The Spectacle Blog

Worthwhile Canadian Election

By on 12.1.05 | 3:06PM

The Liberals got a no-confidence vote earlier this week, and it looks like the Tories have a real shot at forming the next government up north. Good news: It means that the US-friendly Stephen Harper, whom Colby Cosh introduced to TAS readers during the last election a year-and-a-half ago, could be Prime Minister.

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Tonight on Fox

By on 12.1.05 | 2:44PM

I'll be on with David Asman (who's subbing for John Gibson) tonight about 5:30, talking about the Pentagon plan to have US forces do reconstruction. Do we need a Colonial Office? Methinks not.

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An Acceptable Discrimination

By on 12.1.05 | 2:20PM

Like Patrick O'Hannigan, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus takes issue with Will Saletan's assessment of the Catholic Church's new document on the ordination of homosexuals at the First Things blog:

Contra Saletan, the Church pastorally cares and prays for people who struggle with disordered desires. But she should not jeopardize the mission of the priesthood by ordaining those who are thought likely to succumb to such desires.

Cardinal Grocholewski, head of the dicastery issuing the instruction, puts it this way: "It is not discrimination, for example, if one does not admit a person who suffers from vertigo to a school for astronauts." More precisely, it is discrimination, although not in the pejorative sense of the term. I suppose it is possible that somebody with a transitory, or even deep-seated, problem with vertigo might be a successful astronaut, but as a matter of policy you don't want to put the possibility to the test.

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Roe Nibbling?

By on 12.1.05 | 2:15PM

That's what Slate senior editor Dahlia Lithwick accuses the Supreme Court of in hearing arguments in Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood yesterday.

Just to be clear about what's happening today: No one is talking about reversing Roe v. Wade. But I can't count five people willing to apply the holding in Casey to these facts either. Instead most of the court is doing constitutional loop-the-loops to try to save the New Hampshire law, even though they are almost all bothered by the lack of a health exception. Mostly they try to graft a health exception back on, whether or not the New Hampshire legislators wished to have one. The larger point is that New Hampshire nipped and tucked the so-called right to an abortion when it passed this law, and most of the court thinks that is just fine.

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Tina’s other Mother

By on 12.1.05 | 1:18PM

Wlady: I am indeed listening, but all I'm hearing is an echo. The Chris Matthews mantra -- Tonkin Gulf was a fraud, so is Iraq's WMD -- is a liberal chant now popular among the more fevered antiwar types.

Even more interesting is Hillary's forced recalibration. Preparing to throw her broom into the ring for '08, she has been wisely running to the right of her party on the war. And, as a result, she's been bashed by the Cindy Sheehanite wing of her party. She can't get the nomination without their support, and the Sorosbucks that come with it. Two weeks ago, the Clinton machine was bashing Cindy Sheehan. Now the Sheehanites are reining her in.

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Tina Time

By on 12.1.05 | 12:07PM

Tina Brown does the counterintuitive thing today and defends Bob Woodward -- because she thinks what he has on tape will soon enough bring down the whole Bush operation. More entertaining to anyone who knew her before she became a girl scout is her reference to "the cynicism of quarterly profit-driven conglomerates enslaved to entertainment values." And in case you didn't know, she compares the scandal over the absence of WMD in Iraq to "the secret deal at Suez in 1956" and -- Jed, are you listening? -- "the phony evidence for the supposed Tonkin Gulf attacks." As she writes, "it's not just tragic; it's embarrassing."

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December Firs

By on 12.1.05 | 8:35AM

The Washington Times called around to federal agencies yesterday asking what they'll be calling their Christmas trees. Most folks are using the traditional Christmas moniker or don't have an official name. Not so surprisingly, Norm Mineta's Transportation Department calls theirs "holiday" trees.

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The Times, They Aren’t Changing

By on 12.1.05 | 8:16AM

Predictably, the bitterest criticism of the president's speech yesterday comes not even from the Dems, but from their think tank, the New York Times. In its lead editorial today, the NYT editors presume to speak for the American people, compare Bush to an isolated Nixon, and do their best to revive their campaign to re-create Vietnam in the Middle East. The money quotes:

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Economy Booming

By on 12.1.05 | 7:21AM

We neglected to note this here, but the Commerce Department revised upward third quarter gross domestic product figures yesterday -- 4.3% growth instead of 3.8%. Naturally, the WSJ is bullish (sub. req'd): "We interrupt your daily doom-and-gloom programming with a word from the economy." Now if only the President would tout this as loudly as his predecessor did and let Americans know it.

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Managing The New Alito Document

By on 12.1.05 | 7:11AM

The new abortion ammo for/against Judge Alito probably will not substantially hinder his confirmation. He weathered the 1985 Justice Department application release well, thanks to the White House's successful message control under Steve Schmidt. Schmidt convinced the press and most moderates that Alito must be evaluated as a judge, not a political job-seeker. Schmidt's already working from that successful playbook on this newly released memo:

"Judge Alito should be evaluated on his 15 years of jurisprudence as a federal judge where he has authored hundreds of opinions," Schmidt said. "On some of those cases, he has upheld abortion rights. In other cases he has not. To leap to conclusions and try to infer future decisions from 20-year-old memos borders on the silly."

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