The Spectacle Blog

Ken Howard, R.I.P.

By on 3.23.16 | 8:31PM

Actor and SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard died suddenly today five days shy of his 72nd birthday.

Howard is best known for starring the CBS TV series The White Shadow which ran for three seasons between 1978 and 1981 in which he played Ken Reeves, a journeyman NBA player who becomes the coach of an inner city high school basketball team. Younger viewers may remember him on Crossing Jordan with Jill Hennessy which aired on NBC between 2001-20004 and more recently had a recurring role on 30 Rock. In 2009, he would win an Emmy for his role in the HBO mini-series Grey Gardens

Over the years, Howard guest starred in numerous TV shows like Murder, She Wrote, Dynasty (as well as its spinoff The Colbys), The Office, Law & Order: SVU Blue Bloods. 

Is Jeb Bush’s Endorsement The Kiss of Death for Ted Cruz?

By on 3.23.16 | 2:29PM

I don't think Jeb Bush's endorsement of Ted Cruz is as much of a surprise as people might think.

There might not have been much love lost between them, but Cruz never insulted Jeb's wife the way Donald Trump did.

In all honesty, the moment Trump trashed his spouse, Jeb should have slugged him right then and there on the debate stage. It honestly couldn't have done him any worse. But Jeb didn't slug Trump and Jeb is out of the running. Meanwhile, Trump is insulting his way to the presidency or at the very least the GOP nomination.

Yet the last thing Ted Cruz wants is to become the darling of the Republicand establishment and nobody gets more establishment than Jeb Bush. Ted Cruz made his reputation by being openly disdainful of the Republican establishment. Having the Republican establishment (Lindsey Graham, Mitt Romney and now Bush) embracing him will have the likely effect of driving more Republicans into Trump's arms. In a way, by endorsing him, the Republican establishment is getting a kind of revenge on Cruz. Well, sort of.

A Couple More Things

By on 3.23.16 | 1:14PM

There were too many sidebars to yesterday’s game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team for me to include them all in my piece today on the rich history of Tampa/Havana beisbol. But I’m happy to add what a treat it was to see one of my all-Time favorites, Luis Tiant, throw out the first pitch in what was an entertaining, but, regardless of what overheated reporters have said all week, not a historic game.

El Tiante, now 75 and looking good in his guayabera shirt and BoSox cap, did not use the twisty delivery that confused so many hitters back in the day. It’s said of Louie that if you attended a game that he started, no matter where you sat, sometime during the game and during his delivery he would be looking right at you. Those fortunate enough to have seen Louie at work have no doubt that this is true. Hitters must have had a devil of a time picking up his release point. Which I guess is the point of having a delivery that looks like an amusement park ride. Long live Louie.

Obama Ludicrously Defends Attending Ballgame in Cuba By Invoking David Ortiz’s Response to The Boston Marathon Bombings

By on 3.22.16 | 7:15PM

President Obama ludicrously defended attending the baseball game between the Cuban national team and the Tampa Bay Rays in the wake of the Brussels terror attack by invoking Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz's response to the Boston Marathon Bombings:

When Ortiz went out and said probably the only time that America didn't have a problem with somebody, a person on live TV, was when he talked about Boston, how strong it was and that it was not going to be intimidated.

The President is referring to Big Papi's "this is our f#&kin' city" remarks at Fenway Park. But Ortiz made those remarks on April 20, 2013 prior to a game against the Kansas City Royals. This was five days after the bombing and less than 24 hours after authorities detained Dzokhar Tsarnaev in a day long manhunt which shut down a good deal of the city. In fact, because of the manhunt the Red Sox-Royals game scheduled that evening was actually postponed.

As Obama Buries The Last Remnant of The Cold War ISIS Renews Its War Against The West

By on 3.22.16 | 5:00PM

During his speech today in Havana, President Obama proclaimed, "I have come here to bury the last remnant of the Cold War in the Americas."

As Obama claimed he was laying the Cold War to rest (that was done by Ronald Reagan a generation ago), ISIS renewed its war against the West with its attacks in Brussels which thus far has claimed more than 30 lives.

The juxtaposition of Obama speaking with the chaos in Brussels demonstrated just how disconnected he is with the real world. The disconnection was further reinforced with his presence at a MLB exhibition game between the Cuban National Team and the Tampa Bay Rays complete with bromancing Derek Jeter and doing the wave with Raul Castro. I suppose we should be thankful that Havana isn't abundant with golf courses. But as Larry Thornberry put it today:

Rob Ford, R.I.P.

By on 3.22.16 | 12:46PM

Former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has succumbed to cancer at the age of 46.

Elected mayor of Canada's largest city in 2010, you were either part of Ford Nation or you were not. Ford was rough around the edges and his conservative politics made him a target of liberal elites, but at the same time he remembered people's names, personally returned phone calls of his constituents and more often than not got things done. This resulted in a great deal of goodwill.

Unfortunately for Ford he would become an international figure of ridicule in 2013 when a cell phone video showed him smoking crack cocaine. At first, he denied it, but once the video was revealed his public behavior disintegrated and Toronto City Council stripped him of many of his powers.

Who Are Those Guys?

By on 3.22.16 | 11:47AM

It’s a nice parallel William Murchison draws this morning between the plight facing the current Republican Party and that facing Butch and Sundance at the top of the cliff.

There was another question, frequently asked in that amusing movie, which might apply to the GOP just now, to wit: “Who are those guys?” It was difficult to say, pre-Donald, what the Republican Party stood for (except intermittently — not much). Now it’s impossible.

Raindrops will be falling on GOP heads for some time to come, I gotta tell ya. But they will be terrific rain drops. And Mexico will pay for them.

President Obama and ‘President’ Castro

By on 3.22.16 | 10:33AM

News reports about President Obama’s visit to Cuba are regularly referring to his meeting with “Cuban President Raul Castro.” But Castro is not a president in the same sense that President Obama is. He’s not even a president in the dictionary sense. The Oxford English Dictionary defines “president” as “the elected head of a republican state.” Raul Castro was not elected, and Cuba is not a republic. Castro is a military dictator. That may not be a polite thing to say, but journalists are supposed to tell the truth, not worry about the feelings of the powerful.

Thoughts on The Islamic Terror Attacks in Brussels

By on 3.22.16 | 10:25AM


Islamic terror has struck the Belgian capital of Brussels. Two bombs were detonated at Brussels' airport and another at a subway station. As of this writing, 34 people are dead with nearly 200 people wounded.


Prior to the first explosion at the airport, witnesses heard gunshots and shouting in Arabic.


The attack comes only four days after the capture of Salah Abdeslam who was involved in last November's Paris terror attacks & had remained at large. Abdeslam was captured in the Molenbeek section of Brussels, the same neighborhood where the bomb in the subway station was detonated.


Young Lauren Chilton Visits Cuba

By on 3.22.16 | 10:10AM

Economist Steve Pejovich’s granddaughter Lauren Chilton — a second-year economics major at the University of Texas — recently visited Cuba with her parents. Here’s a letter that Ms. Chilton wrote to her family members about the experience. I share her letter here, in full, with permission. (I put in bold my favorite paragraph.)


My trip to Cuba has provided me with insight I never saw coming. I loved every waking second of being there. The country has not experienced tourists, so no one is begging on the streets and barely anyone tried to get money out of us (besides the musicians). But it made me think about communism and it’s huge part of our history. I am so proud of being a part of our family as it has guided me to be the person I am today.