The Spectacle Blog

Japan Mulls a Self-Defense Force

By on 7.3.14 | 10:44AM

In what is being described as a “landmark shift” in Japan’s defense posture, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration authorized a reinterpretation of Article 9 of the Japanese constitution Tuesday. The new understanding of the article allows for Japan’s defense forces to mobilize overseas in “collective self-defense” of the country’s allies. The decision does not appear to be a popular one, as 55 percent of Japanese surveyed by Japan’s Kyodo News last weekend opposed it.

Article 9 of the Japanese constitution, which was implemented in 1947, is a renunciation of war, reading:

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Fourth of July Comes Early in Boston

By on 7.2.14 | 11:45PM

The annual Fourth of July concert at The Hatch Shell on The Esplanade has been moved back to tomorrow. Heavy rain and winds from Tropical Storm Arthur are expected to hit the Hub Friday making deployment of fireworks dangerous. 

The day before the Fourth, there is a dress rehearsal which is open to the public and includes everything except for the fireworks. I've had the opportunity to watch the dress rehearsal concert which is a lot of fun. A few years ago, I had the chance to hear Neil Diamond at the dress rehearsal show. This year's featured act is The Beach Boys.

Interestingly, the dress rehearsal has been used as the Fourth of July broadcast on Armed Forces Radio. But this year the dress rehearsal is going to be the show. That is unless the rain and wind arrive early. Should this come to pass then the show could be moved to Saturday. In which case, my next post will be titled, "Fourth of July Delayed in Boston". 

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Jim Brosnan, R.I.P.

By on 7.2.14 | 11:04PM

Former big league pitcher turned writer Jim Brosnan passed away last Saturday at the age of 84. 

Brosnan signed with the Chicago Cubs in 1946 when he was only 17, but would not make his major league debut with the Cubs until 1954. He would not stick in the majors for good until 1956. Mid-way through the 1958 season, the Cubs dealt Brosnan to the St. Louis Cardinals for future big league manager Alvin Dark. 

It was in 1959 that Brosnan became a nationally known figure, but not for his pitching. That season, Brosnan kept a diary which would be published the following year as The Long Season. Until then books authored by baseball players and other athletes were actually penned by ghostwriters. Even before Brosnan wrote The Long Season, his thick glasses and the books he kept in the clubhouse earned him the nickname "The Professor". 

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Thoughts on The Death of a Palestinian Teenager

By on 7.2.14 | 3:07PM

The murder of 16-year old Palestinian Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir is prompting speculation that he was killed by Jewish settlers in retaliation for the three Israeli teenagers whose bodies were found on Monday after being held in captivity by Hamas for three weeks. Witnesses claim Khdeir was outside a mosque in East Jerusalem and that he was forcibly abducted by occupants in a van. Such speculation prompts Washington Post foreign affairs writer Adam Taylor to argue that this might prompt a "third Intifada".

If it does turn out that Jewish settlers were responsible for Khdeir's murder then they should be prosecuted and punished to fullest extent of the law.

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On This Day in 1776

By on 7.2.14 | 12:22PM

On this day in 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed and the door to the United States of America opened even wider. Nobler pens than mine have graced this event with prose, but I think it is worthwhile to reflect that however impossible the American Dream might seem to us today, it seemed a great deal less plausible to the Founding Fathers then. I defer to John Adams, who penned the following letter (shown here in part) to his wife, Abigail, describing the tumultuous events he helped orchestrate.

Adams's view that July 2 would be a day of celebration ever after proved to be in error, but his other analysis is striking for being both prophetic and—238 years out—relevant.

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Governor Ganja: Gary Johnson’s Pot Products Are ‘Very, Very Pleasant’

By on 7.2.14 | 11:22AM

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson is the new president and CEO of a Nevada-based firm developing marijuana products for sale in Colorado and Washington state, where voters have legazlied the substance.

Johnson will be paid $1 per year and will receive equity in the company, the value of which he expects to go sky high. “We think we have the creme de la creme of marijuana products.” he told Politico. “Couple of things hit you when you try the product. One is, wow, why would anybody smoke marijuana given this is an alternative? And then secondly, it’s just very, very pleasant. I mean, very pleasant.”

I hope he'll also serve as product pitchman on Colorado TV.

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Liberal Tolerance is on a Roll

By on 7.2.14 | 11:12AM

This week has been a bad one for the left. The meltdown after both the Hobby Lobby and Harris v. Quinn cases yesterday put the tolerance of the left on full display. Liberals took to their Twitter and other forms of media to vent their frustration. Some even hilariously went after SCOTUSBlog, a privately run blog independent of the Supreme Court.

But now the “opened-mindedness” crowd has found a new target: black conservatives.

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Morning Round-Up 7-2

By on 7.2.14 | 9:41AM

 Feature of the Day: How the Supreme Court Changed America This Year


Morning Headlines




Associated Press

1.   Suspected Revenge Killing Sparks Jerusalem Clashes

2.  Chechen in Syria a Rising Star in Extremist Group



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Hobby Lobby Becomes a Precedent as EWTN is Saved in Another Court Fight

By on 7.1.14 | 5:02PM

The Catholic media company Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) won a reprieve late Monday from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in light of the Supreme Court decision in favor of Hobby Lobby. The Alabama non-profit is contesting the entirety of the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate, rather than just four of the required contraceptives as Hobby Lobby was. EWTN would have had to begin paying fines for contraceptives Tuesday while it pursues its own court case.

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The Curtain Goes Up for Russia in the Middle East

By on 7.1.14 | 4:49PM

Perhaps Americans have forgotten how much of the Cold War was fought in the Middle East, but Russia has not.

Recent events in the Middle East have offered numerous opportunities for greatness in foreign intervention, and Russia, perhaps in a bid to regain the sort of international friend network we now enjoy, has been taking advantage of them.

Syria was Russia's first move. While the chemical smoke cleared and the United States floundered among red lines, Putin benificently arrived with a diplomatic solution. Perhaps it was an atypical role for someone who had spent the last few months supporting Bashar al-Assad's murderous regime; we all know how Russia always hates to see Uncle Sam in a difficult spot. In any case, Putin's plan to remove the chemical weapons from Syria has been largely successful—last week it was hailed as an "unprecedented collaboration" and "success" by the Washington Post and others.

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