The Spectacle Blog

Bernie Sanders Tags Hillary On Trade

By on 6.15.15 | 6:03PM

Bernie Sanders is surging ahead in a bunch of inconsequential states, but that hasn't stopped the Ron Paul of the left from taking potshots at the presumptive frontrunner, who is trying to co-opt his populist rhetoric to sell Americans on a third Clinton term. 

Barack Obama’s Weekend Was Better Than Yours

By on 6.15.15 | 3:03PM

It was wheels up this morning for Michelle Obama as she undertakes a First Lady goodwill mission to Europe with her two daughters and her mother. The White House has not provided an agenda for the trip, which will take the group through the UK and Italy, but will include the 2015 Expo Milano, an international Worlds Fair of food centered around Italian products that is basically the best thing anyone has encountered in the history of ever. If you're keeping count, this is vacation number 40 for the First Lady.

Before she took off, however, she got quite the send-off from her husband and 499 of her closest friends. This weekend, as you were slogging out your storm drains and mowing the lawn down to a manageable level, the Obamas were enjoying a private concert and event featuring performances by Stevie Wonder and Prince.

9 Worst Nations for Religious Freedom

By on 6.15.15 | 12:53PM

All religious faiths are victims of persecution somewhere. Over the last year “a horrified world has watched the results of what some have aptly called violence masquerading as religious devotion” in several nations, observed the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in its latest annual report.

The Commission highlighted 27 countries for particularly vicious treatment of religious minorities. Nine states make the first tier, “Countries of Particular Concern,” in State Department parlance.

Burma. Despite recent reforms, noted the Commission, “these steps have not yet improved conditions for religious freedom and related human rights in the country, nor spurred the Burmese government to curtail those perpetrating abuses.”

China. President Xi Jinping’s attempt to tighten the state’s control over all dissent has impacted believers, who “continue to face arrests, fines, denials of justice, lengthy prison sentences, and in some cases, the closing or bulldozing of places of worship.”

America’s Most Advanced Climate Station Data Shows U.S. in a 10-Year Cooling Trend

By on 6.15.15 | 12:44PM

Data from America’s most advanced climate monitoring system shows the U.S. has undergone a cooling trend over the last decade, despite recent claims by government scientists that warming has accelerated worldwide during that time.

The U.S. Climate Reference Network was developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to provide “high-quality” climate data. The network consists of 114 stations across the U.S. in areas NOAA expects no development for the next 50 to 100 years.

Obama Decree Gives Western Landowners the Bird

By on 6.15.15 | 12:29PM

The Obama administration is establishing new to limits on public land uses in 10 Western states to protect the habitat of the ground dwelling greater sage grouse. The federal efforts are an attempt to prevent a continued decline in sage grouse numbers which could necessitate listing the sage grouse as threatened or endangered. The new limits are the federal government's biggest land-planning effort to date to conserve a single species.

The proposal would affect energy development. Among other actions, the regulations would require oil and gas wells to be clustered in groups of a half-dozen or more to avoid scattering them across habitat of the greater sage grouse. Drilling near breeding areas would be prohibited during mating season, and power lines would be moved away from prime habitat to avoid serving as perches for raptors who prey on sage grouse.

Rachel Dolezal Resigns As Head of NAACP Spokane Chapter

By on 6.15.15 | 12:25PM

After avoiding the media over the weekend, and dodging questions about her status as NAACP chairwoman this morning, Rachel Dolezal, the head of Spokane's NAACP who has, apparently, been masquerading as African-American for much of her life, has resigned.

Rachel Dolezal, the civil rights activist in Washington state who has come under fire for her disputed racial identity, said Monday she was stepping down as president of the NAACP’s Spokane chapter.

Teacher: I Don’t Teach Shakespeare Because He’s White

By on 6.15.15 | 12:16PM

The Washington Post has published a guest article by a California teacher arguing that American high school students shouldn’t read Shakespeare because he’s a dead, white man.

Dana Dusbiber, who teaches English in Sacramento, says she avoids Hamlet and all the rest because her minority students shouldn’t be expected to study a ”a long-dead, British guy” (Dusbiber herself is white). And while Shakespeare is widely regarded as the premier writer of the English language, able to timelessly portray themes central to the human experience, Dusbiber says he only is regarded that way because “some white people” ordained it and he can easily be replaced.

Christopher Lee, R.I.P.

By on 6.15.15 | 12:04PM

Actor Christopher Lee passed away on June 7 of heart failure and respiratory problems. He was 93.

Before Lee became an actor, he served in Britain’s RAF during WWII, primarily in North Africa and later in Italy. Part of his military career was spent hunting down Nazis.

After the war, Lee embarked upon an acting career. He mostly played bit parts, but by the late 1950s would begin find his niche in horror films as Dracula, playing him in 10 films over the next 15 years. He would also appear in the British horror classic The Wicker Man. His other notable appearances during the 1970s were as the villain in the James Bond film The Man With the Golden Gun as well as the disaster movie Airport ’77.

 Younger audiences will remember Lee for his role as Count Dooku/Darth Tyranus in two of the Star Wars prequel movies and as Saruman in both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. In his later years, Lee also had an unlikely career as a heavy metal artist releasing several albums including Charlemagne: The Omens of Death and a Heavy Metal Christmas.

Jeb Bush is “Making a Difference” In His First Campaign Video

By on 6.15.15 | 12:03PM

When they made this ad, I think, Jeb Bush still assumed he had it all in the bag. With that interpretation of his campaign deader than a Game of Thrones main character in a season finale, the ad seems either way too early or way too late to be effective. 

Or, I could just be biased because it's a Jeb Bush ad. I report, you decide. 

The ad's primary focus is, of course, Jeb Bush's middle-of-the-road-ness, a quality that Jeb has embraced from the beginning. And why not? It's not as though he could run to the right of Ted Cruz and look authentic. He's got a record a mile long and a brother and father who've at least influenced his political leanings. Instead, he's Jeb Bush the problem solver, Jeb Bush the guy children love unconditionally, Jeb Bush the man who will embrace America in a big bear hug and give them a chocolate milk and tell them not to worry their precious little heads because everything is going to be just fine. 

Hillary Clinton Releases Campaign Platform, Playlist

By on 6.15.15 | 11:51AM

Hillary Clinton announced her intention to run for President a second time on Saturday, with a long platform speech on New York's Roosevelt Island.

Apparently, we're supposed to think of Hillary as a fighter, a caricature of herself that she drove home time and again throughout her speech with stories about her mother, her upbringing in a posh northwest suburb of Chicago, and her efforts to crash through the glass ceiling on the coattails of her husband.

Hillary Clinton used the first major rally of her second run for the White House Saturday to make a populist case for her presidential campaign, declaring that the goal of her presidency would be to tip the nation's economic scales back toward the middle class's favor.

Clinton used her gender to cast her candidacy as historic and forward-looking. And she used the story of her mother, Dorothy Rodham, to show that she understands the challenges of climbing out of poverty...