SciFi Weekend: Claire Returns; 24 Movie; Captain America; Kaley Cuoco; Anna Torv

This was a pretty slow week. Several genre shows are on hiatus until after the Olympics. Caprica took one week off. Not terribly much happened on Lost until the final minute when Claire returned. The cast is out looking for new jobs with Daniel Dae Kim getting the lead role in a Hawaii 5-0 remake.

24 has been disappointing this season with rumors that this might be the last season on television, to be followed by a movie. This gives them two choices–remain in real time and have a two hour story or compress the events of twenty-four hours into a two hour movie. The word is that they are considering the compressed day idea.

There have been a few genre oriented posts out already this week, two involving Captain America. First there was a look at Captain America vs. The Teabaggers which actually is seen in the comic. This was followed by a look at Captain America vs. Iron Man and the Superhuman Registration Act.

Earlier today I had a post which showed a connection between Gilmore Girls and Big Bang Theory. There was more news this week regarding Big Bang Theory with Kaley Cuoco appearing in Maxim (above). In addition, nude scenes of Lucy Lawless in Spartacus have hit the internet and Anna Torv of Fringe appears topless in Esquire:

Barack Obama Addresses U.S.-Islamic World Forum

The previous post features John Kerry’s speech at the U.S.-Islamic World Forum. Barack Obama has also spoken at the forum. Obama acknowledged that “the United States and Muslims around the world have often slipped into a cycle of misunderstanding and mistrust that can lead to conflict rather than cooperation.” He called for “a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect.” He outlined some of the initiatives which are underway:

We’re partnering to promote education. We’re expanding exchange programs and pursuing new opportunities for online learning, connecting students in America with those in Qatar and other Muslim communities. Because knowledge is the currency of the 21st century, and countries that educate their children-including their daughters-are more likely to prosper.

We’re partnering to broaden economic development. We’re working to ensure that the global economic recovery creates jobs and prosperity in all regions of the world. And to help foster innovation and job-creation, I’ll host a Summit on Entrepreneurship in April with business leaders and entrepreneurs from Muslim communities around the world.

We’re partnering to increase collaboration on science and technology. We’ve launched a Global Technology and Innovation Fund that will invest in technological development across the Middle East, Africa and Asia. And the first of our distinguished Science Envoys have begun visiting countries to deepen science and technology cooperation over the long-term.

And we’re partnering to promote global health. We worked together to address H1N1, which was a concern of many Muslims during the hajj. We’ve joined with the Organization of the Islamic Conference to eradicate polio. And as part of our increased commitment to foreign assistance, we’ve launched major initiatives to promote global health and food security around the world.

The full text follows below the fold:


John Kerry Addresses U.S.-Islamic World Forum

John Kerry, currently Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the man who might have become president in 2004 if only there were more voting machines available in some urban areas of Ohio, gave an excellent speech before the U.S.-Islamic World Forum. Spencer Ackerman writes, “This is the speech that should have been given to the Muslim world by President John Kerry in 2005.”

Kerry noted how the world is changing:

For a decade, our relationship was framed by trauma and terrorism, by two ongoing wars and political conflict—and the fallout only polarized us further. Many Muslims perceived the United States as an aggressor – projecting its power solely to protect its own security and economic interests, usually at the expense of Muslim countries. Too many in western societies implicitly, and at times explicitly, blamed an entire religion for the unholy violence of a few. This left many Muslims angry and alienated and complicated the task for leaders in the region.

At the same time, suicide bombers and extremists dominated the daily news. While credible and respected Muslim voices did publicly condemn the fanaticism and violence, their actions received little attention from the media and policymakers. Too often, the extremists defined an “us versus them” discourse, and all of us suffered for it.

Since President Obama took office, we have witnessed a dramatic shift. While expectations were perhaps too high that the world would change overnight, we know that his words and our subsequent actions were just the beginning of a long road.

Kerry also discussed what must be done in the future along with how conditions are changing:

First, America is striving to think and talk differently about Islam. We reject—publicly and categorically—the demonization of a religion and recognize our need for deeper understanding. Our values and our history remind us constantly that religious bigotry – whether it is anti-Semitism or Islamophobia – has no place in our public life. America was founded by those seeking freedom of religion, and all Western countries need to recognize that banning burqas or minarets is contrary to our shared values. It builds unnecessary walls between Muslims and the rest of society. It’s insulting, and it only exacerbates tensions.

Second, we must acknowledge that a serious debate is now underway within Muslim communities over how best to address extremism and combat prejudice. This is an important development because ultimately, it is those communities that are best positioned to find solutions that resonate. I want to commend His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan for his signature work in promoting Muslim-Christian dialogue through “A Common Word” initiative, which attracts more signatories every day. I want to also recognize His Majesty King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia for promoting interreligious dialogue. And of course, the Qataris deserve great credit for hosting forums like this one.

Third, the United States is reaching out to the next generation and cultivating people-to-people relationships. President Obama has created new science envoys and exchange programs. Our space program, NASA, is welcoming Muslim students from around the world and financing a research program in the Gulf. And Secretary of State Clinton has appointed a Special Representative to Muslim Communities who is focused on people-to-people engagement, Farah Pandith, who is here with us today. All of these initiatives add up to a different attitude and a different approach.

Kerry pointed out how there must be changes in the treatment of women:

But for societies to harness their full potential, we also need to address the aspirations of women. Countries cannot expect to be competitive if half the workforce is economically marginalized or denied rights and opportunities. While this effort sometimes runs hard up against cultures and traditions, as we in America learned with the election of our first African-American president, once a barrier has been broken, we wonder how it could ever have stood for so long.

Kerry concluded with a discussion of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and conditions in Gaza. He pointed out that achieving peace alone will not solve all of the problems:

I know that everyone here understands the urgent need for peace. But peace alone will not solve all the region’s problems. Ask yourselves: If peace were delivered tomorrow, would it meet the job needs of the entire region? How many more children would it send to school? Who really believes that Iran would suddenly abandon its nuclear ambitions? So we know that Israel/Palestine is central but we must develop a much more practical partnership that extends well beyond regional conflicts.

The full text is under the fold:


Big Bang Theory Meets Gilmore Girls

Readers of this blog have undoubtedly picked up on the fact that two television shows I like are Big Bang Theory and Gilmore Girls. An old post on the possibility of a Gilmore Girls movie has by far the longest running thread of comments which has continued into this year.

One concern I’ve had is whether the old sets are available. It just would not work to have a Gilmore Girls reunion without Stars Hollow. Remember how disappointing it was to have the Cheers reunion without the old bar? It turns out not only does the Stars Hollow set still exist (picture above) but that there is a connection between this and Bill Prady, executive producer of Big Bang Theory.

Bill Prady has a tweet saying,  “The walk from my office to the stage is through the Warner back lot (Star’s Hollow)”  He linked to the picture above. That would be a great walk to take on the way to work everyday, and even better if Lorelei and Rory would walk by with their rapid-paced dialogue.

Robert Gibbs is on Twitter

On Friday I opened a Twitter account. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs started one on Saturday. By Saturday evening when I was breaking thirty followers Gibbs was breaking ten thousand. He is PressSec if anyone is interested and hasn’t come across word of this yet.

Gibbs has a single tweet so far:  “Learning about “the twitter” – easing into this with first tweet – any tips?”

My response: “One tip: beware of a crazy lady from Alaska who writes bizarre things about what WH is up to, like “death panels.”

Additional responses and tweets about PressSec can be found here.

If anyone is looking for a job, the Democratic National Committee is also looking for someone to take over their postings on Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace.