The Spectacle Blog

Crickets Chirp for Islamic Caliph

By on 7.9.14 | 4:57PM

The Middle East is known more for its locusts than crickets, but some kind of insectile chirping could be heard after the Sunni militant group ISIS declared itself a caliphate and commanded the Muslims of the world to join them.

No rush of support greeted the ISIS—excuse me, caliphate underling—call to destroy the Kaaba, the most sacred shrine of Islam, which Muslims believe marks a place where heaven symbolically touches earth.

Even the Sunni clerics who gave bin Laden and others of his ilk the theological go-ahead are questioning ISIS's inattention to proper Islamic jurisprudence, according to the Daily Beast:

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Senate Democrats Already Trying to Overturn Hobby Lobby

By on 7.9.14 | 4:47PM

Reeling over the loss of the recent Hobby Lobby ruling by the Supreme Court, birth control and abortifacient advocates across the country are clamoring for legislation to overturn the decision. This morning, many on the left rejoiced when Democrats in the Senate announced their intention to adopt a measure to force companies to forgo religious objections and pay for abortifacients.

According to Talking Points Memo:

Senate Democrats are poised to introduce legislation as early as Tuesday to reverse the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling which exempted for-profit corporations with religious owners from the Obamacare mandate to cover emergency contraceptives in their insurance plans.

The legislation, introduced by Democratic Senators Patty Murray of Washington and Mark Udall of Colorado:

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Costco Caves on Dinesh D’Souza Book

By on 7.9.14 | 3:23PM

So as the country is flooded with illegal immigrants, the IRS loses e-mails, the VA bungles health care for America’s heroes, and ISIS sets up a caliphate—into this already explosive mix comes a seemingly very small event.  

Costco decided it would remove Obama critic Dinesh D’Souza’s book America from its shelves. Big mistake.

The backlash has been enormous, as any person with their wits about them—which apparently did not include the leadership of Costco—would know. It was quickly noted that Jim Sinegal, the co-founder, director, and former CEO of Costco is a major Obama ally (as discussed back in 2012 here at Forbes); so much of an ally that he was given a speaking slot at the last Democratic National Convention, with the president himself showing up at a Costco to give a speech.

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A (Sort of) Defense of Soccer

By on 7.9.14 | 10:55AM

As soccer lovers and bandwagon hoppers the world over wait to watch the semifinal games of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, a few puerile pundits have transformed it into their own Hyde Park in which to set up a soapbox and spew pompous oratorical diarrhea. Ann Coulter’s adolescent attacks on soccer are easy enough to dismiss as the usual ranting and raving of an irrelevant demagogue, an attempt to politicize sport for personal profit and blow some last bombast into a deflating brand of irreverence. We may read her, wish she was being pleasantly satirical rather than gleefully inane, and turn away laughing with distaste.

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What if Palestinians Said Yes to Israel?

By on 7.9.14 | 12:23AM

In her critique of Israel's search and rescue tactics for the three doomed Israeli teenagers and its current military response in Gaza, Lucy Schouten writes:

Israel has a powerful army, a solid economy based on technology, a healthy parliamentary democracy, sufficient natural resources, and a highly effective advocacy base in the most powerful country in the world.

The Palestinians have no land, no military, no effective leaders, a dysfunctional economy, and no international identity.

While it is true Israel is broadly supported in this country, surely Schouten is well aware the Palestinians have "a highly effective advocacy base" in the UN General Assembly and in Europe. For much the Left, the Palestinians are a cause celebre. But what her observation tells me is that Israelis are a responsible people who believe in the rule of law, free markets, conservation, religious tolerance, pluralism and peace with its neighbors.

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Israel’s Show of Force

By on 7.8.14 | 5:34PM

"We win every battle, but we lose the war," said Ami Ayalon, who once led the Israeli secret service. Ayalon spoke in the documentary "The Gatekeepers" about Israel's strategy for the Palestinians, one that was highlighted by events over the last month in Israel and the West Bank.

The two-week-long search by Israeli officials for three kidnapped Israeli teenagers in the West Bank was the most aggressive in decades. The search for three teens, it turns out, required Israeli officials to blow up two houses, arrest nearly 400 people, and kill five civilians, one of whom was sixteen, the same age as the young Israeli hitchhikers.

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A Corporate Lawyer Explains Hobby Lobby

By on 7.8.14 | 5:09PM

Let a corporate lawyer offer a simple explanation why Hobby Lobby was correctly decided. I’m an individual, right (even tho’ I’m a corporate lawyer)? So I shouldn’t be forced to pay for my employee’s abortion, right? I don’t know anyone on the Left disputing that.

Take it a step further. I shouldn’t be forced to pay for an abortifacient drug for my employee, right? Comes down to the same thing as an abortion.

Now suppose that I worry about the possibility of my business going bankrupt. If that happens, I don’t want to lose my house. I’m especially worried about my main supplier taking me to court, so in my contracts with him I always insert a clause to the effect that, if he sues me, he can’t go after the house. He agrees, and I like the clause so much I include in all my business contracts.

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Environmentalists Get Coal Roll Trolled

By on 7.8.14 | 4:42PM

Truck owners are artificially increasing their diesel exhaust and adding coal stacks to their pickups to smoke out environmentalists. Victims of these black smoke barrages include cars with Obama-Biden stickers and low-emission vehicles like the Honda Fit and the Toyota Prius. Their drive-by debauchery drives home the political message: “Smoke on that, Obama administration.”

Truck owners call their dirty product “Prius Repellent.” A Facebook page dedicated to “Rollin’ Coal” has over 15,000 followers. The page features dozens of diesel-dedicated memes, as well as the following statement:

Im bout sick to death of you people who have nothing better to do than to fill up my inbox & make yer pathetic comments on this page, now Im gonna tell ya nicely, aint nobody holdin a gun to yer heads to like my posts, so take yer tree huggin non smoke lovin [selves] somewhere else, put that in yer stack & smoke it.

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Cleveland?????

By on 7.8.14 | 4:16PM

I understand why meeting in a bellweather state like Ohio would make sense to Republicans, but....Cleveland?

Now I am sure there are plenty of good people in Cleveland. I just didn't meet any of them when I was in Cleveland for a week one afternoon 15 years ago.

In 1999, Tiger Stadium was going to close at the end of that season and I wanted to see a game at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull before it was shuttered. I decided to make a weekend of it and also planned to see games in Cleveland and Cincinnati.

Everything in Detroit went off without a hitch. I stayed in Windsor. It was when I traveled to Cleveland when my problems began. The worst of it occurred when I got robbed. Fortunately, I only lost $20 and was otherwise unharmed. But when a second guy pulled a knife on me and demanded money, I ran for my life. I reported these incidents to the police who acted like I was inconveniencing them.

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Harry Reid’s Monolithic Control

By on 7.8.14 | 3:29PM

If obstinacy is the name of the game, then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is the world’s best player. Stubborn and unwilling to compromise on any legislation, Reid’s inflexibility towards anything not from his office is setting new records, according to a piece in the Washington Times:

Just 14 Senate bills have been signed into law so far this year. That’s nine fewer than at the same point in 2013, which itself is the most futile completed year on record, according to The Washington Times’ Legislative Futility Index.

Can you hear that Republican obstructionism talking point crumbling? The Senate has a fifty-three-to-forty-five Democratic majority with two independents caucusing with the Democrats, giving them fifty-five votes. Most of what the Senate does these days involves amendments filed by Harry Reid:

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