The Spectacle Blog

George Stephanopoulos Makes a Lot of Money at ABC

By on 5.19.15 | 12:57PM

With his credibility in question, it's entirely possible that ABC could shut their primary political anchor (and longtime Clinton friend) George Stephanopoulos out of covering the 2016 Presidential campaign.

Such a decision, of course, renders ABC's contract with Stephanopoulos moot. 

And such a decision rendering Stephanopoulos's contract moot would cost ABC a pretty penny. Because it turns out, they were spending upwards of $100 million to boost their political reporting and news credibility with a guy who seems to possess none.

ABC has plenty of reasons to be freaking out over the George Stephanopoulos scandal — 105 million, to be exact.

The “Good Morning America” and “This Week” anchor renewed his contract last year for $105 million, TV industry sources told The Post Monday.

The seven-year deal — which dwarfs the five-year, $50 million contract scored by since-suspended NBC rival Brian Williams — was supposed to keep Stephanopoulos in front of ABC’s cameras through 2021.

Waiting For An Appointment Is Now Considered Harassment on University Campuses

By on 5.19.15 | 12:54PM

This incident occurrred at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia last week, but I read about it via the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation:

An academic adviser at a Georgia university has been placed on leave after a video of her accusing a student of harassment — apparently for sitting in a room waiting for an appointment — went viral.

Kevin Bruce, a student at Kennesaw State University (KSU) in Kennesaw, Ga., posted a short video on Wednesday of the adviser, who has been identified as Abbey Dawson, demanding Bruce leave the lobby of a human resources office, where he was hoping to speak with another academic adviser.

Dawson accuses Bruce of harassment and asks Bruce to leave. Bruce says he's simply waiting to speak to his adviser and that he isn't harassing anyone.

"Sitting here until somebody is available is harassing them," Dawson says, and then threatens to call campus security before walking away.

Hillary Makes a Comment

By on 5.19.15 | 12:48PM

In a remarkable couple of minutes on television today, Fox News reporter Ed Henry shamed Hillary Clinton into taking a couple of questions from reporters following a campaign event in Iowa. Quite a feat and Ed should be proud.

Earlier today, the State Department said that they would not be releasing any of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's work-related e-mails until January 2016. The long delay is unjustifiable and inexplicable.

This is at the top of the list of reporters' questions but they are missing the point and should not be surprised by Hillary's statement (which she's made before) that she wants the e-mails  released as soon as possible.

Of course she wants that: she ensured that only non-incriminating e-mails were given to the State Department, although it is possible that there are a couple of e-mails that will look worse than she thinks in the context of other things we may learn before then.

Alcee Hastings Will Only Work More if America Pays Him More

By on 5.19.15 | 12:45PM

In case you were wondering, America, the reason your Congress has roughly the same legislative production schedule as a pack of rabid ferrets, well, Rep. Alcee Hastings, best known for his work on the Federal bench (which came to an abrupt end when he was indicted for taking bribes from defendants), has the answer for you.

America, your Congress doesn't get paid enough. And unless you agree to give them what they believe they should earn, well, you're only going to get what you pay for. Which is, at best, that pack of rabid ferrets.

Rep. Alcee L. Hastings made the politically tone-deaf case for raising salaries for members of Congress Monday, pointing to the high cost of living in the District of Columbia.

“Members deserve to be paid, staff deserves to be paid and the cost of living here is causing serious problems for people who are not wealthy to serve in this institution,” the Florida Democrat said at a Rules Committee meeting, referring to the average member’s $174,000 annual salary. “We aren’t being paid properly,” he later added....

Claire McCaskill Won’t Watch Game of Thrones Anymore

By on 5.19.15 | 12:30PM

Last week's episode of Game of Thrones ended with a rather brutal, off-screen rape scene. Although the show's creators warned of the scene, and tried to explain how it fit into the subject character's timeline, Internet feminists, fresh out of comic book movies to complain about, latched on to the series and its writers and are now refusing to let go. Apparently, despite several Game of Thrones seasons depicting brutal violence and objectification (including but not limited to a pregnant woman being stabbed in her belly, eye-gougings, other rape scenes, beheadings, sort-of beheadings, an attack by bears, flayings and floggings), this is their hill to die on.

As Claire McCaskill desires greatly to be relevant to, well, pretty much anything, she added her two cents to the debate over whether Game of Thrones had gone a bridge too far. Of course, she thinks they did.

Israel Blasts Obama Admin Over Iran’s Violations of Sanctions

By on 5.19.15 | 12:27PM

An unnamed Israeli official has blasted the Obama Administration for ignoring a recent violation of sanctions.

Although the Obama Administration has eased sanctions against Iran, they are not permitted to purchase aircraft. Yet Iran recently purchased 15 used commercial aircraft. It is not known who sold the aircraft nor it is known which Iranian airline bought them, but the Israeli official indicated that the airlines had ties to Hezbollah and Iran's Revolutionary Guard. Iran's Mahan Air has previously been accused by the U.S. Treasury Department of shipping weapons and equipment to the Assad regime in Syria.

Israel alerted the Obama Administration to the sale, but its concerns fell on deaf ears. Aside from the Obama Administration's disdain for Israel, let us remember that they allowed Iran to take over Yemen. If the Obama Administration has no qualms about Yemen falling under the aegis of Iran do you think they are going to give a damn about Iran purchasing used commercial aircraft?

Sidney Blumenthal Resurfaces, This Time at Hillary’s State Department

By on 5.19.15 | 11:57AM

If the Clinton campaign is the greatest hits of the 1990s returning in a Time-Life boxed set to be sold on late-night television to people with chronic insomnia, Sidney Blumenthal is that Smashing Pumpkins song that happens to be the only Smashing Pumpkins song you can readily identify as a Smashing Pumpkins song because it played as literally every other video on MTV for basically your entire time in high school. That is, until Total Request Live discovered the massive appeal of bands that didn't make you want to shove the shards of a broken DiscMan headphone into your own jugular.

New BU Prof Who Tweeted Against White Males Now Taunts White Rape Victim on Facebook

By on 5.18.15 | 4:41PM

About a week and a half ago, I wrote about Boston University's decision to stand by its hiring of a new sociology professor named Saida Grundy despite her tweets about "white college males"  as a "problem population" and not patronizing "white-owned businesses".

BU initially defended Grundy "as exercising her right to free speech". However, following a backlash, BU issued a statement which read, "The University does not condone racism or bigotry in any form and we are deeply saddened when anyone makes such offensive comments.” Needless to say, the statement did not mention Grundy by name much less declare any intention of imposing any disciplinary measures.

Time for Hillary to Speak Up on Trade

By on 5.18.15 | 4:02PM

The Washington Post ran an editorial on Wednesday indicting Hillary Clinton for her silence on the trade agenda. On Thursday morning, the Post published an op-ed by Robert Kagan of Brookings titled “Clinton’s Cowardice on Trade.” Both pieces offer some valid observations, but the matter deserves more scrutiny still.

Rand Paul’s ‘No’ on Trade Promotion Authority Gets It Backwards

By on 5.18.15 | 3:59PM

Not entirely unsurprisingly, the Senate failed to reach cloture last Tuesday, falling eight votes shy of the 60 needed to start the timer on debate over Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which will be needed to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations and bring it to a timely vote in Congress. The cloture vote concerned two of four pieces of trade legislation voted out of the Finance Committee two weeks ago (TPA and Trade Adjustment Assistance). Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell excluded the other two bills, which contain language that would attract Democratic support. So, while I wouldn’t bet the ranch on TPA’s passage, there’s still room for horse trading.

In more surprising (and disappointing) news, one senator who will say “no” if TPA makes it to the floor for a vote is Rand Paul, who explained his reasoning on a New Hampshire television news broadcast: 

We give up so much power from Congress to the presidency, and with them being so secretive on the treaty, it just concerns me what’s in the treaty.

Let me take Paul’s issues with power, secrecy, and content in order.