The Spectacle Blog

Literary Interests Blog Meme

By on 9.26.06 | 9:43AM

One of my favorite writers and frequent AmSpec columnist John Tabin invites me to grapple with several fun "sentence fragments with grammatically dubious question marks" on literary interests, a challenge I accept and will get to as soon as I'm off deadline. In the meantime, check out the questions (?) and Tabin's really interesting answers here.

Keys to Lott’s Kingdom

By on 9.26.06 | 9:38AM

My friend and former AmSpec editor Jeremy Lott has extended me a kind invitation to take over blogging duties at his website for the next two weeks as he prepares to head back to D.C. for a gig at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Here's my interview with The Man Himself on his book In Defense of Hypocrisy. I'll be laboring under one basic ground rule: Don't get Lott sued. Well, you know, I'll do what I can.

World To End In 2011?

By on 9.25.06 | 4:04PM

I was looking over some other stuff from the Commonwealth Fund today (see last Thursday's post) and found this in some testimony that the Fund's Assistant Vice President, Sara R. Collins, gave to Congress not long ago about health savings accounts (HSAs) and high-deductible health plans (HDHPs):

The U.S. Treasury Department estimates that under current law only 14 million people will ever enroll in HSA-eligible HDHPs-still a relatively small share of the overall market.

The reference for that sentence is this Fact Sheet (PDF) from the Treasury Department. It says something a little different:


14 million by 2010 -- Treasury Department projection of HSA policies (covering 25 to 30 million people) -- based on current law.

RE: Cross References

By on 9.25.06 | 12:47PM

Paul, I think Christians should take a page from another's playbook. They should:

(1) Hold protests against NBC where they chant "Death to the NBC secularists."

(2) If NBC refuses to do the right thing, then Christians shold burn down local NBC affiliates, and

(3) Find NBC's equivalent of a nun and shoot her in the back.

Ryder Crush

By on 9.25.06 | 10:31AM

As I've noted before, here, the United States increasingly is being embarrassed in international sports competition. This year's Ryder Cup in golf (a second straight outrageously huge shellacking by Europe over the USA, 18 1/2 9 1/2) again bears that out, as does the U.S. loss to Russia yesterday in the semi-finals of the Davis Cup, with top American Andy Roddick having lost both of his singles matches. To see how distressing the American golf situation is, though, we must look past even the Ryder Cup (which featured 11 30-somethings plus a 42-year-old for the Americans) to what is coming up behind this year's Cup participants. Bad news: Only two Americans in their 20s have won more than a single PGA tournament. First, there is Ben Curtis, with two somewhat lesser tour titles to go with his British Open win in 2003. I think he may actually develop into a semi-star. Then there is Vaughn Taylor, with only two wins, both of them at the same third-tier event played opposite a World Golf Championship event. Beyond that: Zilch, zip, nada, nothing.

The Case Against Gridlock

By on 9.25.06 | 10:20AM

Last week, I was speaking with the Club For Growth's Pat Toomey for an article on another topic, and he made a good point as to why gridlock caused by a Democratic takeover of Congress would be unlikely to restrain spending. Toomey noted that if Democrats take over, funding for the Iraq War is going to become a major bone of contention between Congress and the White House. If President Bush wants to get the Iraq War funded, it's unlikely that he'd be able to convince Speaker Nancy Pelosi to cut domestic spending too. Far more likely is a compromise whereby President Bush gets the Iraq spending he wants, but only if he agrees to a budget that grants more domestic spending to the Democrats' pet projects.

I'm sure this is an argument that has been made before, but I thought it was worth repeating given our ongoing discussion on the consequences of Republicans losing control. In my view, if spending is the only issue you care about, gridlock can work under certain conditions. But I'm not convinced that it would work in the current environment.

The Newly Happy Case of Frank Beckwith

By on 9.25.06 | 10:13AM

TAS Contributor Frank Beckwith gets his tenure at Baylor after lengthy appeal!

And I couldn't be happier for Baylor and for Dr. Beckwith. This is a beautiful day for the man and the institution. There's hope that Robert Sloan's Baylor 2012 Vision is still intact. Many thanks to President Lilley and Provost Randall O'Brien for doing the right thing. Thanks also to the Regents of Baylor University.