The Spectacle Blog

Marriage Pandering

By on 6.5.06 | 9:26AM

The latest push for a federal marriage amendment is being met with increasing skepticism on the right.

I cannot escape the sense that the President and the Senate are pandering on this issue. The base is upset -- albeit over other, larger issues -- but this is, as the critics say, good old "red meat." The federal marriage amendment may be fine legislation, but ignoring the big stuff for a small, politically easy bone is not impressive.

The Senate’s Unconstitutional Immigration Bill

By on 6.5.06 | 2:15AM

I missed this on Friday, but it seems kind of important. Here's the deal: The Senate immigration bill has a provision that requires illegal immigrants to pay back-taxes before applying for citizenship. But Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution says that bills for raising revenue must originate in the House. Bill Frist has an easy fix for this: attach the immigration bill to a tax bill that started in the House, and send that to the conference committee. Harry Reid, however, won't agree to this, saying that the problem is no big deal -- "technical in nature" are his words. (Apparently, Reid meant his oath to uphold the Constitution to apply only to the general spirit of the document, not the actual specifics.) Refusing to allow the Frist fix almost guarantees that a member of the House will introduce and pass a blue-slip resolution to send the bill back to the Senate before it makes it into conference. Reid's goal seems to be to block any immigration bill from passing before November.

Risk Assessment

By on 6.5.06 | 1:17AM

Dave Weigel casts doubt on what seems to be the latest fantasy on Capitol Hill, namely that bringing up sure-to-fail amendments on flag burning and gay marriage will make conservatives forget about Republican fecklessness on spending and immigration. Of special note:

Viet Dinh for Native Hawaiians Act

By on 6.4.06 | 11:07PM

Former assistant attorney general Viet Dinh supports the Native Hawaiians bill pending in the Senate, which would set up a separatist, race based government in Hawaii. How disappointing. The Supreme Court has already declared unconstitutional a similar system in Hawaii, but Daniel Akaka wants his way.

For more, see one of John Fund's excellent articles on it.

Word is that the White House is giving this bill a pass also.

Maplequeda Arrests

By on 6.3.06 | 3:32PM

The arrest of seventeen Canadians - a dozen adults and five youths - won't be enough to arouse our northern neighbors. Reuters reports that those arrested in Ontario had about three tons of ammonium nitrate - roughly double the amount used in the Oklahoma City bombing -- for use in car or truck bombs. There's speculation that they were targeting government offices.

Canada has been less serious than even Mexico in trying to control jihadist wannabes. Let's hope these arrests indicate that the RCMP and their intelligence folks are getting more leeway to preempt attacks there and here.

Let's not talk about closing "the border." The proper term is borders.

Wen Ho Be Bad

By on 6.2.06 | 6:54PM

So Wen Ho Lee gets rich off his lawsuit. What a pity. You'll remember Mr. Lee: the nuke lab dude who went home with computer files, was suspected of espionage on China's behalf, but ended up earning sympathy because in some ways his case was mishandled. But the fact is that the news organizations STILL have not admitted to ANY factual inaccuracies, nor was the accuracy even officially challenged. And for good reason: The fact is that Wen Ho Lee is no victim. The stories were true, in that Mr. Lee pleaded guilty for "mishandling computer files," as the AP story put it. ANd these weren't just ANY files; they were files with important nuke-related info on them. And TO THIS DAY, Wen Ho Lee still hasn't offered adequate explanation for why he took the files out of the office in the first place, when it was obviously improper for him to do so. Meanwhile, even as a big mainstream media basher, I must say that the news organizations here are getting a raw deal.

Re: Friday SGO

By on 6.2.06 | 4:17PM

Paul: It's hard to not feel the frustration you express, but we all have to resist it. There's always a choice. There has to be, or we are no different from the barbarians we fight. I'm utterly confident that the desire to get to the bottom of this and to punish anyone guilty of a crime is felt most strongly among the Marines themselves. Haditha may have been the ultimately dark moment for some of them, but for the rest their light shines undimmed.

Politics Shrouded in God Talk

By on 6.2.06 | 2:43PM

Rep. James Clyburn, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, is touting a letter to the editor in the Washington Post today, "How Faith Works for Democrats." The headline belies Clyburn's meaning: Democrats don't work for faith but vice-versa. Here it is:

...Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) created the Democratic Faith Working Group more than a year and a half ago to remind the wider faith community of the public and personal faith narratives of Democrats.

Ms. Pelosi asked me to chair this initiative because, as she explained to me, she had noticed in my actions and expressions a deep commitment to faith-based issues. Ending poverty, increasing the minimum wage, protecting the innocence of children, improving education, preserving God's creation by protecting the environment, and fighting for social and economic justice are all faith-based causes. The values expressed are solidly rooted in the faith of the American people and in the policies of Democrats.

Economics Reporting

By on 6.2.06 | 1:45PM

Is becoming a bit of a spectator sport. Every time new economic data is released, showing the economy to be booming, how will the media skew it into disappointment?

ABC News submits its entry for today's latest unemployment and job growth figures: "Job Growth Stalls but Unemployment Dips." By which they mean the economy added 75,000 jobs in May, and unemployment dipped to a fantastically low 4.6 percent. How miserable!

Re: Friday SGO

By on 6.2.06 | 10:22AM


I managed to catch you on O'Reilly last night. I wish he had asked you about an underlying issue: the rules of engagement in this conflict. As you noted, the Corps is remarkable for how few such incidents they have had in their long history of working in nasty places. But what alternatives do Marines have in their current predicament short of over-reaction on one side, and being hamstrung from protecting themselves on the other? From this civilian observer's perspective, they seem to be in a profoundly difficult circumstance. Their overall sterling performance in the midst of such conditions really makes the "ethics training" now promised seem like a sad joke. (Shouldn't stateside office workers get ethics training before the military does?)