Wednesday, March 30, 2005

WAYS THE NEW SEASON OF BATTLESTAR GALACTICA COULD GO WRONG: And yes, this is way ahead of time--but if they pull the "Character X is a Cylon" more than one more time I believe that would be cheating, narratively speaking. They could probably do it once more if they did it in an interesting way. More than once, the whole concept will break down in a funhouse of mirrors of paranoid reflections.

Another thing is finding a way for the humans to be a credible threat against the Cylons, for from what we've seen so far everything seems to be going exactly the way the Cylons wanted it to go: most of humanity is dead, and the ragtag survivors are leading them to God. Perhaps when they don't find God we'll see Cylon self-doubt. Or else they'll argue themselves to death like Nomad on the old Star Trek.

Boomer is the key to the show right now, by the way. She's the "weak model," designed to be the most human of the Cylons, and thus far the only one capable of bridging the gap between the two races, if merely in a biological (meaning reproductive) sense. She's also the only capable of emotional connections with a "normal" human like Helo, not a raging sociopath like the easily manipulated Baltar. Plus I'm not seeing a lot of Six-Baltar broodlings stumbling about either. Being human is just not Six's job, but it is Boomer's, and perhaps that'll be another weakness for the true humans to exploit. In a much more coherent way than I just described, of course.

Monday, March 28, 2005

THE LINGERING OF REGRETTABLE RECIPES IN THE MIND'S EYE: About a month ago I tried to adapt the Grandma's meatballs recipes for tofu. I am a tofu novice. I bought the extra firm kind and just used a pound of it and the other ingredients as normal. The meatballs stuck together like meatballs should, mostly. They fried up nicely, but I could tell they were a bit fragile. The taste was acceptable. I thought I could be careful and gently simmer them in the sauce--but there was no way. They were destroyed in the simmering process--every attempt to stir the sauce brought more destruction--and I ended up with this rather disgusting red tofu glop. It's been a month and I can't quite forget how eeeeeyucky this was. I may need counseling.

I bring this up because the Easter raviolis met a similar fate yesterday, as problems with the gas flame boiling the ravis led to the assumption that a little extra time was needed to cook the things. This was not the case as it turned out. The raviolis did not survive the straining process. Dinner was not destroyed, though; the raviolis were not the only dish, and my aunt makes Grandma's meatballs the way Grandma intended, and far better than I can make them.

Saturday, March 26, 2005


Friday, March 25, 2005

OBLIGATORY SCHIAVO POST: Because I think Blogger closes your account if you don't say something about it. As I am conspiracy-minded, my favorite comment comes from ObWi Katherine, in the midst of a discussion of the merits of the law Congress actually passed:

You don't get de novo anything, let alone a [temporary restraining order], if you don't state a non-frivolous legal claim. And they didn't. It's as simple as that.

This is first-semester-of-law school stuff. Either the majority was in such a hurry and so blinded by ideology that they forgot to check on the statutory language (they don't lack for lawyers on their staffs), or the Schindlers' attorneys are in way over their heads, or someone high up in the party was playing a very cynical game.

All these losses by all these different courts, all being portrayed as judicial usurpations. How perfectly does it set up the filibuster fight for the GOP? What chance do John McCain and Chuck Hagel stand in a 2008 primary if they don't vote the party line on the nuclear option? And non-presidential candidates can have their own reasons to worry--chairmanships, primary opponents, that sort of thing.

Reid should have been up there arguing that they were blatantly abusing power, that they didn't believe in checks and balances, that they were bullying their way into private matters that were none of their business...they did end up proving our argument all on their own, and the Senate Dems' deal may have prevented a worse bill from passing. And Reid and Durbin were both out of the country. Even so, I think they screwed this one up.

As for Levin's comment, a specific explanation about the meaning of a specific change of a specific statutory provision, which is immediately agreed to by the leader of the other party, is going to carry more weight then some random Congressman's speech about choosing life. And one is supported by the plain text of the statute, and one simply isn't.

The middle paragraph is what I found interesting--the part about the very cynical game and the chance to blame this all on the judiciary. Katherine also directs us to this from Chris Matthews sidekick David Shuster:

Despite the sweeping floor statements about "protecting life," the legislation itself did not require the federal courts to start by reinserting Schiavo's feeding tube. And while the bill does give the Schiavo family "jurisdiction and standing" to make an argument in federal court, take a look at Section 3 called "relief." Section 3 states, "After a determination of the merits of a suit brought under this Act, the District Court shall issue such declaratory and injunctive relief as may be necessary..." The key words are "after a determination..." Congress did not say the federal court must accept the merits of the lawsuit.

Based on what Schiavo's parents have been saying this week, it appears the legislation's fine print was never shared with them by Bill Frist or anybody else for that matter. Early Monday morning, after President Bush signed the Schiavo bill, Bob Schindler was positively beaming in front of the television cameras. He said he walked into his daughter's hospice room and told her, "We had to wake the President up to save your life."

Did Bill Frist and Tom Delay ever call the Schindler family and say, "not so fast?" Apparently not. In their latest court filing, the Schinder family still clings to the misleading notion offered by lawmakers last weekend that their bill required Schiavo's feeding tube to be immediately reinserted. Quote, "If Congress meant to give the federal courts the power to let her die..." says the Schindler's filing, then passing the law "would be little more than a cruel hoax." Read it again... The Schindlers argue: "If Congress meant to give the federal courts the power..." The fact is, that's exactly what Congress did. And a "cruel hoax" on Terry Schiavo's family is exactly the right description. As one of my doctor contacts observed, "This has always been about politics, not about helping Terri Schiavo or her parents."

John Cole's series of battlefield conversion posts (well, not really) brought on by the Schiavo-bankruptcy bill double-punch are pretty great too. And speaking of the bankruptcy bill--the last topic I was obsessively blogreading about, when I was in hiatus mode all those many......two weeks ago--here's John Quiggin dissecting the only credible pro-bankruptcy bill position I've noticed. "Credible" meaning attempting to find a reason for passing the bankruptcy bill that doesn't involve the Republican Party and Joe Biden being entirely in the thrall of the credit card industry. You know--a good reason. There apparently isn't one.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

LITTLE BIT OF A HIATUS OVER HERE: Haven't had a whole lot to say lately, I'm afraid. I have been getting into this whole Henley-led new Battlestar Galactica watching, though. I have never had any use for the original--I only know it as a continual butt of jokes on Mystery Science Theater 3000--but this new one is pretty great. I thought originally that Boomer was a sly Bubblegum Crisis reference, by the way, but apparently she is another character derived from the original series.

Back to hiatus mode.