SciFi Friday: Jaime Sommers Heats Up; Save the Cheerleader, Save the Dolphins; and a Runaway Bride

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The writers are going on strike Monday, but with this season being so mediocre they risk not having anyone care. It doesn’t help that Battlestar Galactica, Lost, Jericho, 24, and Doctor Who all remain on hiatus until winter or spring. The new series have generally been disappointing. I’ve stuck with Bionic Woman primarily due to its ties to Battlestar Galatica in the hopes it will improve. The mixture of home life with Jaime’s life as an agent, along with the conflicting spy agencies, does give it some of the feel of the early years of Alias. LA.com spoke with Michelle Ryan (above) who says things will be heating up:

Things are going to be heating up for “The Bionic Woman” — and as that “Woman,” Michelle Ryan, tells us, “It’s definitely time.” As the 23-year-old British actress says of her heroic character, “Everything she does is for others. The time has come for her to think of herself and have some fun.”

That fun is being shared by actor Jordan Bridges (Beau‘s son) in the role of Tom, who was introduced to “Bionic” viewers last week. Tips Michelle, “He’s going to be doing three episodes — at least.” She adds that the pairing “has a nice chemistry. I think it will be a good addition to the show.”

That show has only a few more episodes to shoot before its seasonal hiatus, but Michelle gives the strong impression that the program will be given plenty of time to improve its ratings. “NBC,” shares Ryan, “will be giving the series a big second launch in January.”

With so many other shows on hiatus, Heroes was left as the major genre show of the fall season. There have been many complaints the the show is dragging this season, but it would be difficult to repeat its novelty in the second season. With so many characters we often see brief, and rather trivial, stories about one character after another. I’m still hoping there will be a payoff as all the various stories weave together, and adding Kristen Bell (above) cannot be a bad thing. They are signs of major problems which can include all the characters including the return of Sylar, the infection, the new and improved Company, and the killing of the older generation. Last week Peter Petrelli one again saw a future New York which has been destroyed. While this worked the first season, it doesn’t have the same impact the second time around–especially without the compelling tag line, “Save the Cheerleader, Save the World.”

Heroes might also be affected by the strike. The planned six episode spin-off, Heroes Origins, has been put on hold, possibly due to either the strike or to this season’s decline in ratings. There is also talk that an alternative ending has been written for the December 3 episode so that it could be used as a season finale due to the strike.
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If Heroes is not filming, Hayden Panettiere has some other activities to keep her busy around the water (besides sitting at the beach as above). Panettiere has recently been protesting the hunting of dolphins:

“Now more than ever the world has to come together to make changes. Just because certain cultures have had long-standing traditions does not mean that in today’s world they are acceptable any longer. The world and the environment are evolving and that means we must change our ways as human beings as well.”

On her reasons for supporting the cause she said, “The dolphins and whales in our ocean are a part of a larger eco-system that prevents the killing off of other marine life. By destroying these animals and not allowing our future generations to enjoy their beauty, we are causing our own selves damage. I always felt the need to speak on behalf of these helpless creatures who can not defend themselves.”

The Heroes star adds, “Because I am in the public eye I feel the need to be a voice of worthy and important causes whose efforts impact the lives of every person on Earth. These animals are being brutally and unnecessarily slaughtered – and who are we to say to they have less of a right to exist than we do.”

The first season of Californication ended with the best finale of the season so far. Of course this wasn’t very hard as it is the only season finale I’ve seen so far, but this could set the standard for the rest of the shows It was also the best wedding scene since Elaine’s wedding at the conclusion of The Graduate. Californication has been renewed for a second season, and in the meantime David Duchovny will be busy as the second X-Files movie will begin filming, with release scheduled for July 25, 2008.

The scandal created when nude photos of Vanessa Hudgens appeared nude all over the internet hasn’t harmed Vanessa’s career. Vanessa has been signed for High School Musical 3 and will even be receiving a raise. Shooting starts in January.

Dennis Kucinich To Introduce Resolution for the Impeachment of Dick Cheney

From Dennis Kucinich’s web site:

Kucinich Will Introduce Privileged Resolution To Force Up Or Down Vote On Cheney Impeachment

Washington, Nov 2
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) announced today that he will be offering a privileged resolution on the House floor next week that will bring articles of impeachment against the Vice President, Richard B. Cheney.

“The momentum is building for impeachment,” Kucinich said. “Millions of citizens across the nation are demanding Congress rein in the Vice President’s abuse of power.

“Despite this groundswell of opposition to the unconstitutional conduct of office, Vice President Cheney continues to violate the U.S. Constitution by insisting the power of the executive branch is supreme.

“Congress must hold the Vice President accountable. The American people need to let Members of Congress know how they feel about this. The Vice President continues to use his office to advocate for a continued occupation of Iraq and prod our nation into a belligerent stance against Iran. If the Vice President is successful, his actions will ensure decades of disastrous consequences.”

The privileged resolution has priority status for consideration on the House floor. Once introduced, the resolution has to be brought to the floor within two legislative days, although the House could act on it immediately. Kucinich is expected to bring it to the House floor on Tuesday, November 6.

H. Res. 333, Articles of Impeachment against the Vice President, has 21 cosponsors. They are: Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Robert Brady (D-PA), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA), Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA), Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Rep. Henry Johnson (D-GA), Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA), Rep. James Moran (D-VA), Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY), Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), Rep. Diane Watson (D-CA), Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) and Rep. Albert Wynn (D-MD).

Michael Bloomberg Calls for National Carbon Tax–Is There a Meaning to Him Speaking On National Issues?

Michael Bloomberg has spoken in favor of a national carbon tax, raising the question of whether he remains interested in running for president as an independent.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg plans today to announce his support for a national carbon tax. In what his aides are calling one of the most significant policy addresses of his second and final term, the mayor will argue that directly taxing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change will slow global warming, promote economic growth and stimulate technological innovation — even if it results in higher gasoline prices in the short term…

In calling for a carbon tax, Mr. Bloomberg is again speaking out on national issues, as he has on gun control and public health matters like smoking and obesity. The mayor, who was elected in 2001, left the Republican Party in June of this year and declared himself a political independent, fueling speculation that he might run for president. While the presidential talk has simmered down lately, today’s environmental address could revive it…

The idea of a carbon tax has slowly been gaining support, not only among scholars and environmentalists, but also in an unlikely quarter: business groups and even the companies that emit carbon dioxide and would be the most directly affected. Earlier this year, several businessmen formed the Carbon Tax Center to argue for a revenue-neutral carbon tax. Under that proposal, the revenue from a carbon tax could be used to reduce the deficit or to finance cuts in income taxes or the alternative minimum tax.

Most economists consider a carbon tax a more effective instrument for reducing greenhouse gas emissions than the other major policy alternative, a cap-and-trade system that would require plant-by-plant emission measurements and could prompt companies to cheat. Mr. Bloomberg’s staff cited research by Gilbert E. Metcalf, a Tufts University economist who is on leave to work with the National Bureau of Economic Research, and Kenneth P. Green, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, in support of that argument.

Bloomberg might simply desire to speak on national issues, or he might be speaking on such issues to demonstrate knowledge of national issues should he decide to run. With neither party representing the views of a large number of voters there continues to be interest in an independent run by Bloomberg, but with his reputation for backing “nanny state” policies I’m not yet certain if he’d be any better than the Democratic candidates.

The full text of Bloomberg’s speech follows under the fold. (more…)

Lee Iacocca Endorses Bill Richardson

Lee Iacocca has endorsed Bill Richardson in this statement on his blog:

From the beginning, my intention has been to get people actively involved in this election and get them thinking about the candidates for themselves. While that hasn’t changed, I’ve come to the conclusion that this race is too important for me not to publicly endorse the candidate I feel is best qualified for the job of President. And whether I’m examining their priorities, using my 9C’s Scorecard or simply listening to my gut, Bill Richardson is the one who always comes out on top.

Richardson’s been a successful Governor. He’s been a successful CEO. He’s demonstrated that he knows how to negotiate with foreign leaders and lead on issues like global warming. Unlike others on the stump, he’s offering bold plans, not just pandering talk. I like his job plan, his health care plan, his energy plan, his education plan and his plan to get us out of Iraq. I also just plain like the guy.

While I believe every citizen should vote their own mind and conscience, I’d encourage you to take a long hard look at Bill Richardson for yourself. With his experience, character and vision, I believe he’s the President we need right now.

The War on Halloween

Living in a conservative area, I’ve always known people who wouldn’t allow their kids to celebrate Halloween due to being a pagan holiday. (There’s also stores within a half hour of here which wouldn’t sell Harry Potter books for the same reason). Sean Hannity has escalated the conservative War on Halloween, declaring it to be a liberal holiday. Transcript from Media Matters:

HANNITY: You know what? I totally agree. I’ve got two young kids, and I am the food police. And I’m constantly monitoring what they eat.

GERALDO RIVERA (Fox News host): And but for your involvement, wouldn’t they eat the worst stuff?

HANNITY: Chicken nuggets, pizza, cake, cupcakes, junk food —

RIVERA: Of course. There’s not — there’s not a night where I’m out where they have the choice of what they order out that they ordered something that’s bad for them. Always.

HANNITY: By the way, Halloween is a liberal holiday, because we’re teaching our children –

COLMES: Oh, come on. Please.

HANNITY: – to beg for something for free.

[laughter]

RIVERA: Do you notice I wore my costume? I wore my mustache tonight.

HANNITY: Hey, by the way, I heard Mike [Jerrick] on [the Fox-syndicated The Morning Show with] Mike & Juliet dressed as you.

COLMES: By the way, I’m going this Halloween as a Republican. I’m taking candy away from people.

[laughter]

[…]

HANNITY: And coming up, things got pretty scary when Rosie O’Donnell made a Halloween appearance on the Martha Stewart show, and I’ll tell you why Halloween is really a liberal day, next.

[…]

HANNITY: That is frightening. Rosie O’Donnell making a rare TV appearance on the Martha Stewart show, and she makes a pretty frightening Queen Elizabeth. The interview proved far from interesting. Martha certainly didn’t take Rosie to task; it was purely Halloween hoopla. All right, now here —

[sound effect of witch laughing]

COLMES: What’s wrong with Halloween hoopla? Are you anti-Halloween?

HANNITY: No. Can I tell you something? Halloween –

COLMES: Yeah.

HANNITY: – is teaching our kids to be liberals.

COLMES: What are you going as this year?

HANNITY: No, I’m not, uh, Hillary Clinton. Frightening.

COLMES: That’s a cheap shot. Come on.

HANNITY: Well, it’s the number one — it’s the number one most frightening mask out there. Go look at those new papers out there.

COLMES: You know, you’re scared that she’s going to be president of the United States.

HANNITY: No, can I tell you something?

COLMES: Yeah.

HANNITY: But I’ll tell you why. Because we’re teaching kids to knock on other people’s doors and ask for a handout. That’s how we turn –

COLMES: Is Christmas a liberal holiday, then? When people give things away?

HANNITY: No, but you offer gifts. You give on Christmas. I give gifts on Christmas?

COLMES: Well, what you give on Halloween?

HANNITY: No, you don’t give. The kids [knocks on table] — “Please, can I have some more?”

[sound effect of witch laughing]

COLMES: It’s the act of giving around — that’s our producer, laughing. But it’s the act of giving. It’s a wonderful thing. Isn’t that a Christian thing, to give, to share with your community?

HANNITY: Not to teach your kids to beg –

COLMES: It’s not begging —

HANNITY: – for a handout.

COLMES: — because you do it, too. You do it at their homes.

HANNITY: You’re teaching your kids to beg for a handout.

COLMES: So you’re anti-Halloween. That is, unfortunately, all the time we have left this evening. We toss it to Greta van Susteren, here to go on the record. Good evening, Greta.

Steven Benen compared this to the view at Focus on the Family and found that Hannity was even to the right of Dobson’s organization:

Whereas it can be argued that Christmas is a Christian holiday with Christian origins that has suffered the effects of growing secularism, Halloween can be traced to distinctly pagan sources. It is reasonable, then, that many believers would find some aspects of its celebration disturbing. I agree with them in that regard.

The traditional emphasis upon the occult, witches, devils, death, and evil sends messages to our kids that godly parents can only regard with alarm. There is clearly no place in the Christian community for this “darker side” of Halloween.

Even here, however, there is a place for some harmless fun. Kids love to dress up and pretend. If the Halloween experience is focused on fantasy rather than the occult, I see no harm in it. Make costumes for your children that represent fun characters, such as Mickey Mouse or an elderly grandmother, and then let them go door-to-door asking for treats. This side of Halloween can be thoroughly enjoyable for the little ones.

Let me add, again, that I’ve given you my personal opinion. I realize that the topic is controversial among committed Christians, and I’m sensitive to the reasons for their misgivings. My final word to parents on the subject would be “Stay true to your own convictions.”

The Christian Broadcasting Network has additional views on Halloween, taking no position on the controversy as they present different views with the disclaimer, “Leading Christian thinkers have disparate views on Halloween and how Christians should respond to it. We have offered several different viewpoints so that you, the reader, can prayerfully decide what is the correct response for your family.”

Mel Gibson’s Father Endorses Ron Paul

When Ron Paul first entered the race I saw this as beneficial. With the Republicans becoming increasingly dominated by neocons and religious fundamentalists, it would be beneficial to see signs of life among the libertarian faction of the party. Even though few Republicans might have understood, I was happy to see Paul try to bring some signs of reality to the Republican debates regarding Iraq.

Unfortunately as the race has gone on and more has come out on Paul’s views it has become clear that, despite being right on Iraq, Paul is far more a social conservative than a libertarian. Paul has become the candidate of right wing extremism as opposed to libertarianism, receiving the endorsement of groups such as Stormfront.

The Paul campaign has turned from a source of hope of presenting libertarian ideas to a comic act where you never know what absurdity will come next. Paul has received the endorsement of Hutton Gibson, best known as a Holocaust denier and father of Mel Gibson (video above).

As with many of the events of this campaign, this might say more about the cult backing Paul than Ron Paul himself. While direct connections have been found between Paul and some of the extremists who support him, I am unaware of any connection between Paul and Gibson. The question here is why supporters of Ron Paul would post this endorsement and see it as something positive.