The Spectacle Blog

Yet Another Kennedy Wreck

By on 5.4.06 | 5:55PM

What is it with officials covering up for Kennedys involved in car accidents? I mean, is it even possible for a Kennedy to be made to call for account for highly questionable behavior (to put it far more nicely than it deserves to be put)? Drudge is on the story, broken by Roll Call. Anybody who wants a refresher course in police cover-ups for Kennedys should read Leo Damore's "Senatorial PRivilege," the definitive book on a certain sad incident in Massachusetts in 1969.....

Democrat Economics

By on 5.4.06 | 1:36PM

Out for a walk in the charmless Rosslyn area of Arlington, home of Spectator World Headquarters, I ran into Harris Miller, ex-lobbyist and Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate from Virginia.

He was holding a photo op at a gas station -- where gas is going for $3.11. Since I pass this gas station a few times a week, I know it's the most expensive place around. In fact, the real estate is at such a premium that it's located below a Methodist Church. (It's down from $3.19 yesterday, which was the most expensive in Arlington.)

Nothing Like Good, Ol’ Fashioned Excommunication

By on 5.4.06 | 1:10PM

The Vatican excommunicated four bishops recently ordained by the Chinese "Church." Really, it's an underutilized tool.

But the background is even more interesting: the Vatican's upset with China because they had agreed in low-key discussions that China would only recognize Vatican-authorized bishops. That understanding would have been a key step toward reestablishing diplomatic relations.

And China broke the agreement within days. I know the Vatican must walk a narrow line here between tough love and gaining access to minister to its flock. But that's what happen when you rely on the word of despots.

Ethics Yawn

By on 5.4.06 | 10:27AM

Why did the House of Representatives even bother to pass the sham "ethics reforms" that they passed yesterday? The bill is a joke, and it virtually screams out: "Hey, don't you know who we are? We're Congressmen, and by virtue of our exalted position we deserve to be feted with free meals and golf games! You got a problem with that, buddy? Well, kiss my grits. Only the hoi polloi worry about ethics. We in Congress are above all that."

Aside from the paltry details of the bill, what's so discouraging is that this bill again shows the House leaders to not be men of their words. The key sentence fragment from the front-page WashPost news story sums it all nicely: "Neither [House nor Senate] version [of the bill] is as tough on lobbyists and lawmakers as Republican leaders promised in January...."

The arrogance and lack of seriousness of this Congress is astonishing.

If You Thought Gene Robinson Caused a Flap

By on 5.4.06 | 10:00AM

Just wait until California Episcopalians elect another gay bishop. They're voting this weekend, and three of the seven candidates are gay. The national church would have to accept or reject them over the summer. Conservatives in the church have been largely appeased that the Gene Robinson incident was an aberration (wishful thinking, I know). But a new gay bishop would be the last straw for most orthodox congregations.

Revel in Revel

By on 5.4.06 | 9:56AM

I am jealous of editor-in-chief R. Emmett Tyrrell for his having known the great French thinker/writer Jean-Francois Revel personally. Tyrrell's tribute to the now-late Monsieur Revel on today's web site is a must read. Brilliant, perceptive stuff (as usual), and written with a charming fondness.

Revel's 1983 book How Democracies Perish has long sat on my bookshelf within easy reach. It must be admitted that he was too pessimistic about the ultimate triumph of republican nations in the face of the Communist threat. The first line of his book was a necessary warning, but fortunately incorrect as a prediction: "Democracy may, after all, turn out to have been a historical accident, a brief parenthesis that is closing before our eyes." But while our civilization was not and is not doomed, Revel's diagnosis of its weaknesses was right on target. Hence the brilliantly concise and perspicacious opening line of the book's second chapter: "Democratic civilization is the first in history to blame itself because another power is working to destroy it."

Beinart’s Delusional Universe

By on 5.4.06 | 8:55AM

It's a commonplace for WaPo columnists to oppose sensible national security measures but when they base their conclusions on utter falsehoods -- as Peter Beinart does today -- we have to answer.

Relying on studies by the Nixon Center and Syracuse University, Beinart argues it's absurd to talk about sealing the Mexican border because, "Not one terrorist has entered the United States from Mexico." In that he's wilfully ignorant of the facts. As I wrote a month ago, there's plenty of evidence that terrorists are coming across the Mexican border. My source? Not a think tank, but FBI Director Robert Muller who testified about an Hizballah cell that was caught.

Those such as Beinart who want to keep the borders open are committing willful falsehoods in proclaiming concern for national security. Let's talk plainly: any "immigration reform" bill that doesn't create border walls - on the north and south - visible with the naked eye from low earth orbit isn't worth a bucket of warm spit. And it shouldn't pass.

Re: Moussaoui Lives

By on 5.4.06 | 8:38AM

Whatever one thinks of the sentence, can we agree that it is disturbing to see the jury list the following as mitigating factors in its decision not to sentence the defendant to death?

-- Nine jurors found that the defendant's unstable early childhood and dysfunctional family resulted in his being placed in orphanages and having a home life without structure and emotional and financial support, eventually resulting in his leaving home due to his hostile relationship with his mother.

-- Nine jurors found the defendant's father had a violent temper and physically and emotionally abused his family.