The Spectacle Blog

Reagan Awards for Big Government

By on 5.19.06 | 3:39PM

The cynical politics on Capitol Hill sink even lower. Human Events reports that the House Republican "Theme Team" (never heard of 'em), led by Rep. Jack Kingston, is handing out "Ronald Reagan Awards" to Members who have promoted the Medicare prescription drug benefit.

I'm sure the Gipper would smile on that.

My Kingdom for a Horse

By on 5.19.06 | 2:47PM

I’ll be rooting for Barbaro in tomorrow’s Preakness, as I root for any Kentucky Derby-winning horse until we once again have a Triple Crown winner (at which point I’ll go back to rooting for underdogs). At 27 years and counting, the Triple Crown drought has become depressing. Barbaro will be going up against a field of 8 other horses, only two of whom ran against him in the Derby/>/> two weeks ago. This is one of my pet peeves, as a casual fan. It seems to me that once a horse is entered into one of the Triple Crown races, he should not be allowed to come and go between races. In other words, if you run the Derby/> and skip the Preakness, you forfeit the chance to run in the Belmont/>/>.

Tarred in California

By on 5.19.06 | 2:30PM

Rush Limbaugh today had some fun putting down Southern California beaches after a listener complained that he had ruined his Disneyland beach towel after placing on tar-covered sand, the listener's implication that oil-drilling off the California coast was responsible for the gooky state of its beaches.

As a native of Santa Barbara I naturally know better. Its beaches (some more than others) have always been covered filled with sundry lumps of tar, all of it washed ashore after seeping up from cracks in the ocean bottom. Ever try surfing when thanks to the tar your thighs get stuck to the side of your board? That always seemed to happen to me at El Capitan Beach or a place called the Sands up the coast from the city during my high school years. After getting home the first thing one did before going inside did was scrape and clean off the tar from one's soles.

Webb Not Quite Ready for Primetime

By on 5.19.06 | 1:43PM

Maybe national Dems are looking forward to a Jim Webb upset over George Allen in the fall. (The conventional wisdom predicts a Webb victory over Harris Miller, his Democratic opponent, in the primary next month.)

One very active Democrat friend, a Dean supporter who is working on a liberal Senate campaign this year, said this week in an email, "George Allen's got a fight on his hands" if Webb gets the nomination.

After seeing Webb in action at Shad Planking, I have my doubts. He hung back drinking with his small cadre of supporters. In any race, a good candidate mixes with the crowd -- even folks from the other party. George Allen has mastered that skill. Without it, I would predict that Webb lacks the temperament to win.

Da Vinci Decoded

By on 5.19.06 | 12:57PM

Since the film version of The Da Vinci Code is out today I thought I'd link to two hilarious takedowns of the much-heralded story. First, Mark Steyn on "bad writing for biblical illiterates." Here's the opening graph:

It's a good rule in this line of work to respect a hit. But golly, The Da Vinci Code makes it hard. At the start of the book, Dan Brown pledges, "All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents and secret rituals in this novel are accurate." It's everything else that's hokum, beginning with the title, whose false tinkle testifies to Brown's penchant for weirdly inauthentic historicity. Referring to "Leonardo da Vinci" as "da Vinci" is like listing Lawrence of Arabia in the phone book as "Of Arabia, Mr. L," or those computer-generated letters that write to the Duke of Wellington as "Dear Mr. Duke, you may already have won!"

And then there's Tim Cavanaugh on taking in a bestseller by osmosis. A taste from the middle of a brilliant piece:

Google and Smut

By on 5.19.06 | 9:30AM

Two days ago, the Christian Coalition announced that it was joining with Google to support regulation of the Internet through what is called "Net Neutrality."

There was talk among Hill lobbyists that the Coalition was promised as much as $50,000, and it isn't clear that any money has yet changed hands. But money could be the only reason the Christian Coalition would sell its soul to get into bed with companies that get into bed with the Chinese government and facilitate profits for pornographers. Now, there is is this story out of South America. No one can blame Jack Abramoff for this one.

House fails again!

By on 5.18.06 | 10:25PM

Every time I look up, Congress is doing something else bad or failing to do something good. The failure of this attempt to lift the ban on offshore drilling is an atrocity. I mean, this should have been easy. First, it only applied to natural gas, not oil, and natural gas evaporates anyway so it doesn't cause oil slicks, etc. Second, all the lifting of the ban would do is let states have the choice to opt out of the ban. So under the proposal, if Florida still wanted its precious little ban in place, it could keep it, even if the proposal passed -- but Virginia, which does want to let gas drilling occur, would have that option. What's so wrong with giving the states the option?!? This just infuriates me.