The Spectacle Blog

Thoughts on Islamic Terrorist Attacks in Turkey, Indonesia & Burkina Faso

By on 1.16.16 | 11:51AM

In the space of 72 hours there have been three terrorist attacks carried out on three continents.

On January 12th, ISIS terrorists kill 11 people, nearly all of them German tourists, outside the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey.

On January 14th, mulitple bombs are detonated near the Sarinah shopping mall in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta. Two civilians are killed including a Canadian. ISIS claims responsibility for the attack as well.

On January 15th, al Qaeda gets in on the act by seizing hostages at the Splendid Hotel and Capuccino Cafe in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, a landlocked country situated in northwestern Africa. Although the Burkina Faso security forces, with assistance from the U.S. and French militaries, manage to free 126 hostages, 23 civilians are killed. 

This again demonstrates that Islamic terrorism is a global phenomenon. There may be different organizations and they may have different methods, but the objective is the same: Kill as many civilians as possible (and if they are tourists then so much the better) with the objective of getting the world to submit to Islamic rule. 

Iran Claims It Has Released Four American Hostages

By on 1.16.16 | 10:44AM

Iran's state news agency is claiming that Iran has released four American hostages who are dual American-Iranian citizens.

According to FARS, the four Americans - Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, former U.S. marine Amir Hekmati and and an unidentified man believed to be businessman Siamak Namazi - in exchange for six Iranians held in this country on sanctions related charges. 

The State Department has yet not comment on this report. Anything Iran says must be greeted with the utmost skepticism. I'll believe they are free when they are back on American soil. 

Nevertheless, if the Obama Administration is prepared to trade five Taliban for Bowe Bergdahl then it more than plausible that they are prepared to make this deal. 

#FreakoutFriday: The Sugar Crisis!

By on 1.15.16 | 11:15AM

Last week, The Drudge Report posted an alarming headline: “Children aged five eating own weight in sugar each year.” Follow the link and you’ll be shocked to learn that:

The average five-year-old consumes the equivalent of their body weight in sugar in the course of a year, health officials have warned.

The Telegraph article includes no citation to backup or hyperlink to the study that’s the basis for this shocking claim. Annoying. The next paragraph offers a common sense approach to solving what’s being couched as a public health nightmare:

Parents are being urged to take control of their children’s habits…

Immediately followed by some predictable big government solutions:

…as the Government prepares to publish its strategy on child obesity, amid calls to introduce a tax on sugary drinks and foods.

Fox Business Channel South Carolina GOP Main Debate Post-Mortem

By on 1.15.16 | 12:17AM

Here are my thoughts on the GOP main debate in North Charleston, South Carolina  which has just concluded on the Fox Business Network.

John Kasich - He basically sung his greatest hits of the '90's. For Kasich everything is riding on New Hampshire. Unless he finishes second or a very strong third, I expect he will drop out.

Chris Christie - The New Jersey Governor was his usual assertive self. He called Obama "a petulant child" and later said he gave the criminals the benefit of the doubt and embraces lawlessness. Somehow I'm sure he didn't tell Obama this during Hurricane Sandy. Christie made several barbed comments about Rubio and Cruz when he said he hated "interrupt a debate on the Senate floor". He cut both of them off when they weren't forthcoming about answering a question about entitlements. However. Christie lost an exchange with Rubio when he claimed he never gave money to Planned Parenthood. In fact, Christie gave money to PP in 1994. It was a long time ago, but he did give them money. 

Fox Business Channel South Carolina GOP Undercard Debate Post-Mortem

By on 1.14.16 | 7:48PM

I finished watching the GOP Undercard Debate which took place in North Charleston, South Carolina and aired on the Fox Business Network. 

Undercard veteran Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee were joined by Carly Fiorina. It was her first time on the undercard since August. All three had their moments, but I think Santorum and Huckabee cancel each other out and will be gone after the Iowa caucuses.

Fiorina resonated the most with the audience. But her debate performances are always excellent. Thus the question remains if she will resonate her way back to the GOP main stage in a fortnight, a mere three days before the vote in Iowa. 

I will be live tweeting the GOP main stage debate at #GOPDebate which begins at 9 p.m. EST. My Twitter handle @aargold24.

Does Ted Cruz Have a Goldman Sachs Problem?

By on 1.14.16 | 5:02PM

The short answer is, probably not. But it'll take you a while to get there.

This week, the New York Times dropped a story about Ted Cruz's first Senate campaign, noting that Ted Cruz's million-dollar loan to his initial Senate campaign was made possible by his wife's employer, Goldman Sachs, who floated Ted and his wife a significant loan. The loan remains outstanding - he and his wife still owe somewhere between $50K and $100K on it - and it turns out that Cruz, allegedly, failed to disclose the loan in campaign filings

Alan Rickman, R.I.P.

By on 1.14.16 | 3:26PM

Actor Alan Rickman has passed away following a battle with cancer. He would have turned 70 next month.

The British born Rickman was best known for playing Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films and had notable roles in Die Hard with Bruce Willis and as The Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves with Kevin Costner. I particularly enjoyed Rickman's work in two British films which I saw on Canadian television - Truly, Madly, Deeply and Close My Eyes co-starring a young Clive Owen.

A decade ago, Rickman co-wrote My Name is Rachel Corrie with Katharine Viner (who is now Editor-in-Chief of The Guardian) based on Corrie's diaries. Rickman would direct its stage debut at the Royal Court Theatre in London and would win the Theater Goers' Choice Award for Best Director. Corrie was the American university student who became part of the anti-Israel International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and would travel to Gaza with them to act as a human shield. She was accidentally killed by an IDF bulldozer in March 2003.

The ‘Donald Trump Jam’ Will Haunt Your Nightmares

By on 1.14.16 | 3:13PM

Okay, people. I thought the most disturbing thing I saw today was that Tweet announcing that Guilermo del Toro was selected to helm the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark movie adaptation, thus ensuring that, once I have seen seen it, I shall never sleep again. 

I was wrong. This is the most disturbing thing I saw today. And yes, you have to watch it. It's like The Ring. You have to make it all the way through or the creepy kids singing the Donald Trump song will crawl through your computer screen and force you to caucus in Iowa. 

The Donald's admiration for Kim Jong Un has obviously boiled over into his scheduler. 

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Go To War Over Single Payer Healthcare

By on 1.14.16 | 1:25PM

Hillary Clinton has found her support dwindling these last few weeks, and Bernie Sanders is reportedly pulling even with the presumptive nominee among Iowa caucus-goers.

So what's a girl to do? Easy. Point out to her loving public that Bernie Sanders has no grasp of even basic economics, and although he considers his "give everything away for free" campaign platform to be both cheap and affordable, his healthcare plan alone - a single payer nightmare designed to mire Americans in a government-run system - will cost so much, he'll have raise taxes on the Middle Class just to make the website work.

According to Hillary's "Briefing" Twitter account, dedicated to countering misinformation, we're in for a $15 trillion Bernie bill.

Why It’s Too Bad 13 Hours Wasn’t Released in September Instead of This Weekend

By on 1.14.16 | 12:46PM

The movie 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi premiered earlier this week in Los Angeles and will get wide release come tomorrow.

Last night, Megyn Kelly interviewed several relatives of those who perished in Benghazi and discussed what the implications the film might have for the 2016 presidential election.

Honestly, I don't think the film will have much impact on the election. It isn't a question of the subject matter at hand, but rather the timing of the movie's release. The election is nearly 10 months away and, except for the people who lost loved ones and conservative Americans already committed against Hillary Clinton, the movie will be a distant memory.

This would not have been the case had the movie been released on September 9th, two days before the 4th anniversary of the attack and exactly 60 days before the election. That would put 13 Hours smack dab in the middle of the election season. 13 Hours would very much be on the mind of voters in a way it won't be with a January release.

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