The Spectacle Blog

Colorado Republican Chaos (UPDATED)

By on 6.24.15 | 1:04AM

What follows is perhaps the strangest political story I have ever reported on…this story includes major revisions from the first published version. This is the story as I understand it at 10 PM Mountain Time on June 23. Further updates will be posted at the top of this article over time, if necessary.

Colorado Republicans have a remarkable way of screwing up, making bad decisions, pulling defeat from the jaws of victory, and airing disagreements about those decisions publicly in ways even gleeful Democrats hadn’t imagined possible.

This year the controversy surrounds new Colorado Republican Party Chairman Steve House and a rather insane few hours last Monday; the situation and has become even more chaotic and confused with new revelations in the past several hours.

It began when what House assumed would be a routine strategy meeting with Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman convened with two unexpected additional participants: Pueblo County Republican Chairwoman Becky Mizel and former Congressman Tom Tancredo.

Thoughts on Ann Coulter’s Comments About SC Governor Nikki Haley

By on 6.24.15 | 12:25AM

I have expressed my skepticism as to whether removing the Confederate flag from the state capitol in Columbia, South Carolina will do any good. After all, there are plenty of accusations of racism flying around in parts of the country where no Confederate flag is found.

But if one must criticize South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley's intent to have the flag removed then one ought to have the courtesy to a) criticize the merits of the decision, b) get the facts straight and c) otherwise refrain from slurring those with whom you disagree.

Enter Ann Coulter.

During an appearance on Tuesday night on the Fox Business Channel program Kennedy, Coulter claimed the following about Governor Haley:

The Obama Admin is Angrier at Israel for Spying on Iran’s Nuclear Talks Than at China for Hacking the OPM Database

By on 6.23.15 | 11:07PM

I am annoyed, but not surprised that the Obama Administration is angrier at Israel for spying on its nuclear talks with Iran than it is at China for hacking into the Office of Personnel Management's database concerning the personal information of current, former and prospective federal government employees which now affects 18 million Americans. Initial reports indicated the breach affected just over 4 million people.

Hell, the Obama Administration can't even bring itself to admit China was responsible. Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the U.S. in September is proceeding apace. The Obama Admin needs China for its precious nuclear deal with Iran. 

Will the Promise of Free College Sway Millennial Voters?

By on 6.23.15 | 5:22PM

Typical characteristics used to describe Millennials are as follow: short attention span, reluctance to leave the nest, and need for immediate gratification. Other descriptions include words such as disengaged, lazy, and narcissistic. What can I say, we’re a charming bunch.

But according to a survey produced by USB in 2014, the Millennials are cost-conscious as well. As reported by the Guardian, Emily Pachuta said the Millennials are very conservative when it comes to managing their money.

“They are becoming a generation of savers, having been frightened watching what has happened to their parents during the Great Recession,” Pachuta added. It hasn’t helped that their own generation has struggled with job security issues. If you’re under 30, you’re twice as likely to be unemployed as you were before the 2008 financial crisis.

Jesse Jackson, Jr. Free Again to Buy Michael Jackson Memorabilia, Do Naked Karate

By on 6.23.15 | 1:06PM

He may have stolen three quarters of a million dollars from his campaign donors, and then wasted it on fur parkas and fake Michael Jackson memorabilia and Eddie Van Halen guitars, but after 17 months, shared between an Alabama prison and a Baltimore halfway house, Jesse Jackson, Jr. is a free man.

He was serving a 30 month sentence on a felony fraud count, a plea deal he struck after being socked with a number of Federal charges following an investigation that turned up his financial malfeasance. Apparently, he got out on good behavior after serving about two thirds of his sentence. 

Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. was released on Monday morning from a Baltimore halfway house, where he'd been living since his release from an Alabama federal prison in March.

Jackson served 17 months of a 30-month sentence. 

Jackson, 50, was released from the Volunteers of America halfway house shortly before 9am and left in a black SUV.

Florida Tea Party Unanimously Rejects Solar Power Amendment

By on 6.23.15 | 12:47PM

The solar power industry and the so-called Green Tea Party suffered a crushing defeat last week as The Villages Tea Party voted overwhelmingly to oppose a Florida constitutional amendment to give the solar power industry special rights to sell power directly to electricity consumers. The vote followed a highly publicized debate between prominent solar power lobbyist Alexander Snitker and Heartland Institute Vice President of External Relations James Taylor at The Villages Tea Party’s weekly meeting. 

Atlanta-based Green Tea Party founder and solar power activist Debbie Dooley was scheduled to debate Taylor at the June 15 Villages Tea Party meeting, but Dooley called in sick claiming health issues prevented her from debating Taylor. 

Unanimous Vote Against Solar

Obama’s Ex-Im Flip-Flop Tied To Chumminess With Top Beneficiaries

By on 6.23.15 | 12:41PM

President Barack Obama’s views on the Export-Import Bank have evolved considerably during his time as president, taking him from a populist critic of the bank to one of its biggest supporters.

During the 2008 presidential election, candidate Obama said Ex-Im “has become little more than a fund for corporate welfare,” but today, President Obama and his subordinates describe the bank as “essential,” Connor Lynch observes in a blog post for Americans for Tax Reform.

Ex-Im is a New Deal-era government agency that provides financing assistance to American exporters. Many conservative lawmakers and interest groups see the bank as a form of corporate welfare, and hope to prevent Congress from extending the Ex-Im’s charter, which would prevent the bank from making any new loans, though it would still be able to service its existing commitments.

Ten Years After Kelo v. New London

By on 6.23.15 | 12:37PM

Ten years ago today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision upholding the City of New London, Connecticut’s “right” to condemn Connecticut homeowners’ properties, transfer them to a state-created entity called the New London Development Corporation, which would then transfer those properties to a private developer of a planned mixed-use redevelopment project aimed at supporting an adjacent Pfizer research facility. (Land of the free, right?) At issue was the interpretation of the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause “public use” standard.

The Court relied primarily on three previous cases involving the “public use” standard:

Berman v. Parker (1954)—This case upheld the right of municipalities to declare entire areas blighted, even if the parcel in question isn’t blighted. It also accepted Washington, D.C.’s argument that the area condemnation was necessary to prevent future blight. An all-around terrible decision.

Dick Van Patten, R.I.P.

By on 6.23.15 | 12:32PM

Actor Dick Van Patten passed away today of complications from diabetes. He was 86.

Van Patten’s acting career spanned 75 years first appearing on Broadway at the age of seven. He was on TV in its very earliest days as a cast member of the CBS TV show Mama,which ran from 1949 to 1957. But he is best remembered for starring in the ABC TV series Eight Is Enough, which aired from 1977 through 1981. In recent years, he made guest appearances on programs like Arrested Development, That ’70s Show,and Hot in Cleveland.

Some of Van Patten's film credits include Charly, Soylent Green,and Dickie Roberts: Child Star. He also appeared in three Mel Brooks movies — High Anxiety, Spaceballs,and Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

He was the older brother of actress Joyce Van Patten and for a time was the brother-in-law of actor Martin Balsam. He was also the half-brother of actor Vince Van Patten and father of actor/tennis and poker player Vince Van Patten.