The Spectacle Blog

Good First Steps for Paul Ryan

By on 10.27.15 | 4:11PM

[UPDATE: On Tuesday evening, 127 cowardly Republicans voted with all but one Democrat to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank until 2019. It remains to be seen whether Senate Republicans can stop this cronyist travesty.]

I'll have more tomorrow on the "budget deal," likely Speaker of the House Paul Ryan's . statement that the process used to reach that deal "stinks," and his promise that things won't work this way when he's in charge.

For today, I want to point you, and particularly conservatives who are skeptical of Ryan, to his welcome and forceful statement against reauthorization of the cronyist organization known as the Ex-Im Bank. See Ryan's statement below.

My 2015 World Series Prediction - New York Mets vs. Kansas City Royals

By on 10.27.15 | 10:14AM

The 2015 World Series begins tonight with the AL champion Kansas City Royals hosting the NL champion New York Mets. Edinson Volquez will get the start for K.C. while Matt Harvey will get the ball for the Mets.

The Mets haven't played in six days so their bats are bound to be rusty while the Royals last played on Friday. Long layoffs are generally not beneficial. But the Mets starting rotation of Harvey, Noah Syndergaard and Jacob de Grom is so good (not to mention Steven Matz and Bartolo Colon) I am picking the Mets to win it in five.

I also predict Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores will be named World Series MVP.

The game begins at 8 p.m. EST on FOX.

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Says There Was No Jewish Temple

By on 10.27.15 | 10:05AM

I have just finished reading Abraham Miller's piece on the role of Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, in the Holocaust. While not an architect of the Holocaust, he certainly played his part.

Miller's article made me think of Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, the current Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who claimed over the weekend there was never a Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount and that the only thing that exists there is the Aksa mosque.

Bush Endorses Trump

By on 10.26.15 | 11:38PM

Jeb! is getting desperate, and it shows. And why not? Nothing that he’s tried in his very pricey campaign to become Bush III has worked.

The fraying of his nerves showed at a South Carolina campaign event when he made this remarkable assertion: “I don’t want to be elected president to sit around and see gridlock just become so dominant that people literally are in decline in their lives. That is not my motivation. I’ve got a lot of really cool things I could do other than sit around, be miserable, listening to people demonize me and feeling compelled to demonize them. That is a joke. Elect Trump if you want that.”

Wow. That deserves at least two exclamation marks. No one who has ever heard one of Jeb!’s eye-glazing campaign speeches or, worse yet, one of his mind-numbing ruminations on education policy, would ever associate the word cool with the words Jeb Bush. But we’ll just have to take his word on this.

Torii Hunter Retires

By on 10.26.15 | 9:00PM

Torii Hunter has announced his retirement from Major League Baseball. There was a good chance this was going to happen, but Hunter was undecided at season's end.

Hunter finished his career with the Minnesota Twins which is where he began when they made him first round draft pick in 1993. Hunter would have cups of coffee with the Twins in 1997 and 1998 before sticking with the big club in 1999. Hunter would remain with the Twins through the 2007 season when he signed a five year deal with the Los Angeles Angels. He would spend two seasons with the Detroit Tigers before returning to the Twins last season.

Hunter finished his career with 2,452 hits, a .277 batting average with 353 home runs and 1,391 RBI. He was named to five AL All-Star teams and won 9 consecutive Gold Gloves for his play in centerfield between 2001 and 2009. Hunter was a popular player with fans and teammates alike wherever he played. However, he would never get to play in a World Series. I don't think he gets into Cooperstown, but the Twins will certainly retire his number.

What Caused The Rise of ISIS - The War in Iraq, The U.S. Withdrawal or The Split with al Qaeda?

By on 10.26.15 | 3:29PM

Much has been made of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's comments in his interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria that there are "elements of truth" that the War in Iraq was the principle cause for the rise of ISIS.

A few years ago, I reluctantly posed the question, "Should Saddam Have Stayed in Power?" While U.S. and Coalition troops deposed one of the greatest mass murderers of second half of the 20th Century, it also created an environment where Iran has emerged with far greater power as well as one where hundreds of thousands of Christians fled Iraq.

Yet I'm not so sure the emergence of ISIS is a direct consequence of the Iraq War, but rather due to the withdrawal of U.S. troops after President Obama failed to renew a Status of Forces agreement. Had Obama been able to renew the SOFA I am inclined to think that ISIS would not have been able to capture Mosul in June 2014.

Flip Saunders, R.I.P.

By on 10.26.15 | 1:07PM

Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders passed away yesterday from complications of Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Saunders was diagnosed with the disease in June. While his initial prognosis was good, Sam Mitchell was named interim head coach and then late last week it was announced that Saunders would miss this season.

After coaching in the now defunct Continental Basketball Association in the late '80's and early '90's, Saunders was hired to coach the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1995 and would be with them for nearly a decade guiding the team to eight straight playoff appearances. Saunders is probably best known for his tutelage of future NBA Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett. He would also coach for the Detroit Pistons and the Washington Wizards before returning to the Timberwolves last season. Although he would never appear in an NBA Final, Saunders was one of the most popular coaches and ambassadors in the NBA.

Mark Halperin’s Peculiar Claim Republicans Suffer From Clinton Derangement Syndrome & Are in Denial About Her Being Elected President

By on 10.26.15 | 10:22AM

Mark Halperin has written a most peculiar article claiming that Republicans have a bad case of Clinton Derangement Syndrome and are underestimating her when it comes to the 2016 election:

A virulent strain of Clinton Derangement Syndrome, which scientists and Republicans thought had been wiped out at the end of the last century, is now inflicting millions of conservative Americans. Some Republicans so detest Hillary Clinton they are badly underestimating how likely she is, at this point in the campaign, to be America’s 45th president. Their denial is just as strong now as it was a month ago, before Clinton began a run of political victories that have enhanced her prospects, all while the roller derby/demolition derby that is the Republican nomination contest has continued to harm the GOP’s chances of winning back the White House.

Maureen O’Hara, R.I.P.

By on 10.24.15 | 8:38PM

Actress Maureen O'Hara has passed away at the age of 95.

The Irish born actress appeared in movies such as The Hunchback of Notre Dame, How Green Was My Valley and Miracle on 34th Street. O'Hara frequently collaborated with John Wayne and director John Ford. The three worked together on films like The Quiet Man, Rio Grande and The Wings of Eagles. 

O'Hara would leave Hollywood for nearly two decades before returning in 1991in the John Candy movie Only The Lonely which also featured Ally Sheedy, Jim Belushi and Anthony Quinn (another of O'Hara's frequent co-stars). After Candy's sudden death in 1994, Belushi recalled that when the movie's producers gave O'Hara a tiny trailer, Candy pleaded with producers to give her better accommodations. When they refused, Candy gave O'Hara his trailer while Candy slept on a cot for several nights before the producers had the good sense to provide another trailer.

Royals Win Back to Back AL Pennants

By on 10.24.15 | 12:48AM

The Kansas City Royals will be going to the World Series for a second year in a row. The Royals won their second straight AL pennant with a 4-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 6 of the ALCS. The Royals become the first team to win back to back AL pennants since the Texas Rangers did it in 2010 and 2011. Of course, the Rangers failed to win the World Series and the Royals will try to avoid that fate next week. 

I missed most of the game as my roomie and I saw Ringo Starr in concert. (Yes, there will be a column about that.) When we returned home, the game was tied 3-3 in the 8th. Jose Bautista had just hit a game tying home run. Joey Bats had also homered earlier in the game while Ben Zobrist and Mike Moustakas went deep for the Royals.

Then the rains came. After a 40 minute delay, the game resumed. The Jays put their closer Roberto Osuna on the mound. He promptly walked Lorenzo Cain and then gave up a single to Eric Hosmer. Joey Bats threw the ball to second to prevent Hosmer from extending his hit into a double. But that gave Cain an opportunity to make a dash for home and score all the way from first to give the Royals a 4-3 lead.