The Spectacle Blog

Will Bob McDonald Step Down as VA Secretary?

By on 2.24.15 | 1:01PM

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Bob McDonald has issued an apology for claiming he served in the U.S. Army Special Forces.

Last month, during a segment on CBS News, McDonald was in a conversation with a homeless veteran and told the man he had served in the special forces. McDonald is a graduate of West Point and did serve in the 82nd Airborne Division for five years before joining Proctor & Gamble in 1980, eventually becoming its CEO.

McDonald has only been on the job since last July after the VA Hospital scandal forced President Obama to fire his predecessor General Eric Shinseki. Earlier this month, McDonald got into a row with Colorado Republican Congressman Mike Coffman at a congressional hearing over constructions delays at Denver's VA hospital. Under tough questioning, McDonald snapped at Coffman, "I've run a large company, sir. What have you done?"

Coffman served in both Iraq wars.

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Will Obama Admin Make Nuclear Deal with Iran Before Bibi’s Speech?

By on 2.24.15 | 11:19AM

There is some speculation that the Obama Administration and Iran are nearing a nuclear agreement.

If an agreement is indeed close at hand then I wonder if it will be completed prior to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech before Congress which is to take place one week from today in an effort to undercut Bibi.

Yet presumably any such agreement would need to be ratified by the Senate. That is, unless, Obama sees fit work around Senate approval and one cannot put such a thing past him. But if Obama does seek congressional approval then it gives Bibi an opportunity not only to make the case against Iran's nuclear ambitions and intentions, but to also make the case against any deal reached between Iran and the Obama Administration. In which case, Netanyahu's speech could be that much more compelling and convincing.

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Bill Nye The Religion Guy: European Jews Should Get to Know Their Neighbors

By on 2.24.15 | 11:15AM

In an appearance on Bill Maher's show last weekend, Bill Nye The Science Guy became Bill Nye The Religion Guy when he advised that European Jews should get to know their neighbors better.

Nye, Maher and Rob Reiner were discussing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's invitation to European Jews to move to Israel:

REINER: But you can understand it. There were German Jews that lived in Germany in the Second World War and that was their home. And you know at a certain point if your life is in danger you want to go someplace where you're going to be protected.

NYE: So, what do you do about it? I think you get to know your neighbors. That's going to take -- does it take a century? Something like that?

So Nye thinks that if Jews engage in a century long neighborhood outreach program then, by golly, everything will be peachy.

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Media Thinks Jeb Bush’s Wife Spends Too Much on Jewelry. Or Something

By on 2.23.15 | 7:27PM

The Washington Post has a scoop. 

According to DC's newpaper of record, which has tasked itself with the unenviable job of rooting out the most dangerous threats to our nation and the most pressing news in politics, Jeb Bush's wife Columba, who is so mild-mannered she barely makes media waves even when accompanying her husband on the campaign trail, has a jewelry problem

In that she likes it.

And also buys it.

And then wears it.

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Debbie Wasserman Schultz Wasn’t Going to be Nice When Dumped from the DNC

By on 2.23.15 | 7:03PM

There's no question that the DNC has suffered under Debbie Wasserman Schultz's reign. She and Barack Obama have been at each others throats over her leadership (or lack thereof) since 2011, before Obama's second campaign for President, and rumors have been swirling about her ouster since she started hardening up her attitude on television interviews ahead of what was supposed to be a uniting, conciliatory and hopeful second coronation for the President.

Lots of people have wondered why she wasn't sacked. After all, she's presided over a pocketbook that runs consistently into the red and her in-person contributions have been, well, less than stellar. Even now, she's considering running for Senate in order to save herself the trouble of having to convince the people of Florida that she's worth their vote every four years. It turns out, that when confronted with her own ineptitude, Debbie didn't hesitate to pull the same guns on the Obama Administration as she did on Republicans. Had Obama ousted her from her treasured position, she was going to accuse him of - what else? - waging a war on women.

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Was Patricia Arquette’s Wage Equality Speech a Planned Infomercial?

By on 2.23.15 | 5:07PM

As is typical of this sort of "day after a major Hollywood event," you'll be seeing an Oscar recap from me soon enough. You will, no doubt, be impressed with how I deftly handled Patricia Arquette's decision to use her acceptance speech to declare war on America's non-existent wage gap problem, and the audience's fawning response, unaware as they were that they were applauding a lecture on income inequality given by a woman worth a reported $24 million, wearing a dress and jewelry that cost more than most people's homes, and clutching an award she won for being paid hansomely to act like herself in a film. 

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Al Sharpton Sued for Racial Discrimination?

By on 2.23.15 | 5:02PM

There are a bunch of MSNBC shows hitting the chopping block this month as the network shuffles around it's talent, looking for some way - any way - to get anyone to watch it, short of simply bribing them. They've already cancelled Ronan Farrow's afternoon show for it's "very low ratings," which is putting it nicely - the show had a whopping 11,000 viewers in the target demographic before it landed on the chopping block, less even than Al Jazeera America at the same time, and I guarantee most people have no idea their cable package even includes Al Jazeera. Next in line for a potential cancellation: Al Sharpton.

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DHS Spent a Lot of Money on Office Furniture

By on 2.23.15 | 4:43PM

I bet you thought I was never going to show up again, didn't you? Bwa-ha-ha. It was just a vacation. You're still stuck with me, America.

You're also stuck with Congress, which you may like only slightly less than me, and this week, Congress is readying for it's biggest battle yet, over funding for the Department of Homeland Security in return for Barack Obama forgetting all about that little Executive Amnesty order that has since been stayed by a Texas Federal court. While the Republicans and Democrats fight over whether DHS is using their money wisely, and whether important programs will suffer as a result of a temporary funding halt, the Department of Homeland Security, it seems, is less than concerned. After all, it's not immigration enforcement of the Transportation Safety Administration they're worried about losing the cash for. 

Nope, it's their interior design budget.

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Don’t Mess With The Mayor of Jerusalem

By on 2.23.15 | 9:22AM

In recent months, there have been a wave of stabbings in Israel by Palestinians.

One such stabbing took place near Jerusalem's city hall yesterday. What the attacker did not count on was Nir Barkat, the Mayor of Jerusalem. Barkat and his security team were in the area at the time of the attack. Barkat and a member of his security team confronted the attacker and wrestled him to the ground. Barkat then went to the aid of the man who had been stabbed. Fortunately, Avaraham Goldstein sustained only minor injuries in the attack.

But if not for Barkat and his team, the situation could have been much worse.

Barkat has been Jerusalem's mayor since 2008. Although he was elected with Labor Party support, Barkat is backing Benjamin Netanyahu in next month's elections.

I have a feeling this won't be the last we hear of Nir Barkat.

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Thoughts on the 87th Academy Awards

By on 2.23.15 | 12:16AM

I must confess I have not seen the entire Oscar broadcast. I just can't miss Columbo or The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

But I saw enough of it to conclude that Neil Patrick Harris was lamer host than I thought he would be.

I did catch the tail end of  J.K. Simmons acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actor for Whiplash. Always did enjoy him in Law & Order and the Farmers Insurance commercials.

I managed to miss Patricia Arquette's equal pay rant after she won Best Supporting Actress for Boyhood, but could not avoid John Legend's dubious claim there are more African-American men under "correctional control" than under slavery in the 1850's following his win for Best Original Song for Selma. Surely there is a difference for indentured servitude than serving life in prison for homicide. 

I will say that Legend and Common's interpretation of "Glory" was compelling, but I preferred Tim McGraw's understated performance of Glen Campbell's swan song "I'm Not Gonna Miss You".

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