Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Elena Kagan Confirmation Hearings

I have not commented on the Elena Kagan confirmation hearings because I am not watching it. Much like Al “Baggy Pants Funnyman” Franken, I have trouble staying awake during such things. Law school was a long time ago. Anything that ight produce flashbacks of those dark days of trial brief and oral arguments is to be avoided like the Ebola virus.

Let us embrace reality. Yes, Kagan is a progressive whose judicial philosophy I, as a strict constructionist, am not going to like. She would replace John Paul Stevens, another judicial progressive I did not like. When she is approved--and she will. Even with Robert Byrd no longer being in the Senate to bloc a filibuster, I do not see oe happenig anyway--she will pretty much be swapping out.

I predict a lot of the same 5-4 decisions along ideological lines with the occasional Kelo or Casey extreme disappointment with Kagan on the Court.

If anyone honestly thinks her anti-military or pro-abortion stance is going to torpedo her confirmation, I would be interested in hearing why. I would also like to know if anyone fears her presence will tilt the Court farther to the left than Stevens managed. Please feel free to explain in the comments. Perhaps you will give me food for thought that may result in a more thorough follow up post.

UPDATE: Scratch that last paragraph. Kagan was asked a question about Twilight. There is nothing you can say to get me to further comment on this farce.

My Gamecocks Win the College World Series

Congratulations to my alma mater, the University of South Carolina, for their win over UCLA.

GO COCKS!!

Castaway Review at Apocalypse Cinema

Get marooned with my thoughts on Tom Hanks' 2000 film, Castaway.

Thirty Days of Doctor Who # 8--A Photo That Makes You Happy

The Fourth Doctor defeats Morbius in a staring contest.

No, really.

Deep Space Nine--"Tears of the Prophets"

Now, the moment we have all been waiting for…

The six season finale begins with Sisko being appointed by Starfleet to lead an invasion of Cardassia in order to destroy the Dominion shipyards and Jem’Hadar breeding factories. The plan runs into two complications. One, the Romulans are not keen on the idea because of the massive casualties expected for such a campaign ad two, the prophets warn Sisko he is not to go.

The first problem is wrapped up so easily, I assume the episode was running short, so they just threw it in to demonstrate the strained alliance the allies are working under. The second is ’resolved’ when Ross demands Sisko either serve as Emissary or captain. He fatefully chooses captain and commits to leading forces to attack the Cardassian Chimtaka system.

Meanwhile, Dukat returns to Cardassia as a religious nut who believes he can win the war for the Dominion by attacking the prophets themselves. In his effort, he becomes possessed by a Pah’Wraith. His plan is to destroy the Orb of the Prophets on DS9.

Prior to leaving for the invasion of Chimtaka, Worf and Dax decide they want to start a family. Declaring such a thing before a battle is the cinematic equivalent of showing your girlfriend’s picture to your army buddy before going into battle. You are definitely going to die in the next reel.

Just to make sure that happens, Dax is placed I command of DS9 instead of kira, who is taking part in the invasion even though she is not Starfleet and DS9 is technically Bajoran. You see, they all want Dax tobite the big one.

She happens to be offering a prayer to the Prophets at the Orb when Dukat attacks. She is mortally wounded. Dukat manages to make the wormhole disappear y destroying the orb ad angering the prophets.

The Orb’s destruction occurs in the middle of the Chimtaka invasion. Sisko is incapacitated because he has been cut off from the Prophets. Kira takes over and successfully destroys the system’s new defenses, but the real damage has been done.

The symbiotnt survives, but Jadzia dies. Bajor is in a panic over losing contact with the prophets. Sisko blames himself for both incidents. He failed Dax as a Starfleet officer. He failed Bajor as the Emissary. He decides he needs time to sort thigs out, so he leaves his command post and heads home to New Orleans. The cliffhanger harkens back to the fifth season version where he left his baseball as a message to Dukat that even though he had lot DS9, he would be back. This time, he took it with him.

It is an exciting episode that lays the groundwork for the alliance going on the offensive in the seventh and final season. It also sets up the final confrontation with Sisko and Dukat. Dukat had considered his vendetta with Sisko personal since he blamed him for his daughter’s death, but now he has offended Sisko both in his role as a Starfleet officer by murdering Dax and as the Emissary by destroying the wormhole. The gautlet has been thrown.

But let us not forget the best part--Jadzia is kaput. Good luck on Becker until you get fired for being a terrible actress, Ms. Ferrell. Rating: *** (out of 5)

Miranda Kerr

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Anna Chapman: Spy for Russia?

Maybe so.

Give me an hour--better make that two--with her and I will find out. We have certainly come a long way from the Cold War Era vixens like Natasha Fatale:

Formspring Question # 28--Nature v. Nurture Edition

You've written a lot about LOST dealing with faith and reason, but not much about its nature v. nurture argument. what do you think about that?
I have not talked about it because after the first season, the show did not, either. It was only during the first season the Lostaways were really roughing it like plane crash survivors would. In the second season, they had the hatch and a mysterious food drop. By the third, they had discovered the barracks with all its amenities. Eventually, environmental concerns became less important to the plot.

If I am reading your question right, you want to know whether I think the Lostaways were corrupted by society and fond redemption as noble savages or became corrupted y their island experiences.

The writers seemed to believe the former. Jacob claimed to have brought them from unhappy lives in the civilized world for a purpose on the island. We are supposed to think their behavior there, which involved lots of cold blooded murder, served as redemption for some characters 9Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Locke, and Juliet among others.) while condemning others for the same type behavior. (Michael and Ana-Lucia.) If there was any logic to it, I missed it. Lost was written by atheists to have a spiritual ending, so my expectations were low as to how thought out the resolution would be.

Personally speaking, I do not buy into the noble savage concept. Man has a sinful nature that must be resisted. So it is the nurture part that is more important in how one behaves. Civilization is a hot meal and a good night’s sleep away from total barbarism.

The corrupt, sinful nature is a constant among everyone. It is the nurturing that is different. Nurturing is how other people treat you ad how you react to that treatment which determines exactly how much of your corrupt nature gets to run on a long leash.

I will even drop my usual cynicism and say experiencing bad treatment does not necessarily produce bad people. Yes, there is a good chance if one was abused as a child, one will grow up to be an abuser, too, in order to gain “revenge” for pain suffering, but the abused child experience also be a lesson on what not do. I am not a psychologist, so someone else with better knowledge should feel free to chime in with better insight. I am speaking from the personal experience of watching alcoholic family members destroy themselves resulting in a nearly complete disinterest in alcohol on my part.

The uncertainty of how one’s treatment will affect one’s attitude must be why there is still an eternal debate over the issue. I will not be able to resolve it in a blog post within the context of a television show or otherwise.

Formspring Question # 27--Boy Wizard Edition

Do you like Harry Potter?
I have never read any of the novels or seen any of the movies with no sense of urgency to take an interest now. My disinterest has nothing to do with my religious beliefs, either. i do not believe Harry Potter is a backdoor to Satanism or anything.

I am certain there will be a half dozen sales pitches in the comments before sundown.

Thirty Days of Doctor Who # 7--Favorite Villain(s)

It is all about the Daleks. I am a sucker for Nazi allegory. It comes from me being such a World War II buff.

They have certainly been overused, particularly in the Russell T. Davies years, but they still possess the sense of menace that keeps them as formidable adversaries after all these years.

I am not too fond of the new rainbow army of Daleks that have emerged in under Steven Mofat--and I even liked the cult-like, mutant Daleks created by the emperor for “Bad Wolf/The Parting of the ways”--but I am holding out hope thecae is not permanent. Go back to the beat up, brown and black scheme or the retro gray color for the future!

Deep Space Nine--"The Sound of Her Voice"

If you have not yet been beaten over the head yet with the foreshadowing one of the crew is going to die in the season finale, this episode should more than compensate.

The bone weary crew of the Defiant, who have been on convoy duty for days, receive a distress signal from a Lisa Cusak, a Starfleet captain who is the lone survivor of a deep space mission. Her ship hit some sort of energy whatsis and was destroyed. She got to an escape pod, but is now stranded alone on a hostile planet. Since the Defiant is the only ship close enough to make the six day journey, they have to take the mission to rescue her.

Along the way, he command staff takes turns taking to her in order to keep her conscious. Conveniently, she is taking injections to prevent the atmosphere from poisoning her, but they keep her awake constantly. She discusses Sisko’s complicated relation with Kasidy, Bashir’s workaholism, ad o’Breien’s pushin away of friends because he ears they might die during the war with the Dominion.

Her advice: Relationships are everything. Drop whatever you aredoing and tell everyone you love and tel them so, because tomorrow may be too late.

Oh, yeah--Dax is sooo dead tomorrow.

The trick is they discover Cusak’s communications were caught in a time warp due to the energy thingamajig that destroyed her sip. She has actually been dead for years, but the communications were being transmitted as though in real time. They give her a funeral with full honorsand Sisko gives aspeechabout how they may be standing there again with one of them missing one day soon.

He means you, Dax.

The B-story involves Quark taking advantage of Odo’s lovebird status with Kira to complete a smuggling job, but both Odo and Kira are up to him and stop it. Nothing but filler made more annoying by the irritating romance between the two. I will never get accustomed to that.

Not bad for a bottle episode, but not as poignant as intended. I will have liked for Cusak’s conversations with the crew to have been more psychoanalytic as opposed to bracing us for the loss of Dax. It is entertaining, but I feel like it could have been far more.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Brooklyn Decker

Monday, June 28, 2010

Introducing Apocalypse Cinema

I had been debating for a while how to incorporate movie reviews into the Eye. I could not figure out how to make the individual reviews fit comfortably in with the rest of the content here while still being easily accessible. I wanted an easy way to list every movie review so you could conveniently click right on the review you wanted to read. Alas, the only way I could do that was to put them on a separate blog devoted solely to movie reviews. So that is what I did.

Apocalypse Cinema is the place where I am going to periodically review any movie I see that merit some comment, for better or for worse. I say periodically because I was planning to write reviews here whenever the mood struck, not on any set schedule. So Apocalypse Cinema might be updated once a day for a long time or once a month for an even longer time.

I will probably link to new reviews here if they become that infrequent just as a convenience. Science fiction film may get the cross posting treatment, but exclusive content will rule the day now that I have transferred all the existing movie reviews from the Eye to there.

As a bonus, I have never before seen reviews for all four Rambo movies up now so you can judge how the movie reviews are going to go. They are virtually identical to my television reviews here, but it is still a work in progress. Changes will come as necessary.

The eye is still my login focus, so nothing is going to change here in frequency or content. I am just could not fid away to squeeze in my Roger Ebert routine into what is already here.

SCOTUS: Second Amendment Applies to States

In a 5-4decision falling upon ideological lines, the Supreme Court ruled the second Amendment is incorporated into the Fourteenth Amendment as part of the Due process Clause.

I will not be shifting through the entire 214 page decision--I suffer too many Constitutional law flashbacks as it is-- but it looks like Alito has established a history of the SOTUS’ application of the Bill of rights on states through Fourteenth Amendment. The gist of his argument in this case is the protection of an individual’s right to own a gun cannot be infringed upon by a state.

It sounds simple and obvious, but I doubt it will pan out that way. Expect states hostile to the Second Amendment to mangle the spirit of this decision into any gun control law with which they can come up.

Translation: more litigation over new gun control legislation, some of which will ed up back at the SCOTUS.

Still, I will cast aside my inner cynic, whom I frequently let run on a long leash, and claim an increasingly rare victory for strict constructionists.

Robert Byrd (1917-2010)

De mortuis nil nisi bonum.

Thirty Days of Doctor Who # 6--Least Favorite Companion

I cannot stand Tegan Jovanka. Hate, hate, hate her. The character was a fine example of how Doctor Who was either really good in the ’80’s or truly awful. There was no Laodicean Wholiganism to be had. Tegan was, of course, the lowest of the low.

She was loud, shrill, bossy, and worse yet, the lonest serving companion in terms of consecutive time in the TARDIS--three and one moth.

Yes, I have it calculated down to the month.

Tegan was an Australian flight attendant who never wanted to be a companion. She started traveling in the TARDIS because her aut had been killed by the Master. Shespent her entire three year, one month stint complaining because she wanted to go home and resume her job. Had I been the Fifth Doctor, I would have happily thrown her out the TARDIS. Preferably at a high rate of speed somewhere over Skaro.

The Fifth Doctor did leave her behind once, although accidentally. She became even more of a shrill harpy after she was rescued.

The writers did try to not only end her journey with a redeeming note, but also to use her as a maturing force for the more lighthearted Fifth Doctor. She finally left shortly after another companion, Adric, sacrificed himself to stop a Cybermen plot. Tean decided the Fifth Doctor was a monster himself for letting it happen while showing little emotion. Her departure and rationale for leaving did have an impact. Before regenerating, the Fifth Doctor’s last word was, "Adric!”

I give very little credit to Tean for her eventual impact, but I still despise her in general.

Deep Space Nine--"Time's Orphan"

“Time’s Orphan” is potentially a triple whammy: it is a bottle show, an O’Brien Must Suffer episode, and it deals with children. Remember our theory that trek never does children well. Even with those three strikes, it is not a bad episode. Forgettable, but not bad.

The O’Briens visit a planet for a mini-vacation when Molly gets caught in one of those pesky time portals that always seem to be around at inconvenient times. She is sent far ito the past and quickly rescued but not quickly enough. She is returned as a feral 18 year old with no memory of her past beyond a slight recognition of her parents.

They try to rehabilitate her with little success. Molly is homesick. They decide to indulge her by letting her spend time in a holdout recreation. When she has to leave fr the next group of customers to use the holdout, she goes berserk in quark’s bar attackin customers. She is arrested by Odo. Once caged, she exhibits capture anxiety, a real phenomenon some animals suffer when held captive--they literally die from the shock of losing their freedom.

Starfleet decides it is best to institutionalize Molly. Here is more of that wonderful trek idealism at work. A socialized government intervenes within the family unit in order to take a child away. It is a pattern, too. Starfleet wanted to tae Lal from Data because they determined he could not raise her properly. Do the myriads of progressive trek fans see anything wrong with this or is it generally accepted in the worldview the state has the best of intentions at all times and therefore ought not be questioned?

The O’Briens defy Starfleet and send molly back through the portal so she can live in her ’real’ home. She is conveniently sent back at roughly the same time he was as a toddler. She sends her oneself through the ortal and then disappear, never having existed. All is back to normal.

There is a short B-story involving Worf and Dax babysitting Yoshi. Taking care of him has them thinking about the future. I do not recall how soon it was popular knowledge Terry Ferrell was leaving the show, so I am not certain how much the writers were trying to tug viewers’ heartstrings. I guess it was already fairly well known, since “Change of Heart” a few episodes back was supposed to be a fake out in which we were to think Dax might actually die. I suppose the tightening of the screws as we know something is going to happen to her soon is an emotional experience forall three Dax fans out there, but I am not among the trio. I will give it an “A” for effort, though.

The same with the episode as a whole. I do not really care about Molly, so I am not emotionally invested in her fate. Dax’s, either. But I cannot complain about the episode as a whole. There is nothing wrong with it other than my disinterest in the main characters. I do note that DS9 relies heavily on variations of time travel whenever it needs to do a science fiction plot, so in that sense, “Time’s orphan” is not very original. Still, it is a bottle show and the powers that be did what they could with it.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Erin Heatherton

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Blogroll Spotlight L

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--Brewer to Obama: "Do Your Job."

Big Feed--SuperWacky Muslim Fun Time: Breastfeeding.

Camp of the Saints--What the Future Holds: More Babies Enjoying Painful Deaths.

Classic Liberal--Lucy Pinder and the Road to Serfdom.

Current--Het, Gyess what--Elections Have Consequences!

Daley Gator--Progressive Racists.

Gorge's Grouse--Gift Giving.

It Don't Make Sense--Spit and Polish, But Mostly Spit.

Jaded Bones--southern Bones.

Jumping in Pools--Incumbent Democrat Senators in Trouble.

Left Coast Rebel--Karl Rove Finds Your Lack of Faith Disturbing.

MAinfo--Will We Have The Discipline To Reverse Unconstitutional Legislation After November?

Mind Numbed Robot--Robo-Link LoveFest.

No Sheeples Here!--Obama to G20--Do You Mind? I'm Trying to Tee Off!

Proof Positive--Press Caught Bashing Palin.

Sippican Cottage--Bria Wilson's Cab Session.

Purists, forgive me:Theo Spark--Red Bull Gives You Wings.

Troglopundit--In Single Guys' News today.

Washinton Rebel--Who Will Be Held Accountable?

Thirty Days of Doctor Who # 5--Favorite Companion

My favorite companion is Sarah Jane Smith. Highly original choice, no? Sarah Jane is everyone’s favorite companion. At least I am honest.

Sarah Jane has had the longest history with the Doctor, serving as the companion for the Third and Fourth while joining in adventures with all the first five (technically speaking, at any rate, in The Five Doctors) and the Tenth. She will hook up with the Eleventh in an upcoming episode of The Sarah Jane Adventures.. So she has experienced about all the Whoverse has to offer.

While I imagine Wholigans do not want to admit it, Sarah Jane is clearly a Lois Lane homage--an investigative journalist who cannot help but get involved in the story herself. My youthful comics obsession never really extended to the Superman mythos, but I appreciate any respectable references in other media.

Did we not all have a crush on Elisabeth Sladen at one time or another? She still looks nice today.

Deep Space Nine--"Profit and Lace"

The Grand Nagus is deposed after instituting feminist reforms in the Ferengi Alliance, so quark changes gender in order to prevent Brut from replacing him.

If you enjoy this episode, I probably do not like you as a person.

Rating: * (out of 5)

Leighton Meester

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Doctor Who--"The Big Bang"

“The Big Bang” is going to take a while to absorb. Fortunately, there are 182 days until the Christmas special, so I have plenty of time to indulge. The biggest thing will be diagramming exactly how the sonic screwdriver passed hands for nearly 2,000 years while managing to always be in the right place at the right time.

Okay, I am kidding. But this was a heady plot that did not follow any sort of formula. For that, I give it props already. The big baddie behind the TARDIS explosion in the first place is still at large and incidental to the story here, the theme of which is the less than subtle notion that the memory of loved ones keeps them alive after death or ‘death,” as the case may be.

Along those lines, we have Rory protecting Amy within the Pandorica for over 1,800 years, the Doctor rescuing River from the time loop that saved her from the TARDIS explosion, Amy bringing her parents back, and eventually, the Doctor as well, once he has been trapped outside the universe.

I dwell on that recurring theme because the whole using the Pandorica to recreate the big bang in order to reset the universe is one of those wild, theoretic concepts that gets the nerdy math and physics geeks all tingly on the inside, but leaves us social science geeks why they are skipping over the philosophical love conquers all stuff we are fixated on. I assume that is why the social science geeks reconsidered a lower form. somewhere between furries and slash fan fiction writers.

Outside of the fantastical solution to the universe outside of earth having been wiped out by the exploding TARDIS, there were a lot of interesting moments. The Doctor really was traveling through time in “The Time of Angels” It was his future self bouncing through time after resetting the universe who approached Amy and implored her to remember him. There was a sweet moment where he encountered her the night she fell asleep in the yard waiting for him to return for her as a child. I am even somewhat enthused by the prospect of River becoming a recurring, important character.

I mentioned earlier the story did not follow a predictable formula. Outside of a Dalek which River made short work of, there were no villains. It was a highly personal story. Odd, but I liked it. I suspect others may not. I also like the idea that Amy and Rory got married, but are still companions. Their status as a couple eliminates the whole possibility of puppy which RTD was so obsessed with and gives them an easy way out of the TARDIS--Amy gets pregnant and they will leave without drama. The only drawback is that River is really being set up to marry the Doctor. Perhaps having another married couple around sparks off his nesting instincts.

Entertaining episode. Curious if we will have to wait all next season to find out whether Omega or the master is behind the TARDIS exploding, but I have faith in Steven Moffat. This has been a great season, far less uneven than most in the RTD era, and Matt Smith is rapidly becoming a top tier Doctor.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

Full Metal Jacket Reach Around LIV

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

Washington Rebel links to my critique of Christian America and the Kingdom of God.

Classic Liberal also links to my critique of Christian America and the Kingdom of God.. On the babe front, the Classic Liberal links to Kelly Brook and Lilly Cole.

The Other McCain links to Lily Cole.

Daley Gator links to Blogroll Spotlight IL.

No Sheeples here! links i her Sumpthin' 4 Mutton Round Up and again in the next.

Fishersville Mike links to my Star Wars movie rankings.

Pitbull Patriots links to my favorite Doctor Who quote.

Zwetz links to Tim Scott's primary victory.

Camp of the Saints links to Al Gore is a Sex Fiend?

Pitbull Patriots added the Eye to their blogroll.

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.

Thirty Days of Doctor Who # 4--Favorite Doctor

I am a Fourth Doctor fan. Probably not a very original choice coming from an American, but it is an honest. There are four reasons the Fourth Doctor is my favorite.

First, my introduction to Doctor Who came from PBS repeats in the mid-80’s and from that short time period the Sci Fi Channel aired the series in the mid ’90’s. Both emphasized the Fourth Doctor’s episodes, so I had seen them before ever watching another Doctor’s adventures. You always remember your first.

Second, the Fourth Doctor was around the longest--seven years. His lengthy stint gave mea good chance to see him duel with all the regular villains like Daleks, Cybermen, and the Master There were also some other memorable villains (Sutehk, Dr. Morbius, and the Robots of Death) and episodes (“City of Death,” “Robot,” and “Talons of Weng Chiang.”) Those count for a lot of fun experiences.

Third, There was a constant gothic horror vibe running through the Fourth Doctor’s adventures that reminded me of Hammer Horror Films, of which I am also a fan.

Finally, the Fourth Doctor had the mot interesting companions. Sarah Jane Smith, Leela, both Romanas--I will even give Adric faint praise considering how significant he woun up being later on when the Fifth Doctor took over. The doctor is only as good as the companions with whom he gets to interact.

I am going to give an honorable mention to the Ninth Doctor. His adventures came right after my health fell apart, ruining every life plan I ever had. He had been broken by the Time War and the loss of his people. The melancholy personality he exhibited throughout his lone season echoed my own. We were both guys who had nothing to live for, but kept on anyway.

We both developed a thing for Billie Piper, too.

Deep Space Nine--"Valiant"

“Valiant” is DS9’s effort to combine the popular TNG episodes “The First Duty,” which I did not like, and “Lower Decks,” which I did. The result is somewhere in the middle. The story does not resonate with me because at no point does it look like these kids are going to pull off the impossible. I know the episode is going to end in tragedy, so when it does, there is no emotional impact. I am more relieved they got it over with.

Jake and Nog are escaping from a Dominion attack when their runabout is picked up by the Valiat. The Valiant is manned by Red Squad, the group of elite cadets Nog was eager to join back in the fourth season. They have been behind the lines for months now. Nog is still enamored with them, particularly now that they have survived in the war zone this long.

Nog is especially in awe of Walters, the 22 year old cadet who serves as captain. He is a charismatic guy who eventually convinces the rest of the crew and Nog to attack a Dominion warship in the name of glory. Jake tries to appeal to the crew’s common sense--it is a suicide mission--but it is no use. They are all star struck by the idea of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

Needless to say, the Valiat is destroyed with all hands but Jake, Nog, and a loe cadet. The pretty girl makes it this time, unlike in “Lower Decks.” They are rescued from escape pods by the Defiant.

The whole affair sieved of any emotion . There are no surprises. We already know Red Squad is full of impetuous, gung ho cadets who believe they are invincible and above the rules. We know Nog will do anything to be apart of them. We know Jake definitely is not. We also know the Dominion is going to annihilate them. Watching ’Valiant” is like waiting for a time bomb to tick down. It is not exciting, just tragic.

Maybe if I cared more about the characters, even Jake and og, but I just d not.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

Anne Hathaway

How about some Anne Hathaway for this week's The Other McCain's Rule 5 Sunday? No complaints, I assume?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Financial Reform Bill Finalized; No One Has Any Clue What It Does

A 2,000 page financial reform bill which will completely change how money flows through the economy even though no one has any clue how it works has been finalized.

The logical question to ask is why pass a bill that no one knows anything about since, in ignorance of the bill's effect, no one has any idea whether it will make things better or worse. but sice i am certain the answer would make blood splurt out of my nose, let us just skip it like everyone else apparently has.

Oh, wait--we know the bill gives thefeds more power to seize financial institutions. I imagine that is the only part they were interested in anyway.

Carry on, folks. They will make therest up as they go along.

Thirty Days of Doctor Who # 3--Favorite Episode (New)

My favorite episode of the new series so far is “The Girl in the Fireplace.”

The episode solidified Steven Moffat as a superior writer for Doctor Who. I recall in my original review back in 2006 that I called for Moffat to replace Russell T. Davies when the time came for a new showrunner. Lo and behold, I got my wish four years later.

“The Girl in the Fireplace” creatively blends the past and future in a tragic love story between the Doctor and the real historical figure Madame de Pompadour. The Doctor keeps popping back into her life in the 18th century from the 51st in in order to save her from clockwork androids. While only minutes pass for him, years and decades pass for her. She succumbs to illness before the Doctor can finally take her away with him because he could not control the lags between his visits.

The episode has fantastic atmosphere. The BBC does period pieces well even with such a limited budget. While I have never been much of a fan of steam punk outside of the ’60’s series The Wild Wild West, I liked the clockwork androids stalking Madame de Pompadour. But what really moved me about the episode was how the Doctor, in the depths of his Last of the Time Lords loneliness, reached out to Madame de Pompadour, only to lose her, too.

Some fans complain about the continuity error of Rose, who normally demonstrated extreme jealousy at the doctor showing the slightest warmth towards any female, not only not being bothered by the budding relationship, but expressing sympathy towards the Doctor’s loss. It does not bother me because I have always thought the Doctor would never fall for an immature girl like rose. Therefore, whenever it was annoying whenever she believed he would. Anytime her infatuation was cast to the wayside is a bonus in my book.

Not that I do not like Rose I would have preferred she have a role more like Amy Pond’s is now.

We are getting sidetracked. “The Girl in the Fireplace” is a great episode.

Deep Space Nine--"The Reckoning"

It is no secret one of the main reasons I like DS9 over the other Trek offerings is because it is willing to take radically different turns. Most of trek has a vampire to garlic relationship with any concept of religion. But in Ds9, the conflict between secular and religious interpretation is done without judging either side. It is a refreshing change for television in general.

With so much of Trek pursuing an anti-religion bent, it is not a surprise many fans prefer it that way. The DS9 episode dealing with the Baoran religion and Sisko’s status as a religious icon are not generally popular. I suspect that is why “The Reckoning” takes a more horror movie turn in dealing with the subject by dealing with a doomsday prophecy predicting a ’final” duel between good and evil.

I would not dismiss such a conflict out of hand. The final conflict between Jack and DarkLocke on Lost, for instance, made sense because the division between Jack’s skepticism and Locke’s faith had not only been at odds from nearly the beginning, but a dramatic twist in jack’s philosophy made the final battle more interesting. I can appreciate that. Turning the good v. evil conflict in DS9 into the climax of a Warlock film is something of which I am not fond.

When an archeological expedition finds an ancient tablet which refers to the Emissary, Sisko takes possession of it for further translation. This sets off diplomatic tensions and Winn arrives on DS9 in order to have the tablet sent back. Sisko drags his feet because a vision from the Prophets has convinced him they are ready to call in the favor he owes them for destroying the Dominion fleet in ’Sacrifice of Angels.” The favor appears ominous, as the tablet translation foretells something called The Reckoning. It isan event which will destroy the Gateway to the Prophets--DS9.

The tablet sets up a confrontation between a prophet possessing Kira and a Pah‘Wraith --think demon--possessing Jake. The two square off, but the battle ends with the Pah‘Wraith destroyed by Winn with some back up plan to flood DS9 with radiation. It is a plan that had been suggested by Dax, who insists on considering the Prophets as aliens, but nixed by Sisko, who maintains the integrity of the religious belief.

Winn is motivated by jealousy for Sisko’s connection with the Prophets. Mark this as the beginning of the dark path she is goin to take during the final season when she becomes less interested in the political aspects of her job and instead is consumed with the idea of real, spiritual power.

I find Winn too annoyin to bean enjoyable villain. She lacks the charm of Dukat or the interesting inner conflict of Damar. She is a lot like Weyoun, with a thin veiled contempt being passed off as graciousness, but I still prefer him over her. Nevertheless, I appreciate the effort to turn her into a major villain by having her side, regardless of her rationale, with the skeptics rather than the religious.

I also appreciated the Abraham and Isaac allegory of Sisko’s willingness to sacrifice hisson if need be in order to destroy the Pah’Wraith. It was not doneas ham fisted as one might have suspected. Indeed, without some familiarity with Christian theology, one might have missed the allegory entirely. Many do not see the parallels between the sacrifices Abraham/Isaac in the Old Testament and God/Jesus in the New. Just sayin’.

Those elements are enough to earn “The Reckoning” a decent rating in spite of some silly horror film elements in the final battle between Kira and Jake. Why ayone thought that was necessary was beyond me, but the melodrama seems terribly out of place for DS9. Leave it to Julian Sands and a load of folks from central casting next time.

I cannot ed the review without noting the romantic relationship between Odo and kira is every bit as bad as hinted at in “His Way.” Literally, it is:

“I et I love you more than you love me!”

“No way! I ove you more than you could possibly love me!”

“I love you acazillion times more!”

‘I love you a gazillion and one!”

You can tell how pained the actors are at having to play out the romance they both think is a bad idea.

I do like how Odo rbs some salt in Worf’s wounds about compromising his mission by saving Dax in “Change of Heart” by saying he loves Kira enough to honor her wish to be used as a vessel for the Prophets even though it may cost her life. Then Sisko is willing to sacrifice his son to kill the Pah’Wraith. Trek just cannot resist doging worf for his decisions.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Charisma Carpenter

Thursday, June 24, 2010

George Lucas Bans David Prowse from Star Wars Convention

David Prowse, the former body builder and actor who wore the Darth Vader armor in the original Star Wars trilogy, has been banned from August's Star Wars Celebration V because he has allegedly "burnt too many bridges" at LucasFilm:
"It is with regret that I have been informed by my friends at C2 Ventures, Ben and Phillip, that I am not to be invited to C5 this year or any other Lucas Film associated events. After enquiring, the only thing I have been told is that I have 'burnt too many bridges between Lucas Film and myself' - no other reason given...I have also been advised by the promoter of Paris Manga in September that LFL (Lucas Film Limited) have requested no photo opportunities with the 501 Squadron, even though I am commander in chief of the 501"
The "burnt bridges" may refer to an interview Prowse gave recently to an online film magazine I which he not only revealed he gets no residuals from the Star Wars films, but says the reason LucasFilm gave for no residuals is the films have not turned a profit.

Does anyone really believe the original Star Wars trilogy has not earned a minit over the last thirty + years?

Prowse is 76 and in poor health. His most steady source of income is attending conventions at which thousands of fans want to meet him, get an autograph and a photo just because he was Darth Vader. Seriously. What kind of petty jerk is George Lucas? he is not only shunning Prowse and evidently cheating him out of money, he is taking away a big part of the convention experience for fans.

(Via: Geek Times)

Al Gore is a Sex Fiend?

Wooda thunk it? It looks like the National Enquirer was right about yet another sex scandal involving a former Democrat presidential candidate.

If only Bill Clinton had known, the two might have gotten along better during gore's eight years as Veepo. At thevery least, they could have offeredadvice on technique.

I can honestly picture the linked alleged account as true. Recall what a bruhaha Gore caused when he grabbed Tipper and planted a big one on her at the2000 national convention? While she was his wife, he was still manhandling her. There is always that suspicion that the wuss beta males are just looking to overcompensate for their weak image at any opportunity. controlling a woman seems to be the popular choice, unfortunately.

Thirty Days of Doctor Who # 2--Favorite Episode (Classic)

My favorite classic series episode is “Pyramids of Mars.” For me, it is one of the quintessential Fourth Doctor adventures.

The story features Sutehk, a powerful alien from a now extinct race known as the Osirans. Sutehk became obsessed with threats to his power and vowed to destroy all life in order to hold onto it. The remaining Osirans tracked him down to ancient Egypt where they imprisoned him supposedly forever with an energy source beamed from the Eye of Horus on Mars to his pyramid prison. In 1914, an archeologist accidentally set in motion Sutehk’s escape before the Doctor traps Sutehk again.

“Pyramids of Mars” has all the low budget Wholigan trademarks--the sarcophagus is made of obvious plastic, robot mummies wrapped in Ace bandages, the levitating TARDIS key is held up by clearly seen wires, and Sutehk’s eyes are barely disguised light bulbs. All silly fun saved by a good script and a clever, non-violent resolution.There is something mystical about Egyptian mythology that adds another layer of enjoyment, too. “Pyramids of Mars” aired in 1975 around about the time the public was gaining interest in King Tut’s tomb and the alleged curse surrounding the archeological team that dug it up and put artifacts into museums. The curse is total poppycock, but there is still something intriguing about the ancient Egyptian fascination with death and the afterlife “Pyramids of Mars” captures well.

Deep Space Nine--"His Way"

Is that not the most awkward smooch you have ever seen? It is easy to tell the actors did not like the idea of Odo and Kira hooking up. Neither do I. I have always found the dynamic of Odo’s distant longing for Kira, whom he cannot have, and Kira being way too broken a soul for a happy romance with anyone more compelling. Alas, this is television. The boy always gets the girl eventually.

The wet plop of a public kiss above would be bad enough, but “His Way” introduces the abomination know as Vic Fontaine, lounge lizard extraordinaire.

Before I get mean here, I have absolutely nothing against actor/singer James Darren, who plays Vic. While I am not big into the whole Rat Pack style of music, I recognize Darren’s talent for it. He is not a bad actor, either. So I do not hold any blame for Darren for my animosity for his character. I just think it is a bad idea to have a recurring louge singer character on the show, particularly one who is self aware enough to manipulate the characters.

Manipulate he does. “His Way” refers to how he convinces Odo and kira to fall for each other. At first, he offers tips to Odo on how to woo Kira. Later, he coninces odo to have dinner with what he thinks is a hologram of Kira, but is actually thereal deal. Implausibly, the great, intuitive detective never catches on. But he is charming enough to effectively win ira over.

Odo is angry when he discovers he has been tricked, but his angers subsides and eventually decides to finally plant one on Kira. After getting all up I her face like an airbag, he does eventually let her come up for oxygen. She reciprocates his affection. Thus ends one of the best dynamics of DS9 and turns it into a romance that stretches credibility to the breaking point.

All we needed was for Odo to nudge a meatball over to Kira with his nose for this to turn into a lonely fourteen year old virgin’s notion of what relationships are all about.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

Lindsay Lohan

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

USA Advances to Second Round of the World Cup

As a top seeded team, no less.

Landon Donovan scored the winning goal ofa rebound in the first minute of injury time to defeat Algeria 1-0 and nearly give me a coronary.

Seriously, I love our team, but they have got to get it together earlier in the game. my heart cannot take this last minute heroics. Especially when the referees are biased against Americans actually winning a game or three.

Formspring Question # 26--The End Does Not Justify the Means Edition

You said earlier you would lie, steal, or maybe kill for the greater good. It sounds like you believe the end justifies the means. how can you be a Christian and think that? Don't you know your god has rules he insists you follow or else?
I became mindful that I seemed to be advocating an ends justifies the means philosophy after a commenter on the post seemed surprised I would say such a thing. I clarified my thoughts on the issue when reviewing “In the Pale Moonlight,” but it never hurts to elaborate.

I do not advocate an ends justifies the mans philosophy. There are moral guidelines that have to be followed and boundaries that cannot be crossed. The problem is twofold. One, I am flawed morally. I do not know what the right choice to make is al the time. Sometimes, I have to make the best choice and be grateful I am under God’s grace. Two, it is easy to claim I would take the moral high road in any given circumstance when given as a hypothetical. It is whole new ballgame when I am set to suffer for the consequences.

What I wrote yesterday is that I would lie, steal and maybe kill to save someone’s life. These are all immoral acts, but failure to do them might be an even bigger immoral act. Would I lie to the Gestapo about hiding Anne Frank in my attic? Yes. They would kill her if they found her. Would I steal a loaf of bread to find my starving child? Of course. I am obligated to take care of him. Would I shoot an armed intruder breaking into my house? I had to, probably. I these scenarios, I am weighing higher principle or personal survival against the immoral act of dishonesty, theft, ad taking a life.

My failure was in addressing that I do not necessarily believe I am excused from the consequences of these actions just because I have decided they are the right thing to do even if they are not moral. Lying t the Gestapo could get me killed. Stealing a loaf of bread might get me thrown in jail. Shooting a intruder might not be justified uner the law.

I am not crowing about my moral superiority in making these choices. While I am certain I would hide Anne Frank under the penalty of death if caught doing so, I do not believe I could refuse to help. But I would never steal bread to feed someone else’s child under just about any circumstance I can dream up. That is not a contradiction. What I am saying is that I would bend over backwards to keep from committing an immoral act in the latter to the point I would probably never commit it.

The difference is confronting evil feels like an obligation even by shady means, although I am uncomfortable with the question of whether I have the backbone, versus taking the immoral route in a situational ethics scenario in which there are bound to be moral options.

So, no, I do not believe it is all right to commit an immoral act in the name of a higher principle. Even if I were to take an immoral action, in a no win scenario, I do no expect to not face negative consequences for it. What I do believe is that I am an imperfect person among many other imperfect people living in an imperfect world. Moral guidelines are necessary and most often not difficult to follow. But every now and then, one is forced to make choices and hope for the best.

Being a Christian does not make that any easier. I am as prone to sin an hypocrisy as anyone else. Thus, I reiterate thankfulness my imperfect self is under grace.

Thirty Days of Doctor Who # 1--Favorite Quote

"You lot, you spend all your time thinking about dying, like you're gonna get killed by eggs, or beef, or global warming, or asteroids. But you never take time to imagine the impossible. Like maybe you survive."--Ninth Doctor, "The End of the World."
Yes, a new thirty day challenge.

Deep Space Nine--"In the Pale Moonlight"

“In the Pale Moonlight” is my favorite episode of DS9. Depending on what day you ask, it will often top TOS’ “City on the Edge of Forever” as my all time trek episode period.

The two episodes feature the same theme; the main character has to commit an immoral act, sacrificing of themselves, for the greater good. In “City o the Edge of Forever,” Kirk has to allow Edith Keeler’s otherwise preventable death in order to ensure United States entry into World War II. Otherwise, all he knows I the future will be lost. For ’In the Pale Moonlight,” Sisko needs to brig the Romylans into the war with the Dominion or al he holds dear will be destroyed.

Kirk’s immoral act of allowing Keeler to be struck by a hit and run driver leads to World War II and 65 million deaths. Necessary deaths as far as history is concerned, but deaths he is inadvertently responsible for. There is no way to know how may deaths Sisko’s actions will cause, but he, like Kirk, has convinced himself their actions are necessary evils.

The moral conflict of “In the Pale Moonlight” is the most divisive among Trek fans. It features a dark morality not often seen in Trek, but is fairly common to DS9. It is episodes like this that cause fans to either elevate DS9 as the best of Trek as I do or curse it for perverting Gene Roddenberry’s vision of enlightened future mankind having built a utopia without personal conflicts.

I have never bought into Roddenerry’s idealism. Man is too flawed because of his sinful nature. So you know where I am coming from when I praise the episode for portraying Sisko’s shady actions honestly. They are not condoned or condemned directly. Sisko is seen as a man who makes a choice he thinks was necessary and gets caught up in events beyond his control.

The episode begins with Sisko reading posted casualty reports from the frontlines. The war is going badly. There is a palpable sense of dread these people will have ultimately died in vain. When new reports come in that Betazed, deep in the heart of Federation territory, has fallen to the Dominion, Sisko decides bringing the Romulans into the war is the only way the Federation will survive.

The Romulans have been neutral since their failed attack on the Founders’ home world in ’The Die is Cast.” Sisko believes if he can prove the Dominion plans to attack the Romulan Empire, which they most certainly will eventually, he can convince them to join with the Federation and Klingons in battle. Siso goes to Garak, who no loner has tangible proof of the Dominion’s intentions to attack the Romulans, but suggests heand Sisko manufacture proof instead.

Here is where Sisko gets caught up in the storm. As far as he knows, he is just going to have to lie in order to convince the Romulans. But the situation quickly snowballs. He arranges for an expert forger to be released from prison in order to make a fake data rod, then has to cover up a subsequent assault on Quark by the forger through bribery. He also has to acquire a biomedical substance for Garak which cold be used to make biological weapons without knowing what Garak will do with it. Sisko wats to back out at this point, but is too caught up in the plot. He rationalizes sticking with it because of the latest casualty report.

The plan is for Siso ti give the fake data rod to Vrenak, a Romlan senator who is sympathetic to the Dominion. If he can be convinced the Dominion plans to attack, then the Romulans will have no choice but to join the war. However, the data rod does not pass Vrenak’s inspection.

Let us go ahead and get this out of the way:Vrenak’s oer the top response to the forgery is not quite as famous as Adm. Ackbar’s, “It’s a trap!” but it is close.

Afterwards, weget the big reveal. Garak has been playing Sisko all along. He knew the ata rod would not pass inspection, so he planted a bomb on Vrenek’s ship. The data rod would miraculously survive. Any imperfections would be blamed n damage from the explosion. Garak also killed the forger to cover it all up. So with a dead Romulan senator and a data rod showing the plans for an invasion of Romulus, the Romulans are bound to blame the Dominion and declare war.

They do.

Sisko ends the episode with a confession that he is now a liar, cheater, briber, and an accessory to murder, but declares he can live with it because he has probably saved the Alpha Quadrant by his actions.

I think what puts my cynical little heart aflutter is that an alien, whose value system has been soundly trashed by Trek up until this point in comparison to the Federation’s moral superiority, is the catalyst for the Federation’s salvation. The most damning part is Sisko knew that and deliberately lied to himself about what arak would really do in order to accomplish the goal.

We definitely head into uncomfortable territory with “In the Pale Moonlight.” Everyone would like to bean idealist, but will not always let you. Sometimes it comes down to making such nasty choices that go against what we would normally think is right.

To be completely honest, Sisko took it upon himself to initiate an immoral act because he thought the results would be worth it. That is an ends justifies the means argument has to give one pause. I certainly do not advocate that philosophy. But considering the stakes, did Sisko make the right choice, even if it was not the moral one? It is an issue that is left up to the viewer to decide. It isa rare turn in Trek that we are not beat over the head with what trek’s viewpoint considers the only proper course of action.

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

Charlize Theron

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Nikki Haley and Tim Scott Win

Look what those raaaaacist teabagging republicans have done. They went and nominated this woman for governor.......and this man for Congress:
The latter, Tim Scott, defeated Paul Thurmond, son of the legendary Sen. Strom Thurmond. Welcome to the changing ace of South Carolina. We are finally putting the past behind us.

Republicans are, at any rate. The Democrats have done all they can to undermine their candidate for Senate, Alvin Greene, but supporting an independent run from a white candidate they consider more preferable, Linda Ketner.

She is a Christian bashing lesbian, so I guess that is progress of a sort. she will not earn more than 30% of the vote, if that. but how enlightened South Carolina Democrats will feel at the efort.

The Biggest Question Regarding Gen. McChrystal's Rolling Stone Interview

Why the heck is the military brass in Afghanistan talking to Rolling Stone in the first place?

You would think after Generation Kill painted the war in Iraq in such a bad light, the Defense Department would have learned a little something. Namely, the writing staff of Rolling Stone is a bunch of young liberals catering to a readership of aging hippies. They are going to present the military in the worst light imaginable.

It certainly is not going to help matters any if McChrystal is playing Col. Kurtz of the desert.

Of course, I cannot help but think McChrystal is just expressing the contempt the military has for Obama and the political leadership he has surrounded himself with. He is not supposed to say that, mind you, particularly not to an reporter.

Barack Obama's Disgusting Abortion Two-Step

From Barack Obama's Father's Day Address:
"From the first moments of life, the bond forged between a father and a child is sacred."
Considering Obama takes the most extreme position on abortion--everything short of infanticide--one wonders how he can say such a thing, even when pandering to Father’s Day celebrants, when his personal belies do not even involve the debate over life beginning at conception or the incredibly misleading argument of viability.

Remember he is against Born Alive legislation, so he does not even believe babies who survive abortions ought to receive medical treatment. The man does everything but take a baseball bat to the dumpsters behind abortion clinics to make sure the job was done right.

Obama also supports the Freedom of Choice Act, which would eliminate any laws limiting the practice of abortion, including the federal ba on partial birth abortions.

Abortion is an act of pure evil. Oama’s support of the barbarous practice in all its forms is revolting. But to publicly insist he believes in a sacred bond with a child he is perfectly willing to kill in the name of “choice” is beyond revolting.

(Via: Newsbusters)

Thirty Days of Lost # 30--And In Conclusion

"Everybody dies sometime, kiddo."--Christian Shephard

We end the Thirty Days of Lost Challenge.

Deep Space Nine--"Inquisition"

“Inquisition” and tomorrow’s episode, “In the Pale Moonlight,” are two episodes which, more than ay other, exemplify the philosophical differences between DS9 and the rest of Trek. The two episodes explore the question that has more or less been ignored up util now--are you willing to sacrifice your principles in order to survive?

One of the reasons DS9 is my favorite of the Trek series is because the answer to that question as far as the series is concerned is, “Yes.” The characters will not admit it, of course, but when faced with the choice, they are willingly to sacrifice their moral codes for the greater good. A further discussion of that will be more relevant in tomorrow’s review.

It is pretty clear that I do not advocate the general idealistic philosophy of Trek. I do not believe utopia can be achieved period, much less with a combination of socialism, pacifism, and secularism. I blame it on man’s sinful nature, but if the thought of Christian theology makes your eyes burn, call it man’s moral flaws which make utopia impossible. Natural man can never been perfect.

But for the sake of argument, let us concede that Gene Roddenberry’s vision is true. Man has achieve perfection by the 24th century and lives in a nice, comfy utopia. There is no possible way it can be anything other than an illusion because such comforts have to be defended by dirty means that most everyone would rather not think about.

It does not have to be anything big, either. Have you ever really conceived of what a life sentence without parole is like? It is completely taking away someone’s life, perhaps deservedly so, but done in yours and my name. My conscience is clear over it and I will bet yours is, too.

But what about shadier things, such as actions in war? We were dragged into a national debate on the morning of September 11, 2001 into how far we will go to protect ourselves. The question still has not been resolved. Our country has overthrown governments, killed individual terrorists around the globe, imprisoned more, arguably tortured some, and inarguably handed others over to countries for definite torture. All this in the name of preserving our way of life.

I am a realist. I think I can only be as moral as someone else allows me to be. Would I lie to save someone’s life? Yes. Would I steal/ Yes. Would I kill? Maybe. I would rather not think about it. Would any of these actions make me less moral for taking them? Considering the consequences that would occur if I did not, I doubt I would necessarily forfeit my claim to moral superiority. Again, it is circumstantial.

Let us pull back and apply the standard to governments. Would the world be better off I the Nazis and Imperial Japan had not been defeated? Of course not. Would the US have been better off leaving the Taliban in power to give aid and comfort to Al Qaeda? No. So war is sometimes the only right choice. Perhaps one thinks fighting such wars sacrifices too many core principles, but I do not want to be wiped off the face of the Earth just so future generations will speak well of me. But in order to survive, a lot of immoral things have to be done.

That is the concept that has been introduced to the Trek universe here with the introduction of Section 31. They area clandestine organization that does anything necessary to neutralize threats to the Federation. In subsequent episodes they will be a party to sacrificing double agents and genocide.

In the expanded novel universe, Section 31 has been part of stealing the Romulan cloaking device in “The Enterprise Incident,” the Khyomir conspiracy, the creation of the Omega particle, Adm. Pressman’s recovery of the Pegasus, and a number of other incidents told only I the novels.

Most are exaggerated for the sake of drama, but not all of it sounds morally unjustifiable to me.

The DS9 characters are going to have to work through their own feelings about the morality of what they are going to be called upon to do in order to win the war against the Dominion. Bashir will specifically grapple with Section 31 because of ‘Inquisition,’ where he is sized up as a potential agent by accusations of being a Dominion spy. Bashir remains an idealist appalled by their actions. But it is arguable he and the Federation would never have survived without them. Much of the Federation’s top people agree.

Interesting times ahead, folks.

“Inquisition” introduces William Sadler as Luther Sloan, the key Section 31 operative. Sadler is one of my favorite character actors. I have enjoyed him in everything from Die Hard 2 To The Shawshank Redemption and the first Tales from the Crypt episode, “The Man Who Was Death.” He is perfectly cast as Sloan--dark, hardened, and cold, yet with asense of moral purpose. It isa great character.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

Emmanuelle Chriqui

Monday, June 21, 2010

Rahm Emanuel to Quit White House?

The Telegraph is reporting White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel plans to leave his job after the midterms.

The article allege Emanuel is weary of the idealism of Barack Obama’s inner circle. I would assume that means Emanuel is frustrated by such things as turning the BP oil spill into a push for a fanciful clean energy push rather than offering up pragmatic ideas for cleaning up the spill in the first place.

The article implies a mutual animosity because Emanuel has not been able to smoothly push Obama’s agenda through Congress. Republicans were never going to budge and even some Democrats are now balking at the excessive spending levels Obama’s agenda calls for.

With this animosity in mind, I imagine the inner circle has been expecting Emanuel to pass get the agenda through without the slightest notion how unrealistic it is to pass such a wildly progressive agenda. If it is true that Emanuel is leaving, the motivation says more about the rest of Obama’s advisors than it does about emauel.

I think it is plausible Emanuel will leave. For one thing, the article has introduced the idea he fears losing touch with his children, which is setting up the plausible, “”I want to spend more tie with my family” excuse for quitting. For another, I suspect the inner circle wants his head to roll should Republicans win big in the midterms. They may even envision bringing in a new chief of staff with the Congressional power shift in mind.

Whatever the case, it looks like Obama has surrounded himself with ideologues he have no idea how to set a real, workable policy agenda. They are so far out there in left field, even Democrats are jumping ship.

Formspring Question # 25--To Go Boldly Edition

Thanks for ranking the Star Wars films. I figured you'd be an original trilogy kind of guy. How about the Star Trek films next?
1. First Contact
2. The Undiscovered Country
3. The Wrath of Khan
4. The Voyage Home
5. Insurrection
6. The Search for Spock
7. Generations
8. The Motion Picture
9. The Final Frontier
10. Nemesis

Thirty Days of Lost # 29--What Are You Going to Do Now That Lost is Over?

All things come and go. It is best not to get desperately attached to anything.

Deep Space Nine--"Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night"

Deep Space Nine continues exploring its frequent and often strange means of time travel in “Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night.” As an added bonus, the story adds a uncomfortable twist to the already odd physical attraction Dukat has for Kira. Kira’s mother, Meru, was Dukat’s mistress during the occupation.

Kira is depressed on what would be her mother’s sixtieth birthday. She never knew her mother, who died in a slave labor camp, but still feels the longing every child has for maternal comfort. She receives a message from dukat informing her that he is nostalgic for her other, too. He was in love with her.

Kira does not want to believe that, so she convinces Sisko to let her use the Orb of Time to go into the past and find out for certain.

What she discovers is that her mother is a collaborator. Dukat offered her special treatment, which she readily accepted. Dukat was motivated by sexual attraction and she was willing to accommodate. Worse yet, she rows to enjoy his company. Seeing her mother act this way sends Kira over the edge. She sets a bomb to kill them both.

But before the bomb lows, she watches her mother listening to a transmission from her father. It becomes clear Kira and the rest of her family are also getting special treatment because she is staying with Dukat. Kira realizes her mother is not a collaborator, so she rescues them both before the bomb goes off.

Kira return to the present confused as ever. She loves her mother in spite of what she has learned about her, but is still appalled to learn she really did fall in love with Dukat.

The episode, unlike much of Trek, leaves it up to the audience to make up its own mind about Meru’s actions. I am at a loss myself. Being a cynical soul, I am confident most anyone would collaborate if the choice was between a life of luxury doing so for you and your family versus living and dying as a slave. Anyone who claims otherwise lacks the ability to look at the scenario realistically. At the same time, it is still traitorous. Doubly so if you come to enjoy it.

I have mixed feelings, but the episode made me work through the issue. Anything that makes you think is good, no? Just try not to think about the whole mother/daughter fetish Dukat obviously has…

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Adriana Lima

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Blogroll Spotlight IL

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--Puddt: The Gift.

Amusing Bunni's Musings--My Take on BO's Speech.

Belmont Club--The Gulf

Camp of the Saints--The Gals from The Tudors.

Classic Liberal--Why Not Another American Revolution?

Current--Net Neutrality: The Real Reason Bloggers Should Be Worried.

Daley Gator--So Crazy, Crazy People Call Her Nuts.

Gorge's Grouse--The NRA Has Sold Its Soul.

In a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World--Ronnie Lee Gardner Executed.

Jumping in Pools--Check Out the Obamadome.

Liberalguy--A John Wayne Intervention.

MAinfo--Is It Okay for Our Government to Violate the Constitution?

Mind Numbed Robot--Campaigns and the Seventeenth Amendment.

Other McCain--Dictatorship of the Obamatariat.

Paco Enterprises-The Perpetual Rookie.

Proof Positive--Saturday Linkaround.

Silent Majority--Tea Party Goes Global.

Global, you say?Teresamerica--Reflections on the Oil Spill, the Clean Up, and Obama's Reaction.

Theo Spark--Moose Twins.

Troglopundit--This Won't Help Soccer's Reputation in the US.

Washington Rebel--Snakebit, Et Cetera.

We the People--I've Just About Had It with This Crap.

Thirty Days of Lost # 28--Favorite Lost Related Item

Sheila Kelley, who played geophysicist Zoe on a few episode in the final season, wrote a book on pole dancing as good exercise for women. I have never read it, but I wholeheartedly endorse the idea it espouses.