The Spectacle Blog

Atlanta Braves Lose 10 in a Row; En Route to Worst Season in 25 Years

By on 9.4.15 | 11:19PM

Mention the Atlanta Braves and one is likely to think of Bobby Cox, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Chipper Jones as well as their 14 consecutive division titles, five NL pennants and a World Series title in 1995.

Right now those days seem so far away as the team lost its 10th consecutive game. The Braves had a 2-1 lead against the Washington Nationals in the 9th but couldn't hold it and lost in extra innings. 

There was a time when the Braves appeared to have a chance to contend in the NL East this season. On June 21st, the Braves had a 35-35 record. That doesn't look particularly impressive, but they had just swept the New York Mets and were 1.5 games back of the Metropolitans and 2 games back of the Nats. Since the summer solstice, the Braves have gone 19-46. Since the All-Star Break, the Braves are 12-34. The Braves are only a game ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies for last place in the NL East and the worst record in MLB. Regardless of where they finish, the Braves are on their way to having their worst season in 25 years. 

Tweet for Tat (Curt Schilling vs. Gwen Ifill)

By on 9.4.15 | 9:26PM

So ESPN sees fit to extend  Curt Schilling's suspension over his tweet. I've never heard of ESPN ever extending a suspension.

Meanwhile, over at PBS, while their Ombudsman wasn't happy with Gwen Ifill's tweet, she will not be subject to any discipline.

It all might be tweet for tat, but let me pose this question.

Would ESPN have suspended Schilling had he tweeted, "Take that, Bibi!"?

I think we all the know the answer to that one. 

Greg Wallance’s Defense of Natalie Portman Misses the Mark

By on 9.4.15 | 6:00PM

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a column where I took actress and director Natalie Portman to task for criticizing the Jewish community for placing an overemphasis on the Holocaust at the expense of other genocides such as what took place in Rwanda over 20 years ago.

A couple of days ago, Greg Wallance, a writer and an attorney (who for some odd reason is identified as George Wallace), wrote a piece for the Jewish Journal defending Portman’s comments and takes me along with former Israeli Labor MK Colette Avital and Holocaust survivor David Mermelstein to task for seeing fit to criticize Portman:

El Conservador No Es Un Hombre

By on 9.4.15 | 3:56PM

El hombre no es conservador,” Jeb Bush told Miami reporters the other day.

The man is not conservative. He was speaking about Donald Trump. It’s not that Jeb! has given up campaigning “joyfully. It’s that every day Trump attacks him with barbaridades,” Bush explained. Barbaridades are very, very bad insults.

Speaking in Spanish, Bush noted that one of his “nueras”—daughters-in-law— is Iraqi-Canadian. So does he also speak in Arabic or Canadian when addressing the relevant audiences? Oh, and his favorite food is “Mexican,” in case you were wondering.

The Morning Spectacle: Labor Relations

By on 9.4.15 | 4:00AM

It's a holiday weekend in just a few short hours.

In Our Sights

Yesterday, Donald Trump signed a "loyalty pledge," apparently reassuring the Republican Party that he will not run a third-party campaign if he's not selected as the GOP nominee. The agreement is non-binding, and while the Republicans provided the pledge, Trump provided the tower it was signed in. 

In 2009, Hillary Clinton held a lovely dinner for several representatives of for-profit schools. Shortly after, Bill Clinton began cashing hefty checks from Laureate International, one of the schools Hillary Clinton had hosted. Shortly after that, Laureate International received a generous State Department grant. How convenient.

Are We Keeping You Up?

By on 9.3.15 | 8:04PM

Those of skeptical mind might think the woman in the white cap at this Jeb! campaign event is a plant, sent here by that clever dog Donald Trump to demonstrate what a low energy guy Jeb! is. But those who listen to Jeb!’s remarks here will no longer think so. It’s a minor miracle that the rest of the folks in the room could answer the bell at the end of this. I hope they then didn’t have to drive or operate heavy equipment. It’s not that the subject isn’t important. But that Jeb!’s treatment of it is narcoleptic.

After a campaign in which he did not win the presidency, former Kansas Senator Bob Dole became a spokesman for Viagra. Perhaps after he doesn’t win the Republican presidential nomination next year, Jeb! will become a pitch-man for NoDoz.

Pigskin Pig-Headedness

By on 9.3.15 | 5:32PM

Well, that didn’t take long. A federal judge Thursday morning nullified NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for Brady’s alleged involvement in an inconsequence called deflate-gate. But before the ink had dried on Judge Richard Berman’s 40-page opinion, the NFL appealed Brady’s appeal of the original ruling.

Terrific. This appeal will likely take months. And if it goes against him, Brady could appeal the appeal of the appeal. If this keeps up, the final final decision on this silly matter can be read out at Brady’s retirement party. After all, Brady is 38. A fine age for a movie leading man. Long in the tooth for an NFL player.

Hillary Clinton’s IT Aide Will Plead the Fifth if Subpoenaed

By on 9.3.15 | 4:35PM

Hillary Clinton's IT squad is scheduled to report to Congress shortly, to discuss the then-Secretary of State's questionable email choices. But, as it turns out, at least one person with direct knowledge of Clinton's email setup - her most trusted IT aide - has already lawyered up and is now refusing to testify, citing the Fifth Amendment.

Bryan Pagliano has worked for Clinton since her 2008 campaign, and joined State alongside his former boss, working primarily in the IT department. He's probably not loking at a rosy career ahead of him on her team now.

A former State Department staffer who worked on Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private e-mail server tried this week to fend off a subpoena to testify before Congress, saying he would assert his constitutional right not to answer questions to avoid incriminating himself.