The Spectacle Blog

EU Court Removes Hamas from Terrorism List - UPDATED

By on 12.17.14 | 12:39PM

An EU Court has ruled that Hamas should be removed from its list of designated terrorist organizations. The EU insists it is a technical matter and that in order for an organization to be classified as a terrorist entity, it had to be based on on Hamas' actions rather than "factual imputations derived from the press and the internet".

Apparently firing rockets targeting civilians in Israel, using their own people as human shields and wantonly attacking commuters at bus and train stations don't meet the EU's standards of what they consider to be a terrorist organization. Then again, Hamas actions are directed against Israel. As with the UN, the EU singles out Israel for the kind of criticism it will not level against other countries.

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Obama & Castro Expected to Begin Normalizing U.S.-Cuba Relations

By on 12.17.14 | 11:35AM

With the release of Alan Gross in exchange for three Cuban spies, President Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro are set to begin normalizing relations between the U.S. and Cuba in a joint press conference later today.

Presumably this means the embargo will be lifted if not immediately, then incrementally. What about Helms-Burton? Or will Obama just issue another executive order?

This is being described as the fall of the Berlin Wall moment for Obama.

Well, by last count, there are 114 political prisoners in Cuba. Will they be released and free to come and go as they please? Will former Cuban political prisoners be allowed to return from exile in Spain?

And what about multi-party elections, a free press and an independent judiciary?

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Fed District Court Declares Obama’s Executive Amnesty Unconstitutional

By on 12.16.14 | 3:43PM

It's only the first court of many that will review the order, so it's nothing to get horribly excited about, but one Federal district court in Pennsylvania has declared that some aspects of President Obama's executive action on immigration go beyond mere "prosecutorial discretion" and are therefore unconstitutional.

Earlier Tuesday, a federal court in Pennsylvania declared aspects of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration policy unconstitutional.

According to the opinion by Judge Arthur Schwab, the president’s policy goes “beyond prosecutorial discretion” in that it provides a relatively rigid framework for considering applications for deferred action, thus obviating any meaningful case-by-case determination as prosecutorial discretion requires, and provides substantive rights to applicable individuals.  As a consequence,  Schwab concluded, the action exceeds the scope of executive authority.

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President Obama “Eagerly Looking Forward” to Hawaiian Vacation

By on 12.16.14 | 1:13PM

Congress has one more committee meeting this month and then they're all headed home for a month-long (or, in some cases, following the 2014 elections, a permanent) vacation. Seeing as how they've exhausted themselves working approximately half the year, clearly they deserve the time off to enjoy all the gifts they'll receive from lobbyists, and to recover from the pounding hangover they got from all of these DC holiday parties.

The President himself will also depart the Capitol this weekend, taking off on Friday for a 17-day Hawaiian vacation with his family at their private home in Kailua. The President, who has had a rough six months or so as his Administration's early policies bear fruit worldwide, is said to be "eagerly looking forward to" the nice weather and possible lack of cell phone service.

“On Friday, the first family will depart the White House en route to Honolulu, Hawaii — a flight that I know the president himself is eagerly looking forward to,” said spokesman Josh Earnest.

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Jeb Bush “Actively Exploring” 2016 Presidential Run

By on 12.16.14 | 12:38PM

In response to Jeb Bush's Facebook announcement this morning, that he is "actively exploring" a 2016 Presidential bid, I am "actively exploring" consuming an entire box of cookies.

Behold, the social media message you've been waiting for.

His Leadership PAC will be open for business and accepting donations, I assume, in January. If for some reason Jeb Bush's active exploration turns up a whole mess of people who don't want him to run for President, and the PAC never transforms into a true campaign, the Leadership PAC can then dole out it's collected sums to other candidates that support Jeb's favored positions.
NBC News/WSJ opinion polling shows Jeb Bush with positives in the low-to-mid 20s, but negatives only in the 30s. With name recognition and regular media coverage, those numbers should change. At least, he hopes they will.
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Taliban Attacks Pakistani Military School; 132 of 141 Killed Are Children

By on 12.16.14 | 12:03PM

The Taliban have attacked a Pakistani military school in Peshawar. As of this writing, 141 have been been killed. Of that total, 132 are children.

Whether it's in a tiny Australian cafe or a large Pakistani military school; whether it's carried out by one person or carried out by a well organized and trained militia; whether the victims are adults or children and whether the victims are almost entirely non-Muslim in one instance or almost entirely Muslim in another instance, violence and terror committed in the name of Islam is a global phenomenon. This phenomenon is not occurring with any other religious or ideological movement on a global scale.

But until we stop being afraid of telling it like it is then there will be no end to this global phenomenon of Islamic terrorism.

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Camille Cosby Defends Husband

By on 12.15.14 | 8:21PM

Camille Cosby, who has been married to Bill Cosby for 50 years, issued a statement in defense of her husband.

In her statement, Cosby made reference to the now discredited Rolling Stone story about the gang rape that purportedly took place at a fraternity at the University of Virginia:

We all followed the story of the article in the Rolling Stone concerning allegations of rape at the University of Virginia. The story was heart-breaking, but ultimately appears to be proved to be untrue. Many in the media were quick to link that story to stories about my husband — until that story unwound.

None of us will ever want to be in the position of attacking a victim. But the question should be asked — who is the victim?

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Sandy Hook Families File Lawsuit Against Gun Manufacturer

By on 12.15.14 | 3:58PM

An attorney representing nine of the families who lost loved ones at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut two years ago have filed a lawsuit against Bushmaster, a Maine based gun manufacturer for negligence.

I don't see this lawsuit going anywhere. It's true that gun manufacturers have been sued in the past. Indeed, back in 2004, Bushmaster agreed to pay the eight families who lost loved ones to the D.C. Sniper $550,000 after being sued by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. However, the passage of The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act in 2005 gave gun manufacturers increased protection against such liability. As the NRA (who strongly supported the legislation) argued, "Suing the firearms industry for street crime is like suing General Motors for criminal acts involving Buicks." The argument is every bit as applicable to school shootings.

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Big Cromnibus Winners: NSA, Hungry Kids, Farting Cows

By on 12.15.14 | 3:38PM

If there was any good news to come out of this weekend's CRomnibus festivities, it was that you can now make any Democrat immediately cringe by implying that Eizabeth Warren is their side's equivalent of everyone's favorite showboating Republican Presidential contender, Ted Cruz. But that's about it. The rest of the CRomnibus is just an endless string of soul-crushing spending provisions, Wall Street handouts, and complete budget funding for a bunch of agencies you don't even know exist until you accidentally run afoul of them.

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Jeb Bush Loses Weight, Writes Book, Releases Emails

By on 12.15.14 | 3:10PM

So far, the Republican field, which is expected to be an embarrassment of riches come the 2016 primary season looks far more like a straight-up embarrassment. From the Dr. Carson miniseries to the threat of a second wave of Rick Santorum branded sweater vests to the threat of Mike Huckabee in general, we're not looking at banner slate of early-adopters.

But while these two might not fit the bill from a more libertarian perspective, conservatives might get their very own early candidate to despise. Word on the strees is that Jeb Bush is all set to announce his candidacy for 2016. He's lost some weight, he's written an e-book, and for Christmas, he's gifting you 250,000 emails from his time as Florida governor.

You're welcome, America.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said on Sunday he will release 250,000 emails from his two terms in office and write an eBook outlining his governing philosophy. The moves have set the political sphere atwitter with speculation he's closer than ever to deciding to run for president in 2016.

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