Friday, April 30, 2010

Deep Space Nine--"Accession"

I had completely forgotten about this episode until seeing it again now. It slipped my mind most likely because it feels out of place with the current narrative threads running through the series. It is a more significant episode now considering the parallels between a new emissary appearing to reestablish the more strict religious order on the Bajoran people and the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

An ancient ship, similar to the one flown by Sisko in “Explorers,” comes through the wormhole. The pilot is one of Bajor’s most famous poets, Akorem. He was brought into the wormhole by the prophets who healed his mortal wound and then returned him two hundred years later. Akorem is convinced he is the true Emissary. Sisko who has grown weary of serving as a religious icon, readily abdicates as the Emissary.

Unfortunately, Akorem believes it is his job to reestablish D’Jara on Bajor. Think of it as Wahhabism. There is a caste system in which Bajorans can only serve in certain jobs according to their status. Refusal to cooperate results in execution by religious edict. Worse yet, a return to the D’Jara means Bajor does not wish to join the Federation.

The Bajorans originally cast off the D’Jara in order to uite in fighting the Cardassians. They have grown since then. Sisko realizes this and what a step back returnig to the old ways would be. he decides to challenge Akorem’s claim to be the Emissary.

They visit the wormhole to consult the prophets. They confirm they brought Akorem into the future to convince sisko he is the true Emissary ad future of Bajor. They Akorem back into the past fully healed, but with no memory of what happened. Sisko becomes much more comfortable with his Emissary role now that he knows what would happen without his guidance.

The B-story involves o’Brien adjusting to having his family back. The character is somewhat diminished here. He does not seem very happy to learn he is going to be a father again. It appears he would rather hang out with Bashir than his family. He even sees to long for his bachelor days, a point the vehemently denied back in ’Hippocratic Oath.” While o’Brien is not my favorite character by any stretch, I am comfortable with him more as the straitlaced family man than someone who still has wild oats to sow. He was not presented well here at all.

But otherwise, I liked “Accession.” I am betting this is one I like now more than I did when it first aired. Easy to speculate, since I had completely forgotten it.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

It is Kirsten Dunst's 28th Birthday

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Illegal Immigrants Plan to Leave Over Arizona Law

Do not let the doorknob hit you on the way out.

Wait--you are here illegally. Go ahead and let it smack you once for good measure.

Barack Obama: "I Do Believe at a Some Point, You've Made Enough Money."

Barack Obama went off te teleprompter for a bit in Quincy, Illinois, and revealed a bit more about himself than i think he wanted to:The money--irony intended--quote:
We’re not, we’re not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that’s fairly earned. I mean, I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money. But, you know, part of the American way is, you know, you can just keep on making it if you’re providing a good product or providing good service. We don’t want people to stop, ah, fulfilling the core responsibilities of the financial system to help grow our economy.
I assume Obama’s handlers have ripped out large chunks of their own hair by now. Someone needs to sit him down and explain to him Saul Alinsky’s theory was to appear to be a moderate while stealthly pursuing a radical agenda, not showing your true colors right away. He will need more than a teleprompter to keep him on message I the future.

It is no one’s responsibility to tell you when you have made enough money. Not that there is such a thing as making too much. You earned it, it is yours. The view point that there is a limit to how much one should make is a statistt one. I have a difficult time believing so many people were suckered into electing a president who believes such a thing.

Deep Space Nine--"Bar Association"

My personal bias is going to shine brightly in reviewing “Bar Association.” Fair or not, I have the natural Southern aversion to labor unions. The whole concept is nothing but yankee agitators coming down here ad putting ideas in Sally Fields’ head. There is nothing we Southerners like better than arrogant Yankees advising us on what we are doing wrong. Foe those of you unfortunate enough to be born on the wrong side of the Mason-Dixon, you can despise the episode for its communist themes. When organizing the workers at Quark’s into a union, Rom quotes Karl Marx--”Workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!”

Ugh.

Bashir plays the yankee agitator here when Rom collapses in the bar with a massive ear infection he never had time to treat. The doctor insists Rom demand vacation time and better working conditions. Quark dismisses the call, so Rom and the others form a union and eventually go on strike. Neither concept is acceptable in Ferengi culture. Because of this, the Ferengi Commerce Association brings in heavies to break up the situation.

The regular cast members take sides in the dispute when they have to decide whether to respect the union’s boycott of Quark’s. O’Brien, Bashir, and Sisko support the union, though Sisko does so tacitly. Worf has no qualms breaking the boycott. I would almost consider that the usual trek case of aliens doing the ’wrong” thing while humans are always on the side of angels, but here it fits in with the B-story of Worf’s frustration with life on the station. He will move to the Defiant by the end of the episode.

After getting beaten up by some of the FCA’s hired goons, Quark decides to give in to demands, but only if the union dissolves. Rom agrees, resigns as head of the union, and then joins the engineering crew rather than go back to his job as a waiter. All returns to relative normal.
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Rom’s character development is the only bright spot in “Bar Association.” He has never been a favorite character, but but he is being built up and put in position to take on an important role for the Dominion War which would not have been plausible before. So kudos for that. Bemusement, however, for the outlandish idea that he and Leeta will eventual fall in love. The seeds of their romance our sown here as they lead the union.

“Quark episodes are hit and miss. When they hit they are great. When they miss, they are serious duds. “Bar Association” is a serious dud. I am certain many fans with more progressive leanings think differently, but there is too much Marx in it for me. I do enjoy the idea of a bunch of wealthy Hollywood screenwriters urging the oppressed to rebel against management, however. It is all part of that fantasy world wealthy progressives without a hint of irony or rationality live in.

Rating: * (out of 5)

Jessica Simpson

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Charlie Crist Will Run as an Independent

I am not surprised to hear Charlie Crist is going to run for the Senate as an independent. His decision was pretty obvious the moment he said he would announce his answer publicly on Thursday. He will make it official tomorrow.

What I cannot see is his strategy. There is no compelling reason for him to mout an independent campaign other than to suit his bruised ego for certainly losing the GOP nod to Marco Rubio. There is no sense he is going to lose the nomination because petty, partisan politics like Joseph Lieberman. This is all about Charlie Crist being a sore loser.

It is not going to work. An independent run based on ego is not going to inspire enough people to support him even if he is currently popular among independents and Democrats. When it comes down to it, Democrats will abandon him for their party’s nominee and independents will fear voting for the man without a party will be throwing their vote away. At best, he will tip a close election to one of the two major party candidate who would probably lose if he were not running. There is a good way to win friend sad influence people in politics, no?

If any of my Florida readers care to weigh in, please do. I do not claim any particular insight ito Sunshine State politics, so I welcome yours.

Barack Obama v. the Press: Is the Love Affair Over?

The heavy hand the Obama administration takes with the press has damaged the love affair. The president may wind up with only fawning media outlets like MSNBC on his side in short order. Who would wat keith olermann as their most prominent cheerleader?

The press is saying the White House is ultra sensitive to criticism and controlling of the narrative. The administration has pledged to be more cooperative, but an air of access for positive stories still remains. The message isclear--print what we want or the press does not get anything.

Obama is also, believe it or not, media shy when it comes to talking with reporters. He does so only about once a week. I suspect this is because his inner circle fears off the cuff remarks, such as the assertion the police acted “stupidly” in the Henry Gates case. The unwise comment on live, national television prompted the famous Beer Summit as a public relations stunt. The Beer Summit is now more of a joke than anything else. Obama’s inner circle surely wats to keep a similar scenario from occurring.

The press is said to be subject to all sorts of profane vitriol if any of them step out of lie. Treating the press that way is not the best method of paiting arosy picture for the public.

Nevertheless, I am skeptical much will come of it. When conservatives are o the attack, the press will rally around their guy. Remember how John McCain was the New York Times’ favorite Republican until he got the GOP no in 2008? They will abandon their personal issues in the name of progressivism when called upon to do so. Ideological loyalty trumps journalistic professionalism every time.

Deep Space Nine--"Sons of Mogh"

I do not generally agree with the progressive utopian philosophy of Trek in general, so there is a running agree to disagree element politically between the two of us. As with any opposites attract friendship, conflicts do arise periodically. Less often, I find a moral or spiritual disagreement that irks me far more than any political issue. Such has happened twice so far in DS9. The first was in “Visionary,” because the concept of the soul was dismissed as one O’Brien casually died in order to be replaced by another, nine minutes older version. The second is in “Sons of Mogh.”

Worf’s brother, Kurn, arrives on DS9 in dire straits. Thanks to Worf not supporting the invasion of Cardassia, his family has been dishonored. Kurn has lost everything, not the least of which is his seat on the High Council. He requests Worf kill him in a ritualistic murder so hecan die with honor. Worf accommodates him.

But Kurn survives and recovers. In spite of Worf’s protests it is a matter of Klingon belief, Sisko forbids him fro attempting to kill his brother again. Instead, Kurn must try to find a purpose. He unhappily becomes one of Odo’s deputies, but it is clear after a serious incident with a smuggler he has a death wish. Indeed, Kuen is contemplating suicide even though it would be a dishonorable death.

So Worf decides to have Bashir alter his appearance and DNA structure, as well as erase his memory, so he can assume another identity as the son of a family friend.

There is so much wrong with that, I do not know where to begin.

Forcibly erasing someone’s identity, even in the name of helping them, is grossly unethical. It is a living death which I cannot imagine anyone on Ds9 thinks is better than stabbing Kurn to death again. There are reams of studies discussing the ethics of using thought reform--a kinder, gentler term for brainwashing--in psychology. Completely altering someone is miles beyond that and no one blinked about the morality of it. Klingon beliefs or not, that is cruel.

We also are lead to assume Bashir went along with the idea without question. No doctor would ever do such a thing and keep his license to practice. Again, I do not care what Klingon beliefs say. Bashir’s personal ethics would keep him from performing the procedure. He is acting horribly out of character.

Speaking of acting horribly, Worf denies having any family when asked by Kurn’s newself if he does. Poor Alexander. Worf is one sorry father. He does not een think about his only child, but he is flirting with Dax as of this episode. The guy is a cad.

The -story involves O’Brien and Kira disarming a cloaked minefield near the Cardassian/Bajoran border. The story serves solely to introduce us to the concept of invisible mines and the process of detonating them will play a big part in the series when the wormhole is mined at the start of the Dominion War.

It goes without saying the fate of Kurn ruined the episode for me. It is not that I am a fan of Kurn--I could not care less about him, truth be told--but I cannot get passed the ethics of what happened to him. The solution to Kurn’s dishonor was a crutch at best, horrifying at worst. Deep Space Nie is the edgy Trek. I get that. But it wet too far over the line this time. What was Ronald D. Moore thinking?

Rating: * (out of 5)

Olivia Munn Gets Naked for Circus Elephants

Olivia Munn, best known as either the geek diva or Chris Pine’s cast off, participated in a PETA protest rally on Monday against the use of circus elephants. The protest occurred on the same day as her billboard for the cause was unveiled. As you can see, she got naked for it.

It looks like she wore leather boots to the protest:How well does that go over at a PETA organized event?

Why Olivia Munn? Has PETA lost all credibility with even passably recognizable celebrities? Munn’s sole claim to fame is that she just is pretty enough to get science fiction and video game geeks to pay attention to her. She is Kate Gosselin with a nasty Vulcan nerve pinch.

She is not a favorite among that crowd, either, much less the public as a whole. She will never hit mainstream popularity. so who is the target audience here?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Independent Payment Advisory Board and Healthcare Rationing

If you are still skeptical whether the goal of ObamaCare is healthcare rationing, here is your proof. The Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) is specifically set up to ration healthcare even though ObamaCare supporters denied it.

The big problem is changing IPAB’s decisions--it is impossible because of a lack of accountability. The members are permanent and unselected with no oversight. Its rulings became law automatically unless overturned by a 67 vote supermajority in the senate. That is an incredibly difficult umber to reach even on a vote with bipartisan appeal.

The IPAB is a death panel any way you slice it. It will decide certain medical procedures are too expensive to pay for certain patients. The IPAB will be a distant, cold panel of disinterested bureaucrats casually ruling on matters of life and death with only the bottom line in mind. Anyone suffering from their decisions has only the remote hope the senate can muster a supermajority in their favor. Good luck with that.

I have to reiterate yet again--what kid of person would want to serve on something like the IPAB?

Wherein I Address a Progressive's Rant on the Arizona Illegal Immigrant Law

I have not taken on a progressive blogger in a while. The last time I did was over a progressive’s support for the reinstating of the Honduran dictator. That post prompted a whiny, insulting personal correspondence which I will be more than happy to reproduce should he show up now to say differently and his voting down my rating at blog Catalogue. I generally loathe to engage in internet drama, but every now and then you have to fight a battle to keep from getting rusty. We shall see if the maturity level of progressive counter argument can improve with Electric Cerebrectomy.

He posted a rant earlier today called Fascist Arizona. Let us have a look, shall we?
What else do you call it but fascism?
Enforcing immigration policy would be a more accurate description. Arresting and deporting illegal immigrants is a valid law enforcement concern. It goes without saying illegals have to be identified first, no?
A new law in Arizona requires resident aliens to hand over documentation to police officers who demand them. The police are required to demand documentation of anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally for any reason. In other words: breathing while Latino.
i am afraid you are wrong. the Arizona law requires a justifiable stop and detention before an officer can request to see papers. the procedure is no different than a police officers taking your driver's license to check for outstanding warrants after he pulls you over for a speeding ticket. The individual has to be in detention of law enforcement because of some legitimate crime.

I guarantee this law has been drafted to survive judicial scrutiny. "Reasonable suspicion" has been well defined by case law, as are other statutory terms like "lawful contact." This is a carefully drafted law.

On a related note, the US Code requires legal immigrants to carry documentation proving they are citizens. failure to do so can bring a fine of up to $100, thirty days in jail, or both.

SamuraiFrog goes on for a couple paragraphs based on his lack of understanding about the law. gung ho, racist cops harassing brown people for no reason, Nazi police state..all that rot. he finally gets to more substance in a bit:
My question is, how can any Americans support this? If a law was enacted that all Americans would have to show their papers on the request of any official, or when leaving any state for another, how would the majority of Americans react?
Apples and oranges. The Arizona law is targeting people are not Americans. Yet the law requires another legal reason to detain an individual before authorities can ask to see citizenship papers. Simply traveling from one state does not qualify as a valid reason.

SamuraiFrog then rants a bit more about polls showing public support for the law at 60% nationwide and 79% (!!) in his enlightened, native Chicago proving Americans are hopelessly racist. Then he inexplicably pulls the Tea Party into it:
And where are the Teabaggers during all this? They love the Constitution and small government, or so they say. They're for the rights of the individual and fear the overreach of big federal government, right?
the law has yet to be ruled unconstitutional and Arizona is not the federal government. it has been a state since 1912.
Hell, even John McCain was asking the President to order 3,000 National Guard troops to Arizona--with an additional 3,000 Border Patrol--to ease the workload on the police. So there's your 2008 Republican candidate for US President, hero of the Teabaggers, begging the supposedly socialist president for federal troops to help keep brown people in their place. Yes, I can see his hatred of big government, can't you.
SauraiFrog lost me somewhere between declaring the Tea Party loves John McCain and McCain loves small government.

The following couple paragraphs is just a rat about how racist the tea party is. No evidence offered. just an attack:
Oh and, of course, Teabaggers are racists. Have to take that into account.

Because as long as it's not white people getting harassed by the law, they support it. They support it because they believe everything they've read in a chain email about the supposed cost of illegal immigrants, and they're stupid enough to let their leaders turn them on each other.
And the topper:
As long as the poor continue to fight against the poor, nothing in this country will ever change.
Imagined racism deserves a 500 word rant on its evils, but class warfare? That is just good policy. I am still kind of fuzzy where the whole Tea Party thig came in to immigration law, but okay. perhaps he believes conservatives like McCain's pandering to them.

I have to assume SamuraiFrog here believes the Tea Party is racist because it is protesting Barack Obama’s vast expansion of government. It is an assumption that speaks volumes about the progressive obsession with race. Apparently, you cannot criticize a black president for his policies solely because he is a black man. I doubt there will be any progressive criticism regarding Obama’s announced strategy for the 2010 election to play the race card in order to solidify the black and Latino vote.

A president stirring up racial tensions in a cheap ploy for votes versus enforcing a legitimate law to arrest illegal immigrants? Come on.

That was fun. I would like to have found a progressive rat about the new law with more substance, but this one struck me as crying out for response even though it lacks in facts or reason. Every now and then, you need to interrupt the progressive circle jerk with some facts and reality. Not to mention sometimes you just have to marvel some people think this way.

Cybermen v. Daleks in Doctor Who Finale?

Digital Spy recently interviewed monster voice actor Nick Briggs. He not only confirms the Cybermen will return for the finale, but so wil the Daleks.

The news is a further reneging of Steven Moffat’s early assertion he would not be using many classic villains because he wanted to create nostalgia for the future, not rehashing old characters for longtime fans. It was almost immediately speculated the BBC would force Moffat to reconsider. I have no idea if that is the root cause, but with the new colors of the rainbow Daleks having already appeared and the Cybermen central to the season’s story arc, Moffat’s moratorium on using old enemies is obviously off the table.

Rumors have been the cracks I reality that have appeared in every fifth season episode so far are going to allow the Cybrus Industry Cybermen trapped there in ’”Doomsday” come through to our reality. Or perhaps those from ’The Next doctor’ will crawl out of their graves. Maybe both. But word is they will engage in conflict with our universe’s Cybermen.

Where do the Daleks fit I? Many were trapped like the Cybrus Industries’ Cybermen in “Doomsaday.” They must be comig through the cracks I reality as well. Maybe that will mean those rainbow Daleks are not long for this world. I can dream, can I not?

Or is Briggs given us misdirection? I have a tough time believing a voice actor would do that. More than likely he is overstepping his bounds and talking about a script he should not be talking about. Or maybe the revelation isall part of building up hype. I donot know, but I am curious to see Moffat’s take on the doctor’s most major villains.

Deep Space Nine--"Return to Grace"

“Return to Grace” is a direct sequel to “Indiscretion.” it improves on the Dukat/Kira relationship immensely from that episode. Here we see the two of them becoming much more intertwined, much to the delight of Dukat ad chagrin of Kira.

The backdrop of the story is the two of them are forced to track down a Klingon Bird-of-Prey which destroyed a joint Bajoran/Cardassian intelligence sharing conference they were on their way to attending. But that is a MacGuffin. What we really care about is about how Dukat and Kira are affecting one another personally.

Dukat has been demoted to freighter captain because of his illegitimate daughter, Ziyal. His wife has also left him. In his mind, that frees him up to pursue Kira romantically. She will have none of that, of course, but there is a vibe from Ziyal that she really wishes they would get along better. Kira agrees to dinner with Dukat with an almost maternal sigh of resignation. Think The Parent Trap here.

Kira does bond well with Ziyal because she sees much of herself in the young girl. But she cannot offer Duat the forgiveness Ziyal--and Dukat, for the moment--wants desperately. He is Adolf Eichman as far as she is concerned.

Nevertheless, Kira aides Dukat in pursuing the Bird-of-Prey. When the mission is all said and done, Dukat expresses his intention to serve as a resistance fighter against the Kligons as his people lay defeated before them. The history buff in me got a tingle as he said, “What Cardassians? I am the only Cardassian left,” echoing Souix Chief Sitting Bull’s statement at his being the only Indian left to not sign a peace treaty with the United states--”What Indians? There are no other Indians left but me.” Kira refuses to join his one man crusade, but offers to take Ziyal to DS9 with her. A lifeas a figitivwe is no life at all for a young girl.

Appreciate the juxtaposition: dukat has now become Kira--a freedom fighter desperately trying to save his people from overwhelming oppression. This is one of the first times a Cardassian begins to appreciate the concept of reaping what one has sown.. Damar, who makes his first appearance here, will come to a similar realization when the Dominion begin a scorched earth against his people for rebelling against them in the war’s endgame. By offering to watch over Ziyal, Kira has assumed a familial responsibility she has never had before. Family issued be everything to Cardassians, so I a way, she has become Dukat. Her true motivation is keeping Ziyal from becoming like her.

‘Return to grace’ was pitched as the idea of Nazi and Jews having to work together to face a common enemy, but that is not eve important to the story. I do not even care about the Klingons being hunted down. It is all about the growth of characters. You do not see such a thing done in Trek period, much less as well as is done here. The subtlety in which Dukat and kira trade places in life is quite brilliant. Usually, Trek would beat you over the head with such, so savor the stealth while you can.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Jennifer Aniston

Monday, April 26, 2010

Facebook Made Me Add a Widget to the Eye

My RSS feed had been simultaneously publishing posts on my Facebook page, but I noticed earlier the feed conked out on me a few days ago. I am not certain whether it is wobbly Blogspot or face book’s fault, but since I was not using that fandangled NteworkBlogs widget everyone is now using, I figure this is how face book is getting back at me for me.

Never let it be said I will not appease my internet overlords. I signed up for Facebook against my will, too. I am now using the NetworkedBlogs application. There is a widget about halfway down the left hand column of the E ye in which, assuming you have been ensnared by Facebook as well, you may become a follower at the click of a button. I had to put it on my blog in order to prove I have administrative access and get the feed published again. Devious, no?

Following the Eye not subject you to spam or any commitment to read the eye on any regular basis. The widget just looks pitiful right now with only four followers. Thanks in advance for helping out.

Democrats Demonizing Insurance Companies on Their Way to Implementing Single Payer

The most (bitterly) amusing part is that the problem of insurance rate hikes is of their own doing. Not that it was not all part of the plan to eventually implement a single payer system.

Here is the deal. Under ObamaCare, insurance companies are now required to cover people with preexisting conditions. Souds likea noble goal, but what is happening is that a bunch of people who automatically have medical expenses will be covered by insurance. The expenses incurred are more than the healthy policy holders are currently paying in so, so rates have to go up.

As you can see in the linked article, the rate hikes insurance companies are forced into under ObamaCare are now being demonized by democrats. Greedy insurance companies making all that profit of sick people--you know the drill. This is a carefully orchestrated process to bring about price controls.

Price controls will run a large number of insurance companies out of business while diminishing the quality of coverage for thefew that can stay in business. With health insurance falling because of price controls instituted by them, Democrats will suggest a public option as the solution.

When a public option is in place, employers will stop offering heath insurance as part of their employment packages since their workers can just enter the government plan at no expense to them other than the ridiculously high taxes we will have to have to cover it all. It is going to be a rip roaring expense, too, because at that point, we all we have single payer.

That was the plan all along. The left has to movea littlest time, but that is what they are going to do. At this point, it is going to be next to impossible to stop them without huge Republican gains in 2010 and 2012.

Economists Say the Stimulus Was a Failure

The stimulus has had no effect on the economic recovery according to a survey of economists.

Gee, did not see that coming, did you? You would have thought all those progressive pet projects would have amounted to something. Billions of dollars down the drain our grandchildren will have to pay for.

Seriously, though--check out the link for an analysis of why any signs of economic recovery--which are few and far between-- are not due to government spending.

Free market capitalism for the win!

Barack Obama's 2010 Strategy: Play the Race Card

From our post-racial president:
"It will be up to each of you to make sure that the young people, African Americans, Latinos, and women, who powered our victory in 2008 stand together once again. If you help us do that – if you help us make sure that first-time voters in 2008 make their voices heard again in November – then together we will deliver on the promise of change, hope, and prosperity for generations to come.”
It has been well speculated that when Obama’s poll umbers dropped, particularly among the independents who gave him the edge in 2008, he would do two thing. One, pander to the radical base in order to shore up his most solid support. Two, play the race card to fire up minorities and play on white guilt.

There you have it. He is already putting the strategy in play and we are months away from just the 2010 midterm elections, much less his own reelection bid in 2012.

White men are your enemy. What an evil, jaded attitude for a president to encourage.

(Via: Ace of Spades.)

Deep Space Nine--"Crossfire"

We return to the pitiful infatuation Odo has for Kira once again. Like in “Heart of Stone,” Odo can barely hide his love for her. Kira not only never notices, but always says and does whatever would stomp on his heart the hardest. That is the way when you love someone you cannot have. In “Crossfire,” takes it to a new level. She not only falls I love with Shakaar, she celebrates her new happiness with Odo while he isassignedto serve as Shakaar’s bodyguard. Talk about a triple whammy.

“Crossfire” is Shakkar’s second appearance. He was Kira’s resistance cell leader who defied Winn’s breach of contract and refused to return farming equipmet in his first appearance, “Shakaar.” He became a folk hero as aresult and got himself elected head of the government. With power being the ultimate aphrodisiac, Kira has developed the hts for him just as a Cardassian terrorist group called theTrue Way targets him for assignation. Odo is placed in charge of his protection.

This is the second and final appearance of the True Way. They were the ones responsible for the bombing that forced the trasporter patterns of the main cast into the holodeck during ’Our Man Bashir.” Wewill never hear from them again after “Crossfire,” presumably because their goal of eliminating the Federation as an enermy vecomes government policy once theCardassians join the Dominion. Still it is awkward for the group to appear only twice, then disappear completely.

The main emphasis of the episode is on Odo. From the opening scene where he is setting up everything just right for a briefing with Kira to his tantrum when he realizes he cannot compete with Shakaar for her affection to the begrudging acceptance by the end it isall about odo’s pain.

There are a couple nice touches there. One, Quark talks to him in his lowest moment after he has destroyed much of his quarters in anger. The scene is a further revelation that their antagonistic relationship is one that fills a need within each other--they need each other as a challenge in their normal pursuits--but have a certain friendship regardless. It is probably a recognition they need each other. Two, Odo smashes his old bucket, I which he had placed floral arrangement given to him by Kira asa housewarming gift. It symbolized a passing of his old self. Now that has been shattered, figuratively and literally. He is as alienated as he ever was.

It is a tough struggle to watch. I have been I his shoes. In fact, it would only be a few months after “Crossfire” aired when I would realize that for me and my disabilities, harsh reality was always going to stand in the way of romance. Those were tough times. Heck, these are tough times that make those seem like casual growing pains. It never gets any easier, does it?

Odo was originally supposed to take things much harder. There was to be a moment when Shakaar and Kira were caught in an explosion. Odo could only save one. Would he choose the one he loves or the one he has sworn to protect? In this scenario, he chooses Shakaar--not out of uty, but spite for kira’s rejection. She would have survived, but that would have been even more of a downer ending than we got. There is a thin line between love and hate, but that would be taking odo to too dark a place for my tastes.

"Crossfire” is a tough episode for me to watch, but I like it regardless.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Mila Kunis

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tim Tebow Smeared as Racist by Boston Radio Host

Progressives have previously targeted the devoutly Christian, Heisman Trophy winning quarterback earlier this year when he appeared in a couple pro-life Super Bowl commercials with his mother. His mother was advised to abort Tebow because of medication she was taking at the time. She obviously refused and the Denver Broncos’ newest quarterback is doin quite well.

That would be enough to raise the ire of progressives who apparently believe abortion should be the first option in just about any pregnancy, but Tebow has been a target of much ridicule beyond that, mostly because of his devotion to Christ. He tries to leavea moral life overtly following Christ’s commands. That is completely unacceptable to today’s progressives.

But this comment takes thecake. Fred “Toucher” Toettche said Tebow's draft party was "lily-white" and looked like a Nazi rally. Such a comment is not only completely uncalled for, but totally illogical. There is absolutely nothing about Tebow that even hints at his being a racist. This is the typical, unreasoned progressive attack--if all else fails, call him a racist.

It is a terribly sad comment that is what our culture has degraded to. A fine person who happens to hold moral beliefs is subject to ridicule and false accusations having nothing to do with those beliefs. I am sorry to say it is only going to get worse for Tebow.

News Flash: Lindsey Graham is Wishy Washy

That is not really news to conservatives, but his bipartisan backstabbing evidently was to Democrats. They thought they could count on him. Much like us here in the state of South Carolina, they were wrong.

Graham has withdrawn his own bipartisan climate change and energy boondoggle the Democrats were planning to unveil tomorrow because e wants to see where immigration reform is heading first,. I do not support the climate bill, but hanging Democrats out to dry at the very last minute like that is a disloyal thing to do.

Okay, Graham cannot please me no matter what he does. I will admit it. He is the United Nations of the Senate: I hate when he is ineffective, but hate it more when he takes action because of incompetence. The guy is too far gone to recover any legitimacy in his office.

Stephen Hawking: Contacting Aliens is Risky

Noted physicist Stephen hawking is warning against attempts to contact aliens under the progressive rationale that encounters with a more advanced culture could turn out to as allegedly detrimental as when Europeans first came to the New World. Maybe Hawking ought to stick to physics and leave natural history to people who know something about the subject. maybe then he will finally figure out the Divine origin of the Big Bang.

I am enormously skeptical there are any aliens out there, so I will give Hawking some credit for drawing the conclusion contacting aliens might be a bad idea. He would be better served rationalizing that the money and effort could probably be better on more tangible goals than some fantasy there might be life out there.

That said, I have often been baffled by the assumption that if any aliens are out there, they are a friendly bunch. What if they are not? What if they are nine foot tall lizards with city destroying weapons who comedown to Earth, kick our rear ends, and force us to mine for some ore on a rock three billion miles away all because NASA decided to say, “Hi!’ The Scientologists might be able to collaborate, but everyone other than Tom Cruiseand John Travolta would be screwed.

But seriously, who is Hawking kidding? There was nothing idyllic about the New World. They were a bunch of ignorantsavageswho had not even developed the wheel yet. They fought all the time, used slash and burn hunting techniques, and some practiced human sacrifice. They did not live I harmony with nature or each other. The concept of the noble savage is so much drivel. Western Civilization saved them from extinction.

I am still not too keen on that whole saying howdy to any alien that might be listening, however.

Blogroll Spotlight XLI

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--Save the F----ing Planet? I'm Getting Sick of That Sh-T!"

Amusing Bunni's Musings--Report from the Chicago Tea Party.

Book of Sarah--This Week in Sarah Palin.

Camp of the Saints--Good Fisking.

Classic Liberal--Halle Berry and the Value Added Tax.

Current--ACORN's Bertha Lewis in Her Own Words.

Daley Gator--The Trouble with Liberals.

Gorge's Grouse--Midlife Crisis.

In a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World--Dimwit Wednesday.

In My Copious Free Time--Credit Where Credit is Due: Jon Stewart.

Jaded Haven--Man and the Satyr.

Jumping in Pools--Trey Parker and Matt Stone on South Park censorship of Mohammed.

Left Coast Rebel--Pro-Illgeal Immigrants Riot in Arizona.

MAinfo--Fiscal Issues Take Precedence Over Social.

No Sheeples Here!--Sacrificing What We Are for What We Would Become.

Proof Positive--Allen West for Congress.

Right Klik--The Natural History of Obama's Promises.Sniper--Now We Are Just Going After the Buddhist Terrorists.

Teresamerica--Rising Costs Because of ObamaCare.

Troglopundit--Auttomotivators.

Washington Rebel--America's Fate.

Deep Space Nine--"Paradise Lost"

“Paradise Lost” is a love song to 9/11 truthers six years early. Not to dismiss the episode by bringing up the fevered fantasy of a 9/11 inside job, because there isa lot going o here of its own merit, but the parallels cannot be denied.

It is revealed much of what we know from ’Homefront” is carefully orchestrated plot by Leyton to remove the soft on security Federation president and militarize Earth as a defense against a Changeling attack. When the attack on Antwerp did not convince the president, Leyton rigged the wormhole t periodically open as though cloaked ships were coming through and then used a corps of upper classmen cadets to sabotage the power array of Earth. With so any Starfleet military officers on the streets of Earth in response, Leyton has the leverage he needs to take over.

What we have is conflicts about what we are willing to sacrifice in order to protect what we have. Leyton does not think he is perpetrating a lie in order to assume power for personal gain. He is being a patriot as far as he is concerned by removing the obstacles to defending his home. Thanks to the fear brought on by his sabotaging the planetary power grid, his actions are popular among the people. Popular even though it means armed soldiers on every street and random blood tests for citizens.

Once again, it has been shown in trek that the allegedly enlightened utopianisms will abandon every one of their ideals at the first disturbance. This will be a recurring theme throughout the rest of DS9 as the Dominion War becomes more desperate. sacrifices are made--maybe too many--in order to preserve a way of life.

At least by the end of “Paradise Lost,” the people of earth have decided they are still terrified of the Changelings--there are still four on Earth--but they love their way of life more than to destroy it in fear. I am wary of drawing further parallels to he post-9/11 world. I am not one of those who believes the Patriot Act stomps too much on civil liberties or that operating Gitmo violates America character. Yet I am confident there is a line somewhere out there that can be crossed. I cannot define, nor can I even guess how near or far it is, but I am confident our national character will know when we have sacrificed too much for security.

“Paradise Lost” is quite the prescient episode. It is also one of the best in spite of famous budget restrictions limiting the writers’ vision. At one point, Odo morphs off screen and does a Vulcan neck pinch because they could not afford the necessary special effects for him to change shape. What the episode lacks in bells and whistles, it makes up for in food for thought.

In an interesting side note, Robert Foxworth, who played Adm. Leyton, was also playing Gen. Hague, a coup plotter on Babylon 5, at this tie. He was supposed to revise his role as Hague, but opted to star in “Homefront/Paradise Lost” instead. They killed off Hague I an offhand comment as aresult. That will show him.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

Karen Gillan

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Doctor Who--"The Time of the Angels"

While I have thoroughly enjoyed Steven Moffat’s short reign on Doctor Who, I have had the complaint of a lingering Russell T. Davies vibe of which I am eager to rid. Thankfully, “The Time of the Angels” finally has. This is classic Moffat--a manic Doctor, competent companions, and gothic horror that is scary as all get out. Not to mention the first cliffhanger I have gotten genuinely excited about since ’The Stolen Earth” way back in 2008.

Consider the episode book ended with pure awesome, The pre-title sequence in which River Song inscribes an SOS on a stone table 12,000 before the Doctor finds it with instructions to rescue her from floating in space was the best I have seen so far. Old school Wholigans may flog me unmercifully over some other from 1970-something if the need strikes.

River has returned and has promised to deliver the Doctor in order to investigate the wreckage of the ship from which she fled. She also demonstrates, much to the Doctor’s irritation and Amy’s delight, a better skill at piloting the TARDIS than the Doctor has. Turns out, he flies it by the seat of his pants for fun. That grinding noise is actually because he leaves the parkig brake on.

The ship miscarrying the weeping angels from the Hugo award winning “Blink.” They changed a bit Instead of sending a victim back in time like then, now they chop heads off. Considering the dark, claustrophobic feel of this episode, I do not mind the change. Having your head chopped off for taking your eyes off an angel is heavy incentive to not blink, no?

Moffat recycles an element from “Silence in the Library/The Forest of the Dead” by having the agels, who have no voice, speak through the dead like the Vashta Marada. It is a frightening trick and every bit still as effective, so I do not mind seeing it again here. I do still hope there is not a whole lot of recycling for the future.

I can only guess at the cliffhanger’s resolution, but I suspect any fans are going to be upset the Doctor used gun. To my knowledge, he has only de so once before when the Fifth doctor pointed a laser rifle at Davros. Some still have their feathers ruffled about that one eighteen years later. The Eleventh Doctor is young, cocky, and has an edge to him. Using a gun in a desperate situation fits his personality. It is not like he shot at someone, either.

I like seeing Alex Kingston return as River Song. She will always be Elizabeth Corday to me, but seeing her play a looser, more adventurous character is fun. Along the same lines, I am really enjoying Karen Gillan as Amy Pond. I did not mention the subplot where she is apparently slowly turning to stone after a videotape encounter with an angel reminiscent of The Ring. I also note the emphasis on her wonderfully shaped legs. They know what boys like, no?

I cannot wait to see part two.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Full Metal Jacket Reach Around XLV

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

Daley Gator links to Hayden Panettiere.

The Other McCain links to Hayden Panettiere.

Classic Liberal links to Hayden Panettiere and Lilly Cole. On a more serious note, he also links to Bill Clinton and Waco and Obama's (Unlikely) Subpoena.

Simple Automated Mess links to Hayden Panettiere.

Camp of the Saints links to my Deep Space Nine reviews in general and "The Visitor" specifically.

The Lazy Farmer links to Clinton and Waco ad Naomi Campbell's blood diamond.

Simple Thoughts links to Obama's (Unlikely) Subpoena.

The Sompost links to Obama's appeal of the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional ruling.

The Right Guy links to the Muslim fued with Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

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--"Homefront"

“Homefront” and its conclusion, “Paradise Lost,” mark a drastic chage for Trek, thereby proving DS9 was unlike anything that had come before. I have used the term un-Trek before with the homage to Indiana Jones and James Bond in recent days, but this is different. The attempted coup on Earth storyline is far more elaborate and sinister than the similar Federation conspiracy in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country because at no point did the conspirators seem in the right in TUC, but we are left with a chill at the end of “Homefront” because, at the time, at least, the martial law declaration sounded like a reasonable thing to do.

The episode does take on a whole new meaning post-9/11. At the time “home front” aired in 1995, no one could conceive a handful of nemy infiltrators could bring about a disastrous act of terror in the united states itself. I know it is a touchy subject with complaints the Patriot Act tramples on civil rights as badly as a martial law declaration would, but you have to admit, we as a nation did not panic and give up our way of life as readily as readily as 24th century earth did.

When it unrevealed Changeling has infiltrated Earth and set off a bomb at a federation-Romulan conference in Antwerp, Adm, leyton, an old superior officer of Sisko‘s, calls him to Earth because of his experience with Changelings. Sisko agrees, and brings Odo with him to root out however many Changelings are on earth before they can do any more serious damage

Sisko is appointed Chief of Earth Security. He offers up suggestions o how he has handled the Changeling problem thus far--blood tests and phaser sweeps. The Federation president is not fond of the idea. Blood tests on every citizen? What if one refuses? What about religious objections, like the Jehovah’s Witnesses? Sweeping every room on Earth would be impossible even if it was not a violation of private property. He changes his mind when the case Sisko is carrying turns out to be Odo.

That wasa reasonable trick to play on the president in order to provea point, but hecomesacross as so weak and indecisive, it almost feels like bullying. I am surprised someone as meek as he appears to be could be president. You would think so recently after the Borg invasion, the people would want someone tougher.

In reality, Sisko is being duped as well. I loathe to call him a useful idiot, as I respect the character, but he is inadvertently paving the way for martial law to be declared. Even a personal touch--his father refuses a blood test demanded by Starfleet personnel, does not discourage him.

Odo encounters a Changeling posing as Leyton and then Earth’s power grid is sabotaged. Why the entire Earth is powered by one grid is beyond me, but the two events combine to convince the president to declare martial law. Other than the Borg attack, Earth is under its first state of emergency since the whale probe attacked the oceans in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

I remember getting a chill at the cliffhanger when Starfleet security begun beaming in, armed, on the streets of Earth. It was such a complete change of pace for Trek. The theme that the supposedly enlightened people of the 24th century will abandoned their principles when their comfort zone is violated as already been touched on in “The Maquis, Part I/II” but it really comes to a head here in a big way. It will not be the last time, either. But the realization even the federation will keep up freedom for security is jarring.

Because of its change I tone for series, “Homefront” earns four stars from me. Some argue that the Battle of Wolf 359 is the 9/11 of Trek because military action quickly took precedent over exploration in the franchise, but I go more with the Changeling terrorist acts instead. I can elaborate more reviewing part two tomorrow when the more comfortable line between eternal vigilance and an eternal police state is more clearly established.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

Alyssa Milano at NFL Draft

Could she be any cooler? Part of The Other McCain's Rule 5 Sunday.Oh, wait--she can be cooler:

Friday, April 23, 2010

Bret Michaels Suffers a Stroke

The years have not been kind for my favorite ‘80’s big hair bands in general, but this is the most tragic news I have heard yet. Bret Michaels, front man for Poison, has suffered bleeding at the base of his brain stem. At the young age of 47, he has suffered a stroke.

It gets worse. The reality is that the survival rate of those who suffer a hemorrhage of this type is 50%. Those who do survive suffer some degree of neurological or cognitive impairment. Even under the best of circumstances, Michaels will never be whole again. There is also a 35-40% chance of continued bleeding within the first month of recovery. When that happens, the survial rate drops to 30%.

I think Michaels is a decent guy, doing Rock of Love notwithstanding. He has mellowed with age as far as rock stars go. He is a father to two small girls. In recent years, he has worked tirelessly for charities devoted to diabetes research. Michaels and one of his daughters are both diabetic. He has had a rough go of it lately with her recent diagnosis coming right before emergency surgery in San Antonio a few days ago.

Hopefully, thingswill work out fine. The good guys beat the odds every now and then.

Barack Obama May Be Subpoenad in Rod Blagojevich Trial

I would not hold my breath waiting for this to happen. I suspect a president can get out of such a thing, although i cannot cite any legal reason why. Considering Barack Obama's distaste for following the rules, it probably would not matter even if their were any lrgal ways to compel his testimony.

Speaking of Obama's distaste for following the rules, here are the six allegations relatig to the subpoena:

1. Obama may have lied about conversations with convicted fraudster Tony Rezko.
2. Obama may have overtly recommended Valerie Jarret for his Senate seat.
3. A supporter of President Obama may have offered quid pro quo on a Jarrett senate appointment.
4. Obama maintained a list of good Senate candidates.
5. Rahm Emanuel allegedly floated Cheryl Jackson's name for the Senate seat.
6. Obama had a secret phone call with Blagojevich.

Some conservatives are already salivating over the prospect of an impeachment. That is a fantasy. the worst that will happen is that Obama will have to explain the discrepancies between past statements and his testimony. We already know he is a liar, so whoop-de-do.

Army Rescinds Invitation to Franklin Graham Because He is too Christian

The army has uninvited Franklin Graham to the Pentagon's National Day of prayer event for his "controversial' comments. What exactly did Graham say that was so thorny/ He claimed that islam was evil, but Jesus died for Muslims, too. In other words, his beliefs are too Christian.

Honestly, I can understand a certain wariness at having someone who spoke an inconvenient truth take part in a Pentagon event. There are military members of all faiths ad no faith serving. But it occurs to me that inviting clergy from different faiths to a National Day of Prayer event would imply an acceptance of those clergy’s belief that, you know, everyone who is not part of his faith is going to hell. Religion is mutualy exclusive by definition, no?

What also bugs me is the sudden sense the Christian view of Islam is a bad thing and ust ot be a part of the Pentagon’s activities while Nidal Hassan was allowed to speak openly about how infidels should be killed. Lo and behold, he acted on that belief, too. No one with two brain cells to rub together thinks graham has a violent bone in his body, nordo his beliefs incite ati-Muslim violence.

So what is this? A politically correct military trying to not offend Muslims? Good grief this on the same day Comedy Central bows to Muslim threats and edits the South Park episode featuring Mohammed. I do not like where this is heading.

Deep Space Nine--"Our Man Bashir"

Before reviewing “Our Man Bashir,” we need to get a few things straight. I still do not care for Bashir. He has not risen above being an over exuberant man-child yet. In fact, ’Our Man Bashir” indulges his man-child demeanor. Two, holodeck malfunction stories are consistently my least favorite Trek episodes. They are right down there with the mirror universe stories. These people are in space, for crying out loud! Why do you need a holodeck in order to create stories? Finally, I am not a particular fan of James Bond.

This episode is not my martini, shaken or stirred.

I do believe I have seen all the Bond movies regardless of my ambivalence for them, so I recognize a umber of homage to the series throughout the episode. I am certain I missed a few. Perhaps I would enjoy the episode if I knew them all. I even sat through Our Man Flint once about a decade ago, so I am aware of the title’s significances. But I just could not get into the humorous spirit of thins. I am not a big Austin Powrrs guy, either, so it is definitely the genre and its parodies I cannot penetrate.

One part I did enjoy is the extension of the logrunner debate between Bashir and Garak over Earth v. Cardassian literature. Neither meet eye to eye on the issue, each feeling his own people’s is far superior. Garak is more interesting in his literature being realistic and straightforward. Here, the debate is taken to another level when garak joins Bashir in his spy game. It is no loger just a matter of taste. Bashir is playing spy with Garak, who really was one. Garak’s irritation with the foolishness of the fiction genre of espionage versus what it is really like is a joy to behold. Maybe I like it because I agree with him on how silly this all is.

Silly it is, too. The episode manages to combine a transporter accident with a holodeck story. How much thought was put into that? The crew’s lost transporter patterns are placed in the holodeck, so they become character’s in Bashir’s spy fantasy. It is not all amusing. I dig Nana Visitor’s awful ’plotting doom of moose and squirrel” Russian accent. Then again, I dig her in general. The adventure is amusing, if not over the top, and Bashir destroying the Earth in order to buy Rom more time to save them was an unsuspected twist.

I appreciate that Rom is becoming moreof a pivotal character, but I have a hard time buying that he is a mechanical genius. Or that Leeta is eventually going to fall for him. Deep Space Nine might be the most realistic Trek, but it does ask us to swallow a lot of implausible stuff just because it says we should.

I have ragged on the episode, but it has a few bright spots. At least it will not become as obnoxious running gag as Dixon Hill for Picard, prune juice for Worf, coffee for Janeway, or darts for O’Brien. Running such things count as character development in Trek.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

Olivia Munn in a Bikini

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Obama Administration to Appeal National Day of Prayer Ruling

I am surprised, but pleased. The cynic in me suspects the ruling was so bad that its overturn is obvious, therefore the administration thinks it can score points by hookig up with a clear winner.

My old Constitutional law professor lists some reasons why the feds will win on appeal.

One Does Not Question Naomi Campbell's Blood Diamond

As an ABC News reporter recently learned:What is this all about/ According to sources, including close friend Mia Farrow, Naomi Campbell was given a blood diamond by bloody dictator Charles Taylor when both were visiting Nelson Mandela’s home.

The existence of the diamond has become a central issue in the trial of the former Liberian dictator for crimes against humanity. Prosecutors at the Hague have contacted Campbell to admit ownership of the diamond, which would tie Tayler to the illicit diamond trade for which millions have been slaughtered. Campbell has refused.

Taylor has been indicted on seventeen counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the murder of his political opponents, burying alive the pregnant wife of a rival, numerous acts of torture on dissidents, and forced cannibalism.

It is quite clear Campbell has the blood diamond or else she would not react in such a way. She is legendary for having a spoiled brat temper, but this is something else. She Is a disgusting person for not cooperating.

(Just to head all you trolls off, I already know Taylor has allegedly done business with Pat Robertson and yes, I am an alumnus of Robertson’s Regent University. Does it not just make you all a'tingle in the nether regions?))

Formspring Question # 14--It's the End of the World as We Know It and I Feel Fine Edition

Premillennialism? What?
There are two generally accepted interpretations of the Book of Revelation, Pre-Millennialism and Preterism. Since there is both a blessing for reading Revelations, but a curse for misinterpreting it (22:19), I have read, but do not comment upon it. Some general back ground cannot hurt, I suppose.

Pre-Millennialism is the currently popular idea that revelations foretells the future prophecy of the end of the world. This is where the idea of the Anti-Christ, 666, the rapture, and the Tribulation originate. The interpretation was first introduced by two Catholics writers, Manuel Lacunza and Ribera, writing under the nom de plume Ben-Ezra. Their writing were banned as heresy by the Church. The interpretation surged in popularity in the late 19th and early 20th century out of turn of the century anxiety and the belief World War I would mean the end of civilization. Pre-Millennialism has solidified itself as the most popular interpretation today.

A key argument in favor of Pre-Millennialism is Revelation 20 in which Satan is said to be bound for a thousand years after the Second Coming. Preterism generally interprets that chapter as allegorical, but the surrounding chapters as symbolic prophecy of events occurring prior to 70 AD. One can see how that might be awkward.

Preterits is the idea the Book of Revelation foretells prophecies having been fulfilled during the first century. This view says Jerusalem or the Roman empire is the persecutor of believers and that Armageddon is God’s use of the Roman army (”the beat”) as judgment on the Jews. This prophecy would have been fulfilled by the destruction of Israel in 70 AD.

The second half of Revelation regards Rome’s persecution of Christians. Nero is a most likely the one referred to as 666, because that is how his named would be represented by the numerical representation of Hebrew letters corresponding to the name Nero in Greek.

The key to preterits is in Jesus’ description of the signs of the end Matthew 16:24-28; Mark 8:34-9:1; Luke 9:23-27:
"And he called to him the multitude with his students, and said to them, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his stake daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake and the message's will find/save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits his life? For what can a man give in return for his life? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the son of man also be ashamed when he comes with his holy angels in his glory and the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done.” And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the son of man coming in his kingdom of God with power.”
There is no way to reconcile Jesus' statement that some standing there will not taste death before the kingdom is established. The destruction of Israel is the only significant event recorded for that generation. there are not 2,000 year old men running around, either.

Since there are arguments supporting and refuting both interpretations, i tend to shy away from the debate entirely whenever possible. I believe in Pan-Millennialism--it will all pan out whether I understand it or not.

Deep Space Nine--"Sword of Kahless"

“The Sword of Kahless” is Indiana Jones meets Treasure of the Sierra Madre--with Klingons. It is highly un-Trek and more in tune with the sex and guns request Patrick Stewart made which prompted the awful TNG episode “Captain’s Holiday.” After that debacle, it was brave for the powers that be to give it another go. The result is trite, but still enjoyable.

Kor, who previously appeared in TOS’ ’Errand of Mercy” and DS9’s “Blood Oath,” returns to enlist Dax and now Worf in an effort to find the Sword of Kahless, an item which will entitle the owner to rule the Klingon Empire. Kor believes the sword is on a remote planet I the Gamma Quadrant. The three of them are pursued by Toral, the illegitimate son of Duras. He is making a second effort to take over the Empire. In Tng’s “Redemption I/II,” he failed in his first effort to inherit power because he was considered too young, inexperienced, and his birth status was in question. He failed the Obama Gambit, in other words.

The story is mostly a straight adventure homage to Indiana Jones. The small television budget does force an even bigger suspension of disbelief than even the fantastical adventures of the famed archeologist. I am aware some planned booby traps and such had to becut for lack of budget. What we did get…well, we just kind of have to go with it.

The story turns into Treasure of the Sierra Madre when the sword is found. A conflict erupts between Kor and Worf as both become convinced they are destined to possess it, thereby becoming ruler. They eventually decide to jettison the sword I order to keep anyone from possessing it. One of the elements that has disappointed fans is the sword actually possessed no powers. Many fans cannot see why it would affect Kor ad Worf the way it did. I am disappointed they do not appreciate the honest look into human nature. Power corrupts, folks. The sword only has to have the perception of power for it to gain a hold of people.

“The sword of Kahless” is not a bad episode, but it does feel like it is thrown together in order to give the newly added worf something to do. It is certainly logical to have a worf-centric episode. He has been relegated to either the B-story or a few laugh lines since “The Way of the Warrior.” but considering he is on Ds9 because of the deterioration of the Klingon/Federation alliance and that story has yet to advance much beyond some casual comments made by characters in passing, should the episode not have dealt with that? It feels awkward not to.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Alessandra Torresani

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Jim DeMint: Tea Party Movement Will Bring a Spiritual Revival

Here is a short clip from a CBN interview with my senator, Jim DeMint
I think he has a point. Tea Partiers are more devoutly Christian than the general population. I suspect that is the root of the progressive hostility towards the Tea Party. There is a notion among the left that because the Bible Belt south was the home of slavery and Jim Crow laws that Christian must inherently be racist. The notion is about as powerful as the progressive contempt for religion as arival to government for peoples’ allegiance.

With regards to that last point, I am pleased Tea Party Christians have finally noticed economic issues are every bit as important as social ones. It is true, as DeMint points out, that government tends to grow in more secular countries because people begin to look for salvation in other venues when religion is gone. Look towards secular Europe as an example. Or look towards North Korea as the most extreme example of religion literally becoming the state, as those poor people sing praises morning, noon, and night to the Dear Leader who keeps them in grinding, hopeless poverty.

Do not get me wrong. Social issues are extremely important for a Christian to engage in. Abortion is a silent holocaust we are all going to have to answer for someday, asa for instance. But the ability to influence social policy in a godly end becomes much easier when a government’s reach is smaller. The tea party movement may have finally taught politically active Christians that truth.

Formspring Question # 13--What is Obama Hiding? Edition

Do you believe Obama is a natural born citizen? A socialist? A Muslim?
In order:

No, I am not a birther. Here is Barack Obama's Certification of Live Birth and a newspaper birth announcement. Both confirm he was born in Honolulu, Hawaii.

I do not think Obama is officially a socialist, either. He is definitely a radical progressive socialists can get behind. I think Obama’s problem is more likely that he has lived a life sheltered from the private sector. He has been nothing but a student, a teacher, a social activist, and an elected official. His life experiences have given him that general naïve nature that lets progressivism run rampant.

What I mean by that is he has no sense of the practical. Socialism looks good on paper in the classroom, but there is no way to get it to work for very long before the political system crumbles. Obama can only see the utopian possibilities of the former, not the economic and political realities of the latter. The sad part is he does not know that he cannot. He told Republicans he was not an ideologue and I think he genuinely believes he is not.

Obama is not bound by ideology. He is an egomaniac with his ow view of how things should be. He has proven more than happy to stomp on anyone, progressive or conservative, who gets in the way. It obviously does not bother him his healthcare reform law is going to cost his fellow Democrats dearly in November because he is ready to push unpopular immigration reform, too. He only cares about his progressive will being doe. That makes him more dangerous than a mere socialist, if you asked me.

I am still in the camp Obama is not a believer period. He strikes me as one who views religion with an anthropologist’s eye. Listen to this short speech on what he believes the role of religion in politics ought to be:he specifically attacks Christianity here, but speaks of all religion in general as being subservient to the state. In other words, it isa personal thing and a social phenomena that ought to be tolerated up until it gets in the way of “proper” public policy. Those are not the words of a religious believer period.

I am aware Obama stopped calling himself Barry and began calling himself Barack after a college trip to Pakistan. I am skeptical he was motivated by Islam to do that. If anyone cares to offer up evidence to the contrary, I am open to hearing it.

Leonard Nimoy to Retire

This is definitely the end of an era. Leonard Nimoy recently told the Toronto Sun he is done with acting.His version of Spock will not appear I the next J. J. Abrams Star Trek because he wants to give Zachary Quinto the spotlight on the role. His stint on Abrams’ Fringe has also ended, so Nimoy feels it is time to get off the stage.

I do not blame him. Nimoy is 79 years old with limited options for roles he can play. Seeing such a dignified actor reduced to playing someone’s goofy grandfather would be as sad as it was watching The Who try to rock at the Super Bowl back in February. All I wanted was for someone to take Roger Daltry home and put him to bed. I do not want to see Nimoy reduced to that, too.

Nimoy has left behind a long career full of roles I enjoyed. Spock is my favorite, of course, but I am a fan of the original Mission Impossible on which he played Paris, and I have a peculiar fascination with In Search Of. I even recall fondly his turn as the voice of Unicron in Transformers: The Movie.

Looking back, I am surprised what a big part of my geek experience he has been. I hope he enjoys retirement.

Deep Space Nine--"Little Green Men"

“Little Green Men” is both a fan and personal favorite even though it treads on much of the same ground as “Past Tense, Parts I/II.” I like it because the episode is an homage to B-science fiction movies of the 1950’s and touches on the themes of The X-Files, another favorite that was gaining popularity at the time. There is some criticism the 1947 characters are wooden stereotypes, but that misses the point of an homage. Do not take the episode so seriously. It was meant to be fun.

Quark buys a new ship in order to expand his smuggling opportunities. On a trip to deliver Nog to Earth so he can attend Starfleet Academy, he, Rom, and Nog are transported to 1947 Roswell in an accident. Conveniently, their universal translators are damaged along the way.

When they regain conscious, they find themselves prisoners of the United States military. All the stereotypes are there; a brash, Neanderthal of a general, a younger, heroic guy to temper the general’s obnoxious act, and his naïve, but good hearted girlfriend. The general is played by Charles Napier. He made a career out of playing such brutish characters in a far cry from the good natured hippie he played in TOS’ “The Way to Eden.” His character here reminds me more of his bit part in Austen Powers lecturing the Brits over how the US does not want to bail them out again like in World War II than the corrupt Murdock in Rambo: First Blood, Part Ii. That ought to tell you the overall tone of “Little Green Men.”

Quark being quark, looks to take advantage of the situation for his own profit. After all, these humans buy poison known as nicotine o purpose. They will buy anything! He even speculates about giving warp drive to his people far earlier than they did in reality. As the situation turns more sinister and the military demands secrets from the Ferengi, the three have to work together in order to escape back to the future with the help of said young, heroic foil and his naïve, but good hearted girlfriend.

They use an atomic bomb test and some material quark is smuggling in order to get back home. Amusingly enough, this escape method was devised by Ira Steven Behr after watching True Lies. Behr was bemused that an atomic bomb explosion was used as a backdrop during a kissing scene between the hero of that film and his recently rescued wife. Her felt the true power of the bomb had been lost I the public’s conscious since films like Dr. Strangeloe and more recently, The Day After. So hewrote that scene as a reminder of the power of the bomb. His concern seems quaint in the post 9/1world.

“Little Green men” is a fun romp for fans of old science fiction. If you do not care much for flying saucers carrying bug eyed aliens in an invasion of Earth I suppose it is not your cup of tea. But I have a penchant for retro science fiction. It is probably my only motivation for sticking with Caprica I am also a Quark fan. I appreciate episodes in which he rises above is nature, if reluctantly, in order to save his family. He still gets his just deserts in the end.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

Nanda Costa

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Lost--"The Last Recruit"

Anyone care to fill me in on who the last recruit is? As far as the episode is concerned, I would guess Jack, Claire, Desmond, or David. Pardon my ignorance with it, but there is a lot to absorb. “The Last Recruit” had a sense of kicking thing up a notch, like a season finale, because it featured most of the cast in both reality and the flash sideways. A couple of special moments felt rushed because of the overcrowding, but the reunions between Jin and Sun--after nearly two solid years of real time--and Claire hookig back up with Jack were great.

Did anyone else suspect that when Jin and Sun were running towards each other with the sonic fence in the middle, one was going to get fatally zapped in front of the other? I could have seen the episode ending with that. It would have been morbidly hilarious. But I am cruel that way.

Lapidas got three whole lines, too! That brings him up to, what? Twelve for the season? He may wind up with a baker’s dozen before the finale is over.

2007

Jack decides to take point just like in the old days. Hurley defers, as usual. We learn during the conversation between Jack and DarkLocke that old Smokey can only assume the form of the dead. So anytime we have seen a dead person again, it has been Old Smokey? I have doubts, since I do not think Hurley’s buddy Dave was dead, but perhaps he was. DarkLocke only confirmed he has been Christian every time he has appeared. DarkLocke claims he appears as one of the dead in order to guide the living. In the case of Jack, he was leading him to fresh water.

For that matter, Christian has appeared to Jack off island. So has Libby to Michael. I think DarkLocke is not telling the entire truth there.

Zoe shows up demanding to be given Desmond back, though she conveniently does not mention him by name. Only DarkLocke and Sayid know anything about him, so his presence on the island is secret. DarkLocke refuses to even acknowledge what Zoe is talking about. He decides they all need to ditch camp and go on the offensive. But first, he sends Sayid to make sure Desmond is dead.

I did not want Desmond to be dead, but I thought it was a serious rip off for the well to be as shallow as it was. Desmond had no problem surviving the nine to twelve feet plunge ito the water. Am I really mistaken in thinking the well looked nearly bottomless last week?. It is not entirely clear, but I assume Desmond talked Sayid out of killing him by appealing to the idea that if Nadia returns from the dead, how will he possibly explain he murdered a man in order to bring her back?

Sawyer decides now is a good time for his crowd to split and honor his agreement with Widmore. Kate is not fond of the idea of leaving Crazy Gun Totin’ Claire behind, Kate eventually convinces her to come along, even though she is still a little batty in the belfry. Jack winds up being the one with second thoughts. If DarkLocke is afraid for them to stay on the island, then he thinks that is what they ought to do. Sawyer kicks him off the boat for that crazy talk. Weird, since just about everyone but Sawyer appears to be crazy at this point. Jack makes it back to DarkLocke just in time for Widmore’s people to capture Team Sawyer and attack Team DarkLocke.

2004

The Losties are beginning to gather together. At the very least, they are pairing up with a strong hint it is a matter of fate. There is also an air of familiarity between certain Losties. Sawyer and Kate are drawn together. Jack does not freak out nearly as much as one would assume at meeting Claire. Sun recognizes Locke, but seemingly as DarkLocke. It is as though they are aware, at least subconsciously, of events in the real timeline.

Three points: First, Desmond is the catalyst for Claire and jack meeting at Ilana’s law office, so getting them together is a key point of whatever Desmond is trying to do. Second, Jack is about to operate on Locke. Did Desmond mean for that to happen? He would have had to had some inside knowledge Jack would have been called in for Locke. It is a tough sell to think he left that up to chance. Either way, that is two times Jack’s fate has been manipulated by Desmond in the flash sideways. Finally, Sun is fie and so is her baby.

I have noticed parallels developing between reality and 2004. The first was last week when DarkLocke tried to kill Desmond in 2007, then Desmond committed the hit and run in 2004. In this episode:

Jack and Claire were reunited I both timelines.
Presumably, Sayid did not kill Desmond, therefore he is going to lose Nadia in reality. He was arrested for murder in 2004, thereby losing Nadia there, too.
Jin and Sun are reunited in reality. She and the baby are all right in 2004.
Locke saves Jack from the rocket attack in reality. Jack is apparently going to save Locke in 2004.

The character actions are either paralleling in both timelines or favors are being returned. Does that end to or take away from the idea the two timelines are bleeding into each other?

We are going to have to wait at least two weeks to find ot. There is no new Lost next week so ABC can cram as many episodes into May sweeps as possible. It would have been nice to have ended the episode on a more exciting cliffhanger to make the waiit tenser, but this was a good episode otherwise. They usually are when so much of the cast is involved.

Rating: *** (out of 5)