The Spectacle Blog

A Thought for Sailor Gutzler

By on 1.4.15 | 1:21AM

I've never been in a car crash (knock on wood) never mind a plane crash (knock on more wood). But if I was in a plane crash, was the sole survivor but had broken bones and hypothermia, I don't know if I could do what 7-year old Sailor Gutzler managed to do after her father's private plane crashed in Kentucky killing both her parents, her sister and a cousin.

I'm not sure how many adults would have been able to use the fire emanating from the plane as a guiding light, walk through nearly a mile worth of terrain both unfamiliar and rugged to safety. Yet somehow this little girl did it.

And thank goodness for the kindness of Larry Wilkins who provided comfort when she needed it the most. 

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Huckabee Leaves FNC; Pondering Another Presidential Run

By on 1.3.15 | 9:44PM

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has announced that he is leaving the Fox News Channel. Since late 2008, Huckabee has hosted a weekend show on FNC following his upstart run for the GOP nomination earlier that year. Huckabee is once again pondering another White House bid in 2016 and is expected to make a decision by the spring. 

My guess is that Huckabee will run. I can't imagine him leaving such a lucrative gig if he wasn't all in. Frankly, I can't see Huckabee winning the GOP nomination. But there remains a strong constituency of social conservatives within the GOP and with fewer Republicans willing to oppose gay marriage, he could stand apart from the crowd and make a run of it. It wouldn't surprise me if he were to win the Iowa Caucuses again. 

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Edward Brooke, R.I.P.

By on 1.3.15 | 6:18PM

Former Massachusetts Republican Senator Edward Brooke has passed away at the age of 95. A cause of death was not released, but he was diagnosed with breast cancer a little over a decade ago.

When Brooke was elected to the Senate in 1966, he would become the first African-American to serve that body since Reconstruction and the first to be popularly elected. Despite being the only state to vote against Richard Nixon in 1972, Massachusetts re-elected Brooke easily. However, Brooke was defeated by Democrat Congressman Paul Tsongas in 1978. Nevertheless, Brooke remains the only African-American to have been re-elected to the Senate although Tim Scott of South Carolina has a good chance of replicating that feat in 2018.

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Opry Loses Large Presence in a Small Package

By on 1.3.15 | 2:16PM

Country singer and songwriter Little Jimmy Dickens, a regular and popular performer on the Grand Ole Opry since 1948, died of cardiac arrest in a Nashville hospital Friday. His death followed a stroke he suffered on Christmas day.

Dickens’ last performance was Dec. 20, a day before his 94th birthday. He sang his hit from back in the day, “Out Behind the Barn,” and did his usual comedy shtick. In the AP obit on Dickens it was said that he was “known for his sense of humor.” I guess if you’re a guy and you’re 4-foot 11 (standing up) you damn well better have a sense of humor.

Appearing on stage in 2008 with country singer Trace Adkins, who stands 6-foot-6, Dickens eschewed cliché lines like, “How’s the weather up there?” Instead he climbed a stepladder to be eyeball to eyeball with Adkins and said, “You’re so tall, if you fell down you’d be halfway home when you got up.”

Dickens made fun of getting older. (What else can you do about it?) A few years back on the Opry he observed, “When you’re 88 and see a pretty girl in a bikini, your pacemaker makes the garage door go up.” 

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Barack Obama Had a Nicer New Years Than You

By on 1.2.15 | 4:50PM

Actually, I had a pretty nice New Years. I availed myself of a five-course tasting menu at a really fantastic restaurant, some decent cocktails and Midnight Mass. 

But, of course, I didn't do it in Hawaii. 

The President, who is wrapping up his 17-day vacation on Oahu, spent New Years with the family, getting shave ice at a neighborhood place with his daughters and snorkeling with the family at Hanauma Bay, a huge inland reef and wildlife sanctuary that is great for beginners, but is usually closed to the public over the holidays. Barack and Michelle then ditched the kids and went for a fifteen-course tasting menu of their own at Hawaii's Vintage Cave, a French-American fine-dining restaurant, "private society" and wine cellar located in a giant shopping mall just down the road from Waikiki beach. The 

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Harry Reid Broke His Face (And Some Ribs)

By on 1.2.15 | 4:19PM

Harry Reid is no longer allowed to exercise by himself at home.

Apparently, after sustaining a serious injury in his home gym (for a second time), the Senate Democratic leader was rushed to a hospital near his hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada, where he was quickly diagnosed with several facial fractures and a few broken ribs. 

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid is in a Las Vegas hospital following injuries sustained while exercising at home.

A statement issued Friday by Reid's office said doctors expect a "full recovery."

"A piece of equipment Senator Reid was using to exercise broke, causing him to fall and break a number of ribs and bones in his face," according to the statement. "Senator Reid will return to Washington this weekend and be in the office Tuesday as the Senate prepares to reconvene."

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Wendy Davis Stuck to Her Guns And Regrets It Now

By on 1.2.15 | 1:12PM

I have to say that I truly missed Wendy Davis for the two seconds she was out of the media cycle. Everyone else since then has been so boring. Where before it was hapless campaign appearances and poorly concieved fundraising emails, lately it's just been cranky old white supremacists and Bill de Blasio. 

Thankfully, Wendy, who insists that her 20-point loss to Republican Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot was a mere misunderstanding, and that her campaign was a watershed moment for Democrats in the south, keeps doing interviews, as though there were some way to rectify all of her mistakes. So in the midst of a slow couple of weeks, we find out that, while Wendy Davis is proud for having stuck to her guns during her campaign, she does, ironically, regret having stuck to her guns during her campaign. Or, at least her support of open carry

"I don't live in the world of regret," Davis said in the exclusive interview – her first sit-down interview since the election – when asked whether she had any regrets about her campaign.

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Mario Cuomo, R.I.P.

By on 1.1.15 | 10:18PM

Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo passed away of heart failure. He was 82.

Cuomo was elected Governor of New York in 1982 after defeating New York City Mayor Ed Koch in the Democratic primary. He would be re-elected in 1986 and 1990 before losing office to George Pataki in the Republican Revolution of 1994.

Cuomo was arguably American liberalism's strongest spokesmen in the 1980's. In 1984, Cuomo would come to national prominence when he gave the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco.

Although Cuomo was considered the frontrunner in the Democratic primaries in both 1988 and 1992, but declined to run. American political history might have been very different had Cuomo run in either of those elections. Cuomo certainly would have been more formidable opponent for George H.W. Bush than Michael Dukakis. 

His son, Andrew Cuomo, just got sworn in today to his second term as Governor of New York. However, it seems to me that the younger Cuomo lacks his father's eloquence. 

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A Thought for 2015

By on 12.31.14 | 11:58PM

Well, 2014 has receded into the past and 2015 has been born. 

I think it's safe to say that we can expect more of the same and probably a lot worse. We can count on President Obama to say and do stupid things and then claim that he ever said or did any such things. We can count on liberals calling conservatives racists and rapists while lecturing us about civility and tolerance they do not possess. We can also count on more evil in the world whether it's done by countries like Iran or terrorist organizations like ISIS as well as by a litany of tyrants great and small. 

Yet I am grateful to inhale and exhale. I am especially grateful to the people at Mount Sinai Hospital who saved my Dad's life last October. Had that not occurred, I doubt I would be in much of a mood to celebrate anything. Not everyone gets a second chance. So Dad is making the most of it.

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Steve Scalise Might Have Just Been a Victim of Bad Hotel Records

By on 12.31.14 | 2:04PM

Here's a lesson for you, all you aspiring politicos. When you didn't do something, don't admit to it. Also, when scheduling your candidate to appear in hotel ballrooms, check the rest of the hotel's schedule. And for that matter, unless you're enjoying the culture, music and potent potables of New Orleans, just stay the hell out of Louisiana. Even if you're from there. 

Although, yesterday, it was rather clear that Steve Scalise had given a keynote address to a room full of Neo-Nazi continental breakfast afficianados, today, it seems that he might have merely been the victim of bad hotel record keeping. According to Kenny Knight, the white supremacist who organized the annual "EURO Convention," Steve Scalise wasn't actually on the schedule for the event itself. Instead, Scalise spoke to a group of community activists that Knight also organizes, and which Scalise also happened to be a part of, but who are less "White Power" and more "Tuesday Night Bingo."

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