The Spectacle Blog

Apparently Harkin Didn’t Get the Memo

By on 9.21.06 | 8:57PM

Regarding Democratic talking points on Chavez, apparently Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin didn't get the "don't attack our president" message that Pelosi and Rangel harmonized on earlier today:

"I thought they were incendiary comments, certainly," Harkin said, adding, "Let me put it this way: I can understand the frustration and the anger of certain people around the world because of George Bush's policies."

Harkin, also said immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, every country in the world, including Venezuela, supported the United States.

"Just think - in five years, President Bush has squandered all that, just totally, totally squandered it all," Harkin said. "I can understand the anger and frustration of a lot of poor people around the world, who see us the richest country in the world putting $350 billion in a war, unnecessary, unprovoked war in Iraq and yet they can't get clean water."

Does U.S. Health Care Really Suck?

By on 9.21.06 | 7:28PM

A couple of comments about the Commonwealth Fund's new report (PDF) that gave the U.S. a failing grade for its health care system.

First, here are four different stories (1, 2, 3, and 4) about the report. Can you find a single comment in any of them critical of the report? I can't. Talk about bias. I guess it is just axiomatic among the press that the health care system in the U.S. is terrible.

Ryder Cup Prognostications

By on 9.21.06 | 6:35PM

A week or two ago, Johnny Miller said that, "on paper," the United States had "its weakest Ryder Cup team in years." Given the presence on the team of four rookies, that may be true -- and the show ponies haven't performed all that well in recent Ryder Cups either.

I got a look at the four rookies' press conferences yesterday. Here are my impressions.

J.J. Henry will be fine.

Zach Johnson's tight swing will probably stand up, with some of the usual rookie jitters.

Vaughn Taylor's syrupy smooth swing may break down in the rainy conditions predicted for the tie, and he does not look confident.

Brett Wetterich will end up sitting down a fair amount. He's scared to death.

Thai Coup - a Thought

By on 9.21.06 | 6:31PM

When the Thai military plotters pulled off their coup, they, like many another gang of revolutionaries before them, took over the radio and television stations in the Thai capital. Thank heavens for the Internet, talk radio, and other alternative media. In that respect, we've had a coup in the United States almost since the beginning of the Bush administration.

The Democrats and Chavez

By on 9.21.06 | 5:05PM

Nancy Pelosi deserves credit for her strong condemnation of Hugo Chavez:

"Hugo Chavez fancies himself a modern day Simon Bolivar but all he is an everyday thug," House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said at a news conference, referring to Chavez' comments in a U.N. General Assembly speech on Wednesday.

"Hugo Chavez abused the privilege that he had, speaking at the United Nations," said Pelosi, a frequent Bush critic. "He demeaned himself and he demeaned Venezuela."

Defending Charlie

By on 9.21.06 | 3:56PM

I think you're being too harsh Jed. I think Rangel deserves credit for saying the right thing (for once). I'd love to see more of the same from the Democrats.

Charlie, Hilarious

By on 9.21.06 | 3:40PM

Who - after Michael Moore and Howard Dean - would be the last person you'd expect to defend George Bush?  Gotta be New Yawk Congressman Charlie Rangel. But he did. And only I can tell you why.

Rangel slammed Hugo Chavez for condemning Bush in his visit to Rangel's Harlem/> district today. According to Drudge, Rangel said,

Oppressively Low Prices

By on 9.21.06 | 3:24PM

Paul, this is standard operating procedure for Wal-Mart critics, and a lesson that Wal-Mart appears not to learn very well.:

Wal-Mart capitulates. Critics say, "It's not enough."

Just watch: they'll think about this for a couple days, convene the concerned citizens groups, and decide this is really a bad thing since it'll run "mom 'n' pop" drugstores out of business. Poor CVS.

Permanently Anesthetized

By on 9.21.06 | 1:53PM

Wal-Mart plans to cut prices of many (291) of the generic drugs it sells to $4 per 30-day supply -- an unheard-of deal -- but that's still not good enough for its critics:

The initiative - the fourth since last October that Wal-Mart has adopted to improve health benefits - drew criticism from one of its most vocal union groups, Wake Up Wal-Mart.

"While lowering prescription drug costs is a good thing, Wal-Mart cruelly ignores the fact that it fails to provide company health care to over half of its employees which leaves 46 percent of its workers' children uninsured or on public health care," said Chris Kofinis, spokesman for Wake Up Wal-Mart. "Wal-Mart needs to answer one very simple, but serious question - why not just improve the health care coverage of its employees?"

Wake up, morons -- they just did.

Re: George Allen’s Jewishness

By on 9.21.06 | 12:16PM

The response was pitch perfect in the context of the debate. I should have linked to the whole video, instead of the excerpt.

I could see how it looks so defensive and strange -- like Allen is offended at being called a Jew, as if the very insinuation were offensive.

But the undercurrent to the question provides the context. What Peggy Fox was suggesting, her response to Allen's question shows, was, "Why won't you admit you're Jewish?" This isn't out of left field. Fox had done her homework from the Forward article. It just wasn't the place, especially coming right after questions about the macaca incident. Allen was back on his heels, with the suggestion of racism in the air. Then Fox hits him with the equivalent of, "C'mon, admit you're a Jew." Whether he is comfortable with his newly discovered ethnicity or not, it's an offensive insinuation. The crowd picked up on it -- they weren't overwhelmingly "jeering supporters." The Fairfax Chamber of Commerce debates are usually very restrained events. This question was over the top, and the crowd's reaction reflected that.