The Spectacle Blog

What’s the Safest Way to Transport Oil?

By on 3.10.15 | 4:12PM

An overturned tanker truck spilled about 1,100 gallons of fuel on the I-95 in Prince George’s County outside Washington earlier today.  Meanwhile, back at the White House, Obama worries about the safety of an oil pipeline.

And the past month has seen four oil-train accidents in Canada.

And in the White House, Barack Obama worries about the safety of the proposed Keystone oil pipeline.

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Nuclear Tit for Tat in the Middle East

By on 3.10.15 | 4:02PM

The Washington Post reports this morning that “on Monday Pakistan test-fired a ballistic missile that appears capable of carrying a nuclear warhead,” the Shaheen-III, which “has a range of up to 1,700 miles.” The Post would like us to believe that Pakistan was sending a message to its long-time rival, India, even as it puzzles over the visit the week before between India’s foreign secretary and Pakistani diplomats in Islamabad, presumably to improve relations.

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Hillary’s Email Excuse: She Didn’t Want Two Phones

By on 3.10.15 | 2:33PM

I've removed the UN press conference live feed now that Hillary is done talking because I highly doubt you want to continue to watch people standing around staring at a step and repeat. I mean, maybe that's your thing. But do it on your own time.

Anyway, here's what we learned from Hillary's brief, somewhat contentious (as least as far as Andrea Mitchell was not involved) press conference at the United Nations. It began, as many press conferences have today, with a brief soliloquy on those dastardly Republicans who keep insisting on derailing the President's landmark discussions with Iran. She also made some brief remarks on the anniversary of the Beijing conference on Womens Rights, which she appears to have attended, noting that she is thrilled to be a part of the event and the commission, despite having accepted thousands in donations for the Clinton Foundation from countries where women are still regularly stoned for adultery.

She made several remarks on her email:

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Obama: We’ll Have to Pass the Iran Deal to Know What’s In It

By on 3.10.15 | 11:55AM

I can't say for certain whether the Republican strategy of warning Iran, individually, that Congress has the power to override whatever deal the President thinks he's striking in Iran, is a winning one. My confidence in the Republican leadership to follow through on the threat of having a backbone has been eroded, and while I understand the need to do something before this all really goes off the rails, this might have been too much, too soon.

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Why Obama Blasting Walker Over Wisconsin’s New Right-to-Work Law is Absolutely Fantastic - UPDATED

By on 3.10.15 | 9:41AM

Last night, President Obama blasted Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker for signing right-to-work legislation into law:

I'm deeply disappointed that a new anti-worker law in Wisconsin will weaken, rather than strengthen, workers in the new economy," Obama said. "Wisconsin is a state built by labor, with a proud pro-worker past.

So even as its governor claims victory over working Americans, I'd encourage him to try and score a victory for working Americans—by taking meaningful action to raise their wages and offer them the security of paid leave. That's how you give hardworking middle-class families a fair shot in the new economy—not by stripping their rights in the workplace, but by offering them all the tools they need to get ahead.

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The University of Oklahoma SAE Fraternity & Our Never Ending National Conversation on Race

By on 3.9.15 | 11:08PM

It goes without saying that the racial epithets sung by members of the University of Oklahoma chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon are disgraceful especially the imagery evoked by "hang 'em from a tree" utterance.

Predictably there are those who want to start yet another national conversation on race. Case in point, Alabama based writer Edward T. Bowser:

Whenever race is mentioned in this space, I'm inevitably met with these three words: "Get over it." It's as if racism totally died out in the 1960s with giant headbands and bell bottoms.

Well, nobody told the frat boys from the University of Oklahoma that racism is out of style.

Not one day removed from thousands of marchers of various races crossing Edmund Pettus Bridge in an act of solidarity, a video clip featuring members of the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon gleefully singing a racist chant has been making the rounds online.

I refuse to post the video here, but this excerpt speaks volumes:

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Obama: Senate Republicans’ Letter Shows Common Cause with Iranian Leaders

By on 3.9.15 | 8:41PM

When asked about the open letter by Senate Republicans to Iran's leaders, President Obama quipped, "I think it's somewhat ironic to see some members of Congress wanting to make common cause with the hardliners in Iran.  It's an unusual coalition."

To paraphrase President Reagan, "Well, there he goes again." Once again, Obama is erecting strawmen. It is reminiscient of when Obama told Congressional Republicans in 2011 that the late Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi was "somebody no one should want to defend" and a "cause celebre" for Republicans when the GOP had the temerity to want to have a say in any military incursion in Libya. 

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Oh Wait: The President Did Know Hillary’s Private Email

By on 3.9.15 | 3:57PM

If, after reading that last story I posted, you were thinking to yourself, "but Emily, how is it possible that the President had no idea that Hillary Clinton was using a private email address when the President and the Secretary of State are typically in close communication?" you were not alone. It seems that the President's own staff is also confused. 

This afternoon, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest noted that, yes, the President did exchange emails with then-Secretary Clinton using her private email address, and yes, it appears that those emails went through Clinton's private server. Which, yes, means that America's top-level foreign policy discussions were probably open to any hacker who cared to take initiative. 

President Barack Obama communicated via email with Hillary Clinton while she used her personal email, according to the White House.

In a press briefing on Monday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that Obama did correspond with his secretary of state via her private email address.

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President Obama Found Out About Hillary Emails from NYT

By on 3.9.15 | 1:24PM

It seems as though Hillary Clinton's troubles with email are as likely to stick around as Kim Kardashian's platinum hair (though, thankfully, the Hillary Clinton emails are less likely to expose us all to Kanye West). And while the White House may be tangentially involved, they are making it clear that, while they might have warned Hillary Clinton's staff to take a second look at their technological subpoena-avoidance plan, they had absolutely nothing to do with her decision to conduct all State Department business on a server located somewhere below the wine cellar of her Chappaqua, New York estate.

The President, of course, decided to reiterate the White House's position this weekend. When questioned on the subject, he noted that, as you can recall, no one in his administration tells him anything. He finds out about troubles brewing with his appointees the same way you do: in the media.

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Mitch McConnell Pre-Surrendering on Debt Ceiling Just in Case

By on 3.9.15 | 12:52PM

Last week's fold on DHS funding was, apparently, only the first is a series of events designed to erode America's flailing confidence in the new, Republican Congress's ability to achieve any marked change in how business is done in Washington.

As we gear up for discussions on the deb ceiling (the one-year debt ceiling "holiday" expires within the week), we find that Congressional leadership - specifically Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell - fresh off the three-month budget ordeal that netted Republicans exactly nothing, has already planned to forgo any "extraordinary measures" that would give them a better negotiating position on raising the debt ceiling. 

Republicans will raise the government’s borrowing limit without threatening a default, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell guaranteed Sunday, placating the markets but potentially surrendering the party’s leverage as Congress gears up for another debt showdown.

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