The Spectacle Blog

The Government Has to Pay for the Raisins It Confiscates

By on 6.22.15 | 3:41PM

The near-unanimous Supreme Court decided today in favor of the farmers whose raisins the federal government wanted to take as part of a cockamamie New Deal-era regulatory scheme. The Court ruled 8-1 in support of Cato’s position that taking personal property is a compensable action, regardless of whether the government purports to act on the property owner’s behalf, and 5-4 on the question of compensation for that taking. (This is two years after the Court ruled 9-0 that the Marvin and Laura Horne could have their day in court and raise their constitutional challenge, rather than being stuck in some byzantine administrative purgatory.)

You Can’t Use the N-Word If You Have a R in Front of Your Name

By on 6.22.15 | 12:38PM

Over at NRO, Charles C.W. Cooke defends President Obama’s use of the n-word late last week in an interview with CNN:

As a general matter, I think that Christopher Hitchens got it absolutely right when he suggested that it is acceptable to use the word in two — and only two — situations, and that we shouldn’t crucify people when they do. The first circumstance in which it acceptable, Hitchens proposed, is when one is discussing the questions of race and language in the abstract — as Obama was. The second is when one is reading older literature that uses older language (Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, for example).

Hillary Clinton Abandons the Brooklyn Hipsters

By on 6.22.15 | 12:37PM

Back when she first announced that she was running for President, Hillary Clinton made such a big deal of opening an office in Brooklyn that most people thought she'd jettison the pantsuits for some high-waisted Jorts and a crop top from Urban Outfitters. Here was a candidate of yesterday, so tained with the scent of the 1990s that her very presence reminded everyone of padded headbands and Seinfeld, openly embracing the new hipsterdom of organic, fair trade, vegan coffee bars and food trucks run by people who use their profits for mustache wax. A miracle!

Supreme Court Takes On Raisins, Spider-Man, and Hotels, But Not Marriage and Obamacare…Yet

By on 6.22.15 | 12:13PM

There's only one more SCOTUS "Decision Day" left in June, and it's going to be a big one. On their second to last day before skipping town to enjoy their summer vacation, the Supreme Court released decisions on whether Marvel Entertainment will have to pay a toy manufacturer into perpetutity even if his patent expires and whether a New Deal program that pays raisin farmers not to grow raisins so as to drive up the price of raisins nationwide runs afoul of the Constitution. 

Medicaid Set to Overwhelm New Mexico’s Budget

By on 6.22.15 | 10:35AM

New Mexico is one of 28 states that expanded Medicaid coverage for impoverished adults as part of the implementation of Obamacare, resulting in more than 216,000 people joining the state’s Medicaid roster and pushing the total to nearly 800,000 enrollees.

Combined with a loss of federal funds used to pay for the expansion in 2016, the state will face a serious budget crunch, the Associated Press reports.

The federal government currently pays 100 percent of the cost of the expansion, but that percentage will decrease beginning in 2017 to 90 percent, resulting in New Mexico having to pay about $120 million of the expansion’s expenses. By 2020, more than 895,000 people could be on the rolls, including 257,000 who will be covered by the expansion. Based on current projections, total general fund dollars needed to cover the state’s Medicaid program by fiscal year 2020 will be $1.1 billion, including $268 million caused by the expansion.

David Abbey, director of the state’s Legislative Finance Committee, says other parts of the budget are going to have to shrink to accommodate the rapidly expanding Medicaid spending.

DC Fire Department Still Hasn’t Implemented Safety Protocols From 10 YEARS AGO

By on 6.22.15 | 10:32AM

A report released Thursday by the city’s auditor found the D.C. fire department hasn’t implemented most of the recommended revisions that came down in 2006 after a New York Times editor was mugged, and eventually died, but emergency crews mistook him as drunk and didn’t treat him as a top priority.

After David Rosenbaum’s death in 2006, then-Mayor Adrian Fenty initiated a task force that came up with 36 individual recommendations for D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services to adhere to.

Since that time, just 11 recommendations have been implemented, six have been partially implemented, four were largely implemented but then later rescinded, and 15 have not been implemented.

Chief among the issues not yet addressed after Rosenbaum’s death is that firefighters and paramedics were supposed to be cross-trained in both fields. All employees at the agency need to be trained in basic levels of EMS and fire rescue tactics, per the recommendations of the mayor.

Woman Recruited For Harvard Swimming Swaps Sex, Will Swim For MEN Instead

By on 6.22.15 | 10:25AM

A top recruit for the Harvard University women’s swim team has swapped her gender and decided to swim for the men’s team instead.

As reported by Swimming World, Schuyler Bailar was a top female swimmer in the country in high school, helping to set a high school record in the girls’ 400-meter medley relay. But after graduating in 2014, she took a gap year, during which she came out as transgender and underwent surgery to transition to living as a man. The switch reportedly means Bailar will be the first openly transgender swimmer to compete at the collegiate level.

Schuyler Bailar's gender transition

Schuyler Bailar’s gender transition

Nevada’s Common Core Tests Turn Into Costly Fiasco

By on 6.22.15 | 10:11AM

A new, online standardized test designed to test Nevada schoolchildren on Common Core standards has been a huge fiasco in its first year, with the vast majority of students unable to complete the test. The failure could expose the state to federal sanctions.

Under No Child Left Behind, states are supposed to test children in grades 3-8 each year in mathematics and reading. At least 95 percent of students must take the tests, or else a state can face federal sanctions such as a loss of millions of dollars in funds.

Nevada, on the other hand, was only able to test 37 percent of the 213,000 students it was supposed to, thanks to a cascade of glitches and computer problems that left students unable to complete their exams. In Clark County, which contains the Las Vegas metro area and over half the state’s students, only 5 percent were successfully tested.

EPA’s New Fuel Regulations Will Avert 0.0026 Degrees Of Warming

By on 6.22.15 | 9:58AM

The EPA’s new carbon dioxide regulations for heavy trucks is meant to help the U.S. meet its goal of reducing emissions to fight global warming.

There’s just one problem: CO2 regulations on heavy trucks will have little to no impact on global warming over the next 85 years, according to the EPA’s own analysis.

The EPA says limiting carbon dioxide from heavy trucks will reduce emissions by more than 1 billion metric tons by 2050. Cutting CO2, the agency says, will create up to $34 billion in “climate benefits” along with up to $40 billion from reducing traditional pollutants. Regulating heavy trucks are part of the Obama administration’s goal of reducing U.S. CO2 emissions 80 percent by 2050.

Sounds like Obama administration regulations will accomplish a lot. Well, not really. The EPA’s own analysis found that by 2100 “the global mean temperature is projected to be reduced by approximately 0.0026 to 0.0065°C, and global mean sea level rise is projected to be reduced by approximately 0.023 to 0.057 cm.”

The Confederate Flag Is Not To Blame UPDATE

By on 6.21.15 | 4:27PM

In the wake of the shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina at the hands of a white supremacist which left 9 people dead, one of the flashpoints of discussion has been the Confederate flag which flies over the state legislature in Columbia.

There have been renewed calls for the removal of the Confederate flag from the state capitol by liberal publications such as The Atlantic and Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush have joined the call. If the people of the Palmetto state want to address this matter whether through the state legislature or by popular referendum and decide they want to remove the flag  then fine by me.