The Spectacle Blog

Straight Talk From Toyota

By on 11.30.05 | 4:29PM

Still enchanted with the Prius? You'll reconsider after reading Holman Jenkins' fine column today, which doubles as the letter from Toyota that'll never be written:

...Let us assure you that the Prius remains one of the most fuel-efficient cars on the road. Toyota applauds your willingness to spend $9,500 over the price of any comparable vehicle for the privilege of saving, at current gasoline prices, approximately $580 a year.

And should the price of gasoline rise to $5, after 10 years and/or 130,000 miles of driving, you might even come close to breaking even on your investment in hybrid technology.

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Dem Disarray

By on 11.30.05 | 2:30PM

So just a couple of hours after Vichy John Kerry was trying to convince us that the Dems really weren't calling for withdrawal from Iraq, up pops Mizz Pelosi to say that Cong. Murtha was right, and we should begin pulling out of Iraq as soon as possible.

This, so far, is a pretty good day. It's the first one in a long time that it must be more frustrating to be a Dem than a Republican.

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The Kennedy Takeover of the California GOP

By on 11.30.05 | 12:56PM

So Maria Shriver's counsel has been taken. The San Francisco Chronicle details Schwarzenegger's new chief of staff, fittingly named Susan Kennedy: A Gray Davis appointee, she "made her name as a political operative as the head of the California branch of the National Abortion Rights Action League. A longtime gay rights activist, Kennedy married her partner, Vicki Marti, in a 1999 ceremony in Hawaii attended by many California political insiders."

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Politically Incorrect Science at Heritage Tomorrow

By on 11.30.05 | 12:43PM

TAS senior editor and "Capitol Ideas" columnist Tom Bethell is elaborating on his new book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Science, tomorrow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington at noon. If you can't make it to the event, do the next best thing and buy the book.

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See How Easy That Was?

By on 11.30.05 | 12:12PM

Ok, let's review the bidding. The president gives one really good speech, tells the world that we're not getting out of Iraq because of car bombers and assassins, and what's the result?

The Dems are in full retreat. Kerry's rebuttal? Listen to Rush now. He's got it precisely right. Kerry has the pedal to the metal in reverse. No, no, no. We weren't talking about withdrawing from Iraq. We were demanding a schedule for success. Right.

The president has finally engaged. We can quibble about what he said, but he's finally put the Dems on the defensive. Of course they were talking about quitting and running. Of course none of them were asking how we could win. Of course they were all saying it's unwinnable, a war based on lies, another Vietnam. Now they have been called on it, and they're toppling like a house of cards in a high wind. Messrs. Bush and Cheney have found the right tone. They need to keep singing long, loud and continuously.

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Breakthroughs in Unethical Cloning

By on 11.30.05 | 12:10PM

A report in TIME Asia Magazine shows that unethical coercion of women has contributed to the work of Dr. Hwang Woo Suk, Korea’s chief stem cell researcher. After failing to receive a sufficient number of donated eggs from the public, Hwang's head scientists were obliged to offer $1,500 to female lab workers to give up their eggs. About twenty women working for the study complied. TIME says one of the researchers stressed that the “cloning breakthroughs would have been impossible without a steady supply of eggs.†That suggests the job security of these lab workers would have been threatened had they not complied, however voluntarily. On stepping down from his head position at the “World Stem Cell Hub,†Hwang admitted “being too focused on scientific development," as as result of which "I may not have seen all the ethical issues related to my research.â€

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Ayotte: A Limited Invalidation?

By on 11.30.05 | 12:07PM

If the Court excised the health exception and declared the law invalid in cases of medical emergencies:

Scalia: Why should the doctor who's negligent and doesn't know what he's doing, why should he be protected.

Dalven: We believe that would be unconstitutional to send a doctor to jail for acting in good faith.

Scalia: That would be the case in any medical malpractice case.

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Ayotte: Planned Parenthood Faltering

By on 11.30.05 | 12:01PM

Planned Parenthood's counsel, Jennifer Dalven, is really getting beat up over their challenge to the entire statute while making a very narrow argument, from Ginsburg and O'Connor to Roberts and Kennedy.

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Ayotte: Medical Emergencies

By on 11.30.05 | 12:00PM

Justice Kennedy is arguing that a medical emergency could be addressed through the judicial bypass. Dalven is replying that once a minor arrives in the ER, it's too late for her to go to court and seek an exception to parental notification.

Scalia: Surely not the delay for a quick phone call. If NH sets up a special court with an abortion judge, why wouldn't that work?

Dalven: If it only takes an instant call to the judge to get approval for an abortion, then what's the point of the statute.

Chief Justice Roberts: Why didn't the physicians preemptively challenge the bypass process instead of the whole law then?

Dalven: No matter how fast the bypass procedure, it would be insufficient.

Roberts: So why does this implicate the vast majority of the cases? ... This is a facial challenge. There's no enforcement challenge at all.
...
Ginsburg: Why couldn't we rule that the NH statute is invalid to the extent that it fails to protect situations in which there's an imminent danger to health? Why wasn't that the appropriate judgment of the First Circuit in this case?

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