The Spectacle Blog

ISIS Beheads Two Women in Syria

By on 6.30.15 | 1:06PM

ISIS has beheaded two women in Syria. Agence France-Presse has the gruesome details

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group has beheaded two women in Syria on accusations of “sorcery,” the first such executions of female civilians in Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Tuesday.

“The Islamic State group executed two women by beheading them in Deir Ezzor province, and this is the first time the Observatory has documented women being killed by the group in this manner,” Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said. He was referring to the group, which is also known as IS and ISIL.

The Britain-based monitor said the executions took place on Monday and Sunday and involved two couples.

In both cases, the women were executed with their husbands, with each pair accused of “witchcraft and sorcery.”

UMKC Can’t Afford Hillary, Forced to Settle for Cut-Rate Clinton

By on 6.30.15 | 11:57AM

Even though Marco Rubio is clearly the one-percenter in this race, Hillary Clinton, when she was still toiling in the private sector, wasn't doing so badly. Commanding upwards of $200,000 per speech, the former Senator and Secretary of State was flying across the globe, often in first class on the dime of whomever booked her, delivering exceptional, motivating speeches to gatherings of donors, professionals and other assorted hoi polloi. 

But when the University of Missouri Kansas City tried to book Hillary for the unveiling of their "Womens Hall of Fame," the $275,000 price tag for a couple of hours of the Secretary's time was just far too much. So, according to emails obtained by the Washington Post, the UMKC settled for the Clinton Foundation's budget package: a speech from Chelsea Clinton, who commanded "only" $65,000. 

The Washington Post Thinks Marco Rubio is Super Rich

By on 6.30.15 | 11:27AM

The good news is, the media has finally realized that harping on Marco Rubio's college loans and modest boat purchases is a losing strategy. 

The bad news is, in response, they've just started harping on Marco Rubio's amazing, limitless wealth and how one man, the son of immigrants from Cuba, became a self-made hundred-thousand-aire by trading in his modest job as a small time lawyer for the spectacular wealth creation attendant to a life of political service. In other words, the Washington Post is 100% convinced that Marco Rubio is filthy, stinking rich and there's very little you can do about it.

Marco Rubio was 28 when he was elected to the Florida legislature. He was about to become a father and was struggling to balance the financial demands of a growing family with his political aspirations.

The Next Great Walker Union Battle: Tenure

By on 6.30.15 | 11:07AM

Wisconsin unions Monday are once again attacking Republican Gov. Scott Walker, this time over a proposed budget that may result in cuts to tenure for state college professors.

With the upcoming budget session, the Wisconsin Joint Finance Committee is expected to propose a plan to reform the University of Wisconsin System. While it is not yet finalized, unions warn the plan will cut $250 million in funding and will remove academic protections for professors such as teacher tenure.

This latest union battles comes at the heels of a likely announcement Walker will run for president. With his previous labor reforms, unions will likely become one of his main advisories.

“Today’s move by JFC Republicans to pay for Scott Walker’s tax breaks for his wealthy donors by slashing public education is shameful,” Eleni Schirmer, co-president of the Teaching Assistants’ Association, said in a statement. “These cuts will devastate a UW System that has already been cut to the bone and beyond in previous years.”

Teachers Unions’ Political Power Stunts Education Reform in Montana

By on 6.30.15 | 10:55AM

Some Montanans now have access to education tax credits, after Senate Bill 410 passed into law in May, but school choice remains extremely limited in the state.

SB 410 was the only school choice bill to pass this legislative session, and it became law without Gov. Steve Bullock’s (D) signature.

Legislators introduced a variety of education bills this session, including measures for Common Core repeal, charter schools, data privacy for students, standardized testing reform, and greater local control. All but two failed to reach the governor’s desk, and of those two, Bullock vetoed one and the other became law after a 10-day waiting period, when Bullock neither signed nor vetoed it. 

Political, Judicial Impediments

Sen. Kris Hansen (R-Havre) says it is difficult to make changes in education policy in Montana because of the influence of teachers unions and a court interpretation of the state constitution.

“In Montana, if there’s any bill that isn’t 100 percent supported by the teachers’ union, the first claim is that it’s unconstitutional,” Hansen said. “The unconstitutional claim falls on a segment of the Montana constitution.”

Christie Still Isn’t Ready to be President

By on 6.30.15 | 10:52AM

Four years ago, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie resisted calls by Republicans to make a bid for the White House in 2012. During a speech before AEI in February 2011, Christie stated:

You have to believe in your heart and your soul that you’re ready to be president. And I don’t believe that about myself right now.

Christie would reiterate this position in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper back in April. “So I get lots of people who come to us and say, oh, you should have done it four years ago,” said Christie, “And I tell you one thing I know for sure I wasn’t ready to be president four years ago. And so the worst thing wasn’t not running; it was if I had run and won already.”

Turkey Toying With Military Intervention In Syria To Challenge The U.S.?

By on 6.30.15 | 10:46AM

Turkey is determined to keep Syrian Kurds from statehood in the aftermath of victories against Islamic State, highlighting just how different Turkish and U.S. regional aims really are.

According to some Turkish media reports, the government is planning a military intervention to establish a buffer zone in northern Syria, supporting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s announcement the country ”will never allow” a Kurdish state along its southern border last Friday, The Daily Beast reported.

The country’s military has purportedly been ordered to send troops into Syria, but this hasn’t been confirmed or denied by the government. According to Turkey’s foreign minister, a statement will be released after the National Security Council meets Tuesday.

There is some credence to the claim, but it’s probably a matter of fierce debate, says Robert Pearson, U.S. Ambassador to Turkey from 2000-2003. It could be designed to test the U.S. or caution it away from helping the Kurdish YPG too aggressively by way of the airstrike campaign.

Is DC About To Be America’s 51st State?

By on 6.30.15 | 10:39AM

Democrats in the House and Senate have introduced legislation that would make Washington, D.C. the 51st state in the union and give its residents a real voice in the chambers.

The Senate legislation garnered 17 co-sponsors, slightly less than the same legislation achieved last year, but Sen. Tom Carper, who introduced the legislation, is still optimistic about the bill’s potential.

Carper said it is “simply not fair” that residents of the nation’s capital do not enjoy the same right to representation in the federal government that residents in other states have.

Scholars Reject College Board’s AP History Standards

By on 6.30.15 | 10:27AM

A group of 55 academic historians is speaking out against the College Board’s recent overhaul of its Advanced Placement U.S. History (APUSH) standards.

The professors and scholars met in April to discuss the new APUSH standards and drafted an open letter in response to the AP history framework rewrite. The National Association of Scholars (NAS) published the letter detailing the scholars’ concerns on June 2.

Former Pot Smoking Mayor Wants City Residents To Kick Their Tobacco Habit

By on 6.30.15 | 10:12AM

Just six months after claiming his family doesn’t smoke pot “inside” the mayor’s mansion, Democratic New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is going after residents who smoke tobacco in their own homes.

“The Health Department is encouraging efforts for voluntary smoke-free housing initiatives,” the mayor’s office told The Daily Caller News Foundation in a prepared statement. “Everyone benefits from smoke-free housing – residents enjoy breathing cleaner, healthier air in their homes and in common areas, while owners see reductions in property damage and turnover costs.”

Though tobacco is a legal substance, as opposed to marijuana, the mayor  has sought to stop its use in as many areas around the city as possible. The latest plan is to get landlords and developers to voluntarily ban smoking in their resident buildings. The administration will select four advocacy groups who will be in charge of persuading property owners to put the bans on their residents. Each group will get paid $9,000.