The Spectacle Blog

Iowa GOP Kills the Straw Poll

By on 6.12.15 | 12:48PM

The Iowa GOP may still insist that it's first-in-the-nation caucus is a national trendsetter when it comes to predicting the Presidential nominee, but at least they've now, finally, admitted that the Iowa Straw Poll, the yearly also-first-in-the-nation event that forced Presidential contenders to drag their entire staffs into broiling hot cornfields in the middle of August to compete for the love of self-obsessed Iowa politicos, Ethanol lobbyists and farmers we pay not to grow anything, has outlived its usefulness.

Thanks to a few key candidates who failed to express the requisite interest in the August event, the Iowa GOP has voted to cancel it for this year, at least. It may be back in the future, but for now, the Iowa straw poll is no more.

The Iowa Straw Poll is dead, leaving a heavier burden on winnowing an oversized GOP presidential field on Iowans who will cast the nation's first votes in February in the caucuses.

Dusty Rhodes, R.I.P.

By on 6.11.15 | 7:26PM

Pro wrestling legend Dusty Rhodes died today at the age of 69. The cause of death is unknown at this time although he was quite a bit thinner the last time I saw him on TV a few months ago.

Born Virgil Runnels, Rhodes was a fixture in professional wrestling for more than four decades. Nicknamed "The American Dream", his prime came during the 1970's and 1980's when he starred in both the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) where he would be a three-time world champion with his longstanding feud with Ric as well as the WWE (then known as the WWF). With his distinctive curly blond hair, flamboyant attire, awesome mic skills not to mention the "bionic elbow", Rhodes was of the industry's most popular figures and identfiable characters. 

Obama Admin Wants ‘Economic Diversity’ for Wealthy Neighborhoods

By on 6.11.15 | 6:00PM

The City of Chicago has an interesting Section 8 philosophy that mandates apartment buildings — even the really fancy ones — have a certain number of abodes set aside to serve as Section 8 housing. It's not a bothersome provision — most of the Section 8 tenents are perfectly nice, and the apartments are doled out through a lottery system to preserve at least a sense of fairness — but it's always interesting to note that there's a certain, unidentifiable, percentage of your neighbors who don't pay very much for an apartment you often conisder selling your organs on the black market to afford. 

If the Obama Administration has its way, a similar program will expand from just high-cost high rise apartments to wealthy neighborhoods. A new HUD rule, due out this month, is supposed to suggest what critics are calling a "utopian vision" of HUD's equal opportunity housing plan: granting money to organizations to put up "affordable housing" in traditionally affluent neighborhoods. 

Jeb Bush Shocked That He Is Not Already President

By on 6.11.15 | 2:12PM

Do you ever get the sense that someone doesn't like you? Its not a super-obvious thing, of course, but every once in a while, possibly, say, because I'm routinely "revealed" to be a "closeted liberal" by the comments section, I get the sense that someone just isn't about to fall all over themselves in an effort to be my friend. It doesn't really bother me - I'm fantastic, so it's really their loss - but I at least know about it. 

Jeb Bush has clearly never possessed that talent. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, he and his team apparently thought that the multitudes were simply joshing him when they said they weren't thrilled at the prospect of a third President Bush, and that everyone was simply being facetious when they noted that a Jeb Bush candidacy would make them run straight into the arms of pretty much any other Republican candidate. Except for Rick Santorum. None for Rick Santorum.

Bill Clinton Isn’t Corrupt Until Someone Proves He’s Corrupt, Says Bill Clinton

By on 6.11.15 | 1:47PM

There's a grain of truth to Bill Clinton's outburst this morning about the Clinton Foundation's shady dealings: as with most Clinton malfeasance, it's either well hidden or well constructed, with plenty of plausible deniability built into the system, so while it's very clear that something fishy is going on, it's never truly clear that something fishy is going on. 

Today, Bill gave an interview to Bloomberg, in which he responded to allegations that the Clinton Foundation was nothing more than a slush fund, useful for padding the pockets of State Department bigwigs, employing friends, and giving Chelsea Clinton employees to berate and harass (allegedly) so that she had something to do to pass the time. Instead of giving the outright denial, Bill Clinton did what Clintons usually do in these situations: ask if there's any concrete evidence.

Scholars Blast U.S. History Rewrite

By on 6.11.15 | 12:47PM

Fifty-five top historians have signed an open letter criticizing the College Board’s revamp of its Advanced Placement U.S. history curriculum, in which half a million of the nation’s brightest students enroll each year. It is the final U.S. history class many ever take.

The National Association of Scholars, which coordinated the letter, notes: “Lynne Cheney, Bruce Cole, Patrick J. Deneen, Robert George, Leon Kass, Victor Davis Hanson, and Harvey Mansfield signed the letter, among several dozen other prominent scholars.” Their letter says:

Scandals Continue To Pour In As U.S. Marshals Director On Way Out

By on 6.11.15 | 12:42PM

More scandal for the embattled law enforcement agency.

U.S. Marshals Director Stacia Hylton said that allegations of improper hiring and misuse of funds in her agency had nothing to do with her resignation Tuesday, but the day after she announced that resignation more allegations poured in from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley.

Grassley sent a letter Wednesday to Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates inquiring about additional allegations that senior executives misused funds in the Asset Forfeiture Fund for private gain.

Whistleblowers allege that three senior executives needed help with job applications so they enlisted government contractors and government employees to draft the applications. Then, the executives told the contractors charge the government for the time.

Reddit Bans Web Page For Mocking Fat People

By on 6.11.15 | 12:39PM

The popular website reddit, which bills itself “the front page of the Internet” and is known for featuring forums called “subreddits” on virtually any topic, has launched a new crackdown on behavior it says constitutes “harassment.” Its first victim? A page dedicated to bashing fat people.

The subreddit r/fatpeoplehate was previously one of the site’s most popular, with its roughly 150,000 subscribers sharing stories and pictures centered around the topic of hating on the overweight and obese (this picture is a representative example). The page was also notable for banning anybody who expressed “fat sympathy” and for its hostility towards the fat acceptance movement, which argues that the obese suffer unfair discrimination and that people can have ”health at any size.”

While Rubio Struggled, Hillary Clinton Spent $200K Per Month on Hamptons Summer Home

By on 6.11.15 | 12:04PM

As has been made clear over the last few days, Marco Rubio is simply too poor to be President. His stubborn failure to suddenly re-manifest as a lily-white septugenarian plutocrat may cost him the highest office in the land.

For Hillary Clinton, however, being richer than God is proving no problem at all. With an estimated net worth of $100 to 200 million, Hillary Clinton should obviously be making ends meet, and unlike Marco Rubio, without the aid of her book deals (though those have undoubtedly helped). At an average of $200,000 per speaking engagement, she was clearly earning more than enough to afford the finer things. And while the New York Times frets over a fishing boat, it turns out that Hillary Clinton has had seaside adventures of her own, in a lovely summer home in the Hamptons — a rental that costs a whopping $200,000 per month.

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.