The GOP’s Latest Plan For Congress

The next couple of years could turn out to  be quite interesting in Washington. We’ve already heard of a number of possible ways the GOP might use control of the House, from refusing to fund measures Republicans oppose, such as health care reform, bogging down the Executive Branch with investigations, shutting down the government as during the Clinton/Gingrich years, to impeachment. Brian Buetler describes yet another way:

House Republicans will have carte blanche next year, and will be able to pass as many of these “resolutions of disapproval” as they want. The key is that a small minority in the Senate can force votes on them as well, and they require only simple-majority support to pass. If they can find four conservative Democrats to vote with them on these resolutions, they can force Obama to serially veto politically potent measures to block unpopular regulations, and create a chilling effect on the federal agencies charged with writing them.

Personally I hope the House devotes its energies to passing legislation which demonstrates what the right wing wants to accomplish, adding to the Democratic passed legislation from the past two years which is unable to get through the Senate. The difference would be that people would get a chance to see what would pass if Republicans controlled the government again.

Tea Party Cancels Christmas Pageant; Could Not Find Three Wise Men

But they did have plenty of sheep. Via Andy Borowitz.

Quote of the Day

‎”Sarah Palin is angry that Michelle Obama is suggesting that parents encourage their kids to eat healthy. Palin thinks that if we have healthy children, the terrorists have won.” –David Letterman

House Republicans To Allow Electronic Devices

Republicans might live in the past on social matters, and often deny science, but at least House Republicans are adopting modern gadgets. House Republicans are going to allow the use of cell phones and tablets on the House floor as long as it doesn’t “impair decorum.” Now members of Congress will be able to goof off on Facebook while at work, just like everyone else.

SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol and Previews of Next Season; Sherlock; Torchwood; Caprica’s Final Episodes

Since 2005 the Doctor Who Christmas Special has become the major television event on the BBC and this year it is  being shown around most of the English-speaking world the same day. Of course for some of us it just wouldn’t be Christmas without downloading a copy instead of waiting until 9:00 p.m. when BBC America will be broadcasting the episode. While I will not give away the ending to the main story, there are lots of spoilers as to the other fun stuff in this episode.

Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol is Steven Moffat’s first shot at the Christmas special. Moffat wrote an episode based upon the classic by Charles Dickens and interweaving all that “timey-wimey” stuff which Moffat does  best. The episodes starts with the space liner which Amy and Rory are taking their honeymoon on being in danger of crashing. The two went from the honeymoon suite to the bridge. We can see that they were role playing with Rory back in his Roman suit from The Pandorica Opens and Amy back in her kiss-o-gram police woman outfit with the very short skirt.

Amy contacted the Doctor to help, but the Doctor found that the only one who could save them just didn’t care to, considering that the ship wasn’t going to crash on his house. The Doctor  became The Ghost of Christmas Past to change the man’s life so that he would be willing to help. There is not very much of Amy and Rory in the remainder of the episode, but Amy did briefly become The Ghost of Christmas Present.

Michael Gambon made a great Scrooge and Katherine Jenkins was excellent in her acting debut, with her singing becoming an important part of the story. We also go to see sharks, the Doctor in a fez hat and a scarf. There were many trips through time, including one to a party at Frank Sinatra’s house which led to the Doctor getting married to Marilyn Monroe. (The doctor does insist it was not a real wedding chapel). The best line of the episode was, “Marilyn, get your coat.”

There were also some other memorable lines, including “Father Christmas. Santa Claus. Or as I call him, Jeff” and, “Do you know, in 900 years of time and space, I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t important.”

At the conclusion of the episode the above promo for Series 6 was shown. It includes a naked River Song and two more great lines. The Doctor is wearing a stetson saying,”I wear a Stetson now. Stetsons are cool!” The clip concludes with, “There’s one thing I can tell you. Monsters are real.”

Although I still didn’t have the patience to wait until tonight, it was a good idea to broadcast the special on Christmas in the United States as opposed to a delay as in the past. There are also plans to do the same with the entire next season. Episodes will be broadcast the same day in the United States as on the BBC. Some of the interviews I posted earlier in the week leading up to the Christmas special, such as this one with Matt Smith, have very vague hints as to what is to come.

Steven Moffat was interviewed by The New York Times. He discussed Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol but was also asked a few questions about Sherlock:

Are you being asked all the time when the Doctor and your Sherlock Holmes will meet up?

I think everyone who’s passing me in the streets is suggesting that at the moment. I think there are problems of doing that, because then you would say that Sherlock Holmes lives in the same world as the Doctor, and there are Daleks and all sorts of things. If a Sherlock Holmes story depends on time travel being impossible, it’s quite hard if he’s a personal friend of the Doctor’s, isn’t it?

I agree. Besides, the personalities of the two are too similar and there’s little sense in having both in the same story. I’d much rather have the Doctor and Amy meet the characters in Moffat’s previous show, Coupling.

The Scottish Sun interviewed John Borrowman regarding upcoming seasons of Torchwood. The big news is that the current plan is to make the joint show between the BBC and Starz for seven years. That’s still probably not long enough to see Captain Jack’s transformation to The Face Of Boe. From the interview:

“But I have turned down a load of other shows to make Torchwood. We’ll be filming it in LA as it’s now a collaboration between the BBC and the Starz Network in America.

“They’re planning to make it for the next seven years. So I’ll be spending six months a year in Hollywood and six back in the UK.”

John will be 50 by then – doesn’t he worry his leading man looks will start to fade? He shrugs: “Captain Jack turns into the hideous creature The Face Of Boe in the fullness of time so he won’t always be good- looking anyway.

“But I’ll keep playing Jack as long as I can.

“One thing you’ll never find me doing is going for plastic surgery.”

I caught the final five episodes of Caprica which have not yet aired on SyFy this weekend and for the first time am sad that the show was not renewed. I think the show would have done much better if it was presented more in the mode of many BBC and premium cable shows with thirteen episodes, and with all in one stretch. Dividing the season resulted in multiple threads leading to a mid-season cliff hanger. By the time the show returned it was difficult to recall the details of each storyline or to really care that much. A shorter season might have avoided some of the superfluous story lines. The final episodes still contain separate story lines but they all seemed far more coherent with the episodes working as a five episode mini-series. The stories are wrapped up to different degrees in the finale. The episode concluded with a series of scenes from what presumably would have been future episodes if the series survived. They provide a satisfactory bridge between the season of Caprica and what we know of Caprica from Battlestar Galactica.

Matt Smith on the Graham Norton Show

Doctor Who: A Christmas Special is starting now on the BBC. For American fans who have to wait a bit longer, here’s Matt Smith’s recent appearance on The Graham Norton Show. The interview will also air on BBC America after tonight’s showing of Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol. But why wait until tonight? It just wouldn’t feel like Christmas without hunting down a pirate copy of the BBC broadcast of the Doctor Who Christmas Special.

Quote of the Day

“Sarah Palin is getting into the Christmas spirit. Today, she shot a partridge in a pear tree.” –David Letterman

BBC Breakfast With Matt Smith and Karen Gillan

Just one more day until Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol. Here’s Matt Smith and Karen Gillan interviewed this morning on BBC Breakfast.

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer In The Original Yiddish

One great thing about Christmas is that it showcases the work of so many Jewish song writers. This includes I’ll be Home for Christmas,It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire and of course, White Christmas by Irving Berlin.There’s also Johnny Marks who wrote I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day and Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. Above is Rudolph in the original Yiddish.

Biden Calls Same Sex Marriage Inevitable

Things have really changed since 2004. In the 2004 election, the Bush campaign used homophobia to get out the vote by putting all those propositions opposing gay marriage on the ballots. Now we appear to be rapidly approaching a tipping point where discrimination against homosexuals is as frowned upon as discrimination based upon race. That doesn’t mean it will go away, but it will no longer be possible to base legislation on such discrimination.

In 2004 the unpopularity of same sex marriage may have doomed John Kerry’s campaign. By the summer of 2010 we had the first major poll showing a majority supporting same sex marriage at 52 percent. Other polls show a smaller number, but it will continue to grow. After the passage of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, ” Barack Obama spoke of how his views on the subject are “evolving.” Now Joe Biden says that gay marriage is “inevitable.”

My bet is that Barack Obama will be the last Democratic candidate for president who doesn’t support legalization of same sex marriage–assuming it even remains illegal outside of the repressive GOP-belt by the end of Obama’s second term.