Wingnuts Say The Darndest Things: Michele Bachmann on 9/11 Pray

“It’s no secret that our nation may very well be experiencing the hand of judgment. It’s no secret that we all are concerned that our nation may be in a time of decline. If that is in fact so, what is the answer? The answer is what we are doing here today: humbling ourselves before an almighty God, crying out to an almighty God, saying not of ourselves but you, would you save us oh God? We repent of our sins, we turn away from them, we seek you, we seek your ways. That’s something that we’re doing today, that we did on the National Day of Prayer, it’s something that we have chosen to do as well on another landmark day later this year on September 11. Our nation has seen judgment not once but twice on September 11. That’s why we’re going to have ‘9/11 Pray’ on that day. Is there anything better that we can do on that day rather than to humble ourselves and to pray to an almighty God?” —Michele Bachmann

Bipartisan Report On Torture After 9/11

In case anyone still had any doubt that George Bush and Dick Cheney should be tried as war criminals, a bipartisan report confirms the long-standing criticism of torture being used under them:

A nonpartisan, independent review of interrogation and detention programs in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks concludes that “it is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture” and that the nation’s highest officials bore ultimate responsibility for it.

The sweeping, 577-page report says that while brutality has occurred in every American war, there never before had been “the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after 9/11 directly involving a president and his top advisers on the wisdom, propriety and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody.” The study, by an 11-member panel convened by the Constitution Project, a legal research and advocacy group, is to be released on Tuesday morning.

Debate over the coercive interrogation methods used by the administration of President George W. Bush has often broken down on largely partisan lines. The Constitution Project’s task force on detainee treatment, led by two former members of Congress with experience in the executive branch — a Republican, Asa Hutchinson, and a Democrat, James R. Jones — seeks to produce a stronger national consensus on the torture question.

While the task force did not have access to classified records, it is the most ambitious independent attempt to date to assess the detention and interrogation programs. A separate 6,000-page report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s record by the Senate Intelligence Committee, based exclusively on agency records, rather than interviews, remains classified.

“As long as the debate continues, so too does the possibility that the United States could again engage in torture,” the report says.

The use of torture, the report concludes, has “no justification” and “damaged the standing of our nation, reduced our capacity to convey moral censure when necessary and potentially increased the danger to U.S. military personnel taken captive.” The task force found “no firm or persuasive evidence” that these interrogation methods produced valuable information that could not have been obtained by other means. While “a person subjected to torture might well divulge useful information,” much of the information obtained by force was not reliable, the report says.

Interrogation and abuse at the C.I.A.’s so-called black sites, the Guantánamo Bay prison in Cuba and war-zone detention centers, have been described in considerable detail by the news media and in declassified documents, though the Constitution Project report adds many new details.

It confirms a report by Human Rights Watch that one or more Libyan militants were waterboarded by the C.I.A., challenging the agency’s longtime assertion that only three Al Qaeda prisoners were subjected to the near-drowning technique. It includes a detailed account by Albert J. Shimkus Jr., then a Navy captain who ran a hospital for detainees at the Guantánamo Bay prison, of his own disillusionment when he discovered what he considered to be the unethical mistreatment of prisoners.

But the report’s main significance may be its attempt to assess what the United States government did in the years after 2001 and how it should be judged. The C.I.A. not only waterboarded prisoners, but slammed them into walls, chained them in uncomfortable positions for hours, stripped them of clothing and kept them awake for days on end.

The question of whether those methods amounted to torture is a historically and legally momentous issue that has been debated for more than a decade inside and outside the government. The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel wrote a series of legal opinions from 2002 to 2005 concluding that the methods were not torture if used under strict rules; all the memos were later withdrawn. News organizations have wrestled with whether to label the brutal methods unequivocally as torture in the face of some government officials’ claims that they were not.

In addition, the United States is a signatory to the international Convention Against Torture, which requires the prompt investigation of allegations of torture and the compensation of its victims.

Like the still-secret Senate interrogation report, the Constitution Project study was initiated after President Obama decided in 2009 not to support a national commission to investigate the post-9/11 counterterrorism programs, as proposed by Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, and others. Mr. Obama said then that he wanted to “look forward, not backward.” Aides have said he feared that his own policy agenda might get sidetracked in a battle over his predecessor’s programs.

The panel studied the treatment of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, in Afghanistan and Iraq, and at the C.I.A’s secret prisons. Staff members, including the executive director, Neil A. Lewis, a former reporter for The New York Times, traveled to multiple detention sites and interviewed dozens of former American and foreign officials, as well as former detainees.

Mr. Hutchinson, who served in the Bush administration as chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration and under secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said he “took convincing” on the torture issue. But after the panel’s nearly two years of research, he said he had no doubts about what the United States did.

“This has not been an easy inquiry for me, because I know many of the players,” Mr. Hutchinson said in an interview. He said he thought everyone involved in decisions, from Mr. Bush down, had acted in good faith, in a desperate effort to try to prevent more attacks.

“But I just think we learn from history,” Mr. Hutchinson said. “It’s incredibly important to have an accurate account not just of what happened but of how decisions were made.”

He added, “The United States has a historic and unique character, and part of that character is that we do not torture.”

The panel found that the United States violated its international legal obligations by engineering “enforced disappearances” and secret detentions. It questions recidivism figures published by the Defense Intelligence Agency for Guantánamo detainees who have been released, saying they conflict with independent reviews.

Many on the right justified these actions belieing they were necessary for our national security. Therefore I will repeat the line above which points out:  The use of torture, the report concludes, has “no justification” and “damaged the standing of our nation, reduced our capacity to convey moral censure when necessary and potentially increased the danger to U.S. military personnel taken captive.” The task force found “no firm or persuasive evidence” that these interrogation methods produced valuable information that could not have been obtained by other means. While “a person subjected to torture might well divulge useful information,” much of the information obtained by force was not reliable, the report says.

 

Polling Belief In Conspiracy Theories

Public Policy Polling found that a substantial number of Americans believe in some conspiracy theories, but fortunately not many believe that lizard people are secretly taking power. The most significant finding related to current public policy is that a large majority of Republicans believe global warming is a hoax. A significant number of Republicans still believe that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9/11 attacks. Here is a summary of their findings:

–          37% of voters believe global warming is a hoax, 51% do not. Republicans say global warming is a hoax by a 58-25 margin, Democrats disagree 11-77, and Independents are more split at  41-51. 61% of Romney voters believe global warming is a hoax

–          6% of voters believe Osama bin Laden is still alive

–          21% of voters say a UFO crashed in Roswell, NM in 1947 and the US government covered it up. More Romney voters (27%) than Obama voters (16%) believe in a UFO coverup

–          28% of voters believe secretive power elite with a globalist agenda is conspiring to eventually rule the world through an authoritarian world government, or New World Order.  A plurality of Romney voters (38%) believe in the New World Order compared to 35% who don’t

–          28% of voters believe Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9/11 attacks.  36% of Romney voters believe Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11, 41% do not

–          20% of voters believe there is a link between childhood vaccines and autism, 51% do not

–          7% of voters think the moon landing was faked

–          13% of voters think Barack Obama is the anti-Christ, including 22% of Romney voters

–          Voters are split 44%-45% on whether Bush intentionally misled about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. 72% of Democrats think Bush lied about WMDs, Independents agree 48-45, just 13% of Republicans think so

–          29% of voters believe aliens exist

–          14% of voters say the CIA was instrumental in creating the crack cocaine epidemic in America’s inner cities in the 1980’s

–          9% of voters think the government adds fluoride to our water supply for sinister reasons (not just dental health)

–          4% of voters say they believe “lizard people” control our societies by gaining political power

–          51% of voters say a larger conspiracy was at work in the JFK assassination, just 25% say Oswald acted alone

–          14% of voters believe in Bigfoot

–          15% of voters say the government or the media adds mind-controlling technology to TV broadcast signals (the so-called Tinfoil Hat crowd)

–          5% believe exhaust seen in the sky behind airplanes is actually chemicals sprayed by the government for sinister reasons

–          15% of voters think the medical industry and the pharmaceutical industry “invent” new diseases to make money

–          Just 5% of voters believe that Paul McCartney actually died in 1966

–          11% of voters believe the US government allowed 9/11 to happen, 78% do not agree

Most of these beliefs are ridiculous, but a few do not really relate to conspiracy theories. Question 10 is “Do you believe aliens exist, or not?” The  question is regarding their existence (not whether they are visiting our planet) and, while we don’t know for certain, most likely there is life on some other planets, and therefore there aliens probably do exist.

Question 18 depends upon how it is interpreted: “Do you believe that the pharmaceutical  industry is in league with the medical industry
to ‘invent’ new diseases in order to make money, or not?” If you consider the marketing tactics used by drug companies. the National Institute of Health is promoting this “conspiracy theory.”

Question 9 is “Do you believe the Bush administration intentionally misled the public about the possibility of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to promote the Iraq War, or not?” The Bush administration was making statements which were blatantly untrue and which knowledgeable people at the time realized were false.  This leaves two possibilities. Either George Bush and people in his administration were utterly incompetent or they were lying. There is also good reason, based upon his actual statements and actions, that Bush had desired to invade Iraq even before 9/11, and used 9/11 as justification.  Granted there is no way to know for sure which is the explanation, but it is hardly believing in a conspiracy theory to believe that dishonesty is a more likely explanation for what occurred than the degree of incompetence necessary to rule out dishonesty. (This is not the same as believing that the Bush administration faked or was behind the 9/11 attack.)

Late Night Comics On The Election Results

David Letterman:

“Well, it’s over, and as usual, the guy from Kenya won.”

“Obama won last night, and for the Democrats that’s great, so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens in tonight’s debate.”

“It was a big night for the Democrats. Obama was on the electoral vote and the popular vote. Mitt Romney on the other side won the unpopular vote.”

“Some Republicans are taking it hard. Clint Eastwood spent the entire day buying drinks for an empty bar stool.”

“A victory like this is just the kind of thing that might sway the undecided voters.”

“The had a CBS exit poll last night. 100 percent of the people questioned in the exit poll said they were leaving.”

“Mitt waited until 1 a.m. to give his concession speech. They were talking to him and said what are you going to do now? And he said, ‘I plan to spend some time with my tax returns.'”

“Mitt Romney was very gracious in his remarks in his concession speech. Shortly after Mitt Romney conceded, Paul Ryan was untied and set free.”

Jay Leno:

“Exit polls show that President Obama did well with women, beating Romney by 11 binders.”

“Some more good news – the president announced today he is not going to raise taxes on the entire 1 percent, just Donald Trump.”

“Trump is not giving up. When it was announced that President Obama easily won the Electoral College, Trump demanded to see Obama’s Electoral College records.”

“Donald Trump is starting to lose it. At one point last night on Twitter, he called for revolution since Obama won. The man’s a billionaire who owns golf courses, okay. You don’t call for revolution. Billionaires are the first ones beheaded during a revolution.”

“This morning the stock met plunged over 300 points. You know why? Romney pulled his money out.”

Conan O’Brien:

“In his victory speech last night, President Obama told his daughters that they would not be getting another dog. When asked why, the president said, ‘Because I just made Mitt Romney my bitch.”

After 18 months, the election is over. You know what made a big difference last night? The Hispanic vote. The president got 70 percent of the Hispanic vote in Colorado and Nevada. And in New Hampshire, Obama got the support of both Latino guys.”

“Mitt Romney did well with certain voters. It was close. He had the support of men, people over 45, and married women. In other words, Mitt Romney had the support of Mitt and Ann Romney.”

Jimmy Kimmel:

“A lot of people said over the last few weeks that if Obama wins, they’re going to move to Canada. How come nobody threatens to move to Mexico? That must be depressing for them.”

“The presidential election is that special time every four years when Americans gather around their TVs to be reminded where the states are on a map.”

“Colorado and Washington have become the first states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. That’s a big deal because here in California, you can use marijuana legally only if you receive it for a fake medical condition.”

Jimmy Fallon:

“Today everyone was busy looking at all the different numbers, trying to figure out who voted for which candidate. President Obama beat Mitt Romney by 38 points among single women. They say it’s because of Obama’s final campaign slogan, ‘Hope and Pinot Grigio.'”

“There’s talk that ABC news anchor Diane Sawyer seemed drunk on the air last night. Sawyer was like, ‘Breaking news — we are now calling . . . my ex-boyfriend Nick to see what HE’S up to these days.'”

Jon Stewart:

For those who can’t watch video, Mediaite provides this description:

Stewart joked that Obama’s victory speech appeared to show that he was given “fresh batteries” for his second term, marveling at how all it took to get the president back in his “groove” was the mere thought of never having to run in another election ever again. Stewart brought up victories for gay marriage and marijuana proponents in a number of states, and said the undisputed “best news” of the night was that even though Florida is still too close to call, “the election was decided without them.”

“Florida’s clusterfuckery is irrelevant!” Stewart happily shouted.

He then turned to Fox News, which was “caught flat-footed” after months of brushing aside the polls and predicting that Mitt Romney would win. And that’s when Stewart got around to the amazing, insane moment of panic on the network that Stewart said, unlike all of humanity, “will… live forever.”

Stewart was amazed that Rove’s insistent denials that Ohio was really a lock for Obama got Megyn Kelly to suggest that Rove was either lying to himself or to the audience in doing his own math. And Stewart actually managed to come up with an alternate slogan to Fox’s “Fair and Balanced”: “Math you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better.”

But of course, Stewart then tracked Kelly’s “voyage” through the halls of Fox News to find out the truth of what really happened in Ohio, going so far as to confront the people at Fox News’ very own election desk. As Stewart phrased it, “there was an avalanche on Bullshit Mountain.”

Stewart ended by tearing into the Fox News personalities who were amazed at how many Americans voted for Obama because they want more entitlements. He mocked them for thinking that they would have won if not for minorities taking the country away from older white people (a.k.a. Fox’s audience).

No Surprise: Ron Paul Super PAC Run By Truther

Least surprising news I’ve heard today: Super PAC supporting conspiracy theorist Ron Paul is operated by a Truther. (I’m even more concerned about the amount of support Paul gets from neo-Nazis and white supremacists who understand the most likely result of  implementing Paul’s views.)

Joe Biden: Osama bin Laden Is Dead and General Motors Is Alive

When I first heard Joe Biden use his quick pitch for the Democrats last week I was impressed that he could be so succinct: “Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive.” Steve Benen linked to a video of Biden saying this above. He also pointed out the significance of the use of this brief elevator pitch:

Democrats have traditionally struggled to craft compelling “elevator pitches” when it comes to their policies, records, and visions. But Biden’s 10-word pitch, a blunt instrument as political rhetoric goes, at least has the benefit of summarizing the points Obama for America hopes to stress: the president and his administration turned the economy around at home, and has scored high-profile national security successes abroad.

It’s seems likely the Democratic campaign will face considerable pushback if officials keep using this pitch out loud — the politicization of the bin Laden strike may prove tricky — but the fact that the likely Republican nominee opposed the policy that got the al Qaeda leader, and was inclined to “let Detroit go bankrupt,” the health of GM and demise of bin Laden at a minimum sets up the contrast the White House wants to see.

In an election year it is more important to contrast Obama’s achievements with his likely opponent, but I also cannot help but contrast this with George Bush’s record. While GM’s problems went beyond those of the economy as a whole, it was Bush who brought us to the brink of a depression. Obama’s policies prevented a depression, while Republicans would return to the same policies which got us into this economic mess. Obama is destroying al Qaeda, while Bush’s policies acted to strengthen it and placed the United States in greater danger. It was also the failure of George Bush to follow the recommendations passed on by the Clinton administration, and his failure to respond to CIA warnings of an imminent threat, which allowed the 9/11 attack to be a success.

There are a number of things which I wish Obama would do differently, but on the major issues of the day there is a clear difference between what Obama has accomplished and what the Republicans would do. There is no problem with Obama which would be improved upon by having a Republican in the White House.

SciFi Weekend: Matt Smith and Karen Gillan win National Television Awards; Fifty Years of Doctor Who in Ten Minutes; Eve Myles On The Future of Torchwood; Captain Jack and Captain Kirk; J.J. Abrams–Star Trek, Person of Interest, and Alcatraz; Big Bang Theory and Doctor Who

It was a good night for Doctor Who at the National Television Awards, despite losing to Downton Abbey as best drama. Matt Smith won the award for best actor and Karen Gillan won for best actress.  Merlin was also a contender for Best Drama.

David Tennant has also won as best actor at the inaugural BBC Audio Drama Awards. He won for his role as Kafka in Kafka: The Musical.

Does reading about awards for the last two Doctors make you nostalgic for their episodes, as well as all the episodes before them? The above video shows almost fifty years of Doctor Who in less than ten minutes.

Matt Smith and Karen Gillan beat nominees from Torchwood, John Barrowman and Eve Myles, in their respective categories in the National Television Awards. Cultbox interviewed Eve Myles about the future of Torchwood and the upcoming 50th anniversary of Doctor Who:

What’s the latest you’ve heard on the future of Torchwood?

“As far as I know at the moment, everything’s still very much on hold. Russell [T Davies] has things happening in his personal life.

“John [Barrowman] is very much on the same page as me, in that if and when they need us, they can just pick the phone up and we will be there before they’ve even put the phone down, because it’s something we love doing.

“Nothing’s going to happen in 2012, I know that much for sure. But who knows what will happen in 2013. Maybe a movie, to kinda draw a line under it.

“That’s the thing about Torchwood, every series we’ve changed our format. We’ve always had a gap in between, so fingers crossed, because we’ve got such an outstanding loyal fan base. They deserve Torchwood to go ahead with something else to draw a line under it, for the fans to have a bit of closure.

With the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who coming up next year, would you be up for returning as Gwen for that?

“Um, I said something at one of these conventions and the press kinda jumped on it: “EVE MYLES THINKS BEING INVOLVED IN THE 50TH ANNINVERSARY OF DOCTOR WHO IS INAPPROPRIATE.”

“Now, this has come across wrong and I want to get this out that I didn’t mean it like that! What I meant was that the direction we were taking with Torchwood was very violent kind of storylines. The characters were going through certain narratives that are pretty hefty and adult. What I meant was that it’s difficult for a character to do those kind of scenes then do Doctor Who, which my niece and my nephews watch. And I would never let them watch Torchwood!

“It’s a difficult crossover. It works with Captain Jack because John does it beautifully. If I was asked it would be an absolute honour to be involved with something as huge as Doctor Who again.

“We were born from Doctor Who and we will be eternally grateful to the mothership. And I always say that and that never gets printed! If I was involved, I’m sure it’d be a wonderful thing but there’s been no phone call or no talk about it so I doubt very much that I will be involved, but I’d be honoured.”

Topless Robot helped me transition from Torchwood to Star Trek by digging up the above video of John Barrowman interviewing William Shatner (Captain Jack and Captain Kirk) from 1994 about Star Trek: Generations.

Zoe Saldana has provided a hint as to what happens with her character in J.J. Abram’s second Star Trek movie in an interview with New York Magazine:

Might we see some more “close encounters” between you and Zachary Quinto in this movie?
If I’m elusive, will that spoil it for you?
You mean you can’t say anything, and that in itself might be indicating something?
I just don’t want to spoil it for you. All I’m going to say is, if you put all the time and energy and wit into setting these two characters together in the first movie and didn’t follow through, it would be a shame.

Got it.
I hope I didn’t say too much!

I don’t think you did.
I feel like J.J. is going to pop up out of the corner and say, “Come with me, Zoe.”

J.J. Abrams also has two new genre television shows this season, Person of Interest and Alcatraz. Individual episodes of each give the impression of being essentially police procedural shows with a twist, and the question in my mind is whether there will be enough back story of interest to make them worth watching. I almost gave up on Fringe during its first season, seeing it as largely a monster of the week version of X-Files, but by the second season there was a tremendous pay off for sticking with the show. Therefore I paln to keep watching these two new Abrams shows.

There are hints that a story is developing beyond the weekly procedurals on Person of Interest. We have already seen a major change in Detective Carter. I am curious to see what develops now that  Reese is having Finch followed.  Meanwhile, Jonathan Nolan warns, “None of these characters are safe. You always have to be willing to [kill off characters]. Nothing is given.” I doubt that they would kill off Reese or Finch, but Carter and Fusco are definitely expendable.

Alcatraz combines a weekly police procedural with hunting down escaped prisoners from Alcatraz along with a continuing story about how they managed to be transported to the present. So far we’ve seen three stories (with two separate episodes being aired the first week). I got hooked with the second episode, which showed Lucy both in the past and present. It was not only the prisoners who disappeared from Alcatraz.

Perhaps because of being produced by Warner Brothers, The Big Bang Theory tends to concentrate heavily on DC comic characters. One rare past reference to Doctor Who which I can recall was from last year’s New Year’s Eve party when Stuart wore a Tom Baker costume at a party at his comic book store. Meanwhile, most of the characters came not as X-Men or Avengers but members of the Justice League of America:

Two years ago, Sheldon did combine watching Doctor Who with his fixation on his place on the couch:

On the other hand, last year Craig Ferguson teased Jim Parsons for being nothing like his character due to not watching Doctor Who.

This week’s episode of Big Bang Theory shows that Sheldon is no longer alone in watching Doctor Who every week:

The Big Bang Theory still remains far beyond Community in references to Doctor Who with their ongoing invention of episodes of Inspector Spacetime.

SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who; Interview with Karen Gillan; Torchwood: Once Upon A Time; Fringe

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3s4Czla6tXc&feature=player_embedded

The above video was recently posted featuring the cast and crew of Doctor Who from a video played at the wrap party at the end of the David Tennant era.

Above is the audio of an interview with Karen Gillan from Graham Norton’s Radio 2 show. Here’s some highlights:

Karen Gillan has said she will welcome the next Doctor Who companion “with open arms” when her time is up on the show.

Speaking on Graham Norton’s Radio 2 show yesterday, she said: “I know the time is going to come when Rory and Amy have to leave. It’s inevitable and that will make me really, really sad. But that’s the nature of the show and what’s so good about it. What keeps it exciting is the fact that it’s reinvented all the time with new people. I think that’s a really great part of the show, so I will welcome the new companion with open arms.

“I don’t know what type of companion [the Doctor] would have next.”

Gillan also said her future was still “up in the air,” adding “I know that I’m going to be coming back, but I’m not sure when.”

Mark Sheppard hints that Canton Delaware might return to Doctor Who:

Speaking in an interview with Stuff, Sheppard reflected on his involvement on Series 6 and teased “To emerge that Canton is in fact one of the friends that the Doctor deemed should be present at his death eludes to perhaps some further involvement…”

An interview with the cast of Torchwood: Miracle Day from London Comic Con/Memorabilia MCM Expo in the video above.

Kristen Bauer, who plays Pam on True Blood, will be playing Malificent on Once Upon A Time. A couple questions from a recent interview:

What can you tell us about Maleficent’s relationship with Lana Parrilla’s Evil Queen?
The most interesting thing about their relationship is that the writers decided to make them frenemies. It’s just a minefield of evil goodness. It was me, Lana Parrilla and a green screen and we just had so much fun. Two chicks who are loving playing bitches, who liked each other and went, let’s just play chess. The great thing about playing with another person who is a good player is that you don’t always have to play the obvious and hopefully, what we did is put in different colors that show a history. These two chicks have known each other a long time and they’ve been coveting each other, helping each other and probably backstabbing each other quite often. We tried to get all that in there and we’ll see on Sunday if we succeeded.

How would you compare Maleficent to your other current role, that of Pam on TRUE BLOOD?
I’m not exactly sure yet. But so far there are a couple of difference in how I played it. Pam is very sarcastic and what you see is what you get. Pam to me is one of the only people who always tells the truth at this point, doesn’t suffer fools and doesn’t worry about being liked at all. When we get into the fairytale world with Maleficent it feels like we could have a bit more game playing and a bit more things are not as they appear.

More on the back story and sneak peaks about Once Upon A Time can be found here.

Fringe was preempted by some baseball game on Friday. They commented on this in the video above.

And, finally, here is a Happy Halloween card for our readers:

Not-Romney Continues To Lead GOP Race

The Republican base remains desperate for a not-Romney candidate and Herman Cain remains the top not-Romney following the collapse of the brief leads held by Michele Bachmann and then Rick Perry. Cain has even moved to a lead nationally in the latest Public Policy Survey, leading Romney 30 percent to 22 percent. Newt Gingrich has managed to  move ahead of Perry.

National polls have their limitations in evaluating primary battles. The real question is whether the far right can deny Romney victories in the early contests. A Romney victory in New Hampshire would not help if the right wing can keep him from winning elsewhere. David Frum discussed why the far right does not want Romney to win:

Why is it that the GOP base seems not to care a whit about Mitt? Perhaps it’s because he is the anti-Tea Party, anti-talk-radio, anti-anti-government candidate.

Romney will never be able to appeal to those who want “limited government.” He fundamentally cannot; he is, at bottom, a center-right candidate who believes that government, when run effectively and efficiently, can produce the best results for the most people. It’s a noble view—one that the GOP base seemingly hates him for.

Anti-Romney sentiment is clearly connected to the idea that if Romney wins, the Reagan Revolution somehow loses. A Romney presidency could actually restore the average American’s faith in the competency of Washington—a notion that GOP base voters find intolerable.

Conservatives and Tea Partiers were supposed to put an end to people like Romney. They had convinced themselves that the era of the Bush 41-style Republican was over and done with, and that the GOP would now and forever be controlled by the purebred conservatives, the ideological offspring of Reagan and Goldwater, the true believers who would finally cut Washington down to size and starve the statist beast until you could see its ribcage.

If Romney becomes the GOP nominee, it will prove that the Tea Party project was an abject failure, and that the momentum of 2010 was only temporary.

Romney doesn’t represent “taking the country back.” To the contrary, he represents taking the country forward, and recognizing government’s appropriate role in doing so.

It is tough enough for the Tea Party now that they are being eclipsed by the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has a major advantage over the Tea Party in at least recognizing were the problems are. The Tea Party, which is made up of ignorant pawns of the top one percent which seeks to replace American democracy and capitalism with plutocracy, would be seen as especially meaningless if they cannot prevent Romney from winning the nomination.

At this point it looks like the primary race will play out one of two ways. Most likely, without credible opposition, Romney will gradually accumulate delegates until he is unstoppable. The second most likely alternative is that one not-Romney candidate will peak early in the primary battle and, with the support of the GOP base, manage to defeat Romney. The manner in which different conservatives have peaked at different times raises a third possibility. Perhaps different conservatives will win at different times and in different states, preventing Romney from getting enough delegates to win, leaving an open convention battle between a large Romney delegation and multiple conservatives whose total delegates outnumber Romney’s. While unlikely, it is possible that it will be left to the Republican convention to choose  the not-Romney candidate.

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.