Quotes of the Day: Letterman and Fallon on the Resignation of Pope Benedict

As everyone probably knows, the big news last week was that Pope Benedict resigned in order to spend more time with his family. I believe he will wind up as a commentator for Fox. Here’s some other predictions as to what will happen next:

“Big news coming out of the Vatican. Pope Benedict resigned. And they’re busy looking for replacements. The smart money is on Tim Tebow.” –David Letterman

“With the Pope retiring, more than 100 cardinals will sequester themselves in the Sistine Chapel to choose the next Pope. They’ll send out white smoke if they’ve chosen somebody, black smoke if they haven’t chosen somebody, and a text message when they find out that it’s 2013.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Pope Benedict is resigning. And you know what that means: Hillary in 2013?” –Jimmy Fallon

Another Republican Excuse For Big Government In The Lives Of Women

“When a physician removes a child from a woman, that is the largest organ in a body,” McClurkin said in an interview Thursday. “That’s a big thing. That’s a big surgery. You don’t have any other organs in your body that are bigger than that.” –Alabama state Representative Mary Sue McClurkin (R) defending her anti-abortion bill.

The Effects of Sequestration

The conventional wisdom is that the sequester will take effect in March, primarily as a consequence of the Republicans playing political games with the debt ceiling The New York Times has this guide as to what this really means.

On the other hand, the fact that nearly everyone predicts this will happen makes me slightly hopeful that Congress will again come up with a last minute compromise.

SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who News; Daleks Repeat 1964 Invasion of London; Utopia; Star Trek Bloopers

The questions: Who is Clara? Doctor Who?

The Dalek invasion of London from 1964 is being recreated for Doctor Who, An Adventure in Space and Time. I have moved the video under the fold as it begins running automatically.

A quote from Steven Moffat is keeping rumors alive that all eleven Doctors will be in the 50th Anniversary episode. From The Mirror:

Seven of the surviving actors are set to return in cameo roles on the 3D episode to mark the 50th anniversary of the sci-fi favourite.

And chiefs also want to involve the first three Doctors – William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee – who have died since the first episode screened back in 1963.

They would be included in the feature-length special using computer generated images and old footage.

Doctors of old Tom Baker, 79, Peter Davison, 61, Colin Baker, 69, Sylvester McCoy, 69, Paul McGann, 53, Christopher Eccleston, 48, and David Tennant. 41, are thought to have agreed to take part alongside current star Matt Smith, 30.

This week writer and producer Steven Moffat – who is notoriously secretive – admitted: “Getting the other Doctors involved would be very fitting for the anniversary episode, wouldn’t it?”

He is still writing the special, which is due to be filmed this spring.

The plot is a fiercely-guarded secret, but Moffat said the fact the original show was delayed by more than a minute by an extended news bulletin would be referenced.

The first episode with Hartnell as The Doctor was broadcast on November 23 – the day after President Kennedy was shot.

The special episode is likely to provide the exit point for Smith, who is expected to regenerate into the 12th Time Lord.

Smith, set to star in movie How to Catch a Monster, admitted he would love to work with his predecessors. “How amazing would it be to see Tom Baker? Can you imagine seeing him back in the scarf? That would be so cool,” he said.

“Paul McGann is a great Doctor – I say bring back Chris and Dave too.”

If bosses manage to pull off the coup, it will be the biggest gathering of Doctors since 1983, when five were reunited for the 20th anniversary.

That quote is hardly a clear cut answer without full context and, besides, it is well known that Moffat lies. Both the details of the anniversary episode and how long Matt Smith will remain on the TARDIS remain unknown.

Before we get to the anniversary episode, it has been confirmed that the Ice Warriors will return after 40 years in an episode written by Mark Gatiss.

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Utopia concludes its first season this week in the UK and is widely considered one of the top shows on television. While not involving aliens, it has the feel of Torchwood at its best–and shows the advantage of not dragging out a season beyond what the story justifies. While I cannot be specific to avoid major spoilers, the goal of those behind the conspiracy was revealed in the fifth episode last week in a manner which almost made it sound justifiable. One problem with the plan was pointed out by a character later in the episode. Things looked pretty grim at the end of last week’s episode. I wonder to what degree they will resolve the problems versus leaving things open for a potential second season.

I doubt Utopia will air in the United States anytime soon in light of the violence in the series, which has included children as targets. At least Utopia, while often very graphic in showing violence against adults, has left deaths of children off screen.

Once Upon A Time spoilers here.

If you were hoping to go to San Diego Comic Con in July and don’t have tickets yet you are out of luck. Tickets sold out in 93 minutes.

Above is a 41 minute collection of the best Star Trek bloopers. The video on the recreation of the Dalek invasion London is below.

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Republican Defeat Was For Reasons Beyond Demographics

The Democratic demographic advantages in presidential elections has been predicted for years in works such as The Emerging Democratic Majority published in 2002. There is no doubt that changing demographics played a major role in Barack Obama’s victories but Republicans should be cautious about blaming their loses too much on this and ignoring other reasons for their electoral defeats.

The most recent use of this argument comes from an article entitled How to Save the Republican Party by Michael Gerson & Peter Wehner in Commentary:

The first factor is America’s changing demographics. Much has been written on this topic, but the essential datum is the long-term shrinking of those demographic groups, especially white voters, who traditionally and reliably favor the GOP: from 89 percent of the electorate in 1976 to 72 percent in 2012. This decline is partially an artifact of a change in the way the Census Bureau classifies Hispanics, who used to be counted among whites before being placed in a separate category. But it has much more to do with a real, ongoing change in the composition of the American populace. In any given contest, the GOP can overcome this obstacle. Over time, however, the obstacle will grow ever larger.

Consider the performance of Mitt Romney, who carried the white vote by 20 points. If the country’s demographic composition were still the same last year as it was in 2000, he would now be president. If it were still the same as it was in 1992, he would have won in a rout. If he had merely secured 42 percent of the Hispanic vote—rather than his pathetic 27 percent—Romney would have won the popular vote and carried Florida, Colorado, and New Mexico. Republicans, in short, have a winning message for an electorate that no longer exists.

While demographics were important, this does not mean that Obama or another Democrat could not have won with the electorate of earlier years. Besides demographics, Obama did better than Romney due to using modern technology more efficiently and understanding the electorate better than the Romney campaign. If the demographic changes had not occurred, Obama would have targeted the electorate which actually existed and might have won some of the voters which were written off to Republicans in recent years.

A more important factor is that the white vote, which Romney won, would not have voted as they had if not for the demographic changes. The Republicans have been promoting fear, racism, and xenophobia to win a large percentage of the white vote. Republicans would not have been as effective in promoting fear of minorities  among white voters if the percentage of minorities in this country has not been increasing, and Republicans likely would not receive as high a percentage of the white vote as they currently do.

Gerson and Wehner are also making a mistake in concentrating on racial demographic changes and not the effect of losing young voters. The Republicans have taken positions on economics, national security, and social issues which are counter to reality and out of touch with the desires of most voters. Even most remaining Republican voters tend to support Democratic positions in polls where positions are polled without attachment to a party. As people tend to stick with the party they first vote for, Republicans might have lost a generation of young voters who understand the folly of current Republican positions.

Gerson and Wehner are also over-confident about the prospects of Republican recovery because of controlling the House and a majority of governorships. This is due to a combination of gerrymandering, the concentration of Democratic voters in cities, and the electoral advantages for the party which dominates in small rural states. More people voted for Democratic Congressmen than Republican in 2012 but that was not enough to give Democrats a majority in actual House seats. Republicans dominate in state governments due to a combination of victories which were probably an aberration in 2010 and because of holding a large number of small states.

While demographics present a problem for Republicans, in the long run their platform is what harms them more. Republican politicians and the media outlets they control talk about issues in terms which do well in polls and focus groups, regardless of actual Republican policies. While they do still fool a significant number of low-information voters, enough voters see through their propaganda. Republicans cannot win by claiming to be the party of small government when they are the ones who support a government which intrudes in the private lives of individuals. Cutting the deficit polls well, but that does not  help Republicans among informed voters who understand that in recent years the deficit problem is the fault of Republican economic policies. Similarly Republican fantasies of winning in 2012 because of the economy didn’t come true because informed voters realized that it is Republican policies which are to blame for the recession and for slowing economic recovery.

Republicans have electoral problems as their history of promoting racism and xenophobia is now back-firing against them and because of promoting policies which are unpopular with most voters. Blaming this on racial changes among the electorate as opposed to understanding the faults their entire message will not help the Republicans recover.

Herman Cain Hired By Fox

More changes coming from the propaganda arm of the Republican Party: With Sarah Palin and Dick Morris leaving Fox  there was hope that Fox would no longer be providing a home for every washed-up political hack who has nothing of value to provide to anyone else. Instead it looks like Fox is just looking for kooks who are a little more charismatic than Dick Morris and the former half-term governor. Fox has now hired Herman Cain as a contributor. Perhaps they will save money and pay him $9.99 per word instead of the $15.85 per word they paid Sarah Palin in honor of Cain’s tax plan

Quote of the Day

“When asked about gay marriage, Donald Trump said, ‘It’s not my thing.’ Trump went on to say marriage is a sacred bond between a man and a woman he will replace in six years.” –Conan O’Brien

Infatuate: Doctor Who Valentine’s Day Cards for 2013 (Third Annual Collection)

Another Valentine’s Day means a new selection of Doctor Who Valentine’s Day Cards.

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More like the above are available from Etsy. (Hat tip to Geeks are Sexy for the samples above.)

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Another set from Ghost Volta. (Click on them to enlarge).

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Tildemag.com has Valentine’s Day cards for Doctor Who, Community, and Firefly.

Of course older cards are perfectly fine to use. If you know how to click on a hyperlink you don’t even need a TARDIS to get these cards I’ve posted from 2012 and 2011.

Update: Cards for 2014, including Sherlock

Drinking Scandal And The State of the Union

It is a sad commentary on the state of political discourse in this country that so many people are far more concerned about Marco Rubio drinking water than the competing arguments made during and after the State of the Union Address. We saw a thoughtful look at our current problems from Barack Obama and then Marco Rubio responding with the usual Republican bromides and straw man attacks, showing that the current Republicans have nothing to say about the real world, and no capacity for coming up with meaningful solutions to our problems.

I was sure happy it was Barack Obama on my television screen last night as opposed to Mitt Romney. Rubio’s speech showed how if Mitt Romney had been elected, the entire State of the Union Address would have been full of the same types of lies, distortions and irrational arguments that we heard from Rubio in the Republican response.

Obama had already debunked the gist of the Republican response with lines such as these: “Most Americans – Democrats, Republicans, and Independents – understand that we can’t just cut our way to prosperity,” and “deficit reduction alone is not an economic plan. A growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs – that must be the North Star that guides our efforts.”

Rubio’s throat became dry and he took a sip of water. Big deal. I object more to seeing him fall back on perpetuating the same false narratives about Democrats which Republicans have been relying upon for years to avoid read debate over the issues. Criticize him for trying to pass of a plan which would destroy Medicare as a means to save him. Criticize him, as Paul Krugman has, for his simplistic and untrue explanation for the economic crisis, and ignoring the Republican Party’s role in crashing the economy and obstructing attempts at recovery. Compared to this, drinking water is trivial, even though it will probably be the lead skit on Saturday Night Live this weekend. This is what Rubio will be remembered for, regardless of the significance. It would have been cooler, even if unacceptable, if he had reached for a beer instead. It would have been a far better speech if he had presented some actual ideas.

Quote of the Day

“The Republican Party has its own line of clothing. The problem is it keeps coming apart at the seams.” –David Letterman