The Spectacle Blog

Blumenthal Earned $10K Per Month From the Clinton Foundation While Advising State

By on 5.28.15 | 11:45AM

Usually, when you have a person in your life that creates drama, you try to minimize your contact with them, even if you can't cut contact off completely. You might see them once in a while for a drink, if you've been imbibing earlier in the day and can tolerate them, or you might limit your contact with them to situations where you can exit quickly, like DC cocktail parties, company picnics or emergency rooms.

FDA Going ‘Full Speed Ahead’ on E-Cig Regulations

By on 5.28.15 | 10:50AM

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Acting Commissioner Dr. Stephen Ostroff announced the agency’s intention to proceed “full steam ahead” on regulations intended to reduce e-cigarette use.

Ostroff says FDA intends to enact a “deeming rule” expanding the agency’s regulation of tobacco products to include e-cigarettes, which do not contain tobacco. 

California Polytechnic State University professor of economics Michael L. Marlow says this is a bad idea because e-cigarettes are a useful tool for reducing health damage and helping smokers kick the habit.

“If e-cigarettes help smokers reduce consumption of more harmful tobacco or maybe even allow them to quit cigarettes, even if e-cigarettes themselves are somewhat harmful, it still would be an overall reduction of harm,” Marlow said. “If you just ignore that theory, and the FDA certainly has, an economist would say it [still] doesn’t make much sense.”

Marlow says e-cigarettes are a positively disruptive invention some special-interest groups want to suppress.

What George Pataki Has in Common with Jeb Bush

By on 5.28.15 | 10:45AM

With former New York Governor George Pataki becoming the eighth Republican to formally declare a White House bid, it occurs to me that he has a great deal in common with someone who has yet to formally declare - Jeb Bush.

Both Pataki and Bush were competent, successful governors whose successors have not matched their achievements in office.

Both Pataki and Bush last ran for office in 2002.

Both Pataki and Bush have developed opinions rather unpopular with Republican voters. With Bush, it's his support for Common Core and his soft views on illegal immigration. With Pataki, it's abortion, climate change and gun control.

It's true that Pataki doesn't have the financial advantages Bush has nor does he have the burden of Bush's name.

Pataki's best bet would be if he were to shine in the debates. But will he get even to climb on the stage?

Problematic Prairie Pup Protections Put “Propriety” In Perspective

By and on 5.28.15 | 10:43AM

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, exercising power purportedly delegated to it pursuant to Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce, has classified the countless Utah prairie dog, which has no commercial value and has never dug holes in any lands beyond southwestern Utah, as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), thereby prohibiting the “take” of said prairie dogs—which essentially means doing anything that disturbs the little rodents’ habitat. If the varmints invade their property, human residents cannot build homes, start or operate certain businesses, or, in the case of Cedar City, protect playgrounds, an airport, and a local cemetery from their burrowing and barking.

Marine Appeals Court-Martial Over Bible Verse

By on 5.28.15 | 10:33AM

Last year, Lance Cpl. Monifa Sterling was court-martialed for refusing to take down a paraphrased Bible verse on her computer. With the help of a non-profit legal organization, she’s planning to fight that ruling with an appeal.

While serving in the Marine Corps, Sterling displayed a paraphrased Bible verse on her computer work station in May 2013 at Camp Lejeune, a 246-square-mile military training facility in North Carolina, Military Times reports.

Military Times reporter Andrew Tilghman detailed, “Sterling taped three paper copies of the same quote — ’No weapon formed against me shall prosper’ — in 28-point type on her computer’s tower, her monitor and her desk.”

A supervisor told her to remove the verse, citing a dislike of the ‘tone’ of the verse. After a refusal, the staff sergeant threw out the verse, and swore at her, according to Sterling’s account.

Sterling soon found herself in court — without outside legal help.

Maybe Elizabeth Warren Learned How To Flip Real Estate From This Guy

By on 5.27.15 | 8:06PM

Emily reminds us that Elizabeth Warren made a good chunk of cash flipping real estate in Oklahoma.

This story was brought up during the 2012 campaign. Clearly it did no more damage to her than her bogus claims of Native American ancestry.

But as I commented at the time there's a chance she could have learned the real estate trade from 1990's informerical king Tom Vu who was famous for his boatful of babes and telling viewers in broken English, "If you don't attend my real estate seminars, you deserve to be broke."

The Federal Government is Looking to Control Your Puddles

By on 5.27.15 | 6:21PM

And lo, he of the name Obama shall have dominion over all of the birds of the air and the fish of the sea and the water that collects in the potholes after a rainstorm.

President Obama’s administration on Wednesday claimed dominion over all of America’s streams, creeks, rills, ditches, brooks, rivulets, burns, tributaries, criks, wetlands — perhaps even puddles — in a sweeping move to assert unilateral federal authority.

The Environmental Protection Agency, along with the Army Corps of Engineers, says it has the authority to control all waterways within the United States — and will exercise that authority.

“We’re finalizing a clean water rule to protect the streams and the wetlands that one in three Americans rely on for drinking water. And we’re doing that without creating any new permitting requirements and maintaining all previous exemptions and exclusions,” EPA head Gina McCarthy told reporters Wednesday.

Bernie Sanders Says Spray Deodorant is Starving America’s Kids

By on 5.27.15 | 6:05PM

I have a number of problems with Axe body spray, almost all of them stemming from terrible experiences in the Jersey Shore era, where the scent would literally permeate the walls of any building into which a college-aged dudebro walked. It's certainly choked and saddened me. It has never, as I can recall, however, starved me.

But according to newly minted Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who is mostly a Socialist when he remembers to take his medication, spray deodorants like Axe body spray are actually what is standing in between the poor, starving children of America and their dreams of a happy life on a progressive commune where everyone wears flowy skirts and no one wants for anything because there's always a grilled cheese cooking on a carburetor. 

Elizabeth Warren Made Money Flipping Foreclosed Homes

By on 5.27.15 | 5:27PM

Before Elizabeth Warren was on the front lines of class warfare, chopping through buraucratic red tape with her tomahawk of populism, she was a lowly resident of Oklahoma City, buying houses on the cheap from old people and flipping them for six figure profits. 

Oh, you didn't know that Elizabeth Warren (D-$8.5 million net worth) was once a hard-hearted foreclosed property flipper who took advantage of people who lost their houses to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, purchasing their homes at outrageously low prices, quickly rehabbing them (and in some cases, making very few meaningful upgrades) and then turning them back onto the market for a healthy sum? Well, she did. The Boston Globe wrote about it when she ran for Congress some time ago, but the allegation was newly resurrected by National Review just today

Marie Harf’s Meteoric Rise of Mediocrity

By on 5.27.15 | 5:09PM

Last April, NRO's Mario Loyola called upon President Obama to fire Acting State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf:

Harf is a political campaign hack who has no business carrying a diplomatic passport or speaking for the State Department or this administration. Not even Obama deserves to be so poorly served.

Not only has Harf not been fired, but she will have a new job on June 1st. Starting Monday, Harf will serve as Secretary of State John Kerry's Senior Communications Advisor.