The Spectacle Blog

Suicidal Purge

By on 8.18.06 | 12:03PM

The Democrats have a great plan to deal with a Joe Lieberman victory: A shunning.

A group of Senate Democrats is growing increasingly angry about Sen. Joe Lieberman's (D-Conn.) campaign tactics since he lost the Democratic primary last week. If he continues to alienate his colleagues, Lieberman could be stripped of his seniority within the Democratic caucus should he defeat Democrat Ned Lamont in the general election this November, according to some senior Democratic aides.


The issue of Lieberman's seniority would arise most dramatically if Lieberman wins re-election and Democrats recapture control of the chamber. That would slot Lieberman to take over as chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the panel primarily responsible for investigating the executive branch.

Democrats think their chances of taking back the Senate are growing more and more likely. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) last week said he was more confident that Democrats would pick up at least five Senate seats.

Security Moms

By on 8.18.06 | 10:09AM

In a July 1, 2004 Opinion Journal column, Peggy Noonan pointed out a phenomenon that she was worried would hurt President Bush's re-election prospects:

History has been too dramatic the past 3 1/2 years. It has been too exciting. Economic recession, 9/11, war, Afghanistan, Iraq, fighting with Europe, fighting with the U.N., boys going off to fight, Pat Tillman, beheadings. It has been so exciting. And my general sense of Americans is that we like things to be boring. Or rather we like history to be boring; we like our lives to be exciting.

Perhaps Noonan was two years early. I thought back to her article when reading today's Washington Post cover story on how the so-called "security mom" vote was starting to shift toward Democrats. In particular, the following quote from Jo Ann Smith, a divorced Ohio mother , stood out:

Jolt Culture

By on 8.18.06 | 9:59AM the name given by J. Peder Zane writing in the News & Observer to our fetish for pointless information in heaping servings. Trivial Pursuit was once the game of middle-class snobs, seemingly invented for intellectuals stuck in yuppie careers to impress at dinner parties. It's still a good game -- so long as you avoid, at all costs, the "90's Edition," which is an updated abomination on par with a blonde James Bond. All of the questions, you suspect after fifteen minutes or so, require the player to draw from an encyclopedic "knowledge" of popular detritus, a memory bank bracketed by Pop Up Video and I Love The 80s.

Department of Scurrilousness

By on 8.18.06 | 12:06AM

Who is Ricardo Alarcón Quesada? He is the "President of Cuba's National Assembly" in "Havana, Cuba" who's been given the lead position in the select letters section of the New Yorker in its August 21 issue. He wrote to defend the so-called "Five Heroes" mentioned in a July 31 piece who are in jail in the U.S. for having, in his words, "penetrated--without force or harm to any individuals--South Florida's terrorist groups, in order to monitor their activities." He claims "the U.S. did not contest that the Cubans' 'crime' was to operate against violent groups tolerated by the Administration." Indeed, "the Bush administration succeeded in protecting its own terrorists" three months after 9/11, "in the heat of the 'war on terror,'" when it had these five men convicted.

Now it's not common practice in Mike Wallace's "so-called free world" to give space to a Goebbels-like stooge without including some sort of editorial response, particularly since Quesada's letter is a slander against all south Florida Cuban-Americans (not to mention the Administration itself and all post-9/11 American sensitivies).

Club for Growth Ousts Chafee

By on 8.17.06 | 10:28PM

So says the AP:

The club has flexed its political muscles in recent GOP primaries. It figured in the ouster of moderate Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island last week, and in Michigan it helped challenger Tim Walberg unseat an incumbent, first-term Rep. Joe Schwarz.

I'll have to send Andy Roth a congratulatory email.

Baylor Ex-Pres Robert Sloan Gives Exit Interview

By on 8.17.06 | 9:34PM

Robert Sloan paid attention to the big buzz about integrating faith and learning throughout the 90's. He certainly didn't invent the concept, not even at Baylor where Provost Donald Schmeltekopf had already tilled the field waiting for seeds, water, and determination to back up his early evangelism of the concept. What Robert Sloan did, though, was to put money and his reputation behind the project to transform Baylor into a great Christian university that was simultaneously a research university. Whether or not U.S. News and World Report acknowledges it, a lot has happened at Baylor. Student board scores are up, graduate programs are churning out Ph.D.'s and Baylor is winning some serious research grants.


By on 8.17.06 | 6:29PM

I've been personally very impressed with Mitt Romney on more than one occassion, but I have expressed concerns about his health care plan that seem unfortunately to be coming to pass. It could get much worse post-November as I pointed out in April:

Even if this plays out perfectly, it is not difficult to imagine this spiraling out of control should Democrats take over the Governor's office in 2006 after Romney retires. Combine that with the likely retention of the Democratic Party's 85 percent stranglehold on the legislature and it will be time to get the peoples' checkbook out and start re-buying those votes they may have lost. Will Democrats let themselves be outdone by a former Republican governor bragging on the presidential campaign trail about delivering universal health care? Such a scenario seems exceedingly unlikely.

Read the rest here.

N. Korea Nuclear Testing

By on 8.17.06 | 6:22PM

ABC News reports that there is evidence suggesting North Korea is preparing a nuclear test. One analyst put the chances of a test by the end of the year at 50-50. If Kim Jong Il does pull off a provocative test, would the Bush Administration ensure that he faces consequences, or will it speak loudly and carry a small twig like it did after the July 4th missle tests?

Mass Care Not Working Out—Part II

By on 8.17.06 | 3:27PM

Lesson number two that Romney ignored: Unintended consequences. From that same Globe article:

Walrath's comments came as the divide between business leaders and healthcare advocates over what constitutes a company's "fair and reasonable" contribution to health insurance deepened yesterday. During a Division of Health Care Finance and Policy public hearing at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, healthcare advocates said the division's proposal would further erode employer health plans, leading to a "race to the bottom."

"The proposed regulations make an already inadequate assessment even more inadequate," said Phil Edmundson, head of a private insurance company and chairman of Affordable Care Today's Massachusetts coalition.

Mass Care Not Working Out—Part I

By on 8.17.06 | 3:16PM

I'm betting that Mitt Romney will eventually come to regret the health care reform he championed. From the Boston Globe:

Representative Patricia A. Walrath, Democrat of Stow, said the regulations proposed in June by the Romney administration do not require businesses to pay enough for healthcare reform. In addition, she said a company's contribution should take part-time employees into account. The rules drafted by the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy exclude part-time workers.

Under the proposed rules, a company is considered a `"contributing employer" if at least 25 percent of its workers participate in the employer-sponsored health plan." Companies that don't meet that threshold can also be considered contributing employers if they pay at least 33 percent of the premium for individual coverage. Businesses with fewer than 11 employees are exempt.