The Spectacle Blog

Five Things You Might Have Missed About Pope Francis’s Visit

By on 9.24.15 | 12:44PM

The news media seems content to use Pope Francis's visit as a way to hammer on Republicans who, to them, "oppose" the Pope's agenda, including environmentalism, support for immigration and solving income inequality. Now, while that assumption is objectively incorrect — most Republicans aren't opposed to such things, just the government's role (and, by extension, the government's presumed effectiveness) in solving such problems — coverage of Papal activities that don't conveniently fit with the media narrative of "today's progressive Pope" has fallen by the wayside.

Far from the liberal prophet he's been proclaimed to be since stepping foot on American soil, the Pope, who will make some 18 speeches in the course of his visit, has encouraged deep and critical thinking about both the cultural and political state of the American nation. Here are a few details of the Pope's visit that have somehow escaped the roving eye of the Fourth Estate, but might put much of what the Pope has said on his visit into context:

The Year of Educational Choice Continues

By on 9.24.15 | 10:06AM

This is the sixth post in a series covering the advance of educational choice legislation across the country this year. As of my last update in early July, there were 17 new or expanded choice programs in 14 states. On Friday, North Carolina lawmakers finally passed a long-overdue budget that expanded the state’s two school voucher programs for low-income and special-needs students, bringing the total number to 19 new or expanded programs in 15 states. The updated tally is below.

DNC Says Marco Rubio is a Nazi, Basically

By on 9.23.15 | 6:52PM

Marco Rubio spent Yom Kippur with a wealthy donor in Florida who has an incredible art and literature collection, spanning hundreds of years, with works by some of the greatest artistic - and political - figures in history, including Claude Monet, Winston Churchill, Auguste Renoir, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Adolf Hitler. The collection spans an entire wing of his mansion, employs two librarians (one full-time and one part-time), cost millions to maintain, and operates, generally, as a museum.

So naturally, Marco Rubio stepping foot into the house - not the museum wing but the house itself - means he's a Nazi sympathizer. According to Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the DNC, at least, that is.


Be careful, everyone. Next time you step into a library with a copy of Mein Kampf, you, too, could be mistaken for a Nazi. Heaven forbid they also have a couple of his tablecloths. 

Joe Biden Now Top Presidential Choice for 25% of Dems

By on 9.23.15 | 6:10PM

Joe Biden has finally cracked the ten point mark behind Hillary Clinton, and it's looking increasingly like he's the top choice for most Democrats.

Hillary Clinton has all but disappeared from public view of late, as the State Department and FBI continue their quest to glean every last email from her erstwhile bathroom server and Bernie Sanders has remained trapped in the indie concert circuit, so Joe has had plenty of time to ascend through the ranks. Even though the numbers seem to demonstrate that he's the candidate of "please just someone other than Hillary," his opportunity is looking sharper ever day

Clinton, once the prohibitive front-runner, is now the top choice of 33 percent of registered Democrats and those who lean Democrat, the poll shows. Biden places second with 25 percent and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is at 24 percent…

Obama Pledges to Pope to Support Religious Liberty

By on 9.23.15 | 2:36PM

This morning, Barack Obama welcomed Pope Francis to the White House, holding a joint press conference on the White House lawn before hosting a meet and greet with several thousand guests. As expected, the Pope didn't bring out the big guns on any open objection to Obama Administration policy - he is, after all, a global leader, and will probably restrict his suggestions on policymaking to tomorrow's address to Congress - but he did ask the President to take religious freedom seriously. 

The President, of course, didn't seem to quite understand the request.

‘The Muppets’ Is Absolutely Awful

By on 9.22.15 | 9:37PM

I skipped my swimming this evening so I could watch the series premiere of The Muppets on ABC. I wish I had gone to the pool.

The laughs were few and far between. Kermit the Frog and Fozzie Bear had so much angst between them I thought I was watching a Woody Allen movie. And by Woody Allen movie I mean Interiors, not Annie Hall. Do we really need to hear Fozzie talk about "offensive stereotypes" never mind have a human girlfriend? It's bad enough Kermit has a pig fetish.

There were a couple of good moments with The Great Gonzo and Animal. They can't be ruined. But where the hell was Rowlf the Dog?

I am sure the ratings will be great tonight, but look for a steep decline in the coming weeks. It would not surprise me if the show is cancelled by mid-season. If this script revolved around people it would never see the light of day. 

Phillies Give Mackanin a Short Leash

By on 9.22.15 | 8:29PM

I am glad to hear the Philadelphia Phillies have removed the interim tag from Pete Mackanin's status and named him their full-time manager.

Mackanin has been a baseball lifer four four decades and has twice been an interim manager for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds in 2005 and 2007, respectively. Finally, he is being given his chance.

But the Phillies have given him short leash. He is under contract for next season with a club option for 2017. It isn't exactly a big vote of confidence, but it's better than nothing.

OK, the Phillies are 30-46 since he took over. They have the worst record in MLB, have lost six in a row and eight of their last ten and is feuding with Odubel Herrera. Still, there's a good chance they'll get out of the season with fewer than 100 losses. Believe me that will be an accomplishment. The Phillies have nowhere to go but up.

Obama Selects Dissident Catholics, Anglican Bishop to Greet Pope at White House

By on 9.22.15 | 7:04PM

Pope Francis has landed on American soil and is working on a packed schedule, addressing Congress and receiving guests at the White House.

Although the Pope is a treasured guest - and his presence on American soil is an honor to American Catholics - the President, who has cited the Pope favorably on issues if Climate Change and foreign policy, hasn't been as conciliatory to the Pontiff in practice as he has been to other leaders. When Pope Francis visits the White House tomorrow, instead of being greeted by a bevy of high profile Catholic leaders, he'll be greeted by dissident nuns, an Anglican Bishop, leaders of pro-choice Catholic "social justice" organizations, LGBT activists and an Obamacare proponent.

South Park Takes on Social Justice Warriors, They Respond Predictably

By on 9.22.15 | 6:31PM

I haven't watched South Park in a while, but I made a point of catching the first episode of this season online. After all, there's nothing I enjoy more than a fabulous grilling of faux-compassionate social justice warriors. And I knew I could count on Trey Parker and Matt Stone to deliver

Now, while almost every group who has ever been lampooned on South Park has taken the insult-slash-honor in stride, social justice warriors...well...didn't. In fact, they spent hours of their life online, Tweeting and Facebooking over the unfairness of it all. They're just trying to make the world a better place, guys. What on Earth is so funny about making the world a better place?

This week’s season premiere slapped “social-justice warriors” — extremists out to police every word for bias.

“PC Principal” takes over the school attended by Kyle, Stan, Kenny and Cartman, the four kids at the show’s heart.