The Spectacle Blog

Re: Brooks

By on 2.23.06 | 3:00PM

Yes, Dave, he's basically right. But I wonder if, when he first heard about the ports deal without hearing the details, his reaction wasn't the same jolt of shock that all the rest of us felt. His language shows a weird lack of empathy for the very understandable concerns that this news raised at first blush. Compare his perspective to Jonah Goldberg's LA Times column: Goldberg is also critical of the hysteria over the ports deal, but unlike Brooks he doesn't descend into a reactive hysteria of his own.

Wal-Mart to the Dark Side

By on 2.23.06 | 2:52PM

So Wal-Mart will offer more extensive health care coverage to its employees after being bullied into doing so in Maryland, and with similar laws on the horizon.

But surprise, surprise, they're now advocating that the government bear the burden of such rising costs.

At the same time, Wal-Mart Chief Executive Lee Scott said Thursday that employers cannot continue to meet the rising costs of health care and urged a government-business partnership to find an answer. ...

Under mounting criticism from organized labor and other groups, Wal-Mart last fall offered new lower-premium insurance aimed at getting more of its work force on company plans.

It's either a sop to the extortionist Democrats or good business... or both! As David Hogberg wrote last year, CEOs pushing for government-run health care is a growing and foolish trend.

Blame Americans First

By on 2.23.06 | 12:15PM

Poor David Brooks. Remaking the Middle East is not turning out as easily as he had hoped. Today in his column, as last night on the Lehrer NewsHour, he blasts away at the "mass hysteria" that has erupted in the U.S. in response to news of the UAE ports deal. His notions of national greatness apparently never had a chance so long as a "reactionary" ("Whatever. You use the word. I won't use the word," Lehrer responded) like Michael Savage had any say. But here's the giveaway quote:

"[T]he point for politicians is at some point you have to be a statesman, you have got to resist when you get this popular tide and nobody on Capitol Hill is doing, that except John McCain."

"Except John McCain," Lehrer echoed. (Sigh.)

Actually, there was an earlier giveaway quote, in which Brooks began with a wonderful geographic name drop, "I just came back from Doha where you came across --" At which point Lehrer had him identify Doha as being in Qatar, right next to Dubai. Brooks then continued:

Isolationist Fever

By on 2.23.06 | 10:58AM

Is at the heart of the domestic opposition to the Dubai ports deal, David Brooks writes. Rarely does the erstwhile conservative come down so strongly on any issue. I think he's wisely reserved his ammo for when it really matters:

But let's be clear: the opposition to the acquisition by Dubai Ports World is completely bogus.

The deal would have no significant effect on port security. ... Nor would the deal radically alter the workplace. ... Nor would the deal be particularly new in the world of global shipping. ...

If They Don’t Like the Cartoons

By on 2.23.06 | 10:25AM

The "Arab street" certainly won't like this hilarious video by TAS subscriber and loyal online reader Paul Kotik (aka Faul bin Qawtiq). Paul tells me Fa'ul's next dispatch will be an investigation of the Florida nip/tuck joints where terrorists get work done.

Rhode Island Succeeds in Lead Paint Extortion

By on 2.23.06 | 10:12AM

A Rhode Island jury found three lead paint makers (back in the day lead paint makers) liable for the harms of their product yesterday. The suit was brought by the state, so the decision opens the door for other states to squeeze paint companies for health, education, and cleanup programs they don't want to fund.

Re: Duty & Dershowitz

By on 2.23.06 | 10:03AM

Dave, Alan Dershowitz is on a roll. In the Boston Globe he whacks away without mercy at the Harvard clique that's finally succeeded in making a Trotsky of Larry Summers.

Max Weber once wrote of their type, 'For of the last stage of cultural development, it might well be truly said: "Specialists without spirit, sensualists without heart; this nullity imagines that it has attained a level of civilization never before achieved."'

Abdication of Duty

By on 2.23.06 | 8:51AM

Bill Bennett and Alan Dershowitz make points similar to Ben Stein's current article in the Post today.

What has happened? To put it simply, radical Islamists have won a war of intimidation. They have cowed the major news media from showing these cartoons. The mainstream press has capitulated to the Islamists -- their threats more than their sensibilities. One did not see Catholics claiming the right to mayhem in the wake of the republished depiction of the Virgin Mary covered in cow dung, any more than one saw a rejuvenated Jewish Defense League take to the street or blow up an office when Ariel Sharon was depicted as Hitler or when the Israeli army was depicted as murdering the baby Jesus.

Herschel Woodrow Williams

By on 2.23.06 | 7:30AM

You wouldn't know it to look at him. "Woody" Williams is a cheerful guy, now in his later years. He teaches Sunday school at a church near his home. And, as you might expect, he speaks softly and always has a kind word. His smile is a real delight.

Sixty-one years ago today, Woody Williams fought -- for four hours, crawling back and forth through machine gun fire to get more ammunition and refill his flame thrower -- and cleared a path for his fellow Marines to break through Japanese lines on Iwo Jima. For this, he received the Medal of Honor. And, more importantly to him, he saved the lives of a lot of Marines. God bless you, Woody. I'll try to call you later.

Re: Dubai to All That

By on 2.23.06 | 6:31AM


You're right about this being a loser for the President. With my background in advertising and corporate communications, I believe I can fill in what happened.

Obviously, DPW and P&O have been talking about this acquisition for some time. You don't just pull a multi-billion dollar deal out of your back pocket on a whim over lunch. The Saudis are extraordinarlily media savvy. They would have had a corporate p.r. firm getting their country into the news in a positive way, from America's point of view, starting many months ago. DPW didn't do that. Nobody clued them in that such a deal might run into a buzz saw in the United States. This amounts almost to corporate nonfeasance.

Second major problem, the Commerce Department did not communicate about the merger to any of the rest of the administration until the decision to approve the deal was made. That speaks volumes about bad communication within the Bush administration.