More big news from Comic Com. With the fourth season of Merlin now filming, it was announced that the BBC has renewed the series for a fifth season.
More big news from Comic Com. With the fourth season of Merlin now filming, it was announced that the BBC has renewed the series for a fifth season.
The biggest news so far out of San Diego Comic Con is that Karen Gillan says she will returning to Season Seven of Doctor Who. It has only been officially confirmed that Matt Smith will be returning. There has been considerable speculation that Karen would be leaving after this season based upon the usual longevity of companions and her commitments to other projects. Perhaps the delayed schedule for next season is making it possible for Karen to return.
While waiting for the full Doctor Who panel, here are two interviews with Matt Smith and Karen Gillan. In the first, Karen Gillan reveals that she is a Trekie:
Donald Trump has announced he is not running for president. As a blogger I am very disappointed by the decrease in material this will result in.
Osama bin Laden Killed!!! George Bush promised to get bin Laden dead or alive, but it took Obama’s administration to knock him off. He was killed in a mansion on the outskirts of Islamabad. Barack Obama kept his campaign promise. It is also another victory for intelligence work after all the times conservatives have attacked liberals for stressing the importance of intelligence, diplomacy, and police work, along with military action, in fighting terrorism.
“We will kill bin Laden. We will crush al Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national security priority.”– Barack Obama, October 7, 2008
Barack Obama can now run for re-election on the campaign slogan, “I Got Bin Laden.”
Update: The text of Barack Obama’s statement:
Good evening. Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children. It was nearly ten years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history. The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory. Hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky, the twin towers collapsing to the ground, black smoke billowing up from the pentagon, the wreckage of flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction.
And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world, the empty seat at the dinner table, children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father, parents who would never know the feeling of their child’s embrace, nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts. On September 11th, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other and our love of community and country. On that day, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family.
We were also united in our resolve, to protect our nation and to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice. We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda, an organization headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to killing innocents in our country and around the globe. So we went to war against al Qaeda, to protect our citizens, our friends, and our allies. Over the last ten years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals, we’ve made great strides in that effort. We’ve disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense. In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban government which had given bin Laden and al Qaeda safe haven and support. And around the globe, we worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al Qaeda terrorists including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot
Yet, Osama bin Laden avoided capture. And escaped across the Afghan border into Pakistan. Meanwhile, al Qaeda continued to operate from along that border and operate through its affiliates across the world. And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda. Even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle and defeat his network. Then last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was far from certain. And it took many months to run this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we could located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside Pakistan. And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.
Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body. For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaeda’s leader and symbol and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies. The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda. His death does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad. As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam. I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader. He was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al Qaeda slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries including our own. So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.
Over the years, I’ve repeatedly made clear that we would take action within Pakistan if we knew where bin Laden was. That is what we’ve done. But it’s important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding. Indeed, bin Laden had declared war against Pakistan as well and ordered attacks against the Pakistani people. Tonight, I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts. They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations. And going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates.
The American people did not choose this fight. It came to our shores. And started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens. After nearly ten years of service, struggle and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war. These efforts weigh on me every time I, as commander in chief, have to sign a letter to a family that has lost a loved one or look into the eyes of a service member who’s been gravely wounded. So Americans understand the costs of war. Yet as a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be true to the values that make us who we are. And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda’s terror, justice has been done.
Tonight we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who have worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome. The American people do not see their work nor know their names, but tonight they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of justice. We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country. And they are part of a generation that has borne the heaviest share of burden since that September day. Finally, let me say to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11, that we have never forgotten your loss, nor wavered in our commitment to see that we do whatever it takes to prevent another attack on our shores.
And tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. I know that it has, at times, frayed. Yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people. The cause of securing our country is not complete, but tonight we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history. Whether it’s the pursuit of prosperity for our people or the struggle for equality for all our citizens, our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place. Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are, one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. Thank you. May God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.
BBC America has announced the US premiere date for Doctor Who: April 23 at 9pm ET.
For the past two years Democrats often had to live with passing legislation in the House only to see it die in the Senate. Republicans experienced this today as their efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act failed on a 51-47 vote. Now Republicans will have to hope for further help from conservative activist judges to change the law as passed by Congress.
One portion of the health care legislation was reversed with strong bipartisan support. An amendment proposed by Michigan Democrat Debbie Stabenow to repeal the 1099 reporting requirement passed 81-17. While the requirement to issue 1099′s to most suppliers was predicted to bring in an additional $17 billion in tax revenue, it was also felt to create far too much paperwork for small businesses.
After a lot of speculation she would do it, CNN has just issued a bulletin that Nancy Pelosi will run to be House Minority Leader. So far the only real opposition has come from the right. I had hoped she might step aside and that another liberal candidate might arise to replace her.
The House passed legislation to extend higher federal government matches for Medicaid through mid-2011. The Senate passed the same bill last week and Obama is expected to sign this afternoon. The federal government has been paying an extra 6.2% to assist states hurt by the poor economy.
Health care reform has now passed the House and Senate and is ready for President Obama’s signature.
Next their will be a vote on the reconciliation measures.
President Obama is now speaking before the House Democratic Caucus. Audio stream here.
The Democrats have decided against using “deem and pass” with the health care reform legislation and will have separate votes. Assuming we don’t run into a problem such as the Senate bill being passed by the House and then the Senate failing to pass the changes, the end result will be the same. They will vote for the changes to the Senate bill under reconciliation before voting for the Senate bill itself.
The main difference is that this will deny right wingers the use of another bogus talking point based upon the process. The Washington Post notes:
Though the maneuver has been commonly used in the House, including by Republicans to advance their own favored policies, the idea attracted widespread criticism, and prompted Republicans to accuse House Democrats of trying to avoid taking responsibility for the Senate package…
Van Hollen said Democrats still maintain that deeming the Senate bill passed would have been appropriate and perfectly legal. But, he said, “there was no reason to allow the misinformation campaign to continue. Despite the fact that Republicans used it, we wanted to make the process absolutely clear.”
Theodore Olbermann, father of Keith Olbermann, died earlier today at age 81. Keith had discussed his father’s prolonged illness in a Special Comment on health care entitled An American Cry For Help in late February. Both video and a full transcript are posted here.
Olbermann discussed his father at his blog today:
My father died, in the city of his birth, New York, at 3:50 EST this afternoon.
Though the financial constraints of his youth made college infeasible, he accomplished the near-impossible, becoming an architect licensed in 40 states. Much of his work was commercial, for a series of shoe store chains and department stores. There was a time in the 1970′s when nearly all of the Baskin-Robbins outlets in the country had been built to his design, and under his direction. Through much of my youth and my early adult life, it was almost impossible to be anywhere in this country and not be a short drive to one of “his” stores.
My Dad was predeceased last year by my mother, Marie, his wife of nearly 60 years. He died peacefully after a long fight against the complications that ensued after successful colon surgery last September at the New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center. My sister Jenna and I were at his side, and I was reading him his favorite James Thurber short stories, as he left us.
I can’t say enough about Dr. Jeff Milsom and his team at the hospital, and all of those physicians and nurses and staffers in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit who looked after my Dad all this time, and kept him in their hearts. And I feel the same way about all of you who have expressed your best wishes and prayers to him, and to me, and to our family.
My Dad was my biggest booster. A day after I was hired by CNN in the summer of 1981 as a two-week vacation relief sports reporter, I traveled by train to my childhood hometown, and walked from the station towards my folks’ house. I was stopped half a dozen times before I got to my Dad’s office by people congratulating me on my impending television debut. There was, of course, only one way they could have known. My Dad, the press agent.
Of course it was he and my Mom who took me to my first Yankees games (even though my father nursed a delightful grudge against the team for trading away his favorite players, Steve Souchock and Snuffy Stirnweiss – in 1948 and 1950). But as my interest in the sport began to take the shape of a dreamt-of career, it was my Dad also sacrificed family vacations so we could buy ever more tickets to Yankee games. When we could afford both games and vacations, four times those vacations were to Spring Training.
He was my inspiration, and will always remain so. His bravery these last six months cannot be measured. He is as much my hero now, as he was when I was five years old.