The Spectacle Blog

The Case Against Gridlock

By on 9.25.06 | 10:20AM

Last week, I was speaking with the Club For Growth's Pat Toomey for an article on another topic, and he made a good point as to why gridlock caused by a Democratic takeover of Congress would be unlikely to restrain spending. Toomey noted that if Democrats take over, funding for the Iraq War is going to become a major bone of contention between Congress and the White House. If President Bush wants to get the Iraq War funded, it's unlikely that he'd be able to convince Speaker Nancy Pelosi to cut domestic spending too. Far more likely is a compromise whereby President Bush gets the Iraq spending he wants, but only if he agrees to a budget that grants more domestic spending to the Democrats' pet projects.

I'm sure this is an argument that has been made before, but I thought it was worth repeating given our ongoing discussion on the consequences of Republicans losing control. In my view, if spending is the only issue you care about, gridlock can work under certain conditions. But I'm not convinced that it would work in the current environment.

The Newly Happy Case of Frank Beckwith

By on 9.25.06 | 10:13AM

TAS Contributor Frank Beckwith gets his tenure at Baylor after lengthy appeal!

And I couldn't be happier for Baylor and for Dr. Beckwith. This is a beautiful day for the man and the institution. There's hope that Robert Sloan's Baylor 2012 Vision is still intact. Many thanks to President Lilley and Provost Randall O'Brien for doing the right thing. Thanks also to the Regents of Baylor University.

Glenn, Give Us Urinalysis

By on 9.24.06 | 8:12AM

You just gotta love these "analysis" pieces The New York Times and The Washington Post crank out. Today The Post's Glenn Kessler dissects unfavorable opinion of the U.S. from other countries, as exhibited at the U.N. last week:

A theme running through a number of the speeches delivered here is that democracy cannot be imposed through force.

"Our peoples have a keen interest in the achievement of a larger measure of democracy, human rights and political reform," said Ahmed Aboul Gheit, foreign minister of Egypt, which receives more than $2 billion in annual aid from the United States. "However, we now see that some seek to impose these concepts by military force. They proceed from the assumption that their principles, values and culture are superior and thus worthy of being imposed on others."

Re: Cross References

By on 9.23.06 | 8:17PM

Paul, all your points are quite well taken. But in the interest of stirring up trouble (or as "we" say in academia, "critically interrogating architectures of power"), I might make a couple points:

(1) NBC's egregious error isn't in editing God out of VeggieTales -- it's in failing to tell Phil Vischer about their intentions, which are absolutely material to the contract at issue. In a twist that Jed is sure to love, had this controversy arisen in France, NBC might have been prohibited from violating the moral right of Vischer, the artist. The idea is that Picassos cannot be bought up, hacked into pieces, and sold a la carte. Not bad...except it's out of sync with the whole of Anglo-American jurisprudence. But is there a duty to be contractually clear about what the buying of rights really means -- particularly when it intersects with what could be conceived of as the "whole point" of the work?

Cross References

By on 9.23.06 | 8:00AM

Conservative Christians are in an uproar over two decisions made by NBC. The first is the network's removal of "most if not all of the references to God and the Bible" from its Saturday morning broadcasts of "VeggieTales," which co-creator Phil Vischer said he never would have agreed to if he knew beforehand that's what NBC would do.

The second is the planned airing of a Madonna concert, in which she performs one song "while mounted on a cross, in imitation of the Crucifixion of Jesus," The New York Times reports, adding "that part of Madonna's current concert tour has drawn protests around the world from people who believe it is blasphemous or offensive to Christians."

(NBC broadcast standards executive Alan) Wurtzel said NBC did not believe it had deleted the show's religious message; he said the network had bought the rights to "Veggie Tales" because of its positive religious themes but that it did ask for changes to comply with its standards.