Gadhafi Had A Crush On Condi

Which is weirder–finding porn in Osama bin Laden’s compound following his death, or finding tons of photos of Condoleezaa Rice in Moammar Gadhafi’s compound? We might have predicted this after Gadhafi talked about Rice in an interview with Al-Jazeera television in 2007:

“I support my darling black African woman,” he said. “I admire and am very proud of the way she leans back and gives orders to the Arab leaders. … Leezza, Leezza, Leezza. … I love her very much. I admire her, and I’m proud of her, because she’s a black woman of African origin.”

Interview with Karen Gillan

Interview with Karen Gillan on the final episodes of Doctor Who for this season. Gillan also repeated an earlier statement that she will be returning next season, but there was no mention as to whether it will be on a regular basis. Other comments suggest that Amy and Rory might be returning on an intermittent basis as opposed to being the regular companions.

Pat Robertson says Crack In Washington Monument Is A Sign From God

Pat Robertson in the video above: “Ladies and gentlemen I don’t want to get weird on this so please take it for what it’s worth. But it seems to me the Washington Monument is a symbol of America’s power, it has been the symbol of our great nation, we look at that monument and say this is one nation under God. Now there’s a crack in it, there’s a crack in it and it’s closed up. Is that a sign from the Lord? Is that something that has significance or is it just result of an earthquake? You judge, but I just want to bring that to your attention. It seems to me symbolic. When Jesus was crucified and when he died the curtain in the Temple was rent from top to bottom and there was a tear and it was extremely symbolic, is this symbolic? You judge.”

We might compare this to the fictional, but equally implausible, explanation seen on last season’s television show, The Event. Aliens created destruction in Washington, D.C. as a warning to the American government.

GOP Wants Joe the Plumber To Run For Congress

As if we don’t already have enough people who are bat-shit crazy in Republican politics, including several candidates for the GOP presidential nomination, now Republicans are  urging Joe the Plumber to run for Congress. The Toledo Blade reports:

Joe Wurzelbacher, better known as Joe the Plumber, is considering a run against U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur in 2012, according to Republican Party sources.

Jon Stainbrook, chairman of the Lucas County Republican Party, said there is “high-level interest in the national Republican Party” in a potential Wurzelbacher candidacy.

“We are encouraging Joe to run,” Mr. Stainbrook said. “He hasn’t made any official decision yet.”

Chris Maloney, spokesman for the Ohio Republican Party, said a candidate like Mr. Wurzelbacher would have strong fund-raising capabilities thanks to national recognition he received during the 2008 presidential campaign, but added such star power would have to be weighed against the advantages of experience that someone like a state legislator could bring to the race.

Mr. Wurzelbacher wouldn’t confirm or deny a congressional run. “I think it’s a very interesting idea,” he said Tuesday. “That’s as much as I can say.”

One GOP source put the chances of Mr. Wurzelbacher running against Miss Kaptur at “90 percent.”

 

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The Rick Perry Nightmare

Rick Perry has jumped into the lead in the GOP nomination battle. Walter Shapiro points out that Rick Perry is a liberal’s worst nightmare:

Perry is not only a presidential candidate, but also a cowboy-booted sociological experiment. It is almost as if Perry’s political persona was constructed by bundling together all the fears and phantoms in the left-wing anxiety closet. Since the hysteria of the 1950s Red Scare, no Republican figure has matched Perry in his God-given ability to give liberals the heebie-jeebies. Others can rival the governor’s disdain for academic achievement (Palin), his cross-on-the-sleeve religiosity (Michele Bachmann and Mike Huckabee), and his antipathy to Social Security and Medicare (Paul Ryan and Barry Goldwater). But never before has a top-tier presidential candidate embodied the whole lethal package—and more:

From there, Shapiro discussed five specific areas:

  1. Anti-Intellectualism
  2. The God Card
  3. The Living Constitution in which “Perry stands out for his creative cut-and-paste approach to the Constitution.”
  4. Pistol-Packing President
  5. Daring to Call It Treason such as “Perry’s claim that Ben Bernanke would be ‘almost treasonous‘ if he persisted in loosening monetary policy to ward off a double-dip recession.”

Shapiro also referred to other views of Perry, such as the “theory of Dave Mann, editor of the Texas Observer, that Perry’s only governing ideology is ‘crony capitalism.'”

This description of Perry should not only be considered nightmares for liberals. Perry should be nightmares for any thinking American.  There is hope that Americans will see how far Perry’s views are from mainstream American values since, as Greg Sargent discussed, his views are out there in black and white. I recently noted how Perry’s campaign is embarrassed by Perry’s writings which oppose Social Security. His latest embarrassment is Perry’s comparison of homosexuality to alcoholism in a 2008 book. With the number of extremist views present in his book, Rick Perry should even be a nightmare for any Republicans who realize that they have to appeal beyond the far right in order to win.

Quote of the Day

Fox News reports: “Events in Libya are unfolding faster than we can make them up.” –Andy Borowitz

Quote of the Day

“Texas Governor Rick Perry distanced himself from George W. Bush by saying, ‘I went to Texas A&M. He went to Yale.’ In other words, his idea of instilling confidence is by saying, ‘Don’t worry. I’m not as smart as George W. Bush.'” –Conan O’Brien

Does Rick Perry Still Believe Social Security Is Unconstitutional?

Mitt Romney isn’t the only Republican running for the presidential nomination with a flip-flopping problem. In a recent book, Rick Perry argued that Social Security was unconstitutional. He has been ambiguous as to whether he still believes this, and hopefully he will be pressed to answer more clearly in the future.  His communications director apparently never read the book, saying that he “never heard” Perry  suggest the program was unconstitutional. He also said that his book, Fed Up! is not meant to reflect Perry’s current views on how to fix the program. If this was a book from a few years back, he might be able to get away with some changes in viewpoint, but this book was published last November. If he no longer agrees with such a major position taken in his book, how many other viewpoints have changed in the last year, and how many will change over the course of the campaign?

Will The Economy Alone Decide The 2012 Election?

Barack Obama said in a recent interview that he will be judged by the state of the economy and whether things are getting better. Normally that would be expected, but we need voters to look at far more than just the state of the economy. Unfortunately, both for Obama’s reelection prospects and for the country, Republicans made such a mess of things that nobody could have fixed them in just four years. Towards the end of the Bush administration, I was predicting it could take a whole generation to undo all the damage that was done.

In order to win, Obama needs voters to remember who it was that made a mess of the economy, and question whether a return to similar policies is a good idea. Voters need to look at how the Republicans in Congress used their power to increase unemployment (the inevitable result of their spending cuts), prolong the recession, and caused Standard and Poor’s to reduce the credit rating of the United States, triggering a crash in the stock market. Of course to benefit from this Obama must reduce his emphasis on compromise with Republicans and stress their differences (which there are signs he plans to do).

While, baring some other unexpected event, the economy will dominate the election, Obama must also try to expand this playing field. While the economy generally impacts voters more than social issues, it is a different ball game when the Republicans are promoting the extremist views of the religious right, and have become the party of outright opposition to science and reason. In 2008 a handful of candidates outright admitted that they do not believe in evolution. Belief in creationism is increasingly becoming the norm for the GOP. While such scientific ignorance remains far too high in the United States, over the last decade belief in creationism in the overall population has fallen.

Going by past measures of incumbents running for reelection when the economy is doing poorly, we would expect Obama to lose. However, never before has a major political party had so many leading candidates who are outright bat-shit crazy. No matter how bad the economy is, it is hard to conceive of serious people voting for candidates such as Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann.

SciFi Weekend: Torchwood’s Immortal Sins; Doctor Who, Let’s Kill Hitler; The Doctor and Other Time Travelers Win Hugo Awards, The Hour (A Great Show To Watch While Waiting For Mad Men To Return)

This week’s episode of Torchwood: Miracle Day, Immortal Sins,  is more Jack-centric, showing how his back story plays into the events of the Miracle, and presumably why there was a signal for Torchwood on the day that the Miracle began. The series has seemed to take a long time to move towards a conclusion at times, but I suspect that the pace will pick up in the final three episodes now that we have a better idea of where it is headed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d–_kOhavH4&feature=player_embedded

The episode even has two references to the Doctor in the scenes above. Those who complained to the BBC about the explicit gay sex won’t like this episode either. My only complaint is that there wasn’t a matching sex scene with a female as occurred earlier this season. Captain Jack gets the best line of the episode: “Forgive me father for I have sinned… so many times… and that’s just today!”

Season six of Doctor Who resumes next week. Above is a preview of the episode from BBC America. Karen Gillan also introduces Let’s Kill Hitler plus two clips from Doctor Who Confidential have also been released:

The Daily Mirror,  which is not the most reliable of sources, claims that Billie Piper, Freema Agyeman and Catherine Tate will all return in the episode. Consider how the Doctor left both Billie Piper (Rose) and Catherine Tate (Donna), this would seem difficult. Perhaps he meets them before his final encounters with them, or perhaps the actresses are there but they aren’t what they seem.

Doctor Who Lets Kill Hitler Amy Pond River Song

A prequel scene to Let’s Kill Hitler was released last week. The scene is posted here.

While nothing has been officially confirmed, based upon interviews with both Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill it appears like Amy and Rory will leave as regular companions at the end of the season, most likely to raise their newly-rescued baby, and a new companion will be introduced. Both have also said they will be returning in the future, and it is assumed they mean as recurring characters similar to how River Song has appeared intermittently.

Doctor Who Big Bang Pandorica Opens

Doctor Who, as well as other time-travel stories, did well in this year’s Hugo Award ceremony at the World Science Fiction Convention in Reno last night. Black Out/All Clear, a pair of novels dealing with time travel to England during World War II by Connie Willis, won best novel.

The season five  Doctor Who two-part story, The Pandorica Opens and The Big Bang, won the Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form. Two other episodes of Doctor Who, A Christmas Carol and Vincent and the Doctor, were also nominated this year.

The winning episodes were written by Steven Moffat, who previously won the Hugo Award for these episodes of  Doctor Who:   Blink in 2008, The Girl In The Fireplace in 2007 and The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances in 2006. An episode by Russel T. Davies, The Waters of Mars won in 2010 when there were only specials and no regular episodes written by Moffat.

Doctor Who was also responsible for a non-fiction award. Chicks Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the Women Who Love It, edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Tara O’Shea, won for Best Related Work.

Inception won for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form. My interpretation of the movie was previously posted here.

Here’s something to watch if you can’t wait until next year for Mad Men to return. The Hour premiered on BBC America last week–trailer above.  The DVD set of the series will be released in September. After watching the first episode I quickly obtained episodes two through five, in preparation for the sixth and final episode of the season which airs Tuesday in the U.K.

There are several new shows which are trying to capitalize on the nostalgia value of Mad Men (but most ignore the fact that it is quality which made Mad Men a success). Both have a feeling of a previous era but one which is not all that different from today.  The creative type people on a news show in The Hour versus those in advertising on Mad Men, along with the drinking and smoking scenes, give the shows a similar feel. The third episode also reminded me of scenes from Brideshead Revisited.

American network shows trying to capitalize on the Mad Men feel such as Pan Am and one on the Playboy Club are also starting this fall, but I doubt they will show the same quality as either Mad Men or The Hour.

They are also very different shows too. Beyond its late 1950’s backdrop on a television news show, The Hour gets involved with a murder mystery and Cold War espionage. In some ways the show feels like a combination of the two AMC series, Mad Men and Rubicon. Being six hours has allowed it to develop the season-long arc without stretching it out too long. It is also reminiscent of Mad Men, which previously took place at the time of the  Cuban Missile Crisis, by dealing with the Suez crisis and Soviet invasion of Hungary.

The Hour has a superb cast. Best known to American audiences is Dominic West from The Wire. Romola Garai (pictured above) and Ben Whishaw are also excellent in their lead roles. Burn Gorman, who previously played Owen Harper on Torchwood, has a significant role. Now I can’t wait for Mad Men to return, and I know that once the series conclude its U.K. run on Tuesday I will be anxiously awaiting a second season of The Hour.