The Spectacle Blog

Webb Joins the 2016 Democratic Presidential Race

By on 7.2.15 | 8:23PM

Former Virginia Senator Jim Webb is the fourth Democrat to declare his intention to run for the White House. He made the announcement via his website.

Webb, a former Secretary of the Navy during the Reagan Administration, wants to talk foreign policy. Yet another weak spot for Hillary. But I suspect Webb is too hawkish for most Democrats despite his opposition to the War in Iraq.

Besides, the anti-Hillary sentiment has pretty much congealed around Bernie Sanders.

Well, at least he didn’t call for the introduction of the metric system. You can’t celebrate the Fourth of July on centimetres.

It Looks Like NYC Will Also Dump Trump and Keep Sharpton

By on 7.2.15 | 3:32PM

Today, Jeff Lord sorts out the sorry details of how NBC dumped Donald Trump, but is more than happy to keep Al Sharpton at MSNBC.

It would appear that New York City, namely Mayor Bill de Blasio, will follow suit as he has ordered a review of the city’s contracts with Trump.

Mayor de Blasio proclaimed, “Donald Trump’s remarks were disgusting and offensive, and this hateful language has no place in our city. Trump’s comments do not represent the values of inclusion and openness that define us as New Yorkers.”

All of which leads me to these questions.

Does de Blasio consider Sharpton’s false accusations of rape against former ADA Steven Pagones to be disgusting and offensive?

Obama Won’t Let Gulf Arab States Arm the Kurds to Fight ISIS

By on 7.2.15 | 12:18PM

I’ve always found President Obama declaration that he will “degrade and destroy ISIS” to be odd. If he wants to destroy ISIS then he should simply state that he will “destroy ISIS.” Well, it doesn’t really look like Obama is in any hurry to degrade ISIS, much less destroy it, as Con Coughlin of the Telegraph reports:

The United States has blocked attempts by its Middle East allies to fly heavy weapons directly to the Kurds fighting Islamic State jihadists in Iraq, The Telegraph has learnt.

Some of America’s closest allies say President Barack Obama and other Western leaders, including David Cameron, are failing to show strategic leadership over the world’s gravest security crisis for decades.

They now say they are willing to “go it alone” in supplying heavy weapons to the Kurds, even if means defying the Iraqi authorities and their American backers, who demand all weapons be channelled through Baghdad.

TV Land Pulls Reruns of The Dukes of Hazzard

By on 7.1.15 | 8:47PM

Scarcely a week ago our friend Dan Flynn wrote the following:

As its “Rebel Flag” moniker indicated, it universally symbolized, until fairly recently, rebellion, not racism.

The Dukes of Hazzard, starring an automobile called the General Lee sporting the battle flag on its roof, played on CBS as a top-ten rated show in the early 1980s

Well, in the mid-2010's, the sight of the General Lee is now verboten on TV or at the very least on TV Land. The network which specializes in airing old TV shows has done so in the wake of the backlash against the Confederate flag following last month's massacre of Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. 

If the Obama Admin is Reopening The Embassy in Havana…

By on 7.1.15 | 5:08PM

Then how long will it be before they see fit to reopen the Embassy in Tehran?

Sir Nicholas Winton, R.I.P.

By on 7.1.15 | 4:41PM

Sir Nicholas Winton has passed away at the age of 106.

Winton was nicknamed the “British Schindler” for his role in rescuing 669 Czechoslovakian children, mostly Jewish, by providing safe passage from Prague to London via Holland in the months leading up to the beginning of the Second World War. Winton also arranged for these children to have homes upon arriving in England. However, his work was unknown until nearly half a century after the fact.

Veteran Denied Care At Two VA Facilities Thought No One Would Believe Him, So He Filmed It

By on 7.1.15 | 4:20PM

Despite the Department of Veterans Affairs’ sordid reputation, Iraq war veteran Chris Dorsey wasn’t sure the public would believe that the VA denied him an appointment and said the clinic wasn’t accepting any more patients. So, he took a video.

The VA clinic in Lawrenceville, Ga., initially turned him away for the same reason, which is why he decided to bring his camera along to the Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Oakwood. He received the same response. But this time, he captured the interaction on camera.

The full video shows 33-year-old Dorsey waiting for five minutes before telling an employee that he needs a transfer from the VA system in Athens.

“We’re not accepting any new patients — not this clinic,” the VA employee said in response, signaling an abrupt end to the interaction.

News Media Claims Global Warming Driving Shark Attacks

By on 7.1.15 | 4:05PM

North Carolina saw six shark attacks in the course of just one month, so of course news media is trying to link the unusually high amount of bites to global warming.

National Geographic published a piece exploring the different factors possibly driving last month’s shark attacks. One of the five factors influencing shark attacks the news outlet listed was “global warming.”

National Geographic claimed that as “warming is expected to increase, it will likely bring more sharks farther north and entice more people to get into the water, which will lead to more bites.” The news outlet noted earlier on in its article that “[m]ost shark attacks in North Carolina happen when the water reaches about 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 Celsius)” and that the “warmer weather has also brought more people to the state’s beaches and entices them to take a dip to cool off.”

Linking global warming to June’s spat of shark attacks in North Carolina was criticized by Cato Institute climate scientist Chip Knappenberger who cautioned against such claims.

Elizabeth Warren Finally Passes Her Peace Pipe…To Bernie Sanders?

By on 7.1.15 | 1:40PM

Hillary Clinton has been aggressively courting America's most prominent Native American Senator, Elizabeth Warren (D-$8.5M Net Worth) for months now, hoping against hope that the self-appointed champion of the people would join her campaign rather than work against it. The sell was tough: Warren would have to abandon her progressive principles more than she already does on a daily basis, in order to openly rubberstamp a campaign that has a designated donation pipeline flowing straight from Wall Street C-suites. 

While Warren has been playing along for a while, ultimately, she may be forced to abandon the promise of, say, one day heading up the SEC, where she could live out her American dream burning bankers at the stake one by one, and back her main man, fellow progressive Bernie Sanders. At least, unofficially.

Do You Hear the Drivers Honk?

By on 7.1.15 | 1:36PM

Last week, taxi drivers in France protested the Uber ride-sharing service by blocking access to airports and train stations, erecting barricades, destroying vehicles, and assaulting rival drivers in confrontations that led to injuries. American celebrity Courtney Love Cobain, caught up in the chaos, tweeted: “they’ve ambushed our car and are holding our driver hostage. they’re beating the cars with metal bats. this is France?? I’m safer in Baghdad.”

The government of France then responded to the violence in oh-so-French fashion: it arrested Uber’s executives

My Cato colleague Matthew Feeney wrote the whole story up and you should go read hisForbes piece now. My humbler role is to set the episode to music, by way of a tune you may have found hard to get out of your head if you’ve ever seen Les Miserables