The Spectacle Blog

Chris Squire, R.I.P.

By on 6.28.15 | 1:32PM

Chris Squire, bass player for the prog rock group Yes, has passed away just over a month after being diagnosed with acute erythroid leukemia. He was 67.

Squire was a founding member of Yes in 1969 and remained with the group until his diagnosis. When Yes resumes touring in August, it will mark the first time that the group has performed without Squire. 

When I saw former Yes lead vocalist Jon Anderson in concert back in March 2012, he recounted that at the height of their fame the group hired a roadie whose only job it was to rouse Squire from his sleep.

Ryne Sandberg Resigns as Phillies Manager; Pete Mackanin Named Interim Manager

By on 6.26.15 | 8:54PM

Ryne Sandberg has announced that he is stepping down as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies.

At 26-48, the Phillies have the worst record in MLB. This was expected to be the case on a team of over the hill veterans and not ready for prime time players. There is a glimmer of hope in young Makiel Franco. But I suspect that while Franco will put up some good numbers, it will be a while before the Phillies start winning again.

Perhaps the prospect of being on the wrong end of a no-hitter or a perfect game by Max Scherzer put Ryno over the edge. Scherzer went 5 1/3 innings before he allowed a Phillie to reach base. 

Sandberg took over the club late in the 2013 season succeeding Charlie Manuel who led the Phillies to a World Series title in 2008. But the Phillies are in limbo until GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. moves the likes of Cole Hamels, Jonathan Papelbon, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard and frees up some salary. In part of three seasons, the Phillies went 119-159 under Sandberg.

Central Committee on a Roll

By on 6.26.15 | 12:44PM

Word is getting around that the Central Committee today, by a 5-4 decision, has discovered and will impose on the country a constitutional right to homosexual marriage in all 50 states.

Most surprising about today’s diktat is how surprised so many folks on the right claim to be by this totally predictable event. The headlines on various conservative sites shout about a “surprising,” even a “stunning” decision. This follows weeks of commentary by conservatives who’ve said the court would rule narrowly on this issue, that it would not force major social change on the country from on high. These folks, I submit, haven’t been paying attention.

Of late, the cultural left has been enjoying success after success, with the help of the legal profession, which, from law schools through the SCOTUS, has been slowly but systematically replacing law with left advocacy. What the cultural left wants is what the law is, and what the cultural left doesn’t like ist verboten.

Expect more. The cultural left is in the driver’s seat and is plowing through our institutions like Sherman plowed through Georgia. And who’s going to stop them, or even slow them down?

Thoughts on the SC’s Decision to Legalize Same Sex Marriage Nationwide

By on 6.26.15 | 12:43PM

As with the Obamacare decision a couple of days ago, I don’t think there are many people who are surprised at the outcome of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision to legalize same sex marriage.

Although I have long been in favor of same sex marriage, there are serious shortcomings in the constitutionality of Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion. Our old friend Quin Hillyer is right to say that his ruling does not square with the opinions he expressed on states’ rights in U.S. v. Windsor scarcely two years ago. Kennedy’s ruling is rooted in convenience not in constitutionality, rooted in political expediency rather than principle. Given the rulings which have taken place over the past 48 hours, the Constitution might as well be relegated to a museum piece alongside the Confederate flag. It shouldn’t of course. The Constitution is simply too important to give up so easily. Yet it won’t be easy to restore it to its proper place in American jurisprudence.

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Same Sex Marriage

By on 6.26.15 | 11:58AM

For once I can legitimately blame Anthony Kennedy for my problems. I mean, I sort of always could, because I had Judge Bork as a professor in law school, and I wouldn’t have had to endure his weird lectures on the right to engage in necrophilia (which came in handy today, weirdly) as being part of the “penumbras and emanations” of the Bill of Rights that ultimately created the “right to privacy,” and his penchant for carrying around fried foods in his suit pocket (true story). But today, Anthony Kennedy has made a generation of lawyers just feel really, really tired. 

Writing for the majority, Kennedy ruled, with the Supreme Court, that state bans on gay marriage are unconstitutional, striking down, specifically, statutes in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana, within the Sixth Circuit. States don’t have to be in the marriage business, he said, but where they are, they can’t discriminate. 

Islamist Terror Strikes Shi’ite Mosque in Kuwait & Tourist Hotel in Tunisia

By on 6.26.15 | 10:51AM

It’s been a very bloody Friday.

In addition to the terrorist attack in Lyon, France, there have also been attacks at a Shi’ite Mosque in Kuwait and a tourist hotel in Tunisia.

The attack at the Imam Saddiq mosque was a suicide bombing which took place during Friday prayers. At least 10 people have died in the attack.

Meanwhile, 27 people have been killed at the seaside resort of Sousse. A majority of the dead are British and German tourists. It is believed that two gunmen were responsible. One has been killed and the other is in custody.

Man Beheaded in Factory Near Lyon, France in Islamist Terror Attack, er, Act of Workplace Violence

By on 6.26.15 | 10:50AM

A man has been beheaded at a gas factory near Lyon, France with one other man being injured the attack.

It has been reported that two men were seen driving into the factory with a flag that had Arabic writing on it. This was later discovered to be an ISIS flag.

French anti-terrorism police are reporting they have one of the two men in custody.

In France, they call this an act of Islamist terrorism. Here in the U.S.A., they call it an act of workplace violence.

That’s pretty much how the beheading of Colleen Hufford last September at a factory in Moore, Oklahoma was treated.

SCOTUS Okays Liability for Unintentional Housing Discrimination

By on 6.25.15 | 11:59PM

Stop calling it fair housing law. If it was ever a matter of fairness, it isn’t now.

Under today’s 5-4 Supreme Court holding in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, you can be held liable for housing discrimination whether or not you or anyone in your organization intended to discriminate. Instead — to quote Justice Anthony Kennedy, who joined with the Court’s four liberals in a 5-4 majority — you might have been influenced by “unconscious prejudice” or “stereotyping” when you lent money or rented apartments or carried on appraisal or brokerage or planning functions. What you did had “disparate impact” on some race or other legally protected group, and now you’re caught up in potentially ruinous litigation in which it’s up to you to show that you had a good reason for what you did and could not have arranged your actions in some other way that had less disparate impact.

Patrick Macnee, R.I.P.

By on 6.25.15 | 7:26PM

Actor Patrick Macnee passed away today of natural causes. He was 93.

Macnee's acting career spanned nearly six decades. But he is synonymous with John Steed, the debonair spy who starred in the 1960's British TV series The Avengers which would also become popular on this side of The Atlantic. Macnee starred with a triumvirate of female partners - Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg and Linda Thorson. Of the three, Macnee's chemistry with Rigg's Emma Peel made for TV gold. Macnee would revive the character in the mid-1970's along with Joanna Lumley in The New Avengers.

In later years, Macnee would appear in TV shows such as Magnum, P.I., Murder, She Wrote, Battlestar Galatica and Frasier and would also appear in This is Spinal Tap and the James Bond film A View to a Kill. 

Before Macnee achieved fame he served in the Royal Navy during WWII.

When Obama Says Jump, John Roberts Asks, “How High?”

By on 6.25.15 | 6:36PM

I am not surprised The Supreme Court once again ruled in favor of Obamacare.

After all, it just about 2 1/2 weeks ago that President Obama declared that the Supreme Court shouldn't have even taken up King v. Burwell but that if they dared to rule against him it would be "a twisted interpretation" of the law.

SC Chief Justice John Roberts got the message loud and clear. When Obama says jump, Roberts asks, "How high?" So state exchanges are federal exchanges and 2+2=5.

When Russia, China and Iran view President Obama as an inconsequential actor why do Republicans like Roberts, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell shake in their boots when they hear Obama's voice?

With respect to Roberts, I think he has been spooked since Obama dressed down the Supremes over Citizens United in 2010 while Samuel Alito nodded no.