The Spectacle Blog

IRS Chief: ‘Wherever we can, we follow the law.’

By on 9.15.14 | 10:45AM

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen appeared before the House Ways and Means Committee — again — to answer for how his agency is handling enforcement of Obamacare. In the course of questioning, he made this statement, giving an interesting revelation of the agency’s mentality:

“Wherever we can, we follow the law.”

“Wherever we can”? Sometimes it’s simply impossible for a federal agency to follow the law? Yet the IRS is authorized to nail any citizen who violates tax law, knowingly or unknowingly, and frequently takes full advantage of that authority.

Maybe I’ll tell that to the IRS next time I file my taxes. “I followed the law whenever I could, but sometimes, I just couldn’t — please excuse me.”

Send to Kindle

When Smokey Sang The Star Spangled Banner

By on 9.14.14 | 6:51PM

The Star Spangled Banner  is 200 years old. Two centuries since Francis Scott Key wrote this poem during the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812.

It did not become our national anthem until 1931, but in the past eight decades it has been sung in public by thousands of people.

My favorite rendition was performed by Smokey Robinson at Fenway Park before Game 5 of the 1986 World Series.

I love the way how, at the climax of the song, he segues into America The Beautiful. 

Send to Kindle

Mark Sanford Breaks It Off With Fiancée

By on 9.13.14 | 6:52PM

Well, that's no good. On Facebook, Sanford is blaming his legal troubles. When I say "blaming," I mean writing at the cringe-inducing length of well over two thousand words.

I remember when things were looking up for the old boy. Here, from Robert Stacy McCain, is the classic account of his comeback, which makes for better reading than Sanford's online tell-all.

Send to Kindle

Saturday Caption 9/13/14

By on 9.13.14 | 10:10AM

Use all your skill and creativity to tell us in the comment section what these two gentlemen might be talking about.

Send to Kindle

Bob Crewe, R.I.P.

By on 9.12.14 | 10:38PM

Songwriter and record producer Bob Crewe passed away yesterday. A cause of death has not been released. Some press accounts say Crewe was 82 while others say he was 83. 

If you're a fan of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons then you're a fan of Bob Crewe. Along with Bob Gaudio, Crewe co-wrote some of The Four Seasons' biggest hits - "Sherry", "Big Girls Don't Cry", "Walk Like a Man", "Rag Doll" and "Can't Take My Eyes Off You". "The Sun Doesn't Shine (Anymore)" and "Silence is Golden" were two Crewe-Gaudio compositions originally recorded by The Four Seasons, but became big hits for The Walker Brothers and The Tremeloes, respectively.

Crewe would also collaborate with Sandy Linzer and Denny Rendell on another Four Seasons hit "Let's Hang On". In the mid-1970's, Crewe and Kenny Nolan would write Frankie Valli's solo hit "My Eyes Adored You" as well as "Lady Marmalade" for LaBelle which would later become a hit for Christina Aguliera. 

Send to Kindle

Rob Ford Withdraws From Toronto Mayoral Race; Brother Doug Steps In His Place

By on 9.12.14 | 5:00PM

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has withdrawn from the Toronto mayoral race after being hospitalized and diagnosed with an abdominal tumor. Ford's brother Doug, who is a Toronto city councillor, will run in his place.

Ford became world famous last year when video emerged of him smoking crack. Other video showed him threatening to kill someone. He also accidentally knocked over a city councillor on the floor of Toronto City Council chambers and also made crude remarks about his sex life with his wife. Ford was always a reviled figure on the Left, but his antics alienated many conservative politicians although he retains a loyal following among a constituency known simply as "Ford Nation".

Send to Kindle

Ian Paisley Is Dead: Should We Speak Ill of Him?

By on 9.12.14 | 12:48PM

As Tim Stanley pointed out over at the Telegraph, it's hard not to do so. When Pope John XXIII died in 1963, Paisley assured a group of protestors that "This Romish man of sin is now in hell." "De mortuis nil nisi bonum" meant nothing to him.

Paisley was a wretched, mean-spirited man, a figure of Cromwellian unpleasantness. He had no tastes, no interests. (Asked by Sue Lawley of the BBC what book other than the Bible he would bring with him to a desert island, he replied "Foxe's Book of Martyrs.") The only thing he ever seems to have enjoyed was speaking in public, whether behind a podium or a pulpit. His theology, such as it was, comprised the two beliefs, held with something like equal fervor, that priests were hell-bound sodomites and alcohol was "the devil's buttermilk." A good day's work for Paisley was shouting "Antichrist!" when Pope John Paul II addressed the European Parliament and having things hurled at him by his fellow MEPS before being dragged out of the chamber by Otto von Habsburg.

Send to Kindle

Giancarlo Stanton Hit in Face By Pitch

By on 9.12.14 | 12:41AM

Miami Marlins superstar Giancarlo Stanton's season came to an abrupt end when he was hit in the face with a pitch by Mike Fiers of the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday night. Stanton was carried off the field on a stretcher and taken to a medical facility in Milwaukee. 

Benches would clear when Fiers hit Reed Johnson (who was pinch hit for Stanton) on the hand with a pitch. The following inning Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez was hit with a pitch by Marlins reliever Anthony DeSclafani who was promptly ejected. 

Marlins manager Mike Redmond insists Fiers hit Stanton and Johnson intentionally. I understand Redmond being upset, but this is nonsense. The Brewers had a 4-0 lead in the fifth and Stanton was up with runners on first and third. Hitting Stanton would have loaded the bases and sent the tying run up to the plate. Although bizarrely the umps ruled that Stanton had swung at the pitch and would later rule that Johnson had swung when he was hit and ended up striking out.

Send to Kindle

Richard Kiel, R.I.P.

By on 9.11.14 | 11:15PM

Actor Richard Kiel passed away yesterday. He was hospitalized last week after sustaining a broken leg. Kiel died three days shy of his 75th birthday.

Standing more than seven feet tall, Kiel has the distinction of being the only actor to play a Bond villain in more than one film playing Jaws in both The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker starring Roger Moore as 007. 

Younger audiences may remember Kiel from his role in Happy Gilmore starring Adam Sandler. Kiel's other movie credits include The Longest Yard with Burt Reynolds, Silver Streak with Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor and Pale Rider with Clint Eastwood. 

Kiel was also originally cast in The Incredible Hulk TV series. However, the show's producers thought Kiel's physique wasn't right for the role and Kiel didn't like all that green makeup. So the role was given to Lou Ferrigno and the rest is TV history. 

Speaking of TV, here is a clip of Kiel's guest shot on The Monkees.

Send to Kindle

Obama’s Misdirection Play

By on 9.11.14 | 3:38PM

“ISIL isn’t Islamic,” our golfer-in-chief invited us to believe Wednesday night. Right. And La Cosa Nostra isn’t Italian. The Pope isn’t a Catholic. And a wild bear won’t…

This is just the most audacious of Obama’s many attempted misdirections. And it stands a good chance of being believed. By people who’ve spent the last 30 years on Mars, or by those who ingest large quantities of controlled substances on a daily basis.

As he spins his unique and entertaining view of the world, Dave Barry is forever telling us, “I’m not making this up.” Obama, on the other hand, clearly is.

Send to Kindle