The Spectacle Blog

Thoughts on the Beheading of James Wright Foley

By on 8.20.14 | 10:38AM

American photojournalist James Wright Foley was beheaded yesterday by the ISIS. Foley had been missing since November 2012. ISIS stated it beheadd Foley because of the Obama Administration's recent decision to conduct airstrikes in Iraq due to ISIS' genocidal actions against the Yazidis. They have also threatened to behead Stephen Joel Sotloff, another journalist who has been held in captivity for more than a year unless Obama halts U.S. airstrikes in Iraq.

Send to Kindle

My Interview of Paul Ryan

By on 8.20.14 | 10:35AM

Yesterday I had the chance to interview Congressman (and former VP candidate) Paul Ryan for Colorado's Afternoon News on 850 KOA (Denver.) It was a short interview, but good stuff:


Send to Kindle

Don Pardo, R.I.P.

By on 8.19.14 | 12:01PM

Over nearly four decades, performers have come and gone on Saturday Night Live. With the exception of one season in the early 1980's, announcer Don Pardo has been the show's only constant. That is until night. Pardo died in his sleep last night. He was 96.

Although long associated with SNL, Pardo was also the voice on the original versions of both The Price is Right and Jeopardy!

Pardo joined NBC in 1944 and would remain for 60 years. Despite retiring a decade ago, Pardo remained the voice of SNL recording his intros at home.

Here is an audio clip of Pardo on November 22, 1963 informing NBC viewers that President Kennedy had been shot.

Send to Kindle

Why the Vatican Backs Airstrikes in Iraq But Not Syria

By on 8.18.14 | 10:51AM

The Vatican, working off Catholic doctrine of just war, has announced that it condones American military intervention in Iraq, the Washington Times reported last week. The Holy See’s ambassador to the United Nations, Silvano Tomasi, is quoted as saying, “Military action might be necessary,” and calling for, “intervention now, before it is too late.”

The move to endorse American airstrikes against the militants of the Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS, diverges from Vatican policy in Syria. Last year when President Obama considered intervening with airstrikes in the Syrian civil war, the Vatican condemned the plan. It disapproved, too, of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Fear for the safety and freedom of Christians and other minority religious sects in Iraq today has altered the assessment.

Just war theory is perhaps best summarized in paragraph 2309 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It reads:

Send to Kindle

Rob Reiner: Can’t Negotiate With Extremists Like Hamas and the Tea Party

By on 8.15.14 | 11:06PM

In an interview with Larry King, Hollywood director and leading liberal light Rob Reiner likened Hamas to the Tea Party:

Anytime you’re dealing with an extreme group, you cannot negotiate with them, and the way to do it is to eliminate it.

It is tempting to call Reiner a meathead, but that would be too easy. Aside from the fact the Tea Party isn't in the habit of using people as human shields nor building underground tunnels to smuggle weapons, it is apparent Reiner didn't get the memo from the White House. The Obama Administration is all too happy to negotiate with Hamas. It did, after all, recognize Hamas' entry into a coalition with Fatah last spring. And when the Arab world closed ranks against Hamas and backed an Egyptian brokered ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, John Kerry was busy conducting negotiations with Hamas' benefactors - Turkey and Qatar

Send to Kindle

Why Does Rand Paul Keep Playing the Race Card?

By on 8.15.14 | 5:07PM

I have just finished working on an article about on a critique over the controversy over the militarization of our local police forces and the federal funding of said militarization in the context of the conduct of the local authorities in Ferguson, Missouri. One of the articles I cite in my piece is Senator Rand Paul's recent article for Time. 

I would like to take a moment to address a matter Paul addresses I didn't discuss in the aforementioned article - race. Paul writes:

Anyone who thinks that race does not still, even if inadvertently, skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention. Our prisons are full of black and brown men and women who are serving inappropriately long and harsh sentences for non-violent mistakes in their youth.

Send to Kindle

Manfred to Succeed Selig as MLB’s New Commish in 2015

By on 8.14.14 | 9:48PM

As widely expected, the MLB owners have picked Rob Manfred to succeed Bud Selig as Major League Baseball's next Commissioner. Manfred will become the tenth man to hold this office which he will assume on January 25, 2015. 

Manfred decisively defeated Boston Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner. Tim Brosnan, MLB's Executive Vice-President of Business, withdrew from the race today prior to the vote. Last year, Selig appointed Manfred to be MLB's Chief Operating Officer. 

I'm not surprised the woners went with Manfred, but I don't think they'll put up with him for 20 years.

When Selig announced his retirement, I wrote this piece with my suggestions as to who should be his successor. Needless to say, the owners did not take me up on them.

Send to Kindle

Obama & Hillary: Reunited & It Doesn’t Feel So Good

By on 8.14.14 | 10:01AM

When Hillary Clinton criticized the Obama Administration's foreign policy in her interview with Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, I made the case that while her arguments were correct that she did not have the credibility to make them. After all, she had been his Secretary of State, not some detached observer.

In light of Hillary's assurances to Obama to “make sure he knows that nothing she said was an attempt to attack him” and their subsequent hug last night in Martha's Vineyard tells us we should disregard any future critiques she might have of the Obama Administration to be nothing more than sheer opportunism. Obama and Hillary are reunited and it doesn't feel so good.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren is smiling.

Send to Kindle

‘The Giver’: A Message Driven Movie, But a Good One

By on 8.14.14 | 8:53AM

I’ll confess that I wasn’t at all sure what to expect when I went to watch The Giver at a screening last week. The movie, which opens in theaters Friday, is produced most notably by Walden Media, the company owned by conservative Philip Anschutz that intends to develop moral, life-affirming entertainment. That commitment shows. The film translated the thoughtful themes of Lois Lowry’s book well to screen. The movie worked on both counts, as an adaptation of a novel—at only 179 pages, novella might be more accurate—and as a family blockbuster. The script is true, the acting good, the design excellent.

Send to Kindle