The Spectacle Blog

Environmentalism: Collectivism in Drag

By on 12.15.05 | 9:15AM

George Will has written a column with unusual passion and clarity (for him) today, a can't miss, "Our Fake Drilling Debate." I grant that Rush Limbaugh has been saying for years that environmentalist wackos were just old commies with a new cause, but for Will to say it in the Washington Post marks a real breakthrough.

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McCain Amendment Advances

By on 12.15.05 | 8:40AM

The likelihood that the misbegotten McCain Amendment will become law rose considerably yesterday when the House voted to instruct its conference negotiators to accept it verbatim, according to a WaPo report today.

The problem with the so-called "anti-torture" amendment is that it is no such thing. As I've written before, US law already makes torture a felony and all the McCain amendment does is to make the law incomprehensible.

Once again, as in the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, we see John McCain adamantly supporting legislation that is constitutionally questionable. Yes, the Supremes upheld the McCain-Feingold law, but their decision didn't settle the First Amendment questions for me, not by a long shot. In this case, the impact will be far worse, endangering all our interrogators on the front lines.

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Nancy Goes to Church

By on 12.14.05 | 3:28PM

Nancy Pelosi's office just sent out a press release commending the Jim Wallis-led protest against the "immoral Republican budget." First, I'd like to thank whoever added me to this list. I'm giddy. On to the release:

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Zogby’s Year-End Polling

By on 12.14.05 | 2:54PM

Has some very interesting numbers. The new poll samples just over 1000 Americans, with a margin of error of 3.1 percent.

The numbers are worrisome for Republicans. The generic 2006 Congressional election question has Democrats favored over Republicans by 48 to 40 percent. When you break that down into Bush's 2004 red and blue states, the reds break for the GOP by 46 to 43 percent, a tiny edge compared to 54 to 34 percent for the Democrats in blue states.

Zogby also finds low numbers for Bush: a 38 percent job approval rating. But that's not all. If Bush endorses a candidate, 40 percent of voters are less likely to vote for that candidate, compared to about 30 percent more likely. Zogby has those numbers for a variety of endorsers: Vice President Cheney: 26 percent more likely, 45 percent less likely; Hillary: 36 percent more likely, 39 percent less likely; Bill Clinton: 42 percent more likely, 36 percent less likely. The big one is John McCain: an endorsement from him would make 54 percent more likely to vote for his guy, and only 18 percent less likely.

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Re: Why Now?

By on 12.14.05 | 1:30PM

Wlady/Lawrence: I don't doubt that Ahmadinejad means everything he says. We do need to take our enemies at their word when they say they want to kill us. But that's not why I raised the issue.

The issue is, why is he making this much of a row now? It has to be connected to something, probably external, that Iran is trying to do. The question is, what?

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On Deck

By on 12.14.05 | 1:18PM

Now that Tookie Williams has been executed, there is great concern among anti-death penalty advocates over who is next in line. Turns out to be a 75-year-old blind diabetic -- who was convicted of ordering the shotgun killing of three unfriendly witnesses 25 years ago. The story in today's Sacramento Bee about him and others on deck bears a creepy resemblance to stories that handicap the chances of likely candidates to fill a vacancy on the high court and analyze the political calculations that are likely to influence the chief executive in reaching a final decision. We're all postmodern now, which isn't a bad way to avoid serious thinking about murder and retribution.

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Understanding Ahmadinejad

By on 12.14.05 | 1:11PM

Jed: Today on NRO, R. James Woolsey wrote:

Words and beliefs have consequences, and totalitarians are often remarkably clear about what they will do once they have enough power. Many brushed aside Mein Kampf when it was first written but it turned out to be an excellent guide to the Nazis' behavior once they had the power to implement it.

The Iranians do make feints to ploy the West (remember arms for hostages?), but I don't think this is one of them.

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Re: Why Now?

By on 12.14.05 | 12:53PM

Jed, John: Why not? The key to understanding Iran's president probably lies in his apocalyptic religious fanaticism, as Patrick Devenny will explain on our main site tomorrow. There is indeed every reason to think he means every word he says.

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Little Moments of Bias

By on 12.14.05 | 12:02PM

Media bias comes in packages large and small. ABC News' The Note (certainly no partisan outfit) notes a very telling moment last night:

Last night, in the very New York Hilton ballroom in which the annual Inner Circle dinner is held, Bill and Hillary Clinton showed up to raise a little money for her Senate campaign. He spoke first and introduced her.

But before that, Democratic Party major fundraiser Alan Patricoff's para-stirring introduction of the spouse/FPOTUS included the applause-generating line "he's still our president," which required no explanation or qualification for the assembled Blue group.

Now, for those of you who see no liberal/Democratic bias in the media: imagine Hillary Clinton is elected President of the United States in 2008, and in 2009 at a massive Houston fundraiser for a GOP candidate, the Republican equivalent of Patricoff introduces George W. Bush and says about him "he's still our president." What kind of press coverage do you think that that would get?

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