The Spectacle Blog

Novak Scrapes the Bottom of the Nutty Barrel

By on 8.7.06 | 12:07PM

Robert Novak is usually a sanguine columnist, but when it comes to Israel, he often dives off the deep end of an empty pool and hits his head on the bottom. Case in point is his column today:

Reports of Israeli air attacks on Qana in Lebanon, killing at least 28 people including 19 children July 30, threatened Israel with a American public relations calamity. But this soon was eclipsed on cable television and front pages of many newspapers by actor Mel Gibson's drunken anti-Semitic rant.

The attention by much of the news media turned from Lebanon to Gibson attempting an apology sufficiently abject to satisfy the Anti-Defamation League. Only a conspiracy theorist might claim this was an intentional escape route for American politicians to avoid a possible Israeli atrocity, but it certainly served that purpose. Washington remains largely a bipartisan, criticism-free zone for Israel.

Return of the McGovernites

By on 8.7.06 | 11:45AM

Over at Opinion Journal, Martin Peretz reflects on the ascendance of Ned Lamont, who represents the return of the "peace" Democrats and an early Christmas present for Republicans.

Since Sept. 11, and especially since the Iraq War, the Democratic Party has faced a dilemma. Should it appeal to the vehemently anti-War Left at the risk of alienating moderates? Or should it target moderates at the risk of alienating the base of the party? While John Kerry did seem to have a special knack for flip-flopping, his need to do so was rooted in the intra-party warfare among Democrats. He had to criticize the Iraq War as a big mistake to satisfy Howard Dean voters while still sounding hawkish enough to attract moderates. As a result he had no discernable position on the war.

Santorum Still In It

By on 8.7.06 | 10:43AM

This morning sees yet another poll showing Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum narrowing the gap with Democratic challenger Bob Casey, Jr.

Now down to six points, Santorum's race seems to be playing out the way his folks had been predicting months ago, when he was down 21 points: that the gap would narrow as more voters saw and heard Casey. The fact that the Green Party is in the midst of this probably doesn't hurt either.

As Real Clear Politics points out, Santorum has to get his personal numbers up, but a month of August town hall meetings, and getting out across the state will help do that.

Radio Week

By on 8.6.06 | 8:15PM

Busy, busy, busy. Monday, I'll be subbing for Laura Ingraham (9 am to noon) on TRN. We'll start with MGen. Dan Harel of the IDF, Israel's military attache in Washington to update the war. Later in the show we'll be joined by John Fund of the Wall St. Journal to predict the Lieberman purge and Eric Shawn of Fox News to talk about the latest UN mess.

And that's not all. Starting Tuesday nite, I'm subbing for Hugh Hewitt (6-9 pm on Salem Radio Net). We'll be programming each day to keep up with the news. And there's a lot to keep up with. See ya on the radio.

Judgmentalism Free Zone

By on 8.6.06 | 7:38PM

It wasn't that long ago that certan Europeans were lauding Tour de France winner Floyd Landis as their kind of kind of (because kind, gentle, and nonthreatening) Americano. Now they no doubt know better -- he's no different from their own bike riders who've found themselves suspended from improper reliance on pedaling enhancers. I suppose we'll know soon enough if they consider the likely sanctions against Landis disproportionate to the crime. Certainly that's a possibility some might consider here. An almost damning "essay" by one Sarah Kaufman in today's Washington Post Style section pulls back late in the piece.

"We're tempted to believe that what is in an athlete's specimen cup reveals what is in his heart. If he's peeing out dope, he must be a bad guy," she writes in a way little girls didn't used to be taught to write. "Yet it may only mean that he's a human being who made a bad mistake."

So here's your penance, Floyd. Go and mistake no more.

Charles Rangel, Nitwit

By on 8.4.06 | 6:36PM

From an exchange with Neil Cavuto:

CAVUTO: Well, are you saying you're for Castro?

RANGEL: No. I want a democratic change. But I don't believe dancing in the street and spreading out money in Havana and in Miami is the a way to do it.

CAVUTO: Charlie, this guy killed a lot of people.

RANGEL: Well, I wonder how many people we killed at Guantanamo. I mean, we don't have the human rights record.

CAVUTO: Well, wait - wait a minute. Are you equating Fidel Castro with what's happening at Guantanamo?

RANGEL: You bet your life, if we're - if we are talking about human rights.

CAVUTO: So, President Bush is just like Fidel Castro?

RANGEL: No. But what I'm saying is, if you want to talk about the inhuman human rights that Castro has, in arresting people and not presenting them with why they were arrested, not giving them lawyers, and having a secret trial, hey, we're doing the same thing...

Iran Races To Resupply Hezbollah

By on 8.4.06 | 3:43PM

Further supporting my earlier point that there will be no long-term solution to the Israel-Hezbollah conflict without confronting Iran and Syria, the NY Sun's Eli Lake reports:

TEL AVIV, Israel - Iran is racing to resupply Hezbollah across the Syrian border ahead of a possible cease-fire being ironed out this week at the United Nations.

Jews Against Israel Watch

By on 8.4.06 | 3:10PM

Yesterday's Washington Post had an article on Jewish charities raising money for Israel, which didn't satisfy one defeatist Jewish leftist who prefers that Jews fund their enemies instead. Rabbi Michael Lerner of San Francisco, editor of the liberal Jewish magazine Tikkun, said:

"This is a time for the Jewish community of the United States to signal a new open-heartedness toward those who've been our adversaries if we want to break through the cycle of violence," Lerner said. "So we should be raising funds for Israel, as well as for Lebanon, as well as for Gaza, as well as for the West Bank.

"Donations to the federation at this point are simply a 'yes' vote to continued Israeli militarism and a 'no' vote to the Israeli peace movement that is calling for an immediate cease-fire and a negotiated settlement of all the issues that have led to war in the past 60 years."

Um, Babes?

By on 8.4.06 | 3:04PM

Sleep deprived as I am, and fearing the intellects of those engaged in this Israeli Army objectification discussion ( guys are my heroes), I'll instead just link to a sort of fun story I wrote for a New Hampshire paper this week on wacky bras.

Prop, Not Art (Revolutionary Edition)

By on 8.4.06 | 2:47PM

I just arrived in Chicago/>/> for the reformation of Students for a Democratic Society. One of the questions they asked on the registration form was whether or not I was willing to be arrested. I’m not (see here and here), but I left it blank anyhow to keep from getting flagged “SISSY.” Should be an interesting weekend.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia/>/>’s “Art Commission” has determined the Rocky Balboa statue Stallone donated to them is a prop, not art. Tell that to Clubber Lang, suckers!