Saturday, April 11, 2009

Life on Mars canceled

I just learned today to my great despair that the TV show "Life on Mars" has been canceled after just one season. It now joins Firefly as one of my favorite shows to last only one season.
The only good news is that they gave the show's creators enough forewarning that they were able to film a series finale episode that resolved the show. I haven't seen it yet, but my understanding is that they did a good job wrapping up the series.
But still, there is no reason why the show couldn't have continued for several more seasons at least. It was a fun show with a terrific cast. I am so depressed.
All I can figure is that the TV executives closely monitor my viewing habits and use it as a reverse poll, canceling shows that I watch and promoting shows that I avoid. How else to explain the sudden death of Boston Legal last year. The early demise of My Own Worst Enemy early this season. The end of ER, which I watched regularly, and now the end of Life on Mars.
Lately, I have also been watching Dollhouse, the news series by Buffy the Vampire creator Joss Whedon, and Castle, the crime drama starring Nathan Filion of Firefly fame. So be warned because both these shows are sure to be canceled as well. I would be shocked if either is approved for a second season.
Since the network TV executives are working so hard to prevent me from having any shows to watch on TV, I may have to oblige and finally give in. When Lost finally ends in another year or two I may be completely out of options.

The NRA rules their world

The Houston Chronicle has a good editorial today about the idiotic bill before the Texas Legislature that would force public universities to allow handguns on campus.

the most troubling, irresponsible one of all is a bill to allow concealed weapons on college campuses. Authored by Rep. Joe Driver, R-Garland, it seems to have enough support to pass the House. In the Senate, 13 of the 31 members have promised their support for an identical bill authored by Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio.

It’s a horrifying thought. It is our fervent hope that cooler heads in the Senate will prevail and block its passage. Students have enough on their plates without having to worry that horsing around, drinking or otherwise acting like a college student could result in an unintended tragedy.

There are excellent reasons why all major car rental agencies require that a driver be at least 25, or pay a hefty premium if younger. Psychologists are well aware that the ability to foresee the consequences of one’s behavior is still developing long past adolescence.

The arguments that having a concealed weapon would help prevent tragedies such as Columbine and Virginia Tech are discounted by experts, who cite statistics that being in possession of a handgun can be a dangerous proposition in itself, on or off campus. Texas colleges seem to agree: Campus police departments and more than 40 colleges have voiced their opposition, noted the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Within the last month, 57 people have died in eight mass shootings around the country. Just a week ago yesterday, a gunman shot and killed 13 people in Binghamton, N.Y., before killing himself. The next day, three Pittsburgh police officers were killed, hours after a man killed his five children and then himself in Washington State. Eight died the week before that in a nursing home in North Carolina; four police officers in Oakland. … Most of the killers were registered gun owners.

We live in a violent country. And firearms are the weapons of choice. They have no place on a college campus.

Most of the lawmakers who are supporting this outrageous legislation are doing so simply because they don't want to risk losing their 100 percent rating with the NRA. The fact that they would allow an extremist organization like the NRA to dictate to public universities that they have to allow guns on campus (private schools would be conveniently exempt), despite the opposition of the very people charged with protecting the students on these campuses, shows just how completely irresponsible and morally bankrupt they have become.
These moronic cowboy fantasies that gun nuts have that they will whip out their concealed handguns and stop some campus shooter are as likely to happen as they are to repel an invasion of space aliens. More likely to happen is that they will screw around with their gun at some point and get themselves or someone else shot.
Some letter writers to the Chronicle had a great suggestion for these jerk lawmakers. Since they are going to force handguns onto our college campuses, the bill should also contain a clause opening up handguns to the state Capitol and their legislative offices.
Such idiots!

The Cult of Conservatism

I've often wondered why it is so hard to have a political discussion with some conservatives. Rational argument seems impossible when the reponse is always a random spewing of meaningless nonsense. (See the comments in the post below for a good example).
I have a theory as to why this is. I believe a large segment of today's "conservative" movement has essentially developed into a cult. Like the classic definition of a cult, these people isolate themselves from regular society and adhere to a strict set of doctrine dictated to them by a small group of high priests and priestesses.
The isolation comes in the way that they shut themselves off from all forms of news and information except those that are approved by the cult - Fox News, Washington Times, NewsMax, rightwing radio, rightwing blogs, and so forth.
All other forms of communication are viewed as suspect and dismissed as heretical and false. The media personalities on these few approved outlets serve as the high priests of the cult - Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, etc.
They are the gatekeepers of truth for the cultists. Until they say that it is OK to believe something, it is rejected by the cult followers. They are, as a rule, paranoid and distrustful of all other forms of media as well as all forms of government and just about anybody and everybody not directly connected to their cult network.
I think this is why a cult leader like the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who runs the Washington Times, fits in so well with the rightwing movement today. Conservative cultists aren't bothered by Moon's beliefs that he is the "messiah", because he has the two things that the cult followers truly prize and worship above all else - money and power.
Now not all "conservatives" are total adherents to the cult. Mark for instance is not fully vested in the cult because his devotion to Catholicism overrides it in some instances. Others may be only partial converts at this point, but the clear direction of the Republican Party today is towards full embracement of the cult mentality.
Like the Scientologists that they resemble, the conservative cultists have an irrational fear of things they don't fully understand. For Scientologists, it is the fear of psychology. For conservatives it is the fear of "socialism" by which they mean any government program or initiative that veers away from a strictly hard-right ideology.
More on this later....

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Wingnuts on Parade

Next Wednesday, April 15, San Antonio will pay unwitting host to a rightwing pity party and protest event being billed as the San Antonio Tea Party.
What will distinguish the San Antonio Tea Party from the hundreds of other tea parties scheduled for that same day in other cities (and the dozens that have previously been held) is that the Mad Hatter himself - far-right talk radio host Glenn Beck - will be at the San Antonio event in an effort to exploit the city’s shrine of liberty - The Alamo - for his partisan political purposes.
While researching this issue prior to writing this post, I was surprised to learn that the person heading up the local event is none other than Robin Juhl, aka Ranten’ Raven, my old blogging buddy and sparring partner.
Raven is the one who (with his lovely wife) planned and organized the one and only San Antonio Blogger BBQ, a pleasant gathering that brought together locally-based political bloggers of all stripes. It was with great sadness that I reported two years ago the demise of Raven’s blog. So I am happy to see that he is still doing well, although not so delighted to see what it is that has been keeping him busy lately.
But I must say that he has done some good work organizing this event as you can see by the website and blog that has been set up. And I appreciate their efforts to keep the gathering as civil and peaceful as possible as evidenced by the “Rules” they have listed on their site:

RULE 1: No Violence
We are not anarchists. We are concerned citizens using the freedoms secured by our nations founders and declared in the Bill of Rights to petition our government. Any who advocate, in general, any act of violence or other active civil disobedience will be told (not asked--TOLD!) to leave our reserved area. Any who advocate, in specific, any act of violence will be reported to the San Antonio Police or to the US Secret Service, as appropriate. Our Founders gave us the Bill of Rights and we will use them. Talk of “battles” must be reserved to the context of “Battle of the Flowers” and “political battles.” We will act in a peaceful, lawful manner, period. PERIOD. Your alternative is to form your own protest, separate from ours. We have no problem with those who want to organize their own Tea Party. Good luck, and may God Bless your efforts.

Of course, if they actually do uphold this rule then they will have to ask Glenn Beck to leave as soon as he shows up. The same goes for that wild-eyed fascist freak Ted Nugent who is planning to show up and butcher the National Anthem on his electric guitar.
As Steve Benen noted today, these tea party protesters seem a bit confused about what they are supposed to be protesting. They don’t like all of the spending and the deficits, but for some reason they didn’t seem to be bothered by it too much when it was going on for the past eight years under a Republican president. Apparently, a Republican president spending hundreds of billions of dollars to repair infrastructure in Iraq is OK, but a Democratic president spending hundreds of billions of dollars to repair infrastructure in the U.S. is not. And nevermind that the point behind the spending boost is to try and pull the country out of the economic death spiral created by the Republican administration’s failed economic policies.
The organizers of this event have gone to great lengths to say that it is not supposed to be a partisan, anti-Obama, anti-Democrat affair. But it is hard to see anyone who supports the current administration showing up for an event meant to protest everything they are trying to do to save our economy.
I guess the thing that disturbs me the most about it is just that - the extreme anti-government tone of the event. It is hard to see how these people can claim to love their country when they seem to despise every aspect of it other than the symbolism. Sure, they loooooove the flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, the National Anthem, pictures of bald eagles, and so on. But they absolutely hate the U.S. government, even when its being run by rightwing Republicans, and they can’t stand most of their fellow Americans on whom they blame most all of their problems on, whether its the “liberals” or “Hollywood” or immigrants or welfare recipients.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Mean as a snake

I’m sorry, but hearing Republican congressmen refer to Speaker Nancy Pelosi as “mean as a snake” and “Tom DeLay in a skirt” strikes me as very funny and very much deserved. For them, that is.
Personally, I think she is like DeLay in the sense that she is very powerful and runs a tight ship, but she is also very different in that she is not a corrupt little weasel like the ex-bug exterminator was.

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

I’m very glad to see George W. Bush back doing what he does best.

I’m also glad to see that baseball season has started up again, especially since the Spurs season is, for all practical purposes, over.