The Spectacle Blog

Easter Sunday Suicide Bombing in Pakistan; Most Victims Were Women & Children

By on 3.27.16 | 6:08PM

The Pakistani Taliban are claiming responsibility for a suicide bombing at a park in Lahore which as of this writing has claimed 69 lives. A majority of the dead are women and children. 

At the time of the attack, there were Easter celebrations going on in the park. 

Although Pakistan the second most populous Muslim country in the world (behind only Indonesia) there is a Christian community which publicly observes Easter. There are more than 2.5 million Christians in Pakistan's comprising 1.6% of the country's population.

While Christians in Iraq and Syria are facing genocide, this attack in Pakistan demonstrates that Christians in other parts of the Middle East are also vulnerable to Islamic extremism. 


Bernie Sweeps Caucuses in Alaska, Washington & Hawaii

By on 3.27.16 | 4:18AM

Bernie Sanders isn't going away.

On Saturday, Bernie swept three races winning caucuses in Alaska, Washington and Hawaii. He won each of these races decisively capturing 81.6%, 72.7% & 70.6% of the vote, respectively.

As it stands now, Hillary still leads Bernie by nearly a 2:1 margin in the overall delegate count (1703-985). However, when one breaks down pledged delegates and superdelegates, the race is a lot closer. Among pledged delegates, Hillary leads Bernie by fewer than 300 (1234-956). It is among the superdelegates with whom Hillary dominates (469-29). If the superdelegate numbers were reversed, Bernie would be leading this race. Of course, the superdelegates are Democratic elected officials many of whom are bound to the Clintons for their electoral fortune. 

If the Democratic Party didn't have superdelegates and didn't award pledged delegates on a proportional basis, this race would be very different than the one we have now.

All of which means is that Bernie has got it all wrong. It isn't the economy that's rigged; it's the Democratic Party.

#FreakoutFriday: Oh, No! GMOs!

By on 3.25.16 | 1:45PM

People love to freak out about GMOs. Of course, few people actually know what the acronym actually stands for but I can help with that.

GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism and today, GMOs are present in roughly 70 percent of processed food. So, if you’ve ever eaten a tortilla chip or fried something in canola oil or if you’ve eaten a fresh Hawaiian papaya, you’ve probably consumed a GMO.

Now, calm down. You’re fine. You’re not going to sprout a tail or grow gills or die an early death. We know this because GMOs have been in use for over twenty years and in that time there hasn’t been one case of illness, death or bizarre behavior associated with consuming GMOs. Even the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science have all declared that GMOs are safe for human and animal consumption. Thousands of studies confirm this.

Obama Pays Respects to Victims of Argentina’s Military Dictatorship; So Why Not Cuba’s Victims?

By on 3.24.16 | 11:11PM

I have no objection to President Obama paying respect to the Argentinians who disappeared and were killed during that country's military junta between 1976 and 1983.

It just would have been nice if Obama had done the same for the victims of the Castros. Instead, he stood in front of a mural of Che Guevara, a death squad commander if there ever was one.

To be fair, he did meet with some dissidents including a few who had been arrested prior to his arrival.

Yet surely those who have been killed by the Castro regime deserve to be remembered just as much as those who died under Argentina's military junta.

But why did Obama pay tribute to Argentina's victims with such fanfare?

Garry Shandling, R.I.P.

By on 3.24.16 | 6:57PM

Actor & comedian Garry Shandling died suddenly today after collapsing. He was 66.

A fledgling sitcom writer in the 1970's having written scripts for Sanford & Son and Welcome Back, Kotter, Shandling turned to stand up comedy following a serious car accident that nearly claimed his life in 1977.

Shandling would come to national prominence in the early 1980's with his frequent appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Becoming a favorite of Carson, Shandling would become a regular guest host until 1986 when he launched his own show. It's Garry Shandling's Show aired on Showtime between 1986-1990. While never a ratings juggernaut, the show was praised for its original premise with the entire show revolving around breaking the fourth wall. 

Chelsea Clinton Says Mom’s Open to Using Exec Order to Curb Healthcare Costs

By on 3.24.16 | 4:31PM

Chelsea Clinton's mom hasn't come up with a coherent answer to how she would curb the increasing cost of healthcare under the new Obamacare regime. She's waffled between advising her audiences to double check the Obamacare website in case they missed a cheaper plan, to claiming credit for the entire thing, noting that before everyone hated Obamacare, those exact same people hated her plan.

But it's hard to escape the idea, especially lately, that Obamacare isn't the cost-cutting measure for most Americans that it was promised to be. Sure, it does some good things, but health costs are rising, not falling, and out-of-pocket maximums for people who buy insurance on the exchange hover around $10,000 - not exactly affordable. So what does the Democratic frontrunner have to say? Well, according to her daughter, that she'd take unilateral action to fix the ACA by instiuting even more regulation.  

President Tangos While the World Goes Tango-Uniform

By on 3.24.16 | 2:10PM

The late Nancy Reagan’s wisdom should have applied last night in Argentina, where Barack Obama would have been wiser to have just said no, instead of looking like a lamppost while a lovely Argentine woman did the tango around him.

The asymmetric dancing our hopeless and hapless president allowed himself to be roped into was done to the tune of the lovely “Por Una Cabeza” (by a head — a horse-racing expression.) But the execution of it was not nearly as charming as that to the same tune by Al Pacino and Gabrielle Anwar in the 1992 movie Scent of a Woman. (For those who didn’t see the movie, the Pacino character is blind.) Is the young Gabrielle in this sequence a heart-breaker, or what?

Emory University Melts Down Over ‘Trump 2016’ Written in Chalk on Sidewalk

By on 3.24.16 | 12:45PM

Not that I'm supportive of "safe spaces" and this movement to ban the freedom of speech on college campuses lest someone prick the precious sensibilities of our future generation of leaders such that they need to color and pet puppies to regain a semblance of composure, but there's a certain part of me that can at least understand why a generation raised on participation trophies and "self esteem training" might have tough time being in an environment that challenges their carefully curated presumptions about the world. But then they go and complain about sidewalk chalk and every shred of sympathy I might have had diminishes as quick as their allowance account in the sale section of an Urban Outfitters. 

State Dept. Will Give You $1.5 Million to Pen a “TV Drama” Combating Terrorism

By on 3.24.16 | 11:45AM

Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Belgium this week to extend the American peoples' condolences to the citizens of Brussels, hit on Tuesday with a terrorist attack that killed nearly 100 people and wounded many more, and probably to help counter the problematic public relations the White House is facing after the American President was pictured tangoing in Argentina last night rather than attending to important things, like people getting blown up in Europe.

But, fear not, America and our allies, because the State Department has a plan. Announced yesterday, they are now offering a $1.5 million grant to anyone who can pen a television drama series that can counter radicalization in the Middle East. 

"This grant will fund the development and broadcast of a television drama series in which young people grapple with everyday frustrations and lack of opportunity, while growing and learning through new experiences," the offer said.

President Obama Might as Well Join The Cast of Dancing With The Stars

By on 3.24.16 | 11:23AM

It's bad enough that President Obama did the wave with Raul Castro in Havana during the body count in Brussels, but doing the tango in Buenos Aires while the bombers are still at large amounts to dancing over graves.

Now I don't object to Obama being in Argentina given the recent election of a more pro-American government. Unlike Cuba, it is relationship that warrants cultivation.

Ceremonial functions are part of the duties of a head of state and inevitably some amount frivolity will be part of the proceedings. But if Obama sees fit to do the tango he might as well as leave office now and join the cast of Dancing With The Stars.

With his presence at the ballgame and on the dance floor in a time of disaster, Barack Obama comes across as a man who enjoys the trappings of power but cannot be bothered with the responsibilities that come with it.