The Spectacle Blog

Night Falls in Paris

By on 1.7.15 | 4:53PM

As the day draws to a close in France, thousands upon thousands have gathered in the Place de la Republique to show outrage and solidarity in the face of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack. The crowds are carrying signs, chanting "Liberte," and are projecting the words, "Not Afraid" alongside Charlie Hebdo covers onto Republique's famous center monument. The protests have now gone on for five hours.

These photos are all from Sam Schechner's Twitter feed. Schechner is a tech correspondent for the Wall Street Journal currently stationed in Paris. 

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Charlie Hebdo Terrorists May Be Affiliated with Al Qaeda in Yemen

By on 1.7.15 | 4:20PM

As of this writing, the three people responsible (two gunmen and a getaway driver) for the terrorist attacks at the offices of Charlie Hebdo are still at large.

Witnesses say the terrorists spoke perfect French and claimed that they were with al Qaeda in Yemen.

Unlike the so-called "lone wolf" incidents such the shootings in Ottawa last October and the hostage situation last month in Sydney, this operation appears to have been carried out with more planning and sophistication. Indeed, the official magazine of al Qaeda in Yemen, Inspire, included Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier as part of its 2013 "Wanted Dead or Alive for Crimes Against Islam" list.

Of course, if the terrorists were fluent in French that means they were either born in France or emigrated there when they were very young.

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Slain Charlie Hebdo Editor’s Epitaph: “I Prefer to Die Standing Than Living on My Knees!”

By on 1.7.15 | 3:34PM

It could be said that the people who worked at Charlie Hebdo knew this day could come.

Charlie Hebdo's Editor Stephane Charbonnier (a.k.a. Charb) was among those killed today.

Amid the threats against Charlie Hebdo, Charb told his staff, "I prefer to die standing than living on my knees."

Clearly the people who worked at Charlie Hebdo lived and died by those words.

Je suis Charlie.

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National Zoo Panda Sees Snow for the First Time

By on 1.7.15 | 2:32PM

I don't want to demean the seriousness of today's other news and the discussion we're having about it, but maybe we could all use a little cuteness break today. Everything that's happened is very scary. I'm grateful that there are men and women who fight day in and day out on the front lines to protect me. I'm grateful I have commenters to remind me of that. And I'm grateful that the National Zoo has an adorable panda that likes to play in the snow.

So let's all drop everything and enjoy Bao Bao's first snow day. Because it's fantastic.

You may now resume your regularly scheduled news cycle.


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A Further Thought on the Charlie Hebdo Terrorist Attacks & Where is Molly Norris Now?

By on 1.7.15 | 1:14PM

Emily has written a very thoughtful piece in reaction to the terrorist attacks at Charlie Hebdo in Paris and I share her feelings of despondence.

Yet I must quibble with this particular sentence:

This isn't really terrorism, because that assumes that there isn't a larger plan other than to make people afraid and disrupt the casual way in which we go about our daily lives.

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The Charlie Hebdo Murders and Freedom of the Press

By on 1.7.15 | 11:27AM

Aaron wrote this morning about the horrific murder of twelve people at the headquarters of the French satire magazine, Charlie Hebdo, but I can't get it off my mind. It's bothering me in a way very few things really do: in a Columbia-law-students-refuse-to-take-their-finals-because-of-emotional-distress sort of way. Every day of my life, for almost ten years now, I've said something rude and uncouth on the Internet. My generation, of course, views this as practically a human right. And my audience, confrontational as it can be at times, has always been civil. Like yesterday, I can literally spend days of my life making fun of our elected leadership and the people who put them into power, and while I might get a nasty email every once in a while criticizing my grammar or my irrational hatred of Mike Huckabee, the biggest risk of my writing career is supposed to be carpal tunnel, not the potential to be gunned down by a cadre of Islamic fundamentalist lunatics.

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Terrorists Kill 12 at French Satirical Magazine; Shout “We Have Avenged the Prophet Muhammad!” - UPDATED

By on 1.7.15 | 9:01AM

A horrific terrorist attack has occurred in Paris at the headquarters of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo resulting in a dozen deaths. Seven others have been injured and the attackers are still at large at this hour. Among the wounded is a police officer who exchanged fire with the assailants as they fled the scene. The terrorists shouted, "We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad!"

This is not the first time the offices of Charlie Hebdo have been attacked. In November 2011, their offices were firebombed right before they released a "Sharia edition" of their newspaper featuring Muhammad as a "guest editor." In 2006, Charlie Hebdo also published the infamous Danish cartoons which originally appeared the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

Charlie Hebdo's last posting on its Twitter account featured a satirical picture of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

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Why Is the U.S. Stiff-Arming Nigeria?

By on 1.6.15 | 6:03PM

The January 5 editorial in the Wall Street Journal titled “#BokoHaramIsWinning” should serve as a wake-up call to the Obama administration. News reports of the ruthless, radical Islamist terrorist group’s takeover of an army base followed by the multi-national anti-Boko Haram force abandoning another base just yesterday is cause for great concern to Nigeria and its neighbors.

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Creepy Photos of the 114th Congress

By on 1.6.15 | 4:38PM

Just in case you missed the great disturbance in the Force, like a thousand voices crying out at once and then suddenly silenced, that was the 114th Congress being gaveled into session (Gavelled? Gavellded?), we should most certainly relive the day in pictures. 

Let's start with the kiss heard round the Beltway. The one of forbidden love. The kiss of control over Congress.

"No Nancy, not here. Just wait...until times are different. Until we've cleared the CRomnibus. Until Netflix gets The Notebook back on it's ready-to-stream menu."

But John Boehner wasn't the only one getting his mack on for the swearing in. This day belonged to Joe Biden. And Joe Biden was going to savor it.

Here he is trying to steal what appears to be Orrin Hatch's wife.

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Why It’s a Good Thing Boehner Didn’t Lose His Job Today

By on 1.6.15 | 3:49PM

Like many conservatives, I'm not a huge fan of John Boehner.

Over the years, he has not been consistent in cobbling together an effective legislative agenda and does not do so well when he has to confront President Obama. His willingess to blink on immigration is a strong indication of his hesitancy to confront Obama. This is particularly egregious given Obama's usurpation of Congressional jurisdiction.

But all things considered, it is probably for the best that Boehner was not ousted as Speaker of the House today. Two months ago, Boehner helped lead the GOP to its biggest congressional majority in nearly seven decades. Had he been ousted today, President Obama would not only have a field day, he'd have the field for the rest of the year. Obama could sit on the sidelines and watch Republicans fight to the death. This would give plenty of fodder to a liberal media only too happy to feed on it.

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