The Spectacle Blog

Torture or Not?

By on 1.4.06 | 7:04AM

Is the White House having the McCain torture bill both ways? After strongly opposing McCain's amendment to the defense appropriations bill, which President Bush signed last month, the White House appeared to cave to popular and political sentiment. However, the Boston Globe reports that President Bush, citing his Constitutional authority as commander-in-chief, is interpreting the law to have exceptions when national security is at risk.

I appreciate that White House lawyers have found a way around McCain's potentially disastrous law. But if they're correct, and the loopholes are Constitutional, wouldn't that suggest that the McCain bill is unconstitutional? And that, knowing this, the President signed it anyway? As with campaign finance, another sad, unconstitutional deal with the gentleman from Arizona, it appears that the President did the popular thing while crossing his fingers behind his back.

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Looking Good for Alito

By on 1.4.06 | 6:53AM

Judge Samuel A. Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court enjoys strong popular support despite the coordinated opposition campaign from the left, the Washington Times reports today. If he performs nearly as well in his hearings, scheduled to begin next Monday, January 9, then we'll see him on the Court in no time.

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Batting Zero in Baton Rouge

By on 1.3.06 | 8:58PM

Can't let the night go by without noting the latest from the offices of Kathleen Caligula Blanco, governor of the People's Republic of Louisiana. Whilst people remain homeless (and voteless due to Blanco's postponing the New Orleans mayoral election lest Ray Nagin have to get a real job), Mizz Blanco has decided to continue with plans to renovate her staff offices to the tune of about $500 large.

According to this report, "At the time of her decision, Blanco also was hinting at deep budget cuts to state programs and the possibility of laying off 20 percent of the state workforce." We have no report that the layoffs could include Mayor Nagin, or that the Gov plans to replace him with her horse. We expect that report any moment.

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Comforting

By on 1.3.06 | 7:05PM

To know that Iranian Prez Ahmadinejad thinks the world's reaction to his denial of the Holocost was positive, according to an Iranian MP quoted in their official news service. In characterizing the reactions as positive, he probably wasn't thinking of the Israeli Defense Forces chief of staff remark that the Iranian nuke program positively can be destroyed. Though the Israeli probably lack the capacity to do that, I'm told it would be one long afternoon for four or five B-2s.

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Patrick Henry, Jefferson, and the Beach Boys

By on 1.3.06 | 2:08PM

I don't have anything against the Beach Boys, but I had to chuckle at the diverging tones in Gov.-Elect Tim Kaine's emails over the last few days.

Friday's email about inauguration press credentials made me envious that a Democrat would enjoy a Williamsburg inauguration:

Thank you for your interest in covering this unique and historic Inauguration. When Governor-elect Tim Kaine takes the oath of office on Saturday, January 14, 2006, he will become only the third Virginia governor to be inaugurated in Williamsburg, joining Patrick Henry (1777) and Thomas Jefferson (1779).

Fine, Kaine's no Henry or Jefferson, but to join that distinguished list is quite an honor for any governor.

Today's email brought that sentiment back to reality. Headlining the "Promise of Virginia" inaugural concert will be the Beach Boys. How underwhelming.

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We Hardly Knew Ye

By on 1.3.06 | 1:26PM

One great airline, Independence Air, is now shutting down for good on Thursday. For those of who you didn't fly it, you would miss it too. All the seats were a bright blue leather, comfortable, and fares were quite cheap (sometimes as low as 39 dollars one way).

My last flight included a flight attendant who opened with the following introduction speech:

"Hi, my name is Fritz and I along with Jen and Alex will be your flight attendants for this flight. But I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that you'll have to put up with us for about an hour. The good news is that I just saved a bundle on my car insurance by switching to Geico.

"... There is no smoking on this plane. Disabling the smoke detector in the bathroom is a federal offense. However, if you exit the plane anywhere between here and our destination, please feel free to smoke as much as you like.

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Some Predictions

By on 1.3.06 | 7:59AM

It's not too late for a few '06 predictions, so here goes.

First, three reporters -- WaPo's Dana Priest and NYT's James Risen and Eric Lichtblau -- who reported the leaks of the CIA secret detention facilities and the NSA program authorized by President Bush, will each be either in jail or facing jail time for refusing to reveal their sources by year's end. These leaks have damaged national security in a major way and must be punished. The only way the leakers will be discovered is by compelling the reporters' testimony.

Second, David Cameron will last only until the next general election as Tory leader. He is a man eager to distance himself from Thatcher, to redistribute wealth, and to befog what little his party stands for. If he lasts longer than that, the Tories will render themselves irrelevant. Brit Conservatives need to go back to their dictionaries and study the meaning of "conservative."

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Journal Blogging

By on 1.3.06 | 7:11AM

With the new year, the Wall Street Journal is stepping into the blog world with a Law Blog, hosted by reporter Peter Lattman. Lattman writes yesterday that the blog will cover stories on business and law and the business of law. And more great news: the Journal's address for the blog, http://blogs.wsj.com/law/, suggests they have more blogs in mind.

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