SciFi Friday: Gay SF, Finales, And Hot Post Finale Pics


Last weekend must have been Gay Science Fiction Television weekend, at least for those who are watching Torchwood on BBC America. They’ve hinted plenty of times that Captain Jack will sleep with anyone of any species or sex. In the second from last episode of the season the rift took Captain Jack back in time where he wound up dancing with and ultimately kissing Captain Jack Harkness. No, he didn’t kiss himself. He got involved with the real Jack Harkness, whose identity he took after the real Jack Harkness was killed during World War II. Got that straight? The first season finale will air Saturday night on BBC America and a week from Monday on HDNet. (I’m having a mini Torchwood marathon, watching Combat on HDNet on Monday, Captain Jack Harness which I recorded from BBC America on Tuesday, and will watch the finale this weekend.)

The second season of Torchwood starts in Great Britain in January and they’ve finally figured out how to reduce the number of Americans who got hooked on the show from downloading it before it airs here. BBC America will start showing the second season on January 26. No word yet on when HDNet will carry the HD version. The second season will include a character from Jack’s past (or more precisely, future). James Marsters will play a criminal time-agent. Freema Agyeman will also appear as Martha Jones but, due to her role on Doctor Who, which is technically a children’s show, she will not be appearing in any scenes involving sex or swearing. Damn it, what a waste.

The other gay relationship of the weekend took place on Battlestar Galactica: Razor (major spoilers in this section). Besides being about Admiral Cain (below right) as billed, much of the story centered around Kendra Shaw (above right). Another key character was Gina (left in pictures above and below), played by Tricia Helfer, who was having an affair with Admiral Cain. Shaw figures out that Gina is a Cylon after seeing Six as part of a Cylon attack on Pegasus. Cain has her tortured, giving added significance when Six ultimately kills her during season two.

We’ve heard many times that “this has happened before and it will happen again” and we hear it again late in the episode. Flashbacks show the original Cylons, including one who says the classic line, “By your command.” It turns out that they were also working on Human-Cylon hybrids, and the original one is still around to warn that Starbuck (below) would lead humanity to their doom. Unfortunately, if this warning is true, this is told to Shaw just before she is blown up.

Torchwood isn’t the only finale to air this week, but unlike the intentionally shorter British series, the American television series which are ending are doing so prematurely due to the strike. This week’s episode of The Bionic Woman was the last filmed before the strike, and many speculate that it will be the last of the series due to declining ratings. There have also been rumors, later denied, that even if the show returns it will be without Katee Sackhoff.

Desperate Housewives has a cliff hanger as a tornado is responsible for the death of at least one cast member (obviously not one of the main four). Another episode has been shot but there is no word when it will air and they might leave the show with the cliffhanger until the full series can be resumed.

Heroes finally got the story moving a few weeks ago, returning to the quality of the first season, but now it is already coming to an end on Monday. There are a number of loose ends, and hopefully Monday’s episode was written to be a satisfactory season finale which wraps most of them up. I assume they would not have started out the season so slowly if they realized how short it would turn out to be.

If we won’t have any further episodes of Heroes this year, at least we are bound to see many magazines featuring some of its stars. GQ has named Hayden Panetierre (above) the Obsession of the Year.


Kristen Bell has been chosen as Complex’s Woman of Next Year.


And, finally, in case anyone missed the big news of the week, Billie Piper will be returning to Doctor Who.

Christina Aguilera Latest to Pose Pregnant and Nude

First Demi Moore posed nude while pregnant.

Then Britney Spear copied her. Little did we know how much else she would soon show in pictures.

And now Christina Aguilera has jointed in on the cover of Marie Claire.

I dread to think what will happen should Lindsay Lohan get pregnant.

Kristen Bell of Veronica Mars and Heroes isn’t pregnant, but she is a cover girl this month, which will be included later in today’s edition of SciFi Friday, along with her Heroes costar Hayden Panettiere, GQ’s Obsession of the Year.

On Mandates: Choice is Not A Right-Wing Talking Point

John Edwards has explained what he means by not offering people the choice of declining participating in his health care plan:

Under the Edwards plan, when Americans file their income taxes, they would be required to submit a letter from an insurance provider confirming coverage for themselves and their dependents.

If someone did not submit proof of coverage, the Internal Revenue Service would notify a newly established regional or state-based health-care agency (which Edwards has dubbed a Health Care Market).

Those regional agencies would then evaluate whether the uninsured individual was eligible for Medicare (which covers those over 65), Medicaid (which covers the indigent), or S-CHIP (the State Children’s Health Insurance Program which targets the working poor).

If the individual was not eligible for either of those existing public programs, the regional-health care agency would enroll the individual into the lowest cost health-care plan available in that area. The lowest-cost option could be a new Medicare-like public option or a private insurance plan.

The newly covered individual would not only have access to health benefits but would also be responsible for making monthly payments with the help of a tax credit…

If a person did not meet his or her monthly financial obligation for a set period of time (perhaps a year, perhaps longer) the Edwards plan would empower the federal government to garnish an individual’s wages for purposes of collecting “back premiums with interest and collection costs.”

The process, according to the Edwards campaign, would resemble the process used to collect money from Americans who are delinquent on federal student loans or child support payments.

Just what most Americans want–more involvement by the IRS in their lives. Student loans and child support hardly provide good models for a health care plan. John Edwards has moved full circle from personally evading Medicare taxes to wanting to use the IRS to enforce his health care program. There’s still no explanation as to how he’ll enforce his requirement for mandatory preventative care. Perhaps he’ll resort to water boarding those who are noncompliant.

Anyone who thinks that its a good move to use the IRS to force people to sign up for a health care plan misses why Clinton’s previous plan was rejected and why the Democrats lost control of Congress. We’ve finally reached the point where scare stories about “socialized medicine” don’t cause people to reject the entire idea of reforms to make health care more affordable. This time around opponents of Democratic plans won’t need any Harry and Louise ads. All they will need are clips of John Edwards talking about using the IRS to force people into their plan, or how he will make preventative care mandatory.

Barack Obama has taken a lot of heat from the left for discussing the problems with mandates, including attacks from John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, and Paul Krugman. Krugman believes that Edwards somehow called Obama’s bluff after Obama said, “Their essential argument is the only way to get everybody covered is if the government forces you to buy health insurance. If you don’t buy it, then you’ll be penalized in some way.” Krugman apparently believes that having the IRS garnish your pay does not constitute being penalized.

Krugman’s makes the same mistake in attacking Obama as conservatives commonly do in reverse when attacking all government involvement in health care:

Mr. Obama, then, is wrong on policy. Worse yet, the words he uses to defend his position make him sound like Rudy Giuliani inveighing against “socialized medicine”: he doesn’t want the government to “force” people to have insurance, to “penalize” people who don’t participate.I recently castigated Mr. Obama for adopting right-wing talking points about a Social Security “crisis.” Now he’s echoing right-wing talking points on health care.

Just as it is erroneous to label any government involvement in health care “socialized medicine,” it is incorrect for Krugman to say any criticism of a government plan based on maintaining choice represents the same type of argument. Just as not all government action is necessarily “socialized medicine,” not every effort to avoid mandatory programs is the same as screaming “socialized medicine.” Attempting to keep programs as voluntary as possible is not in itself bad. In fact, striving to provide choice is a virtue.

The main argument for mandates is that without mandates in a program which prohibits exclusions for preexisting conditions people would be motivated to delay purchasing insurance until they have a medical problem. It doesn’t take much imagination to find ways around this problem while preserving choice. You could prohibit exclusions for preexisting conditions at the start of the program, when people change from one insurance plan to another, and at other predetermined times, but still allow exclusions in cases of people who chose not to have insurance. It might make things a little more complicated, and it might be argued that this would allow people to make foolish decisions, but that is what freedom is all about. Freedom is both messy and includes allowing people to make bad decisions. Contrary to what Krugman claims, providing people with choice is not a right-wing talking point. It is a fundamental liberal value.

Related Story: The Edwards Mantra: “You Don’t Get That Choice”

Meals with Michael

Michael Bloomberg has been going out to eat a lot recently. Following his recent dinner with Chuck Hagel there are now reports of Bloomberg having breakfast with Barack Obama. There’s no word on what they talked about, but we do know that Obama paid for the breakfast and didn’t make a mistake Hillary Clinton recently did. Obama left a $10 tip on a $17.34 meal.

Health Care, Ron Paul Style?

Ron Paul supporters say the darndest things. Bill Sardi gives his vision of health care in the year 2050. He predicts we’ll have half as many doctors, which presumably would make it much easier to slash and ultimately eliminate government spending on health care. There won’t be any need for antibiotics either as we will use Vitamin D to treat bacterial infections, and for the really stubborn infections we’ll turn to a garlic derivative. Similarly vitamins will replace chemotherapy to eliminate cancer.

Being a Paul supporter we even have a conspiracy theory. All those journal articles I’ve read showing that intensive treatment with Statins can reverse plaque in coronary arteries, as well as decrease inflammation which contributes to heart disease, are part of a government plot to tamper with our precious bodily fluids:

Cholesterol-lowering drugs are no longer employed since they never were shown to lower mortality rates and it was later revealed that government health authorities created this misdirection long ago in an effort to covertly reduce birth rates and population growth (cholesterol being a precursor for sex hormones – estrogen and testosterone).

This is the most shocking revelation since General Jack D. Ripper informed us that “fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous Communist plot we have ever had to face” in Doctor Strangelove.

Sardi knows about all the changes to come in health care because this is information now available but kept hidden (yet another conspiracy) and Ron Paul will put an end to this:

The striking disappointment is that all of this was known over 40 years ago but entrenched financial interests prevented these health practices from being implemented in a timely manner.

These changes began in 2008 with the election of Ron Paul as the 44th President of the United States, which signaled a major change in the direction of healthcare.

Ron Paul supporters truly do live in an alternative reality. Its too bad there’s not another Republican YouTube debate so that someone can ask Paul his views on antibiotics, chemotherapy, and cholesterol-lowering medications just as he was asked his views on conspiracy theories in the last debate. We already know that Paul doesn’t see a distinction between a zygote and a fully developed human. Without another YouTube debate we might not learn if Sardi’s ideas are another area where Paul shares views with his followers since the mainstream media generally doesn’t seem to care to look at anything more than his opposition to the war.

Bloomberg and Hagel Continue to Show Signs of Considering Independent Run

Although Michael Bloomberg denies having plans to run for president, the topic of a Bloomberg-Hagel ticket keeps coming up. Last week Sam Stein reported on Bloomberg’s efforts to study foreign policy.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been receiving foreign policy briefing sessions on a wide variety of topics, providing the strongest indication yet that he is considering a run for the White House, the Huffington Post has learned.

The sessions, which were confirmed by multiple sources, have been conducted with Nancy Soderberg, a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and a Clinton Administration foreign policy adviser. One source described her as “Bloomberg’s Condi.”

A range of topics have been discussed, from non-proliferation to the defense budget, with a specific focus on the war in Iraq.

These sessions dramatically contradict Bloomberg’s denials that he is planning to run for president. The one aspect of his possible candidacy that is considered missing is foreign policy experience. These strategy sessions with Soderberg seem clearly designed to fortify that weakness.

Hagel helped build up his independent credentials, and gave Ron Paul supporters yet another reason to panic, when he spoke before the Council on Foreign Relations criticizing George Bush:

Sen. Chuck Hagel, a leading Republican lawmaker who has come out against the Iraq war, had some harsh words for the Bush White House Wednesday, calling it “one of the most arrogant” administrations he’s ever seen.

“I would rate this one the lowest in capacity, in capability, in policy, in consensus — almost every area, I would give it the lowest grade,” Hagel said during an event at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York…

“I think of this administration, what they could have done after 9/11, what was within their grasp,” he said. “Every poll in the world showed 90 percent of the world for us. Iran had some of the first spontaneous demonstrations on the streets of Tehran supporting America.”

“There’s where they have failed the country,” Hagel continued. “They’ve squandered the time and the opportunity that they had, and the next president is going to take four years to not only dig out from under that.

Hagel denied any plans to run, but did joke about the order of a potential ticket:

“Bloomberg’s got the money — I think it’d be Bloomberg-Hagel,” the senator joked when asked about the speculation.

After the speech, Hagel  had dinner with Bloomberg, and Hagel kept speculation alive:

After Bloomberg and Hagel shared another not-so-secret dinner in Washington last May, Hagel said in a television interview that it was time for a third-party candidacy to shake things up. He also mused about the idea of him and Bloomberg running together.

“We didn’t make any deals. But I think Mayor Bloomberg is the kind of individual who should seriously think about this,” Hagel said. “It’s a great country to think about – a New York boy and a Nebraska boy to be teamed up leading this nation.”