The Spectacle Blog

Sidney Blumenthal Resurfaces, This Time at Hillary’s State Department

By on 5.19.15 | 11:57AM

If the Clinton campaign is the greatest hits of the 1990s returning in a Time-Life boxed set to be sold on late-night television to people with chronic insomnia, Sidney Blumenthal is that Smashing Pumpkins song that happens to be the only Smashing Pumpkins song you can readily identify as a Smashing Pumpkins song because it played as literally every other video on MTV for basically your entire time in high school. That is, until Total Request Live discovered the massive appeal of bands that didn't make you want to shove the shards of a broken DiscMan headphone into your own jugular.

New BU Prof Who Tweeted Against White Males Now Taunts White Rape Victim on Facebook

By on 5.18.15 | 4:41PM

About a week and a half ago, I wrote about Boston University's decision to stand by its hiring of a new sociology professor named Saida Grundy despite her tweets about "white college males"  as a "problem population" and not patronizing "white-owned businesses".

BU initially defended Grundy "as exercising her right to free speech". However, following a backlash, BU issued a statement which read, "The University does not condone racism or bigotry in any form and we are deeply saddened when anyone makes such offensive comments.” Needless to say, the statement did not mention Grundy by name much less declare any intention of imposing any disciplinary measures.

Time for Hillary to Speak Up on Trade

By on 5.18.15 | 4:02PM

The Washington Post ran an editorial on Wednesday indicting Hillary Clinton for her silence on the trade agenda. On Thursday morning, the Post published an op-ed by Robert Kagan of Brookings titled “Clinton’s Cowardice on Trade.” Both pieces offer some valid observations, but the matter deserves more scrutiny still.

Rand Paul’s ‘No’ on Trade Promotion Authority Gets It Backwards

By on 5.18.15 | 3:59PM

Not entirely unsurprisingly, the Senate failed to reach cloture last Tuesday, falling eight votes shy of the 60 needed to start the timer on debate over Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which will be needed to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations and bring it to a timely vote in Congress. The cloture vote concerned two of four pieces of trade legislation voted out of the Finance Committee two weeks ago (TPA and Trade Adjustment Assistance). Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell excluded the other two bills, which contain language that would attract Democratic support. So, while I wouldn’t bet the ranch on TPA’s passage, there’s still room for horse trading.

In more surprising (and disappointing) news, one senator who will say “no” if TPA makes it to the floor for a vote is Rand Paul, who explained his reasoning on a New Hampshire television news broadcast: 

We give up so much power from Congress to the presidency, and with them being so secretive on the treaty, it just concerns me what’s in the treaty.

Let me take Paul’s issues with power, secrecy, and content in order.

Dem Senate Candidate Loretta Sanchez Apologizes for Racially Insensitive Remark

By on 5.18.15 | 2:26PM

Last week, one of California's potential Democratic Senate candidates, Kamala Harris, was revealed to have an aide operating a secret police force right under her nose. This week, the other choice, Loretta Sanchez is in trouble for racial insensitivity after a video of her making a gesture offensive to Elizabeth Warren (among other members of our Native American population) surfaced.

The video, which was filmed at a Democratic convention on Saturday, depicts Sanchez trying to answer the question of whether a group of "Indian American" supporters were, in fact, Native American or were immigrants from the Indian subcontinent. Sort of.

The video, which was shared on social media, shows Sanchez tapping her hand over her open mouth and making a whooping sound while speaking to a group of delegates Saturday.

Sanchez’s rival, Attorney General Kamala Harris, called the gesture “shocking.”

President Obama Has a Twitter Now

By on 5.18.15 | 2:14PM


Yes, you're not imagining that there was a "Barack Obama" on Twitter before today. That account is run by the scattered remnants of Organizing for America, and not by the President himself.

But now that he's entering his later years and giving up on having anything remotely resembling a policy agenda, the President has been gifted with his very own Twitter handle, @POTUS, and juding by his use of exclamation points, he's pretty excited.

I can't wait.

Hillary Clinton Wants Julian Castro for Veep

By on 5.18.15 | 2:09PM

The Democrats have finally admitted what we knew all along: far from being about fresh ideas and new faces, the DNC's 2016 ticket will be a showcase for the party's complete reliance on identity politics.

Hillary Clinton, whose only connection to "fresh" and "new" may be the marketing slogan for her preferred brand of adult undergarmets, is looking around, quite desperately, for a running mate who hasn't yet earned their AARP card. Word has it that they've settled on HUD Secretary Julian Castro. It seems he's everything the Democratic party really needs, by which I mean, a dedicated party man with a blank slate of policy leanings who just happens to be of a minority the Dems are in danger of losing. 

Hillary Clinton’s campaign is likely to choose Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Julián Castro or another Hispanic politician to be her running mate, former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros said in an interview that will air Sunday.

Marlins Fire Mike Redmond; Name GM Dan Jennings New Manager - UPDATE

By on 5.17.15 | 7:49PM

The Miami Marlins have fired manager Mike Redmond. The firing occurred after the Marlins were nearly no-hit by Shelby Miller of the Atlanta Braves. 

The Marlins are 16-22 and 6 games back of the New York Mets in the NL East. They have lost six or their last seven games. 

Redmond was hired by the team prior to the 2013 season. The firing is a bit of a surprise given that Redmond had has contract extended two years after the 2014 season. Redmond went 155-207 in his two plus seasons at the helm of the Marlins

However, I think is a good move because I don't think Redmond has his players' backs. I didn't like how he ripped his ace Jose Fernandez after the Braves took exception to him hitting a home run late in the 2013 season.

Knowing What We Know

By on 5.17.15 | 11:58AM

I’m not defending Jeb Bush’s inept handling of it. But it was a dumb question to begin with.

Knowing what we know now, would we have elected Barack Obama President? Twice!?

Knowing what we know now, would we have allowed Muhammed Atta and his merry men to fly hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center?

Knowing what we know now, would George Will have decided to become a Chicago Cubs fan?

Knowing what we’ve known for a long time, is anyone surprised that the mainstream media has spent as much time as it has flogging this really dumb question? Presidential decisions, as well as all of our private ones, have to be made on the basis of what is known at the time the decision has to be made. Not on the basis of what we will know at decision + X years. But then nattering on in this pointless vein is a lot easier than doing solid reporting on the real issues facing the nation and the various candidates’ prospects of dealing with these successfully.

I Wish The Obama Admin Were as Concerned With Death Sentences Against Iranian Bloggers As They Are With Ex-Egyptian Presidents

By on 5.17.15 | 3:26AM

The State Department has expressed deep concern with the death sentence handed out against former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi for his role in the 2011 Muslim Brotherhood prison break.

Of course, an argument can be made that a death sentence against Morsi would turn him into a martyr not only for the Muslim Brotherhood, but for human rights activists. Not that Morsi was overly concerned with human rights when he was in power, but Morsi was democratically elected and disposed of in a coup and that will be enough for some people.

That all being said, I wish the Obama Administration would express the same deep concern when Iran sentenced blogger Soheil Arabi to death last December for "insulting the prophet of Islam" on a Facebook post