The Spectacle Blog

Obama’s Strategy on ISIS: Make a Speech & Ask Congress for Money

By on 9.7.14 | 1:20PM

I watched Chuck Todd's debut as host of NBC's Meet the Press to watch his interview with President Obama which was conducted yesterday.

Obama looked like he just got out of bed. He did later note that he hasn't been getting much sleep. 

But he does finally have a strategy concerning ISIS - make a speech and ask Congress for more money.

As Todd noted, Obama will be making a speech concerning ISIS on Wednesday, the day before the 13th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. 

Despite being called out by Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post on it, Obama also doubled down on the White House spin that he never referred to ISIS as the "jayvee team". Obama made the comment in an interview with David Remnick of The New Yorker this past January. Here's the relevant excerpt from that interview:

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For a Constitutional Convention

By on 9.6.14 | 12:18PM

As I always suspected, Obama will announce by executive order a plan to “regularize” undocumented (i.e., illegal) aliens after the November election. That’s an admission that it’s an unpopular issue, at least where Democratic Senate seats are in play. It’s also an admission that Democratic voters in those states aren’t smart enough to figure out what’s coming around the bend. And of course, the Democratic candidates in question will swear that they personally, honest-to-God, don’t want an amnesty, so this is also an admission that the Democratic voters in those states aren’t smart enough to know that the candidates in question are lying.

But in the end, what does it matter? Obama will do it whomever takes control of the Senate. And if the Republicans do take the Senate, what then? The House and Senate will pass legislation and send it over to the White House. Where it will die.

Don’t get me wrong. I think Congress is really important. I mean, how else could we have a State of the Union Address? And we’re not yet at the point where President Hillary is going to be sworn in in the Rose Garden or Fedex Field.

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Ron Washington Resigns as Rangers Manager

By on 9.5.14 | 10:39PM

Ron Washington has stepped down as manager of the Texas Rangers. Washington is departing for undisclosed personal reasons. All that is known is that the circumstances do not concern substance abuse. Washington tested positive for cocaine in 2009. 

The Rangers hired Washington to manage the Rangers prior to the 2007 season. Washington would guide the Rangers to back to back AL pennants in 2010 and 2011. The Rangers were one strike away not once, but twice from winning their first World Series title in 2011. However, David Freese had other ideas. 

In 2014, the Rangers have the worst record in MLB. At 53-87, the Rangers are 31 1/2 games back of the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West. Nevertheless, with a record of 664-611, Washington is the winningest manager in Rangers' franchise history.

Rangers bench coach Tim Bogar has been named interim manager for the remainder of the season. Bogar spent four seasons on the Boston Red Sox coaching staff before joining the Rangers' organization this year. 

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Hoover Institution Hits Rand Paul on Pacifism

By on 9.4.14 | 5:58PM

Last night Senator Rand Paul appeared on Sean Hannity’s TV show, to make it clear he believes ISIS has declared war on America. The Senator was clearly irritated at being portrayed as an “isolationist.” He made plain that he believes the President should seek constitutional authority before dealing with ISIS. 

I’ve been critical of the Senator for what I termed his “Obama-Lite” approach to U.S. foreign policy. He is right — he is not an isolationist. And certainly saying presidents should get — as did George W. Bush in Iraq — the support of Congress before an intervention is correct.

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A Thought for Joan Rivers

By on 9.4.14 | 5:08PM

I see that Ross has beat me to the punch concerning the passing of Joan Rivers.

Instead let me share a few of my impressions of her.

I first became aware of her in the early 1980's during her stint as permanent guest host on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. I mostly remember her telling a lot of fat jokes about Elizabeth Taylor although the two would later bury the hatchet as both women spent their time raising money for AIDS charities.

I also remember her falling out with Carson after she got her own talk show on the fledgling Fox network. She would be fired within six months and the show would eventually launch the late night career of Arsenio Hall.

But Rivers would bounce back in the 1990s on the E! network along with her daughter Melissa with their red carpet fashion shows prior to the Oscars and Emmys.

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Joan Rivers R.I.P.

By on 9.4.14 | 3:09PM

Comedienne Joan Rivers has passed away today at the age of 81, one week after going into cardiac and respiratory arrest during a procedure on her throat. The evening before the terrible event, Ms. Rivers joked about her age and that she could die "at any second." State health officials are investigating the clinic at which the procedure took place.

Joan Rivers was basically "discovered" by Johnny Carson and was a frequent guest and guest-host of the Tonight Show in the early 1980s.

Recently, Ms. Rivers, never a stranger to controversy, made a bit of news when suggesting that Barack Obama was America's first gay president and calling Michelle Obama a "tranny." In typical Rivers style, no apology was forthcoming for the not-particularly-humorous comment.

OK, not every joke hits its target, but for decades of sometimes-shocking entertainment and breaking the glass ceiling for female comedians, Joan Rivers deserves our appreciation.

Our thoughts are with her family and friends on this sad day.

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What Obama Offers Against ISIS vs. What Churchill Offered Against the Nazis

By on 9.3.14 | 5:00PM

During a joint press conference with Estonian President Ilves in Tallinn, President Obama vowed to "degrade and destroy ISIL."

But a few minutes later, Obama changed his tune following a question by Steve Holland of Reuters concerning his military strategy on ISIS/ISIL:

And to go back to what I said earlier....we know that if we are joined by the international community, we can continue to shrink ISIL’s sphere of influence, its effectiveness, its financing, its military capabilities to the point where it is a manageable problem. And the question is going to be making sure we’ve got the right strategy, but also making sure that we’ve got the international will to do it.

Now compare the above with what Winston Churchill said about his policy and aims against the Nazis in the British House of Commons on May 13, 1940 during his first speech as Prime Minister:

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Why Is Eric Cantor Worth $3 Million to Wall Street?

By on 9.3.14 | 10:21AM

Predictable, sure, that Eric Cantor would wind up post-Congress with a gig wheeling and dealing. But I love the honesty of this source of Annie Lowrey's, who lays out what skills and assets, exactly, make the former House Majority Leader worth millions:

Let’s look at Cantor’s résumé. Let’s look at all his investment-banking experience. Let’s look at his capital-markets experience. He has none. He has no experience or skills that would qualify him to be even an intern at a fifth-tier firm in the financial industry. I mean, come on! I love the spin. They’re pushing back this morning. They’re saying, "This is really different! This isn’t like everybody else."

But Wall Street always goes with the sure bet and the well-worn path. They’re paying him a guaranteed — you’ve got to love Wall Street, you guarantee money because you can’t fail on Wall Street — they’re guaranteeing him $3.8 million. You don’t guarantee someone $3.8 million because you’re training him to be an investment banker.

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How Many Beheadings Will it Take for Obama to Develop a Strategy on ISIS?

By on 9.2.14 | 2:47PM

ISIS has released a video in which American journalist Steven Sotloff is beheaded. It appears to be the work of the same individual with the British accent responsible for beheading James Foley last month.

There's not much I can say at this moment other than to ask a single question. How many more Americans does ISIS have to behead before President Obama develops a strategy on ISIS?

And, no, building an international coalition isn't a strategy.

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Cole Hamels & Company No-Hit Braves

By on 9.1.14 | 11:18PM

On Memorial Day, the Philadelphia Phillies were no-hit by Dodgers hurler Josh Beckett.

On Labor Day, the Phillies were on the right side of a no-hitter as Cole Hamels and relievers Jake Diekman, Ken Giles and Jonathan Papelbon combined on a no-hitter against the Atlanta Braves. Phillies manager pinch hit for Hamels in the seventh inning after Hamels threw 108 pitches in 100 degree heat. 

The combined no-hitter is the fourth of the 2014 season. Beckett, Clayton Kershaw and Tim Lincecum have tossed the other three no-nos. It's the first combined no-hitter since 2012 when Seattle Mariners pitcher Kevin Millwood and four relievers no-hit the Dodgers. 

Today was a good day for the Phillies in a season where there hasn't been a lot of them. The Phillies are in last place in the NL East, 15 games back of the Washington Nationals. 

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