The Spectacle Blog

Tsarnaev Convicted on All 30 Counts

By on 4.8.15 | 2:47PM

It took a jury less than 12 hours to convict Dzohkar Tsarnaev on all 30 counts in his role in the Boston Marathon Bombings as well as his confrontation with authorities that led to his capture in Watertown four days later.

The defense did everything it could to delay the start of the trial and was assisted by all the snow we had here in late January and early February. But it all forestalled the inevitable. The defense only put on four witnesses before resting on the weak argument that he was an unwilling pawn of his late brother Tamerlan.

I remember when Michael Walsh bellowed that we didn't need a small army to take out "a wounded teenager with a gun." Well, that wounded teenager placed a knapsack full of explosives beside an 8-year old boy, detonated it killing him and two young women. He then shot a police officer to death in cold blood, nearly killed another one, carjacked a man and only sparing his life because he wasn't American and threw explosives at authorities along the way.

Tsarnaev Verdict Being Read; Guilty On All Counts So Far

By on 4.8.15 | 2:18PM

The verdict is being read against Dzokhar Tsarnaev as I am writing this dispatch.

He is facing 30 counts and has thus far been found guilty on the first 9 counts. All of these convictions are subject to the death penalty.

I'll have more soon.

Darren Wilson Is No Michael Slager

By on 4.8.15 | 11:00AM

As you probably know by now, a police officer named Michael Slager in North Charleston, South Carolina has been charged with murder for shooting Walter Scott in the back eight times following a routine traffic stop. Yes, Scott was African-American and unarmed.

The incident took place on Saturday. Slager initially claimed that he tasered Scott and shot him after struggling over his weapon. However, videotape of the incident demonstrates otherwise. Slager's attorney would resign after the video surfaced. His arrest would soon follow.

Scores of people have condemned the shooting including South Carolina Senator Tim Scott who tweeted, "After watching the video, the senseless shooting and taking of 's life was absolutely unnecessary and avoidable."

If not for that video, it must be considered that the authorities would have very likely taken Slager at his word.

Stan Freberg, R.I.P.

By on 4.7.15 | 11:23PM

Comedic genius Stan Freberg died of pneumonia today. He was 88.

Freberg was known for his satires of The Lawrence Welk Show, Dragnet, Banana Boat  not to mention his take on the history of The United States of America ("Life, liberty and purfuit of happineff.")

He also enjoyed a successful career in advertising as with this Geno's Pizza commercial featuring The Lone Ranger & Tonto.

In the early '80's, Freberg did a TV special satirizing the federal debt featuring author Ray Bradbury and M*A*S*H star David Ogden Stiers. Take a look. It'll make you both laugh and cry.

The Fatal Flaw of the Westboro Analogy

By on 4.7.15 | 10:28PM

Jeff Lord tries to explore Rick Santorum's question whether a gay owned business should be forced to print "God Hates Fags" signs by the notorious Westboro Baptist Church. Specifically, Jeff inquired if Congressman Mark Pocan's sign business (which he runs with his husband) would do just that and indeed they would.

But let's say Pocan refused to serve the Westboro Baptist Church. Perhaps Jeff and Santorum might scream hypocrisy. Yet that would assume a) Pocan is declining their business on religious grounds and b) declining their business solely on their anti-gay stance.

Which brings me to the fatal flaw in Santorum's question and Jeff's thesis. What they fail to take into account is when the Westboro Baptist Church deploys these "God Hates Fags" sign they do so at military funerals accompanied by signs such as "Thank God for Dead Soldiers". Isn't it possible that a gay business owner could refuse service to the Westboro Baptist Church because he or she finds their behavior towards our military odious?

MSNBC: Trump Beats Rand Paul, Chris Christie in Poll

By on 4.7.15 | 6:42PM

Kentucky Senator Rand poll announced for president. Yet two hours earlier — before his announcement?

MSNBC had this headline

Donald Trump beats Rand Paul, Chris Christie in poll

So what to make of this poll from Monmouth University?

The race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination is wide — and I do mean wide — open. In this corner it appears that there are two sets of candidates: Insiders versus Outsiders. Insiders? Think Jeb Bush or Chris Christie. Outsiders? That would be Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and yes, Rand Paul and others.

Equality Promotions: We Would Serve Westboro

By on 4.7.15 | 3:53PM

Responding today to my piece on Equality Promotions is Philip Frank, the co-founder of the company. I had asked for an answer to Senator Santorum’s question from the weekend, which was this:

“Tolerance is a two-way street. If you’re a print shop and you are a gay man, should you be forced to print ‘God hates fags’ for the Westboro Baptist Church because they hold those signs up?”

Mr. Frank’s response is as sent to me, in full:

Hi Jeff,

Sorry I couldn’t get back to you yesterday. We were out of town helping our mother move.

We will print for anyone, as we don’t discriminate. However, it appears your story was going to be written as you intended regardless. We expect you will correctly represent our response promptly in an updated version of your article.

All our best.

Philip Frank
Budget Signs & Specialties
2225 Industrial Drive
Madison, WI 53713

Planned Parenthood Completely Lost Its Mind Over Rand Paul Today

By on 4.7.15 | 3:04PM

It's notoriously difficult to make hay out of initial reactions to a Presidential campaign announcement. I'm still skeptical, but overall, reception for Rand Paul has been generally positive, the speech was good, and as far as God's concerned, Rick Santorum probably needs to hang it up, since His choice is fairly clear: as Rand was announcing his triumphant plan to retake Washington DC, the lights went out across the District and Northern Virginia, including at the White House. 

Obviously, I'm kidding. God is clearly a Mike Huckabee fan. He's got the sweet chops on that bass.

Anyway, there's at least one organization on Twitter that isn't crazy about a Paul Presidency: Planned Parenthood. Who, despite keeping its collective ladymouth shut during Ted Cruz's kickoff, lost it's ever-loving mind on Twitter this morning, issuing Tweet after mildly hysterical Tweet about what a President Rand Paul would do to Planned Parenthood's precious business model. This one is probably my favorite:

A Thought on Schumer’s Demand That Congress Have a Say in Any Deal with Iran

By on 4.7.15 | 1:07PM

Chuck Schumer is saying Congress should have a say on any nuclear deal with Iran.

If they haven't already done so, I'm sure the White House called Schumer and asked, "Remember Bob Menendez?"

In which case, the White House's next call is to the DOJ.


Man Who Closed Deal With Iran Lectures Scott Walker on Foreign Policy Naivete

By on 4.7.15 | 12:16PM

Gov. Scott Walker commented, a few days ago, on President Obama's apparent unwillingness to accept the reality of dealing with Iranians, noting that, if the current "deal framework" becomes a current "deal," and somehow manages to pass Congress over Sen. Chuck Schumer's currently veto-proof majority, that Scott Walker himself, should he be elected to our nation's highest office, would immediately reverse the deal and send the Iranians packing.