The Spectacle Blog

A Few Questions About the U.S. Led Airstrikes in Syria

By on 9.23.14 | 2:52PM

Last night, the U.S. along with a handful of Arab countries commenced airstrikes against ISIS and al Qaeda strongholds in Syria. While this could prove to be a very positive development, I have my doubts. As such it leaves me with more questions than answers.

How long will the air campaign against ISIS and al Qaeda last? Obviously I don't think the Obama Administration should be telegraphing that, but I can't see them doing this for any length of time. American military involvement in Libya, such as it was, lasted seven months.

If the Obama Administration insists that there will be no U.S. troops on the ground will these Arab countries (i.e. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar) fill in the breach?

Assuming the answer to that question is no then how long would it take before ISIS & al Qaeda reconstitute after being "degraded"?

But if the answer is yes then would these countries assist Syrian rebels not only in dispatching ISIS and al Qaeda, but in overthrowing the Assad regime?

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Results of New Brunswick Election Up in The Air - UPDATED

By on 9.23.14 | 12:16AM

I've been following the results of the New Brunswick provincial election with great interest. For those who are unfamiliar with this Maritime Canadian province it is one of Canada's four original provinces and it borders Maine. 

The story tonight is that the results are up in the air. A new electronic tabulation system has not been in sync with the hand counted ballots so Elections New Brunswick has halted the process until further notice.

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A Solution to the Jobs Crisis: Bring Back Manservants

By on 9.22.14 | 6:59PM

The big story today is income inequality and the rise of the top one percent. They’re doing very well, and for their part so are the poorest Americans, who are propped up by a generous welfare system. At the bottom end of the income distribution, people are also finding jobs.

It’s the jobs in the middle of the distribution that have cratered, a phenomenon economists call “jobs polarization.” Highly paid jobs have expanded, but then so too have poorly paid, low-skilled ones. We’re talking about hands-on jobs such as food service workers, janitors and gardeners, cleaners, home health aides, hairdressers and beauticians. They don’t require a high degree of education, they’re not unionized and they won’t make you rich, but the jobs are there. It’s all very well to be in the one percent, but people are still needed to mow the lawns and mop the floors, and that’s not going to be done by computers or machines. 

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Three Afghan Soldiers Go Missing From Military Base in Massachusetts - UPDATED

By on 9.22.14 | 11:41AM

Well, this is disconcerting.

Three Afghan soldiers who have been undergoing training at Camp Edwards in Massachusetts went missing on Saturday night following a trip to the Cape Cod Mall in Hyannis.

Officials from U.S. Central Command insist there's nothing to be alarmed about and that the three men have broken no laws and pose no threat to the public.

But how can we be so sure?

There have been numerous instances of Afghan military members turning on U.S. soldiers in recent years. If there are Afghan soldiers prepared to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan then is it really a stretch of the imagination to think that, if the opportunity presented itself, they would come to the United States and plot attacks either against our military bases or against civilian targets?

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Kerry Seeks Iran’s Help Against ISIS

By on 9.20.14 | 1:43AM

You know things are going badly in terms of recruiting a broad coalition against ISIS if the Obama Administration is seeking Iran's help. During a UN Security Council Meeting on Iraq, Secretary of State John Kerry said, "There is a role for nearly every country in the world to play, including Iran."

This would be the same Iran whose President, Hassan Rouhani, earlier this week in an interview with NBC called the coalition against ISIS "ridiculous." Rouhani also said, "When we say red line, we mean red line." These aren't the words of a country that is looking to help us against ISIS. 

Then again how can the Obama Administration expect any country to help us against ISIS if it won't help itself?

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Salmond to Step Down in November

By on 9.19.14 | 4:56PM

Less than 24 hours after the Scottish Referendum, SNP Leader and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has announced he will step down in November.

Although the Yes side lost by a 10 point margin, it is certainly far better than anyone expected. So I doubt there was any pressure brought to bear on him to resign if they lost. Of course, maybe there was pressure on him to step aside but for reasons unrelated to the referendum. As I wrote the other day, Salmond has come a long way from when he had a broom sized office at Westminster.

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Scotland Votes No

By on 9.19.14 | 12:48AM

With 26 of 32 precincts reporting, the BBC is projecting that Scotland has voted against independence. The No forces are expected to win 55% of the vote. 

As Quebec referendums have become a permanent feature of Canadian politics, Scottish referendums will become a permanent feature of U.K. politics. Granted it will be at least another 15 years or so. But as long as the SNP is in the control of the Scottish Parliament this will surely not be the last referendum in Scotland. 

And when that referendum happens the results still won't matter.

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Ron Washington Reveals Reason for Resignation From Rangers

By on 9.18.14 | 4:44PM

Nearly two weeks after his abrupt resignation as manager of the Texas Rangers, Ron Washington revealed the reason for his decision in a brief press conference this afternoon.

He had been unfaithful to his wife of 42 years. His wife Gerry stood by his side during the press conference.

They were married on September 16, 1972. That was the day I was born.

It's difficult for me to imagine being married to someone for 42 years and two days much less being alive for that period of time.

I do know that when it comes to marriage that familiarity breeds contempt. This contempt sometimes leads to infidelity. Many a married man and woman commit adultery without a smidgen of remorse. Others become contrite when caught, but cannot or will not stop their behavior. This is especially so with public figures.

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Angels Clinch AL West

By on 9.18.14 | 9:15AM

The Los Angeles Angels will make their first post-season appearance since 2009 having clinched the AL West last night.

They clinched a tie with a 5-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on a combined one-hit shutout by C.J. Wilson, Joe Smith and Huston Street. For a time, it appeared their celebrations would have to wait until Thursday. Jeff Samardzija struck out 10 batters over 8 innings and the A's had a 1-0 lead over the lowly Texas Rangers going into the 9th. But the A's bullpen imploded. Jimmy Doolittle, Jesse Chavez and Fernando Abad gave up six runs in the ninth and the Angels completed their ascent of the AL West.

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Biden: The Least Anti-Semitic Member of the Obama Administration

By on 9.17.14 | 4:51PM

Vice-President Biden's use of the term "shylock" is but the latest in a long line of verbal gaffes he has made over the years. But at least he knows he was wrong to have said that and has owned up to it.

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