The Spectacle Blog

How To Be Somewhat Unelectable

By on 7.25.06 | 2:11PM

A poll from last week shows that Bob Casey's lead over Rick Santorum was about 11 points, and one from yesterday shows it at about 9. If Casey's lead is shrinking, perhaps it is because of the ads he is running.

You can listen to this radio ad that criticizes Santorum on immigration but then states that Casey supports the McCain bill. Umm…has anyone told Casey that the McCain bill was unpopular? Then there are the TV ads, which try to paint Casey as favoring fiscal responsibility, but then call for reducing the deficit in a way that only a moron would mistake as anything other than raising taxes. Hasn't anyone on the Casey campaign heard of the "bridge to nowhere"?

Minnesota Mudslinging

By on 7.25.06 | 10:08AM

Other than maybe the guys at Powerline, this story probably won't get too much attention, but it should get more.

The skinny? Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch discovered that a political competitor had hired a team to do opposition research on Hatch and his family. Apparently the Star Tribune, a notoriously Democrat-friendly publication, received the opposition research file, or at the least was told the bulk of its contents, and a couple of reporters asked Hatch questions specific to the details revealed in the files.

Hatch refused to answer the questions, and filed a complaint with a state journalism organization. In response, the Star Tribune published an article about the complaint, and made it clear that it knew about the contents of the opposition research file. So without publishing it, it smeared Hatch anyway through hints and innuendo, even though the paper has no corroboration.

We don't know Hatch, but it's this kind of backdoor leaking and smear work of the MSM that is giving it a worse name than it already had.

Karnick on Culture

By on 7.24.06 | 10:15PM

S.T. Karnick is one of the journeyman writers of the conservative-libertarian (or as he would say, classical liberal) movement. His work has appeared just about everywhere, including TAS online. Some of you may remember him from his editorship and co-creation of American Outlook, which was a very good policy and culture magazine put out by the Hudson Institute for several years. He and Wlady gave me my first opportunities in freelance writing a few years ago. (Thanks to both for helping through a couple of lean years in Waco.)

Although Karnick has written about just about everything between his freelance work and his regular editorial pieces for the Hudson magazine, he really shines when opining about popular culture. After years of encouraging him to focus on that area, I am happy to report that Karnick on Culture is now in business. After only a few short days, Karnick has written posts covering Mickey Spillane, Monk, Psych, the Beach Boys, Touching Evil, Nero Wolfe, The Closer, and Superman Returns. Spend a little time with S.T. Karnick before you make another CD, DVD, or fiction purchase. You'll be glad you did.

Re: Woods, DiMarco…

By on 7.24.06 | 4:26PM

Although TV always overplays such situations, the most unusual, indeed saddest thing about this year's British Open was that the two players who finished one-two were deep in mourning for a parent. For a while it seemed that each had a different take on his loss. DiMarco seemed the more religious, noting earlier in the tournament, "I've got someone watching over me. I've got some divine intervention. I just know it." Woods by contrast was more inconsolable. "After the last putt, I realized my dad's never going to see this again, and I wish he could have seen this one last time," he said at the trophy presentation. By tournament's end, DiMarco himself was hit by death's finality. "That's the hardest part -- that I know I'll never see her again," he said. Even among the world's finest, the here and now is all we know.

Rich Logic

By on 7.24.06 | 3:59PM

New York Times columnist Frank Rich personifies the political left's inability to do if-then logic, a fact on exhibit again Sunday in a column ostensibly on the controversy over embryonic stem cell research but really just another exercise in random Bush-bashing. Rich cites the notorious Presidential Daily Briefing from August 6, 2001, a month before 9/11, titled, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S."

"History," Rich writes, "has since condemned President Bush for ignoring that intelligence."

Now let me see if I've got this straight. Rich is arguing that Bush, armed with sketchy intelligence that Osama bin Laden intended to attack America, should have neutralized the threat. All right, but how? Should Bush have launched a pre-emptive, unilateral invasion of Afghanistan, where bin Laden was holed up?

As we say in the 'hood, I'm down with that.

Re: Tiger, DiMarco, Landis

By on 7.24.06 | 1:06PM

Quin, ever hear the story of how that "famous bizzarre putting grip" of Chris DiMarco's came about? Bill Fields of Golf World told the story a few years back.

Golfer Skip Kendall belongs to a club near his home town in Wisconsin. For years, the club champion was a doctor who dominated the rest of the field. Then, as the doctor got older, his putting stroke deserted him. He schemed and worked and fiddled and finally came up with the putting grip now called "the saw" or "the claw." And the doctor started winning the club championships once again.

A number of members copied him. Apparently, now, some 30 of the members use that grip. On a trip home, Kendall saw it. Some time later, he passed it on to DiMarco, who was having putting woes. And DiMarco unwittingly introduced it to the wider world.

I use it myself.

Health Propaganda

By on 7.24.06 | 12:41PM

About two weeks ago, The Anniston Star ran an editorial looking at health in Alabama. Here is a quote:

We decided to look at a couple of broad health indicators, namely life expectancy and infant mortality rates. These data are influenced by a wide range of problems from chronic illness and poor nutrition to substance abuse and lack of adequate health care.

It is common for the media to link a health care system to life expectancy and infant mortality. Problem is, neither tells us much about a health care system. A lengthy explanation in my first policy analysis for NCPPR.

Tiger, Landis, DiMarco

By on 7.24.06 | 12:11PM

Congratulations to Tiger Woods for his near-flawless performance in winning the British Open (a decent putting day on Saturday would have given him a wipe-out victory by six or seven shots), to Floyd Landis for his incredibly inspirational victory in the Tour de France (years riding as sidekick to give Lance Armstrong all the glory; one last chance this year before hip replacement surgery [!!!]; the very painful hip itself all the way through this Tour; the phenomenal comeback in the Alps after a falling all the way to 11th place), and to golfer Chris DiMarco for his second-place finish to Tiger just three weeks after DiMarco's mother's unexpected death. Again, as Tiger kept hitting good shot after good shot, all the glamour names on the leader board -- Els, Garcia, Goosen, Furyk -- failed to put any pressure, even the slightest bit, on him the last day. But DiMarco, with a slightly jury-rigged swing, a famously bizarre putting grip, and a much lesser golf pedigree, again showed the grit, determination, and never-say-die attitude to at least make Tiger sweat.