The Spectacle Blog

Don Draper is a Rock Star

By on 4.14.14 | 4:26PM

The final season of Mad Men premiered last night and unlike last season, started off on a high note. Don Draper’s first appearance made him look like an absolute rock star. He gets off the plane, sees his actress wife, all in slow motion to the sounds of The Spencer Davis Group’s “I’m a Man,” and the only thought that comes to mind is: Wow this guy is cool. But then Matthew Weiner, as he so often does, flips things on us by having Don’s wife drive while Don sits in the passenger seat. The times they are a-changin’, you see. Women drive now, no matter how cool you are.

(Spoilers ahead) 

Weiner has been insistent that Don Draper is America. If that’s true, then Don’s excursions to the West Coast are his version of manifest destiny. Don seems to continually believe things will be better if he reaches the shores of California.

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Attkisson, the Media, and Obama

By on 4.14.14 | 3:09PM

Sharyl Attkisson left CBS News believing her stories were inappropriately shot down by her bosses, but she told Fox News that she primarily blames the Obama administration for pressuring the media.

Attkisson explained that the White House would call or send emails, asking CBS to retract or change certain stories that the president didn’t like:

“There have always been tensions, there have always been calls from the White House — under any administration, I assume — when they don’t like a particular story,” she admitted. “But it is particularly aggressive under the Obama administration, and I think it’s a campaign that’s very well organized and designed to have sort of a chilling effect.”

In the end, she said it worked. Her bosses weren’t eager to deal with the “headache” of hearing from Washington again, so they ran fewer controversial stories and more that fit with Obama’s agenda. In addition, they didn’t fight for her stories because they didn’t want conflict with the White House.

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Don’t Make Online Threats Towards American Airlines. Seriously.

By on 4.14.14 | 1:43PM

The internet's collective outrage was directed yesterday at a 14 year old Dutch girl named "Sarah." Her offense was to send a tweet to American Airlines reading "hello my name's Ibrahim and I'm from Afghanistan. I'm part of Al Qaida and on June 1st I'm gonna do something really big bye". American Airlines responded "Sarah, we take these threats very seriously.  Your IP address and details will be forwarded to security and the FBI." Both tweets have since been removed, but you can see screen grabs of the originals here, thanks to Mediaite.

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Capitalism and Politics…in Space!

By on 4.14.14 | 1:01PM

Outer space is cool. Add “in space” after something and it becomes ten times more interesting. Brussel sprouts…in space!

NASA’s Asteroid Retrieval and Utilization mission not only includes efforts to robotically capture and manipulate an asteroid into the moon’s orbit, but also aims to land humans on an asteroid by 2025. 

If the mission is successful, it will be the first time humans have left low earth orbit since Apollo 17 in 1972. This mission will serve to build capabilities in robotics and launch technology for the eventual goal of landing on Mars in 2030.

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Paul and Bush Duke It Out on Immigration

By on 4.14.14 | 12:40PM

Presidential hopefuls Rand Paul and Jeb Bush got in a slight scuffle over immigration yesterday.

Bush called illegal immigration “an act of love” committed by people wanting to support their families, adding that most of them are here illegally because they can’t get in legally.

This ignited some Republican rage and Rand Paul got his chance to respond:

“You know, I think he might have been more artful, maybe, in the way he presented this,” said Paul, a Kentucky Republican, said on ABC’s This Week. “But I don’t want to say, ‘oh, he’s terrible for saying this.’ If it were me, what I would have said is, ‘people who seek the American dream are not bad people. However, we can’t invite the whole world.’”

Paul’s response was remarkably charitable, perhaps revealing his desire to appeal to a broader base without alienating the one he already has:

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Thoughts on the Jewish Community Center Shootings in Kansas

By on 4.14.14 | 11:01AM

I did not hear about the shootings outside the Jewish community center and assisted living facility in Overland Park, Kansas until this morning. Three people were killed (two of them, a boy and his grandfather were not Jewish). Authorities have a 73-year-old white supremacist and former KKK member in custody.
When I heard that the shootings had taken place in Kansas, I thought about my Dad (whose birthday it is today). In the early 1960s, he attended Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina which is about 175 miles west of Overland Park. Dad went from the Bronx to being one of two Jews enrolled at a Methodist school. He was welcomed with open arms and made many friendships which have lasted to this day. I mention this because anti-Semitism was the exception rather than the norm in Kansas 50 years ago and remains so to this day.

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Morning Round-Up 4-14

By on 4.14.14 | 9:27AM

Feature of the Day: The death of the US shopping mall

Morning Headlines


Associated Press

  1. NSA Spy Report Among Potential Pulitzer Contenders
  2. Judge Set to Issue Key Ohio Gay Marriage Ruling
  3. Chances of Getting Audited By IRS Lowest in Years


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Fails to Meet Low Bar

By on 4.13.14 | 12:08PM

It was some years ago, I can't remember the periodical it was in, but the feature was humorous snippets from military officers' fitness reports. The most amusing was: “This officer consistently fails to meet the low standards he sets for himself.”

I couldn’t help but think of this screw-up when listening to Attorney General Eric “Stonewall” Holder whine that he is being mistreated as AG because he’s black. This, of course, is nonsense. If asked to name a worse or more political AG than Holder, I might be able to do it, but it would take me longer to come up with the name than one of Holder’s “investigations.” 

The only comfort red-blooded Americanos can find here is the knowledge that this is just an early part of the Democrats’ turn-out-the-vote effort for 2014, and the AG we are stuck with is not deluded enough to believe this. A fair fraction of Holder’s fan base is, however, another story.

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Obama Admin Won’t Issue Visa to Iran’s Ambassador to UN

By on 4.12.14 | 1:35AM

I'm glad that the Obama Administration has seen fit not to issue a visa to Hamid Aboutalebi, Iran's new Ambassador to the UN. Aboutalebi was among those responsible for seizing the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 and holding 52 Americans hostage.

I hope this appointment finally convinces the Obama Administration that the Iranian regime has not changed its spots, but this is highly doubtful. There is still every reason to believe the Obama Administration wants to make a deal with Iran. But there are some things that even the Obama Administration isn't prepared to abide in pursuit of that deal. The idea of having a former hostage taker set foot on American soil was a bridge too far. Yet the Obama Administration has no trouble demanding that Israel release Palestinians in jail for murdering Israelis in order to get the Palestinians to the negotiating table. The Obama Administration should not be demanding anything of Israel it would not be prepared to do itself.
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