The Spectacle Blog

Hillary Clinton: Hard Choices with Old MacDonald and Steven Colbert

By on 8.6.14 | 4:53PM

Don’t worry world: should Hillary Rodham Clinton win the 2016 presidential election, there will be peace in our time — at least between giant ducks and tiny horses.

That's the takeaway from Clinton's latest interview with faux newsman Stephen Colbert. Attempting to gauge Clinton’s ability to follow through on the titular promise of her new memoir — to make hard choices — he asked the prospective 2016 contender an age-old question: Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses, or one horse-sized duck?

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I’ll Say It Again: Justin Amash is Exactly What America Needs

By on 8.6.14 | 4:05PM

I've written about Congressman Justin Amash, whom I consider a friend, a few times. His district is 1200 miles from my home, but for the second election cycle in a row, he is the only member of Congress to whom I made a campaign contribution.

Amash is a tireless champion for liberty and for the Constitution, even when it puts him in opposition to Party leadership, and even though that opposition has cost him, for example, a seat on the House Budget Committee.

A conversation with Justin Amash gives you a glimmer of hope for the future of our nation and of the Republican Party (of which I am not a member though I wish I were inspired to be).

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A Break in the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 Investigation?

By on 8.6.14 | 1:54PM

New evidence appears to confirm that pro-Russian separatists were involved in the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. A man, known only as Vasilijus, stepped forward a little over a week ago to inform a Lithuanian news site that he is the owner of the Volvo truck identified as having transported the Buk missile system that is thought to have brought down the passenger jet. He claims that pro-Russian separatists took control of the truck and his base of business operations late last month. He has stated that the white Volvo truck cab shown in footage of the missile system’s movement is unique to his truck and thus ties the Buk launcher to the separatist band that stole it from him.

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Canada’s Green Party President Forced to Resign for Being Pro-Israel

By on 8.6.14 | 10:09AM

I have made no secret of the fact that I broke with the NDP and the Left in general over its reaction to the events of September 11, 2001. The anti-American and anti-Israeli sentiments were simply too much to bear.

There is little room on the Left for supporting Israel. Yesterday, Paul Estrin was forced to resign as President of Canada's Green Party for writing a blog post on the party's website last week in support of Israel. In a blog post titled "Why Gaza Makes Me Sad" (which has since been removed from its website), Estrin writes, "Gazan officials tell their people to be killed while they hide in bomb shelters. This is worse than cowardice. It is vile and ugly and they should be put to shame. Instead, it is Israel who is put to shame."

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Two Primaries to Watch Tonight

By on 8.5.14 | 5:25PM

It’s primary day once again, as four states head to the polls to choose their party’s candidates for the upcoming 2014 midterm elections. Two of the races being decided today, one in Kansas and one in Michigan, have garnered national attention for their importance to the Tea Party and the antics of the involved candidates. Here’s what to keep your eye on tonight.

The Sunflower State’s senatorial primary pits long-time incumbent Senator Pat Roberts against Milton Wolf, a Tea Party challenger who is, incidentally, also the second cousin of President Obama.

Roberts has an 86 percent lifetime rating and an endorsement from the American Conservative Union. But he has also been in the senate for thirty-three years, which plays into the stereotype of out-of-touch career politicians. CNN reports:

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Rand Paul Isn’t Exactly a Profile in Courage

By on 8.5.14 | 4:51PM

Senator Rand Paul wasn't exactly a profile in courage earlier this week in Iowa. While having lunch with GOP Congressman Steve King, two amnesty activists (one of whom referred to herself as a DREAMer) confronted the pair. While King stuck around and chatted with the two, Paul, not having finished his hamburger, did an impression of Jesse Owens that would have impressed the late Cleavon Little. Or like Sir Robin in Monty Python and The Holy Grail he bravely turned tail and fled.

This does not make Paul look good at all. Politicians can ill afford to be seen running from people even if those people aren't likely to be your supporters. Of course, the amnesty activists had an agenda an axe to grind. But so does everyone. It comes with the territory. Unless people have violent intentions there's no reason to slip a politician seeking higher office out the back door, especially if one is seeking the White House.

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On Losing Jim Brady

By on 8.5.14 | 4:28PM

Jim Brady’s death brought to mind a wistful moment in The Prince of Darkness, the late Robert Novak’s priceless memoir. On March 23, 1981 — one week exactly before John Hinckley shot bullets into President Reagan and his press secretary — Novak and his partner Rowland Evans sat down with Reagan in the Oval Office for a 30 minute interview. Novak had called Brady to request it, and to his surprise Brady was the only aide present, and he left after five minutes. “We were alone with the president,” Novak writes, for another 30 minutes it turned out. At which point, Brady returned, “hand-signaled” to Novak that time was up but gave him and Evans five additional minutes to wrap things up.

Reports Novak:

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Simon & Schuster’s Director of Publicity Responds

By on 8.5.14 | 1:00PM

Earlier today we received this reply from Simon & Schuster’s director of publicity to my column today, “Reagan Authors in Plagiarism Fight”:

Dear Mr. Lord and Mr. Pleszczynski,

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Toledo Lives, But Every City Is Mortal

By on 8.5.14 | 10:15AM

The tap water is once again safe to drink for the residents of Toledo, Ohio, the state’s fourth largest city, the Associated Press reports. Toxin levels in the area’s water system caused by an algae bloom in Lake Erie were declared low enough for safe human ingestion on Monday. Whether the Eukaryotes were solely to blame for the incident is not completely clear, and investigators will be inspecting Toledo’s pipes to make certain that the aging system did not contribute to the problem.

The episode does highlight, however, the fragility of the modern city, which can be crippled not merely by hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters. With many people packed into a relatively small area and dependent on bureaucracies for their very survival, it’s a miracle disruption is so infrequent.

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Pedants’ Corner: Jane Austen Wasn’t an ‘18th-Century Novelist’

By on 8.4.14 | 6:36PM

I've complained here before about seeing my second favorite novelist referred to as a "Victorian." This howler has been popping up less and less of late. (No credit due here, of course: people probably just started using Wikipedia….) But now I'm beginning to see a similar mistake. In a piece—not entirely without interest—in the Atlantic about Austenian political economy, one finds her referred to in the headline as an "18th-century novelist."

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