SciFi Friday: Save the Cheerleader, Save the World

“Save the Cheerleader, Save the World” is the unlikely tag line to this season’s newest television SF hit. This week I finally got around to watching two of the shows I’ve been recording until I could determine whether they are worth watching, Heroes and Brothers and Sisters. Heroes is reminiscent of X-Men except the mutants with super powers are living among us rather than separately in a school. It even has an intentional comic book feel which makes for an entertaining hour. It will never have the serious social commentary of Star Trek or Babylon 5, but that is not its goal.

Heroes starts out with the individual stories of people who find they have super powers, as well as the son of a genetics professor who discovered their existence. Ultimately they get together, and the paths of some of them cross in Las Vegas. It is probably inevitable that the politician and the stripper were among the first to meet. Also in Las Vegas we see the almost-perfect way to cheat and win. Once united, the heroes must prevent a nuclear explosion in Manhattan, but it appears that first they must save the cheerleader.

For those who have missed Heroes, NBC is running a three episode marathon on Sunday night.

The other recorded show I started catching up on, Brothers and Sisters, doesn’t fit into SciFi Friday, but any show staring Rachel Griffiths (Brenda on Six Feet Under) along with Callista Flockhart (Allie McBeal), Sally Fields (Gidget and The Flying Nun before many far more substantial roles), Ron Rifkin (the perfect villain on Alias), and Patricia Wettig (Thirtysomething) is worth mentioning. Ken Olin (Thirtysomething and Alias) is also executive producer.

Despite my irresistable urge to give Rachel Griffiths top billing above, the actual star is Callista Flockhart who plays a right wing television pundit, but do not fear being forced to listen to right wing drivel. Her professional life is only a small part of the show, and she is outnumbered by liberal members of her family. Reviews of the first episode were mediocre as it attempted to introduce several family members, but the show has improved tremendously from there. Perhaps the deciding factor, beyond the cast, which led to me watching rather than deleting these recordings was a review which said this was a show which could have been done for HBO. So far I’d rank it below Studio 60 and The Nine, but it is still among the top new shows of the season.

Newsweek reports on a new battle on Battlestar Galactica. Ron Moore and NBC Universal are fighting over the residuals for the web episodes.

Last week’s SF television highlight was on Doctor Who as Sarah Jane Smith got a chance to see The Doctor once again, and to properly say goodbye to him. Seeing her brief relationship with Rose will also remain a classic moment in Doctor Who history. K-9 Mark III, always the good dog, sacrificed himself but was rebuilt to be ready for the proposed new BBC television show featuring Sarah Jane. Next week, The Cybermen!

Doctor Who has also entered the Guinness Book of World Records. With over 700 episodes since it started in 1963 it is the longest running SF show. There have already been ten versions of the timelord, and The Sun reports we may be getting another. David Tennant is considering leaving after the third season of the remake, despite an offer of one million pounds from the BBC to remain.

Republican Voter Supression in Orange County

Voter supression remains a GOP tactic:

A state attorney general’s investigation into letters apparently designed to suppress Latino voter turnout in Orange County for the upcoming election is focusing on the campaign of Republican congressional candidate Tan Nguyen, according to people familiar with the inquiry.

Nguyen, who has made halting illegal immigration part of his platform, is running an underdog campaign to unseat Rep. Loretta Sanchez, who represents Santa Ana and is Orange County’s only Democratic member of Congress.

In a fast-moving examination that began just days after the letters were mailed, sources said investigators tracked down the location where they were printed and mailed to an estimated 14,000 Democratic voters in central Orange County.

Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer, appearing Wednesday on the Patt Morrison show on 89.3 KPCC FM, said his office believes it knows who financed the letters, but said interviews were still being conducted and declined to provide further detail.

“That’s the preliminary assessment, that there were one or more Republican candidates for office that were associated with this effort,” Lockyer said.

Republicans Losing Cash Advantage over Democrats

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Democrats are starting to raise more money than Republicans, leading to a loss of the Republican’s cash advantage. Increased contributions to Democrats means two things–more people are backing Democrats and therefore contributing to them, and more people are betting on Democrats to come out of November as the winner. From The Wall Street Journal:

The Democratic Party’s three major campaign committees raised more money last month than their Republican counterparts, slicing deep into a financial edge Republicans hoped would provide an advantage in the final weeks of the bruising campaign for the midterm elections.

According to the reports — among the final tallies filed before Election Day — the three Democratic committees collectively raised $33.6 million, compared with $30 million by the Republicans. The strong showing cut the cash-on-hand advantage Republicans had a month ago to about $10 million, or nearly half. That is money the committees can use to buy television and radio ads for candidates.

“If one party has fund-raising momentum, it’s very helpful at this stage,” said Michael Malbin, of the Campaign Finance Institute, a nonpartisan organization that tracks political money.

According to figures released yesterday, both the House and the Senate Democratic campaign committees raised more in September than the Republican National Committee, the party’s fund-raising powerhouse.

House Democrats were the top money raisers, collecting $14.4 million, much of it through donations from incumbent members who aren’t facing tough re-elections. Senate Democrats raised $13.6 million, through a mix of incumbent giving and a surge of individual donations. Committee Chairman Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) said the committee received $900,000 in direct-mail checks in a single day.

The two Democratic committees reported that at the end of September they had $36 million in cash for House races and $23 million for Senate campaigns. “We’ve always been worried they’d throw a lot of money into some blue [Democratic-dominated] states in the end. This gives us the ability to defend our blue states and go hard in the red [Republican] states,” Mr. Schumer said.

The Democratic National Committee, which has lagged behind the congressional committees in fund raising, reported $5.6 million in donations and $8.2 million in cash. Beyond that, the DNC has taken out a loan for as much as $10 million, which essentially puts the party’s cash position at parity with the Republicans in the final weeks of campaigning.

Rumsfeld Inspired by God

Donald Rumsfeld may have managed the war in a totally incompetent manner, but this hardly matters since he was inspired by God:

The top US general defended the leadership of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, saying it is inspired by God.

“He leads in a way that the good Lord tells him is best for our country,” said Marine General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

God is apparently intervening in contemporary America to a degree not previously seen other than in some of those last second Notre Dame victories. Besides telling Donald Rumsfeld what is “best for our country” God reportedly chose George Bush to be President and advised Bush to go to war in Iraq.