Friday, July 31, 2009

Worth a Thousand Words

James Crowley helps Henry Louis Gates down the White House steps while Barack Obama mugs for the camera.
Michael Phelps: Sore, But Bought & Paid For, Loser

Michael Phelps, champion swimmer and noted pothead, just lost his first race since 2005. His coach laid the blame on the winner's legally acceptable sleek, swimsuit:
“The (polyurethane) suits make you go out with … much less energy cost, so at the end you have a punch,” the coach said. “Michael had to work so hard to stay with him for 150, then it’s just not there at the end. That’s what the suits do. The energy cost is reduced going out, so you finish a lot better.”

Phelps sure looked out of place on the medal podium.

After bending over to accept a medal he wanted no part of, then listening to another swimmer’s national anthem, Phelps tried to make his getaway.
So why does Phwlps not just wear the same type of swimsuit? Because he has been paid big bucks to endorse Speedo which does not make them. Phelps is threatening to withdraw from all future swim meets unless the offending swimsuits are banned.

As a bonus, some coaches called for a ban last year on a new Speedo Phelps wore that they claimed gave him an unfair advantage. Take a wild guess how Phelps and his coach responded.
Poetic Justice for OJ Simpson

OJ Simpson has discovered life in jail is hard. His cellmate hates his guts and has threatened to kill him:
“My cellmate is nuts. He’s a killer, and he hates me. He told me that he is in prison for murder and rape, and he hates my guts because I got away with murdering my ex-wife. He’s told me he is going to strangle me in my sleep the first chance he gets.”
it could not happen to a more deserving guy. Note the slip up, too. He says his cellmate hates his guts because he got away with killing his ex-wife, not because his cellmate believes he got away with murdering his ex-wife. that is as close to a confession as we will get outside of If I Did It, OJ's fictionalized account of the actual murders he committed.

(Via: In a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World)
Star Trek: The Next Generation--"Datalore"

While I hate to sound like a broken record, “Datalore” is another episode I have mixed emotions about. Fortunately, the good outweighs the bad.

I like the episode overall. The back story of Data and Lore’s creation hints at elements of Frankenstein, one of my all time favorite novels. Although Data refers to his home colony’s primary purpose as scientific, it seems much more like it was a farming community in which Noonian Soong hoped to work on his positronic brain idea in obscurity. Lore was created first. It sounds like the colonists were upset because his ability to completely adapt to human customs sparked off a superstitious concern within them, so Soong turned him off and created the less human Data instead.

The script cannot decide whether to play up the irony that the colonists dislike seeing all their bad qualities demonstrated by a perfect machine or to play up lore’s obvious psychotic issues. The former might have been more interesting. But the latter happened. At least at this point, Lore acts like the typical over the top insane villain that the original crew often ran up against in TOS. I suspect this element of his personality was Roddenberry’s handiwork in the script. Lore chewed more scenery than a billy goat with a tapeworm, too. Cretainly that was Roddenberry’s touch.

I complain about Lore’s psychosis because he could have been so much more had he followed through what the plan he originally offered to data. lore was trying to tempt Data to go off and absorb the knowledge of thousands of alien beings. What he wanted was power and later, when he reaches his peak in “Descent,” he is a much more entertaining character. (Thanks, Ronald D. Moore.) But here, within just a few minutes, he reverts back to being a cold blooded killer for no discernable reason. He is just in cahoots with a genocidal, flying snowflake. We do not know if he gwts anything out of it besides the pleasure of killing.

I can overlook the weaker points of Lore’s debut because he will become such an iconic character. It could not have been easy for Brent Spner to play both him and Data off one another, particularly when lore was pretending to be Data. He does look like he had fun with it, though.

What I do have a hard time with is the general stupidity of the rest of thecrew. Why is it when lore admits he lied about being created second, it does not raise any almsman them? Why is it when “lore” is deactivated, they just leave him on the floor without any security? Sure, he is deactivated, but they do not know if his differences from Data might include some sort of failsafe awakening. Why is it that wesley believes “data” is just practicing lore’s facial tic and then has the stupidity to comment he would have thought he was Lore if he had used a contraction. (Which Data uses when he tells Picard, “I’m fine,” at the end of the episode, yet no one catches it, either.) no one’s suspicions are raised when Wesley pints out he is not the real data even though he suddenly has the ability to speak to the crystal entity, calls Riker by name rather than his usual rank, and misunderstands Picard’s, “Make it so.” What the heck kind of clues do these people need? They all treat Wesley like garbage even though he was right all along and offer no apologies when the situation is resolved. The main characters do not come off well in “Datalore.”

One really good point in closing is “Datalore” is Roddenberry’s final writing credit for televised Trek. Anything that marks his ebbing influence on the show is good in my book.

Rating: ****(out of 5)
Phoebe Cates in a Bikini

The International Rule 5 BikiniFest has ended three days earlier than expected due to accomplished goals I am too low on the ladder to know anything about.

That will not stop me from posting a bikini girl or two. I have always been one to move the party over to another locale rather than ever end it. It is the Parrothead in me.

If you follow the link above, you will see I did uncover the identity of the Cosmic Bikini Girl with only three clues revealed. They were:
1. She was born during the Kennedy Administration.
2. She made a movie this decade.
3. She shares a name with a heavenly body of the solar system variety.
the last one was all it took for this astronomy buff. Phoebe is the name of one of the moons of Saturn. Phoebe Cates was born in 1963. Her last major film role was in The Anniversary Party in 2001. But most importantly, she sported the highly memorable red bikini in Fast Times at Ridgemont High pictured.

True story: I saw Gremlins before ever seeing Fast Times at Ridgemont High and had developed a thing for her from the latter. She seemed like one of those cute librarian types you could pull out of her shell if you got her far enough way from her parents. I used to think that, at any rate. After years of pulling such girls away from their parents over my Christian school experience I have discovered they are all quite vanilla. Just my luck. I either cannot start her engine no matter how hard I pull the cord or I build up her suppressed ego to where she thinks she is too good for me.

Anyway, along came the red bikini and Phoebe Cates was deemed nigh perfect in my deviant little mind. I do not believe I am the only one who drew said conclusion.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Joe Biden + Beer = Scary Thought

Think of the things he says sober.
Burn Notice--"Friends Like These"

There was an uneasy feeling I had about this episode from the first few minutes. It was not the plot. All that was a pretty straightforward combination of a scam in order to recover a McGuffin and the minor story which furthers the overall arc ever so much. Neither one was bad. In fact, I was surprised by the twist of who the villain really was. Remember kids, if the choice is between a former Serbian counter intelligence operative or his unsuspecting girlfriend, the mastermind is actually the girlfriend.

What really got me about the episode was the clear theme that Michael is willing to use his friends and now family in order to get back into the spy business even if they do not want him to go back to his old job. To some extent, that has always been going on. Michael has used Sam and Fiona, risking their life and limbs, for his own benefit. For their part, the two have been loyal. There has always been a sense of camaraderie among them. At times, there has even been a competition to see who does Michael most rely on.

That has begun breaking apart this season. I got the sense it would when, at the end of the season premiere, Michael’s mother warned them all they needed to stick together. perhaps she knew the warning was necessary because she knew Michael’s personality better than they did. He was going to sacrifice everything to get his job back.

Michael certainly has changed. At this point, he has even drafted his aging mother into doing surveillance for him. The move surprised Sam. he was prepared to make an argument in her favor for the job, yet Michael readily agreed to put her on the line. Note that it is Sam looking out for her while on the job at the same time, Michael has interfered in his personal relationship with his girlfriend in order to complete a second job. He even insults Sam once after the Serbian gets the better of him for a brief moment.

The worst of it is his treatment of Fiona. She does not want him working for Strickler or going back into the spy business. For my part, I see where she has a point on both counts. Strickler is in it for the money and, frankly, what is the value of being a spy at this point? He ignores her, treats her like crap, and ultimately chooses Strickler over her. It is not until the end, after she is gone, that he finally considers the loss her departure is.

Next week’s summer cliffhanger looks to bring their relationship to a head. I am curious to the direction in which it will go. I debate whether the series finale will have Michael return to the espionage world or decide to continue with his own thing. the decision hinges largely on whether he listens to Fiona or she changes her mind about what he really is. The only way to resolve that is for the two to figure out what is most important to them.

The effort to rejoin the spy game has changed Michael in unpleasant ways to the point I am rooting for Fiona to win out. the show has evolved to the point I am no longer sympathetic for Michael to get his job back.

Rating: *** (out of 5)
Barack Obama After Six Months

Things are not looking up for the Obamassiah. He has lost the support of a majority of Americans:
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Thursday shows that 28% of the nation's voters now Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty percent (40%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -12. That’s the lowest rating yet recorded for President Obama (see trends).
I certainly do not think we should let up on opposing his agenda, but we can breathe a sigh of relief over what we have done so far:
1.Card check--Dead.
2. Cap and trade00Stalled. Even Democrats are embarrassed about the tax hike it calls for.
3. ObamaCare--Stalled over lack of support.
4. Gitmo--Still open.
5. DADT--Still law of the land.
We still run the risk of terrible damage due to Obama's deficit spending and foreign policy ineptitude, but we have resisted much more than I thought we could when he was elected.

For noncommital entertainment value: Is Obama the Antichrist?
Are Americans Stupid?

Proect Savior made a rebuttal to my post yesterday crituque of Bill Maher's claim America is a stupid country and suggested I might like to comment. Indeed, I would. you should read his post before going any further, but basically he lays out the claim that birthers, tea-Baggers anti-Evolutionists, and climate change deniers are stupid.

None of that supports Bill Maher's original claim that America is a stupid country, but it does support Maher's actual claim that conservatives and religious people are stupid. Neither Maher, nor savior draw the distinction, but I will still address the issues regardless because i do not believe one should make such sweeping allegations against two groups as large and diverse as conservatives and the religious.

Just to clarify, I may not necessarily agree with each of the groups Maher and Savior attacked. I am only saying that being wrong does not necessarily mean one is stupid. if reasonable argument can be made in support of the position, then it is not stupid. Wrong maybe, but not stupid.
1. Birthers--I am not a birther. I believe Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. so does the vast majority of the country and conservatives. According to Michael Steele, it is the official position of the Republican Party. if there is a fringe element in the GOP or thecountry as a whole that does not think Obama is an American citizen, they are not in great enough numbers to call the entire GOp or country stupid.

I set a standard if there was a logical argument, even birthers are not stupid, so let us see if we can lay one out. I would like to remind everyone I analyzed the legal aspects of thebirther issue recently and discovered there is a more convincing argument John McCain was ineligible to run for president than Obama.

The eligibility requirements for the presidency appear straightforward. According to Article Ii of the Constitution, any natural born citizen over the age of 35 who has been a resident of the United States for 14 years is eligible to be president.

The problem lies with the lack of defintions within the Constitution. Take the 14 years requirement. Do the 14 years have to be consecutive or cumulative? Must they directly precede the time served in the White House? No one knows. The questions have never been tested in a court of law, which means they can be argued more than one way. As far as the law is concerned, it is a open question that has never been ripe enough to address.

As illustrated in the link i provided, "natural born" citizen is not so cut and dry, either. In Obama's case, he is the son of a foreign national father and an American citizen mother. His parents divorced when he was a toddler. His mother remarried, this time to another foreigner, and moved to Indonesia. While Obama was adopted by his stepfather in Indonesia, he still kept his natural born citizenship because he was born in Hawaii. While these are facts, obama has not helped the matter by having his birth records sealed in Hawaii by the governor. That is not going to do anything but egg people who believe he has something to hide on.

2. Tea-Baggers--I have defended tea parties against false liberal criticism here, here, and here. all three of those instances were similar to Savior's complaint that tea partiers are being ifnorant and anti-American. There is nothing more American than protesting an intrusive government. America was born in protest, for heaven's sake!

I could be kind here and say it is a difference in ideology, which amounts to e difference of opinion on how to govern. That does not necessarily mean one way is stupid while the other makes rational sense. But I cannot do that. Frankly, you have to have zero understanding of economics to think the tea partiers are wrong.

Here is the problem. The government is printing up tons of cash to throw out into the economy. When the cash hit’s the streets, prices are going to rise. This is inflation. However, this huge influx of cash was not created wealth. In fact, with unemployment rising and the economy shrinking, we are actually creating less wealth. So what you have is the government creating stagflation--a situation in which prices are rising while the economy is shrinking.

It is a devastating combination which can take years to crawl out of. The last time we had stagflation was under Jimmy Carter. It helped destroy his administration. So far, Obama is chomping at the bit to make it even worse by bankrupting the country with health care spending and a potential second stimulus. The tea partiers know this and they are trying to stop it. Anyone who is not trying to stop it is, at the very last, ignorant of the economic facts.

3. Anti-Evolutionists--i am further behind on my apologetics project than I would like to be, but i have addressed the Teleological Argument, before. This is a debate that we never end until we all die and know the final truth. Some claim science will eventually find God, but i think that would destroy the value of His followers' faith in Him. I do not buy into the scientific claim God is hiding in fewer and fewer gaps in our knowledge, either. it is a matter of personal belief either way.

Science and religion are historically intertwined. Galileo and Charles Darwin were both Christians. The idea that science and religion are mortal enemies shows a very shortsighted view of history.

There is no way to elaborate on the debate in any appreciable way in one blog post. the fact is there are arguments to be made, pro and can. anyone who says the intelligent Design argument amounts to "God Did It" is not looking honestly at the issue. the guys in the white lab coats are not infallible. Natural evolution debunks its own theories on a regular basis. There are arguments to be made about both positions that are growing and changing with new knowledge. Do I think anything will be conclusively proven? No. Does that make any side in the issue stupid? Of course not.

4. Climate Change Deniers--This July has been the coolest one on record. The climate ebbs and flows over time between heating and cooling. Much like evolutionists, global warming advocates are eager to silence the opposition rather than address their objections as valid.

But are there valid arguments in favor of global warming skepticism? Here is a list of 56 of them and a scientific rebuttal. t just scratches the surface of the debate. John coleman, founder of The Weather Channel, argues global warming is a hoax. there are valid arguments to be made but respectable people on the global warming skepticism side.
None of these are a matter of stupidity. by and large, they are a matter of liberals and anti-religious bigots who are too arrogant to withstand questioning.
Star Trek: The Next Generation--"The Big Goodbye"

“The Big Goodbye” features the first of many holodeck malfunctions in Trek. I am of mixed emotions about that. While I have to wonder why a series set in outer space with all its wonderful possibilities has to rely on a holodeck for stories, a few of those stories have been quite good. “The Big Goodbye” is one of them. It also earned TNG an Emmy and a Peabody Award, so one has to assume future holodeck efforts were an attempt to recreate the magic. No pun intended.

I have a penchant for noir detective stories “The Big Goodbye” is largely an homage Raymond Chandler’s The Maltese Falcon, but there are elements of many of Detective Phillip Marlowe’s cases featured. I have noted if you are not a fan of the genre, you probably either love or hate it as a perceived homage to “A Piece of the Action” from TOS. It is shortsighted to see any similarities between the two episodes, but perspective is perspective. Whether it is an homage to Chandler or “A Piece of the Action,” I consider it one of the better episodes of TNG and a vast improvement over “A Piece of the Action.”

We have Picard, stressed out because he has to perform a perfect greeting in the complicated language of a hypersensitive insectoid race. He decides to take a break in the holodeck and play his favorite fictional detective, Dixon Hill. Data and Beverley Crusher join him. A malfunction removes the safety protocols, so they find themselves in the middle of a real hardboiled criminal investigation.

The episode was a breath of fresh air, though perhaps an odd fit for the first season. Much like “The Naked Now,’ it just does not seem right to have the characters acting abnormally, either drunk or role playing, when they have not been firmly established yet. But I rate “The Big Goodbye” much higher than “The Naked Now.” It is still a better fit and more entertaining.

“The Big Goodbye” gives further hints Picard and Crusher have romantic feelings for one another. Much like the riker/Troi relationship elaborated on in the previous episode, “Haven,” it is this awkward hint they had something going in the past, but it was not enough to last. Now they are stringing each other along until they are certain no one more enticing is going to come along. Neither of their relationships--such as they were--really soared, particularly in the early seasons. I understand Picard/Crusher shippers like this episode because of the “romantic” developments, but it just does not sing for me.

Rating; **** (out of 5)
Anna Kournikova in a Bikini

All this week, I will be participating in International Rule 5 BikiniFest at The Other McCain. Click on his blog for a daily assortment of other participating blogs. Numerous hot celebrities in bikinis! You cannot go wrong with that.

Oh, there is some, like, conservative political commentary and stuff there, too.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bill Maher's Mistakes About American Thinking

Bill Maher is showing his arrogant condescension yet again. Here is a transcript of his recent conversation with CNN's wolf Blitzer:
WOLF BLITZER: Do you think she (Sarah Palin) has a future nationally as a presidential candidate?

BILL MAHER: I don't know about a presidential candidate but I would never put anything past this stupid country.


BLITZER: So people are already complaining that you're calling the United States a stupid country and I'm giving you a chance to clarify.

MAHER: I don't need to clarify. It is.

BLITZER: Well, tell me why you think the United States is a stupid country.

MAHER: Because Sarah Palin could be president. I mean, please, do I need to expand on that any more? Uh, yeah, I do. I think this is in general... I mean, it's a big country. That's the great thing about it. There's 300 million people here. So, within this large country, there are tens of millions of very bright, intelligent people, you know, the ones who are watching us, um, not the ones who are writing the emails.

Uh, but, you know, in general, um, gosh, uh, you know, this country just gets dumber and dumber by the day. And uh, I don't think I have time on your show to list all the reasons.

BLITZER: But you, but you... this country did elect Barack Obama president of the United States.

MAHER: Look who he was running against. Yes. I mean, look at the situation. I mean, this was after 8 years of Bush, which was, you know, a pretty much, a disastrous presidency. Uh, John McCain was not a very attractive candidate. And of course, he picked Sarah Palin, uh, to run beside him, and uh, you know, given that choice, I think Americans, you know, came to the fore on that one. But just because they elected a bright guy doesn't mean they're bright.
Here is Maher's problem, broken down into three parts.

First, he thinks America is too Christian. As a Christian, I think the exact opposite, but that is neither here nor there. About 15% of Americans are atheists. That is the highest number of atheists ever recorded in the United States at any time. However, lack of belief in God does not automatically make one more intelligent. Why maher seems to believe ending religious practice will correlate with people making life decisions more in tune with his--casting aside questions are whether his life decisions have been wise--is ridiculous.

Second, America is not liberal enough. Maher second problem ties in with the first. He believes religion promotes conservatism, as if every Christian votes Republican. Barack Obama just carried the majority of the Catholic vote, so forget that idea. He also seems to forget Ayn Rand absolutely despised Christians as do many of her enthusiasts. Conservative ideas and the Bible are not as intertwined as some on both sides of the political aisle would like to believe.

But there is a secular side to Maher’s ignorance on the issue. He genuinely believes the Democratic party is what the republicans used to be: a pro big industry party catering to big business while the republicans are a nutty party of Bible thumpers and Civil War reenacters. In other words, religious bigots and racists.

In this mindset, Maher has fallen into the typical trap of the liberal who has never been in power. They has no concept his idealism is impractical for governing, therefore no elected official can ever be liberal enough to suit him. Obama had this problem with himself. He is so inexperienced in governing, he thought he could push through a socialist agenda. Now that he has tried, his poll numbers are plummeting. I am certain the causation is lost on both Obama and Maher.

Finally, Maher lets his bigotry cloud his logic. He is not a stupid man, but he is a guy who lets his bias get in the way of reason. Take the above exchange with Blitzer. Maher believes the country is stupid enough to vote Sarah Palin into the White house at the same time he believe they voted Obama into the white House because she was on the GOP ticket. So he vehemently believes Americans will simultaneously vote for her and against her without the slightest awareness it is a contradiction. He cannot decide which of his resentments to abandon in order to make one argument work, so he just tries to have it both ways so he can hate everyone.

What a sad little man, emotionally and spiritually.
Jessica Simpson on "Revenge Diet"

After being dumped on the day before her birthday by tony Romo, Jessica Simpson has allegedly gone on a revenge diet:
"Right after Tony ended things, Jessica said, 'I want my old body back,'" a friend of the singer reveals in the new issue of OK!. "She went into her kitchen, got a trash bag and started to clear it out."

And getting rid of the bad food isn't the only way she's slimming down. Jessica has been spotted several times in the last two weeks heading to celeb trainer Harley Pasternak's West Hollywood fitness center.

"Jess is serious about getting her body back into fighting shape," her pal reveals to OK!. "Working out is helping to give her focus and clear her head. It's better than sitting around moping or throwing pity parties with ice cream sundaes."
Remember the moral of the story, impressionable young female readers, if your man dumps you, it was solely because you are too fat. Nip that in the bud if you want to keep the shallow dope.
I Weep for the Future

I am guessing she is not only an enthusiastic Barack Obama supporter, but also thinks Sarah Palin is an idiot.

(Via: The Big Feed)
Star Trek: The Next Generation--"Haven"

I had only the vaguest memories of “Haven” when I sat down to watch it for this review. The only thing I recalled were several of the “moments,” like the talking gift box played by DS9’s Armin Shimmerman and mr. Homm’s fondness for alcohol while suffering under Lwaxanna Troi’s employ. After watching, I remember why that is. The episode is not all that great.

The Enterprise arrives on Haven, a planet known for its alleged mystical healing properties. While there, Troi begins receiving wedding gifts. Unbeknownst to anyone, she has been given away in a prearranged marriage at birth. Naturally, this upsets her imzadi, Riker the most.

It is hard to blame him. Troi never said anything about this to him. Why would she deceive her beloved that way? Oh, yes. Because Troi’s entire purpose is to be a manipulative, emotional leech. Not that Riker has handled their relationship much better himself. While it was obvious they always had a thing for each other, riker never pays much attention to Troi unless someone else is after her. That includes a cloned version of himself in “Second Chances.”

The pattern establishes itself in “Haven.” The two are not romantically attached, but Riker hauls off to the holodeck to pout when he learns he cannot string Troi along at his convenience. Once the wedding his called off because trio’s to be husband, Wyatt, finds a calling more to his liking, Riker settles back down, refusing to consider marrying troi himself because he has other obligations. Said obligations will involve a string of other women in future episodes while bouncing back to Troi during lulls.

Like I said above, Troi is deceitful person who will use her abilities to manipulate friend (recall pointing out Tasha Yar’s base fascination with being kidnapped by primitives in ’Code of Honor”), foe (The Ferengi in ’The Battle,” although she previously said she could not read through their thick skulls. She also lied to Zon in “Encounter at Farpoint” when she said she could only ability was to read the emotions of the willing when she had just been communicating telepathically in the previous scene), and now, hiding her arranged marriage from riker for years. I cannot blame him a whole lot for seeking greener pastures.

“Haven” was awfully trite and shallow. You knew Troi was not going to get married, so you were never surprised when Wyatt found an alternate plan for his life. I obviously do not care much for the Riker/Troi relationship, so I have no emotional attachment to Riker’s on again/off again jealousy. I am not crazy about Lwaxanna troi, either her cougar antics towards Picard in Tng and Odo in DS9 are played for such silly, forced laughs that I cannot stand the character, at least in her less serious episodes. She shines a couple times in future episodes, but not often.

No one ever mentions she sounds just like the computer, either. What is up with that? Are the Starfleet personnel observant or what?

Rating; * (out of 5)
Elisabetta Canalis

Who is George Clooney's latest Italian catch. Could "I was in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes" be that good a pick up line?

All this week, I will be participating in International Rule 5 BikiniFest at The Other McCain. Click on his blog for a daily assortment of other participating blogs. Numerous hot celebrities in bikinis! You cannot go wrong with that.

Oh, there is some, like, conservative political commentary and stuff there, too.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Voinovich: Too Many Southerners in the GOP

George Voinovich is retiring in 2010, so he has decided to take some parting shots at his colleagues. I hope the door does hit him on the way out:
"We got too many Jim DeMints and Tom Coburns," Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) told the Columbus Dispatch. "It's the southerners."

Voinovich, a native Clevelander who retires after the 2010 election, continued after the southern elements of the GOP.

"They get on TV and go 'errrr, errrrr,'" he said. "People hear them and say, 'These people, they're southerners. The party's being taken over by southerners. What they hell they got to do with Ohio?'"
What exactly have northern Republicans given us as of late? Cranky, bald, over the hill John McCain as the presidential nominee, for one. Fine contribution, that. Arlen Specter? Thanks for him, too. he was great while he lasted. Remember Robert Bork?

It just goes to prove you can be as bigoted as you want against Southerners and no one outside the South will call you on it. Voinovich did not say a thing about race, either, but everyone will read accusations of racism into Demint and Coburn. No one will question those, either.

Yankees. Cannot live with them, you cannot shoot them.


Star Trek: The Next Generation--"Hide and Q"

I have seen “Hide and Q’ at least a half dozen times over the years, including its first run in 1987. At no point did I ever like it. This is the first time I have ever had to sit down and hash out why I have never cared for the episode. Two main reasons came to mind. First, it features all the worst elements of TOS. Two, the characters act so over the top emotionally unstable, it is embarrassing in some places, jaw dropping in others.

Going in order, “Hide and Q” feels like a rewritten TOS episode. All the elements are there. Q is a flamboyant, infinitely powerful being who wants to test the worthiness of humanity. He kidnaps the bridge crew and plops them down on a planet like looks more like the backdrop for a high school than a Hollywood soundstage. The bridge crew is then put into conflict with historical figures from Earth. You get a certain Kirk battling pure evil alongside Abraham Lincoln, but at least the 18th century French army soldiers here are warthog creatures rather than human. So at least there is an unearthly element to it. That is something you would hope for from someone as strange as Q.

I do not think I went into the matter when reviewing “Encounter at Farpoint,” but I do not care for Q. there have only been two, maybe three, appearances over the years which I enjoyed. He has nothing to offer that we have not seen from Trelane, the metrons, Yarnek, etc. In his defense, I never much appreciate infinitely powerful characters in science fiction unless they are done right. By which I mean humans ought to be insignificant gnats. He ought not be dressing up like a French Field marshall or a Benedictine monk just for kicks.

There are times when Q is more in tune with my expectations (“Q Who” and “Tapestry” come to mind immediately.) but for the most part, the character is a wash. Too bad. I really like John de Lancie.

All that said, it is the characterizations that really bother me about “Hide and Q.” When Q first appears as a three headed snake, Worf and Tasha Yar leap over the railing, phasers drawn, in order to confront him. Their ready for battle raction must be in compensation for their just standing there the first time he showed up on the bridge in “Encounter at Farpoint.” this is not the last of their annoying behavior, either. Tasha overreacts to Q down on the planet and gets exiled to the “penalty box” of the bridge before she can kick Q likeshe does everyone else who sets her off. She promptly starts crying. Nothing says Chief of Security quite like tears over hurt feelings. Worf later engages in klingon sex on the bridge right in front of everyone. I guess that is ind ofcool, in a way.

But here is the worst part. Q’s purpose is to grant Riker the power of the Q. riker reluctantly uses it to bring Worf and Wesley Crusher back to life after they are killed by the French warthogs and returns everyone safely to the ship. When he is back on board, Picard makes him promise he will never use his powers again. Brokerages. Bear in mind, they never discussed any logical reasons whatsoever why Riker needs to refrain. It is an understood moral imperative that he not and no one questions it.

No one questions it until they reach their original destination--a planet wherea mining accident has severely injured hundreds of people. The crew finds a dead little girl under heavy rubble. Data points out riker could bring her back to life, but he refuses because he promised Picard he would not use his powers. The kicker is Picard agrees he made the right choice in not bringing the girl back to life. That is right. Picard gives Riker an attaboy for letting an innocent child die. There is still no moral discussion why Riker should not use his powers, nor does anyone appreciate Worf and Wesley would be definitely be dead with the others in mortal danger if he had not.

The irony of it boils down to Picard lecturing Riker over how power corrupts. So somehow, killing through inaction is more virtuous than saving a life simply because one has more power to save the life than anyone else? Sorry, but I do not see it. put me in the camp of Picard is wrong and Riker should have told him to stick it in his ear.

Riker does begin to question himself, but he comes to the conclusion he should give his friends gifts in order to prove he is not a monster rather than, oh, I do not know--actually saving the little girl? He gives Worf a sex partner, Geordi his sight, Wesley his manhood, but data turns him down when he seeks to make the android human. I can see why Data would refuse (who wants to be fragile and mortal?) and wesley wanted his old self back (why lose ten years of your life/). But geordi would rather remain blind than offer gratitude to either Riker or Q. it is not made clear exactly who he has contempt for at the time. Riker has adopted a smug attitude making him more annoying than Wesley on a sugar high.

So the experiment ends with Riker giving up his powers. Everything goes back to normal. The crew has its principles, blindness, youth, unemotional , eternal existence, and unrelieved horniness intact. The power of the Q will not beutilized for good. Oh, yes. That little girl is still dead, too. I guess everything worked out well. Do elaborate in the comments if you think so. Personally, I think Riker squandered a gift that could have been a great boon to all life because he listened to the shortsighted advice of his colleagues.

Rating: * (out of 5)
Kate Beckinsale in a Bikini

All this week, I will be participating in International Rule 5 BikiniFest at The Other McCain. Click on his blog for a daily assortment of other participating blogs. Numerous hot celebrities in bikinis! You cannot go wrong with that.

Oh, there is some, like, conservative political commentary and stuff there, too.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Doctor Who--"End of Time" Trailer

This is a trailer aired at the San Diego ComiCon this weekend. One assumes it will hit as an official trailer closer to the holiday season. Until then, this hard to make out trailer will have to do.

That is Timothy Dalton doing the opening narration. Also featured are Bernard Cribbons, Catherine Tate, and John Simm as the Master. Ood Sigma makes his return, too. You may recall he is the one who predicted the tenth Doctor was nearing the end of his journey in last season’s “Planet of the Ood.”The trailer does not point it out, but there will be a regeneration scene for David Tennant to become Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor.
FOX Unlikely to Air Family Guy Abortion Episode

Seth McFarland, the creator of Family Guy, American Dad, and the upcoming The Cleveland Show, announced at the San Diego ComiCon he was producing an abortion theme episode of Family Guy which FOX is unlikely to air. It would not be the first episode to not air. The first season’s ‘When You Wish Upon a Weinstein” was considered too anti-Semitic to air on network, but it has appeared in syndication and on the DVD set.

I am not certain whether I should be surprised. Family Guy has already done some disturbing abortion jokes. Peter Griffin’s mother went to Mexico in a failed attempt to abort him. The abortion was her hanging on a dangling rod while men beat her stomach like a pinata. An episode this season which was set in colonial times featured a “contemporary” abortion clinic which involved climbing a high platform, then belly flopping to the ground. FOX aired both segments. Frankly, I do not see how the lines of good taste could be crossed anymore blatantly than it already has.

It is not that Family Guy is muzzled in regards to political views. Episodes in the last season endorsed atheism and pot legalization, as well as featured a Nazi SS uniform with a McCain/Palin campaign button prominently displayed. The show has spared no punches for its sister company, NewsCorp and the FOX News channel, either.

With Family Guy Serving as an equal opportunity offender, one wonders if FOX is bowing to pressure from pro-abortion groups who fear the practice being mocked. It would not surprised me for liberal sacred cows to get consideration when religion, drug laws, and conservative beliefs do not.
Star Trek: The Next Generation--"The Battle"

The second appearance of the Ferengi makes a much better splash than their debut. At the very least there was no more jumping like a jittery Chihuahua at loud thunder. Here they present both a more formidable villain and, in the case of the first officer’s reaction to his captain’s private vendetta, an added dimension beyond pure adversarial behavior.

Picard is suffering fro unusual headaches while simultaneously having to deal with a Starfleet ordered rendezvous with the Ferengi. They have brought a “gift’ for Picard--his old ship, the Stargazer. The Stargazer was lost nine years previous when it was forced to defend itself against an unknown ship, which it subsequently destroyed using what would become known as the Picard Maneuver.

In truth, it was a Ferengi vessel commanded by the son of Bok, Daimon of the current vessel meeting with the Enterprise. Bok is seeking revenge on Picard by altering the Stargazer logs to an admission of guilt for destroying a vessel flying uner a truce flag and using a device on picard that forces him to relive the memory of that battle as though it is happening now.

Bok’s crew mutinies because there is no profit in revenge, but will not help rikersave Picard. Riker is able to convince Picard to destroy the memory control device before he uses the Picard Maneuver to attack the Enterprise.

The plot is fast paced and exciting. One of the few times we ever see some self-doubt in picard is during the too brief period of time when the altered Stargazer logs might have been accurate. It was awkwardly brief. It might have made for a more interesting episode if the circumstance of the battle had remained ambiguous rather than let us know even before the next commercial break the logs were falsified.

But even that was not the most trite element. I have been advised not to hate on Wesley any further, but I just cannot help it. During the climax, he discovers signlas from the Stargazer match Picard’s brain patterns. He comes out of no wherewith this info after being off screen for forty minutes and discovers the source of a problem the entire crew of commissioned officers were not only unable to find, but did not know existed. When he does so, he smugly mutters to himself, “Adults.” it makes you want him to get flipped inside out in a transporter accident.

Aside from the moment Wesley went from mildly annoying kid to a teeth gnashing pain in the butt, “The Battle” was an enjoyable episode. The first season was starting to come together at this point. There will be a few more dips this season, but the future potential is becoming clear.

Rating: *** (out of 5)
Kristin Chenoweth in a Bikini

All this week, I will be participating in International Rule 5 BikiniFest at The Other McCain. Click on his blog for a daily assortment of other participating blogs. Numerous hot celebrities in bikinis! You cannot go wrong with that.

Oh, there is some, like, conservative political commentary and stuff there, too.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Buzz Aldrin, Monoliths, and American Achievement

Former astronaut Buzz Aldrin talks about a “monolith” on Phobos, a tiny moon of Mars:Here is a photo of what he is talking about:

In Aldrin’s defense, he is not claiming there is alien life on Phobos, now or in the past. But mentioning that perhaps God put it there, he is implying it is a wonder of creation, whether you believe in evolution or Intelligent Design. It is unfair to imply Aldrin is being crazy here. He is not making a weird claim.

What he is doing is segueing into an issue I have mixed emotions about. He is trying to promote further manned exploration of space. Perhaps even the colonization of other planets. It is a tough sell for practical folks. I am a rare bird among science fiction fans. While I see the value in exploring space, I think manned spaced flight is simply showing off.

It is nothing partisan. Newt Gingrich was the author of Fundamental Space Act which would pave the way for American colonies in space to eventually become states:
The Fundamental Space Act of Representative Newt Gingrich (R-GA) is an effort to deal with the needs and concerns of future US citizens in space. The Act, introduced as HR 4286 in 1981 to the US House of Representatives, sought to incorporate language from the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 in providing for, in the words of a letter Gingrich circulated to Congressmen in July 1981, "government of Americans in space, including their constitutional protection, the establishment of a territorial government, and its eventual statehood." This type of legislation and future bills like it deserve your strong support.
Say what you will about Gingrich’s political philosophy, he was one of the most intellectual, out of the box thinkers to ever serve in public office. Much more so than the fanciful propagandizing of Al Gore. But, come on. American states on the moon? Has he not ever read Robert A. Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress?

What I am getting at is a skepticism the effort of space travel in blood and treasure is not worth a better look at some rock on a potato shaped moon off Mars or some lunar colony which would have little value beyond bragging rights.

I think the latter is what this is all about. I did not mark the 40th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk last week. It it not that I do not think it was a gereat accomplishment. It was, for the sake of national pride if nothing else. But I cannot help but think that at the same time Armstrong was taking the one giant leap for mankind, there were American boys in tiger cages eating maggot infested rice and catching rainwater to stay alive in Vietnam. I had much the same attitude when all but one miner died in the sago mine a couple years ago while a robot was exploring the surface of Mars. The national pride of the latter overshadows the more base issues we need to worry about.

Was the moonwalk the last great scientific accomplishment we have had as a nation in the last forty years? Maybe. But the development of the internet for widespread use and mapping the human genome are nothing to sneeze at. They just are not as sexy.

Is there some sort of fear America is losing its touch, maybe over the hill, because we have not done anything similar to a moonwalk in forty years? I would hate to think some one like Aldrin is trying to tell us that. We have some great need to show off because we have all sorts of issues like illiterate cave dwellers knocking down skyscrapers in the name of their Stone Age, barbaric religion and we cannot get mortgage lenders choose customers more carefully/ We truly are a nation that will over blow the frivolous in order to distract from our troubles if that is true.
Blogroll Spotlight IV

Here is the weekly round up of my ten favorite posts from my blogroll. it was tough to find some variety. Everyone is talking about ObamaCare and Henry Louis Gates. As always, they are not ranked, but alphabetical by blog name.

The Big Feed Blog shares Chris rock's advice on How not to Get You @$$ Kicked by the Police. NSFW language therein, but you knew that once you saw the name "Chris rock."

Five Feet of Fury notes the passage of the Senate hate crimes legislation. A crime is a crime. Why punish the motivation? The thought police in action, folks.

In a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World suggests Obama start singing, "Don't know much about history..."

Left Coast Rebel list the Congressmen you should contact to oppose ObamaCare.

No Sheeples Here! reports on ACORN's legal doings.. A number of employees are being prosecuted for voter registration fraud in Pennsylvania. Shocking, I know. they seemed so legit.

Piece of Work in Progress asks, ""What Beer Should Be Drunk at the epic meeting between Obama, Gates, and Crowley?" That is a tough one. If we are talking about multicultural understanding, Crowley should have a Colt 45. Obama and Gates should have something European. I do not know. I am not politically correct enough to weigh in on such a monumental decision.

Right-Wing Extreme gives us Ronald Reagan's view on socialized medicine. (Full disclosure: Capt. Kirk's Girl first sent me this as a comment on MySpace.)

Self-Evident Truths has a week's round up of news beyond Gatesgate and ObamaCare. yes, there was more going on than those two bits.

The Skepticarts demonstrates why sending kids to public school should be considered child abuse.

The Blogprof says New Jersey political corruption has hit a new low--human organ trafficking.
Star Trek: The Next Generation--"Justice"

When I decided to cover TNG in addition to TOS, there was a list of about twenty episodes I was anxious to sink my claws into. There are not many in the early seasons, but “Justice” is one of them. Surprisingly enough, I am not going to hate on Wesley the Wonder Boy here even though he does exhibit a pitifully immature attitude for a sixteen year old genius. What I am more interested in is the convergence of religion and law.

My attitude about “Justice” has changed over time. For quite a while there, I considered it a critique of the absolute law religion imposes upon its adherents. It is not much of a stretch to consider the Edo the ancient Israelites living under Mosiac Law. Throughout the Old Testament, God strictly enforced the law with no exception because the law served the higher purpose of paving the way for the Messiah.

Mosiac Law was absolute and it served to keep the Israelites from being corrupted by outside sources. The god of the Edo appeared to have the same intentions. With that in mind, it is easy to see how ‘Justice’ could be a critique of Old Testament rules. We are obviously pulling for Wesley to escape punishment because we find god’s law of execution for a simple crime of accidental vandalism grossly unfair. As a Christian, I have to become defensive about such a critique.

But a more mature viewing is necessary. As I have gotten older and wiser (?), I note the resolution of Wesley’s legal predicament parallels the development of Christianity without critiquing it as harshly as I once thought. While Wesley was originally subject to absolute law, Picard’s argument to the Edo god that justice cannot be absolute suggests the necessity of grace from the god because an absolute law is impossible to perfectly follow.

The Edo god accepts the concept of grace on two levels, one of which is not so obvious in the episode itself, but does come into play later when Picard is called on it in “Coming of Age.” Picard is violating the Prime Directive by rescuing Wesley from execution, but he has also violated the Prime Directive by interacting with the pre-warp society in the first place. The Edo god is already cutting him slack by entertaining his mingling with the Edo to begin with. So the Edo god is already allowing for grace because of its information exchange with data near the beginning.

It is not a perfect parallel to the Israelites or the theological development of Christianity, but anything more overt would have become even more preachy than the worst of Trek often is. What I have taken away from the episode is less a criticism of God’s Old Testament justice than an appreciation of the current grace we live under.

Somehow, I doubt that was intentional. But we you consider that we encountered a backward, superstitious, and violent planet run exclusively by blacks afew episodes ago and an idyllic, peaceful society inhabited by blode haired, blue eyed Aryans here, we just have to accept some unintended messages come across from time to time.

On a more superficial note, Picard was even more of a royal jerk than usual. He blew off Beverly several times while she was worried about her son being executed in a few hours she had to degrade herself by literally begging to beam down once her professional duties tending to Data were finished. He scolded data twice while the android was trying to relay important information. You may argue he was wound tight over concern for Wesley or his crew, but he snapped at him with a contemptuous “boy’ when Wesley tried to speak up before sentence was carried out. Perhaps I should cut him some slack with the pressure he was under, but he seemed extraordinarily cold, especially considering it was his violation of the Prime Directive that started the whole mess to begin with.

Regardless, “Justice” is one of the few bright spots in the first season. Double shocker that Wesley was at the center of a decent episode. triple points that Picard did not decide to destroy the Edo god because it was stifling Edo society like Kirk would have.

Rating: *** (out of 5)
Naomi Watts

Just because.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Full Metal Jacket Reach Around Saturday VII

It is time once again to round up all the bloggers gracious enough to link to me this week.

Links to Posts:

The Troglopundit notes just how awesome Capt. James T. Kirk is.

The Other McCain is not a fan of Kim Kardashian's goth look.

The Classic Liberal also likes Kim Kardashian.

Instant Happiness thinks I am concerned over Mark Sanford's mental health.

Paco Enterprises gets Obama's sinking feeling. He also has a fine sense of aesthetics.

Boxset links to Timothy Dalton in the Doctor Who holiday finale.

Waldo Lydecker was in rare form this week. Not only did he repeat for the twentieth or so time i have a degree from Liberty University (BA Political Science from the University of South Carolina, Class of 1999), he shows his complete ignorance on the concept of satire. Big surprise on both counts, no? I guess he is unaware of Andrew Sullivan's obsession with proving Trig Palin is not Sarah Palin's son.

The Eye is nothing but incoherent rambling of which he cannot make heads or tails. Yet he reads on. What a trooper.

Blogroll Additions:

This week, I have been graciously added to the following blogroll:


A sincere thank you to all who linked. Even you, waldo. I am glad to know I give you a reason for living. If you linked to me in the last week, but I do not have you here, you unfortunately fell through the cracks of Technorati, Google Blog Search, and Sitemeter. Please drop me a note in the comments and I will update with your link.
Star Trek: The Next Generation--"Lonely Among Us"

“Lonely Among Us” is the second dud in the uneven first season. It is slightly more entertaining than “Code of Honor,” but only because its bad elements are simply dumb rather than offensive. The key point to take away from it is the contradiction between the two stories of escorting alien delegates to a peace conference versus the ship constantly malfunctioning. The problem is the crew’s arrogant enlightenment in the former matter versus their complete idiocy in dealing with the latter.

This is the first time in the series the crew openly turns its nose up at alien cultures that do not measure up to their standards. At least in ’Code of Honor,’ there was a certain accommodation since the Federation needed a vaccine from the primitive culture. In this case, they are escorting two alien culture who hate each other so much, they cannot have their quarters on the same deck.

Some of their conflict is understandable. One species is reptilian and the other is mammal. At least in the audience’s mind, we can grasp why they would have animosity because we can relate their relationship to the animal world. But wait. Their conflict goes further than that. They have differences in food tastes and economic systems.

That, by the way , is the main conflict. The crew pays little mind to their bigotry towards one another. Picard verbally expresses bewilderment over the chauvinism over their differing economic systems. Any reasonable human is a socialist, after all. Meanwhile, Roker and Tasha Yar are having trouble with the fact one delegation eats actual meat rather than accept synthetic meat created by the replicators. Because we have developed well beyond the need to cook animals. What are we, barbarians? Sheesh.

It is the typical unreasoned liberalism of Trek. It takes contemporary issues, like capitalism v. socialism and animal rights v. how darn tasty cows are and reveals self-loathing about our culture. It is all fixed by the24th century when we abandon both cash and hamburgers, but, lord have mercy, what cavemen those 20th century brutes were, no?

Contrast this with the fact the crew cannot figure out the most obvious answer to the mystery of why the ship is malfunctioning. They pass through a strange cloud on their way to the peace conference. As they do, and energy surge injures Worf. The ship begins malfunctioning simultaneously. So they suspect the clouds is at fault, right? Nope. It is sabotage!

They immediately dismiss the idea there is a traitor on board because enlightened Starfleet personnel wuld never do such a thing. It must be those filthy aliens. Blasted meating capitalists. You just cannot trust them.

They still do no figure out they acquired a hitchhiker from the cloud until it inhabits Picard and explains it to them. The hilarious part of all this is that Data begins playing Sherlock Holmes during the mystery and even repeats the axiom that when all other possibilities have been exhausted, whatever is left, no matter how implausible, must be the answer. But they still never get around to thinking it is the cloud.

Picard gets dumped in to the cloud, but is recovered through some techno babble explanation regarding the transporter converting the energy he had become into the image of his old pattern still in the transporter record. It is a typical resolution. The episode ends on a laugh line when one of the mammal delegates wants to know if the cook can prepare reptile. This in spite of the fact we have already established fake meat meals are replicated fully made and there is no cook on board anyway.

Meh. Not a decent episode at all, but there is a peculiar homage to TOS. The alien energy being passes from regular characters safely, but kills the guest star once it passes into him. The assistant chief engineer, in his first and only appearance, suffers the first ’red shirt” death on TNG.

Rating: * (out of 5)
Gwyneth Paltrow v. Scarlett Johansson

You had to see this one coming. Iron Man 2, the sequel to last year's second biggest comic book based hit behind The Dark knight, does not hit theaters until next May, yet promotion has already begun. The big news catching everyone's attention is that Scarlett Johannson will be playing the villainous Black Widow. of course, when you have Scarlett Johansson cavorting about your film in skintight spandex, you put her in all the promotional material:So what is the problem/ if you are a red blooded, American boy, none whatsoever. But if you are a snooty Hollywood type who was the sex kitten in the first film and still have a prominent role in the sequel like Gwyneth Paltrow, you pout--a lot:
Gwyneth_paltrow Gwyneth Paltrow took a break from GOOP to go 90210 over the attention Scarlett Johansson is receiving in the Iron Man sequel, out in May. It's being reported that she's boycotting promoting the film at San Diego's Comic Con this month because she was left out of much of the promotional material and not included on the cover of Entertainment Weekly, which featured Roberty Downey, Jr., Johansson, and Mickey Rourke, who plays the villain Whiplash.
There is at least one promo photo of her out there for Iron Man II:Not bad, no? Except for the fact Paltrow is known in the magazine business as newstand suicide. You will not see her on many covers at all, much less when you could put the busty Johannson on instead.

Or maybe it has a lot to do with Paltrow's outspoken contempt for all thing American?

(Part of The Other McCain's Rule 5 Sunday.)

Friday, July 24, 2009

ObamaCare Deathwatch III

I am still predicting this awful plan is going to die in spite of over whelming Democrat majorities in both house of Congress. The big deal is the breakdown of negotiations in the House because of the Blue Dogs:
House health care negotiations dissolved in acrimony on Friday, with Blue Dog Democrats saying they were “lied” to by their Democratic leaders.

The seven Blue Dogs on the Energy and Commerce Committee stormed out of a Friday meeting with their committee chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), saying Waxman had been negotiating in bad faith over a number of provisions Blue Dogs demanded be changed in the stalled healthcare bill.

“I’ve been lied to,” Blue Dog Coalition co-chairman Charlie Melancon (D-La.) said on Friday. “We have not had legitimate negotiations.”
The Blue Dogs are putting national interest and common sense head of party politics and I applaud them for it. You know their efforts are working, since Henry Waxman is contemplating bypassing the committee and Republicans are being forbidden from calling ObamaCare government run health care. Those aretwo desperate moves that signal the death knell for ObamaCare.

New poll numbers: Only 44% approve of ObamaCare.
Obama Throws Gasoline on Gates' Controversy Fire

There is no sense in trying to put the fire out, now is, mr. President?

First, he has blamed the mediafor encouraging the "obsession" over his comment. In other words, why is everyone so bugged out about the fact he claimed the police are racist? is that not an obvious fact to everyone/ I mean, Michelle Obama has never been proud of her country for a reason, folks. There are just too many darn racists ot there, particularly cops maliciously responding to suspicious activity and stuff.

Second, if you need more proof police are racist, then look no further than the Fraternal Order of Police's endorsement of John McCain.. Can you believe the nerve of them to endorse a white candidate based on ideology when there wasa black man running against him? They never tear gassed any tea party protesters, either. Not one cracked skull with a nightstick, either. What is up with that?

But Obama now says he regrets his remark (because it distracted from the ObamaCare presser?) and called Sgt. James Crowley personally. What the conversation entailed in anyone's guess, but obama's public statement hints it was less than concilliatory:
President Obama stopped short of an apology to Sgt. James Crowley on Friday for saying he "acted stupidly" for arresting black Harvard scholar Henry Lewis Gates Jr., but said he should have chosen his words more carefully.

At an impromptu appearance at the daily White House briefing, Obama said he spoke with Crowley over the phone, and said he wanted to share a beer with Crowley and Gates at the White House.

"Because this has been ratcheting up and I helped contribute to ratcheting it up, I want to make clear that in my choice of words I unfortunately gave an impression that I was maligning the Cambridge Police Department or Sgt. Crowley specifically and I could have calibrated those words differently.

"My sense is you've got two good people in a circumstance in which neither of them were able to resolve it the way the wanted to resolve it," President Obama said.

Earlier in the day Friday, the Cambridge and area police unions voiced their support for Sgt. James Crowley and called for an apology from President Obama for his statement.
Note the portions I have underlined subtly imply Crowley needs to get to know Gates and obama, presumably to better understand why his "racism" was wrong. now that Crowley would or should have a beer with a president who called him stupid on national television or a racist professor who called him a rogue policeman and then insulted his mother.
Stargate: Universe Trailer

I have made no secret I am not a huge fan of the Stargate franchise. This new series looks to be channeling Battlestar Galactica, which will probably wind up being a bad thing. Stargate usually does not measure up to its aspirations. It might want to be the next BSG, but it will probably wind up the next Star Trek: Voyager instead.

The trailer certainly look worthy of at least a few episode try out. We shall see.
Legal Irrelevance of Obama's Citizenship Question

With so many things out there to criticize Barack Obama about--his inexperience, naiveté, socialist tendencies, race baiting, etc, etc, etc--this whole birth certificate truthism needs to stop. It is not only distracting from the real problems, but makes the conservatives bringing up the issue look like nutty conspiracy theorists. They mirror Andrew Sullivan’s obsession with proving trig is Sarah Palin’s grandson rather than her son. Surely they cannot aspire to that.

Obama produced a birth certificate which said he was born in Hawaii. It is not a trick or a forgery. He may be embarrassed about being an American, but he is one. Why else would he purge his self-loathing by apologizing to and cuddling up with every anti-American regime on three continents?

Keep the following mind: there was better argument John McCain was not a natural born citizen as he was born in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936. The general rule is that any child born of American citizens becomes an American citizen by default but wait.

The Constitution claims limit’s the eligibility to be president to any natural born citizen over the age of 35. What is a natural born citizen? The Constitution does not shed any light on the definition, nor do any of the drafters personal notes. Frankly, oe could argue anyone born by c-section is ineligible to be president.

Poor Othello, from his mother’s womb untimely ripped. He would never be president.

The first Congress passed a law in 1790 granting citizenship to any child born of American parents overseas. The law is no longer in effect, but sheds light on the intent of the government to grant citizen to children born under such circumstances as McCain. But, as it is a law no loner on the books, serves only as persuasive authority authority and only outside of valid legal arguments.

McCain’s situation was not the first time the issue has surfaced. Barry Goldwater was born in the Arizona Territory and George Romney was born in Mexico. As neither won the White House, their status was never resolved.

In McCain’s case, a plain language interpretation grants him citizenship because he was born of American parents on an American military base in Panama. This is not a universally held view, mind you. Ultimately, deference to McCain would have been made on two grounds. One, their would be a reluctance to disqualify all children of military personnel serving overseas from being considered natural born citizens. They sacrifice enough as it is without their branding their children with that stigma. Two, there would be a reluctance to overturn an election based on the issue, particularly when the legal justification for doing so is as murky as it is.

Which brings us to a relevant concern for the birth truthers. Who would have standing to sue obama if he was ineligible to be president? The general answer is anyone aggrieved by his election as president, but the word “aggrieved” is as wide open to interpretation, but the Supreme Court has established being a taxpayer is not enough to qualify for standing. Attempts at establishing standing on other, more specific grounds would be a gamble which probably would not be counted as more important than the validity of a presidential election win.

In other words, on the remote chance obama is not a citizen, there is pretty much nothing you can do about it, so why worry with the loony conspiracy theory even if it was true?
Star Trek: The Next Generation--"Where No One Has Gone Before"

“Where No One Has Gone Before” is another Wesley the Wonder Boy is something special episode. As I am not much of a Wesley fan, it does not resonate much with me. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the episode. There is just nothing to particularly recommend it, either.

For one thing, the story is pointless. A Federation scientist named Kominski comes onboard the Enterprise with plans to enhance the warp engines. But Kominski is not the one causing thewarp speed enhancements. It is his assistant, the traveler, who has gained special knowledge of time and space. Wesley triesto expose aud, but no one cares what he thinks.

The situation goes awry and the ship is stranded 1 billion light years away. They are in a region of space in which human thoughts can fulfill fantasies. A crewman imagines she is a ballerina. Another imagines he is in a musical quartet. Picard sees his long dead mother. They have to get out of here before their own thoughts destroy theship.

The Traveler is successful in getting them home, so the standard trek reset button is firmly in place for TNG. Nothing further will ever be done with his engine modifications, either.

The fact that Wesley is somehow special is firmly established when The traveler tells Picard Wesley has a gift for understanding time and space, but it should be kept secret from everyone, including him and his mother. Picard keeps the secret so well it iscompletely irrelevant until near the end of the series when it is revealed Wesley inexplicably has special powers over time and space. Well, I will be darn. That would have been useful to know at various times along the way, no? picard decides to give Wesley a field commission to acting ensign, although many, many members of the crew will still be contemptuous of him. Watch also in subsequent episodes how Picard pays no mind to The Traveler’s admission that wesley is special.

Rating: *** (out of 5)
Jennifer Connelly in a Bikini

Just because.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Burn Notice--"Shot in the Dark"

The third season continues to get better as it goes along. Tonight’s episode is my favorite so far this year. I like how Michael keeps bouncing back from the brink of turning into a hard spy operative with ice water in his veins to revealing his soft spot for certain clients, particularly kids. It is interesting how he denies Fiona’s notion he has become to soft to go back to being a field agent to the poin the overcompensates by becoming such a cold jerk just to inadvertently prove she is right about him all along. I suspect the realization pushed him to make the decision to work for Stickler at the end.

I liked the episode so much, I even forgive the incredible coincidence an abused kid just happened to break into Fiona’s house in order to get a gun. A stroke of luck, that. He, his brother, and his mother are being abused by his mob connected stepfather, Erik Luna. His parents are divorcing and Erik is threatening to tae away the kids to punish his wife. The kid had ideas of killing Erik before the final custody hearing.

The scam is the most creative Michael, sam, and Fiona have cooked up. I am glad the writers area shaking things up a bit. This time, it involved creating a phantom killer who was chasing Erik and Michael intent on revenge, faking their deaths in front of erik to scare him into leaving town, and, when that failed, making everyone think he was crazy. It worked beautifully. Erik was deemed insane and committed to an asylum, thereby awarding the kids’ custody to the mother.

It was cool to see Michael bond with the older kid. He saw a lot of himself in him. They clearly bonded. Looks like the kid might channel his repressed anger into a career in covert intelligence just like Michael. Like I said above, I think did fear he was going soft over it. After brooding for a few moments with Fiona and Sam at the bar when it was all said and done, he opted to take Stickler up on his mercenary job offer without knowing what it was, despite considering the idea making a deal with the devil. Whatever the mission is, it will lead up to the midseason cliffhanger.

As an avid X-Files fan, I was thrilled to see Alexander Krycek himself, Nicholas Lea, as Quinn Luna. Quinn is connected to a major crime family in Miami and still on the loose. That leaves open the possibility we will see him again as a recurring villain. I certainly hope so.

Rating; **** (out of 5)
Obama Comment on Cambridge Cop Off Base

It looks like I tuned out of Barack Obama's press conference fifteen minutes too early. The real fireworks began when allegedly post-racial Obama commented on the Cambridge police for "stupidly" responding to a breaking and entering call at Harvard Prof. Henry louis gates, Jr.

Here is the story:
BOSTON – Supporters of a prominent Harvard University black scholar who was arrested at his own home by police responding to a report of a break-in say he is the victim of racial profiling.

Henry Louis Gates Jr. had forced his way through the front door of his home because it was jammed, his lawyer said Monday.

Cambridge police say they responded to the well-maintained two-story home near campus after a woman reported seeing “two black males with backpacks on the porch,” with one “wedging his shoulder into the door as if he was trying to force entry.”

By the time police arrived, Gates was already inside. Police say he refused to come outside to speak with an officer, who told him he was investigating a report of a break-in.

“Why, because I’m a black man in America?” Gates said, according to a police report written by Sgt. James Crowley. The Cambridge police refused to comment on the arrest Monday.
Obamasays he has no egrets wading into the controversial issue in spite of the racial overtones.

I do not believe the controversy should exist at all. The police acted in due diligence by responding to what looked like a breaking and entering incident. had gates cooperated instead of adopting an antagonistic attitude which already condemned the police as racist, the matter would not have escalated.

Sgt. James Crowley says he is not a racist, will not apologize for doing his job, and i do not blame him. This is the same officer who desperately tried to save Celtics star Reggie Lewis' life sixteen years ago. He isa good guy, but Obama just unnecessarily made his life a lot harder.

Have a look at the full arrest report, the police union's condemnation of Obama's statement, and, just for kicks, Obama speech to the NAACP in which he told the audience they had no more excuses.