Things To Remember About The Republicans When You Vote

Republicans are trying to remain in power by smearing Democrats because they are afraid to run on their record. They saw spreading misinformation about John Kerry as a winning strategy in 2004, and thought it would work again this year when they falsely claimed he had insulted the troops in Iraq. Eightandfive has a list of things that the Republicans want you to forget about when you vote, along with a number of useful links.

Sci Fi Friday: Star Trek Meets Heroes

Heroes must have lots of fans. After I recently had a brief story on it in a previous edition of Sci Fi Friday, “Save the Cheerleader Save the World” has become one of the biggest search engine hits for this site. I’ve more commonly had posts about classic SF shows such as Star Trek, but for this week I found something to combine the two. Comic Book Resources has an interview with Heroes writeer Brian Fuller who previously worked on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Fuller is excited about J.J. Abrams taking over Star Trek, but I wonder if he and the interviewer are the he only ones who prefers the Janeway/Seven relationship to Kirk/Spock. Here’s some portions of the interview:

Robert Taylor: Bryan, why did you want to become a writer?

Bryan Fuller: I went to film school for production, and there came a time when we all had to pitch a 20-minute short film, so that was the first time I actually sat down and wrote something with dialogue and I thought it was a lot of fun. I didn’t really take any classes on writing, I just enjoyed trying to mimic how people talk and what you would do if you were in a given situation. I never imagined I would be a writer.

Then one day I was watching “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and I thought I could do it. Something clicked, and I wrote a spec script and submitted it and wrote another one. I got invited in to pitch. I really didn’t want to be a television writer as much as I wanted to be a “Star Trek” writer. I had every action figure, so it was all about “Star Trek” for me.

I got very frustrated after years of working on the show and doing the same types of stories so I wrote, on spec, the “Dead Like Me” pilot.

RT: What do you think about the decline of the franchise and what about its place right now?

BF: I think the status right now is very encouraging, and I’m referring to the J.J. Abrams-helmed reinvention of the franchise, which it’s desperate for.

Basically what happened to the franchise was that it was in the hands of people who had done their thing with it and were continuing to do their thing with it and weren’t looking to expand. One of the promises of “Enterprise” was that it was going to be a whole new deal with different adventures and different characters. And then I saw the pilot and thought that they just changed the paradigm slightly enough that you could argue that it was different, but not under heavy scrutiny. The reason “Star Trek” was withering on the vine for so long was because it wasn’t getting enough nourishment, and J.J. Abrams is going to give it that burst of energy that it needs and it deserves.

The “Star Trek” universe is such a fertile place to tell stories. There were lots of new and innovative things going on during “Deep Space Nine” and that’s why it’s my favorite of the new series. It was much more character-based.

For me it goes original series, then “Deep Space Nine,” then “Next Generation,” and then “Voyager.” There are elements of “Voyager” that I loved, though. I think it hit its creative stride with Seven of Nine and the relationship with Janeway. I found it much more interesting than any other captain/crew relationship, including Kirk and Spock. Kirk and Spock have a great dynamic and I want to see them have adventures, but if you want to see me captivated and want me to continue watching as you pull back the layers of the onion then I think that Seven of Nine and Janeway’s relationship was much more complicated.

RT: I actually agree with that. More than Picard and Data even. I think, in some ways, it kept the series going much longer than it needed to, though.

BF: I completely agree. I loved Kirk and Spock. I love Picard and Data, even though they were just a variation on Kirk and Spock. And there was no iconic relationships on “Deep Space Nine” because all the characters were so strong, no two people really stood out.

If I was going to hang out with a captain from “Star Trek,” I would hang out with Janeway. She was the most fun. I loved the complexity of her character. I love that she went out there on her own and wasn’t always making the right decisions. Sometimes she was reacting emotionally and sometimes she was reacting strategically. She was much more flawed, and the show got criticism for that.

Oh, I’m sorry, I’m blah blah blahing about “Star Trek.” I could go on about it all day. (more…)

The Kerry Smear and Why Republicans Win

The latest right win smears on John Kerry provide a good example of why, with the likely exception of next Tuesday, Republicans have been so successful politically. They stick together and they stay on message, even when their message is a pack of lies.

As everyone knows by now, John Kerry, in the midst of other attacks on George Bush, intended to say, “I can’t overstress the importance of a great education. Do you know where you end up if you don’t study, if you aren’t smart, if you’re intellectually lazy? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush.” He went off script enough to leave some ambiguity prior to the explanation as to whether he was speaking of Bush or the troops being stuck in Iraq.

The right wing noise machine saw an opportunity to distort Kerry’s meaning and spread false claims that Kerry was attacking the troops. The news media made this easy by reporting the claims, regardless of how absurd.

While some conservatives showed some integrity and acknowledged they realized Kerry was speaking of Bush and not the troops, most repeated their assigned talking points, not caring that this was a lie. Democrats did not show such unity. Every Democrat should have responded in unison that the claims were untrue, that John Kerry was speaking of Bush and not the troops being stuck in Iraq, and that this was yet another despicable smear from the right wing.

Some Democrats defended Kerry. Others tried to distance themselves from the controversy, failing to realize that this strategy only allows the right wing noise machine to pick off the Democrats one by one. Especially disappointing was the reaction of Hillary Clinton. She should understand better than anyone after standing up to the “vast right wing conspiracy” which went after her and her husband. Does she think that she and Bill are its only targets?

When it is time to chose someone to lead the party in 2008, Democrats should remember that when other Democrats were being Swift Boated, such as recently with Patrick Murphy, John Kerry was out defending them. When it was time for her to stand up for principle, as well as the party, Hillary Clinton ran and hid.

Republicans Plot Voter Suppression in Maryland

When the voters don’t want you, the obvious thing to do, if you are a Republican, is to keep the voters from voting. Documents obtained by The Washington Post demonstrate that voter suppression is a major Republican strategy in Maryland:

A recently distributed guide for Republican poll watchers in Maryland spells out how to aggressively challenge the credentials of voters and urges these volunteers to tell election judges they could face jail time if a challenge is ignored.

Democrats said yesterday they consider the handbook, obtained by The Washington Post, evidence of a Republican effort to block people from voting Tuesday.

“The tenor of the material is that they are asking folks, if not directing them, to challenge voters,” said Bruce L. Marcus, an attorney for the state Democratic Party. “It’s really tantamount to a suppression effort.”

Advocacy groups including the National Campaign for Fair Elections, Common Cause and the NAACP, as well as a George Washington University professor who is an expert on voter suppression, agreed with that assessment.

Barbara Burt of Common Cause said the technique, last seen in Ohio in the 2004 presidential election, is an “insidious voter intimidation tactic.”

While many liberals have concentrated on the electronic voting machines, and this is certainly a potential problem which must be watched, the established problems to date have been techniques such as voter suppression which give Republicans an edge as opposed to shenanigans after the votes have been cast.

Ted Haggard’s Effect on Evangelical Minds

There’s been lots of comments on the hypocrisy of Ted Haggard for his public attitudes towards homosexuality. Amy Sullivan, writing at God’s Politics, is more interested upon the effect of the evangelical community:

The idea of any finger-wagging, “that’s what you get for going on about the ‘radical homosexual agenda'” schadenfreude really holds no interest for me. There are plenty of “hypocrite!” cries going around as it is. But I am fascinated to see how this plays out in the evangelical community. The Mark Foley scandal was one thing–it confirmed fears among many voters that Republicans didn’t share their values; they tolerated homosexual behavior among their colleagues and staff while condemning it in front of their base voters.

This, however, is a scandal involving a shephard of the flock itself. If it turns out there is truth to the allegations, the story will reverberate further and longer than any of the scandals of the 1980s (Swaggart, Bakker, etc.) because it involves not just personal behavior, but an issue that conservative evangelicals have made extremely clear is one of their two top priorities. And I wonder how or if this will affect the condemnation of homosexuality in general within conservative evangelical circles. After all, we know that people’s attitudes change once they learn that someone they know is gay. A lot of evangelicals know (or at least know of) Haggard. If indeed he has been involved with a gay man, that could blow a lot of evangelical minds.