The Spectacle Blog

Obama Admin Official in 2010: Train Speed Management System Not Worth the Cost

By on 5.20.15 | 11:52AM

The wreckage from last week's Amtrak derailment had yet to cool and Democrats were already seizing on the political opportunities presented by a government program gone horribly awry. The Amtrak crash, they wasted no time in saying, was the fault of cold, heartless Republicans who don't care about the poor, or minorities, puppies, the future of Amtrak's signature microwave pizza monopoly, or the legions of staffers, lobbyists, journalists and officials who use the New York to DC Amtrak route to attend routine cocktail parties without having to commit to moving out of the cushy NYC suburbs. 

Amtrak, it was quickly pointed out, is a disatrous, bureaucratic bungle, whose sloppy administration and borderline incompetent financial oversight make the Post Office look well run. And while the government has spent the better part of the last half century pumping billions into its coffers, the rail system not only routinely fails to make ends meet, but can barely keep track of what it's supposed to do and why.

Don’t Be Fooled by al-Shabaab’s Concerns for Burma’s Rohingya Muslims

By on 5.20.15 | 11:33AM

In response to the decision by Indonesia and Malaysia to provide shelter for one year for Rohingya Muslim refugees from Burma (now officially known as Myanmar), al-Shabaab, the al Qaeda affiliate based in Somalia declared that Muslims in Indonesia and Malaysia as well as Bangladesh and Thailand should welcome the Rohingya with open arms:

At the hands of the savage Buddhists, thousands of Muslims, including many women and children, have fled their homes and are desperately trying to reach the shores of safety, their only crime being their adherence to Islam.

Take matters into your own hands, help your Muslim brothers and know that this is a religious obligation upon you for which you will be held fully accountable in front of Allah on the day of judgement".

Tom Cotton Blocks NSA Reform Measure

By on 5.20.15 | 11:22AM

Tom Cotton was instrumental in saving some of Iraq's most precious feline assets, but that's about the only nice thing I can say about Sen. Tom Cotton today. 

Iowa Dems Can’t Name A Single Hillary Clinton Accomplishment

By on 5.20.15 | 11:02AM

To be fair to Hillary, she hasn't exactly been out front of her own campaign lately, making the case to Americans that she's worth the time and effort required to vote in a Presidential election, so it's not surprising that a panel of Democrats in Iowa - the state whose caucus she'll have to win to solidify her position as the Democratic frontrunner - have absolutely no idea what she's done with her life. 

When Mark Halperin asked them to name even one, single, solitary thing Hillary Clinton did while in office that made an impression on them, the whole crowd looked as him as though it were possible he was speaking Chinese and that this was just an elaborate, if oddly prescient, prank.

This is What a Hillary Presidency Would Look Like

By on 5.19.15 | 4:20PM

Emily might very well be the only person in the world who would see fit to liken Sidney Blumenthal to the Smashing Pumpkins. If I were Billy Corgan I might be a tad insulted. His new job with Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling is far less absurd and infinitely more honorable than being a consultant for The Clinton Foundation. But if one must liken Sidney Blumenthal to '90's music I would be more inclined to mention Hanson or perhaps Hootie & The Blowfish. But I digress.

The USDA Pushes Back on #ThanksMichelleObama School Lunch Protest

By on 5.19.15 | 2:01PM

The USDA is fed up (pun intended), and now they're fighting back - against the disgusting photos of federally-controlled school lunches that all you kids keep posting to social media. 

Now that the school year is coming to a close across this great nation, students will no longer be able to catch snaps of their horsemeat on a soggy bun, their watery sauces and their meager portions, all meals issued pursuant to Michelle Obama's healthy eating standards, foisted on public schools and their unconsenting populations. Those photos, tagged with the creative hashtag, #ThanksMichelleObama, in reference to her contributions to the anti-obesity campaign (centered, it seems, on making school food so disgusting that kids would rather skip meals than eat them), have made the USDA's crusade against unhealthy food all the more difficult.

But while they're mounting a defense, it seems to be about as hearty as the meals they're forcing schools to serve.

Spoken Like a Community Organizer

By on 5.19.15 | 12:58PM

“For millions of families, Head Start has been a lifeline. And for millions of kids it’s been the start of a better life,” so says our community-organizer-in-chief in a White House Press release on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Head Start.

Nonsense. Every honest analysis of the results of Head Start shows that any increase in student achievement by Head Starters over kids who’ve not enjoyed the privilege has disappeared by the time the kids reach high school (for those that get that far). The only beneficiaries of the program are the adults who get jobs teaching in or administering yet another wasteful federal program. If Obama doesn’t think this is so, then he can enumerate how this hugely expensive program has enhanced the level of inner-city life, starting with, to pick a city at random, say, Baltimore.

George Stephanopoulos Makes a Lot of Money at ABC

By on 5.19.15 | 12:57PM

With his credibility in question, it's entirely possible that ABC could shut their primary political anchor (and longtime Clinton friend) George Stephanopoulos out of covering the 2016 Presidential campaign.

Such a decision, of course, renders ABC's contract with Stephanopoulos moot. 

And such a decision rendering Stephanopoulos's contract moot would cost ABC a pretty penny. Because it turns out, they were spending upwards of $100 million to boost their political reporting and news credibility with a guy who seems to possess none.

ABC has plenty of reasons to be freaking out over the George Stephanopoulos scandal — 105 million, to be exact.

The “Good Morning America” and “This Week” anchor renewed his contract last year for $105 million, TV industry sources told The Post Monday.

The seven-year deal — which dwarfs the five-year, $50 million contract scored by since-suspended NBC rival Brian Williams — was supposed to keep Stephanopoulos in front of ABC’s cameras through 2021.

Waiting For An Appointment Is Now Considered Harassment on University Campuses

By on 5.19.15 | 12:54PM

This incident occurrred at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia last week, but I read about it via the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation:

An academic adviser at a Georgia university has been placed on leave after a video of her accusing a student of harassment — apparently for sitting in a room waiting for an appointment — went viral.

Kevin Bruce, a student at Kennesaw State University (KSU) in Kennesaw, Ga., posted a short video on Wednesday of the adviser, who has been identified as Abbey Dawson, demanding Bruce leave the lobby of a human resources office, where he was hoping to speak with another academic adviser.

Dawson accuses Bruce of harassment and asks Bruce to leave. Bruce says he's simply waiting to speak to his adviser and that he isn't harassing anyone.

"Sitting here until somebody is available is harassing them," Dawson says, and then threatens to call campus security before walking away.

Hillary Makes a Comment

By on 5.19.15 | 12:48PM

In a remarkable couple of minutes on television today, Fox News reporter Ed Henry shamed Hillary Clinton into taking a couple of questions from reporters following a campaign event in Iowa. Quite a feat and Ed should be proud.

Earlier today, the State Department said that they would not be releasing any of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's work-related e-mails until January 2016. The long delay is unjustifiable and inexplicable.

This is at the top of the list of reporters' questions but they are missing the point and should not be surprised by Hillary's statement (which she's made before) that she wants the e-mails  released as soon as possible.

Of course she wants that: she ensured that only non-incriminating e-mails were given to the State Department, although it is possible that there are a couple of e-mails that will look worse than she thinks in the context of other things we may learn before then.

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