The National Conversation On Race No One Wants To Have (Except ‘Puter)

In contemplating the Ferguson disaster over the past two weeks, ‘Puter’s wondered if anything good will come from it. Pundits predictably called for yet another national conversation on race before Michael Brown’s body assumed room temperature. Media kept up its steady drumbeat even as store owners swept up the shattered glass looters left behind.

Each time there’s a tragedy in which a white person kills a black person, America is treated to our media betters wailing and gnashing their teeth, insisting on a national conversation on race. “If only we had had a national conversation on race! [INSERT NAME OF TRAGEDY HERE] never would have happened!”

But by “national conversation on race,” media doesn’t really mean we should have a respectful conversation about a difficult topic. Media means “forcing America to adopt liberal solutions that have consistently failed to resolve racial strife for more than 50 years.” ‘Puter’s seen this movie before, and it never ends well. Liberals and conservatives, blacks and whites, we each talk past the other, never really getting closer to solutions.

So, ‘Puter’s devised a new, improved method of discussing America’s current racial problems. It’s a two-parter, and divided according to race.*

Topic 1 (for whites): Criminal Justice and the Black Community

Assume the following to be true:

Blacks in America have undeniably been subject to decades if not centuries of oppression and discrimination at the hands of whites. As part of this systemic discrimination, white police forces and vigilantes were used to maintain and reinforce this system. Blacks have internalized this historic discrimination, and view the world as more hostile to them than to whites.

Today, blacks are incarcerated at a rate significantly higher than whites. Blacks’ sentences are disproportionate compared to whites’ sentences. Blacks are more likely to have a public defender. Blacks are stopped for the crime of “driving while black.” Blacks are generally viewed with greater suspicion by police and society at large. Blacks have internalized this treatment, and view the justice system as unfairly rigged against them.

Questions:

  • Are current policing policies exacerbating blacks’ beliefs about police and the criminal justice system? If so, how can American reform its policing to better accommodate these concerns without sacrificing community and officer safety?
  • If there are disparities between sentencing guidelines for similar crimes (e.g., possession of crack cocaine versus possession of powdered cocaine), is it reasonable and feasible to reform the guidelines so as to eliminate these disparities?

Topic 2 (for blacks): Black America’s Toxic Culture

Assume the following to be true:

Since the end of legal discrimination in America, coinciding with the rise of LBJ’s Great Society and our current welfare states, blacks in America have suffered greatly. Children are born into single parent homes at dangerous rates. Blacks are disproportionately on welfare. Blacks are disproportionately committers of crimes, and disproportionately victims of crimes.

Black culture disrespects women as “bitches” and “hos.” Black culture teaches men to behave as thugs. Black culture glorifies violence. Black culture embraces promiscuity, absentee fathers. Black culture vilifies education as “white.” Black culture accepts government dependence. Black culture punishes cooperation with police.

Questions:

  • Is a culture that treats police as the enemy setting up unnecessary confrontations that could otherwise be avoided, or at least minimized?
  • Is a culture that shuns education going to better itself, or will it result in generation after generation of failed men and women?
  • Has glorification and acceptance of violence made the black community better than it was?
  • Is depending on government’s meager handouts the best way to teach children to be self-sufficient?

These are only starter questions, for both blacks and whites. In order for race relations to get better in American, both whites and blacks must confront difficult truths, acknowledge each other’s good faith and work together to build trust. Hopefully, acknowledging our flaws and discussing them honestly and openly with others from a different race will enable America to break this never-ending cycle of tragedy.

Plus, if we succeed, we get rid of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, which benefits all humanity.

* Yeah, ‘Puter’s racist. Shut up already, media. Any conversation on race is necessarily going to involve discussion of a race’s differing view of the same set of facts, and it’s likely to get testy and uncomfortable. You’re the ones who asked for the conversation, not ‘Puter.

Infographic – Pennywise, Demographic Foolish

Gentle Readers,

Before one of you gets all #waronwimmen on Dr. J. let him state, for the sake of full disclosure that his great-grandmother and grandmother died of breast cancer. His aunt ultimately died of complications from treatment for breast cancer (which was ‘cured’ for the record), and his mother was diagnosed with lobular carcinoma in situ which is essentially pre-breast cancer when he was a 3rd grader, and is alive to this very day.

That being said, Dr. J. tends to spend more time working with hearts and blood vessels than with tumors, so he finds delicious irony in this infographic.

Donating.vs.Death-Graph.0

Simply stated, some diseases have better marketing than others. To this day, more women believe that breast cancer is the #1 killer of women (hint, it isn’t), lack of access to reproductive justice™ is.

Just kidding, heart disease is.

Nevertheless, take a gander at this infographic from Vox.com. The folks that Dr. J. feels worst for are the COPD’ers. Christmas Seals aren’t what they used to be. Maybe they need to get Sarah McLachlan and a few abandoned puppies onto their advertisements…

 

 

The Islamic State Is Evil. Now Even Our Media Gets It.

The media are shocked that a group that shoots people along roadside ditches may not be friendly to their interests. And here liberals thought only the US military did stuff like this.

The utterly stupid and horrifying execution of journalist James Foley is, with due respect for his family and friends, only another example of how terrible the Islamic State is. But the Czar noticed that every news agency was talking about it this morning, often at great length.

The Islamic State is an evil beyond description. Frankly, our world has not seen anything like this in a while. Most of us will be forgiven for thinking of the Nazis, or Pol Pot, or other widespread organizers of terror and executions. But this sort of evil hasn’t been seen since the Dark Ages, when monstrous men with evil ideals roamed through entire lands, slaughtering, beheading, and terrorizing entire communities: men, women, and children all indiscriminately butchered out of a group psychosis. Nazis and communists—evil to an extreme—killed people amid an Us Versus Them mentality. You were either wearing our uniform, or you were shot and killed.

But the Islamic State isn’t even this mentally organized. They see everyone as vermin to be exterminated: they take joy in crucifying or beheading or raping other people—even those ostensibly on their side. The Islamic State, let us not forget, is happily destroying Muslims as well as non-Muslims. Not because the Muslims might oppose the Islamic State’s goals for a world caliphate, but because they are merely in the way.

The Islamic State’s obscene ability to ignore the fundamental humanity around them has been recognized by millions around the globe. Just not our news media, who have spent the last few months discussing Ferguson, Israel, Russia, and anything but.

Theories may abound as to why, and most of them have some degree of merit. The President campaigned heavily—and it seems successfully to some degree—on his ability to have destroyed al-Qāʿidah in contrast to George W. Bush’s apparent inability to find one man living in a suburban hideaway. President Obama compared the Islamic State to junior varsity team, and he and others echoed the notion—although history has never backed up such a claim—that merely discussing them elevates them in undeserved prestige. In other words, if you ignore them, they go away.

The Czar has often compared the news media to a 14-year-old narcissist. Ultimately, everything must be about them, or it ceases to exist. When a celebrity dies, the eulogies become anecdotes by the talking head of having met the celebrity and being inspired. When a tragedy happens, the focus becomes its affects on those in journalism. When a news channel talks for too long about a missing airliner, the story eventually becomes about how that news channel has been talking too long about a missing airliner.

Unfortunately and sadly, now the media has been affected by the Islamic State. One of their own was brutally killed on video in a terrible and humilating way. Not because he was mistaken to be an enemy. Not because he uncovered something that would prove disastrous to their cause. Not even because he resisted or tried to escape. They killed him not because of who James Foley was: they killed James Foley because this is what they do.

Up until now, the Islamic State was just something happening “over there,” and perhaps 30 seconds a night could be a mention of some group you never heard of that’s stuck on some mountain somewhere thanks to these guys. And the President has finally authorized some bombing runs.

Now, the media is angry and hurt and astonished. All it took was making it about them.

So screw you, media. You should have been paying attention. Now you will: already the media has done a head count and discovered there are more journalists in their capture who are slated to be gruesomely slaughtered on video.

Of course, this means the President is going to feel this one even worse. The media will begin, if they have not already begun, asking why the President is focused on such a minor-scale skirmish like Ferguson, Missouri, when this terrible humanitarian nightmare is going on with the Islamic State. Watch and see.

Alas, for a President already besieged by the reality of, well, reality, he will be forced to take on two responsibilities at once. He hates that. Once again, he will have to choose between the fight he wanted—Ferguson, with all its community organizing claptrap—and the fight the media want him to address.

If you are still following historical precedent, you already know the President has a disastrous track record in these situations.

Ferguson: Proof of America’s Rapidly Hardening Political Divide

‘Puter’s waited until now to weigh in on the mess in Ferguson, Missouri. ‘Puter had hoped that a bit of distance between a white police officer’s shooting of an unarmed young black man would enable cooler heads to prevail. However, America’s polarized politics and being what they are, no such luck.

Here’s ‘Puter’s take on the asshattery that is Ferguson, which overlaps a bit with Czar’s thoughts below.

  • No one except the cop and the deceased knows with any certainty what occurred in the fateful minutes before and during the shooting. Anyone claiming otherwise is a moron.
  • Brown’s alleged robbery of a liquor store minutes before his death may not be legally relevant, but it is certainly relevant to the narrative. Specifically, media had begun to fashion a narrative that Brown was a “gentle giant” and college student who wouldn’t harm a fly. The videotape showed media for the biased hacks they are.
  • Similarly, the disclosure that Brown, whose loot from the alleged liquor store robbery included a box of blunts, had marijuana in his system is relevant. It’s relevant to disprove the preferred narrative media had been carefully shaping. It’s irrelevant as to whether or not Brown’s shooting is justified. Simply because someone may or may not have been stoned at the time of one’s shooting doesn’t make the shooting more or less justified.
  • Concerns about overly militarized police forces are legitimate, particularly in small to middling towns. MRAPs may be necessary in New York and Los Angeles, but ‘Puter’s fairly certain Ferguson doesn’t need them. If Ferguson needs MRAPs, nearby St. Louis can oblige, or even the national guard.
  • Americans are no longer able to exercise skepticism and rationality, as proven by the immediate retreat to their favored narratives. On the Left, we immediately heard “Racism!” On the right, “Criminals get shot!” Not all people reacted in this manner, but far too many did.
  • Social media has affected traditional media’s ability to control a narrative, which is a good thing. In this case, however, social media got facts wrong (repeatedly), continues to repeat discredited “facts,” and allows anonymous inflammatory comments. Like most technology, social media is a blessing and a curse, and which of these it is depends on the user wielding it.
  • Brown’s shooting death and the subsequent riots are two separate issues. That is, whether or not the shooting was justified does has no bearing on the legitimacy of the riots and looting. If Brown’s shooting was not justified, the cop should spend his life in prison. If the Brown shooting was justified, the cop should go free with apologies from all who have leaped to conclusions. In either case, riots are not acceptable responses.
  • It is one of government’s first jobs to maintain and enforce rule of law. Riots are a direct threat to that rule of law, and undermine the foundation of our society. As such, rioters should be dealt with as what they are: enemies of the state. Rioters who refuse orders to disperse immediately should be shot on sight.
  • Rioters are morons in that they destroy valuable goods and services in their own community, making such goods and services either unavailable or higher priced in order to account for the increased risk of providing goods and services to a riot prone community.
  • The Ferguson rioters are Exhibit A for the Second Amendment’s continuing necessity. Cops are unable to be everywhere at once, and even when present in Ferguson, cops refused to stop the looting. In times of strife such as those in Ferguson, it is essential that Americans be able to defend themselves and their families with deadly force.
  • America’s professional race-baiting hucksters (e.g., Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson) barged into a volatile situation and made it worse than it had to be, all for the sake of personal enrichment. For that alone, may they rot in Hell.
  • Ferguson has shown Obama’s Administration to be what it is, a paper tiger feared by no one, dedicated to prolonging America’s racial divisions by inserting itself unnecessarily into a controversy that is Missouri’s sole responsibility. If you don’t believe ‘Puter, note that Missouri governor Jay Nixon (a Democrat) didn’t even feel the need to tell President Obama (another Democrat) that he was deploying the national guard in Ferguson. That’s a display of contempt by Nixon for Obama, a weak leader.

So, where do ‘Puter’s thoughts leave us?

‘Puter finds himself in just about the same place as he started. ‘Puter doesn’t yet have sufficient information to determine whether or not the cop’s shooting of Michael Brown was justified. ‘Puter’s going to continue to wait for the facts to come in, and then he’ll make an informed decision.

 

Sci Fi Interoffice Memo

GorT received the following interoffice memo from Dr. J regarding the Science Fiction TV show countdown:


GorT,
I’ve enjoyed your commentary on the top 50 Sci-Fi shows as ranked by people other than us.I’d like to share a few of my own musings.

49. Land of the Lost – When Enik discovered that this was his future, not his past…mind blown. Dr. J.’s first celeb crush was Holly. She looked like Karen, the girl next door. Dr. J. was 3 at the time.

45. Knight Rider – The show got off to a good start. But it got repetitive quickly (i.e. after one season) as there are only so many small towns like the one in Roadhouse, where Michael and KITT need to topple ‘Big Daddy’ from his perch. Also, for an indestructible car, KITT had a track record like an ’87 Jaguar.

43. Space: Above and Beyond – This was actually a really good show that lasted one season, that didn’t get the credit it deserved, largely due to a crappy time slot.

41. Battle of the Planets – This was destination television for Dr. J. While it was sanitized for American consumption, Dr. J. always suspected there was something up with Zoltar. Turns out he was a hermaprodite shape shifter (he kept shifting between a man and a woman), and 7-Zark-7 narrating out some of the more PG elements. Nevertheless, Dr. J. loved it. He’s probably going to purchase the DVDs of Gatchaman when he clears out his Apple TV cue.

37. Twin Peaks – Great first season, not so great second season, truly disturbing series finale.

36. Buck Rogers: Campy fun. Dr. J. agrees with GorT that the first season was better than the second. The second season wasn’t as bad as folks say. It wasn’t Galactica 1980 or the Gary Coleman episodes from the first season, sheesh! Dr. J. sent Gil Girard a fan letter as a third grade assignment (write a fan mail letter in ‘business letter format’) and he (his publicists) sent back an autographed picture and letter. So, Dr. J.’s got a soft spot for Gil.

33. Alien Nation – Dr. J.’d tune in as a kid on Saturday’s at 3PM, killing time before the 5PM mass.

32. Star Trek: Voyager – Worst Star Trek Ever – Dr. J. didn’t last through season 3.

31. Lost in Space – Dr. J. enjoyed it. Angela Cartright (Penny) was his second celebrity crush. He always found the Dr. Smith, Will Robinson relationship a little creepy.

30. Battlestar Galactica (1978) – Dr. J. loved this show. Yes it’s light, but what do you expect from Glen A. Larson? Again, he was a wee tot when he was tuning in. While the production value and drama of its successor were better. This show is still watchable (except for the one or two western themed episodes). Dr. J.’s favorite episodes were the War of the Gods two parter with Patrick Macnee chewing up the scenery as Mephistopheles. Battlestar Galactica 1980 was utter garbage, except for the Return of Starbuck episode.

21. Dr. J.’s never seen the series finale, and wishes he did. Other than that it was fantastic stuff, especially the Leap Home episode.

20. Star Blazers – Dr. J’s talked about this before (http://www.gormogons.com/index.php/2012/04/in-which-dr-j-considers-learning/). During his youth, when it was on in the summer (2:30) all the boys in the neighborhood would go inside, watch the show at their respective homes and come back outside, talk about the show for an additional 30 minutes and then resume whatever we were doing (usually baseball) until dinner. Iscandar and Gamilon binary planets? Wow. This was probably some of the best Sci-Fi Dr.J. enjoyed during his childhood. Dr. J.’s since watched the movie remake, which was spectacular, except that the Gamilas and Iscandarians were non-corporeal entities, which was a little odd to him, but he suspects that otherwise it would have been a budget buster. Nevertheless, the film was faithful to the original in spirit, when not in fact. It is definitely worth watching if you get a chance. Be warned, the characters do not have their ‘Star Blazer names.’ So do a little google research to get the names straight.

19. Babylon 5 – Like Star Blazers, should be much higher on the list. The show is vastly underrated, probably because the first season is a bit slow, and because the show spent its first 4 seasons in syndication, so it had neither street-cred, nor as large an audience as it deserved. What was great about this show is that it had a beginning, middle and end. The 4th and 5th seasons were crammed into the fourth season because of impending cancellation. TNT rescued it, resulting in a 5th season that was more of a denouement and platform for the future than anything else. The sequel series didn’t have the mojo, largely due to Turner Network interference with J. Michael Strazinsky (JMS)’s vision. Dr. J. recently rewatched seasons 1-4 and they still hold up as some of the best television writing. JMS even left several trap doors for characters to be written out if need be. It looks like a movie is in pre-production as well. We shall see how that pans out.

16. Star Trek: Deep Space 9: This was actually Dr. J.’s favorite modern trek. Probably because it shows the dirty underbelly of the Starfleet/United Federation of Planets Utopia. Dr. J. has long been fascinated with the utopian/dystopian science fiction, and DS9, again, showed that Utopian societies are tragically flawed, especially as they cannot own up to price for their utopianism. When Starfleet and the whole Alpha Quadrant was threatened by a Gamma Quadrant empire who they bumped up against due to a stable wormhole near DS9, it showed how dirty and corrupt Starfleet was willing to be keep the peace. Section 31 was introduced during this era, and it showed Roddenberry’s vision to be idealistic prattling. While it should also be higher on the list, it wasn’t as good as B5.

Dr. J. looks forward to the top 15, and assumes that while it hasn’t been listed yet, The Powers of Matthew Star isn’t in the top 15, but rather hasn’t made the cut.

14. Stargate SG-1 – Meh

13. V. – The mini-series was appointment television for Dr. J. , the Jane Badler’s Diana spooked the crap out of a young Dr. J., as did the partial lizard faces underneath ripped off latex. Indeed, even V, The Final Battle was pretty bad ass until the end (Pretaynama much?). Dr. J. never got into the television series, despite Lane Smith’s outstanding work.

11. Firefly – Dr. J. loves him some Joss Whedon and was quite the Buffy/Angel devotee. He never got into Firefly, however. This is probably because he never thought much of characters played by Nathan Fillion, probably given that he was lousy in the last season of Buffy.

10. The Outer Limits – Dr. J. spent many nights (either due to insomnia, or night feedings of the Lil Resident and Lil Medstudent) watching the fin de siecle update in reruns. Not quite the Twilight Zone, but still good stuff.

6. Star Trek TOS – Dr. J.’s earliest memories are watching this with Papa J. His favorite episode from childhood is ‘Let That Be Your Last Battlefield.’ That was the one with Frank Gorshin who is half black, half white (like a NY Deli cookie) and he’s pursuing a criminal that’s half white, half black. A little over the top in re-viewing, but still good stuff.

5. – The Twilight Zone – Always good for a pitstop during a Sci-Fi channel marathon. Dr. J. loves finding celebs ‘before they were famous’ on this show.

4. Battlestar Galactica – The Galactic jumping into a free-fall in the atmosphere above New Caprica…probably the ballsiest move on any show on this list. So say we all, mother-f’ers!

3. Star Trek TNG – Dr. J. doesn’t think it deserves number 3 (above TOS and DS9) it was still a great show. Dr. J. took greater pleasure enjoying watching the hypocrisy and dirty underbelly needed to maintain the Progressive Utopia than Utopia itself. The Enterprise-D is the progressive elite at their finest. Pure projection of how the left sees itself.

2. The X-Files – Dr. J. liked it early on, and eventually it lost its footing. “Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space.’” which was a satire of the the show, was probably its most brilliant episode. Charles Nelson Reilly, Jesse Ventura and Alex Trebek were brilliant.

1. Doctor Who – Probably Dr. J.’s favorite Sci-Fi show on TV, even when it’s lousy. He does not disagree with this assessment.

Temper Tantrums

The untold story of the Ferguson tragedy is that it makes libertarians look not crazy.

Really, one of the structural problems with the tragedy is that two worlds of fanatical leftism have collided, and neither side is right because both sides started out wrong.

Daddy says go to your room or he’ll use his Armalite on you.

First, you have the liberal police state taking root in even a hometown community like Ferguson, Missouri. Remember, the Czar likes cops. They’re almost invariably really good guys, and the percentage of “bad cops” versus the good ones is a shade smaller than the percentage of bad people versus good people. You can check into it.

But the Czar is not a fan of paramilitary law enforcement. It’s bad enough the DEA is so well armed, but so is the IRS, the Social Securityy Administration, and dare we add the Department of Education.* It should be no surprise to us, then, that Main Street, Ferguson, sees snipers, body armor, and MRAPs.

Liberals like the government armed, and as government gets bigger, we can expect to see more of it armed. Indeed, there will always be accidental shootings: a lone cop, a gloomy night, a flash of light in a kid’s hand—and a nervous police officer draws and fires. Truth be told, there will always be negligent discharges: a cop drawing a weapon at the range shot herself in the leg because her finger slipped inside the trigger guard as she was drawing a pistol from the holster.

But the biggest, most offensive tragedies seem to happen when cops are not doing their job but doing someone else’s job: the SWAT team that shoots the dog in front of the kids, the pedestrian shot by an undercover officer in part of a neighborhood-wide sting operation, the multigun shootout after a car chase. It isn’t that we don’t need SWAT teams, undercover operations, or vehicular pursuit—we too often do. It’s just that the worst events seem to happen when large group of cops are acting as a militarized platoon. And let’s face it—cops are not soldiers. They aren’t trained the same way, they don’t operate the same way, and if we are being honest, there’s a ton of anecdotal evidence that people with lots of active military experience make for bad cops. The two worlds are not the same, and just as we see soldiers making poor cops, so too do we see cops making really lousy soldiers.

But let’s look at Ferguson. The Czar will not comment on whether the officer in question was justified in his shooting—basically, we have no reliable evidence either way. And we are not claiming that Michael Brown was shot as a result of some undercover operation. But the community became upset, and the immediate response was to send in paramilitary units. Little Ferguson, Missouri, suddenly found itself looking too much like Sarajevo, 1993, for the Czar’s taste.

The leftist reflex for control almost always results in guns, and lots of them, pointed at the wrong people.

But stop—this is where things get weird.

Because the flip side of this is the leftist entitlement mentality. A community is shocked that a teenager is shot and killed by the police—and there are copious stories of the black community feeling themselves unfairly targeted by local police. There is a demand for justice, as would reasonably be expected, and a police chief admits there needs to be some serious, careful investigation to determine what really happened.

Baby wants his 40 ouncers because baby wants what baby wants! Now gimme gimme gimme!

And the leftist entitlement mentality’s immediate response is to start smashing windows, torching stores, and looting belongings. Natural disaster? Response to a totalitarian regime? Civil war? None of these things—in fact, the odds are high that most of the most violent looting was committed by people who neither knew victim Michael Brown nor even cared that he was shot. This was an opportunity to steal shit and get away with it.

Social justice, they will tell themselves—a racist dog whistle if there ever was one for “getting other people’s stuff for nothing.” No, you know what? We owe it to ourselves to steal and loot and rob.

And burn down some businesses. If history is any guide, the businesses torched first were not symbolic of racial oppression or intended to Hurt the Man. They were the ones owned by Asians. Or they were not doing so well financially and were heavily insured. Funny that.

Why not? The Left mentality has always been about Mommy and Daddy. Don’t get your way? Throw a temper tantrum! Stomp your feet, scream and scream! Post angry Facebook rants! Burn down some stores! Steal a flat panel display!

And Mommy and Daddy overreact. Ground them! Smack them! Send them to their room for the next fifty years without supper! How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat? Send in the MRAPs and black knights in armor with .50 caliber Barretts! Flood the streets with troops! Is this parental overreaction not a temper tantrum of its own?

You know who gets really aroused by all this? The hippies. Desperate to relive every day of the 1960s and 1970s, they are seeing this as the King riots, 1968 Democratic convention, and Kent State overreaction all over again. They even have the soundtrack queued up. Moonbeam, honey, go down to the storage shed and get the clothes out of mothballs. We’re painting signs and going down to march on Ferguson.

What’s curious about that is really, the Left’s contradictory demand for total control and the Left reflex for rioting—both sides are no different, really, than Europe of the 1920s and 1930s—seems to defy co-existence. You can’t have both, can you? Well, you can in the nostalgia of the Boomer.

But like most Leftists, the Boomer seeks to recreate his fight against the Man, not realizing that when you parse out the players, they’re all the same person.

*Also note the National Weather Service needs .40 S&W JHP rounds. Yes, they need hollow points.

Science Fiction TV – Top 5

So, I’ve received some feedback from other Castle dwellers as well as some operatives and minions.  Always great to hear the opinions.  I’ll present the top 5 here and let folks digest.  Over the next few days, I’ll post up some of the opinions, once I sort and bucket* them appropriately.

Number 5: Twilight Zone

 The-Twilight-Zone-Intro-wide-560x282A classic.  Needs to be in the top 5.  It wasn’t super heavy on what most consider Science Fiction and leaned towards more thriller/chiller kind of story lines but I think in a broad sense of “science fiction” it more than meets the mark.  The lasting impression this show has made on pop culture and TV will be endless.

Number 4: Battlestar Galatica (2004-09)

 bsg1Also known as “BSG”.  GorT was addicted to this show.  DVR’ed it, streamed it, etc. just to keep up and roll through the episodes.  We held a viewing party at work over lunch to watch the latest episode at the time.  The attention to detail that largely goes unnoticed is a huge factor.  Details of how grimy, dirty and makeshift the Galactica becomes over time being removed from supply depots and their home planet.  It generated (or rebooted) language quirks that had viewers quoting it left and right.  One could probably argue that the finale was Lost-esque and a let-down, but after such a powerful set of seasons, it would be hard to wrap it up in any fashion.  Clearly a top 5.

Number 3: Star Trek: The Next Generation

 tng_castBah.  Here is my biggest objection on the list.  There is no way, even with how bad season 3 of the original series was, that this spin off should be better.  Aside from the silly jumpsuit uniforms the show, I thought, took a while to find its legs and then had plenty of bad episodes as well.  “Try and dislike [it]” – not hard.  Ok, dislike might be too strong.  GorT watched it fairly regularly.  But Majel Barrett as Lwaxana Troi – meh.  Jonathan Frakes’ Riker was played so stiffly that jokes abound.  The show was so overly politically correct and pitched the utopian society so hard that even when things had to happen to save it, they were minimal or minimized.  Blech.  Plus it set up the whole Rick Berman trashing of the Star Trek series.  It took a reboot movie by J.J. Abrams to really kick it up again.

Number 2: The X-Files

 scully_mulder_topYep – a classic.  GorT was a infrequent watcher of the show, largely due to other activities in his life at the time.  It didn’t rise to must-watch TV for him.  But plenty of others had it set as such.  It spawned two spin-offs and a movie – none of which rose to the level of the series, but they do lend credence to the ranking of this show.  One could argue that it also inspired others like Fringe and maybe were inspired by series like “Friday the 13th“.

Number 1: Doctor Who

 Versions_of_the_DoctorThe series spans 5 decades and continues to generate new fans each year.  It is unique in that the series incorporates a rebirth/relaunch/reboot into the storyline itself as the Doctor is renewed/regenerated in various likenesses.  The series is on its 12th Doctor and many debates rage within the Doctor Who fan base over who their favorite Doctor (and Companion) are.  With such a broad and loyal following and a heavy dose of science fiction, it’s hard to argue that this series deserves anything but the top ranking.

* Yes, GorT is a computer science nerd so I sort and bucket things…sometimes using MergeSort, QuickSort, ShellSort and my favorite, the RadixSort.

Science Fiction TV Numbers 10 – 6

Getting closer…I appreciate the mail and will be posting feedback and mail after the full list is up.

Number 10: The Outer Limits

 people_headI never really went back and watched The Outer Limits or its inspiration, The Twilight Zone, save for a few, classic episodes of each.  As Popular Mechanics’ list points out, this series was more edgy and in-your-face with the science fiction and shock factor.  I didn’t realize but am not surprised that the Harlan Ellison written episode of The Outer Limits is pretty close to the storyline of The Terminator to the point that Ellison sued John Cameron over it (and won an out of court settlement and a credit in the film).

Number 9: Fringe

 fringe-tv1Mr. and Mrs. GorT watched Fringe pretty regularly – we came late to the first season but then watched it progress.  We were a bit worried that it meandered from its initial, odd occurrence investigations into the alternate reality stuff, but it held together pretty well.  Some great intertwining plot lines, interesting characters and a dose of believable and stretch science fiction.  And I liked the whole “Massive Dynamic” corporation element.

Number 8: Neon Genesis Evangelion

 Neon004GorT has never heard of this one and as the article states, the US adoption of it has been small.  After what appears to be a catastrophic meteor event, half the world’s population is killed and the Earth tilts on its axis, leading to massive tsunamis and general mayhem. The series follows a young man who is recruited to fight the alien “Angels” monsters using giant robots/mechas named Evagelions.

Number 7: The Prisoner

 Prisoner_smSCORE!  GorT is a huge fan of The Prisoner. Patrick McGoohan stars as a secret agent who gets fed up with MI-6 (essentially) and decides to retire.  But he knows too much and is kidnapped and sent to “The Village” where everyone is known by a number.  He is number 6.  Those who run the Village employ various psychological tools and tricks to try to assess whether he is a risk and to keep him contained within the Village with, presumably, other spies and officials who know too much.  Huge weather balloons (rovers) chase down and return escapees with a 1960s creepy sound effect.  I am not a number.  I am a free man!

Number 6: Star Trek (the Original Series)

 star_trek_original_series_showPop Mech rates it at number 6 only because some of the episodes in season three are pretty weak.  It was a pioneering show in so many ways with its sense of optimism, future technology inspirations (cellphones, etc.) and the much touted first interracial kiss on TV.  It has spawned Star Trek TNG, Star Trek: DS9, Star Trek: Voyager, Enterprise, an animated Star Trek series (also one of GorT’s favorites as a child), many films in the series and inspired many others.  So many pop culture references have been made from it to the point that people use the term “warp speed” naturally.

Carpentry

Operative BG writes in after a too-long absence, and saves the Czar from having to think an original thought:

I read Robert Caro’s Master of the Senate, about Lyndon’ Johnson’s years as Senate Majority Leader, a few months ago. Say what you want about LBJ, but he was a master politician. He got the job as Majority Leader during his first term as senator, because no one else wanted it. It was a thankless, powerless job, for someone who was willing to be a shuttlecock between Republican President Eisenhower and the Senate’s Democrat committee chairmen, who wielded the real power. Johnson sought the job because he understood how to make it the Senate’s center of power – and set about doing just that.

As majority Leader, Johnson controlled what legislation got through the Senate and actually got some civil rights legislation passed in 1957, with the cooperation of the racist southern Democrats who held unbreakable filibuster power – a remarkable feat, especially since Johnson himself was a member in good standing of the racist southern Democratic caucus. In his first year as president, he got the landmark 1964 civil rights bill passed by negotiating with both its supporters and its opponents, after Kennedy had given up completely on the project, unable to beat the southern Democrat filibusters.

I was thinking about this the other day when I heard that our current president has finally decided to help the Kurds in northern Iraq, and is actually bombing the ISIS monsters. But why are we doing this alone? Everyone – even Iran – is scared to death of ISIS and would love to see them destroyed. Why isn’t Obama putting together a “coalition of the willing,” even if he has to call it by a different name so as not to remind everyone that that moron Bush did just that in invading Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein? Why isn’t Obama negotiating such a coalition with foreign leaders?

Then I’m reminded that there are no U.S. troops in Iraq any more because, he claims, we couldn’t reach a status of forces agreement (SOFA) with the Maliki government. I wonder how hard he tried. If no agreement could be reached, then that would be all the justification he would need to pull all our troops out of Iraq and go brag that he had “ended” the Iraq war. That would suit his purposes just fine, wouldn’t it? Why didn’t he work hard to negotiate a SOFA?

And then I’m reminded of how little he’s dealt with John Boehner and the other House Republican leaders other than to childishly call them names. Is there any evidence anywhere that he’s sought any common ground between the House and the Senate on any issue at all? Obamacare? Immigration? Where is his, “Come, let us reason together” moment on those issues? They don’t exist; Obamacare opponents want to see poor people sicken and die or go bankrupt paying their medical bills. Immigration opponents are heartless fiends who want innocent children to go back to El Salvador to be raped. Obama’s most famous meeting with Republican leaders was in the 2010 health care “summit” when he smugly brushed off John McCain’s objections with a reminder that the election was over and that he had won.

More and more, I’m coming around to the conclusion that Obama doesn’t know how to negotiate, doesn’t know how to compromise, doesn’t know how to cut a deal – and hasn’t the slightest interest in learning.

He may be the smartest president ever, but a president who doesn’t know how to negotiate with his opponents is like a carpenter who doesn’t know how to use a hammer.

The Czar sighs and admits he agrees across the board. Sometime back in 2009, perhaps it was, the Czar began to realize that President Obama was, um, hardly the intellectual giant of his campaign. There is no doubt in our mind as to why, exactly, his grades have been concealed from us. Not because he took courses with a radical bent—not in itself a big deal—but because year after year his grades were lower than George W. Bush’s, and what a blow to the Left that would be after eight years of laughing at Bush’s above-average intellect.

Johnson was a master politician—and by all reports such an insufferable jackass that this was pretty much the only job he could get. And he knew it, and he made the most of it. Most of his brilliant victories were scored because the opposition just wanted him to leave their offices, but so what? A win is a win, and Johnson got a lot of them by going nose to nose, rather than mano a mano. But the Czar will not defend him—the more you get into LBJ’s history, the worse a leader he looks. Indeed, to your point, perhaps he should never have left the Senate.

And LBJ’s record with civil rights is a sham. He got on board only because he knew he’d never get his War on Poverty welfare scam passed without addressing the root cause of black inequity prior to the 1960s: the lack of civil rights.

But this is exactly the gist of your letter: Obama couldn’t even have managed that. The Czar, who has been around for centuries, has a keen ear for the soundtrack of history; he can already hear the kazoo and honky saxophone theme that plays whenever Obama does anything, and is sorry to report that history’s take on Obama is going to be brutal.

Doubts? Not when Hillary Clinton is overtly ridiculing his foreign policy as she has done last week. Even the Left is done with this guy’s pretensions of brilliance. As you say, he doesn’t even know how to use the tools that work for him.

Ah, a great pun.

Science Fiction TV Numbers 15-11

Tick, tick, tick – we’re getting closer to number 1…do you know what it is? Did you cheat?

Number 15: Blake’s 7

 blakes7gang3GorT has no pattern recognition here – never heard of it or saw it.  Blake’s 7 featuresRoj Blake, a political dissident who is arrested, tried and convicted on false charges. While being transferred to a prison planet, he and two fellow prisoners are sent to board and investigate an abandoned alien spacecraft. They get the ship working, commandeer it, rescue two more prisoners, and are joined by an alien guerrilla with telepathic abilities. In their attempts to stay ahead of their enemies and inspire others to rebel, they encounter a wide variety of cultures on different planets, and are forced to confront human and alien threats.

Number 14: Stargate SG-1

 Stargate-SG-1-21Building on the Stargate movie, which many think was average at best, this successful series has built a decent following and surpassed 200 episodes.  Seeing Richard Dean Anderson not wiring something together with a stick of gum and his Swiss army knife is good – he delivered a solid performance.  GorT wasn’t a regular watcher, but the occasional episodes were good.

Number 13: V (1983-85)

 5-1984-1GorT watched all of these episodes.  First, I did think that Faye Grant was hot.  Second, the insurgent humans fighting against invading aliens with nefarious intentions is a great plot line.  They spun off everything from xenophobia to cross-species reproduction.  I did get a kick out of Michael Ironside (in a very Dirty harry-esque mode) and his militaristic gang when they joined the plot line.

Number 12: Lost

 Lost-whole-groupOk, maybe GorT needs to give up his SciFi card but I’ve never watched any episode of Lost.  Given the last episode, I doubt I ever will.  Maybe it’s a modern take on Twin Peaks, etc. where you get a bizarre storyline that doesn’t quite make sense and is hard to discern what reality is but it’s hard for me to buy in.  I think that was the main issue too: if you didn’t jump in when it launched it was a bit of a hurdle to do so later.

Number 11: Firefly

 20090123_jayneorig2A Joss Whedon masterpiece – a rag-tag crew with such full and quirky characters thrown together in a misfit adventure.  I don’t know if I could even pick out my favorite aspect of the show: Jayne?  the “relationship” between Mal and Inara?  Kaylee the ship’s engineer?  Summer Glau’s portrayal of a bizarre character.  Wow.  Such goodness.