The Spectacle Blog

Thoughts on the 70th Anniversary of VE Day

By on 5.8.15 | 1:18PM

Seventy years ago today, the Nazis surrendered to the Allies in Berlin ending Hitler's 1,000 year reign at twelve. But in those 12 years, the Nazis caused a millenium of misery.

I had the good fortune of being in London during the 50th anniversary of VE Day celebrations which were held at Hyde Park. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon. There must have been 2 million people there. There was an enormous crowd yet I didn't feel overwhelmed by it. I had a feeling of liberation, joy, gratitude and merriment.

Many veterans were there naturally mostly British, but there were some Americans and Canadian soldiers in the crowd as well. I thanked as many as I could.

Deflation (Footballs, Not Fiscal Policy) Still Being Inflated Out of Proportion

By on 5.8.15 | 12:27PM

A couple of days ago, Ross asked what the NFL should do in light of its report which alleges that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady knew that two Pats' employees were deliberately deflating balls.

Today, Daniel J. Flynn questions the report's credibility arguing that "more probable than not" was less than adequate standard of proof.

I'm inclined to agree with Dan. A lot of this is about taking Tom Brady down a peg or four.

OK, both Dan and I reside in Massachusetts. So, yes, we root for the Pats.

With that said, my view still hasn't changed from January. It's much ado about nothing. As I argued back then if deflating the footballs is such a help then why don't more teams do it? And if that is the case then why don't the referees have custody of the balls instead of the teams?

Five Things You Need to Know About the UK Elections

By on 5.8.15 | 12:16PM

If you want to relive last night's UK election white-knuckle ride, Aaron live-blogged much of it here. Suffice it to say, despite pollsters who had predicted that the race would be so close they could barely distinguish between the red and blue lines on their tracking charts, after a long night of counting and exit polling, David Cameron's Conservative Party emerged victorious in such a walloping win that the UK will have its first Conservative non-coalition government since the days of Prime Minister John Major.

A few things you need to know:

Thoughts on Omar Khadr Being Released by a Canadian Judge

By on 5.8.15 | 11:42AM

Yesterday, a Canadian judge granted Omar Khadr bail pending an appeal of his war crimes convictions. Michelle Malkin has a piece on the Khadr release here.

Khadr was captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan in 2002 after he threw a grenade which killed SFC Christopher Speer and blinded SFC Layne Morris in one eye. At the time of the attack, Khadr was 15-years old and became the youngest detainee at Guantanamo Bay.

His case became something of a cause célèbre in Canada due to the fact he was born in Toronto, his age and allegations of torture while in Gitmo. Unfortunately, there exists a strain of anti-Americanism in Canada which is quite ugly and unbecoming. Yet I wonder if Khadr would garnered much sympathy had he killed a Canadian soldier instead.

The Obama Administration, desperate to vacate Gitmo, made a deal with the Harper government in Canada in 2010. Khadr plead guilty to the murder of Speer and in exchange agreed was returned to Canada in September 2012 to serve out the rest of his sentence.

Conservatives Appear to Survive in Britain, SNP Triumphs & A Bad Night for Labour, Lib Dems & UKIP UPDATE

By on 5.7.15 | 11:02PM

It looks likes David Cameron's Conservatives will survive albeit fall short of forming a majority government. Nevertheless, it looks like they will gain seats.

When you consider that there was tremendous discontent with Cameron's leadership and London Mayor Boris Johnson was clipping at his heels, it is triumphant night for Cameron.

But the SNP is arguably the night's biggest winner. They will capture every constituency in Scotland except the Shetland Islands (a Liberal Democrat stronghold). The Yes side might have lost last fall's referendum, but their momentum has grown a thousand fold. Nicola Sturgeon plays no small part in this and the more I hear from her the more she impresses me even if I don't agree with her progressive politics.

There are three big losers tonight - Labour, Liberal Democrats & the UKIP.

One Thing That Fascinates Me About British Elections

By on 5.7.15 | 10:16PM

One thing I find fascinating about British elections is how the results are announced.

In each constituency, all the candidates come together in one room wearing a ribbon bearing the color of their political party and the returning officer announces the results. 

The audience would be comprised of supporters of each political party. Under the circumstances, it all seems rather civilized.

Clearly, nothing like this happens in American elections never mind Canadian ones. 

Youngest MP Elected to British House of Commons in Nearly 350 Years

By on 5.7.15 | 9:52PM

I am watching the results of the British election and a few minutes watched the returning officer of Paisley and Renfrewshire South announce that 20-year old Scottish National Party candidate Mhairi Black had unseated Labour Party MP Douglas Alexander, a former cabinet minister under both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, by nearly 6,000 votes. 

Black becomes the youngest MP elected to the British House of Commons since 1667. Apparently, her desire to head butt Labour Party councillors only endeared her to voters.

And I thought the Alberta NDP had elected really young people.

Red Sox Fire Pitching Coach Juan Nieves

By on 5.7.15 | 4:47PM

We're not even past the first week of May and already the Boston Red Sox are pushing the panic button by firing pitching coach Juan Nieves.

The Sox began the season winning 7 of their first 10 games, but have gone 6-12 since. They are 1-5 so far in May which includes a three game sweep by the first place New York Yankees at Fenway last weekend. The Sox are currently in last place in the AL East, but only four games back of the Yankees.

The Red Sox do have the worst ERA in the AL. The only starting pitcher with an ERA below 5.00 is Rick Porcello who was acquired in an off-season trade with the Tigers for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Free agent signing Justin Masterson and Wade Miley, acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks, have been disappointments as have Joe Kelly and Clay Buchholz. The Sox want to trade for Philadelphia Phillies lefty Cole Hamels. But why would Hamels want to go from one last place team to another?

There Is Still Hope For Conservatism in Alberta

By on 5.7.15 | 1:02PM

Despite the Alberta NDP's victory on Tuesday night there is still hope for conservatism in the Wildrose province.

That hope comes in the form of Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean who became the Leader of the Official Opposition by capturing 21 seats.

The feat is remarkable when you consider that it was only five months ago that former Wildrose leader Danielle Smith and most of her caucus jumped ship to the Tories leaving Wildrose with only five members. Jean took over the party in late March only days after the death of his son and days before the beginning of the election campaign.

New Alberta NDP MLA Takes Down Facebook Page Giving Middle Finger to Canadian Flag

By on 5.7.15 | 12:44PM

Here is part of what I wrote following the Alberta NDP's election victory on Tuesday night:

It is my understanding that a number of university students have been elected to the provincial legislature under an NDP banner not unlike in the 2011 federal election when the NDP had a breakthrough in Quebec. But the federal NDP is the official opposition. There's a good chance you're going to have some 21-year olds being named cabinet ministers. I think they will be in way over their heads and, in four years time, they will be unceremoniously dumped from office.

Enter Deborah Drever. The 26-year old sociology student at Mount Royal College was elected in the once safe Tory constituency of Calgary-Bow by 263 votes.