The Spectacle Blog

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.

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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.

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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.

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‘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.

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Krugman Upended by His Own Logic

By on 8.13.14 | 1:37PM

In a recent New York Times column, Paul Krugman made the assertion that “self-proclaimed libertarians deal with the problem of market failure both by pretending that it doesn’t happen and by imagining government as much worse than it really is.”

But suppose we flip that around — substituting “muddle-headed progressives” for “self-proclaimed libertarians” and “government failure” for “market failure.”

Compliments to Per Bylund, a research professor at the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University, for making the necessary adjustments in a blog post at Mises. org. This is what you get: 

Muddle-headed progressives deal with the problem of government failure both by pretending that it doesn’t happen and by imagining the market as much worse than it is.


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Impervious Arrogance

By on 8.13.14 | 10:52AM

When it comes to Iraq and Iran, I am as ignorant as a swan. But then ignorance is relative, and there aren’t too many people who know anything of value.

With a small group of people, I was brought in 2007 to the White House, where we were asked about Iran. A senior administration official told us that the U.S. wanted to beginning talking to the mullahs, and didn’t know where to begin. “We have no contacts there, and when someone from Iran comes to the UN or to the West we have to rely on friends in other countries to act as go-betweens.” Do you know, he asked us, where we might find people to talk to? The other people in the room knew no more about Iran than I did, and I came away amazed that the country’s senior foreign policy experts were so pathetically out of-touch as to look to us for advice. It was right out of Evelyn Waugh.

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Hillary ’16: The Most Inevitable Candidacy Since Hillary ’08?

By on 8.13.14 | 3:58AM

For months, the Republicans’ prospective 2016 contenders have been taking pot shots at each other. But things are now heating up on the Democratic side as well.

Andrew Stiles at the Free Beacon notes that the Democrats’ coalition—centered around a Clinton candidacy—seems to be fracturing. Stiles cites a piece by Ezra Klein titled, “Hillary Clinton’s Atlantic interview shows she’s not inevitable” and writes:

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Lauren Bacall, R.I.P.

By on 8.12.14 | 9:52PM

Legendary actress Lauren Bacall passed away today of a stroke. She was 89.

Bacall is best remembered for her on stage and off stage partnership with Humphrey Bogart to whom she was married for a dozen years until his death in 1957. They appeared together in her debut film To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep, Dark Passage and Key Largo. Bacall would later marry actor Jason Robards, Jr. 

Some of her other film credits include Young Man with a Horn with Kirk Douglas and Doris Day, How to Marry a Millionaire with Marilyn Monroe, and Sex and the Single Girl with Tony Curtis, Natalie Wood and Henry Fonda. Twice she co-starred with John Wayne two decades apart in Blood Alley and The Shootist.

Curiously, Bacall never received an Academy Award nomination until 1996 when she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in The Mirror Has Two Faces starring Barbra Streisand and Jeff Bridges. 

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Hillary Clinton Picks a Fight With Barack Obama

By on 8.12.14 | 1:50PM

Since the beginning of her Hard Choices book tour, Hillary Clinton has been actively courting the media and positioning herself as the next heir to the presidency. That task now includes taking shots at her former boss, President Obama, in a seeming shift away from the administration’s agenda.

Most notably, the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg published two days ago an interview with Mrs. Clinton in which the former secretary of state knocks the president’s policy on Syria:

The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad — there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle — the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled.

President Obama recently made waves by coining the Obama Doctrine, his foreign policy first principle: “Don’t do stupid s--t.” 

Clinton’s response to Goldberg? “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.”

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Robin Williams, R.I.P.

By on 8.11.14 | 9:15PM

Actor and comic genius Robin Williams was found dead in his home this morning of an apparent suicide. He was 63. 

The world became much sadder and a lot less funny. 

Williams possessed a gift for improvisation. This was apparent from the moment he appeared on Happy Days in a guest spot. That guest spot would result in his own TV series Mork & Mindy co-starring Pam Dawber. 

It took awhile for Williams to achieve success on the silver screen, but he would have a string of hit movies including Moscow on the Hudson, Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poet's Society, Awakenings, The Fisher King, Mrs. Doubtfire and Patch Adams. Williams would win Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Good Will Hunting. 

Last year, Williams returned to the small screen in the CBS sitcom The Crazy Ones co-starring Sarah Michelle Gellar. However, it was cancelled after only one season.

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