The Spectacle Blog

Brock Holt Hits for Cycle; 1st Red Sox to Accomplish Feat Since ‘96

By on 6.16.15 | 7:01PM

There hasn't been to cheer for in Red Sox Nation this year nor for that matter last year.

But Brock Holt has been a blessing. You can put him in nearly any position and you'll get Gold Glove calibre play. He can run and has a little bit of pop in his bat.

Today, Brock Holt got a chance to be the star of the game. He hit for the cycle in the Sox's 9-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves snapping a seven game losing streak. Holt becomes the first Red Sox player in 19 years to hit for the cycle. John Valentin did it in June 1996 against the Chicago White Sox. 

Holt's cycle is the first of the 2015 MLB season.

Deeper Than the Cavs

By on 6.16.15 | 6:44PM

If I’m counting right, the Donald’s entry today makes an even dozen Republican candidates. And four more are likely to get in — Walker, Jindal, Kasich, Stassen. The field is already deeper than the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

It’s not clear that the Grand Old Party can take the Democrats at the polls in November of 2016. But they should be able to beat them at softball.

A Cardinal Sin (Or I’ve Heard of Stealing Signs, But This Is Ridiculous)

By on 6.16.15 | 3:38PM

Larry Thornberry clued me in on this one.

The St. Louis Cardinals are under FBI investigation for hacking into the Houston Astros’ internal database.

I’ve heard of stealing signs, but this is ridiculous.

It is worth noting that the Cardinals and Astros do not play each other this season, although both teams are in first place in their respective divisions and could be potential World Series opponents in the fall.

The common denominator here is Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow. Before becoming the team’s GM in 2012, Luhnow worked in the Cardinals’ scouting department from 2003 through 2011. While with the Cardinals, Luhnow developed a database called Redbird concerning their baseball operations that included scouting reports and other information on player personnel. Luhnow has developed a similar database with the Astros called Ground Control and some in the Cardinals’ organization were concerned Luhnow had taken proprietary data with him.

Hillary Clinton Charged $200K For Kids Charity Speech, Wouldn’t Interact With Kids

By on 6.16.15 | 2:05PM

It, apparently, takes a village to pay for Hillary Clinton to speak at a children's charity.

The Clinton Foundation acquires a good chunk of its $2 billion worth by collecting speaking and appearance fees for its celebrities, Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton — fees that range from the tens to the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Often, the Clintons give these speeches to benefit nonprofits, as "special guests" of charities at fundraising events, or to solidify a partnership with a nonprofit that shares the same goals and aims as the Clinton Foundation, generally, in the hopes that the foundation will recoup its losses on a Clinton speech with donations and ticket sales to the Clinton event.

Chaffetz Greases Wheels For Online Sales Tax

By on 6.16.15 | 1:05PM

Supporters of an online sales tax bill introduced Monday portray it as a compromise that addresses most concerns, but some critics aren’t placated.

The Remote Transactions Parity Act, sponsored by Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, would allow states to collect sales taxes on purchases made by residents from out-of-state sellers — something the Supreme Court explicitly authorized Congress to do in a ruling preventing states from exercising that very privilege several years ago.

Currently, states have no way to collect sales taxes from retailers that do not have a physical presence in the state, such as an office or warehouse. Technically, the tax is still owed by the purchaser, but there is no cost-effective way to enforce the obligation.

Brick-and-mortar stores, which must remit sales tax for every sale, argue this creates an artificial advantage for online retailers, which are effectively able to offer customers a discount equal to their local sales tax rate.

House Republicans Release Plan to Repeal and Replace Obamacare

By on 6.16.15 | 12:55PM

A group of House Republicans released a proposed health care plan that would replace Obamacare with patient-centered reforms and free-market solutions.

The 192-page American Health Care Reform Act (AHCRA) was written by Reps. Phil Roe (R-TN) and Austin Scott (R-GA). The authors describe it as an “aspirational model” of American health care and say it’s open for amendments.

Highlights include fully repealing President Barack Obama’s health care law, eliminating billions of dollars in taxes and thousands of pages of unworkable regulations and mandates that drive up health care costs, expanding federal funding for state high-risk pools, allowing health insurance plan purchases across state lines, reforming medical liability laws, and investing in research for the most common causes of death in the United States.

AHCRA covers four broad areas: It encourages competition in the health care market, improves health care access for vulnerable Americans, supports medical breakthroughs, and reforms medical liability laws, according to its authors.

Flexibility Praised

Survey Finds People Blame Obamacare Failures On Its Authors

By on 6.16.15 | 12:49PM

A report on Obamacare released Tuesday found those with the most to lose blame the authors of the law and not the legal case against it.

The Supreme Court case, King v. Burwell, is part of a series of lawsuits which argue that Obamacare was written so that only individuals in states with their own exchanges can get tax credits. While supporters of the law say critics are unfairly attacking it by misinterpreting what it really means those that may lose their ability to pay for their healthcare without the tax credit still blame the authors of the law according to a report by the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA).

Deconstructing Magna Carta

By on 6.16.15 | 12:45PM

On the day we celebrate the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, leave it to the New York Times to feature a boxed op-ed on its editorial pages entitled “Stop Revering Magna Carta.” As the only bow to the occasion on those pages, one imagines that the editors could not be bothered even to write a house editorial on the subject

The piece is written by one Tom Ginsburg, professor of international law and political science at the University of Chicago, an institution with which I have some acquaintance.  As suggested by its title, this is a work of deconstruction. The Charter’s fame, you see, “rests on several myths.” Indeed, “like the Holy Grail,” Ginsburg concludes, “the myth of Magna Carta seems to matter more than the reality.” And well it should. After all, history rarely springs forth in principled perfection. At best it grows one fractured event at a time, each event gradually becoming the narrative mythology of a people.

Will Jeb Bush’s Education Record Win Him The Nomination, Or Destroy Him?

By on 6.16.15 | 12:41PM

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s announcement Monday that he is running for president instantly makes him both a man to beat and a top target in a crowded GOP field. Bush’s big donor base, establishment backing, and more moderate reputation will almost certainly make him the top target of other GOP candidates. Whether he can survive their onslaught and emerge as the nominee will depend in large part on how well he can harness his record on a single, signature issue: Education.

Education is Bush’s biggest policy passion and gave him his biggest successes as a governor. It’s not a stretch to say that Bush has been the single biggest driver of conservative education reform in the past 20 years. Bush simply can’t afford to stay away from the issue. But all of his accomplishments are counter-balanced by the burden of Common Core, which has the potential to undo his candidacy if handled poorly.

Donald Trump Is Running for President

By on 6.16.15 | 12:36PM

So this is a thing that is happening

The real estate mogul and TV reality star launched his presidential campaign Tuesday, ending more than two decades of persistent flirtation with the idea of running for the Oval Office.

"So, ladies and gentlemen, I am officially running for president of the United States, and we are going to make our country great again," Trump told the crowd, in a lengthy and meandering speech that hit on his signature issues like currency manipulation from China and job creation, as well as taking shots at the president and his competitors on the Republican side.

"Sadly the American dream is dead," Trump said at the end of his speech, promising to bring it back to life with his run.

Just over four years after he came closer than ever to launching a campaign before bowing out, Trump made his announcement at the lavish Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York, laying out a vision to match his incoming campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again."