The Spectacle Blog

Explaining Trump

By on 4.7.16 | 10:02PM

I had an interesting chat a few days back with a friend of mine, a very plugged-in political reporter. Like a good reporter, he aspires to neutrality, but he can’t hide his distaste for Cruz and his appreciation for Trump. What gets him about Cruz is the pose of smarmy rectitude, which he sees as entirely hypocritical. I can see that, but what surprised me was his analysis of what’s behind Trump’s appeal: his compassion. Ordinary voters sense that he’s on their side, as opposed to people who really don’t care a fig about them.

There isn’t much compassion around these days, not from people who think ordinary Americans are bigoted meth addicts who deserve to die out. From Obama you expect that, but this is from people we thought were on our side!

Compassion is also absent from people who see politics as a kind of political geometry. Start with the right postulates and axioms and the theorems will line up nicely. That’s how Mitt Romney came up with his 59-point plan. Anybody remember that? Maybe just one point? Bueller? Bueller?

Thoughts on Rudy Giuliani’s Endorsement of Trump

By on 4.7.16 | 6:43PM

I don't think we should be surprised that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani picked Donald Trump over Ted Cruz.

Given that Cruz made a point of maligning so-called "New York values", an endorsement from a former Big Apple mayor would have been a Brooklyn Bridge too far.

Yet when one thinks of Giuliani one invariably thinks of his response to 9/11. Notwithstanding Trump's eloquent statement during a GOP debate about the aftermath of 9/11, he has also blamed former President Bush for the attacks rather than al Qaeda and erroneously claimed thousands of Muslims in New Jersey cheered on the attacks. Such statements ought to have given Giuliani pause. That he did not is lamentable. 

Marine Pooch Is Honored

By on 4.7.16 | 3:33PM

Not all Marines can say “Sir, Yes sir!” or “Semper Fi.” But they too serve, witness the story of Lucca, a brave and loyal Marine dog trained to search out roadside bombs.

Home and retired for four years, Lucca has been awarded the Dickin Medal by the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, a British charity. 

The group calls the honor the equivalent of the Victoria Cross. Whatever it’s equivalent to, it’s deserved. The final bomb of many that Lucca found in protecting human Marines in Afghanistan ignited and cost her her left front leg (though looking at the film of her playing now in the preceding link, this does not seem to have slowed her down much).

Lucca gets high praise from the Marines she served with, including Gunnery Sergeant Christopher Willingham, with whom Lucca now lives near Camp Pendleton in California. Willingham says he sees it as his mission to spoil Lucca in her retirement.

Exactly so. Thank you for your service Sergeant, and for yours, Lucca.

Merle Haggard Could Be Traditional Too

By on 4.7.16 | 2:08PM

Merle has looked pretty haggard for years. And, alas, Wednesday he succumbed to illness on his 79th birthday. Not in Muskogee, Oklahoma, but in California. (Merle wasn’t born in the city he made famous, but near Bakersfield, California, where his Oklahoman family had fled during the Great Depression to escape Dust Bowl miseries.)  If God is a country music fan, which I am convinced He is, Haggard’s reward will be substantial.

A tip of the cowboy hat (though Merle himself seemed to prefer feed-store baseball caps over Stetsons) to Aaron Goldstein for his earlier tribute to Haggard.  Aaron is right to celebrate Haggard’s patriotic songs and his “outlaw” music that set him apart from the standard and more slick Nashville sound. Like so many country stars, Haggard lived his songs before he wrote and sang them. In his early years, the eventual “outlaw” singer did appear to be studying for the gallows. Happily, he finally decided on singing over safe-cracking.  

Bernie Sanders: Israel Committed War Crimes By Killing 10,000 Civilians in Gaza During 2014 Conflict With Hamas

By on 4.7.16 | 11:17AM

Bernie Sanders was interviewed by the editorial board of the New York Daily News and raised eyebrows with his comments on Israel.

Sanders, who is Jewish, was commenting on the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza in 2014. He stated, “I think most international observers would say that the attacks against Gaza were indiscriminate and that a lot of innocent people were killed who should not have been killed.” Bernie went on claim that Israel killed 10,000 Palestinian civilians during this period. "I don't have it in my number ... but I think it's over 10,000," Sanders continued. "My understanding is that a whole lot of apartment houses were leveled. Hospitals, I think, were bombed. So yeah, I do believe and I don't think I'm alone in believing that Israel's force was more indiscriminate than it should have been."

It’s ‘Mister Trump’ Now

By on 4.6.16 | 4:12PM

How surprising! Trump used a classical allusion in calling his chief rival “a Trojan horse,” sent by Republican Party bosses to “steal the nomination from Mr. Trump.”

Did he say “Mr. Trump”? He did. The boastful billionaire has suddenly become more deferential, if only self-deferential — referring to himself in the third person and affixing a “mister” to the stand-alone moniker, as if to underline a newly discovered maturity, a few weeks shy of his 70th birthday.

However, what is more impressive — coming from a man who has authored more books (16) than he has ever read — is the reference to the great wooden horse, with the bellyful of warriors, which the wily Greeks left in front of the gates of Troy, after failing to conquer the city through a long siege. Does this signal a desire to elevate his language in the final stages of the primary?

But surely Trump does not want to tempt fate by sounding the alarm against a Trojan horse. It was fatal to the first who did it. Perhaps a reader or friend will be kind enough to tell him about it.

Sports Media Gets Its Panties In a Bunch Over Blue Jays Manager John Gibbons’ Dresses Comments - UPDATE

By on 4.6.16 | 11:57AM

MLB's new slide rule came into sharp focus last night when Toronto Blue Jays superstar Jose Bautista was called out at second last night after coming into contact with Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Logan Forsythe, costing the Blue Jays a possible victory.

When Bautista came into contact with Forsythe he committed a throwing error, scoring two runs to give the Jays a 4-3 lead in the top of the 9th inning. However, after the umpires reviewed and reversed the call, Bautista became the third out. The game was over and the Rays won their first game of the 2016 season 3-2.

But the sports media, being like any other part of the mainstream media, is trying to shift the story from the slide rule to Blue Jays to rules of political correctness.

Following the game, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, naturally unhappy that the new slide rule cost his team the game, said, "Maybe we'll come out wearing dresses tomorrow. Maybe that's what everybody's looking for."

Thank You Wisconsin!!! Cruz Trounces Trump

By on 4.5.16 | 9:45PM

Thank you Wisconsin!!!

Ted Cruz has trounced Donald Trump in the Badger State and this night may loom large in three months from now.

If Donald Trump cannot win the Republican nomination in Cleveland then we can point to Wisconsin as the beacon of reason which triumphed over buffoonery.

The people of Wisconsin, who have endured mobocracy from The Left, weren't buying what Trump was selling. 

I think all of us who believe in reason and prudence should visit Wisconsin to say thank you.

This isn't to say the path to the Republican Convention will be easy for Ted Cruz. Trump should rebound later in the month with contests in New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. But come May we hit Indiana, Nebraska, West Virginia, Washington and Oregon which should much more friendly to Cruz. Then comes California in June.

We are not in a sprint but Mile 20 of a marathon.

If Cruz crosses the finish line it will be because he turned the corner and started gaining on Trump in Wisconsin.

 

 

Bernie Wins Wisconsin & Remains a Thorn in Hillary’s Left Side

By on 4.5.16 | 9:20PM

Bernie Sanders has won the Wisconsin Primary. It marks Bernie's seventh win against Hillary Clinton in the last eight contests.

No doubt Hillary & Co will say Wisconsin is another state with a lot of white voters. But since Hillary's sweep of March 15th, Bernie has won in Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Idaho, Utah as well as with Democrats Abroad. The only race Hillary has won during that time is in Arizona.

Even so Hillary is still getting delegates because Democrats allocate delegates on a proportional basis. She also has a majority of the superdelegates in her pocket. As I keep saying, it isn't the economy that's fixed; it's the Democratic Party that's fixed.

Nevertheless, Hillary is in a much more competitive race than she wants to be in. The fact that there was such a fight over the debate in Brooklyn that has now been scheduled for April 14th illustrates this point. Hillary should have as easy a time in New York as Donald Trump will. Instead, the Bernie-Hillary debate is the hottest ticket in town that night. Even hotter than Jerry Seinfeld at the Beacon Theatre. 

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