Quote of the Day

“A man in Texas used his obituary to ask for donations to anyone running against Obama in 2012. And then his ghost was offered a nightly show on Fox News.” –Jimmy Fallon

SciFi Weekend: There Are No Monsters In The White House (Doctor Who); Torchwood; Fringe; The Event; No Ordinary Family; How District 9 Should Have Ended

A brief prequel for the upcoming season has been released (video above), including Richard Nixon claiming, “There are no monsters in the White House.”

A long-lost episode of Doctor Who written by Douglas Adams, Shada, returns. The episode was never aired as it was not completed due to a television strike. The Guardian reports that a novelization based upon the planned episode is going to be released next March:

The story features the Time Lord coming to Earth with assistant Romana (Lalla Ward) to visit Professor Chronotis, who has absconded from Gallifrey, the Doctor’s home planet, and now lives quietly at Cambridge college St Cedd’s. (The Doctor: “When I was on the river I heard the strange babble of inhuman voices, didn’t you, Romana?” Professor Chronotis: “Oh, probably undergraduates talking to each other, I expect.”)

Chronotis has brought with him the most powerful book in the universe, The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey – which, in a typical touch of Adams bathos, turns out to have been borrowed from his study by a student. Evil scientist Skagra, an escapee from prison planet Shada, is on its trail.

Large parts of the story had already been filmed on location in Cambridge before industrial action at the BBC brought production to a halt. The drama was never finished, and in the summer of 1980 Shada was abandoned – although various later projects attempted to resurrect it.

Douglas Adams’s Doctor Who series are among the very few which have never been novelised, reportedly because the author wanted to do them himself but was always too busy. Gareth Roberts, a prolific Doctor Who scriptwriter, has now been given the job.

Publisher BBC Books declared the book “a holy grail” for Time Lord fans. Editorial director Albert De Petrillo said: “Douglas Adams’s serials for Doctor Who are considered by many to be some of the best the show has ever produced. Shada is a funny, scary, surprising and utterly terrific story, and we’re thrilled to be publishing the first fully realised version of this Doctor Who adventure as Douglas originally conceived it.”

Blastr has a guided tour to explain how the TARDIS works.

The premiere date for Torchwood has been released by Starz. The show will begin July 8. I am not surprised that the initial rumors of a July 1 start date were false considering how many American viewers might be traveling for the 4th. Those at Cannes will get to see an early promotion, along with two stars, John Barrowman and Bill Pullman, and executive producer Julie Gardner.

The big news of the week is that Fringe was renewed for a fourth season. Has the Friday night course ended? This week Fringe returned to the alternate universe. Having an alternate universe makes it easier to invent one of those television disease which provides exactly the dilemma which is desired for the story line. In this case we found that Fauxlivia has a viral/genetic disease (Fringe never has been great on actual science) which might require her to abort her baby to save her life. She was abducted by people who accelerated her pregnancy so that the baby developed more quickly than the virus could do harm, allowing both mother and baby to live.

For a while it wasn’t clear as to the motives of those who captured Fauxlivia, and it was never answered whether saving Fauxlivia along with the baby was also a goal or just a fortunate result. It turned out that Walternate was behind it all in order to save his grandson. Apparently the birth of this baby was also a major event with the Observers keeping a close watch. At the end, one Observer announces, “It is happening.” Unfortunately the show now goes on a hiatus, with very little left from American genre shows.

On the other American genre shows still airing, The Event is quickly turning into yet another alien invasion show. They decided to give up the flashbacks because  fans did not like them. I’m not so sure that the show still even has any fans, but the problem was not that there were flashbacks, but that they were handled so badly. This is in contrast to  Lost which was able to have two meaningful story lines per episode with the far more effective use of flashbacks. 

No Ordinary Family has an episode featuring time travel this week after Stephanie received an injection from Dr. King which increased her speed allowing her to travel through time. We all know that when someone on a science fiction television show goes forward in time and sees what is happening with them they will never just find themselves sitting on a couch watching television. It’s the same phenomenon which ensured that when anyone had a FlashForward they usually would up seeing something of monumental importance.

And, finally, the video above shows how District 9 should have ended.

Quote of the Day

“We’re at war? Again? Don’t we already have two? Wars aren’t like kids, where you don’t have to worry about the youngest one because the other two will take care of it…And aren’t we out of money? You can’t simultaneously fire teachers and Tomahawk missiles.” –Jon Stewart

Quote of the Day

“On a trip to Israel, Sarah Palin asked the Israelis why they’re apologizing all the time. They responded saying, ‘Because we told everyone Tina Fey was coming.'” –Conan O’Brien

Andrew Breitbart and Huffington Post

Allowing Andrew Breitbart to blog at Huffington Post made a lot of Huffington Post readers upset, with Breitbart ultimately being removed from the front page. As Breitbart specializes in smears based upon falsifying information, his material certainly isn’t worth posting, even if kept off the front page. However,  once he was placed there, I question the wisdom of removing him without better cause. This just gives him more ammunition to whine about liberal bias (not that this is a surprise at Huffington Post).

I hardly think all the efforts to have Breitbart removed were worth the effort. Personally, if I were to engage in a campaign to alter what is posted at Huffington Post I’d be more concerned about the junk science which often appears there. I figure that is more likely to do harm, considering that few Huffington Post readers are going to take anything Andrew Breitbart says very seriously.

Quote of the Day, Michele Bachmann Edition

Michele Bachmann says she would tweet more “but most of my thoughts aren’t that long.” –Andy Borowitz

Even funnier, CNN reports that she does have a longer thought–planning to form an exploratory committee for a possible presidential campaign in June, or possibly earlier.

Hopefully having her in the race will make it clear that the dominant force on the right wing is the religious right, regardless of whether they use the Tea Party name and claim to be concentrating on economic as opposed to social issues. I know it is tempting to see the Republican Party as a joke if they wind up with someone like her in the race, but to be fair there has been a long history of fringe candidates running for the nomination in both parties. The question is whether Republicans will see her candidacy as the joke that it is, or consider her a serious candidate. Many conservative blogs are reporting this as straight news, but at least some such as James Joyner sees her candidacy as something to laugh at.

Buzzfeed has a selection of top Michele Bachmann quotes.

Despite Reports They Are Gone, Newt Gingrich’s Tweets Can Still Be Found

Vanity Fair has accused Newt Gingrich of purging his tweets from before July 22, 2010, stating they could not be found. This would lead readers to assume he wanted to hide comments which might be embarrassing to his anticipated presidential campaign. Before running with the story I did a quick search on Topsy for his old tweets. There are seventy-four web pages of his tweets captured by Topsy. Attempting to click through several of them led to messages that the page does not exist.

Gingrich’s office has not responded to questions from Vanity Fair. It is possible that Gingrich tried to get his old tweets purged, but I’ve found Twitter to be quite variable in showing old tweets when I’ve done similar searches in the past. Vanity Fair gave two examples of finding older tweets from two other politicians, but I wouldn’t be surprised if attempts to find a larger number didn’t wind up with more failures.

Regardless of whether Gingrich has tried to remove the old tweets, they are still available if anyone really thinks it is worth their time to go through them. Considering the number of controversial, and sometimes contradictory, statements which Gingrich has made during his career, I suspect that opposition researchers will find better use of their time by going through many of his statements which are longer than a tweet.

(Incidentally well over half of my old tweets are no longer available on Twitter, but in this case it is because of my account having been hacked at one point. The count started over at one when it was restored. A month or two ago it finally was going to cross one-thousand again, and then fell back to around 600. I subsequently found that lots of other users who had not had hacked accounts were also finding their tweet count to be way off.)

Quote of the Day

“Sarah Palin visited the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. There was an awkward moment when she said, ‘So this is what keeps the Mexicans out?'” –Conan O’Brien

Debbie Stabenow And Other Democratic Senators Looking More Likely To Be Reelected

One result of the fall in popularity among Republicans in the midwest since the 2010 elections is that Democratic Senators who had previously appeared vulnerable in 2012 now have a far greater chance of winning. Michigan has been listed as a toss-up state in the fight for control of the Senate in 2012, but Debbie Stabenow’s chances for reelection now appear much stronger. Public Policy Polling reports:

The biggest beneficiaries of the Midwestern backlash toward newly elected Republican Governors might be the Democratic Senators up for reelection in those states next year. Earlier this month we found Herb Kohl and Sherrod Brown in pretty solid shape for reelection in Wisconsin and Ohio respectively, and now Debbie Stabenow’s standing is looking much improved from when PPP last polled Michigan in early December.

Stabenow’s net approval rating has improved six points to +7 (46/39) from its +1 standing (41/40) in early December. More importantly she now leads all of the Republicans we tested against her by double digits. She’s up 10 on former Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land at 48-38, 12 on former Congressman Pete Hoekstra at 50-38, 17 on former state GOP chair Saul Anuzis at 52-35, and 19 on announced candidate Randy Hekman at 52-33. The numbers against Land and Hoekstra are most telling because we also tested them against Stabenow in December. Stabenow is now doing 6 points better against Land, having led by only 4 at 45-41 on the previous poll. And she’s doing 11 points better against Hoekstra, having led by just a single point at 45-44 on the original survey.

Democrats shouuld do much better in 2012 than in 2010 as the electorate will more closely resemble that of 2008 with more young voters and minorities turning out to vote. Another advantage will be having Barack Obama on the top of the ticket. While a lot can still change, today’s polls show Obama easily beating any generic Republican. Considering the weakness which the Republican candidates have, any actual Republican candidate is likely to do even worse than the generic candidate.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder Falls Dramatically In Poll

The Republican governors in states such as Wisconsin and Indiana have received more national attention than in Michigan. To some degree I think that is intentional. Rick Snyder has pursued a conservative economic approach but, rather than seeking confrontation and national attention, Snyder has tried to appeal to moderates and avoid major conflicts.  Such an approach led him to a huge victory in the 2010 election but (as was predictable) his support has fallen he unveiled the specifics of his policies. The only part of this poll is surprising is the degree to which Snyder has fallen according to Public Policy Polling:

Over the last few weeks we’ve found that voters in Ohio and Wisconsin have quickly soured on their new Republican Governors, John Kasich and Scott Walker respectively. But Michigan’s Rick Snyder wasn’t like Kasich and Walker. He campaigned as a moderate and won by 18 points in a state bluer than either Ohio or Wisconsin while his counterparts were just squeaking by in their races. You would think that even if Snyder’s popularity has fallen after two months in office it hasn’t fallen as far as Kasich and Walker’s.

Think again. Snyder actually now has the worst numbers of this new trio of GOP Governors, with only 33% of voters approving of him to 50% who disapprove. And despite his overwhelming victory last fall voters now say that if they could do it over they’d pick Virg Bernero over Snyder by a 47-45 margin. Snyder’s current status is definitely emblematic of the adage that the higher you climb the farther you fall.

While the degree of Snyder’s fall in support is a surprise, the overall course was predictable regardless of the individuals involved. It was clear that no Democrat could have won in 2010 due to the state of the economy and anti-incumbent feelings. Snyder won big due to these underlying factors, along with receiving cross-over support by running as a moderate. He was also helped by Bernero and the Democratic Party in Michigan failing to mount a very good campaign.

If his election was predictable, it was also predictable that nobody could have been elected and present a set of proposed solutions which would not antagonize large blocks of voters. Ultimately Snyder’s fate will be determined by how the economy is doing when he is up for reelection.