The Spectacle Blog

Five Comments on Obama’s Islamic, Sorry, Violent Extremism Speech

By on 2.18.15 | 10:02PM

I would like to share five comments on President Obama's speech before the Summit on Countering Violent Extremism.

1. President Obama defines "violent extremism" in this manner:

By “violent extremism,” we don’t just mean the terrorists who are killing innocent people.  We also mean the ideologies, the infrastructure of extremists --the propagandists, the recruiters, the funders who radicalize and recruit or incite people to violence.  We all know there is no one profile of a violent extremist or terrorist, so there’s no way to predict who will become radicalized.  Around the world, and here in the United States, inexcusable acts of violence have been committed against people of different faiths, by people of different faiths -- which is, of course, a betrayal of all our faiths.  It's not unique to one group, or to one geography, or one period of time.

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Five Observations of Obama’s Op-Ed on Islamic, Er, Violent Extremism

By on 2.18.15 | 1:20PM

Earlier this week, I made the case that unless President Obama's Summit on Countering Violent Extremism would be a complete waste of time unless he was willing to state that the violent extremism we are trying to counter is caused by an ideology based on Islam subscribed to by a small, but critical mass of Muslims.

Well, President Obama has penned an op-ed in The Los Angeles Times and nothing he has written inspires confidence. Here are five observations of the op-ed.

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Marie Harf: “I’m Sorry If You’re Too Dumb to Understand Me”

By on 2.18.15 | 1:10PM

The Obama Administration has chosen to treat the fight against terrorism as a community service project, imploring ISIS radicals to give up their violent Jihad in order to take a minimum wage job as a district IKEA manager in Syria or something. While that seems to misunderstand a basic principle of Jihad itself, the Obama Administration — and in particular, the State Department — seem rather pleased that they've discerned this winning strategy, sort of like how a two-year-old feels the first time he or she makes an appropriate deposit in a plastic potty chair.

Faced with quizzical looks from across the spectrum of media, State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf took to CNN to explain the theory behind her proclamation that ISIS is driven primarily by unemployment, and if they only had real jobs, well, they'd be less likely to run rivers of blood into the Gulf. No, her explanation did not outline the more nuanced aspects of her theory. No, she did not offer evidence to support the idea. She merely posited that she was right and everyone complaining about her complete lack of situational understanding was just bereft of the intellect required to understand her.

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What Happens When You Wear a Yarmulke in Paris

By on 2.17.15 | 5:02PM

Take a look at the reaction when Israeli journalist Zvika Klein gets when he walks around Paris wearing a yarmulke.

When this man doesn't get called "Juif" or subjected to homophobic slurs, they spit it at him - man and woman.

This video is modelled on the one featuring Shoshana Edwards who walked around New York as a woman for 10 hours, a video of which I was quite skeptical.

It is certainly possible that one could level the same criticisms against this video with regard to editing and the neighborhoods selected.

The BBC was certainly skeptical. Quel surprise:

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Warren, Clinton Had a Secret Meeting in December

By on 2.17.15 | 4:23PM

While tens of Elizabeth Warren's most dedicated supporters were meeting over veggies and ranch dressing in quiet mid-western living rooms, to discuss how best to support their chosen candidate's inevitable progressive crusade against Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren herself was pow-wowing (as Elizabeth Warren is wont to do) with Hillary Clinton in her well-appointed DC living room. 

After six months of reaching out to Warren, following a chance run-in at a Martha Coakley rally - we'll call it a Missed Connection, and perhaps the most terrifying one that has ever existed - the two ladies chatted about income inequality and, probably, the latest iteration of The Bachelor over tea and cookies at Clinton's DC home in secret, as Clinton, apparently, looked to woo the Massachusetts Senator out of the competition. 

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Debbie Wasserman Schultz is so Awesome, She Might Run for Senate

By on 2.17.15 | 3:55PM

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, fresh off her appearance at the 2015 Grammy Awards, thinks she's doing a bang-up job at being part of Florida's Congressional delegation. 

She thinks she's so good, it seems that, later this year, when she inevitably steps down from her position as DNC chair, a job she's done so well that a 2016 nominating convention in Philadelphia will be her crowning achievement, she's considering going from a mere Congressional Representative to being a Senator, after Florida's current, more talented Senator, Marco Rubio, steps down from his role in order to run for President. 

Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chair, is strongly considering a bid for U.S. Senate, calculating that having Hillary Clinton at the top of the 2016 ticket would help lift her candidacy in a year-of-the-woman campaign.

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Joe Biden Moves In On New SecDef’s Lady

By on 2.17.15 | 3:31PM

How can we expect newly minted Secretary of Defense Ash Carter to defend our nation and its freedoms from the incursion of catastrophic elements if he can't even defend his own wife's earlobe from sweet nothings whispered by Vice President Joe Biden?

Apparently, when you're a Cabinet Secretary's wife, you get a free back rub with every swearing in.

If she plays her cards right, I bet he'll take her for a spin in his Trans Am later. They can listen to REO Speedwagon under the stars. 

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By the Numbers

By on 2.17.15 | 1:09PM

The New York Yankees have more non-working numbers than Ma Bell. The team has most recently announced that three more uniform numbers are going on the shelf permanently, those worn by Bernie Williams (51), Andy Pettitte (46), and Jorge Posada (20).

These are all worthy players, but all short of Hall of Fame credentials. And Pettitte didn’t even spend his entire career with the Pin Stripes. So, with no disrespect meant to these three fine ballplayers, it’s reasonable to ask, where does this stop? And at a certain point, what will the Yankees do for uniform numbers for current players?

Before this week’s announcement, the Yankees has already retired 18 uniform numbers, including all of the single digits (They’re all here if you’re curious — Derek Jeter’s #2 isn’t on the list yet but soon will be). Now the team is up to 21 numbers off the training table.

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NYT: Anger of Danish Jihadist “Loosely Tied to Islam”

By on 2.17.15 | 1:02PM

Omar al-Hussein, the Danish jihadist who shot and killed two people at a free speech conference and a synagogue in Copenhagen, got a write up in The New York Times yesterday. The headline reads:

Anger of Suspect in Danish Killings Is Seen Only as Loosely Tied to Islam

The article, co-written by Andrew Higgins and Melissa Eddy, begins by quoting a Danish sociologist named Aydin Soei who had met Hussein while studying Danish inner cities in 2008 which eventually led to a book called Angry Young Men:

As the authorities across Europe try to figure out how radical Islam turns a tiny but dangerous minority of young Muslims into terrorists, Mr. Soei, the sociologist, said that Mr. Hussein, 22, was an exemplar of a phenomenon of Europe’s urban neighborhoods, not a product of the teachings of the Quran or their distortions by militant preachers.

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White House To Tackle Extremism on Social Media, Just Not that Kind

By on 2.17.15 | 1:02PM

Today, the White House kicks off a three day journey, deep into the bowels of social media, to root out and discuss the origins and spread of extremism in places like Facebook and Twitter. The Social Media Summit will feature officials and experts from 60 countries, and will focus on how social media creates the perfect environment to foster rhetoric that leads to violence and how economically marginalized people are targeted through social media to join up with extremist groups.

Unfortunately, while there is plenty of evidence that terrorists, generally, and ISIS, specifically recruit and network on social media (a friend of mine even had an ISIS fighter comment on a very lovely photo of her dog just recently), the White House will turn the summits attention to more pressing issues in the social media sphere, like how to use celebrities to reach out to communities suffering from terribly high unemployment, and how to make "hastag activism" more effective

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