The Spectacle Blog

Recommended Summer Reading

By on 5.24.15 | 7:24PM

One of the fun things about being a columnist and radio talk show host has been the increasing interest by publishing companies in sending me new books for me to review or to interview the authors.

[Before going further, I'd like to suggest/request that all of you who read this visit and name the American Spectator Foundation as the charity which you'd like the proceeds of the Amazon Smile program to go do. Basically, you name a charity, you use as the link to buy anything you'd buy at, and 0.5% of all your purchases are donated to the charity. Nothing changes about your Amazon shopping experience except that you use the Smile link instead of the regular link. The links to the books below are the "Smile" links.]

Last year, I had the chance to meet with Paul Ryan, whose book I very much enjoyed.

New Alberta NDP MLA Who Gave Canadian Flag The Finger Expelled from Caucus Over Homophobic Remarks

By on 5.22.15 | 4:48PM

Following the Alberta NDP's election victory one of their new MLAs Deborah Drever, 26, got into hot water for her social media activity namely giving the finger to the Canadian flag. She also drew heat for posing with a pro-marijuana t-shirt and drinking with her friends. I did not object to the latter activities, but the Canadian flag incident, well, raised a red flag:

Now it's entirely possible that Drever is a quick study and will become an excellent MLA. But in order for that happen she will need to exercise good judgment. None of us are perfect of course. But to dismiss the criticism as bullying leads me to believe that she probably won't learn from this experience. In which case, the people of Alberta are going to have a long four years with Rachel Notley and the NDP.

A week later it was revealed that she appeared on an album cover with a bottle aimed at a certain area of her anatomy.

Five Observations of Obama’s Speech to the Adas Israel Congregation

By on 5.22.15 | 3:17PM

I have read President Obama's speech to the Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C. and would like to offer the following five observations.

1. Consider what I wrote about Obama and Israel almost exactly four years ago today:

If you hear President Obama speak about the "unbreakable bonds" between the United States and Israel then chances are he has probably just said or done something to fritter away at those bonds.

Obama Says He Criticizes Israel to Maintain Credibility

By on 5.21.15 | 10:42PM

President Obama purportedly tries to make nice with Israel in his interview with Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlanticbut he can't help himself. It's Obama being Obama:

One Donor Who Actually Holds Republicans Accountable on Spending and Taxes

By on 5.21.15 | 6:43PM

Thankfully, at least some political donors exist who are willing to hold Republicans’ feet to the fire on cutting spending, reducing taxes, and eschewing unfair corporate incentives.

In North Carolina, The News & Observer of Raleigh reports that donor and widely respected school-choice advocate Bob Luddy plans to divert a $25,000 donation away from N.C. House Republicans based on a proposed House budget that raises spending without cutting taxes.

As the Observer reports:

Luddy complained that the budget advancing to a major vote on Thursday does not include new tax cuts and extends tax breaks for specific industries. He called the spending plan too “liberal” and said he’s decided to withold [sic] his planned, annual donation to the House Republicans’ campaign committee.


Exposure to Conservative Ideas is Apparently a Form of PTSD

By on 5.21.15 | 4:47PM

Marion Barry’s Son Gets Probation For Violent Bank Assault

By on 5.21.15 | 4:10PM

Son to D.C.’s infamous ‘Mayor for Life’ Marion Barry pleaded guilty Wednesday to assault charges stemming from a January outburst in which he threw a trash can at a teller in a downtown bank.

Despite already being on probation, Marion Christopher Barry was sentenced to 12 months of supervised probation and mandatory attendance of anger management classes, NBC4 Washington reported.

Meanwhile, The Washington Nationals Take Over 1st Place in NL East Despite Ejection of Bryce Harper

By on 5.21.15 | 3:11PM

Larry righteously objects to Marvin Hudson's ejection of Washington Nationals superstar Bryce Harper and his manager Matt Williams last night.

Yet, lost in all the spectacle, the Nats beat the New York Yankees 3-2 to gain sole possession of 1st place in the NL East.

Of course, the Nationals were widely expected to run away with the NL East title before the season began, but got off to a 7-13 start. On April 27th, the Nats were in last place in the NL East, 8 games back of the New York Mets who were the biggest story in MLB in April.

Well, as the old saying goes, "Riding high in April. Shot down in May."

Since their 15-5 start, the Mets have gone 8-13 while the Nats have gone 17-4 during that same period. Washington has won 11 of its last 14 games.

Much of the Nats success can be laid at the doorstep of Bryce Harper who has hit 9 HR in last 12 games. He's hitting .333, leads the NL in HR (15), RBI (38) and walks (37) for an astounding .472 OBP.

Open Letter to Rob Manfred, Commissioner of Baseball

By on 5.21.15 | 1:57PM


I know you already understand this. But maybe Marvin Hudson doesn’t. And reminders, even of the obvious, never hurt.

People who like baseball, the folks on whom the future of your game and your job depend, shell out handsomely to go to the ballpark, or tune in on television, to watch gifted athletes like, to pick someone at random, Bryce Harper, perform. They don’t go to the park or tune in to watch guys like Marvin Hudson call balls and strikes (even when they get it right most of the time). And they sure as hell don’t go there to watch Marvelous Marv pitch Harper for some, please excuse the technical language, chickens**t infraction.

Rand Paul’s Filibuster Was a Bust

By on 5.21.15 | 12:59PM

When Rand Paul filibustered about drones two years ago, Ross Kaminsky declared, "Rand Paul created a political earthquake."

If that's the case then Paul's filibuster against extending the Patriot Act registered barely a tremor by comparison. You could say his filibuster was a bust.

Now I couldn't stand with Rand then and I won't now. However, I did give him full marks for political theater at the time. I can't say the same this time around.

Aside from the substance of Paul's position, the problem with doing a second filibuster is that the novelty has worn off. Ted Cruz did his filibuster six months later.

Let me put it this way. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington didn't have a sequel for a reason. A filibuster is a one shot, Hail Mary pass. You can't go to it again and again.

Rand Paul is a textbook example of style over substance and sizzle but no steak. This time around there was no sizzle and when there's no sizzle you have an empty frying pan.