The Spectacle Blog

Overcriminalization at the Airport

By on 4.15.16 | 12:39PM

People who fly a lot will invariably have a bad experience at the airport, sooner or later. Delays, cancellations, huge lines, and overbooked flights can wear on people, and sometimes individuals take their frustrations out on an airline employee. And, once in a while, the person goes too far and crosses the line into assaulting that employee.

In no airport in America is assaulting an airline employee legal under state law. The laws against simple assault — that is, unwanted physical contact, often without injury — apply just as much at the terminal gate as they do at your local bar or walking down the street. But, as with seemingly every bad thing that happens, someone wants to make a federal case out of it. Literally.

Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) introduced an amendment to a bill before the Senate to make the simple assault of an airline employee punishable up to ten years in federal prison. This is a problem for a bunch of reasons, but here are two that stick out.

Are The Golden State Warriors The Greatest Team in NBA History?

By on 4.14.16 | 1:57PM

The Golden State Warriors made NBA history with a 125-104 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies in the final game of the regular season. The Warriors finished the 2015-2016 season 73-9 besting the 72-10 mark set by the Chicago Bulls 20 years ago. Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr was a member of that Bulls team. Of course, Kerr was sidelined for more than half the season recovering from back surgery. It was under Lukes Walton began the season 24-0 and winning 39 of its first 43 games before Kerr took back the reins.

 

But where would this team have been without Stephen Curry? He sank his 400th 3-pointer last night shattering his own record of 286 a year ago. A second consecutive NBA MVP is on the order paper for Curry.

 

How good were the Warriors? The 5-time NBA champion San Antonio Spurs were 67-15. Normally that would have been the the league's best record. Instead the Spurs finished 6 games back of the Warriors.

 

If Only The Trump Campaign Had Apologized to Michelle Fields

By on 4.13.16 | 11:00PM

Politico is reporting that the Palm Beach County DA will not prosecute Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski for assaulting former Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields.

Once this is announced we can expect Trump to send out some juvenile tweets calling Fields' character into question and calling upon her to be prosecuted either for assault or for filing a false police report.

But as I argued nearly five weeks ago the Trump campaign left Fields with no other choice after they refused to apologize to her for the incident let alone acknowledge it happened. Of course, when video emerged that Lewandowski had in fact grabbed Fields their spin was that he had rescued Trump from a would be assassin

Thoughts on The Jackie Robinson PBS Mini-Series

By on 4.13.16 | 7:49PM

On Monday & Tuesday night, I watched both parts of Ken Burns' Jackie Robinson mini-series on PBS.

I was already familiar with most of Robinson's biography, but was fascinated with the light shed on his post-playing career particularly his political involvement with the Republican Party.

Of course, I knew Robinson supported Richard Nixon in the 1960 presidential election, but did not realize the contempt in which he held John F. Kennedy. Robinson was even less impressed after meeting with JFK who told him he hadn't met with many black people by virtue of being from Massachusetts. An angry Robinson told JFK it was his job as a Senator to meet with all Americans. Robinson was also appalled at JFK's selection of Lyndon Johnson as his running mate. During his time as Senate Majority Leader, LBJ had shown little interest in civil rights which was typical of Southern Democrats of that era.

Why Bill de Blasio’s Off-Color Joke Probably Won’t Matter

By on 4.12.16 | 4:58PM

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is taking some heat for telling, for lack of a better phrase, an off-color joke over the weekend.

The incident took place at the City's annual Inner Circle Dinner, a roast of sorts in which former Mayor Rudy Giuliani appeared in drag. The current Mayor appeared in a skit with actor Leslie Odom, Jr. of the Broadway hit Hamilton and Hillary Clinton. In the skit, Hillary says to de Blasio that it took him long enough for him to endorse her. de Blasio replied, "Sorry, Hillary, I was running on C.P. time."

After Odom, Jr. feigned offense Hillary chimed in, "Cautious politician time. I've been there." But as usual the line fell flat.

For those who are unfamiliar with the term, C.P. time refers to "colored people's time", a racial perjorative.

Paul Ryan Doesn’t Want To Be President, But This Probably Won’t Be The Last Time in 2016 GOP Considers Him for The WH

By on 4.12.16 | 4:08PM

This afternoon House Speaker Paul Ryan said he absolutely, positively does not want to run for President of the United States.

But six months ago Paul Ryan absolutely, positively did not want to become House Speaker.

Now I do believe there are a different set of circumstances at work. When it became clear that Kevin McCarthy was not up to the task of succeeding John Boehner, Ryan emerged as the only viable option and he was heavily pressured to run. Now that Ryan has been House Speaker for six months there is no groundswell among Republican voters that he run for President. At least right now.

On Meeting Fred Lynn

By on 4.12.16 | 1:08PM

A short while ago I got a chance to meet Fred Lynn.

For those of you outside of Boston or not of a certain age, Fred Lynn was the man in 1975. He was first player in MLB history to win AL Rookie of the Year and AL MVP honors in the same the year. Only Ichiro Suzuki has achieved the distinction since. In 1975, the Red Sox would win an AL pennant and play a classic World Series against the Cincinnati Reds falling short in seven games. Lynn would also win the AL batting title in 1979.

After the 1980 season, Lynn signed as a free agent with the California Angels. He would go on to play for the Baltimore Orioles and the Detroit Tigers before finishing his playing career with the San Diego Padres in 1990.

Chicago Gig

By on 4.12.16 | 12:43PM

Spectator friends in the Chicago area are invited to a presentation I’m giving Thursday evening at the Heartland Institute, 3939 North Wilkie Road, Arlington Heights IL 60004, 312/377-4000. It’s a 5:30 to 8:30 pm event and if you can make it please come up and introduce yourself to me. I’ll be speaking about my new book, on how the rise in income immobility is the key to the election and how it’s the Democrats and their friends who have made us a class society.

Proof That Politicians Say the Same Things ALL THE TIME

By on 4.12.16 | 12:33PM

The more you pay attention to politicians, the more you realize like a broken record… they say the same things all the time.

Sometimes, as in the case of Marco Rubio in his worst debate performance ever, it’s a mini-stump speech which you can agonizingly re-watch here.

But how much do politicos actually use the same words?

In honor of Freedom Day, which was co-founded by Frayda Levy and celebrates the meaning of freedom and its relevance in modern society, Quorum, a data analytic startup in Washington, D.C., analyzed just how much certain words were used by politicians and by whom they were used.

Quorum analyzed every press release, floor statement, tweet, and Facebook post from all 535 members of the 114th Congress looking for the use of the following words:

  • Freedom
  • Liberty
  • Justice
  • Equality
  • Constitution
  • Bill of Rights
  • Civil Rights
  • Fairness
  • Capitalism
  • Socialism

Here’s how the top 5 ranked:

Gains: Or What’s in a Book Title?

By on 4.11.16 | 3:54PM

Saturday’s mail brought a copy of Peter Lindert’s and Jeffrey Williamson’s new book, Unequal Gains: American Growth and Inequality since 1700. I’ve not yet read as much as the first page, but I’m already eager to read the whole book.

But … but … I here register a cavil. The main title irritates me. If this book is about the economic growth of America over the past 300+ years, the title suggests that the dominant feature of that growth — the essential and most notable outcome of that growth — is that it has been unequal. This title mistakenly suggests that the main story of America’s economy is inequality.

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