The Spectacle Blog

The Security Implications of Grexit

By on 7.7.15 | 6:08PM

This weekend’s news was dominated by the sorry tale of Greece, where a referendum on whether to accept the terms of a new European Union bailout failed by a landslide. Now Greece’s Eurozone creditors face the uneasy choice between offering a more generous bailout plan, or accepting a Greek departure from the Euro.

Sunday’s referendum was just the latest debacle in the five-year tug-of-war between Greece and other Eurozone members. The ruling Syriza party has been openly hostile to the austerity-focused conditions of EU bailout loans — which run counter to their left-leaning economic agenda — as well as to the EU negotiation process itself. The spur-of-the-moment referendum was itself largely a surreal PR stunt: the deal voters were evaluating had in fact been withdrawn by the EU prior to Sunday’s vote.

Chicago to Tax Streaming Services Come September

By on 7.7.15 | 4:35PM

If you live in Chicago, then you better complete all your recent Netflix binges by the end of summer, because starting Sept. 1 Chicago will be applying a new tax to streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify.

The Chicago Tribune reported the tax would include an extra 9 percent tagged onto the monthly fees for both personal users and businesses in the area. The tax is expected to bring in an additional $12 million per year.

The added taxes can be attributed to the recent ruling by the city Finance Department that utilized their previous control of two taxing areas —the city amusement tax and the city personal property lease transaction tax — in order to gain taxing abilities of streamed items.

The city amusement tax formerly applied to tickets to events such as concerts or sporting events, but will be expanded with the new rulings.

Despite these changes, the city claims not to be gaining any more control than was previously held. The Chicago Tribune later noted:

Hillary Clinton Will Finally Sit Down With a Reporter, But a Friendly One

By on 7.7.15 | 3:26PM

She's been avoiding the press for weeks (occasionally, even literally roping them off from her campaign), but finally, Hillary Clinton will sit down - tonight - with a reporter for a "tough interview" where she'll address her progress in Iowa and New Hampshire.

The interview, which will take place in Iowa City, will air tonight at 5pm on CNN's Situation Room. CNN's senior political correspondent, Brianna Keilar, is Hillary's desginated griller.

The Democratic front-runner has largely stayed away from the press, only occasionally taking questions from reporters and granting interviews to local news outlets in early-voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire.

But she hasn’t granted national outlets interviews since jumping into the 2016 race in April. The first one, with Keilar, will take place in Iowa City, as Clinton campaigns in the first state to vote in the presidential nominating process.

For Obama, Deadlines Are As Meaningless As Red Lines

By on 7.7.15 | 1:09PM

The Obama administration has extended the deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran for a second time. The original deadline was June 30, but was extended to July 7.

Well, July 7 is here and the deadline has been extended another 72 hours.

And unless there is a deal we will have another extension announced on July 10.

Deadlines in Iran are as apparently meaningless to President Obama as red lines in Syria.

Martha’s Vineyard Preps for Obama Family Summer Vacation

By on 7.7.15 | 12:45PM

We're still a month away from the annual Obama Family Summer Vacation on Martha's Vineyard, but preparations are already underway on the tony New England isle so that when the First Family makes their debut, they'll be as comfortable as possible. The Obamas will officially arrive August 8th and stay until August 23rd unless, like last year, the President's golf game is rudely interrupted by tensions in the Middle East.

Last year, the Obamas were forced to make last-minute changes to their plans when their preferred vacation mansion sold to new owners. Their substitute locale must have been surprisingly pleasing, since they will return this year, to the 8,100 square foot, $12 million Chilmark mansion.

August is coming, so you know what that means: President Obama and the fam will be coming, too. Barry, Michelle and the girls, Sasha and Malia, are scheduled to arrive for their annual summer holiday on Martha’s Vineyard on Aug. 8 and will depart Aug. 23, say our island spies.

Hillary Tries to Make Nice With Jewish Voters — Again

By on 7.7.15 | 12:36PM

When Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, she was in simpatico with the rest of the Obama Administration’s disdain for Israel.

There was her infamous 45 minute hectoring of Benjamin Netanyahu over the phone concerning Israel’s settlements policies after an expansion had been announced during a visit by Vice President Biden in March 2010. In an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, Hillary boasted that she was the Obama Administration’s “designated yeller” at Israel. Last year, when her book Hard Choices came out, she accused Israel of denying “dignity and self-determination” to the Palestinians.

Bernie Sanders Said Unresolved Hostility, Lack of Orgasms Cause Cervical Cancer

By on 7.7.15 | 12:10PM

Literally every day now, I like Bernie Sanders just a little bit better.

I'm obviously not a socialist, no matter what the comments section thinks, but Bernie is keeping Hillary on the run, he occasionally says things I agree with (gun ownership is an individual right, religions who don't want to marry same-sex couples should not be forced to, etc.), he's drawing huge crowds made up entirely of white people (photos of which get great play on Twitter), and he was so clearly off his rocker for most of the middle decades of last century, that it's all but guaranteed that this missive, from Bernie's 1960s health and welfare primer, is only the first in a long line of utterly amazing musings.

Bernie, back in the 60s and 70s, wrote for a left wing alternative rag in Vermont called "The Freeman," where he was free to air his thoughts on everything from nuclear war (we're all about to face death-by-poison gas) to, apparently cervical cancer, which he believed to be a psychologically driven disease, inspired by...ahem...stress.  

The London Tube Bombings Ten Years After

By on 7.7.15 | 10:25AM

Ten years ago today, I woke up, turned on the TV to Fox News, and saw that London had been struck by Islamic terrorists.

The day before, Londoners rejoiced at being rewarded the 2012 Olympics. Less than 24 hours later, the city was recoiling in horror as 52 people had been killed due to explosions on three London Underground trains and one double decker bus. The attacks aboard the Tube were nearly simultaneous while the attack aboard the bus took place about an hour later.

There was heightened anxiety on this side of the Atlantic. On my way to work here in Boston, I remember the Green Line being evacuated. There was concern that an attack had taken place here. Although there was a collision between two trains which left several people injured, it was fortunately not an act of terrorism. Of course, Boston would have its day of Islamic terror.

Amanda Peterson, R.I.P.

By on 7.6.15 | 10:50PM

Actress Amanda Peterson was found dead in her Colorado home yesterday. A cause of death has not been announced, but her father indicated that she had a history of sleep apnea and other medical troubles over the past couple of years including pneumonia. She would have turned 44 on Wednesday.

Peterson was best known for her role in the 1987 teen comedy coming of age film Can't Buy Me Love co-starring Patrick Dempsey. Before he was Dr. McDreamy on Grey's Anatomy, Dempsey was cast in skinny nerd roles. In Can't Buy Me Love, the Dempsey plays Ronald Miller, the skinny nerd who pays high school cheerleader Cindy Mancini (played by Peterson) $1,000 to be his girlfriend for one month. An interesting enough premise and while no one will mistake it for Citizen Kane, both Dempsey and Peterson turned in excellent performances. Over the years, Can't Buy Me Love has become one of those films that has a found a life on late night TV. If I happen to come across it more often than not I'll tune in.

U.S. Women’s Team Makes History at FIFA World Cup 2015

By on 7.6.15 | 4:50PM

The United States women’s soccer team took home the FIFA championship last night in a 5-2 landslide win against Japan. It was a legendary win for the Americans, classifying them as the first team to ever win three FIFA World Cups.

Perhaps even more legendary than the win, were the goals scored during the game. The five U.S. goals scored during the game, made the team the first ever to score more than two goals in a Final. Of the five total goals, four were scored within the first 16 minutes.

The first goal, shot by U.S. player Carli Lloyd, happened within three minutes making it the fastest WWC goal in the history of the Final game. Lloyd’s following two goals within the next 13 minutes, the second in the fifth minute and the third in the 16 minute. The last goal shot by Lloyd was blasted from half field straight into the goal.

Lauren Holiday scored the third goal for U.S. by volleying the ball into the net in a single stride during the fourteenth minute. U.S.’s Tobin Heath scored the last goal of the game with an assist from Morgan Brian during the 54th minute of the game.