The Spectacle Blog

No More a Lawn Ornament

By on 12.3.05 | 8:24AM

Yes, somehow -- as if by magic, and surely not by driving an unregistered car - my Mustang Cobra accrued the mileage required to overcome the idiotic DEQ computer code and has passed Virginia emissions testing. It is now street-legal. And I am ready to turn it loose, all 390 horsepower, six speeds and wide, low-profile tires. Now all I need to do is win the SueBee honey contest. The prize is a street-legal version of Richard Petty's "Superbird." Beau and Luke Duke? Amateurs. Unranked amateurs.

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HRC & Recently Profiled Arkansas Abortionist

By on 12.2.05 | 2:28PM

According to this article at, the Arkansas abortionist the Los Angeles Times profiled the other day, William F. Harrison, has claimed Hillary Clinton as a former patient. In an review of Bill Clinton's autobiography, Harrison wrote: "I have known Bill and Hillary Clinton personally since they both moved to Fayetteville to teach at the University of Arkansas law school in the early 1970s. I met Hillary first as her physician and she soon introduced me to her then boyfriend, Bill."

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Seuss vs. McCain

By on 12.2.05 | 1:25PM

Senator John McCain has made the NYT best-seller list again. Except this go around, as PW Daily reports, he has a children’s best-seller on his hands. Character Is Destiny is the Arizona senator’s latest book in his ongoing collected writings on virtues.

Or perhaps we are seeing the beginnings of a new Rove-like campaign tool -- begin catering to the 14 - 17 year-olds now, three years out from the next presidential election. By 2008, a majority of those readers will be of voting age.

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Bullying Lamar

By on 12.2.05 | 12:40PM

The Democratic Party is going after Lamar Outdoor Advertising for not accepting its "Shame On You, Jean Schmidt" billboards. Yes, this is the foremost concern of the out-of-power party in America: the business decision of a private company over a couple billboards in Ohio.

TAS readers may recognize this incident as similar to some Pennsylvania conservatives' problems in getting Lamar to carry their billboards. Apparently, Lamar's prudence runs both ways. Prudence is a key word here -- true censorship, as traditionally understood, involves an outside imposition of authority. Lamar's decision is akin to a private newspaper declining to run abortion ads. No one told them not to -- it's just the sort of business they'd rather not conduct.

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San Francisco Democrat

By on 12.2.05 | 12:24PM

How serious is Hillary about 2008? Plenty, if this San Francisco Chronicle report is on target. All of it centers on her pending appearance December 20 at "a benefit for the Bar Association of San Francisco's charitable programs." Before 3,000 at the Masonic Auditorium, she'll chat with Jane Pauley, in an informal format that will showcase her "warmth and sense of personality."

Notes conservative Bill Whalen: "She's avoiding a speech because when she does that, she often goes into a mode that can best be described as 'ex-wife from hell' " -- which the Chronicle characterizes as "a strident, formal tone that particularly rankles male voters."

One thing Hillary doesn't want to do, Whalen tells the Chronicle, is "get into a conversation about the troops, about the impassioned San Francisco-Cindy Sheehan view" on the war in Iraq. If she can pull that off, she's home free.

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Re: Back to Alito

By on 12.2.05 | 9:59AM

Jed, Postie Charles Babington reported that the Specter meeting is a "sign of Republican nervousness." Sen. Specter's a party man when it's convenient for the party's opponents.

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By on 12.2.05 | 9:56AM

Sen. Bill Frist, in his economic briefing, just said the Senate will focus on spending "like a laser beam." With fiscally responsible Republicans like these (yes, Frist called the budget "fiscally responsible"), who needs Democrats?

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Re: New Jobs Numbers

By on 12.2.05 | 9:49AM

I (temporarily) withdraw carping about the White House's PR effort: the President is scheduled to celebrate the strong economic performance in the Rose Garden at 10:45 -- in 10 minutes (our clock is fast).

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Back to Alito

By on 12.2.05 | 9:28AM

Having had their ears pinned back on Iraq by the president's speech at the Naval Academy, the Dems are oscillating back to the only other issue they care about: abortion. In this case, the cause du jour is the 17-page memo on Roe that Judge Alito wrote in 1985. Why, thunders Ted Kennedy, didn't you mention this when you answered the Judiciary Committee's questionnaire?

Alito's memo outlined a strategy to whittle away at Roe instead of attacking it head-on. Which, regardless of anyone's strategy, is the likely course of events. State after state will, as the New Hampshire parental notification law did, take pieces of the abortion issue and return it to the states' legislative processes. More and more of them are likely to be upheld by the Roberts court, and almost assuredly would were Judge Alito to become Justice Alito. Which is why the pressure on the Dems to filibuster the nomination is growing daily.

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New Jobs Numbers

By on 12.2.05 | 8:59AM

The Labor Department reported this morning that American payrolls grew by 215,000 jobs and unemployment held steady at 5 percent. Today would be a great day for a good-economic-news White House PR offensive. For more on the baseless economic pessimism, see TAS economic editor Brian S. Wesbury's column in the Wall Street Journal. Daniel Henninger makes similar, though more general, points about the White House's failure to communicate effectively.

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