Wub's Ramblings...

Life is far too important to be taken seriously...

Why the new Doctor is great.
Took me a week or so to really congeal my thoughts on this.

Matt Smith does not replace David Tennant, he is a totally new Doctor. One who is jittery, jumpy and always on the edge of something brilliant. He seems to be thinking far too fast for the rest of reality to keep up. He gets tongue tied because his brain has already thought five or six paragraphs ahead and Smith really conveys this sense of edge-of-seat life.

In two episodes, Smith steps up to stand beside all the previous Doctors and he stands as an equal, carving his own place in the mythos.

But what I really like about the debut episode is his new companion Amy Pond (Karen Gillan). She is like the best of all the previous companions but like the Smith Doctor, the Gillan Companion manages to live in her own place in the mythos.

We first meet her as the Doctor crashes into the world of a fiercely independent, latch-key 8 year old who just took in this stranger and accepted his weirdness as only a 8 year-old can.

When we meet her again, she is an independent 20-something who is still dealing with her "invisible friend" from her childhood. She is independent, still a bit vulnerable but who is making her way just fine in the world without help. She is still that 8 year-old, just trapped in the body of a 20 year old.

So when she goes to follow the Doctor, it is not out of love or admiration or anything else. She follows the Doctor because she has always followed the Doctor.

Her 8 year-old self comes back and she just jumps into the adventure because that is what fearless 8 year-olds do.

I really hope they do not turn her following him into some kind of romantic entanglement like they have the last few seasons. Her following is much more pure and adventuresome. She will follow the Doctor into the gates of Hell simply because he is the Doctor and she is still the 8 year-old who found this weird guy in her garden.

The perfect example is the quote from the trailers:

Guy: "He said not to follow him, what are you going to do?"
Amy: "Follow him."

Sam Harris: Science can answer moral questions

Federal Appeals Court refuses to rule "Under God" in pledge is unconstitutional...
Not a huge surprise, but the court said that the words "Under God" in the pledge of allegiance is constitutional

The words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance are an appeal to patriotism, not religion, and do not violate the separation of church and state, a federal appeals court ruled today - the same court that declared the pledge unconstitutional in 2002.

In a separate ruling, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel in San Francisco upheld the placement of the national motto, "In God We Trust," on coins and currency. The language is patriotic and ceremonial, not religious, the court said.

It is not really a surprise. It seems the courts start with the assumption that the phrases are ok and then bend over backwards to make them ok.

The reality is that both phrases were added in the 50s for explicitly religious reasons and should have never been passed into law. But since they were made into law, it is no reason they should remain law.

If the phrases are religious in nature, then they have no business on our money or our pledge and should be declared unconstitutional.

On the other hand, if the phrases are just "ceremonial", then why all the furor every time someone wants to remove them? The religious vitriol against anyone who wants to clean our money and our pledge only demonstrates that the phrases are religious in nature and not ceremonial and thus should be declared unconstitutional.

Oh well, there will be another challenge on another day and some day we can hope that our money and pledge are restored.

Oooooooohhhh! Shiney Tron Trailer!!!
I went to see Alice in Wonderland this weekend (it was pretty good). But the best part of the movie was the Tron Legacy trailer at the beginning.

Behold: The Tron Legacy Trailer

Watch it in HD with the one you love.

Any geek half-worth their salt has been waiting for this movie for 25 years. I just hope they do not screw it up!!! If they do, there will be blood!

io9 has a delicious detailed analysis of images from the trailer.
(still not sure what I think about the new light cycles)

This should feed some conspiracy theories
Someone from reddit posted this survey they got from JD Powers tracking TV usage.

The user is asked to fill in little Y/N circles asking if they watch any of the dozens of TV channel choices. Interestingly, the only set of Y/N boxes that are switched are the ones for Fox News.

Perhaps we have identified the real source for Fox's ratings...

Obama to Republicans: You had 10 years. What happened?
Obama seems to be finally taking the fight to Republicans:
He also stressed that "we've been talking about health care for nearly a century," and "we have failed to meet this challenge during periods of prosperity, and also during periods of decline."

"If not now when? If not us, who?" Obama asked.

The President also took the opportunity to hit Republicans: "I got all my Republican colleagues out there saying 'No, no, no, we want to focus on things like costs.' You had 10 years. What happened? What were you doing?"

Unfortunately, the conservative mainstream media will ignore this great soundbite. Only Fox will likely report on it, and they will distort it to mock the President over something...

DeLay: People are unemployed because they want to be
I do not know why anyone listens to Tom Delay, but the conservative mainstream media keeps talking to him so he can keep saying really stoopid things like:
"There is an argument to be made that these extensions, the unemployment benefits, keep people from going and finding jobs,"

I'm sure there are some twenty-something slackers that would be happy with the sub-poverty funds they get from unemployment benefits, but the idea that this represents anything but the smallest fraction of recipients is just ridiculous.
From later in the article:
"unemployment benefits are generally so small that much of it is often used to pay for COBRA health insurance, even when subsidized. The size of the benefits does not generally cover the cost of living and it would be hard to find a single person who would prefer unemployment to having a job so that they could get subsidized COBRA."

Godzilla Haiku

via io9

"We Won", "They Won" and "Broken Priorities"... a three-fer post...
Victory for the good guys:
Texas school board elections kick out two of the worst wingnuts
The Texas school board was really pushing a wacko wingnut position including creationism ("Who else is going to stand up to these scientists") and a revisionist American history(1) (they were pushing to remove references to Thurgood Marshall).
This is a major victory for everyone because Texas is a huge buyer of textbooks. Textbook makers would write their books for Texas and then sell them to all states, dumbing down all American kids to Texas' level.
The election is not a major shift, but is is a start...

Victory for the bad guys:
Mormon Church killed Marie Osmond's son
Marie Osmond's son killed himself recently. The story was that he was suffering from "depression". Well there seems to be more to the story, namely that her son was gay.
As a gay kid in Mormontown, he would have been constantly assaulted with tales of how he was depraved, an abomination, a sinner. He would have been told that he was a disappointment to his family and church. He would have been subject to harassment and attempts to "save him" from himself. He would have been told that his natural feelings happened because he was not strong enough to overcome them and he was not good enough to be "normal".
Is it any wonder that the kid was depressed??
Under that kind of pressure, its not a surprise that he felt killing himself would be a better thing than to keep living and bringing that kind of hell to himself and his family.

Broken Priorities:
It costs an estimated $1 million to deploy a soldier to Afghanistan for a year and $49,000 to incarcerate a prisoner for a year in California. The state of California spends less than $10,000 to educate one K-12 student each year. The tradeoff is clear and unjustifiable.
We could massively increase the amount spent on education this year by cutting back the Iraq/Afghanistan war by just 10 minutes.

(1) Note: When LGF thinks you are right wing, you are _really_ right wing...

What a frakin surprise...
Here is something you will not see much play from the conservative mainstream media: ACORN was cleared of criminal wrongdoing...

In a move that will surprise absolutely no one with a functioning brain, it seems that O'Keefe and Giles - creators of the infamous original ACORN hit pieces - were utter liars. Splicing together the video to imply criminal wrong-doing on the part of ACORN.

Of course, conservative media (we have little to no actual liberal media in the US) lept a the story and triggered a huge backlash including some questionable legislation.

Unfortunately, there will be virtually no coverage or apology for the witch-hunt now. The damage has been done, which was the goal of the hit-piece in the first place. Wingnuts have long hated ACORN for registering poor mostly inner city people who overwhelmingly vote Democrat, so it is no surprise that any smear campaign taking place in the media would work.

Just a shame that we do not have any kind of liberal reporting service with anything like the reach of the modern conservative elite media. More a shame that many of the poor who ACORN would have helped keep buying into the conservative media's lies and smears.

ACORN Wikipedia page
Press Release


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