The Spectacle Blog

Ted Cruz First To Declare For President

By on 3.23.15 | 11:27AM

It's morning in America. Although, given that I'm under 2 inches of snow and Ted Cruz is dominating the news cycle, it's more likely to be a morning in December of 2013, than one in March of 2015. But whatever. Happy Presidential Election Kickoff Day, everyone!

And, as announced, Senator Ted Cruzis the first out of the gate to declare his intention to compete for the Republican Presidential nomination. He officially launched his campaign for President this morning, with the obligatory "video that looks like it was cobbled together after someone ran a search for "America" on a stock photo site. Cruz's is entitled "A Time for Truth," and it is very, very patriotic. There are many waving flags, tow-headed children, working Americans, baseballs flying and things of that nature.

His longer, more comprehensive ad, which features him in shirtsleeves talking about his American-ness, is here

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Welcome Aboard, Jay Homnick!

By on 3.20.15 | 4:47PM

Welcome aboard, Jay Homnick! Jay has become our latest senior editor.

Perhaps you read his recent piece on how President Barack Obama, working with the Ford Foundation—yes, the Ford Foundation!—and the non-political State Department, attempted a second-story job on the recent Israeli election and failed ignominiously (“Heavy Meddle: Obama in Jerusalem”). Possibly just today you read of how the nascent Israel Air Force was founded by expat Yankee Jews whose exploits in World War II on behalf of the Allies whetted their appetite to go off to Israel and fight in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence. Many of the nonagenarians were still alive and kicking when Nancy Spielberg began her documentary on them in 2011. Jay has a prevenient sense for a dramatic story and he will be bringing it to AmSpec.

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Ferguson & The Imperviousness to Reason

By on 3.20.15 | 2:45PM

Although it has been factually established that Michael Brown never uttered the phrase "Hands up!!! Don't shoot!!!" there will be always be those who are impervious to reason.

Exhibit #A would be Cristian Farias in this piece he wrote a couple of days ago in The New Republic titled "Hands Up, Don't Shoot Was Not Based on a Lie":

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Marie Harf: You Didn’t Like My Jobs for Jihadis Idea Because You’re Sexist

By on 3.20.15 | 12:33PM

I'll give one thing to State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf: when backed into a corner, she sticks to her guns. She doesn't allow anyone or anything to force her into self-reflection. 

We knew already that Ms. Harf thought her "Jobs for Jihadis" quip - that terrorism, and specifically ISIS, attracts people because they can't find other means of financial stability - was on the money, and that she considered herself just to be repeating the company line. But now, in a speech to what appears to be a group of journalism students, Ms. Harf would like to clarify that, not only was the reaction to her comment overblown, it was overblown because you are all a bunch of sexist, ageist rubes

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Obama Might Have Purchased the House from Magnum P.I.

By on 3.20.15 | 11:52AM

Now, obviously, you're all going to whine "why am I covering something so dumb? Aren't children starving in Asia? Isn't Katy Perry probably pregnant? Why aren't you devoting your precious time and energy to these world-altering things?" Besides having been a political gossip blogger for five years, this issue, America, is really important to me.

I love Magnum P.I. and Barack Obama is about to ruin it for me. And frankly, it is an insult to everything I hold dear, including but not limited to, Mr. Tom Selleck's glorious 1980s mustache, which he wore with great aplomb as he tooled around Hawaii solving mysteries and generally just making hot pants on dudes a thing. Magnum, P.I. set the standard in my life for all men to live up to. Which is why I married a guy with a huge collection of Aloha shirts. Just short of a year ago, I completed one of my bucket list missions and saw T.C.'s chopper in action, taking off across the beach at Turtle Bay and it was possibly the greatest moment of my life.

So you will understand why this is personal.

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Malcolm Fraser, R.I.P.

By on 3.20.15 | 11:49AM

Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser passed away today following a brief illness. He was 84.

Fraser was first elected to Australia's House of Representatives in 1955 when he was only 25. He would rise steadily through the Liberal Party ranks and become Minister of the Army under Harold Holt (who would disappear while swimming the following year). After the Liberals lost power to Gough Whitlam's Labor Party in 1972, Fraser campaigned to be Liberal Party leader but lost to Bill Snedden. However, when Snedden could not unseat Whitlam in the 1974 federal election, Fraser successfully challenged Snedden for the Liberal Party leadership and become leader of the official opposition in March 1975.

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Michael Brown (a.k.a. Michael Lookofsky), R.I.P.

By on 3.20.15 | 9:28AM

Michael Brown (a.k.a Michael Lookofsky) who composed the classic "Walk Away Renee" at the age of 16, passed away on March 19th. He was 65.

Brown was the principal songwriter and keyboard player for The Left Banke. Although he would never match the success of "Walk Away Renee", they did have one other notable hit called "Pretty Ballerina". Baroque pop became a short-lived craze and Brown was at the center of it.

After leaving The Left Banke, Brown was a member of several other groups like Montage, Stories (which would have a big hit with "Brother Louie" after he left the band) and The Beckies.

After the mid-1970's, Brown more or less disappeared from the music scene although he would make a handful of appearances when The Left Banke reunited circa 2012-2013.

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Open Letter to the Professor Who Banned a Student for Disputing Rape Statistics

By on 3.19.15 | 10:01PM

At Reed College in Oregon, a student claims that his professor banned him from class because he disputed the existence of a "rape culture" in the United States as well as the (obviously bogus but often stated) statistic that one in five college women is the victim of sexual assault. The student, Jeremiah True, has begun a petition calling on the professor to allow him back into class. I have signed it and I encourage you to do so as well.

I don't know to a certainty that the story is true or complete. Nevertheless, the following is the text of an e-mail I just sent to the professor in question.

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When Will The Palestinians Recognize Israel?

By on 3.19.15 | 9:51PM

I honestly don't think it really matters what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's position on a Palestinian state is.

The question isn't whether Netanyahu wants to recognize a Palestinian state or not.

The question is whether the Palestinians will ever recognize Israel. I think the answer to that is quite clear.

The Palestinians and their Arab predecessors have never wanted a Jewish state even when they were offered their own by the Peel Commission during the British Mandate of Palestine in 1937, the UN Partition Plan of 1947, the Camp David and Taba Accords of 2000/2001, Annapolis in 2008 or last year when Palestinians rejected Secretary of State Kerry's peace framework when Israel was prepared to accept.

The only terms under which the Palestinians will accept a state is if it supplants all of Israel including Jerusalem.

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Hillary Clinton Says We Have a “Fun Deficit,” Wants to Create Adult Camp

By on 3.19.15 | 8:54PM

When I think of Hillary Clinton, I do not normally think, "fun." Turns out, the feeling is mutual.

This afternoon, speaking to the American Camp Association New York and New Jersey Tri-State CAMP Conference, she suggested that, since America has been so down in the dumps lately, with all this nonsense about emails and Iranians getting the bomb, maybe what we really need to address is our "fun deficit." And she knows precisely how to do it.

Adult camps.

Hillary Clinton would love to see sleepaway camps for adults and more relationship-building in Washington, she said Thursday at what will likely be her final paid appearance before launching her expected presidential campaign.

"We really need camps for adults,"  the former secretary of state told the American Camp Association of New York and New Jersey’s Tri-State CAMP Conference. "None of the serious stuff ... I think we have a fun deficit in America."

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