The Spectacle Blog

Dems and the Middle East

By on 9.6.06 | 11:25AM

Kevin Drum attempts to lay out what most Democrats agree on when it comes to the War on Terror. That is, if you exclude "the Chomsky wing on the left and the Lieberman wing on the right." Among the many aspects of his Democratic national security plan is this:

Romney Vs. Khatami

By on 9.5.06 | 4:26PM

I just recieved the following press release from the Massachusetts Governor's office:

Governor Mitt Romney today ordered all Massachusetts state government agencies to decline support, if asked, for former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami's September 10 visit to the Boston area, where he is scheduled to speak at Harvard University.

"State taxpayers should not be providing special treatment to an individual who supports violent jihad and the destruction of Israel," said Romney.

Romney's action means that Khatami will be denied an official police escort and other VIP treatment when he is in town. The federal government provides security through the U.S. State Department. Romney criticized Harvard for honoring Khatami by inviting him to speak, calling it "a disgrace to the memory of all Americans who have lost their lives at the hands of extremists, especially on the eve of the five-year anniversary of 9/11."

Zakaria on Saddam’s Nukes

By on 9.5.06 | 2:58PM

In the midst of arguing that the Iranian threat is being overblown, Fareed Zakaria mentions historical examples of past threats that he says were also overblown. He writes:

Saddam, we were assured in 2003, had nuclear weapons-and because he was a madman, he would use them.

It's one thing to say that we were told that Saddam had WMD, but nobody was assuring us in 2003 that Saddam had nuclear weapons. The farthest the Bush Administration went was to say that Saddam was seeking them. That's a crucial difference, and I'm surprised that Zakaria would be so careless.

Re: Steve Irwin

By on 9.5.06 | 12:02PM

I love and respect my father--it's hard not to respect someone with that much firepower and a solid post-apocalypse plan--but I wish he had wrestled aligators and snakes and swam with 200 pound stingrays. In fact, if he called me up tomorrow and said that was his plan for his (not quite here) retirement years I would put a camcorder and defibrillator on my credit card, pack my bag, butter some popcorn and get ready for the show. I'd also encourage him to blow whatever meager inheritance my sisters and I might have waiting in the wings on the project because there is no way whatever we'd blow the money on could compare to watching my father try to cop an Australian accent shouting "Crikey!" while wrestling an aligator. Nothing.

Re: Irwin

By on 9.5.06 | 11:46AM

Shawn, I think Irwin proved himself fearless and special before he had children. So, had he quit a few years ago, his children could have grown up proud of what their father acomplished when he was younger, but they still would have been able to grow up with a father. When they got older, they would realize that their father sacrificed something he loved, but it was only because his love for them was even greater.

Re: Steve Irwin

By on 9.5.06 | 11:27AM

Phillip: Your response reminds me, actually, of a passage from All the King's Men: "The end of man is knowledge, but there is one thing he can't know. He can't know whether knowledge will save him or kill him."

At the heart of it all, Irwin sought knowledge and shed light on some dangerous wonders for people across the globe. His wife was there for much of it, so she clearly consented. And while his death is sad and tragic for his children, they will grow up with evidence of a father who balked at nothing and went where few if any other men were willing to go. To my mind that sort of one of a kind fearlessness is a much better example than a father who gave up what he loved because the world is a dangerous place.

Irwin didn't die in some traffic accident or of a heart attack. It isn't as if he didn't provide extensivley for his family. He went out wrestling aligators, snakes and, finally, swimming in shallow water with a 220 pound stingray that got in a lucky shot. The entire world mourned his death because they knew he was special. May one percent of us end with such glory!

Re: Steve Irwin

By on 9.5.06 | 10:39AM

Obviously, it's a tragedy when anybody dies, but in my view Irwin was being very selfish and irresponsible as a husband and father by doing what he was doing. It's one thing to play around with deadly animals when you're a young, single, guy, but if you love doing something dangerous, you simply should not have a family. That's just a sacrifice you're going to have to make, because it's not fair to make your wife a widow and your children fatherless. If having a family means a lot to you, then give up hunting Crocodiles.