Sunday, February 28, 2010

What is the Dumbest Thing Nancy Pelosi Said Today?

You have three choices:

One, that career House members out to vote for ObamaCare eve though it is so grossly unpopular, a republican can get elected senator from Massachusetts just to send the message to Washington to drop the healthcare reform bill. Her “fall on your swords” in the name of holy liberalism rhetoric, which is easy for a San Francisco Democrat to say, will probably wind up scaring her colleagues rather than motivating them.

Two, a bill can be bipartisan even if an entire party’s House members vote against it because they have still left an imprint on the legislation, even if it is just claw marks from trying to rip it away from the obsessive progressives hell bent o passing a bill no one wants.

Three, that she has much in common with the Tea Party movement I like this one. Pelosi has gone on record as saying the tea party movement is nothing but Astroturfing--a fake grass roots--ut thinks the democrats have a lot in common with them. Obviously, she understands how David Axelrod works much better than I ever expected.

Choose the best answer and show your work. Yes, this will be on the exam.

Obama Supporters Approve of Family Guy's Palin Mocking

Watch pollster Frank Luntz’s analysis of Republican v. Democrat reaction to both the Family guy jokes and Sarah Palin’s reactions: When I wrote about this earlier, I said Family Guy Was engaging in deliberately immature comedy somewhere around the junior high level or lower. Sarah Palin ought to just ignore it . These survey results bear that out. People’s positions are polarized about Palin bashing. Progressives think it is fine and will not change their minds even if an innocent Down syndrome baby is at the butt of the joke while conservatives were offended. These reactions are without a single word from Palin to sway their opinion.

But when they do hear Palin’s defense of her child, there is no shift in opinion. Progressives do not care Trig was the butt of cruel jokes, but conservatives were offended. So, while I can appreciate the urge Palin has to publicly defend her child, it is not necessary. I fact, it may cause more problems. Something tels me people who enjoy making fun of handicapped children are only going to be encouraged to cut deeper with their mocking when they know they have struck a nerve.

As a practical matter, it is wise to realize those who are cruelly attacking Down syndrome children are the same ones who want to be in charge of healthcare. When ObamaCare forces rationing upon us, it is not difficult to see who so called enlightened progressives are going to cut out first.

Blogroll Spotlight XXXIV

It is time for the weekly round up of favorite posts from my blogroll. As usual, these are not ranked, but in alphabetical order by blog title.

American Digest dub's Michelle Obama's social cause No Child's Fat Behind.

Amusing Bunni's Musings has a moment of Zen.

Big Feed has the story of a Christian sentenced to life in prison for offending Islam.

Camp of the Saints takes part in Boob Wars.

Classic Liberal exposes the cult of anthropogenic global warming.

Daley Gator knows Thomas Jefferson was not a progressive.

In a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World presents Barack Obama the Collectivist.

Jaded Haven despise deadbeat dads.

Jumping in Pools declares ObamaCare dead, too.

Large Regular has Tiger Woods v. Gatorade.

Left Coast Rebel critiques Al Gore's New York Times editorial.

MAinfo diagnoses Palin Derangement Syndrome. It isan epidemic.

Mind Numbed robot explores his libertarian leaning conservatism.

Paco Enterprises has the Sunday funnies.

Proof Positive says Obama and Wile E. Coyote are kindred spirits.

Right Wing Extreme has A Teacher's letter to obama.

Tereamerica analyzes whether America is a Christian Nation.

Troglopundit idulges in Danicka Patrick mania.

Washingto Rebel also takes part in Boob Wars.

Deep Space Nine--"Second Sight"

When it comes down to it, I find Sisko’s tragic love life the least compelling aspect of his character. He cannot be a character constantly brooding over his wife’s death, particularly since she has been gone four years. I understand that. Stay depressed too long and life completely passes you by. There is o way he could effectively run DS9, inspiring the necessary loyalty, while dwelling on past losses. So the resolution to his pain offered by the wormhole aliens in “Emissary” was a necessary step for the sake of the series.

It does logically follow that, since he has largely accepted his wife’s death, he would eventually begin another romance. Here is where Ds9 fumbled the ball and never recovered. His romantic life never improved. Yes, there was Cassidy Yates. It looked like they were going to end up happily ever after, but they did not. Sisko wound up being the tragic hero from beginning until the end. The resul seemed to be kicking Sisko down just for the sake of it. I am not impressed.

“Second Sight” begins the tradition of introducing a happy romantic relationship for Sisko and then yanking it away. Near the fourth adversary of Jennifer’s death at Wolf 359, Sisko cannot sleep, so here wanders the promenade. There he finds a mysterious woman named Fenna. He chats with her about the stars. Clearly, he is already falling in love.

Sisko becomes so obsessed with her, he is completely distracted from his fatherly and professional duties. He finally asks Odo to find Fenna in what I felt was a degrading move. Sisko has many flaws, but being a stalker is not one of them.

Fenna turns out to be a telepathic projection of a miserable wife stuck with an overbearingly arrogant scientist for whom she has mated for life. He knows she hates him, and plots to sacrifice himself in his big terraforming experiment so she ca be free. The whole matter is just thrown out there awkwardly. The scientist dies, his experiment is a successful legacy to him, and his widow trots back home after telling Siskoshe has no memories of Fenna. Ouch.

Maybe I am too much of a cold fish these days, but ’Second Sight” did not do resonate with me. Many fans see more in this episode than I do, so I cannot consider it a complete dud. The story was trying to be touchingly bittersweet, but heart of stone was unmoved.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

Milla Jovovich

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Formspring Question # 5

I assume someone has taken objection to my assertion a few days ago in a Deep Space Nine review that equating love and sex is immature:
Love is only the sex.
I cannot agree. You do not, either, but I will play along. There are four kinds of love:
Agape--is unconditional, voluntary love. In Christian theology, it is the love god and Christ has for the world.

Storge--is natural love, such as that between parents and their children.

Phillia-- is the love of friendship.

Eros--is the sexual love between a husband and his wife.
Some of the various loves can overlap one another. One can have both agape and phillia love for his best friend. A parent had best have both agape and storge love for his children. To reinforce the point, the ancient Greeks called agape love parental love. One should also certainly have agape love for one’s spouse and arguably phillia, but a spouse is the only one for whom one should have eros love.

There would be much of a relationship if there was only eros love in a spousal relationship, so, no, love is not only the sex even in a spousal relationship. It should not be there at all in the others.

Caprica--"There is Another Sky"

I am enjoying Caprica even though there has yet to be an episode that has hit the same heights as Battlestar Galactica’’s first season. “There is Another Sky’ comes pretty close, if for no other reason than the ominous foreshadowing.

“There is Another Sky” gestures three concurrent stories. The two with Joseph Adama and Daniel Graystone are compelling. I think I am getting a little old to get into teenage angst stories like Tamara’s, but it held some interesting possibilities for the future.

Joseph is having a tough time with Willie after his wife and daughter’s death. Willie has became more inclined to spend time with his Uncle Sam (Insert laugh here) because he, as part of the Tauron Mafia, is more in touch with his ethnic roots. Joseph wants Willie to adapt more to life o Caprica. When he takes willie on a father-son fishing trip to bond, they wind up on the receiving end of ethnic slurs by a group of kids. Willie attacks them. His reaction leaves Joseph to realize they both need to embrace more of their cultural heritage rather than leaving it behind.

Daniel introduces the Zoe Cylon to his board of directors with the sales pitch that, if mass produced, they could becomea slave race who will serve man without question. Considering we already know how that works out, I found it a dark, but compelling sequence. I still find the CGI of the Cylon choppy, but they are getting very good at switching between the robot and Zoe at just he right moments to remind you Cylonsare not mindless machines. They will eventually realize they are getting mistreated and rebel.

Ah, but Tamara. She is dead in the real world and stuck in the virtual one. The virtual world is a collective teenage fantasy. I never would have found a fantasy world with a perpetual rave, Russian roulette games with no lasting consequences, and loads of stick thin, shallow party girls to be a paradise. I am even less inclined to think so now at 33. Fortunately, that world does not seem to be at the heart of the show, because I just cannot get into it.

But now it appears Tamara, wo cannot die in the virtual world, is learning how to use her unique ability to take it over. Which leads to an interesting question--is Tamara the Cylon god ofBSg instead of Zoe? If so, then the Adamas are more pivotal to humanity’s fate than we ever realized. They are both the death and the salvation. It is too early to know for certain, but there are some interesting questions to explore with it.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Full Metal Jacket Reach Around XXXVII

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

The Other McCain links to Jessica Simpson.

The Classic Liberal links to Keeley Hazzell, Kristen Bell, and Jessica Simpson.

The Daley Gator agrees the healthcare summit was a sham.

Mind Numbedrobot also links to my thoughts on the healthcare summit.

Paco Enterprises links to Maxine Waters' economic ignorance.

Zwetz links to my review for this week's episode of Lost, "Lighthouse."

A sincere thank you to all who linked. 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.

Deep Space Nine--"Necessary Evil"

“Necessary Evil” is one of my favorite episodes for several reasons. The story centers around Odo and Kira. You cannot go wrong with that. It serves as an origin story, with its flashbacks to Odo becoming constable thanks to Dukat and his first encounters with Kira and Quark. I also like the mood set. The flashback sequences are dark and brooding. Odo is the hardboiled detective solving a murder for the damsel in distress within the backdrop of war. The detective noir homage is very well done.

A Bajoran woman named Vaatrik asks quark to retrieve a box from a hidden compartment in what used to be a chemical shop where she worked during the occupation. Quark does so, but cannot resist opening it. Inside is a list of eight Bajoran names. One of the woman’s cohorts tries to murder Quark to keep the names secret, but thanks to Bashir, Quark survives, albeit in a coma.

Odo investigates the crime. It brings back memories of years ago when he was assigned by Dukat to investigate the murder of Vaatrik’s husband years before. According to the not so grieving widow, he had been having an affair with a new girl who just arrived on Terok Nor--Kira. Odo has his first run I with Kira. He catches her in several lies, including one when Quark fails to corroborate her alibi under the threat of being turned over to Dukat. She admits to being part of the underground and a saboteur, but denies committing the murder. Odo eventually accepts she is innocent of the murder. He also keeps her status asa rebel secret.

The mystery remained unsolved for five years until the end of ’Necessary Evil.” Kira lied to him yearsago. She had not committed the act of sabotage that was her true alibi. That was done by one of her cohorts. Her job was to find the list of eight names. They were collaborators with the Cardassians. She never found it, but she did have to kill him in the process. Vaatrik has been blackmailing the people o the list and arranged for the attempted murder of Quark to cover it up.

It is an interesting story, plays second fiddle to explaining the bond odo and Kira have. This is the early days before any romantic notions emerged between the two. I am inclined to appreciate the bond they shared prior to odo confessing love. He protected her from Dukat knowing full well her activities might kill many Cardassians. He did so perhaps out of a sense of justice. He never cared much for the Cardassians’ brutality against the Bajorans. Actually, Odo’s contempt for everyone is in clear evidence. He has a resentment of most everyone for the spectacle they like to make of his shape shifting abilities. But still, takes appears to take Kira’s advice that everyone has to choose sides eventually.

He is reluctant, obviously. His narration of the investigation suggests a sense of justice supercedes all relationships to him, from friendship to love. The notion comes naturally to him. He thinks that is his only connection to his people since the idea is inherent in him. When we finally meet his people, we will learn that is not true. Odo does not now it--or maybe he is in denial- but he holds onto a sense of justice over friendship and love because he is so alienated from people, he needs justice to fil the void. It is sad, but compelling, to watch that truth play out.

The one glimmer of hope there is at the end when kira finally confesses she was the murderer. She waned to tell Odo the truth, but was afraid she would lose his respect. In an almost embarrassed tone, Odo assures her his opinion of her could never chage. So maybe there is room for others in his life after all.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

Kaley Cuoco

As part of The Other McCain's Rule 5 Sunday, I present Kaley Cuoco:Oh, look--moving pictures:

Friday, February 26, 2010

Maxine Waters is Completely Ignorant of Basic Economics

If you lay awake at night wondering if our country is in the very best of hands, you are going to lose a lot more sleep after watching this short clip of Maxine Waters grilling Ben Bernanke before the House Finance Committee. Waters displays a glaring ignorance of basic economics even though Bernanke calmly explains how she is wrong several times: To be fair, most Americans do not know the difference between the federal funds rate and the discount rate, but most Americans do not sit on the House Finance Committee, either. You would expect a competent member to understand the basic concepts of economics, particularly considering that is her committee’s job to know.

Not that it will make any difference. Waters will not receive any flak for her ignorance. Her constituents are probably the type who excitedly claimed right after the election Barack Obama was going to pay for their mortgage, electricity, and gas. Waters was apparently snooping around for a racist conspiracy to pass costs onto her poor constituents. They probably consider her a hero for it even if she is completely off base.

Burn Notice--"Good Intentions"

I regret missing out on Burn Notice last night after finally catching “Good Intentions.” it is one of the best this season and for more than just 24‘s Tony Almeida playing a villain. The episode continues to break the usual formula of Michael, Sam, and Fiona having the drop on the bad guys at every turn. I am still in the mindset that is preparation for the season ending cliffhanger to go badly for Michael, probably having something to do with Madeleine, since their often strained relationship has also been a running theme.

Fiona too center stage. It was a nice change of pace to see Michael play backup for once, even if he did get to swoop in and save the day at the very end. It is fair, of course. It is his show. Fiona got to play into her frequent role as the one with a soft spot for children in trouble. In this case, she starts out by helping free a hostage held by an Argentine national named Gabriel until she finds out his motivation: the hostage isan executive at corporation who poured toxic waste into his home village’s water supply, killing his young daughter.

It is ironic. Under better circumstances, Gabriel probably could have come to the gang for help beforehand ad avoided all this mess. As it was, the hostage was rescued and Fiona risked her life to save Gabriel when he decided to immolate himself after his plan for revenge failed. This is not the first time Fiona has bee trapped in a fire and presumed, if only for a moment, to have been killed, but I can overlook it because of how well the rest of the episode stacked up.

Even the Gilroy story was thrilled. I have not cared much for it up until this point. Gilroy comes across as more of an obnoxious brat than the cold blooded killer he is supposed to be. I suppose I like the conclusion of his arc here because he finally is outwitted. Whoever he was trying to free from federal custody--a Simon--double crossed him in order to come after Michael. I do not recall a Simon from any other episode, but whatever axe he has to grind with Michael looks like it will make for a very exciting season finale next week.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Deep Space Nine--"Rules of Acquisition"

Ferengi-centric episodes are hit and miss. Sometimes even the equivalent of missing the target and instead causing an ignited bus full of nuns to careen into an orphanage. I am looking at you, “Profit and Lace.” but when they hit the mark dead on, they are entertaining and humorous. “Rules of Acquisition” hits the marks for the most part.

The Grand Nagus is ready to expand Ferengi business into the Gamma Quadrant. I am pretty certain he had already done that after “The Nagus,” but I will go along with it. He chooses Quark to serve as his chief negotiator in a deal for ten thousand vats of tuleberry wine. He does not much care about the wine itself. He just wants to get a foothold in the Gamma Quadrant.

Quark is excited at the prospect of his lofty position until one of his new waiters, Pel, puts it I his mind that the Nagus is using him as a scapegoat if negotiations go poorly. To ensure they do not, quark appoints Pel to be his assistant. Rom is not happy someone is coming between him and his brother, so he starts snooping around for any dirt on Pel that might break up their association.

Quark and Pel begin negotiations with the Doci, a Gamma Quadrant race allied with the Dominion. This is the first we hear of the Dominion. Virtually nothing about them has been firmly established. As far as we know yet, it is a business consortium. One cannot help but be somewhat dismissive of the Dominion’s ominous presence since the Doci are played for laughs. They are such aggressive negotiators, murdering their opponents is not uncommon. It is hard to swallow.

The Nagus’ intention was to discover who is really pulling the strings of commerce in the Gamma Quadrant. Quark would have failed miserably at it if not for Pel, who gets the job done. The problem is--as Rom uncovers while snooping about--Pel is a woman in disguise. Ferengi women are normally naked and non-participants in profit making. Pel wanted to prove she could hack it. But she broke the law doing so, putting both herself and Quark in serious trouble. Since she fooled the Nagus, too, they all agree to keep things quiet in order to protect everyone’s reputation.

“rules of Acquisition’ is a fun, light hearted episode. It is based on a Hillary J. Bader proposal for TNG story, so I imagine it had a lot more feminist overtones before being made into a comedy for DS9. She was not happy about that, I imagine. There are quite afew illogical eementsadded for the sole purpose of setting up jokes. Why would the Nagus stay on DS9 during the negotiations with the Doci, but not participate I them? Apparently, he is just there to pat Kira’s tush every time she turns around. Pel falls for Quark for apparently no other reason than to set up what looks like a gay kiss. Both were genuinely funny, so I can excuse the cheap set ups. It was also neat to see Brain Thompson, the alien shape shifter from The X-Files, playing a Doci.

On a more serious foreshadowing note, Rom is prompted to dig for dirt on Pel after talking to Odo. He asks Odo if he would be offended if someone came between him and his brother. Odo says hedoes not have a brother that he knows of, but muses that he would not let anything come between them if he did. Since the Dominion is controlled by the Founders, who are Changelings like Odo, the episode features subtle reference to odo future conflicts of loyalty when he discovers his real “brothers.”

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Kirsten Dunst

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Andrew Koenig (1968-2010)

The body o missing actor Andrew koenig has been found in a Vancouver park. Koening is dead of an apparent suicide. Very sad.

As a child of the ’80’s, I remember Koenig as Boner from Growing Pains. I am also fond of his father’s work in various science fiction endeavors. Walter Koenig always seemed to get treated as a second class citizen through the years right on up until last night when Larry King kept bumping his scheduled segment so often, Walter and his wife walked off the set. now their distress has worsened to bereavement.

Andrew was, by all accounts, a troubled man who battled severe depression. Everyone feared the worst when he disappeared on Valentine’s Day. His was a tragic ed, but I hope somehow he has found some peace that life never allowed him to have.

Godspeed, Andrew.

Yeah, the Heathcare Summit is a Sham

Watch this quick exchange between John McCain and barack Obama regarding the way ObamaCare has been drafted and the shady deals which have been made to gain votes for it:note obama's response: "We are not in campaign mode anymore." In order words, "I no longer have to pander to the unwashed masses, but it would be unproductive to let people know how corrupt the process is."

That is not the only crooked tactic Obama has used. he does not count his speaking time as part of the Democrat's time because he is the president. He forbids criticism of the bill as unproductive. Everyone should only talk about aspects everyone agree on. Referencing the actual bill is a no no. obviously, obama wants to hide what is actually in the darn thing until it is too late.

He also dodged a pledge to not use reconciliation to pass it, so bipartisanship is clearly out of the question.

On the plus side, I am really warming up to Eric Cantor. this guy is on the side of the American taxpayer. You can tell by the ticked off look on Obama's face every time Cantor speaks.

UPDATE: This is not going well for Obama ad it shows on his face that he knows it.

I have been listening for about an hour. Republicans have listed out all the problems with the bill, then describing how unpopular it is with Americans. Democrats have responded with sob stories.

Obama has not taken the lead on anything. I think this summit was more of a clash than he thought it would be. He has gone so far as to complain that Cantor has the bill they are currently debating on the table in front of him. obviously facts were not suppoed to bean issue.

I suspect ObamaCare will lose even more public support if enough people watched this summit. It screams "no confidence" in Democrats.

UPDATE II: Hmmm. Was this summit supposed to make Republicans look obstructionist in order to pave the way for a new, Democrats only plan?

If so, is anyone who was not in favor of ObamaCare now changed their mind because the GOP made a bad showing. I cannot imagine it. it is the legislation itself that is unpopular. I cannot imagine there would be any significant enough changes to make a new bill popular without Republican ideas being taken into consideration.

UPDATE III: Lamar Alexander was right about insurance premiums going up. Obama was either wrong or lying in their heated exchange.

Congressional Infighting Negates Potential Results from Healthcare Summit

I would rather watch grass grow than the healthcare summit. It is a completely pointless, totally choreographed event by the white House anyway for which nothing useful is going to emerge.

Some sources say Barack Obama will propose a scaled down version of his earlier plan just to have something that can pass so he can claim a desperately needed political victory, but no matter what he comes up with, I do not see it happening. I do not even see him scoring any points for appearing to compromise by scaling back his ridiculous $ 950 billion boondoggle from a few days ago. The move is terribly shallow and insulting to people’s intelligence.

ObamaCare is grossly unpopular. There will be no such thing as a victory with anything that passes. Assuming anything can pass, that is. The house and Senate cannot get it all together. Among the prickly issues is the Senate will not pass a bill with a public option. The House will not pass a bill without one. Bart Stupak does like the abortion language. The Senate cannot even decide how many votes whether they need 60 or 51 votes to pass anything.

Blame is being passed around on all sides. We politicians start publicly covering their own rear ends by claiming even members of their own party are not cooperating, legislation is in trouble.

I am still a firm believer ObamaCare is going to die.

Charlie Sheen's Behavior Could Prove Costly

We have not checked in on Charlie Sheen in a while. While we were ignoring him, he checked into rehab for alcohol and cocaine addiction as a “preventive measure.” The stated ratioalestrongly implies sheen expects more than a slap on the wrist when he is sentenced for the domestic abuse incident on Christmas Day when he held a knife to his wife’s throat as he pinned her to the bed. While it is said they have reconciled, a sentencing judge has the discretion to not only ignore that, but take into account Sheen’s past substance abuse and physical altercations.

Like Las Vegas with OJ Simpson, Aspen likely does not want to encourage invincible celebrities in its community. I do not blame them. Up until Phil Spector was convicted of the murder of Lana Clarkson, Los Angeles celebrity justice has been a oke. There is no way a resort area like Aspen wants to run the risk of repeat.

There are some interesting questions about the long lasting consequences, all of which area reflection on Sheen’s character--or like thereof.

Will his character on Two and a Half Men have to change? Sheen plays Charlie Harper, a drunken, lecherous manchild who cares about no one but himself. There have been numerous sequences in which he has physically threatened other characters, too. He is essentially playing himself. I have never found the show funny in the first place, but considering Sheen’s real life troubles, there ought to be a growing stigma to laughing about Harper’s ’antics.”

As examples, there are frequent jokes about Harper having been passed out drunk in various, awkward places, such as his neighbor’s doghouse. Sexist jokes are astaple, including manipulating young, dumb girls into cheap sex, then dumping them and dodging paternity suits, etc. As for physical violence, there was a scene last season in which Harper’s brother, who felt Charlie owed him money, siphoned off gas from his car. Charlie threatened to light a match around his brother, thereby threatening immolation, in retaliation.

It is all played for laughs, assuming you find that sort of thing funny, and I am as far from politically correct as possible. But those antics has to bug decent people considering the reality of Sheen’s behavior.

The show is a cash cow, therefore CBS and Warner Brothers have been generously forgiving about not only Shee’s behavior, but the fact the ’half man” in the equation will be in college by the time the show’s current contract is up in 2012. They have had to shut down production for Sheen’s rehab stit. What happens if he goes to jail?

Television productions, like just about anything else, take precautions to protect their assets. I knowe it sounds laughable, but there is probably a morality clause in Sheen’s contract should his off screen behavior adversely affect the brand. Lord only knows how he would have to kick his behavior up a notch in order for the producers to pull the plug, but it could happen.

The kicker about that is that insurance would normally compensate for such an issue. 8 Simple Rules had a ‘key man” clause in its insurance policy on John Ritter so they were compensated when he unexpectedly died in 2003. But insurance companies are well aware of Sheen’s past behavior and the possibility his drug, alcohol, or tendency towards violent behavior could make him unavailable for production for any number of reasons from hangover to fatal overdose. It might have been difficult to fully insure production.

Two and a Half Men is a valuable commodity for which the producers are on the hook to make for at least another two seasons. Sheen is the highest paid actor on television--I will let that sink in a minute--with $ 900,000 an episode in salary for which producers are also on the hook through 2012. A major lawsuit could erupt if sheen’s current problems destroy the brand or even delay production too long.

Of course all that hinges on weteranyone, including the sentencing judge, cares that Sheen’s behavior is a destructive problem that needs to be dealt with before someone is hurt or killed.

Deep Space Nine--"Melora"

I have dreaded the inevitable review of this episode. I am perfectly willing to admit I have lifelong disabilities which affected me long before my other health issues struck six years ago. They are not entirely unrelated, but that is not a story for here. The writer of “Melora,” Evan Carlos Somers, is a paraplegic. I have never been completely confined to a wheelchair, but before my hip replacement surgery in 1992, I did use one in certain cases much like the character of Melora. So here is my beef--Melora is more like me than Somers, yet he is trying to speak on my behalf through her. It is not working.

It pays to note that in every script Somers wrote for Ds9 and VOY, there is always a character like Melora who has some physical issue which keeps him or her from doing exactly what they want. Kai Opaka is stuck on the moon in “Battle Lines,” Melora’s low gravity conditioning keeps her either in a wheelchair or on crutches, Dax cannot travel with her lover to “Meridian,” and Paris suffers with injected memories in “Ex Post Facto.“ None of these episodes are particularly good. I have already noted “Battle Lines” is bad because it has all the worst elements of TOS. The other episodes will have to wait their turn. For now, I do not like “Melora” because it is so heavy-handed.

Understand I am a realist. I never deliberately grind my axe over my limitations. For one thing, we all have them, so why feel shortchanged over my specifics? I never cared about playing sports as a kid, for instance. I hung out with the nerdy kids who liked who did well in school in spite of their obsessions with comic books and science fiction. I had a void left by my limitations, so I filled it with something else. What I did not do was insist on jumping in the middle of things I knew I could not handle just to prove something all the while caustically smacking around everyone else to cover the inevitable failure. But that is what Melora does.

Starfleet is the perfect politically correct organization that lets in anyone with disabilities. That is great. They have never heard of the public policy exception and why it is there--because a blind fireman, for instance, cannot effectively save lives. There is a higher principle involved than just a spirit of full inclusion. Some people really do not need to be doing certain things. Starfleet is complicit in Melora’s troubles right off the bat.

Melora has not embraced reality. Either she needs to stay on her low gravity world where she is normal or, if she wants to be part of Starfleet regardless, willingly accept the assistance she requires. But she cannot be normal in Starfleet. Trying to do so causes problems both for her and others which puts herself in a bad emotional state. Being frustrated all the time puts an unhealthy strain on both her and her relationships.

Melora is finally faced with a pivotal choice--here aremedical treatments that can get her outt of the wheelchair, but her new conditionig with prevent her from ever going home. She decides to start the treatment, then opts to stop. She likes her low gravity home too much to never be able to return. Fair enough. I can underastand that.

But here is what I do not undrrstand. She has to accept the consequences of her decision, but she just barely does so. She jokes that independence is not all it iscraced up to be, implying she will be fine fitting in with other Starfleet personnel now. I have already expressed skepticism about whether her now good natured attitude about the situation is enough. Melora still has the John Locke from Lost vibe that reality is just too harsh to accept.

Then comes the worst part. The B-story involves Quark and a smuggler. When the two stories intersect, Melora saves the day. But it is not an affirmation of her capabilities in spite of her disabilities. She is able to play hero because the treatments she has already undergone help her recover faster from a phaser blast. Her effort to get rid of her disabilities were the only thing that helped resolve the conflict.

Keeping all that in mind, if you can tell me what the message of “Melora” is, I would appreciate it. Is it a politically corwct parable about respecting people with disabilities? No, because Melora only succeeded because she was far enough along in the process of eliminating them to be successful. Is it the idea we ought to accept our limitations/ No, because Melora stays in Starfleet even though it is obvious she is going to run into problems caused by her disabilities which will adversely affect others. So what is the deal? I cannot figure it out, so I have to consider “Melora” a dud.

Rating: * (out of 5)

Olivia Munn

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Deep Space Nine--"Cardassians"

The most important factor in making the aftermath of the Bajoran Occupation intriguing is putting a personal face on it. Up until now, DS9 has not done a very good job of personalizing the Cardassians outside of “Duet,” an episode I raved about last week. We never even learned the name of the Gul who was arming The Circle in the opening trilogy of the second season. But with “Cardassians,” that changes when the focus shifts to Garak, Dukat, and the Cardassian side of the occupation and its aftermath.

The Cardassians have been one dimensional, villains on both TNG and DS9 thus far. You could describe them in one of two ways; either mustache twirling villains or sadistic monsters. The former is often laughable. Gene Roddenberry himself was not happy with how one dimensional they were presented in their TNG premiere and Roddenberry was not exactly keen on character development period. The lattter-their sadism--is something more problematic.

For one, it is not going to end just yet. In at least one more episode this season, the torture of a captive solely for the sake of torture will be presented on O‘Brien. Thankfully, it will fade off to any future instances serving as a necessary plot point or, in the case of Garek interrogating Odo at one point, Garek will feel remorse for his actions. Similar instances have a lot to make up for.

The brutalizing that Cardassians takeso much thrill in a reflection on some of the worst aspects of human nature. There is a prurient thrill for damaged people to inflict pain on others. It is sexual. There really is no difference between Jeffery Dahmer committing his weird crimes and the repressed Islamic jihadists who enjoy stoning woman. They get the same high from it. To have to relate that to recurring villains on what should not be a perverted show, but still views sex in immature ways, is disturbing.

So I am glad the focus is shifting away from the primal portrait of Cardassians into more multidimensional, palace intrigue type fare.

“Cardassians” gives it a good shot. I do find the plot a bit implausible in places. The idea of war orphans being left behind on Bajor by the fleeing Cardassians is a good idea in dramatic terms. That many have been adopted by Bajorans, many of whom so far have had an understandable, but damaging hatred for Cardassians as a race, shows some growth. There are rough edges that will never be smoothed in the real world, but for a series with an optimistic view of the future, there has to be some sense the baorans can have some healing.

I like how the war orphans serve as a catalyst to explore how all the different races feel about one another. In “Cardassians,” we explore the self-loathing of the Cardassian children left behind, O’Brien’s lingering animosity from fighting them in the war, and even how Pa’Dar is grateful to the adoptive Bajoan father to his long lost son, Rugal. The resolution presents the Cardassians as sympathetic characters, which is not easy to do considering all I laid out above.

All that makes up for the implausibly complicated plot of Dukat kidnapping Pa’Dar’s believed to be dead son eight years ago. How exactly could that remain covered up/ if the Cardassians are so devoted to family, surely the war orphans would be a huge issue. It would not take too long before someone demanded action. Rugal would have been found. Dukat did not want that. He wanted to hurt Pa’Dar by making him believe his son as dead, not embarrass him by having the plot see the light of day. It was all covered up by the end, so both Pa’Dar and Dukat get off scott free. The only one who lose out are Rugal’s adopted parents and, of course, all the other war orphans left behind.

I liked “Cardassians” anyway for the groundwork it lays. The Cardassians become better villains. The animosity between Garak and Dukat will be fun to watch play out. I enjoy the friendship between Garak and Bashir, too. It will be quite a while before Bashir comes ito his own, but his friendships with Garak and O’Brien are the most entertaining aspects of his overall story arc.

Rating; *** (out of 5)

Kristen Bell

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lost--"Lighthouse"

I am not really sure how I feel about ‘Lighthouse.” it was not bad, but how was the plot advanced? They are running out of episodes to do so. More and more I am getting the bad vibe Lost will definitely end like Alias with every question answered unsatisfactory in the final ten minutes. I hope not. I have invested six years in this show.

2007

The island story is mostly split between the Shepard siblings, Jack and Claire. Jacob appears to Hurley and leads him on what looks to be a wild goose chase to a lighthouse which, like the temple, appears to be something which can only be seen when the time comes for it to be discovered. I have heard from people who actually like Joss Whedon that Buffy the Vampire Slayer had a similar plot device with a temple in the middle of Sunnyvale that no one noticed until it was too late. The story also involved a villain wanting to go home, but would destroy the planet in doing so. Please tell me Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse are not stealing from Whedon now!

Hurley convinces Jack to follow him by repeating a line Jacob told him--’You have what it takes.” The line is a reassurance Jack’s father was wrong from browbeating him all these years. Along their journey to the lighthouse, they discover Shannon’s asthma ihaler and the Adam and eve skeletons. Hurley gives a nod to the fans by speculating the skeletons are actually them having time traveled even further into the past anddied.

They reach the lighthouse. They are supposed to get it working so someone can find the island more easily (Widmore? Desmond? Faraday? Someone else? New characters arebeing introduced too quickly and awkwardly in the final season.) Jack is upset to discover the lighthouse has been used to spy on him his entire life, so he smashes it aaist Hurley’s protests.

Jacob appears to a dejected Hurley while Jack broods and tells him not to worry about it. It is all part of building up Jack for a purpose. It pats to note that so far, Dark Locke is right about Jacob. He has been completely manipulating everyone o his list. Whether Dark locke is telling the whole truth is another matter.

As for Claire, she has gone completely bat guano while searching for her baby. Jin convinces her Aaron is at the temple, but before they can leave for there, Dark locke shows up. He and Claire have formed an alliance.

2004

Christian Shepard’s corpse is still missing and so is his will. Before Jack can go looking for it, he has to pick up his son, David. There is the big difference between his real life and this new timeline. They have strained relationship because David is afraid to look like a failure in front of him. Jack, with empathy, shares that he has no intention of being like his own father towards him. They have a hallmark moment.

Some points: Dogan shows up I the alternate timeline, Christian left something for Claire in his will, and Jack has a vague notion he had his appendices taken out other than how he remembers it. I do not know what Dogan means, but Jack does not appear to know Claire I the alternate timeline and there are clearly echoes of the island timeline running throughout.

I was not immensely enthralled or impressed, but “Lighthouse” was not bad. Whoever cast David did a great job. He not only looks like Matthew fox, but is a sullen jerk just like Jack. Bravo, maestro.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Harry Reid: Domestic Abuse Expert

Speaking of the jobs bill in the previous post, Harry Reid has some interesting observations on why it should pass.

Reid observed that men tend to get violent when they are out of work. Women do too, but they are not usually as abusive. It is only men who dcide to smack their wivesaroud for lack of a job to go to.

Reid sounds more and more like one of those crazy old men that sits at the barbershop handing out free wisdom to any unfortunate soul that has to wait for a barber’s chair to open up. The guy is plum senile.

This is not his first foray into sociological theory. You may recall a few weeks ago he noted Barack Obama spoke much more eloquently than those other scary black Reid tends to shy away from. I hear he and Chris Matthews have formed a support group.

Seriously, I suspect this is a warning to Nevada voters they ought to reelect him in November for his wife’s sake. Perhaps she should head for the hills just to be on the safe side. Those poll numbers are not looking good.

ObamaCare II Has Democrat Obstacles in the House and Senate

House Majority leader Steny hoyer hasdoubts Barack Obama's new plan will pass. If you follow the link, you will discover the public option is dead on arrival. Some sources say Harry Reid cannot even get fifty votes in the Senate. With no Republican support, it looks like ObamaCare II will get no traction. So what is the poit of it?

I am considering two possibilities here:

The first is the more realistic. Obama is putting a plan out there that can pass, but even if it does not, he will have others to lay the blame on. Ideally, he can still label the Republicans as the party of no even though they are all but powerless to stop the democrats from passing any bill they want. They can even pry off new GOP darling Scott Brown under certain circumstances like the jobs bill. But aside from the Republicans, there areDemocratsexpressingconcerns. Stupak in the House is upset about the abortion language and Rockefeller in the Senate has raised concerns about the sportsmanship of reconciliation.

It boils down to Obama being able to either take credit for a healthcare bill if one passes or play his facorite game and blame anyone/everyone but himself for the failure.

The second is admittedly more of a stretch, but considering his ego, I cannot put it passed Obama. This bill has everything he wants in it with apparently no room for negotiation. Is Obama arrogant enough to think he can go to this healthcare summit and bowl everyone over with his sheer awesomeness until we buy it all, hook line, and $950 billion sinker? That has been his tactic from the Chicago Olympic bid to his war plan--go on television and dazzle the folks. He does not have much of a track record with it, but he does not seem to notice.

One thing is for certain--this is not a summit, but an infomercial. Obama is putting out his product to either be bought as is or dropped altogether. I do not think this summit is going to go overwell with the people because its true purpose is too darn obvious.

Cylon Zoe Dance Scene from "Gravedancing"

Here is that in credibly surreal dance scene involving Cylon Zoe and a young technician: Fans seem to be divided evenly on whether this is a moving scene because Zoe is having fun or just creepy because it is a robot/avatar of a dead girl dancing. I am in the former group. There was something poignant about the scene that overcomes the macabre factor.

To help you Googlers out, the song is '"Was Love" by Captain Ahab. You can download an MP3 for free at the band's website.

Deep Space Nine--"Invasive Procedures"

I promised to lay off the Dax bashing for two episode in particular this season. Here is the first.

“Invasive Procedures” is not very original. It involves a typical hostage situation in which a villain is after something only he cares about. He has a ragtag bunch of cronies with no real loyalty, but he also brinsalong his girlfriend. She is, of course, a low class woman who had no future until he took her away from her old life. Now she is completely loyal to him until she is convinced by the hostages he will totally dump her once he has what he wants. If you watched any television at all in the 80’s, you know the drill.

To fill in the blanks: Verad is an Trill who was rejected for joining. After researching, he decides Dax is the best trill for him, so he plots to take the symbiont from her. When DS9 is evacuated because of a storm, he and his merry band of mercenaries--two Klingons and a former hooker--sneak onto the station with the help of Quark, who believes they actually want to buy some black market merchandise from him. Instead, they take the crew hostage and force Bashir to transplant the symbiont from dax to Verad.

As Jadzia lay dying, Sisko tries to appeal to the now joined Verad’s sense of decency. When that does not work, he plays up the differences between the joined Verad and the old for the hooker’s benefit. He is not the man she fell in love with anymore.

I will give the episode credit here. They do not take the easy way out by having either of Sisko’s plans work. That would have been trite and stereotypical. Instead, the matter is resolved by force. Sisko shoots Verad before he can escape. The symbiotic is then taken by force and put back into Jadzia. Other than the plot set up, the only predictable bit is Quark feigning an injury as the catalyst for the resolution. That had to bedone in order to redeem the character for starting the mess in the first place.

“Invasive Procedures” certainly is not particularly compelling, but it does serve as elaboration on how Trills work. Not every trill gets joined, so there is a class conflict there which only gets attention in passing in future episodes, but it is there. If you will pardon one ityy, bittty bit of Dax bashing here, how the heck did someone as immature and catty as Jadzia qualify? I have to assume she appeared before the joining committee in a short skirt with a low cut top and giggled a lot. Men had the majority vote, of course.

John Glover did a fine job as Verad. He had to play essentially two different characters, Verad and then Verad Dax, while demonstrating why he would be so desperate to not be just plain, old Verad. Ican see why--Verad is an unassertive wimp. One suspects he frequented the hooker because he was too intimidated by women to date. How he ever approached Klingon mercenaries is a mystery to me. Verad Dax is like night to his day. Strong, confident, and assertive. It is not easy for an actor to go from Emo Phillips to George Clooney in less than a minute, but Glover pulled it off splendidly.

Tim Russ makes his second trek appearance as a Klingon. Considering the time period, it may have been what landed him the role of Tuvok on VOY.

Well, there you go--a Dax episode I liked. Chalk it up to nostalgia for the 80’s action shows I remember fondly from my childhood. The happy stroll down memory lane probably has a lot to do with why I am not tougher on the episode. In order to enjoy it, once has to overlook some major issues, such as quark not getting punished for his actions or how the symbiotic survived two surgeries within a few hours of each other when it was made a plot point it probably would not, but I can handler that. The episode was enjoyable enough.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Monica Belucci

Monday, February 22, 2010

Mike Huckabee's Sour Grapes

There are plenty of reasons Mike Huckabee is a poor choice for the Republican nod in 2012. His record as Arkansas governor clearly puts him in RINO territory. His 2008 run was done on a shoestring budget with the same small crowd of handlers in practically every primary. It is doubtful he can separate himself from conspiracy theorist Chuck Norris. Huckabee has a Willie Horton moment now.

You know, he is kind of a weirdo, too. A rock and roll preacher. The further along his FOX show goes, the more people are going to realize his oddity. He may fly all right in the South where Jerry lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart are cousins, but even down here that sort of thing is not particularly cool anymore.

All that said, Huckabee has a even bigger problem--he is a whiny loser.

Remember a few months ago he complained the press was more interested in Sarah Palin than him because she is pretty while he is…uh…not? He wanted us to consider that statement an observation on the superficial nature of who merits media attention. At least that is what he wanted in hindsight. The reality is he was whining about losing the spotlight.

Now Huckabee has criticized the CPAC. He stated reason is that it has become too libertarian. Conservatives need to pay attention to values, he says. I call bologna. Hucabee ended up with 4% of the vote in the presidential straw poll and he is pouting about it. I can almost ear him saying, “I did not want to be in your club anyway.”

Just to give the guy the benefit of the doubt, I have tried to come up with how critiquing CPAC ight raise his fortunes. I am really not certain how positioning himself as the values candidate will tae him anywhere. He was right initially to complain about Palin taking the spotlight. While the small government libertarian types have warmed up to her, so have the Christian voters. They are hers for the taking. Huckabee cannot compete.

While I would lack to cut him some slack, it looks like Huckabee is having a public pity party over his lost political career.

What is the Point of This Upcoming Healthcare Summit?

What is the point to this upcoming healthcare summit? I ask only because it is being advertised as bipartisan, but everything coming from the white house and Democrat leaders in Congress implies the Republicans are to be seen and not heard.

Harry Reid has said the Senate Democrats will pass healthcare reform through reconciliation if republicans try to filibuster. The only way one can interpret that is that the Republicans must cooperate with the legislation as is--or else. The threat certainly does not leave one with the notion democrats are willing to compromise on anything.

Barack Obama has released another plan that supposedly meets in the middle between the House and Senate bills. I cannot say it is much of a compromise with the centerpiece of the plan is price control o private insurance. When will progressives ever learn that when you control prices, it creates inferior product and shortages? One thing is for certain--by putting in price controls, the White House knows what will happen to insurance premiums if this thing gets passed.

Obama has also embraced Reid’s notion his healthcare plan can and perhaps should be passed without Republican support. So, again, what is the point of this “bipartisan” healthcare summit? Where is the rom to negotiate even if the democrats were open to it?

Formspring Question # 4

You know, I really had no intention of the Eye becoming a television blog:
Are your ratings for Star Trek episodes relative to each show?
Yes. I try to score each episode in the context of the series. I do that with every series. A **** Burn Notice is not necessarily better than a *** Lost because I like the two shows for different reasons. Burn Notice is goofy fun while Lost is more engaging because of its mysteries and long story arc. It would not be fair to judge them both by the same standard.

As a general rule:

* = Poor.
**= Bad, but with a redeeming factor of some sort.
***= Solid, watchable episode, but nothing special.
****= Something kicks it up a notch.
*****= Excellent

As for Trek specifically, it is tough to compare episodes of different shows because they span decades, with different creative teams and contemporary influences. I cannot fault TOS for having a ’60’s sensibility or bad special effects, for instance., because the show is forty years old. Likewise, I will probably view spectral theme of DS9--how much will you sacrifice your principles in order to survive?--differently I the post 9/11 world than I would have in its first run. That may be just as unfair when you get right down to it.

It has not been relevant yet since I have generally enjoyed TOS, TNG, and DS(, but ratings may become stranger if I go on to VOY and ENT. I did not particularly enjoy either one in the long haul, Reviews for individual episodes would probably be more brutal, yet the star ratings not reflect it exactly. A **** VOY episode might be--to steal a joke from Jon Stewart--like being the thinnest kid at fat camp. This is why I often try to elaborate on my general feelings for the show when rating individual episodes. It helps put things in context.

Score One for Unborn Life

The woman who assaulted a pro-life protester canceled her abortion, then thanked the protester for helping her see the right way of handling her pregnancy.

Deep Space Nine--"The Siege"

Before becoming The Huffington Post's resident unreasoned, whiny socialist, Steven Weber was a xenophobic Bajoran colonel. What do you think--step up, down, or sideways career wise?

There is a feeling among the DS9 powers that be the Bajoran trilogy fizzled out in the conclusion. The rationale is there was not enough story to merit three parts. I am sympathetic to that view. I have already noted the first part was not very well split between the Li Nalas rescue and the introduction of The Circle. Part two picked up the pace well, but “The Siege’ is in places dragged out too long to be as intense as they were going for. The fate of Li Nalas is not as monumental as one would hope, either.

The episode begins right where we left off. Federation members have a little over five hours to evacuate Ds9 before an assault team arrives. Sisko refuses to go. He insists they need to buy time for proof of the Cardassian subterfuge is exposed to the government. Once the people discover The Circle is being supplied weapons by their greatest enemy, the Bajoans will abandon them.

The station is evacuated of all Starfleet families. I appreciate some of the paiful moments of families being split up with the possibility those left behind will be killed in battle, but I can also seethe complaints that it is dragged out too long, hence the complaint a two part story was stretched uncomfortably into three. The goodbyes take up the entire fist act.

Thing pick up with the Bajorans arrive. The story is split between a Die Hard-esque cat and mouse gae between the Federation left behind and the Bajorans and Kira and Dax trying to make their way to the government ministers in order to hand them the evidence of Cardassian involvement odo discovered last episode.

Kira and Dax’s timing is perfect, as they succeed just as Sisko captures the Bajoran task force leader. All gets cleared up immediately, though oddly off screen. Li Nalas is killed jumping in front of a phasor blast meant for Sisko when Weber up there is the loe hold out in believing the Cardassians were behind it all.

The resolution does make for a weak ending. Li Nalas’ death had no meaning. Perhaps it could be said that his greatest Bajoran war hero’s sacrifice for a Starfleet officer seals the alliance between Bajor and the Federation, but that is not made clear. For that matter, nothing else is, either. Jaro escapes and is never seen or heard from again. Even thogh the Cardassians are behind the whole lot, we only get to see one nameless gul from behind in the previous episode and that is it. A wee bit on the anti-climactic side.

Still I have to give it to “The Siege.” in spite of its weaknesses, it is nota bad episode overall. If nothing else, it helps establish kira’s welcome place among the crew. She has been an awkward fit up until now. But her friends have proven their support for her. She belongs there. She becomes much more integrated into the crew from here on out. Her bond with Dax is especially strengthened. Lord knows what Kira sees I her….

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Scarlett Johansson

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Saturday Night Live Wants Betty White to Host

The Facebook campaign appears to have been successful.

The catch--and I hesitate to call it that because of the cool factor--is White would be a co-host with other, younger Women of Comedy. Co-host possibilities include Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Molly Shannon. The idea is to make the show both a spectacle and lighten the burden on 88 year old White.

A neat idea, if it works out. But for heaven's sake, do not include Jenna Elfman. Please.

Blogroll Spotlight XXXIII

It is time for the weekly round up of favorite posts from my blogroll. As usual, these are not ranked, but in alphabetical order by blog title.

American Digest plays Leftwing Rally Bingo.

Amusing Bunni's Musings on the myth of global warming.

Big Feed on Michelle obama's socialist bookshelf.

Camp of the Saints compiles a blogroll spotlight, too.

Classic Liberal discusses the american spirit.

Daley Gator exposes climate change as big business.

Eternity Road discussess the spiritual significance of blogging.

In a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World misses summer. We all do:Jaded Haven on The Road That Goes Forever.

Jumping in Pools explores the Ron Paul starw poll win at CPAC.

MAinfo exposes Bill O'Reilly as being no friend of the Second Amendment.

Mind-Numbed Robot talksabout God and Government.

Paco Enterprises compares Keith Olbermann to the Dramatic Chipmunk. An uncanny resemblance.

Proof Positive has a video of terrorist incompetence.

Sniper features video of an old guy beating up a young, loud mouth punk.

Troglopundit celebrates his first anniversary.

Washington Rebel shows us the new fascists.

Deep Space Nine--"The Circle"

“The Circle” is much more exciting and faster paced than “The Homecoming.” as the title suggests, it fixes the shortcomings of the previous episode but dealing almost exclusively with the Bajoran xenophobic group.

Like any good middle part of a trilogy, “The Circle” serves effectively as a bridge between the introduction and conclusion without getting bogged down in too much exposition. We learn The Circle wants Bajor for the Bajorans, is concerned what the Federation will do after a coup has taken place, and are, unbeknownst to them, being supplied war materiel by the Cardassians through a benign race of botanists known as the Kressari.

On a more personal level, the episode explores Kira. After she is forced off DS9, she tays for a while at batril’s monastery. When taken out of her normal element, we finally see how much she has grown. Ds9 was become her home and the crew her friends. Sisko spends much time attempting to get her as XO, even going so far as to launch an unauthorized rescue missio when she is kidnapped by The Circle. I have to admit the bond between Sisko and kira is implied to be stronger than their past relationship would merit, but I can live with it.

The Bajoran military sympathizes with the Circle against the provisional government, so a relatively bloodless coup does occur. The Federation is given seven hours to clear out of DS9. Starfleet command orders Sisko to leave. They will face the political consequences of the Cardassians controlling Bajor and the wormhole later. Sisko decides to creativey interpret his orders and drags out the evacuation as long as possible, thereby setting up a confrontation with the Circle. That is our Sisko no?

I liked this episode overall. I did not mention it yesterday because his role was more subdued then, but Frank Langella plays The Circle leader Jaro to the hilt. He always does a good job playing playing villains, though. He took this role for his grandchildren, who are Trek fans. On top of appreciating the malevolence of Jaro, my Marxism 9of the Groucho variety) was tickled by The Night at the Opera homage as all of Kira’s friends constantly interrupted her packing in order to say goodbye. Noted as well is the new warmth she feels for O’Brien because of his help in savig Li Nalas.

Speaking of whom, he slides into the background here. In a way, he is supposed to. Jaro assigned him to DS9 so he would be away rom Bajor and therefore could not untie the people against The Circle. Yet I expect him to be more assertive. He was a soldier for years, after all. Perhaps ten years in prison have done an unfortunate number on him. It is only a minor quibble in an otherwise fine episode.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Keeley Hazell

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Alexander Haig (1924-2010)

The former Secretary of State ad distinguished military serviceman has died.

It is a shame that after serving in both Korea and Vietnam, for which he was highly decorated, Haig will probably best be remembered for claiming he was next in the line of presidential succession on live television shortly after Ronald Reagan was shot in 1981. No matter what kind of life you lived, no matter what you have accomplished, if you look bad on television just once, that is all anyone will remember you for.

Haig was my guess for Deep Throat right up until Mark Felt confessed. I suppose I had misconceptions about Haig myself.

Godspeed, Mr. Haig.

Caprica--"Gravedancing"

I feel “Gravedancing” was a mixed bag. After the cliffhanger where Adama asked his gangster brother to even the score, I was expecting a more exciting resolution than adama wavering back and forth over whether he really wanted Sam to go through with the murder. Maybe someone else found it more compelling, but it seemed to me like the writers had set up the plot without knowing where they wanted to go with it.

I did enjoy the Graystone visit to the Caprica equivalent of The Daily Show in order to make a public apology for Zoe’s involvement in the terrorist bombing. A bit mercenary, mind you, but it fits in well with David Graystone’s generally cold, all business demeanor. He is the guy who thought up the idea of cloning his daughter in the first place. It is interesting how I many ways he has less humanity in him than Adama, the guy who decided on a whim to call for acold blooded murder.

Patton Oswalt did a good job played the Jon Stewart role. I like his stad up routines in general, but do not see the big fuss over him. His guest role was stunt casting that did not lure me to the episode.

I cannot end without talkig about the most surreal moment. Yeah, the lab tech guy checking out Zoe as aCylon by making it do dance moves. The scene was creepy, charming, and fun all at the same time. It made me appreciate the mix of CGI of the Cylon and of Zoe as an avatar. More often than not, the switch is too hold down the cost of the CGI. But here the juxtaposition was powerful. It was so odd to watch the Cylon bust a move. Switching to Zoe, who seemed happy to be cutting loose for a moment, was a nice, effective tough to humanize the moment.

Outside of the Adama inner moral turmoil that was not, I liked this one. Caprica is strolling merrily along in my book.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Full Metal Jacket Reach Around XXXVI

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

The Other McCain links to Reese Witherspoon.

Classic Liberal links to Irenasheik, Jennifer Aniston, and Reese Witherspoon.

Celebscanr links to Reese Witherspoon.

Guys That Lie link to my Mitt Romney 2012 analysis.

A sincere thank you to all who linked. 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.

Deep Space Nine--"The Homecoming"

“The Homecoming;” is these cod season premiere. With a couple exceptions, notably the appearance of TOS era elderly Klingons and Adm. Nechaye from TNG, the series spent the season playing towards its uniqueness. The bulk of the episodes dealt with the aftermath of the Cardassian Occupation while laying the groundwork for the introduction of Ds9’s main villains, the Dominion. Along the way, the main characters become much more three dimensional. I even start to like Bashir.

The episode also marks the first three part episode in Trek history. There will not be another until Ent some eleven years later.

“The Homecoming” plays off two themes that ran through the first season, one big and the other personal. The big theme involves Bajor’s reluctance to the Federation presence. It is a psychological issue. They have just gotten rid of an occupying alien force through no real effort of their own. It was all due to a peace treaty negotiated and signed without them. They are free, but powerless and therefore ready to bite the hand that feeds them in order to assert themselves. The fact they need the federation to protect the wormhole is insult to injury.

On a personal level, we experience the above conflict through Kira. Throughout the last season, there was always the underlying feeling hers was a marriage of convenience with the Federation. As soon as Bajor is strong enough to protect itself, she wants them gone. At various times, such as the traditional religious teaching versus science fact conflict in the first season finale, sometimes she could not help her animosity from flaring up.

There were some definite sign kira was changing by the end of the season finale. Sisko had saved the next kai from an assassination attempt orchestrated by Wynn, a woman she had believed in wholeheartedly. Kira‘s political allegiance and religious faith were put to the test. Yet when the running theme of the upcoming trilogy regarding asepartist group plays out, you have to wonder if kira does not have some Bajor for the Bajorans sympathies. Months ago, she definitely would have.

The episode begins Quark is given a Bajoran earring by a visiting captain who got it rom a Cardassian on a remote world. Quark decides to offer it to Kira who instead realizes it belongs to a resistance hero believed to be long since dead. He isstill a prisoner of war out there. She determines to rescue him.

She needs a Federation runabout to do so since--to reinforce the previous conflict--Bajoran ships just are not that capable. Sisko is torn. On the one hand, Bajor is tearing itself apart with issues from religious conflict to xenophobia. This hero could unite them as one. On the other, he would be risking war with the Cardassians. With some cajoling, he decides to give her the runabout with the condition she take O’Brien with him.

After a slam bang rescue, Li Nalas arrives on DS9. He is greeted as a returning hero, but he has a secret. He confesses to Sisko after a failed attempt to run off that the legend surrounding him is bunk. He did kill a Cardassian butcher of thousands, but he didso as the guy was bathing in a river. The story of his heroics grew over time, but he wants no part of it any longer. Sisko convinces him the people can rally around a legend as much as any truth, so he acquiesces. He also replaces Kira as Ds9’s first officer.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Jessica Simpson

Jessica Simpson looking hot in Allure as part of The Other McCain's Rule 5 Sunday.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Looking at Tiger Woods' Apology

I do not follow golf, so I do not feel Tiger Woods owes me an apology. Since I think the whole concept of looking up to celebrities as role models is absurd, I do not see why he owes anyone else an apology, either, but he obviously thinks differently, so I wanted to see what he had to say.

Let me say before anyone thinks I am attacking him, I wish Woods well. Part of that absurdity I looking at celebrities as role models is the knowledge of how often they fail spectacularly because the trappings of wealth and fame make them feel above the normal rules. The heart of Woods’ problem is the same as Michael Jackson’s--no one dare tell them no. what kind of behavior can you expect from someone under those circumstances?

What struck me right off the bat is what a child woods appears to be. Not childish, but childlike. Childish implies he ought to know better and just ignores it. Childlike makes you wonder if he even understands what he has done wrong. Maybe I feel that way because he read his apology in such an insincere, monotone way, it sounded like this was the first time he had even seen it. As though some adult was forcing him to say it just to teach him a lesson. Having his mother there only reinforced the notion. His wife was not there, either. Maybe she knows how insincere the apology is, too.

Why am I convinced of his insincerity? Because he went through all the motions of a celerity seeking redemption. He spoke of the worry his moral failings have caused, which translates to lost revenue from endorsements. He blamed his celebrity for givin him the mindset the rules did not apply to him, thereby tossing blame on his fans for putting him in that position in the first place. Nothing like puttig a guilt trip on the people you are apologizing to. Then he paid lip service to his religious beliefs even though he is going to ignore them and seek further help in the great American celebrity pastime of country club addiction therapy. Finally, he left the window open to playing golf again this year.

I believe he hit all the marks. Kudos to the public relations representative who wrote the apology for him. I would suggest you should have had him rehearse in front of a mirror few times so he could get a more genuineness in it, but oh, well. I imagine it served its purpose. Redemption these days is such a shallow concept.

Burn Notice--"Partners in Crime"

A little late with the Burn Notice review this week, but I was otherwise occupied last night, so I had to wait for a subsequent viewing. I have mixed emotions about “Partners in Crime,” but they have completely reversed from previous weeks. This time around, the Gilroy elements were great, but the mission of the week was disappointing.

What I like about the Gilroy story was that we finally know what it is all about. He wants to break an uber-terrorist out of custody while being transported by plane. The revelation putsall sorts of images in my mind how this relatively mediocre story can redeem itself. A midair hijacking in the season finale? Sounds cool to me. How much you wat to bet the terrorist escapes, causing Michael to spend the next season’s story arc pursuing him? That would be intense while leaving the un-burn Michael Weston story behind in distant memory.

Like I said, the case of the week was disappointing. I did not like it because it wasa missed opportunity. Michael has screwed up a couple times already this season--one of the reasons I think the terrorist will escape in the season finale-- but he has always managed to recover. Tonight, he did not. The client died. Yet Michael took some big steps backwards here by not really caring. What happened to Michael’s developing a conscience/ Just last week, he opened up to his friends how they are making him a more caring person, but here he goes back to his old, cool, calculating self. I was disappointed.

The Gilroy stuff redeemed the episode, but I could have done without Michael’s callous reaction to his failure.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Pompous Pundit Poo Poos Palin's Populist Potential Prematurely

George F. Will's latest column is a piece of work which merits examination. Will’s column is supposedly about the fleeting nature of Sarah Palin’s form of populism, but serves more to show the wide rift between conservative elites and the grassroots.

Here is the gist of it; will compares John McCain’s selection of Palin as his running mate to Barry Goldwater’s selection of Bill miller to be his running mate in 1964. Goldwater lost for much the same reason as McCain--and Will has agreed with the rationale: both were too unpredictable to serve as leaders of the free world. the difference is in the post-election opinion of their Veep choices. Miller, a longtime congressman and accomplished lawyer who served as an assistant prosecutor at Nuremberg, retired to a quiet law practice in anonymity wholesaling, a newcomer with only two years gubernatorial experience, has stirred up enough of the grassroots to make a presidential run plausible.

Thus, Will feels the need to bludgeon any such notion. He does so by cherry picking populist movements which did end badly while ignoring those which were successful. One finds his omission of the Reagan Revolution particularly puzzling as Will himself was Ronald Reagan’s debate coach in his first tussle with Jimmy Carter.

Will talks about the three times William Jennings Bryan ran for president, as well as George Wallace and Ross Perot. They serve as examples a electorate’s malaise over economic issues or social turmoil can propel a candidate to what appear to be great heights, but appear to be far short. Wallace won 46 electoral votes; Perot won none. Will surmises whatever anti-government anger might be behind Palin’s rise will either burn itself out fast or never take her anywhere near the white House.

Now he may be right. As much asi like palin, I do not have my heart set on her becoming president. She may very well remain a grassroots icon and that would not be a bad thing, either. But Will does not makea good argument about the guarantee of Palin’s potential failure as a presidential candidate.

Populist movement based on malaise have elected presidents. Ronald Reagan was not a member of the Republican elite in 1980. He was a B-movie actor five years removed from public office who had already lost the nomination one to Gerald Ford. But the economy was in shambles and incompetent Jimmy Carter could not inspire the country’s faith in his ability to repair it or manage foreign policy.

Populism even crosses party lines. Bill Clinton was the governor of Arkansas whose only claim to fame was droning on and on in a famously long speech at the 1988 DNC. Contrary to what his critics have come to think of him, he was not an elitist during his first presidential run. He connected on a personal level. When he said, “I feel your pain,” over the wrecked economy, the rank and file believed him over the distant, unresponsive Bush and the unhinged Perot. It is no coincidence his fortunes in the election began to rise after he played his saxophone on The Arsenio Hall Show, either.

That is a broad view of the cases of Reagan and Clinton, but the point stands--connecting with the people and speaking their language an work. I cannot say whether Miller ever made an effort to further his political career or had the tools to do so, but Palin obviously does. I do not believe she can be dismissed quite as easily as Will thinks she can. He is being historically dishonest by saying so.