Quote of the Day

“Someone made a two-hour documentary about Sarah Palin’s political life. In case you’re interested in watching a movie that’s longer than Palin’s actual political life.'” –Jimmy Fallon

Doctors Moving Left For Many More Reasons Than The New York Times Reports

An article at The New York Times argues that doctors are moving left as a greater number of us are employees as opposed to running our own practice. There is no doubt some truth, but I am far from the only physician in this country who has avoided the trend of selling out to hospitals and  also supported health care reform. There are many other potential factors in play beyond the speculation in this article. These include:

  • The health care crisis has become far worse in the last decade with the individual market being on the verge of complete destruction. Doctors, regardless of type of practice, are often the first to see this. Besides, those of us who are self-employed know first hand how hard it is to purchase health insurance at a reasonable price.
  • Health insurance companies, allies of the Republicans, increasingly have been seen as the problem, especially during the fiasco when HMO’s were dominant.
  • On the other hand, Medicare, while certainly not without faults, has often treated doctors more fairly than private insurance, contradicting the conservative scare stories about “socialized medicine.”
  • Perhaps more doctors have learned what marginal tax rates really mean. I know some doctors who will still vote based upon promises of lower taxes, but many more of us have learned that it is the ultra-wealthy who benefit from Republican tax breaks while, at worst, we wind up paying an amount we can easily afford with a slightly higher marginal rate under Democrats.  Besides, the better overall business climate usually present under Democratic administrations does more for our incomes than a tiny difference in marginal tax rates.
  • Finally, there is the problem that the Republicans and conservative movement has become  bat-shit crazy. It is difficult for many physicians  who studied science to vote for a party with so many leaders who deny evolution. Slightly lower taxes is a high price to pay for the insane views and policies of the far right.

How Roger Ailes Uses Propaganda To Promote Right Wing Extremism and Spread Misinformation

Rolling Stone looks at Fox. They demonstrate,  as others  have pointed out previously, that Roger Ailes, not Rupart Murdoch, is the larger problem. The story shows how he has used misinformation, often fueled by his own extremist world to shape the Republican message and dominate Republican politics. This included his fear of Muslims, which is reflected in coverage at Fox.

Fear, in fact, is precisely what Ailes is selling: His network has relentlessly hyped phantom menaces like the planned “terror mosque” near Ground Zero, inspiring Florida pastor Terry Jones to torch the Koran. Privately, Murdoch is as impressed by Ailes’ business savvy as he is dismissive of his extremist politics. “You know Roger is crazy,” Murdoch recently told a colleague, shaking his head in disbelief. “He really believes that stuff.”

To watch even a day of Fox News – the anger, the bombast, the virulent paranoid streak, the unending appeals to white resentment, the reporting that’s held to the same standard of evidence as a late-­October attack ad – is to see a refraction of its founder, one of the most skilled and fearsome operatives in the history of the Republican Party. As a political consultant, Ailes repackaged Richard Nixon for television in 1968, papered over Ronald Reagan’s budding Alzheimer’s in 1984, shamelessly stoked racial fears to elect George H.W. Bush in 1988, and waged a secret campaign on behalf of Big Tobacco to derail health care reform in 1993. “He was the premier guy in the business,” says former Reagan campaign manager Ed Rollins. “He was our Michelangelo.”

In the fable Ailes tells about his own life, he made a clean break with his dirty political past long before 1996, when he joined forces with Murdoch to launch Fox News. “I quit politics,” he has claimed, “because I hated it.” But an examination of his career reveals that Ailes has used Fox News to pioneer a new form of political campaign – one that enables the GOP to bypass skeptical reporters and wage an around-the-clock, partisan assault on public opinion. The network, at its core, is a giant soundstage created to mimic the look and feel of a news operation, cleverly camouflaging political propaganda as independent journalism.

The result is one of the most powerful political machines in American history. One that plays a leading role in defining Republican talking points and advancing the agenda of the far right. Fox News tilted the electoral balance to George W. Bush in 2000, prematurely declaring him president in a move that prompted every other network to follow suit. It helped create the Tea Party, transforming it from the butt of late-night jokes into a nationwide insurgency capable of electing U.S. senators. Fox News turbocharged the Republican takeover of the House last fall, and even helped elect former Fox News host John Kasich as the union-busting governor of Ohio – with the help of $1.26 million in campaign contributions from News Corp. And by incubating a host of potential GOP contenders on the Fox News payroll– including Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum – Ailes seems determined to add a fifth presidential notch to his belt in 2012. “Everything Roger wanted to do when he started out in politics, he’s now doing 24/7 with his network,” says a former News Corp. executive. “It’s come full circle.”

The article reviewed Ailes’s career, including how he used deception to influence the news. When he took over at Fox, he made sure it only presented his viewpoints:

Ailes then embarked on a purge of existing staffers at Fox News. “There was  a litmus test,” recalled Joe Peyronnin, whom Ailes displaced as head of the network. “He was going to figure out who was liberal or conservative when he came in, and try to get rid of the liberals.” When Ailes suspected a journalist wasn’t far enough to the right for his tastes, he’d spring an accusation: “Why are you a liberal?” If staffers had worked at one of the major news networks, Ailes would force them to defend working at a place  like CBS – which he spat out as “the Communist Broadcast System.” To replace the veterans he fired, Ailes brought in droves of inexperienced up-and-comers – enabling him to weave his own political biases into the network’s DNA. To oversee the young newsroom, he recruited John Moody, a  conservative veteran of Time. As recounted by journalist Scott Collins in Crazy Like a Fox, the Chairman gave Moody explicit ideological marching orders. “One of the problems we have to work on here together when we start this network is that most journalists are liberals,” Ailes told Moody. “And  we’ve got to fight that.” Reporters understood that a right-wing bias was hard-wired into what they did from the start. “All outward appearances were  that it was just like any other newsroom,” says a former anchor. “But you  knew that the way to get ahead was to show your color – and that your color  was red.” Red state, that is.

Ailes biggest accomplishment was to proclaim George Bush the winner of the 2000 election when subsequent reviews of the vote showed that Al Gore would have won with a state-wide recount:

But it was the election of George W. Bush in 2000 that revealed the true power of Fox News as a political machine. According to a study of voting patterns by the University of California, Fox News shifted roughly 200,000 ballots to Bush in areas where voters had access to the network. But Ailes, ever the political operative, didn’t leave the outcome to anything as dicey as the popular vote. The man he tapped to head the network’s “decision desk”  on election night – the consultant responsible for calling states for either  Gore or Bush – was none other than John Prescott Ellis, Bush’s first cousin.  As a columnist at The Boston Globe, Ellis had recused himself from covering  the campaign. “There is no way for you to know if I am telling you the truth about George W. Bush’s presidential campaign,” he told his readers, “because in his case, my loyalty goes to him and not to you.”

In any newsroom worthy of the name, such a conflict of interest would have immediately disqualified Ellis. But for Ailes, loyalty to Bush was an asset.  “We at Fox News,” he would later tell a House hearing, “do not discriminate  against people because of their family connections.” On Election Day, Ellis  was in constant contact with Bush himself. After midnight, when a wave of late numbers showed Bush with a narrow lead, Ellis jumped on the data to  declare Bush the winner – even though Florida was still rated too close to  call by the vote-tracking consortium used by all the networks. Hume  announced Fox’s call for Bush at 2:16 a.m. – a move that spurred every other network to follow suit, and led to bush wins headlines in the morning papers.

“We’ll never know whether Bush won the election in Florida or not,” says Dan  Rather, who was anchoring the election coverage for CBS that night. “But  when you reach these kinds of situations, the ability to control the narrative becomes critical. Led by Fox, the narrative began to be that Bush had won the election.”

Dwell on this for a moment: A “news” network controlled by a GOP operative  who had spent decades shaping just such political narratives – including those that helped elect the candidate’s father – declared George W. Bush the victor based on the analysis of a man who had proclaimed himself loyal to  Bush over the facts. “Of everything that happened on election night, this was the most important in impact,” Rep. Henry Waxman said at the time. “It immeasurably helped George Bush maintain the idea in people’s minds that he was the man who won the election.”

After Bush took office, Ailes stayed in frequent touch with the new Republican president. “The senior-level editorial people believe that Roger was on the phone every day with Bush,” a source close to Fox News tells Rolling Stone. “He gave Bush the same kind of pointers he used to give George H.W. Bush – delivery, effectiveness, political coaching.” In the aftermath of 9/11, Ailes sent a back-channel memo to the president through Karl Rove, advising Bush to ramp up the War on Terror. As reported by Bob Woodward, Ailes advised Bush that “the American public would tolerate waiting and would be patient, but only as long as they were convinced that Bush was using the harshest measures possible.”

After the Bush years, Ailes has used his influence to terrorize and misinform  his audience,  spread scare stories about Barack Obama, and promote far right wing causes:

Ailes knows exactly who is watching Fox News each day, and he is adept at playing to their darkest fears in the age of Obama. The network’s viewers are old, with a median age of 65: Ads cater to the immobile, the infirm and the incontinent, with appeals to join class action hip-replacement lawsuits, spots for products like Colon Flow and testimonials for the services of Liberator Medical (“Liberator gave me back the freedom I haven’t had since I started using catheters”). The audience is also almost exclusively white – only 1.38 percent of viewers are African-American. “Roger understands audiences,” says Rollins, the former Reagan consultant. “He knew how to target, which is what Fox News is all about.” The typical viewer of Hannity, to take the most stark example, is a pro-business (86 percent), Christian conservative (78 percent), Tea Party-backer (75 percent) with no college degree (66 percent), who is over age 50 (65 percent), supports the NRA (73 percent), doesn’t back gay rights (78 percent) and thinks government “does too much” (84 percent). “He’s got a niche audience and he’s programmed to it beautifully,” says a former News Corp. colleague. “He feeds them exactly what they want to hear.”

From the time Obama began contemplating his candidacy, Fox News went all-out to convince its white viewers that he was a Marxist, a Muslim, a black nationalist and a 1960s radical. In early 2007, Ailes joked about the similarity of Obama’s name to a certain terrorist’s. “It is true that Barack Obama is on the move,” Ailes said in a speech to news executives. “I don’t know if it’s true that President Bush called Musharraf and said, ‘Why can’t we catch this guy?’” References to Obama’s middle name were soon being bandied about on Fox & Friends, the morning happy-talk show that Ailes uses as one of his primary vehicles to inject his venom into the media bloodstream. According to insiders, the morning show’s anchors, who appear to be chatting ad-lib, are actually working from daily, structured talking points that come straight from the top. “Prior to broadcast, Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson – that gang – they meet with Roger,” says a former Fox deputy. “And Roger gives them the spin.”

Fox & Friends is where the smear about Obama having attended a madrassa was first broadcast, with Doocy – an Ailes lackey from his days at America’s Talking – stating unequivocally that Obama was “raised as a Muslim.” And during the campaign, the show’s anchors flogged Obama’s reference to his own grandmother as a “typical white person” so relentlessly that it even gave Fox News host Chris Wallace pause. When Wallace appeared on the show that morning, he launched a rebuke that seemed targeted at Ailes as much as Doocy. “I have been watching the show since six o’clock this morning,” Wallace bristled. “I feel like two hours of Obama-bashing may be enough.”

The Obama era has spurred sharp changes in the character and tone of Fox News. “Obama’s election has driven Fox to be more of a political campaign than it ever was before,” says Burns, the network’s former media critic.“Things shifted,” agrees Jane Hall, who fled the network after a decade as a liberal commentator. “There seemed suddenly to be less of a need to have a range of opinion. I began to feel uncomfortable.” Sean Hannity was no longer flanked by Alan Colmes, long the network’s fig-leaf liberal. Bill Sammon, author of At Any Cost: How Al Gore Tried to Steal the Election, was brought in to replace Moody as the top political enforcer. And Brit Hume was replaced on the anchor desk by Bret Baier, one of the young guns Ailes hired more than a decade ago to inject right-wing fervor into Fox News.

Most striking, Ailes hired Glenn Beck away from CNN and set him loose on the White House. During his contract negotiations, Beck recounted, Ailes confided that Fox News was dedicating itself to impeding the Obama administration. “I see this as the Alamo,” Ailes declared. Leading the charge were the ragtag members of the Tea Party uprising, which Fox News propelled into a nationwide movement. In the buildup to the initial protests on April 15th, 2009, the network went so far as to actually co-brand the rallies as “FNC Tax Day Tea Parties.” Veteran journalists were taken aback. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a news network throw its weight behind a protest like we are seeing in the past few weeks,” said Howard Kurtz, the then-media critic for The Washington Post. The following August, when the Tea Party launched its town-hall protests against health care reform, Fox & Friends urged viewers to confront their congressmen face to face. “Are you gonna call?” Gretchen Carlson demanded on-air, “or are you gonna go to one of these receptions where they’re actually there?” The onscreen Chyron instructed viewers: HOLD CONGRESS ACCOUNTABLE! NOW IS THE TIME TO SPEAK YOUR MIND.

Fox News also hyped Sarah Palin’s lies about “death panels” and took the smear a step further, airing a report claiming that the Department of Veterans Affairs was using a “death book” to encourage soldiers to “hurry up and die.” (Missing from the report was any indication that the end-of-life counseling materials in question had been promoted by the Bush administration.) At the height of the health care debate, more than two-thirds of Fox News viewers were convinced Obama­care would lead to a “government takeover,” provide health care to illegal immigrants, pay for abortions and let the government decide when to pull the plug on grandma. As always, the Chairman’s enforcer made sure that producers down in the Fox News basement were toeing the party line. In October 2009, as Congress weighed adding a public option to the health care law, Sammon let everyone know how Ailes expected them to cover the story. “Let’s not slip back into calling it the ‘public option,’” he warned in an e-mail. “Please use the term ‘government-run health insurance’ … when­ever possible.” Sammon neglected to mention that the phrase he was pushing had been carefully crafted by America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s largest lobbying organization, which had determined that the wording was “the most negative language to use when describing a ‘public plan.’”

The result of this concerted campaign of disinformation is a viewership that knows almost nothing about what’s going on in the world. According to recent polls, Fox News viewers are the most misinformed of all news consumers. They are 12 percentage points more likely to believe the stimulus package caused job losses, 17 points more likely to believe Muslims want to establish Shariah law in America, 30 points more likely to say that scientists dispute global warming, and 31 points more likely to doubt President Obama’s citizenship. In fact, a study by the University of Maryland reveals, ignorance of Fox viewers actually increases the longer they watch the network. That’s because Ailes isn’t interested in providing people with information, or even a balanced range of perspectives. Like his political mentor, Richard Nixon, Ailes traffics in the emotions of victimization.

Update: Conservatives cannot handle the truth. They have been brainwashed by right wing propaganda to the point they do not recognize facts as opposed to right wing fiction.  In contrast, many people in the Soviet Union realized that Pravda was lying.


Anthony Weiner’s Weiner Remains Big News Over Holiday Weekend

It is obviously a slow time for news when Rep. Anthony Weiner’s weiner is the biggest news story. Having had my Twitter account hacked  in the past year (fortunately without the same consequences) I am inclined to believe Rep. Weiner that he did not send the weiner pic. The woman who received the lewd weiner pic also states that she does not know Weiner:

Friday evening I logged onto Twitter to find that I had about a dozen new mentions in less than an hour, which is a rare occurrence. When I checked one of the posts that I had been tagged in I saw that it was a picture that had supposedly been tweeted to me by Congressman Anthony Weiner.

The account that these tweets were sent from was familiar to me; this person had harassed me many times after the Congressman followed me on Twitter a month or so ago. Since I had dealt with this person and his cohorts before I assumed that the tweet and the picture were their latest attempts at defaming the Congressman and harassing his supporters.

Annoyed, I responded with something along the lines of “are you f***ing kidding me?” and “I’ve never seen this. You people are sick.” I blocked their accounts, made my page private, and let the matter drop, expecting them to eventually do the same.

Within about an hour, however, I realized that I had grossly underestimated the severity of the situation that I had somehow become a part of.

The last 36 hours have been the most confusing, anxiety-ridden hours of my life. I’ve watched in sheer disbelief as my name, age, location, links to any social networking site I’ve ever used, my old phone numbers and pictures have been passed along from stranger to stranger.

My friends have received phone calls from people claiming to be old friends of mine, attempting to obtain my contact information. My siblings have received tweets that are similar in nature. I began taking steps, though not quickly enough, to remove as much personal information from the Internet as possible.

Not because I “was exposed as Weiner’s mistress” or because I “was responsible for the hack,” as Gawker has suggested. I removed my information because I, believe it or not, do not enjoy being harassed or being the reason that my loved ones are targets of harassment.

I have seen myself labeled as the “Femme Fatale of Weinergate,” “Anthony Weiner’s 21-year-old coed mistress” and “the self-proclaimed girlfriend of Anthony Weiner.”

All of this is so outlandish that I don’t know whether to be pissed off or amused, quite frankly. This is the reality of sharing information online in the 21st century. Things that I never imagined people would care about are now being plastered all over blog sites, including pictures of me from when I was 17 and tweets that have been taken completely out of context. I tweeted once (it was reported that I said it twice) that “I wonder what my boyfriend @RepWeiner is up to.”

I am a 21-year-old college student from Seattle. I have never met Congressman Weiner, though I am a fan. I go to school in Bellingham where I spend all of my time; I’ve never been to New York or to DC. The point I am trying to make is that, contrary to the impression that I apparently gave from my tweet, I am not his girlfriend. Nor am I the wife, girlfriend or mistress of Barack Obama, Ray Allen or Cristiano Ronaldo, despite the fact that I have made similar assertions about them via Twitter.

There have never been any inappropriate exchanges between Anthony Weiner and myself, including the tweet/picture in question, which had apparently been deleted before it reached me. I cannot answer the questions that I do not have the answers to. I am not sure whether or not this letter will alleviate any future harassment. I also do not have a clear understanding as to how or why exactly I am involved in this fiasco. I do know that my life has been seriously impacted by speculation and faulty allegations. My reputation has been called into question by those who lack the character to report the facts.

Update (June 6, 2011): Anthony Weiner admitted to sending the picture. Nancy Pelosi has called for an ethics investigation of Weiner.

Quote of the Day

“There is a simple explanation for this because Newt Gingrich buys his engagement rings in bulk.” –Stephen Colbert, on Newt Gingrich running up $500 thousand dollars in Tiffany’s debt

Ohio State Joins Michigan In Removing Football Coach

Ohio State shows that a top program won’t go down with the coach, now having forced out two of their greatest coaches (Woodie Hayes and Jim Tressel). Jim Tressel shows he was right when he wrote in The Winners Manual for the Game of Life that “non-religious people can be moral and religious people can be immoral.” I’m sure he didn’t intend to be evidence of the second part himself.

There has been a tremendous link between Ohio State and Michigan historically, especially with the rivalry between Woody and his former assistant Bo Schembechler. It is ironic that both schools removed their head coach this year with rules violations and NCAA sanctions playing a role in both. In the case of Ohio State, rules violations were the only problem, while at Michigan Rich Rodriguez’s rules violations were just one more count against a coach who turned out to be a terrible fit from the start.

The coaching changes might should help restore a rivalry which has been far too one-sided since Tressel arrived. Tressel’s predecessor John Cooper had a record of 2-10-1 against Michigan, leading to his removal. I doubt a program such as Ohio States’s will fall this far again, unless brought about by severe sanctions from the NCAA. I’m sure that Ohio State’s motivation in pushing Tressel out was to transfer the blame to him and not the school, hoping to minimize sanctions. Their chances might have been better if they took action when they learned of Tressel’s deception back in January.

Despite the problems in Columbus, Michigan will have to improve tremendously from last year to beat Ohio State, along with Nebraska who is now the 12the team in the Big Ten (leaving the Big Twelve with only ten teams). There is considerable optimism that this will occur under new coach Brady Hoke, who at very least has avoided the mistakes Rodriguez made in his first few months at Michigan, including showing ignorance of the importance of the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry. It appears that Hoke might strengthen the offense by not relying solely on Denard Robinson, and hopefully improve the kicking game with the kicker starting in September. The biggest question is how quickly he can recover the defense, especially when using players recruited under Rodriguez.

It will be interesting to see how Jim Tressel and Rich Rodriguez do when looking for new jobs. Presumably Tressel will have the better chance, with many teams being willing to look beyond the fact that he lied during the NCAA investigation in light of his successful record. Rodriguez’s rules violations were less severe, but his record is now mixed with success at West Virginia followed by failure at Michigan.

In the case of Rich Rodriguez, it comes down to finding the right fit. He has shown he can win, at least at West Virginia, with the spread offense, but has no ability to alter his offense to fit the players on a team. His handling of other aspects of the game is questionable.  I can see three scenarios for Rodriguez. He would be best off if a major team already using the spread should develop an opening at head coach. He would make an even better choice for a team utilizing the spread with an opening at offensive coordinator, but I don’t know if he would want to move downwards in this manner.  A third possibility is that he might work out at a school which is not a major football power and is willing to take time to build a team under Rodriguez’s ideas. It would also help if this was in a weaker conference, such as the Big East, as opposed to the Big Ten.

Update: NCAA Launches Independent Probe of Terelle Pryor

This has got to be the worst day in the history of Buckeye football since Bo Schembechler upset them in 1969

Quote of the Day

“In the new Republican budget, friends with benefits lose their benefits.” –Andy Borowitz

SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who–“The Almost People” Review (Spoilers) and Speculation About “A Good Man Goes To War”

Doctor Who The Almost People

The Almost People aired in the U.K. this weekend but BBC America decided not to show this week’s episode of Doctor Who because of the Memorial Day holiday. Between those who watched on BBC and those who found other ways to download the episode, I assume that a substantial proportion of fans have now seen it. Warning, there are major spoilers here for those who plan to watch on BBC America next week.

The second part of this two-part story was better than last week’s episode, The Rebel Flesh (reviewed here). The story took advantage of the set-up in the first episode, although this might have worked better if they could have had an extended full hour episode to tell a slightly condensed version of the story in a single sitting. The fight against the Gangers and ultimate conclusion made a good story, but far from a great one. Plot wise, the high point was Jennifer’s deception of Rory with a second Ganger, which I had already anticipated. The best parts of the episode involved the Doctor’s Ganger, and of course the final couple of minutes (video below).


Steven Moffat has added so much to the series with references back to the early years of Doctor Who. The Ganger of the Doctor was amusing as it went through the previous regenerations of the Doctor. This included the third Doctor (originally played by Jon Pertwee) saying, “”reverse the polarity of the neutron flow.” While Pertwee became known for this phrase, he had actually only said it once.

The conclusion progressed the story arc involving the Schroedinger’s pregnancy in Amy, but I suspect that other events of this week’s story are also important to the entire season. The episode ended with learning that the Amy who has been with the Doctor is a Ganger while Amy is actually having a baby. As most already predicted, the woman with the eye patch was involved with the delivery. Seeing the Doctor “kill” the Ganger (or actually sever the link) now gives Karen Gillan two scenes this season in which she appeared to die. Rory retains his lead in overall appearances of getting killed.

Doctor Who A Good Man Goes To War Amy Pond River Song

One question is when the switch took place. It might have been when the Silence held Amy captive, but I suspect it was sooner as there had already been a scene showing the woman in the eye patch earlier in the episode. It could have happened during the gap we did not see between The Impossible Astronaut and Day of the Moon. With the Doctor saying Amy had been gone for a long time, the switch could have occurred even earlier, such as before Amy came out of the Pandorica in The Big Bang. Adding to my suspicion that the events of last season play into this, including the unexplained source for the destruction of the universe, are the promotional pictures for next  week’s episode in which Rory again appears Roman (such as above). The episode also contains multiple old enemies, as were seen in The Pandorica Opens.

This might suggest that Amy was impregnated by someone or something other than her husband. If Rory is the father, my suspicion is that it did not happen  before their wedding. After all, this is technically billed as a  children’s show. If the baby is the child seen at the end of Day of the Moon, the father might be a Time Lord, unless living in the Tardis was the cause.  This also raises a question of whether the picture of Amy holding a baby in the orphanage  in Day of the Moon was the real Amy or a Ganger.

Ever since The Rebel Flesh, there has been speculation that the “future” version of the Doctor who was killed is really a Ganger. That would certainly solve the problem of having more regenerations before the Doctor dies, regardless of whether it is in two hundred years or much further in the future. I became more convinced of this possibility after both watching The Almost People and going back to the Doctor’s death scene in The Impossible Astronaut. For a few seconds, the Doctor’s face reminded me of the faces of the Gangers before they fully established human form–something which would not have meant anything to viewers at the time the show first aired.

Events in The Almost People add further to this possibility. Having a Ganger of Amy which was present for some time makes it more likely that other Gangers  could be present in other episodes. The Doctor was concerned in The Almost People with finding out whether a Ganger of himself could fool others, also suggesting he had a plan involving another use of a Ganger.

Next week, in A Good Man Goes To War, we  presumably will see the birth of Amy’s child, and it is rumored that River Song’s identity will be revealed at the end of the episode. It has long been suspected that there is a connection between Amy Pond and River Song beyond having a body of water in each of their names. One possibility is that River might be Amy’s daughter.  Promotional material for the upcoming episode  reports (another possible spoiler) that Amy will have a daughter named Melody. Perhaps River Song is the daughter of Melody Pond, using both music and water in the names, if not Amy’s daughter.

The trailer for A Good Man Goes to War:

The prequel to A Good Man Goes to War:


Update: A Good Man Goes to War is reviewed here.

Quote of the Day

“It’s not an exaggeration to say that Oprah has touched millions of women around the world, but unlike Arnold Schwarzenegger, she didn’t leave them pregnant.” –Craig Ferguson

Tea Party Willing To Compromise Civil Liberties By Backing The Patriot Act

The Tea Party movement disgraces the memory of the founding fathers who took part in the original Boston Tea Party by advocating positions contrary to the principles this nation was founded upon. Their leaders sometimes claim to be only interested in economic matters to avoid the opposition by a majority of voters while a majority in the movement actually support the agenda of the religious right. They are incredibly ignorant regarding economic policy and are easily led by the factions of the right which seek to destroy capitalism and replace it with plutocracy.

When the Tea Party first came on the scene, there was hope among some liberals that they might at least be allied with us on civil liberties matters, even if we disagreed on other areas. Unfortunately they typically support the Republican right wing on civil liberties issues.

The Patriot Act is not the best measure of civil liberties as it contains both legislation which is necessary to update law enforcement to handle terrorism in the modern world along with portions which should not be tolerated in a democratic nation. Many members of Congress are likely to vote for measures such as this to avoid attacks from the right for being soft on fighting terrorism, placing political expediency over principle.

While far too many members of Congress of both parties voted for continuation without amendment, typically the Tea Party opposes any compromise on issues they support. Many are willing to support measures to destroy Medicare regardless of public opinion (often while also demanding that the government keep its hands off their Medicare benefits). They are willing to support an economic crisis by having the United States default on our debts as opposed to raising the debt ceiling. If the Tea Party really supported liberty, we might expect them to oppose any compromise on civil liberties and oppose continuation of the Patriot Act.

Irregular Times looked at the votes of Congressmen associated with the Tea Party movement on last week’s vote to extend the Patriot Act without reforms. Tea Party backed members of Congress supported the extension by a vote of 120 to 18.  This is a greater percentage than was seen in the entire House, which voted for the extension by a vote of  250 to 153.  Individual liberty is obviously not a priority for the Tea Party.