The Spectacle Blog

What Caused The Rise of ISIS - The War in Iraq, The U.S. Withdrawal or The Split with al Qaeda?

By on 10.26.15 | 3:29PM

Much has been made of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's comments in his interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria that there are "elements of truth" that the War in Iraq was the principle cause for the rise of ISIS.

A few years ago, I reluctantly posed the question, "Should Saddam Have Stayed in Power?" While U.S. and Coalition troops deposed one of the greatest mass murderers of second half of the 20th Century, it also created an environment where Iran has emerged with far greater power as well as one where hundreds of thousands of Christians fled Iraq.

Yet I'm not so sure the emergence of ISIS is a direct consequence of the Iraq War, but rather due to the withdrawal of U.S. troops after President Obama failed to renew a Status of Forces agreement. Had Obama been able to renew the SOFA I am inclined to think that ISIS would not have been able to capture Mosul in June 2014.

Flip Saunders, R.I.P.

By on 10.26.15 | 1:07PM

Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders passed away yesterday from complications of Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Saunders was diagnosed with the disease in June. While his initial prognosis was good, Sam Mitchell was named interim head coach and then late last week it was announced that Saunders would miss this season.

After coaching in the now defunct Continental Basketball Association in the late '80's and early '90's, Saunders was hired to coach the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1995 and would be with them for nearly a decade guiding the team to eight straight playoff appearances. Saunders is probably best known for his tutelage of future NBA Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett. He would also coach for the Detroit Pistons and the Washington Wizards before returning to the Timberwolves last season. Although he would never appear in an NBA Final, Saunders was one of the most popular coaches and ambassadors in the NBA.

Mark Halperin’s Peculiar Claim Republicans Suffer From Clinton Derangement Syndrome & Are in Denial About Her Being Elected President

By on 10.26.15 | 10:22AM

Mark Halperin has written a most peculiar article claiming that Republicans have a bad case of Clinton Derangement Syndrome and are underestimating her when it comes to the 2016 election:

A virulent strain of Clinton Derangement Syndrome, which scientists and Republicans thought had been wiped out at the end of the last century, is now inflicting millions of conservative Americans. Some Republicans so detest Hillary Clinton they are badly underestimating how likely she is, at this point in the campaign, to be America’s 45th president. Their denial is just as strong now as it was a month ago, before Clinton began a run of political victories that have enhanced her prospects, all while the roller derby/demolition derby that is the Republican nomination contest has continued to harm the GOP’s chances of winning back the White House.

Maureen O’Hara, R.I.P.

By on 10.24.15 | 8:38PM

Actress Maureen O'Hara has passed away at the age of 95.

The Irish born actress appeared in movies such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame, How Green Was My Valley and Miracle on 34th Street. O'Hara frequently collaborated with John Wayne and director John Ford. The three worked together on films like The Quiet Man, Rio Grande and The Wings of Eagles. 

O'Hara would leave Hollywood for nearly two decades before returning in 1991in the John Candy movie Only The Lonely which also featured Ally Sheedy, Jim Belushi and Anthony Quinn (another of O'Hara's frequent co-stars). After Candy's sudden death in 1994, Belushi recalled that when the movie's producers gave O'Hara a tiny trailer, Candy pleaded with producers to give her better accommodations. When they refused, Candy gave O'Hara his trailer while Candy slept on a cot for several nights before the producers had the good sense to provide another trailer.

Royals Win Back to Back AL Pennants

By on 10.24.15 | 12:48AM

The Kansas City Royals will be going to the World Series for a second year in a row. The Royals won their second straight AL pennant with a 4-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 6 of the ALCS. The Royals become the first team to win back to back AL pennants since the Texas Rangers did it in 2010 and 2011. Of course, the Rangers failed to win the World Series and the Royals will try to avoid that fate next week. 

I missed most of the game as my roomie and I saw Ringo Starr in concert. (Yes, there will be a column about that.) When we returned home, the game was tied 3-3 in the 8th. Jose Bautista had just hit a game tying home run. Joey Bats had also homered earlier in the game while Ben Zobrist and Mike Moustakas went deep for the Royals.

Then the rains came. After a 40 minute delay, the game resumed. The Jays put their closer Roberto Osuna on the mound. He promptly walked Lorenzo Cain and then gave up a single to Eric Hosmer. Joey Bats threw the ball to second to prevent Hosmer from extending his hit into a double. But that gave Cain an opportunity to make a dash for home and score all the way from first to give the Royals a 4-3 lead.

Seattle Mariners Make a Servais Call

By on 10.23.15 | 5:11PM

The Seattle Mariners have named Scott Servais their new manager.

Earlier this month, new Mariners' GM Jerry DiPoto fired Lloyd McClendon although he had a year remaining on his contract. Earlier this year, DiPoto abruptly resigned as GM of the Los Angeles Angels amidst a long standing conflict with manager Mike Scioscia. DiPoto didn't want to take chances and put his own guy in there.

Servais had a 10-year big league career as a catcher with the Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants and Colorado Rockies. He and DiPoto were teammates with the Colorado Rockies and would later serve as an assistant GM under DiPoto with the Angels. Servais also has a several years front office experience as the Texas Rangers' Director of Player Development.

Things Have Been Much Worse for Canada’s Conservatives

By on 10.23.15 | 3:44PM

Over at NRO, John Fund writes, "Conservatives should pay attention to this week’s defeat of Stephen Harper’s government in Canada after a decade in power."  Fund goes on to say that the Tory defeat "went beyond the normal cynical nature of politics" citing Andrew Coyne's piece in today's edition of The National Post, Canada's conservative newspaper of record.

Hillary is a Congenital, Pathological Liar, But 3 Out Of 4 Americans Distrust The Benghazi Committee

By on 10.23.15 | 11:30AM

I saw a very tiny portion of Hillary Clinton's 11-hour testimony before the Benghazi Committee during the supper hour yesterday. Republicans on the committee raised enough points to once again demonstrate that Hillary is a congenital, pathological liar. Hillary pulled an Obama and tried to claim she never said Benghazi was caused by an internet video. (Remember when Obama claimed he had never said "If you like your health insurance, you can keep it," and never said there were "red lines in Syria" despite video evidence to the contrary?) The same was true with Hillary concerning Benghazi. Then there were her e-mails on the subject. On one hand, she tells Chelsea that an al Qaeda inspired group was responsible only to tell the victims' families that the internet filmmaker is the culprit and that he will be brought to justice.

Lincoln Chafee Will Not Be President of the United States

By on 10.23.15 | 9:24AM

Former Senator and Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee has mercifully put an end to his bid to for the Democratic Party's nomination to become President of the United States.

Although Chafee is remembered fondly by some on the Left for his opposition to the War in Iraq when he was a Republican Senator, they did not accept him as of their own as they have with Bernie Sanders. And let's face it, when one feels the need to suggest this country adopt the metric system isn't going to exactly attract followers. His campaign barely moved an inch. Or should I say centimetre?

Chafee's irrelevance became abundantly clear during the Democratic presidential debate earlier this month. After Chafee questioned Hillary's credibility concerning her initial support for the Iraq War, Anderson Cooper asked her if she wished to reply. When Hillary said no, the audience erupted in cheers.