The Spectacle Blog
Benedict's first encyclical is one any Catholic ought to be proud of, on a topic everyone ought to be worried about: the elimination of love that stems from human spirit, replaced by a new kind of eros -- not just good old Lust but a commodified form, a networked orgiasm where every act of mental and physical intercourse is a moved unit, a profitable financial transaction.
Much is being made on the potential impact of the media getting their hands on photos of President Bush shaking hands with convicted fraud Jack Abramoff. So far, the White House is refusing to turn over any of the pictures.
The Washington Post called me about this and published my unsolicited advice to the White House, namely, put out the photos with an explanation for each. Party sages like Mary Matalin disagreed.
My reasoning follows. Does anyone think that the photos are not going to make it into the public domain? Heck, Jack Abramoff’s lawyer Abbe Lowell is probably behind the threat to sell them to the supermarket tabloids. Have no doubt. The pictures will come out.
Marwan Bargouti wants to be the Gerry Adams of the
Bargouti, the Hamas leader, is a convicted terrorist murderer, now behind bars. But today’s election in the Palestinian areas of the Gaza Strip and the
Spoke to Mike Pence of 6th Indiana with regard the insider line on the February 2 showdown for House GOP leader.
According to Pence, Team Roy Blunt of Missouri claims 115 or 116 pledges; yet the Hotline lists only 90 published names. Pence, a Shadegg supporter, says that he counts 100 firm pledges to Blunt, no more.
Team Shadegg's strategy is to identify names on the Blunt pledge list of members who will state in public that they chose too soon, that Shadegg's late entry changes the landscape.
One wavering name, confirmed by Larry Kudlow of CNBC, is Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, who may be close to changing her commitment from Blunt to Shadegg. Blackburn now hints that she will challenge Deborah Pryce, who is part of Team Blunt; and that is motive for Blackburn to pull vote back from pledge to Blunt.
Team Shadegg's election day strategy is to stop Blunt on the first ballot. Anything less than 117 (secret ballot) opens the door to a rush to Boehner or Shadegg.
Lady G., I daresay an opinionholder like Joel Stein, with the forthrightness required to step out into the light of public scrutiny, ought to be taken in the spirit that he's given. It takes guts to declare oneself a fundamentalist pacifist. Taking ridicule from one's own side is second only to taking a bullet from one's enemies as the most courageous thing a true pacifist can do.
I suspect, however, that Stein is not really a true pacifist. I suspect his pacifism is a false positive. He would not fold his arms and watch a genocide, I bet. He might feel outrage. And how did he feel about Kosovo? The whole bravery of saying "I don't support the troops because I don't support troops, period" is, unfortunately for Stein, irretrievably tarnished by the likelihood, not disproven in his op-ed, that Stein rather appreciates the accomplishments of the Civil War, World War Two, and perhaps even a handful of other military actions, carried out by troops in the 1990s with only the best of intentions.
Report this evening from the Financial Times re the unusually familiar melodrama that the international scoundrel Wolfowitz -- last seen at the DOD wrecking the planet with his kindred of Cain the Neocons -- is now leading a coup d'etat at the serenely sluggish and strangely non-transparent yet unnoticed World Bank. First reports from the backstairs where these sorts of coups get played out -- daggers, emails, Walsingham codes -- is that Wolfowitz's sinister scheme involves bringing in political ops from the baldly Republican administration in Washington and letting them vet the senior help that have been selflessly involved with enterprises that appear wildly overbudget and unexplained. Wolfowitz is said to have approved the use of accountants to study the books. Do gentlemen examine other gentlemen's books??? Veteran World Bank international civil servants are said to be in such disrepair that they are blogging their upset in foreign languages.
Prepare for the worst -- see key words: vanished billions, mystery, U.S. Attorney.
Six dead and two dozen wounded in two explosive device attacks this news cycle, the day of a scheduled visit by the chief executive officer. Sound like U.S., France, Israel? Wrong. The report is from the Iran southern city of Ahvaz. One explosive device in front of a bank; the second in front of a government natural resources office. Ahmadinejad's visit was scheduled for January 24, today; but had been cancelled because -- the expedient explanation after the plane crash at Tehran last weeks that dispatched the high command of the IRGC -- of bad weather.
You will recall the strange report some weeks back of a gunfight attack on a presidential convoy in southeast Iran, when a presidential bodyguard (driver) and a so-called bandit were killed by gunfire. The explanation at the time was that the attack was ignorant, random Baluchi bandits (Baluchistan is a beggarly, abused stateless chauvinistic enterprise spread over three countries [Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan]), and that we were not to leap to theories based on the fact that Ahmadinejad was some many air miles away at the time.
NBC axed the poorly performing show about the Episcopal priest and his dysfunctional family today.
Bill Donahue of the Catholic League is ecstatic in an email: "This is good news for Christians and bad news for those who get their jollies trying to disparage them. ... Hollywood could save itself a lot of money if they simply asked us to vet their shows. Our fee is high -- obscenely high -- but we're worth it."