The Spectacle Blog

United Abominations

By on 8.24.06 | 4:05PM

Jed Babbin and heavy metal guitarist/vocalist Dave Mustaine of Megadeth probably don't have too many overlapping areas of interest, but an abiding disgust for the United Nations is apparently one of them. Here's Mustaine explaining to Billboard how his band's upcoming opus came to be titled United Abominations:

"I was watching TV and saw the trucks that said 'UN' on them and said, 'Man, you are so uncool, ineffective, anything," Mustaine said. "I thought, 'Wow, I've got to run with this. I got it -- United Abominations, 'cause it's an abomination what they're doing!'"

More of this interview here. Babbin's extended UN critique here. My interview with Mustaine from the year before is available here.

There May Be No Connection…

By on 8.24.06 | 4:00PM

But in my debate with the lady from the French Foreign Office on BBC last night, I said that France's refusal to contribute more than 200 troops to the UN force for Lebanon -- after crafting and negotiating and getting us to cave in to their demands - was just a study in French political science. I compared it to the results on the decade-long drafting of the EUnuch constitution led by a former French president, contrived and negotiated to France's demands and then rejected by the French, the mess left for others to repair.

Today, Chirac announced they'd contribute 2,000 not 200 troops. A coincidence? Maybe. On the other hand, I've not accepted their surrender. Yet.

Lamenting Bush’s Obstinance

By on 8.24.06 | 2:22PM

The Baton Rouge Advocate is no bastion of the liberal media, but instead boasts center to slightly center-right editorial stances. Here it talks about the recovery plan boosted by conservative U.S. Rep. Richard Baker that President Bush killed, for no good reason and without even much of an attempt at explanation. Let me just say that the BR Advocate is right on target here.

As the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, it is Bush's mishandling of the long-term recovery efforts, not the much-hyped tragedy of the immediate post-storm relief problems, that deserves to go down as the single worst part of his legacy as president. Just as liberals like to ignore the very real local and state (and thus mostly Democratic) culpability in turning a horrible disaster into an even more horrible catastrophe, and just as ALL political camps ignore the 40 years of fumbling at all three levels of government, conservatives are guilty of being willfully blind to the errors of the Bushies.

Re: The Music of America

By on 8.24.06 | 2:10PM

Just finished the article "The Music of America" by Roger Scruton, who is a great favorite of mine. Two comments, coming from me, some authority, too, as author of The Rock and Roll Songwriter's Handbook (Scholastics, 1972).

1. What he said. Yeah.

2. Scruton uses the phrase "The great American songbook," seeming to attribute its origin to Terry Teachout. The citation isn't precise; perhaps Teachout makes no such claim. But I point out that Boston DJ Ron Della Chiessa used it as the title of a regular radio broadcast going back nearly two decades.

Mass Care Not Working Out—Part III

By on 8.24.06 | 1:13PM

The Massachusetts Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector, which is overseeing the implementation of Romney's plan, has decided how much poor people should pay for their health insurance. For some, it could be as much as 6.6% of their income. Naturally, that has the so-called poverty advocates up in arms:

John McDonough, executive director of Health Care For All, said, "The concern is that lots and lots of people under 300% of the poverty level are not walking around with extra money in their pockets."

"Not only are they not walking around with extra money, they are walking around under the crushing burden of debt. They're living paycheck to paycheck."

This, of course, will lead to more pressure for more taxpayer funds for health insurance for the poor.

During all of the debate over health insurance, I never heard anyone talk about the effect of government subsidies. If government's subsidize something like a person's health insurance, then demand for it will increase. When demand increases, well, you know what happens to the price.

JPost: Israel may ‘go it alone’ against Iran

By on 8.24.06 | 11:28AM

According to the Jerusalem Post:

Israel is carefully watching the world's reaction to Iran's continued refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, with some high-level officials arguing it is now clear that when it comes to stopping Iran, Israel "may have to go it alone," The Jerusalem Post has learned.

If it comes to this, let's hope that the Olmert government can do a better job than it did against Hezbollah.

Re: Macaca Madness

By on 8.24.06 | 11:18AM

Philip, you are correct that it is a slur previously unknown. In that Washington Post story you linked to, the photo caption drops any nuance about the word: "Sen. George Allen had called S.R. Sidarth, a staffer of foe James Webb's, a 'macaca,' a racial slur." If you have to look up the word to determine if it is a racial slur in some parts of the world, it probably isn't that offensive.

Macaca Madness

By on 8.24.06 | 10:57AM

What has struck me about this incident is that on the one hand we're to believe that the word "macaca" (which nobody heard of before this month) is a deeply offensive racial slur, yet newspapers have had no trouble using the slur in headlines.

The Washington Post has an editorial today headlined "Senator to 'Macaca: Sorry" a News 7 headline reads, "Allen lead evaporates after 'Macaca' flap," and so on.

If Allen used a term that was actually known as offensive to the general public, I don't think it would be plastered all over the headlines. I can't imagine headlines like: "Allen lead evaporates after 'kike' flap" or, "Senator to 'Kike': Sorry."

I've never been much of a fan of George Allen, because I've generally perceived him as a cookie-cutter politician, and this whole macaca incident reaffirms my view that he isn't ready for prime time. My sense is that Sidarth was sent by Webb to follow Allen around with a video camera in the hopes that he would do something stupid--which he did.

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