SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who, Torchwood Returns; True Blood Returns With More Vampire Sex

June 13, 2010

There’s just a quickie edition of Scifi Weekend this week while I’m out of town. American viewers of Doctor Who saw the first of a two part story in which the Doctor met some beings from down under. The BBC had the doctor try to fit in among normal people, including a game of soccer. This was far more fun than the World Cup.

Next week (BBC): The Pandorica opens.

The big news of the week was reported in a separate post: Torchwood to return with a bigger budget as a joint venture between the BBC and Starz.

True Blood returns, meaning more hot vampire sex. Anna Paquin discussed her nude scenes with Entertainment Weekly:

Anna Paquin (who plays Sookie Stackhouse) is certainly used to getting naked on the show, but says the graphic love scenes are the least of her concerns. “It doesn’t really bother me,” she admits. “I’m really close with all of our cast, and we’ve all seen each other in various compromising and odd situations.” The actress is, of course, particularly close with fiancé Stephen Moyer (who plays Sookie’s vampire lover Bill), and Moyer says their real-life romance definitely adds to their love scenes. Jokes the actor, “I think that one great bonus is we don’t need a fluffer.”


Quote of the Day

June 13, 2010

“Remember the good old days, when ‘tea bagging’ just meant dropping your balls into someone’s mouth?”
–Wil Wheaton


Support For Tea Party And Republicans Diminishing

June 12, 2010

At the beginning of the year the conventional wisdom was that many Americans were backing the tea party movement as well as the Republicans and the Democrats were in serious trouble. Several news reports and polls suggest that the right may have peaked too soon.

The Washington Post explains that tea party candidates were hurt by the lack of organization in the movement. Like most horse race stories in the mainstream media, the story gets it partially right but misses the major problems faced by the tea party: they are ignorant on the issues and hold extremist views which most Americans would find repulsive if  news reports provided more than a superficial description.

While the media has done a poor job of describing what the tea party really stands for, at least this report does show that more Americans are catching on. They cite a Washington Post-ABC News poll which found that 50 percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of the tea party movement, up from 39 percent in March. This number will grow as more people understand what the tea party actually stands for.

Other polls also show a trend away from the right wing. A new Public Policy Polling survey shows that the Democrats have taken a small lead on the generic Congressional ballot for the first time this year. Another poll shows that Obama leads all opponents in  hypothetical 2012 match ups. The margin is small in some cases, but the advantages of incumbency as well as potential loss of support as the opponents come under greater scrutiny will probably increase this spread further. Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney currently come closest while Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, and Ron Paul trail by large margins.


Quote of the Day

June 12, 2010
“Even though I’m president of the United States, my power is not limitless. So I can’t dive down there and plug the hole. I can’t suck it up with a straw.”

Mike Huckabee Swears To Continue The American Taliban Movement

June 11, 2010

Mike Huckabee wants to keep the culture wars alive and doesn’t like the suggestion from Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels that the next president should drop the social issues and concentrate on fiscal problems. Huckabee responded:

Apparently, a 2012 Republican presidential prospect in an interview with a reporter has made the suggestion that the next President should call for a “truce” on social issues like abortion and traditional marriage to focus on fiscal problems.
In other words, stop fighting to end abortion and don’t make protecting traditional marriage a priority.
Let me be clear though, the issue of life and traditional marriage are not bargaining chips nor are they political issues. They are moral issues. I didn’t get involved in politics just to lower taxes and cut spending though I believe in both and have done it as a Governor. But I want to stay true to the basic premises of our civilization.
Are you ready to stop fighting for traditional marriage?  I cannot.  I will not.
Can you let the tragedy of abortion go unchecked while we get our financial house in order?  I cannot.  I will not.

What would the Republicans be without the culture wars–their attempt to fight the modern world and impose their religious views upon everyone else? As Joe Klein pointed out earlier this week, the whole Republican fiscal conservative line is a farce which they have neither the interest or ability to carry out. However using the power of government to impose their perverse moral code upon others is something which today’s Republican Party can stand behind.

Really cut the budget–will never happen under the borrow and spend Republicans. Have government control the bodies of women–Republicans are all for it.

Actually pay for their wars–never. Tell others who they may or may not legally marry–a “right” Republicans will fight to defend.

Conservatives like Mike Huckabee will makes sure that the American Taliban does not go away.


Republicans Are The Last Ones To Seriously Cut The Deficit

June 10, 2010

Earlier in the week Freddy “The Beetle” Barnes suggested in his column that Barack Obama would secretly be happy to see the Republicans take control of the House as this would make it easier to balance the budget. I’m not sure which is more ridiculous–Obama wanting to deal with a Republican-controlled Congress or to think that a party as fiscally irresponsible as the GOP would help balance the budget.  Joe Klein set Barnes straight:

1. There is no way the President is rooting for a Republican takeover of the Congress, given the extremist, recalcitrant path the party has taken in recent years. The rumor that Barnes cites is nonsense.

2. The Republicans have shown no–I mean, zero–interest in cutting the budget in the past. They didn’t do it under Reagan; they didn’t do it under Bush Junior. Quite the opposite, they exploded the budget deficit with wars and tax cuts. The exception was the Clinton era, when Ross Perot’s success changed the political landscape for a few years, making budget-cutting cool. But the Republicans’ usual modus operandi is to take really courageous stands against federal funding for the arts–a huge program!–or federally-funded abortion…overseas, or earmarks (while sneaking their own pet projects into Christmas tree bills), but when a real budget-cutting proposal comes along like Rep. Paul Ryan’s honest but ridiculous Medicare evisceration, they run for the hills.

3. There ain’t all that much to cut. Really. The discretionary domestic spending that Barnes talks about is chump change. The real money, as everyone knows, is in defense and entitlements. Some leaders of the Tea Party movement, to their credit, have raised the possibility of cutting the defense budget (which, in truth, is what the Secretary of Defense Robert Gates would like to do but can’t because of Congress, especially the sun belt Republicans with defense plants). Social Security can be fixed fairly easily, and Barnes is right in this case–it’s Democrats who oppose some of the more plausible fixes, like raising the retirement age (although Republicans have demagogued the essential Clinton-initiated component of taxing the benefits of wealthy Social Security recipients). And there is Medicare, where the real solution–moving recipients out of fee-for-service and into managed care–is about as popular as the oil spill.

So Barnes is peddling from an empty sack here–and, assuming an even rudimentary knowledge of the federal budget on his part, he knows it. The fact that the Journal would print such twaddle as opinion and not the utterly cynical propaganda that it is shows the marked disintegration of respect for coherent thought at that Temple of Right-Thinking. It would be nice to have an actual conversation about this stuff, but it just seems impossible.


Rand Paul And The Religious Right

June 9, 2010

The worst thing about the alliance between libertarians and Republicans is that Republican values wound off replacing older libertarian views for many libertarians. Whether or not you agree with them, at least old time libertarians did hold a pro-freedom philosophy which is not seen in the theocratic views of people like Ron and Rand Paul. While they support limitations on the federal government, the libertarianism of such people is more authoritarian and theocratic on the state and local level.

Liam Fox provides several examples of Rand Paul’s connections to the religious right in a post entitled Rand Paul: Small government but BIG church, beginning with the Concerned Women for America:

Rand Paul, a Constitutional Conservative, and Tea Party candidate for Kentucky Senator, has established an interesting, and seemingly contradictory, platform for his campaign. While being a strong advocate for what he refers to, yet, like many others, fails to define, as smaller government, Dr. Paul is equally as committed to increasing the power and influence of the Christian church in every aspect of that Government.

Paul, according to his own site, is proud to have the endorsement of the far-Right theocratic organization, Concerned Women for America. His site boasts that his “socially conservative views have earned the respect and trust of church leaders across Kentucky.”

Here is how Concerned Women for America describe their views on their web site:

CWA is built on prayer and action.

We are the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization with a rich 30-year history of helping our members across the country bring Biblical principles into all levels of public policy.

What We Do

We help people focus on six core issues, which we have determined need Biblical principles most and where we can have the greatest impact. At its root, each of these issues is a battle over worldviews.

We have several active departments in our national office in Washington, D.C.

CWA is a unique blend of policy experts and an activist network of people in small towns and big cities across the country working to address mutually held goals and concerns. Meet the CWA spokespersons. CWA works with many other groups around the country. Find these and other sources of information on our links page.

Mission Statement

The mission of CWA is to protect and promote Biblical values among all citizens – first through prayer, then education, and finally by influencing our society – thereby reversing the decline in moral values in our nation.

Rand Paul’s ties to the religious right extend beyond CWA. Paul has received the support of James Dobson. He was the featured guest and speaker at the Constitutional Party’s Liberty Banquet.  The Constitution Party. The party describes its goal as “to restore American jurisprudence to its Biblical foundations.”

Fox’s post also outlines other connections between Paul and the religious right. As first became apparent with the controversy over Paul’s opposition to the Civil Rights Act, his philosophy takes aspects of libertarian rhetoric but lacks true support for freedom.