The Spectacle Blog

Poor, Uneducated, and Easily Led

By on 5.1.06 | 5:05PM

With regard to Dave's post immediately below, the single worst -- nay, not just bad, but flat-out offensive -- line of Ryan Lizza's in his hit piece on George Allen, the one that Dave Holman so brilliantly skewered, was this: "Whuppin' his siblings might have been a natural prelude to Confederate sympathies and noose-collecting if Allen had grown up in, say, a shack in Alabama."

This astonishing bit of cultural condescension (not to mention slander against poor people from an entire state and, by implication, an entire region of the country) has more than just a small whiff of the infamous Washington Post story by Michael Weisskopf in 1993 in which he wrote that followers of the Christian Right are "largely poor, uneducated and easy to command."

‘Hyperbole’?

By on 5.1.06 | 4:32PM

At the New Republic blog, Jason Zengerle razzes me "for painstakingly establishing that, contra the first sentence of Ryan's article, Allen is not the only person in Virginia who wears cowboy boots..." He says I should look up "hyperbole."

That might have explained Lizza failing to see my boots, just feet away in a small group, until he emailed, "I didn't see any cowboy boots at Shad Planking except Allen's."

UPDATE: Amy Ridenour is not surprised.

Anybody home?

By on 5.1.06 | 3:27PM

Awfully quiet in here this morning. We're not...no, we wouldn't do that. Besides, we already write the stuff ordinary Americans can't be bothered to write.

Newspaper Geeks United

By on 5.1.06 | 3:11PM

The Wall Street Journal website is free for the next ten days.

“Socialist Bunk”

By on 5.1.06 | 11:00AM

That's what Sen. John Cornyn's spokesman calls Bill Frist's $100 gas rebate plan. The comments go downhill from there: another Republican Senate staffer said that constituents are asking, "Do you think we are prostitutes?"

Wow. It's a rare day on Capitol Hill when common sense just might prevail.

Overheard @ The Prom

By on 5.1.06 | 9:31AM

Joe Wilson and his wife, She Who Must Not Be Named, were two of the most visible attendees at the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday.

In the aftermath, after President Bush stole the show with a bravura performance that outclassed just about everything else that night, Wilson was quoted as telling various reporters that some Republicans blamed him for President Bush's low approval ratings.

Whatever Wilson was being served by ABC News at its pre-dinner party, we'd like a big pot of it, whatever it was, because Wilson must be seeing lots of pretty colors and living in a fantasy world. No Republican with a mind is even thinking of Wilson at this stage of the game. He's a has-been, a washed up, retired, mediocre foreign service officer, who talked a good game of "having contacts" in Africa to his wife, and then failed her when she got him an important gig that should have been assigned to more qualified people.

The President's problems reside solely at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and up on Capitol Hill, where messaging and legislative discipline need to be put on the priority list.

New Republic’s Charges on Allen Fall Flat

By on 5.1.06 | 8:02AM

One would imagine that the folks at the New Republic were hoping for a bigger splash to Ryan Lizza's story. They leaked it in advance of web publication, and published the web story ahead of posting the full magazine -- in which it's the cover story.

Just two days later, Sen. George Allen was scheduled to take a "civil rights pilgrimage" through Southwest Virginia with civil rights leader Rep. John L. Lewis. Perfect timing to pin it on Allen, no?

In the Washington Post's coverage of the trip, the paper shrugs (if papers can shrug). The old news about the Confederate battle flag and noose make the ninth paragraph, and the TNR story makes the tenth.

Read more on the Lizza story here.

Funny Catholics in L.A.

By on 4.30.06 | 7:09PM

If you have any doubts that something's truly amiss in the Los Angeles archdiocese -- or even American Catholicism -- watch this video. And don't stop just because it hurts.

UPDATE: Ack! If you thought, where is the cardinal? Cardinal Mahony's presiding.

Re: Mexican Congress On Crack

By on 4.30.06 | 10:39AM

Tabin: you fight the good fight, my friend, but this law is a chaos factory. "Several doses" of heroin for a first-time user is a fine ticket for a round trip ride on the midnight train, more than enough to teach a man how to ride a horse -- all the way to town. His eventual addiction will outpace, outlast, and finally outsmart even the Mexican government.

The law will, by then, have succeeded only in delaying the smack-fueled crossing of its redrawn line in the sand. Which, I suppose, has its appeal when one's too busy trying to keep cops from going crooked to keep kids from getting bent.

Re: Mexican Congress On Crack

By on 4.30.06 | 3:34AM

James: I'll bet you an evening's serving of your drug of choice (wine, right?) that this bill will have almost no effect on addiction and drug-related death in Mexico. The bill legalizes possession of 5 grams of marijuana, two MDMA pills, a half a gram of cocaine, 25mg of heroin, and 1 kilogram of peyote. With the exception of the peyote, which I suspect gets special treatment because of its role in Native American religious ritual, these are tiny amounts: four joints, two hits of ecstasy, four lines of coke. Twenty-five milligrams of heroin is several doses for a first time user, but wouldn't do much for an addict: According to a study by the Swiss government, after 6 months of regular use (the point at which tolerance generally levels off into a stable dose), the mean daily dose of heroin is 491.7mg.

And remember, this is Mexico we're talking about: Standard operating procedure when caught for small drug possession is to bribe the cops and go on your way. Surely a modest bit of drug legalization is preferable to that sort of endemic corruption.

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