The Spectacle Blog

Why CEI Has the Best Party in Town

By on 6.11.15 | 1:37AM

Friend and development dude Al Canata was relieved last week to learn I couldn't make the Competitive Enterprise Institute's annual dinner, held tonight at the JW Marriott a couple of blocks from the White House.

CEI had broken the previous year's million dollars-plus fundraising record, Al said, which created a problem. There are only so many seats to go around. My voluntarily not going -- because of the fallout from the mother of all flus coupled with a catastrophic computer failure -- meant one less person he'd have to disappoint.

Some folks in DC talk about the White House Correspondents Dinner as “nerd prom,” but the real intellectual prommery happens at the CEI dinner. This year the event is so big it demands a subtitle: “Bourbon and BBQ Bash: Liberty Served Smooth and Smokin'.” Reason's Matt Welch will emcee with his hipster glasses. Vice presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina will keynote. Nobel laureate economist Vernon Smith will accept an award named after the late Julian Simon.

It Looks Like Another Islamaphobia Hoax

By on 6.10.15 | 9:26PM

One of last week's top stories was an alleged incident aboard a United Airlines flight where a Muslim chaplain from Northwestern University named Tahera Ahmad claimed she was denied an unopened can of soda because the flight attendant told her it could be used as a weapon. Ahmad further alleged a fellow passenger made anti-Muslim statements to her. However, her claims appear not to be true. Here is how Mark Hemingway of The Weekly Standard describes the situation:

Obama Admin Asks FISA Court to Ignore Ruling Finding NSA Actions Illegal

By on 6.10.15 | 1:21PM

Just a few short weeks ago, our elected legislators were very, very concerned about the future of the NSA's bulk data collection programs.

Some were absolutely convinced that forcing the NSA to submit to the rubric set forth in the Constitution requiring probable cause and a warrant to search through Americans' phone records was going to lead to the downfall of the entire homeland security structure, rending America incapable of seeking out and destroying our domestic enemies, even though it was through a program that rarely, if ever, actually worked.

Others were convinced that, without a radical realignment of the PATRIOT Act, the government was merely going to work its way around any roadblocks to authorization, thus making any argument or measure designed to curb the NSA's power almost useless in the real world. Championing a complete overhaul of the Act, done with now great distance from the events of September 11, 2001, would allow us to discern the cost of our security with a fresh eye.

Wisconsin Dem Rep Compares Marco Rubio to Ricky Ricardo

By on 6.10.15 | 1:03PM

I would say that this tirade is just a teensy bit racist, but the man delivering it is a Democratic representative from Wisconsin, so by party affiliation he's technically incapable of any kind of actual, overt racism, at least according to what I've been taught by the media that trained me.

Anyway, I'll just post this video of Rep. Mark Pocan addressing the Wisconsin Democratic state party convention this past weekend and you can decide for yourself whether his overwrought joke about House of Cards casting the Republican Presidential contenders is racially insenstitive and not funny or just racially insensitive.

To wit:

"In fact, it is going to be so entertaining, in fact, I heard that Netflix is going to create a House of Cards special series just on the 2016 primary. It’s going to be called House of Cards: Jokers Gone Wild...

Jeb Bush’s PAC Won’t Meet $100 Million Fundraising Goal

By on 6.10.15 | 12:21PM

The Super PAC backing former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is unlikely to raise $100 million by the end of June, surprising many close to the group.

Right to Rise PAC hasn’t disclosed how much money its raised so far, but two sources inside the PAC told The Washington Post the figure could fall well below what would be a record-breaking sum of $100 million.

Many have viewed Bush as the most formidable contender in the field because of the expectation he would have no problem raising outrageous sums of money for his campaign. Although the $100 million sum by the end of June is not an explicit goal of the PAC, Bush’s aides have promised the sum.

“At the right time, we will release very formidable number,” the PAC’s strategist Mike Murphy told The Washington Post.

Turkish Vote Shatters Threat of Putin-Like Presidency

By on 6.10.15 | 12:15PM

Two years ago protesters took over the streets of Istanbul, Turkey’s first city. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan beat them down and last year he was elected president. His critics feared his plan to invest the largely ceremonial post with Putin-like authority. On Sunday, however, Turkish voters revoked his party’s majority.

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2002. Erdogan initially allied with liberals to systematically dismantle the authoritarian system that had replaced the Ottoman Empire.

The military came to dominate politics. At times, they executed and jailed opponents. Eventually, the nationalist establishment imploded. Weak coalition governments tolerated corruption and delivered economic malaise. In 2002, the AKP won a dramatic victory.

With Erdogan at its head, the party delivered liberty and prosperity. The new government dismantled repressive elements of the “Deep State,” put the military back in its barracks, created a more business-friendly environment, moved towards Europe, and pushed social reforms. The Turkish people rewarded the AKP with a steadily larger proportion of their votes.

Marco Rubio’s “Luxury Speedboat” Has Nothing On John Kerry’s Tax-Dodging Yacht

By on 6.10.15 | 11:41AM

Yesterday, we brought you news, fresh from the New York Times, of Marco Rubio's luxurious credit card purchase history. It seems, armed with a windfall from a book deal, the fiscally irresponsible Florida politician paid off his student loans, dug himself out of debt and bought a "luxury speedboat" that he'd had his eye one for a while. Clearly rolling in dough, Rubio made what the Times termed a series of irresponsible purchases, culminating with a "splurge" on the 24-foot Edgewater 245CC, the perfect vehicle for navigating the choppy waters off of Miami with the family (and some rather large fish) in tow. 

If you're thinking, as I am, that a 24-foot boat doesn't sound super luxurious, well, you're right. Here's a photo of the boat.

Joni Ernst Takes on Hillary Clinton Over “Womens Rights”

By on 6.10.15 | 11:05AM

During the 2014 midterm elections, Hillary Clinton campaigned for Sen. Joni Ernst’s Democratic opponent, former Rep. Bruce Braley, and criticized Ernst for not doing enough to stand up for women.

"It's not enough to be a woman. You have to be committed to expand rights and opportunities for women," Clinton said as she stumped for Braley.

But Ernst got the last word his past weekend at Ernst’s “Roast and Ride” event in Iowa. In an interview with CNN, Sen. Joni Ernst replied to Clintons accusation with this statement:

"I would say Hillary, it's not enough to be a woman. You have to care about women's issues," Ernst said. "And women's issues here in Iowa are that we have a strong economy; we have jobs that our sons and daughters can go off to someday; we have a great educational system. And women want strong national defense. We want to know that our families are going to be safe."

Since when is supporting regulatory "equal pay" legislation and abortion laws the only way to express support for women’s rights and equality?

Jerry Brown Worries About ‘Overpopulation’ Amid CA Drought

By on 6.10.15 | 10:33AM

Gov. Jerry Brown is worried that the Golden State will eventually have too many people for the state’s water supplies to support.

Brown made the comments before the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California Board and also warned that global warming was exacerbating California’s drought.

Union Targeting Vulnerable Democrat For Supporting Obama

By on 6.10.15 | 10:00AM

As part of its campaign against President Barack Obama getting unilateral trade authority, the AFL-CIO went after Democrat Rep. Kathleen Rice on Tuesday.

Despite agreeing on many policy areas, organized labor has longed opposed the president getting Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). Also known as fast-track, if passed by Congress the president could submit a finalized trade deal to that could not be amended or filibustered and would only need a straight up- or down-vote.

As the House moves to consider granting the president such authority, the AFL-CIO has led the way in opposing it with an all out media blitz. Rice has become a main target of the media campaign for moving against much of her own party to support the bill.