The Spectacle Blog

Politically Correct Astronomy

By on 8.25.06 | 10:32AM

Those insensitive astronomers are at it again, writes the New York Times:

Pluto, with its small size and oddball orbit, should never have been deemed a planet in the first place. Henceforth there will be eight planets, at least three dwarf planets, and tens of thousands of "smaller solar system bodies," like comets and asteroids. Our only regret is that the astronomers chose the name "dwarf planets" for Pluto's new category instead of abandoning the word entirely when discussing these less-than-planetary bodies.
They're not dwarves! They're little planets!

Nothing is safe from liberalism's speech codes. When is someone on 43rd Street going to realize that Gail Collins is a enormous embarrassment?

Wake Up, Youse Guys

By on 8.25.06 | 6:05AM

I'm subbing for Bill Bennett again today (6-9 am on Salem Radio Net). We have a heavy-duty show lined up. Guests include Cong. Pete Hoekstra - House Intel Chairman - to talk about the report they released yesterday, probably also have Barham Salih, Iraq's Deputy PM and my pal John McIntyre of Hope you can tune in. Call in number is 866-680-6464.

New Euphemism

By on 8.24.06 | 6:31PM

In the press release for its new study on so-called voter supression, People for the American Way (sic) uses the term "felon disenfranchisement policies." As a friend of mine puts it, that's so much better than saying "We want violent thugs and rapists to vote."

And of course, PFAW has to whine about "Overly strict voter identification requirements that make it harder for the up to 10 percent of Americans who do not have government-issued photo IDs to cast a vote." Requiring a drivers license to vote is "overly strict"? Next time I try to cash a check at a bank, I'll try that "overly strict" complaint when they ask for ID, just to see how it goes over.

There is one reason and one reason only for not requiring ID to vote: making it easier to cheat.

Re: United Abominations

By on 8.24.06 | 5:18PM

Shawn: Megadeath? I thought that was Ahmadinejad's career objective. Tell ya what: I'll buy you and Mustaine lunch. I'd like to hear more from him, and you need to be there for any number of reasons. Not the least of which is to translate between Heavy Metal and Grumpy Old Guy.

United Abominations

By on 8.24.06 | 4:05PM

Jed Babbin and heavy metal guitarist/vocalist Dave Mustaine of Megadeth probably don't have too many overlapping areas of interest, but an abiding disgust for the United Nations is apparently one of them. Here's Mustaine explaining to Billboard how his band's upcoming opus came to be titled United Abominations:

"I was watching TV and saw the trucks that said 'UN' on them and said, 'Man, you are so uncool, ineffective, anything," Mustaine said. "I thought, 'Wow, I've got to run with this. I got it -- United Abominations, 'cause it's an abomination what they're doing!'"

More of this interview here. Babbin's extended UN critique here. My interview with Mustaine from the year before is available here.

There May Be No Connection…

By on 8.24.06 | 4:00PM

But in my debate with the lady from the French Foreign Office on BBC last night, I said that France's refusal to contribute more than 200 troops to the UN force for Lebanon -- after crafting and negotiating and getting us to cave in to their demands - was just a study in French political science. I compared it to the results on the decade-long drafting of the EUnuch constitution led by a former French president, contrived and negotiated to France's demands and then rejected by the French, the mess left for others to repair.

Today, Chirac announced they'd contribute 2,000 not 200 troops. A coincidence? Maybe. On the other hand, I've not accepted their surrender. Yet.

Lamenting Bush’s Obstinance

By on 8.24.06 | 2:22PM

The Baton Rouge Advocate is no bastion of the liberal media, but instead boasts center to slightly center-right editorial stances. Here it talks about the recovery plan boosted by conservative U.S. Rep. Richard Baker that President Bush killed, for no good reason and without even much of an attempt at explanation. Let me just say that the BR Advocate is right on target here.

As the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, it is Bush's mishandling of the long-term recovery efforts, not the much-hyped tragedy of the immediate post-storm relief problems, that deserves to go down as the single worst part of his legacy as president. Just as liberals like to ignore the very real local and state (and thus mostly Democratic) culpability in turning a horrible disaster into an even more horrible catastrophe, and just as ALL political camps ignore the 40 years of fumbling at all three levels of government, conservatives are guilty of being willfully blind to the errors of the Bushies.

Re: The Music of America

By on 8.24.06 | 2:10PM

Just finished the article "The Music of America" by Roger Scruton, who is a great favorite of mine. Two comments, coming from me, some authority, too, as author of The Rock and Roll Songwriter's Handbook (Scholastics, 1972).

1. What he said. Yeah.

2. Scruton uses the phrase "The great American songbook," seeming to attribute its origin to Terry Teachout. The citation isn't precise; perhaps Teachout makes no such claim. But I point out that Boston DJ Ron Della Chiessa used it as the title of a regular radio broadcast going back nearly two decades.

Mass Care Not Working Out—Part III

By on 8.24.06 | 1:13PM

The Massachusetts Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector, which is overseeing the implementation of Romney's plan, has decided how much poor people should pay for their health insurance. For some, it could be as much as 6.6% of their income. Naturally, that has the so-called poverty advocates up in arms:

John McDonough, executive director of Health Care For All, said, "The concern is that lots and lots of people under 300% of the poverty level are not walking around with extra money in their pockets."

"Not only are they not walking around with extra money, they are walking around under the crushing burden of debt. They're living paycheck to paycheck."

This, of course, will lead to more pressure for more taxpayer funds for health insurance for the poor.

During all of the debate over health insurance, I never heard anyone talk about the effect of government subsidies. If government's subsidize something like a person's health insurance, then demand for it will increase. When demand increases, well, you know what happens to the price.