The Spectacle Blog

I Wish The Obama Admin Were as Concerned With Death Sentences Against Iranian Bloggers As They Are With Ex-Egyptian Presidents

By on 5.17.15 | 3:26AM

The State Department has expressed deep concern with the death sentence handed out against former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi for his role in the 2011 Muslim Brotherhood prison break.

Of course, an argument can be made that a death sentence against Morsi would turn him into a martyr not only for the Muslim Brotherhood, but for human rights activists. Not that Morsi was overly concerned with human rights when he was in power, but Morsi was democratically elected and disposed of in a coup and that will be enough for some people.

That all being said, I wish the Obama Administration would express the same deep concern when Iran sentenced blogger Soheil Arabi to death last December for "insulting the prophet of Islam" on a Facebook post

Obama: ‘Some Folks’ in New Israeli Government Don’t Want Two-State Solution

By on 5.17.15 | 2:35AM

In an interview with al-Arabiya, President Obama had this to say about peace prospects between Israel & The Palestinian Authority:

I continue to believe a two-state solution is absolutely vital for not only peace between Israeli & Palestinians, but for the long-term security of Israel as a democratic and Jewish state. I know that a government has been found that contains some folks who don't neccesarily believe in that premise, but that continues to be my premise.

I have two observations.

Boston Marathon Bomber Sentenced to Death

By on 5.15.15 | 4:02PM

The jury has just given Boston Marathon bomber Dzokhar Tsarnaev the death penalty.

Despite the best efforts of Sister Helen Prejean to convince the jury of Tsarnaev's remorse, the jury didn't buy it. I guess Susan Sarandon wasn't available.

Tsarnaev can tell Sister Prejean he believes no one should have suffered like they did it doesn't change the fact that he placed a bag of explosives at the feet of an 8-year old boy and detonated them.

Yes, it's true that Martin Richard's parents didn't want the death penalty. But where is the justice in Tsarnaev getting three squares a day and a color TV?

It's true that Tsarnaev will appeal and the appeals process will take years. But under the circumstances this was the only viable decision the jury could make.

It couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

James O’Keefe and Judith Miller Talk Press Freedom

By on 5.15.15 | 12:05PM

Mention either James O'Keefe's or Judith Miller's name and you are likely to cause a stir.

Besides being two major figures in the world of journalism over the last decade, both have rarely shied away from stirring up controversy, whether with guerrilla stories that catch leftist organizations at their work (often unsavory), or with controversial missives from the Iraq War.

While both may draw up strong feelings in both supporters and detractors alike, neither can be said to have made no impact on the world of media — especially when you consider what both James and Judith have been through in the course of their work. Both have confronted their own media community, both have come under fire from their colleagues, and both have faced criminal penalties (Judith served 85 days in jail for refusing to give up her sources in the infamous Valerie Plame affair, James was arrested for criminal conspiracy, among other incidents).

The two sat down together a few weeks ago to discuss what it's like being ousted from the media's inner circle.

Krauthammer Swings & Misses on Giving Obama Fast Track Authority on TPP

By on 5.15.15 | 11:46AM

Like many conservatives, I have enormous admiration for Charles Krauthammer.

However, I must part company with him where it concerns giving President Obama fast track authority on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP):

One group of GOP opponents are traditional protectionists of the Pat Buchanan paleoconservative school of autarky. The others are conservatives so reflexively anti-Obama that they oppose anything he proposes, especially anything that appears to give him more authority.

Stephanopoulos Apologizes…Sort Of

By on 5.15.15 | 11:16AM

George Stephanopolous (I cannnot believe how many times I've had to write that name this week), has apologized for the conflict of interest he created when he deposited three $25,000 checks into the Clinton Foundation's bank account.

He is, it seems, incredibly sorry. And he would like to assure you that he knows he made a mistake - many mistakes, in fact - even though what he actually did was nothing more than caring far too deeply for the people of this world.

B.B. King, R.I.P.

By on 5.15.15 | 10:38AM

Legendary blues guitarist B.B. King passed away last night of complications of diabetes. He was 89.

The son of a Mississippi sharecropper, King's musical career spanned more than six decades. King was never far from his Gibson guitar, Lucille. He first named his guitar in Lucille after a fight and a fire broke out a club he was playing in Arkansas in 1949. King escaped the fire, but realized he left his guitar behind and risked his life to retrieve it. The following day he found out that two people had perished in the fire and the fight started over a woman named Lucille. He thus christened his guitar Lucille "as a reminder to never do anything as stupid as fight over a woman or enter a burning building again."

Arne Duncan Says All America’s Violent Youth Need is Jobs

By on 5.14.15 | 5:09PM

It seems that Marie Harf isn't the only one who thinks that a job creation program is necessary to quell violence that doesn't actually stem from a lack of job creation programs. 

Today, in a speech to the Summit on Youth Violence, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan noted that, while gang violence is a tricky situation to address, when he comes home to Chicago, he meets with gang leaders and they tell him that they would definitely put down their guns and abandon their violent ways, if only there was a job they could get up for every morning.

 Education Secretary Arne Duncan said on Tuesday that he has met with gang leaders in his hometown of Chicago and they’ve told him that it’s a lack of jobs that keeps them on the streets.

“We have to have jobs for young people,” Duncan said at the National Summit on Youth Violence Prevention in Crystal City, Va. “I probably shouldn’t say this in a room like this, but occasionally when I go home I’ll sit down with some of the gang leaders – back home in Chicago.”

Obama Loses Jim McDermott & Keith Ellison

By on 5.14.15 | 5:07PM

You know the Obama presidency has reached its nadir when it loses the likes of left-wing Democratic Congressmen like Jim McDermott and Keith Ellison over TPP. Per The Hill:

“You and I can disagree about policy, but I can’t call you a bad person or impugn your motives or anything else — except at great risk,” Rep. Jim McDermott (Wash.), a liberal Democrat who’s undecided but leaning against the trade bill, said Wednesday.

“Civility in this business is important, because tomorrow I have to work with you, tomorrow I may need you badly,” he added. “A lot of people are standing around saying, ‘You know something, this is getting to be a personal thing, and that’s not the way we want to go here.’ ... He went quite a ways with her and I think probably he won’t go that far again.”

Stephanopoulos Won’t Moderate ABC News Presidential Debate

By on 5.14.15 | 4:59PM

Sen. Rand Paul and Sen. Mike Lee appear to be the first Republicans to officially object to George Stephanopolous's lack of neutrality, with Paul issuing a statement this afternoon calling Stephanopolous's allegiances into question and Mike Lee's communications director taking to Twitter vowing not to let his boss take to the airwaves until the matter is resolved. 

The RNC hasn't followed suit, which is odd considering that they'd lined up at least one debate with ABC news, but it seems they might not need to. Stephanopolous himself has at least acknowledged that moderating between nominees of one party while giving to the opposition has decided to bow out of that job