The Spectacle Blog

Donald Trump Is Running for President

By on 6.16.15 | 12:36PM

So this is a thing that is happening

The real estate mogul and TV reality star launched his presidential campaign Tuesday, ending more than two decades of persistent flirtation with the idea of running for the Oval Office.

"So, ladies and gentlemen, I am officially running for president of the United States, and we are going to make our country great again," Trump told the crowd, in a lengthy and meandering speech that hit on his signature issues like currency manipulation from China and job creation, as well as taking shots at the president and his competitors on the Republican side.

"Sadly the American dream is dead," Trump said at the end of his speech, promising to bring it back to life with his run.

Just over four years after he came closer than ever to launching a campaign before bowing out, Trump made his announcement at the lavish Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York, laying out a vision to match his incoming campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again."

Court Finds Government Actions in AIG Bailout Were Illegal

By on 6.16.15 | 12:35PM

Ask any first year law student “what did you learn in school today” and you’ll probably get some version of the answer: “duty-breach-causation-harm.”  While this applies specifically to tort claims, it seems axiomatic, even for non-lawyers, that you can’t sue someone who hasn’t hurt you.  Or can you?

Former AIG CEO Hank Greenburg caused a ripple of shock in late 2011 when he filed suit against the U.S. government, alleging that the government’s 2008 bailout and subsequent take-over of AIG was unlawful, and claiming $40 billion in damages.  Despite skepticism throughout the legal community, the case not only survived dismissal, but went on to a full trial, during which such heavyweights as Tim Geithner, Hank Paulson, and Ben Bernanke took the stand. 

HUGE BLOW: Al-Qaida’s Top Officer Killed In Yemen

By on 6.16.15 | 12:16PM

The leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen, the group confirmed in a video statement.

Nasir al-Wahishi was the head of AQAP, the Yemen affiliate of al-Qaida. Wahishi was second-in-command for the broader al-Qaida terror network. The targeted killing was “the harshest blow to the global militant network since the killing of Osama bin Laden,” reports The Associated Press.

A senior AQAP militant read a statement announcing Wahishi’s death and that his deputy, Qassim al-Rimi, had been named the new leader. The operative vowed AQAP would continue its war against America, reports the AP.

Obama Administration “Bans” Trans Fats

By on 6.16.15 | 11:39AM

Our obesity epidemic is over. 

Although the science of "trans fats" being ultimately responsible for Americans' untimely deaths and need for double airplane seats is questionable at best, and banning trans fats has become something of a backbench issue to other more pressing anti-science health concerns, like whether genetically modified organisims are, indeed, ruining our very molecular makeup, the Obama Administration took the drastic step of "banning" trans fats through the FDA, giving producers three years to phase out all trans fat use. 

The Obama administration is making good on its pledge to all but ban trans fat nationwide.

The FDA issued a final decision Tuesday that gives the food industry three years to phase out partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of trans fat, which are still used in a wide variety of products from microwave popcorn to cake frosting.

Chicago Blackhawks Win Third Stanley Cup in Six Years

By on 6.15.15 | 11:10PM

Congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks. They beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-0 to win the 2015 Stanley Cup in six games. It is their second Stanley Cup in three years and their third in six years. 

It is a pretty remarkable achievement for a team that at one point went nearly 50 years without winning a Stanley Cup.

No doubt President Obama is stoked about all this and will be even more insufferable than usual. Not that he needs a reason to be insufferable.

Nevertheless, the Blackhawks are the closest thing the NHL has had to a dynasty in years. 

Padres Fire Bud Black

By on 6.15.15 | 8:47PM

The San Diego Padres have fired manager Bud Black. 

He held the job since the 2007 season, but had only two winning seasons and never made the post-season. In 2007, the Padres missed the playoffs via the surging Colorado Rockies. Three years later, the Padres led the NL West nearly the entire season. In late August, they had a six game lead in the division. But they would embark upon a 10 game losing streak and never recover. The Giants took advantage of the situation and would win their first of three World Series titles.

To be fair, during most of Black's tenure, the Padres had a small payroll and he didn't have much with which to work. But the same could not be said for this season. The Padres acquired the likes of Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Will Myers and James Shields, putting their payroll over $100 million. But entering tonight, the Padres are 32-33 six games back of the Los Angeles Dodgers and only half a game ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks and 2 1/2 games of the last place Rockies.

Rachel Dolezal Sued Howard University For Discriminating Against Her for Being White

By on 6.15.15 | 7:08PM

The Smoking Gun has managed to dig up what might be the nail in Rachel Dolezal's "trans-racial" coffin: a 2002 decision from a federal Court of Appeals detailing the outcome of a racial discrimination case Rachel Dolezal filed against Howard University.

The case ended up going nowhere - in fact Dolezel paid Howard University about $3500 over the course of litigation for, it seems, legal and court fees associated with the appeals process - but the case is significant in one key aspect: Rachel Dolezal sued Howard University for discriminating against her because she was white

Bernie Sanders Tags Hillary On Trade

By on 6.15.15 | 6:03PM

Bernie Sanders is surging ahead in a bunch of inconsequential states, but that hasn't stopped the Ron Paul of the left from taking potshots at the presumptive frontrunner, who is trying to co-opt his populist rhetoric to sell Americans on a third Clinton term. 

Barack Obama’s Weekend Was Better Than Yours

By on 6.15.15 | 3:03PM

It was wheels up this morning for Michelle Obama as she undertakes a First Lady goodwill mission to Europe with her two daughters and her mother. The White House has not provided an agenda for the trip, which will take the group through the UK and Italy, but will include the 2015 Expo Milano, an international Worlds Fair of food centered around Italian products that is basically the best thing anyone has encountered in the history of ever. If you're keeping count, this is vacation number 40 for the First Lady.

Before she took off, however, she got quite the send-off from her husband and 499 of her closest friends. This weekend, as you were slogging out your storm drains and mowing the lawn down to a manageable level, the Obamas were enjoying a private concert and event featuring performances by Stevie Wonder and Prince.

9 Worst Nations for Religious Freedom

By on 6.15.15 | 12:53PM

All religious faiths are victims of persecution somewhere. Over the last year “a horrified world has watched the results of what some have aptly called violence masquerading as religious devotion” in several nations, observed the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in its latest annual report.

The Commission highlighted 27 countries for particularly vicious treatment of religious minorities. Nine states make the first tier, “Countries of Particular Concern,” in State Department parlance.

Burma. Despite recent reforms, noted the Commission, “these steps have not yet improved conditions for religious freedom and related human rights in the country, nor spurred the Burmese government to curtail those perpetrating abuses.”

China. President Xi Jinping’s attempt to tighten the state’s control over all dissent has impacted believers, who “continue to face arrests, fines, denials of justice, lengthy prison sentences, and in some cases, the closing or bulldozing of places of worship.”