Best Jokes From The Health Care Debate

With the health care debate completed (at least with regards to passage of the legislation) I’ve recently been posting some of the best jokes to come out of the debate as my Facebook status updates. As many have enjoyed these I thought I would begin posting them here as well:

“The big news was the Senate yesterday – the finance committee – rejected the Democrats’ health-care plan, the one with the public option. Meanwhile, the Republicans are offering their own health-care plan. It’s called, ‘Stop Crying and Take an Advil.'” –Jimmy Fallon

SciFi Weekend: Jack’s Day Ends; Sheldon Cooper’s Love Life; Caprica Cliff Hangers; Lost; Fringe Spoilers

The top story of the week is that this will be Jack Bauer’s extremely long day, but a movie is still possible. 24 has been canceled and hopes of NBC picking up the show fell through. That’s a shame. I could see Jack Bauer and Jack Donaghy working well together.

The Hollywood Reporter has some information on what is next for Jack in an interview with executive producer and show runner Howard Gordon:

THR: What’s next for “24”?

Gordon: There are other possible iterations of Jack Bauer and his world — whether a movie or some other sort of scenario. We’re developing the movie, Billy Ray (”State of Play,” “Shattered Glass”) is writing it. It depends on how well it comes out and Fox’s appetite. Most importantly it’s about ending the show right and doing it with the same level of intensity and commitment that we started with.

THR: When’s the soonest that fans could realistically expect a feature film?

Gordon: Obviously the script’s still being written. It could be as early as next year depending on how things come together.

THR: Since the setting shifts to Europe for the movie, will CTU still play a role?

Gordon: Yes and no. Jack is really the center of it, catching up with him emotionally and locationally where he is. The opportunity is not to use the real-time aspect and also to do it on a scale the TV show never allowed…

THR: Can you tease to the rest of the season?

Gordon: We’ve taken a risk in the last eight episodes. It was challenging to the writers to the actors. We’re taking a risk, the show has to do that. Without spoiling what’s to come, it’s pretty dark and complex and a place that was uncomfortable for us to write and for some of the actors to act. We really swung for the fences. Because the show is as old as it is, this season hasn’t really been given its due. But our audience is hanging in there with us and I think it’s been a very successful season.

Brannon Braga, who has worked on 24, along with FlashForward this season and Star Trek in the past, has signed a new contract with 20th Century Fox TV with chairman Gary Newman citing his experience in genre television:

Newman said 20th was especially interested in Braga’s background in the sci-fi genre. Scribe’s credits include all four of the modern “Star Trek” series — “The Next Generation,” “Deep Space Nine,” “Voyager” and “Enterprise.” He also exec produced “Threshold” for CBS.

And this season, Braga created “Flash Forward” with David Goyer, but wasn’t able to join that show full time due to his “24” commitment. He still serves as an exec producer on “Flash Forward,” which returns to ABC for the second half of its freshman season this Thursday.

“He’s known for his ability to write genre programming, and as a studio, we love that programming,” Newman said. “It takes advantage of all the new opportunities the digital world gives you to connect with your rabid fanbase.”

Does Sheldon Cooper now  have a hotter sex life than you? First there were the report that Judy Greer guest stars as a famous physicist. Bill Prady says “Sheldon invites her to stay over at the apartment” but won’t say why. Then came the reports that Mayim Bialik will be playing a female version of Sheldon in the season finale which airs on May 24. From various reports it sounds like the two meet through and Bialik might be returning next season.

There has been some grumbling from fans about Sheldon getting a girl friend considering how totally oblivious he has been to sex. I actually would prefer to see Sheldon be just a bit less off the wall, as amusing as his character is. There’s plenty of humor in the basic premise of four geeks and sometimes the show has relied too much on making fun of how bizarre Sheldon is for easy laughs as opposed to the humor surrounding the entire four. Besides, there is a tremendous amount of material in seeing how Sheldon will try to handle romance. If nothing else, if Sheldon does get the big bang, Bill Prady will have to come up with a new word for Sheldon to rival Bazinga.

Incidentally, if Sheldon does wind up having sex one person who might be jealous is Simon Pegg, who is hoping for a sex scene for Scotty in the next Star Trek movie. (I just thought that Sheldon would feel more comfortable if any discussion about his character ultimately led to Star Trek.)

In other genre shows, we have lots of cliff hangers with Caprica going on hiatus. There’s no doubt that Zoe survives, even if it is from the resurrection of her program in another body. I suspect Amanda survives  her suicide attempt but it is possible she’ll die and return in a virtual form. I doubt that Joseph Adama will give up trying to find Tamara, even if he is dead in New Cap City. There’s no doubt left that Barnabas is not a good person.

Lost got back to the flashback format as we learned how Richard got to the island and why he is immortal. We are gradually seeing an explanation for the island as keeping in evil. An upcoming episode will again break from the main format of this season and deal with the battle between Jacob and the Man in Black.

Spoilers are also leaking out about where the remainder of this season of Fringe is heading. Reportedly Peter will find out that he was stolen from the alternate universe, creating friction between Peter and Walter and Olivia, who kept this from him. Abducting Peter sounds less shocking after hearing that the Peter from both universes would have died if Walter hadn’t taken him.

Joke of the Week

“Anti-health care reform protesters outside the Capitol were downright vicious. They yelled the N-word at black legislators, they yelled the F-word at gay legislators, they yelled the W-word at Latino legislators. It was like the Sesame Street of hate.” -Jimmy Kimmel

Right Wing Rage

Frank Rich has the quote of the day for his comment on the irony of those in the tea party movement who compare Obama to Hitler:

How curious that a mob fond of likening President Obama to Hitler knows so little about history that it doesn’t recognize its own small-scale mimicry of Kristallnacht. The weapon of choice for vigilante violence at Congressional offices has been a brick hurled through a window. So far.

Rich notes that this rage came in response to a fairly moderate health care bill, although the tea baggers are inflamed more by the Republican rhetoric than anything actually in the bill. Rich notes that, while there was spirited opposition to earlier programs such as Medicare, it was never seen to the degree we are seeing it now:

That a tsunami of anger is gathering today is illogical, given that what the right calls “Obamacare” is less provocative than either the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or Medicare, an epic entitlement that actually did precipitate a government takeover of a sizable chunk of American health care. But the explanation is plain: the health care bill is not the main source of this anger and never has been. It’s merely a handy excuse. The real source of the over-the-top rage of 2010 is the same kind of national existential reordering that roiled America in 1964…

If Obama’s first legislative priority had been immigration or financial reform or climate change, we would have seen the same trajectory. The conjunction of a black president and a female speaker of the House — topped off by a wise Latina on the Supreme Court and a powerful gay Congressional committee chairman — would sow fears of disenfranchisement among a dwindling and threatened minority in the country no matter what policies were in play. It’s not happenstance that Frank, Lewis and Cleaver — none of them major Democratic players in the health care push — received a major share of last weekend’s abuse. When you hear demonstrators chant the slogan “Take our country back!,” these are the people they want to take the country back from.

Rich also compared the response to the health care legislation to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Although that legislation had a far greater effect on society than the health care legislation, conservatives acted more responsibly after it was passed:

After the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, some responsible leaders in both parties spoke out to try to put a lid on the resistance and violence. The arch-segregationist Russell of Georgia, concerned about what might happen in his own backyard, declared flatly that the law is “now on the books.” Yet no Republican or conservative leader of stature has taken on Palin, Perry, Boehner or any of the others who have been stoking these fires for a good 17 months now. Last week McCain even endorsed Palin’s “reload” rhetoric.

Are these politicians so frightened of offending anyone in the Tea Party-Glenn Beck base that they would rather fall silent than call out its extremist elements and their enablers? Seemingly so, and if G.O.P. leaders of all stripes, from Romney to Mitch McConnell to Olympia Snowe to Lindsey Graham, are afraid of these forces, that’s the strongest possible indicator that the rest of us have reason to fear them too.

Rich is right that the rage extends far beyond health care. Some in the tea party movement are essentially Klansmen without the sheets, but the rage also extends beyond race. There is a long history of extremism based upon ignorance dominating the right wing in this country. One factor which makes this worse today, explaining the differences described by Rich, is the influence of the right wing noise machine.

The constant noise coming from Fox, talk radio, The Washington Times, The Wall Street Journal, and conservative blogs creates an alternative reality which these people actually believe is real. Their influence has even pulled the mainstream media sharply to the right, despite claims of a “liberal media” from the far right. As a result we have angry, uninformed people taking to the streets to support those who are undermining our freedom and the free market system while being deluded into thinking this is what they are defending.