The Spectacle Blog

What Will Obama Say About Chapel Hill Murders?

By on 2.11.15 | 9:25AM

My AmSpec colleague Aaron Goldstein asked yesterday "Would The Obama Admin Have Called An Attack on a Muslim Deli Random?"

Unfortunately, today Obama can actually answer almost that exact question given the news of the horrendous murder on Tuesday of three Muslim students by a man named Craig Hicks in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Giving an honest answer in this case would put the administration in a tough spot: Based on his Facebook page, Hicks vehemently disliked Islam...but he also vehemently disliked any and every religion.

It would be most interesting if the administration tries to spin this as "anti-Muslim" when they wouldn't go anywhere near "anti-Jewish" or "anti-Semitic" regarding the Paris deli attack, not least because this attack seems as much anti-religion as anti-a-specific-religion.

A terrible day in Chapel Hill...

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NBC Suspends Brian Williams Without Pay for 6 Months

By on 2.10.15 | 8:57PM

NBC News has suspended Brian Williams without pay for six months as a consequence of his lie about being under RPG attack while reporting from Iraq in 2003 and repeating that lie repeatedly. The suspension is effective immediately.

So what happens in six months from now? Will Williams quietly return in the haze of summer? Or will he be replaced?

Assuming Williams is replaced it will be interesting to see what happens with Hillary Clinton's bid for the White House given her false claim of being under sniper fire in Bosnia.

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Goodbye & Good Riddance to Jon Stewart

By on 2.10.15 | 8:30PM

So Jon Stewart is quitting The Daily Show. 

Well, I say goodbye and good riddance.

I've never found Stewart funny. Not when he was on the late night TV circuit in the late '80s and early '90s; not today.

Yes, I know he occasionally criticizes Obama, but he is essentially an Obama mouthpiece. His apologism for Obama on Benghazi, his eagerness to parrot Palestinian talking points and making ad hominem attacks on Fox News viewers just leaves me cold. His snarky manner simply rubs me the wrong way.



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Would The Obama Admin Have Called An Attack on a Muslim Deli Random?

By on 2.10.15 | 7:34PM

What can I say about the Obama Administration's insistence that the attack on the Hyper Cacher grocery in Paris on January 9th was random rather than an attack of anti-Semitism?

Both Jonathan S. Tobin and Jonah Goldberg have written compelling statements about the Obama Administration's stupidity in this regard. 

With this in mind, I will only add the following thoughts.

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Julio Franco, Ballplayer

By on 2.10.15 | 5:55PM

Some guys just want to play ball. Julio Franco is one of those guys.

Baseball site “Cut 4” is reporting that the 56 year-old Franco has signed to manage and play this year with the Million Stars of Japan’s semi-pro Baseball Challenge League. Seems we just can’t keep Julio out of the lineup, no matter how long in the tooth he gets.

Franco was born in Hato Mayor, Dominican Republic, in the middle of Dwight Eisenhower’s second term as president. His major league debut came on April 23 of 1982 when he played shortstop for the Philadelphia Phillies. His last game in the bigs came in September of 2007 with the Braves when Franco was 49 years old, well past retirement age, even for knuckle-ball pitchers. He became the oldest regularly playing position player in Major League history.

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Not Even a Majority for the Truth

By on 2.10.15 | 4:41PM

Mark Twain said if you don’t read the newspaper you’re uninformed. If you do, you’re misinformed. Our Samuel Langhorne wrote before TV news and Brian Williams, or he would have included our winsome but imaginative newsreader in his cynicism. 

In the wake of Williams’ admission that he lied (OK, his words were he misremembered) about how a chopper he flew in over Iraq was hit by a rocket propelled grenade, Rasmussen polled folks on what Williams’ future should be a NBC News. The results are hardly encouraging for fans of the truth.

Of those responding to the poll, the results of which were released Monday, 40 percent say Williams should resign from NBC. Another 35 percent say he shouldn’t resign. A confused 25 percent admit they don’t know what to make of it.

So there you have it. If Rasmussen’s 800 respondents are representative of the country — Rasmussen claims a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent — then 60 percent of Americans either think it’s OK to have a liar for a news presenter or aren’t sure this is a problem. Can we no longer even muster a majority for the truth?

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Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner Brings Mandatory Union Dues to an End

By on 2.10.15 | 1:48PM

Apparently, when it comes to the game of issuing Executive Orders, both parties can play.

Last night, just in time for the 6 o'clock news, newly-minted (Republican) Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner announced that he will use his pen and his phone to put an end to a requirement forcing all Illinois state workers to pay dues to the Illinois government employees union. The move, which Rauner takes in open defiance of a heavily Democratic state legislature, will cut off the spigot Illinois's public sector unions use to fund Democratic candidates without having to encounter the people who receive their hefty checks.

Gov. Bruce Rauner, the newly elected Republican who has often criticized public sector unions, took his first step toward curbing their power on Monday by announcing an executive order that would bar unions from requiring all state workers to pay the equivalent of dues.

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American ISIS Hostage Kayla Mueller Confirmed Dead

By on 2.10.15 | 12:52PM

Sad news from Kayla Mueller's family: the 26 year old aid worker who was snatched by ISIS a year ago on her way out of Syria and held for over a year is dead.

We are heartbroken to share that we’ve received confirmation that Kayla Jean Mueller, has lost her life,” Mueller’s parents said in a statement. “Kayla was a compassionate and devoted humanitarian. She dedicated the whole of her young life to helping those in need of freedom, justice, and peace.”

The statement did not elaborate on how it had learned of Mueller’s death or the circumstances of her death.

ISIS claimed last week that Kayla had been killed in Jordanian airstrikes, undertaken after ISIS killed a Jordanian pilot it had held hostage, but ISIS isn't the world's most reliable narrator, to say the least. ISIS notified her parents of Kayla's death this week, apparently, including, because they're barbarians, pictures of her body. 

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Obama: Media Overstates Terrorism; Paris Kosher Grocery Shooting Random

By on 2.9.15 | 10:25PM

President Obama was interviewed with Ezra Klein and Matt Yglesias of Vox on January 23rd, but was not made public until yesterday. Yglesias asked Obama questions concerning foreign policy such as this one:

Yglesias: Do you think the media sometimes overstates the level of alarm people should have about terrorism and this kind of chaos, as opposed to a longer-term problem of climate change and epidemic disease?

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Obama Will Veto Keystone XL Behind Closed Doors

By on 2.9.15 | 3:38PM

The President will veto a bill authorizing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline this week, despite the bill's bipartisan support. But instead of making a big deal out of the "do nothing Congress" he's seen so far as his foe (Obama's only had the chance to veto three bills in his Presidency, largely due to partisan deadlock in the legislature), Obama will stamp this one out quietly, behind closed doors at his desk, without any media fanfare. 

Because, as it turns out, the man who has spent the better part of four years accusing the Republicans of being the blockade against effective legislation is about to undertake a two-year crusade against anything passed by Congress, and he doesn't want anyone to know about it.

Obama’s veto — just the third of his presidency and the first since 2010 — is expected to come with little fanfare, with even opponents of the pipeline arguing the White House should avoid further angering Democrats and unions who want Keystone to be built.

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