The Spectacle Blog

The Dodgers Radically Transform Team at Winter Meetings

By on 12.11.14 | 10:15AM

Despite winning the NL West the past two seasons, the Los Angeles Dodgers have radically retooled themselves in an effort to win it all in 2015. The Dodgers, now led by former Tampa Bay Rays President Andrew Friedman, have made the following moves.

They began by trading All-Star second baseman Dee Gordon, starting pitcher Dan Haren and utility man Miguel Rojas to the Miami Marlins for pitchers Andrew Heaney and Chris Hatcher, catcher Austin Barnes and utility man Enrique Hernandez.

The Dodgers then turned around and traded Heaney to the crosstown Los Angeles Angels for second baseman Howie Kendrick.

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Will New Left-Wing Alliance Topple Netanyahu?

By on 12.10.14 | 4:58PM

Today, Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog and Hatnua Party leader Tzipi Livni announced that they have formed an alliance for Israel's election in March in an effort to oust Benjamin Netanyahu from power. Early elections came about as a result of Netanyahu firing Livni and Yair Lapid from his cabinet for insubordination.

Under the terms of the agreement, should the Labor-Hatnua alliance form a government, Herzog would serve as Prime Minister for two years following by Livni for two years. This is similar to the arrangement that took place between Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Shamir, but that was agreed upon only after the 1984 election when, with the results too close to call, the Labor and Likud parties decided to form a national unity government.

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The Good, the Bad, and the Cromnibus

By on 12.10.14 | 4:17PM

The Cromnibus, the $1.1 trillion behemoth that will soon become the law of the land, funding the bloated Federal government easily through to next Columbus Day, is, according to its authors, the very definition of svelte, completely devoid of extraneous spending, and an unprecedented example of fiscal restraint on the part of lawmakers...at last according to lawmakers. But check out a few key elements of the bill that weren't scrapped, even if they were of dubious necessity.

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Conservatives Shouldn’t Legitimize Senate Democrats Torture Report

By on 12.10.14 | 1:06PM

I have been skeptical about the Senate Democrats aims and objectives in releasing its report on alleged CIA torture in the War on Terror.

Unfortunately, I sense that some conservatives are accepting the "findings" of the report at face value particularly in the comments from F.H. Buckley and, to a lesser extent, Emily Zanotti.

But as former Democratic Senator and 9/11 Commissioner Bob Kerrey noted in his op-ed in U.S.A. Today, Senate Democrats did not interview any of the operatives allegedly involved in this misconduct to get their side of the story nor did they provide any recommendations. That should raise red flags. Absent that information, this report isn't worth the paper on which its printed.

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All Hail the Cromnibus

By on 12.10.14 | 11:53AM

After much hemming, hawing and belt-tightening, Congress finally unveiled their "pared-down" yearly budget, this year lovingly titled the "CRomnibus" because it is the product of the unholy union between a continuing resolution (CR) and an omnibus spending bill. The reason for the cute nickname is simple: the omnibus spending bill will keep the government funded through next September, when we have this same fight all over again. The continuing resolution will keep the Department of Homeland Security funded only until March, in the hopes that the Republicans can somehow pass an immigration bill that will keep Obama from declaring that everyone, including, but not limited to, various animals and inanimate objects, can obtain legal work permits.

While the two parties did spend much of last week cutting out unnecessary spending and negotiating the details of the bill in order to avoid a shutdown, the very best, lowest number they could come up with to keep the government rolling on is $1.1 trillion, because everything is terrible and we've lost all sense of reality.

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Kerrey Blasts Senate Democrats Over Torture Report

By on 12.10.14 | 10:17AM

Former Nebraska Democrat Governor and Senator Bob Kerrey blasted his former Democrat colleagues in the Senate over yesterday's release of the CIA torture report in an op-ed for USA Today: For many years, Kerrey sat on the Senate Select Intelligence Committee and was also a member of the 9/11 Commission. So his criticisms cannot be easily dismissed:

I do not need to read the report to know that the Democratic staff alone wrote it. The Republicans checked out early when they determined that their counterparts started out with the premise that the CIA was guilty and then worked to prove it.

When Congress created the intelligence committees in the 1970's, the purpose was for people's representatives to stand above the fray and render balanced judgments about this most sensitive aspect of national security. This committee departed from that high road and slipped into the same partisan mode that marks most of what happens on Capitol Hill these days.

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Waterboarding Is Torture

By on 12.10.14 | 10:13AM

The Senate Report on Torture, released yesterday, is going to divide conservatives. Some will tell us that the report and its release were motivated by partisan politics—as if there’s something that isn’t so motivated in this town. Some will tell us that the “enhanced interrogation” techniques employed by the CIA didn’t amount to torture—even though we executed as war criminals Japanese soldiers who did the same thing to our soldiers after World War II. Some will say the interrogations gave us information about the enemy that we wouldn’t have otherwise gotten, and if this energized the Islamic enemy, too bad for them. Some will tell us that things just got out of hand, that maybe we should have had better protocols, but so what? So we killed one prisoner? Too bad, the CIA doesn’t play patty cake.

I can see all that, believe me. But I have just one question. Can you think of a conservative who has done more harm to conservatism than John Yoo and his colleagues in the Bush Department of Justice who greenlighted waterboarding? I mean, since Joe McCarthy?

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Lester Signs With Cubs for 6-Yr, $155 Million

By on 12.10.14 | 9:14AM

The Jon Lester sweepstakes are over. The 30-year old southpaw signed a six-year, $155 million deal with the Chicago Cubs earlier this morning.

In his 9-year big league career, Lester is 116-67 with a 3.58 ERA and has 1,457 strikeouts. He spent the bulk of his career with the Boston Red Sox where he was named to three AL All-Star Teams and won two World Series rings. In 2014, Lester went 16-11 with a 2.46 ERA. The Red Sox dealt Lester to the Oakland A's at the trade deadline where he went 6-4 with the A's and had a 7-4 lead in the eighth inning of the AL Wild Card game against the Kansas City Royals before the Royals embarked upon an improbable comeback.

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Busy Day for Chicago at MLB Winter Meetings Plus Moss Gathers in Cleveland

By on 12.9.14 | 9:58PM

It's been a busy day for both the White Sox and the Cubs at the MLB Winter Meetings in San Diego.

The Chicago White Sox began by signing free agent closer David Robertson to a four-year, $46 million contract. In 2014, Robertson replaced Mariano Rivera as the closer of the New York Yankees saving 39 games. Robertson fanned 96 batters in only 64 1/3 innings pitched. However, rookie Dellin Bettances was even more impressive. If Robertson stayed in New York, he would be constantly looking over his shoulder. Robertson has a much longer leash on Chicago's South Side. As for the Yankees, Bettances becomes the new closer with newly signed free agent Andrew Miller, who split 2014 between the Red Sox and Orioles, becoming the eighth inning set up man. 

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Israeli Student Stabbed at Brooklyn Synagogue

By on 12.9.14 | 9:31PM

In recent weeks there have been multiple, random attacks (particularly stabbings) in Israel.

This phenomenon has now followed Israelis to the United States. Yesterday, an Israeli student was stabbed at the Chabad-Lubavitch Center in Brooklyn. Fortunately, Levi Rosenblatt is expected to survive his injuries. Rosenblatt was stabbed by a mentally ill man named Calvin Peters who screamed, "I want to kill the Jews."

A standoff ensued between NYPD and Peters. Authorities repeatedly demanded that Peters drop his knife. Eventually, he complied only to pick up a knife and lunge at the officers. Peters was then shot and killed by Officer Roberto Pagan.

The NYPD has justifiably taken a lot of heat over last summer's death of Eric Garner. However, more often than not, the NYPD gets it right and this was certainly one of those instances.

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