intend to use that to try to turn certain Americans into spies, which seems inordinately difficult given how much information we already share about ourselves on social media, but the OPM seems relatively unconcerned, and the President has even expressed confidence in how she's managing this ridiculous situation.

Hillary Speaks of Little Children, Church Members, Movie Audiences But Not Our Military Personnel

By on 6.18.15 | 6:52PM

Hillary Clinton spoke about the shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina by posing the following questions:

How many innocent people in our country from little children to church members to movie theater attendees? How many people do we need to see cut down before we act?

In the first question, Hillary makes obvious references to the shootings at Sandy Hook, the theater shooting in Colorado as well as both the shooting at the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin and last night's attack.

Hillary speaks of little children, church members and movie theater attendees. But what about our military personnel?

Weren't the soldiers who died at Fort Hood also victims of gun violence?

If so why did Hillary omit the mention of our military personnel?

Brian Williams Will be the “Face of MSNBC”

By on 6.18.15 | 5:29PM

There's no reason Brian Williams should return to television. But I suppose if there's any place where he can fit in - and more importantly, where people are far too distracted by their own self-importance to notice that he's fudging the details of his personal experience, it would be MSNBC.

What's one more delusional talking head, anyway, when you're already cornering the market?

NBC and Williams have come to a tentative agreement that will keep Williams at the network after his six-month suspension ends in August, people with knowledge of the agreement said. It will likely be announced sometime Thursday.

Williams will not be returning to the “NBC Nightly News” anchor chair; his fill-in Lester Holt will become the program’s permanent anchor…

So what will Williams do? His portfolio will include a position on MSNBC, NBC’s struggling cable news channel. “He will be the face of MSNBC,” handling big breaking news stories, one of the people said on condition of anonymity.

That is just the thing MSNBC requires to restore their credibility. 

An Unhappy Conclusion

By on 6.18.15 | 2:59PM

When I wrote of “the next time some shut-in does something beastly” in my review of Theodore Dalrymple’s fine sendup of psychotherapy, little did I know what was soon to take place in Charleston. We’ll have to see if the cry arises, as it usually does after a horrific event like this, for the head trade to sort out the crazies and render them harmless, a job this vast industry is ill-prepared to do.

I remember after the Connecticut school-house massacre we were treated to endless stories of how weird the shooter in that one was and how he should have been identified and, well, and then what? The breathless descriptions of this quirky loner probably fits tens of thousands of adolescents across the lower-48. What are we to do? Jug them all? Most of these off-plumb people will never do a criminal thing in their admittedly hinky lives.

It’s not a happy conclusion, but it’s part of wisdom to finally understand and accept that there are some very bad things that simply can’t be prevented.

Supreme Court Allows Texas to Offend the First Amendment

By on 6.18.15 | 1:41PM

Today a narrow and unusual Supreme Court majority ruled that the DMV – of all government agencies! – is allowed to censor speech it considers to be “offensive.” To wit, the four “liberal” justices and Justice Clarence Thomas somehow found that the specialty license plates Texas drivers can choose to have on their vehicles actually constitute state speech – and of course the state can control its own messages, including rejecting a plate proposed by the Texas branch of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. This is so even though the specialty-license-plate program encourages Texans to come up with their own designs and slogans, which has resulted in around 400 plates that express support for a plethora of nonprofit organizations, commercial entities, affinity groups, and myriad other causes.

Inhofe: The Left Will Use Pope’s Encyclical To Enact ‘Largest Tax Increase In History’

By on 6.18.15 | 1:33PM

While the Obama administration and environmentalists celebrate Pope Francis’ encyclical on global warming, Sen. Jim Inhofe is warning the pope’s views on the subject could be used by the left to enact the biggest tax increase in U.S. history.

“I disagree with the pope’s philosophy on global warming,” the Oklahoma Republican said in a statement. “I am concerned that his encyclical will be used by global warming alarmists to advocate for policies that will equate to the largest, most regressive tax increase in our nation’s history.”

Francis’s encyclical, called “Laudato Si,” calls for reducing fossil fuel use and increasing green energy production. Francis also calls for a global agreement to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to fight global warming.

Negotiators Leave Empty Handed, Greek Bank Withdrawal Begins

By on 6.18.15 | 1:21PM

Greece’s neglected payment to the International Monetary Fund on Friday, June 5, has caused escalated tensions in the negotiation process between creditors and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. As the pressure to settle on a deal increases, Greece decided last week that they would take the option, posed to them by the IMF, to settle all four of their June loan repayments at the end of the month. This has spurred unrest for the people of Greece, as well as its creditors and Troika.

Shell Oil Foots Bill for Environmental Disaster Greenpeace Created Protesting Shell Oil

By on 6.18.15 | 12:35PM

A group of Greenpeace "kayaktivists" took to the waters of the Puget Sound a few short weeks ago in an attempt to stop the Polar Pioneer, Shell Oil's newest Arctic drilling rig, from taking a breather in port on its way up to Alaska. They were ultimately thwarted by the Coast Guard's concern for their safety and Shell Oil's determination to continue on its mission, and just a few short days ago, the last kayaks finally pulled back.

The Pope Hits at Population Control Activists in Eco-Encyclical, Says Ecology Means Protecting the Unborn

By on 6.18.15 | 12:30PM

Doug Bandow and Debra Saunders have already done an excellent job digesting Pope Francis's new Encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si, but I want to make sure that I flagged a bit of the Pope's piece that's flown under the radar.

In addition to discussing the impact of Climate Change on the poor, the Catholic and spiritual history of environmental stewardship, and suggesting economic policy changes, the Pope pointed out that there's a disconnect within the environmental movement that will have a much longer-lasting impact than any filth-spewing industrial project: the environmental movement's commitment to population control. In a harshly-worded passage, the Pope repudiates attacks on human dignity, noting that a respect for nature cannot be separated from a respect for human life, especially unborn human life.

FCC Ignores Rule of Law, Fines AT&T $100 Million

By on 6.18.15 | 12:09PM

Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), on a three-to-two vote, found that AT&T violated federal regulations by failing to disclose that it was throttling certain wireless customers on an “unlimited” data plan. The FCC claims AT&T owes a $100 million fine. This announcement follows a lawsuit filed in October 2014 by another federal agency, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), arguing that AT&T violated federal consumer protection law by throttling its unlimited data plan customers. AT&T has pledged to take both agencies to court to defend itself against these allegations.

By way of background, for many years, AT&T and many other wireless providers offered data plans—used for Internet browsing, email, video, and so forth—on an all-you-can eat, unlimited basis. These plans let customers transmit and receive as much information as they wish, without facing overage charges for downloading too much data.

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