The Spectacle Blog

NYPD Were Right to Turn Their Backs on de Blasio

By on 1.5.15 | 9:50AM

I am not surprised that many of the NYPD rank and file once again turned their backs on New York Mayor Bill de Blasio during yesterday's funeral of Officer Wenjian Liu despite a memo from NYPD Police Commissioner William Bratton requesting his officers not do so.

It seems to me that turning one's back on an elected official is a far more civil form of protest than chanting for dead cops.

If Mayor de Blasio wants to get respect from the NYPD then he must give them respect. Given his blanket denunication of his own police force following the decision of a Staten Island grand jury last month not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner, his encouragement of anti-police protests and his failure to condemn protesters for calling for dead cops, de Blasio has only himself to blame for the reception he has received from the NYPD in recent weeks.

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So I Finally Got Around To Seeing The Interview

By on 1.4.15 | 9:05PM

This afternoon I went to the Somerville Theater to see The Interview and I am glad to report that Davis Square is still standing. 

I was initially not planning to see this movie because I thought it looked really stupid. Then came the hacking threats and the subsequent decision of the theater chains not to show it and then Sony's decision to withdraw the film from distribution. It then became a matter of principle for me to see it in public.

Of course, Sony reversed itself. I know there are people who thing this whole thing was an elaborate publicity stunt. But if that's the case then why is it only been shown in the indy theaters?

But once The Interview was released, I had to back up my words and see it. I didn't want to see it because I still thought it would be stupid. Well, I am pleased to report that it exceeded all my expectations. It is in the tradition of Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator. Seth Rogen was far less annoying than usual. 

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The Tampa Bay Remainder Table

By on 1.4.15 | 2:14PM

It appears more and more like the Tampa Bay Rays are determined to dump Ben Zobrist, one of the most productive, versatile, and popular players in franchise history. For more prospects, one presumes. If Zobrist goes, he would follow in the tradition of fine players the Rays have developed but then were too poor to keep. (See David Price, James Shields, et al.)

If the Rays insist on ditching game-ready major leaguers for minor leaguers with their modest pay packets, truth in advertising requires a team name change. I hereby submit a few suggestions. Perhaps alert TAS readers have other possibilities they would be willing to share: (Try to keep it clean and above the belt, please.)

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A Thought for Sailor Gutzler

By on 1.4.15 | 1:21AM

I've never been in a car crash (knock on wood) never mind a plane crash (knock on more wood). But if I was in a plane crash, was the sole survivor but had broken bones and hypothermia, I don't know if I could do what 7-year old Sailor Gutzler managed to do after her father's private plane crashed in Kentucky killing both her parents, her sister and a cousin.

I'm not sure how many adults would have been able to use the fire emanating from the plane as a guiding light, walk through nearly a mile worth of terrain both unfamiliar and rugged to safety. Yet somehow this little girl did it.

And thank goodness for the kindness of Larry Wilkins who provided comfort when she needed it the most. 

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Huckabee Leaves FNC; Pondering Another Presidential Run

By on 1.3.15 | 9:44PM

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has announced that he is leaving the Fox News Channel. Since late 2008, Huckabee has hosted a weekend show on FNC following his upstart run for the GOP nomination earlier that year. Huckabee is once again pondering another White House bid in 2016 and is expected to make a decision by the spring. 

My guess is that Huckabee will run. I can't imagine him leaving such a lucrative gig if he wasn't all in. Frankly, I can't see Huckabee winning the GOP nomination. But there remains a strong constituency of social conservatives within the GOP and with fewer Republicans willing to oppose gay marriage, he could stand apart from the crowd and make a run of it. It wouldn't surprise me if he were to win the Iowa Caucuses again. 

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Edward Brooke, R.I.P.

By on 1.3.15 | 6:18PM

Former Massachusetts Republican Senator Edward Brooke has passed away at the age of 95. A cause of death was not released, but he was diagnosed with breast cancer a little over a decade ago.

When Brooke was elected to the Senate in 1966, he would become the first African-American to serve that body since Reconstruction and the first to be popularly elected. Despite being the only state to vote against Richard Nixon in 1972, Massachusetts re-elected Brooke easily. However, Brooke was defeated by Democrat Congressman Paul Tsongas in 1978. Nevertheless, Brooke remains the only African-American to have been re-elected to the Senate although Tim Scott of South Carolina has a good chance of replicating that feat in 2018.

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Opry Loses Large Presence in a Small Package

By on 1.3.15 | 2:16PM

Country singer and songwriter Little Jimmy Dickens, a regular and popular performer on the Grand Ole Opry since 1948, died of cardiac arrest in a Nashville hospital Friday. His death followed a stroke he suffered on Christmas day.

Dickens’ last performance was Dec. 20, a day before his 94th birthday. He sang his hit from back in the day, “Out Behind the Barn,” and did his usual comedy shtick. In the AP obit on Dickens it was said that he was “known for his sense of humor.” I guess if you’re a guy and you’re 4-foot 11 (standing up) you damn well better have a sense of humor.

Appearing on stage in 2008 with country singer Trace Adkins, who stands 6-foot-6, Dickens eschewed cliché lines like, “How’s the weather up there?” Instead he climbed a stepladder to be eyeball to eyeball with Adkins and said, “You’re so tall, if you fell down you’d be halfway home when you got up.”

Dickens made fun of getting older. (What else can you do about it?) A few years back on the Opry he observed, “When you’re 88 and see a pretty girl in a bikini, your pacemaker makes the garage door go up.” 

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Barack Obama Had a Nicer New Years Than You

By on 1.2.15 | 4:50PM

Actually, I had a pretty nice New Years. I availed myself of a five-course tasting menu at a really fantastic restaurant, some decent cocktails and Midnight Mass. 

But, of course, I didn't do it in Hawaii. 

The President, who is wrapping up his 17-day vacation on Oahu, spent New Years with the family, getting shave ice at a neighborhood place with his daughters and snorkeling with the family at Hanauma Bay, a huge inland reef and wildlife sanctuary that is great for beginners, but is usually closed to the public over the holidays. Barack and Michelle then ditched the kids and went for a fifteen-course tasting menu of their own at Hawaii's Vintage Cave, a French-American fine-dining restaurant, "private society" and wine cellar located in a giant shopping mall just down the road from Waikiki beach. The 

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Harry Reid Broke His Face (And Some Ribs)

By on 1.2.15 | 4:19PM

Harry Reid is no longer allowed to exercise by himself at home.

Apparently, after sustaining a serious injury in his home gym (for a second time), the Senate Democratic leader was rushed to a hospital near his hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada, where he was quickly diagnosed with several facial fractures and a few broken ribs. 

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid is in a Las Vegas hospital following injuries sustained while exercising at home.

A statement issued Friday by Reid's office said doctors expect a "full recovery."

"A piece of equipment Senator Reid was using to exercise broke, causing him to fall and break a number of ribs and bones in his face," according to the statement. "Senator Reid will return to Washington this weekend and be in the office Tuesday as the Senate prepares to reconvene."

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Wendy Davis Stuck to Her Guns And Regrets It Now

By on 1.2.15 | 1:12PM

I have to say that I truly missed Wendy Davis for the two seconds she was out of the media cycle. Everyone else since then has been so boring. Where before it was hapless campaign appearances and poorly concieved fundraising emails, lately it's just been cranky old white supremacists and Bill de Blasio. 

Thankfully, Wendy, who insists that her 20-point loss to Republican Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot was a mere misunderstanding, and that her campaign was a watershed moment for Democrats in the south, keeps doing interviews, as though there were some way to rectify all of her mistakes. So in the midst of a slow couple of weeks, we find out that, while Wendy Davis is proud for having stuck to her guns during her campaign, she does, ironically, regret having stuck to her guns during her campaign. Or, at least her support of open carry

"I don't live in the world of regret," Davis said in the exclusive interview – her first sit-down interview since the election – when asked whether she had any regrets about her campaign.

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