The Spectacle Blog

MLB Notes for May: Minnesota Twins Take Over AL Central

By on 6.1.15 | 12:17PM

Nearly a third of the MLB season is over. Some teams rode high in April, but were shot down in May while others experienced April showers which blossomed into May flowers.

AL East

This division should be called the AL Least. Once the most powerful division in MLB, no team in the AL East had a winning record in the month of May. The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays are tied for top spot in the division with a 26-25 record with the Baltimore Orioles (23-26), Toronto Blue Jays (23-29) and Boston Red Sox (22-29) all below .500. The Red Sox were particularly horrible going 10-19 in May, a month which saw them fire pitching coach Juan Nieves and replaced him with veteran pitching coach Carl Willis. It hasn't made much of a difference. Yet despite all the misery, the Sox are only four games out of first place. One good week and they could be on top of the division. Ditto for the O's and Jays. This is anybody's division.

Please Don’t Make Me Go!

By on 6.1.15 | 11:43AM

Please Mr. Custer, I don’t wanna go
Hey, Mr. Custer, please don’t make me go
— “Mr. Custer,” Larry Verne, 1960

You are on the front lines, in a very hard place. It’s fraught with danger. You’re tired. You’ve had enough. You just want to go home. But that’s not a palatable option. Folks will get very very angry with you. You may not survive the consequences.

What do you do?

If you’re a fighter in Syria, and you’ve come to realize you’re not a heroic jihadi fighting to get into heaven, and no virgins will be waiting for you there anyway, that you’re no more than cannon fodder, that if you quit your recruiters will kill you, if you’re lucky—you shoot yourself in the foot.

If you’re the American Secretary of State in Washington, and you’re facing an Congressional inquiry for a misfeasance that cost four Americans their lives, and you’re turned a Middle Eastern country into a failed state, and you’ve allowed deadly weapons to fall into the hands of Islamic terrorists—you fall down the stairs and get yourself diagnosed with a concussion, and take a rest for 6 months.

Gawker Can’t Shut Up About Secret-Ballot Union Vote

By on 6.1.15 | 11:02AM

The online news company Gawker has opened a public online forum to answer the question of whether its reporters should unionize — and the ensuing battle couldn’t be more interesting.

“Yesterday, Gawker Media announced that we will be holding an election next week to vote on whether our editorial staffers want to form a union,” Gawker wrote on its website.

“The purpose of this post is to allow our writers to discuss how they’re voting, and why,” it continued. “All Gawker Media editorial employees are invited to share their thoughts on the upcoming vote in the comment section below. We like to do these things out in the open.”

PATRIOT Act Expires, But Debate is Just Beginning

By on 6.1.15 | 11:00AM

I would have written this last night except that I was engrossed in a horde of ice zombies attacking a bunch of escaping villagers (until I realized I had switched over from CSPAN and was actually watching Game of Thrones and not the Establishment GOP and the Obama Administration wailing and gnashing their teeth over the temporarily lost power to infringe on the rights of American citizens in the name of national security). 

Environmental Journalism Has Become Ideological Warfare

By on 6.1.15 | 10:53AM

Why do so many climate-related news reports sound like propaganda written by zealous, even fanatical, environmentalists who could never be called impartial or objective?

Why have reporters belonging to the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) abandoned the Society of Professional Journalists’ code of ethics, which includes a pledge to support “open and civil exchange of views, even views they find repugnant,” and instead promoted retaliation against scientists with whom they disagree, often calling for the censorship of climate-alarm skeptics?

The evidence suggests SEJ’s actions weren’t based solely on the perennial need for sensational headlines or the usual left-wing politics of covering the environment beat. It’s more personal. Many environmental journalists seem driven by emotions aroused before they entered journalism school: fear and loathing of modern technology and the flourishing human populations it brings.

Will Rand Paul End the PATRIOT Act?

By on 5.31.15 | 7:09PM

I feel a little about this filibuster the way I did about the Blackhawks playing in game 7 last night against the Anaheim Ducks: I'm so nervous I can't watch. Tonight, as I try to avoid talking about privacy and security issues by immersing myself in Game of Thrones, Sen. Rand Paul will launch a last-ditch effort to derail a rote authorization of the PATRIOT ACT, in an effort to delete or delay the approval of the NSA's bulk cellular data collection programs and other violations of Americans' privacy.

R.I.P. Beau Biden

By on 5.31.15 | 6:47PM

Last night, tragedy struck the Biden family as Beau Biden, the 46 year old son of Vice President Joe Biden passed away after a quiet battle with brain cancer. Beau Biden, the former Delaware Attorney General, Iraq War veteran and survivor of the crash that killed Joe Biden's young wife and daughter, leaves behind a wife and two children. 

Joseph "Beau" Biden III, an Iraq War veteran who served as the attorney general of Delaware and was a son of Vice President Joe Biden, died Saturday at age 46, the White House said in a statement.

He died after battling brain cancer, according to the vice president's office.

"Beau Biden was, quite simply, the finest man any of us have ever known," his father wrote in a statement.

Biden had suffered known health problems dating back to 2010, when he experienced a stroke that did not affect his motor skills or speech.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the Vice President and his family at this difficult time.

Nevada Shows the Way With Education Savings Accounts

By on 5.31.15 | 3:00PM

Barely two weeks have passed since I wrote that my home state of Georgia should lead the way on school choice by becoming the first state to pass universal education savings accounts (ESAs). Fortunately, for America’s families, we will not have to wait until the 2016 session of the Georgia General Assembly to see the idea become reality. The Nevada General Assembly has beaten Georgia’s politicians to the punch by passing SB 302, giving families the option to use an average of $5,000 per child to pay for private schools through ESAs.

O’Malley Once Compared George W. Bush to the 9/11 Terrorists

By on 5.30.15 | 11:37AM

So now that Martin O'Malley is officially seeking the Democratic Party nomination, let me take this moment to remind you that this is the same man who once compared former President George W. Bush to the 9/11 terrorists when he objected to proposed budget cuts. Here is what he said at the National Press Club in February 2005 when he was Mayor of Baltimore:

Back on September 11, terrorists attacked our metropolitan cores, two of America's great cities. They did that because they knew that was where they could do the most damage and weaken us the most. Years later, we are given a budget proposal by our commander in chief, the president of the United States. And with a budget ax, he is attacking America's cities. He is attacking our metropolitan core.

Of course, this didn't prevent voters in Maryland from electing O'Malley as their governor for two terms. But it is indicative of the level of thinking in Democratic Party precincts then as now.

A Question About Removing Cuba From The State Dep’t Sponsor of Terrorism List

By on 5.29.15 | 3:57PM

It's now official. Secretary of State John Kerry has removed Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.

I have a question. The State Department still recognizes FARC in Colombia and ETA in Spain as terrorist organizations. Last I checked, Cuba is still sponsoring both organizations.

So if Cuba is still sponsoring FARC and ETA then why is it no longer considered a state sponsor of terrorism?

Look, I blame Republicans in Congress every bit as much for this revolting development. They had 45 days to object to the Obama Administration's intent to remove Cuba from the list and...nothing. Not even from Marco Rubio.