Whoa! Wait, the 21st Century?

“Although we cannot find that a fundamental right to same-sex marriage exists in this State, the unequal dispensation of rights and benefits to committed same-sex partners can no longer be tolerated under our State Constitution. With this State’s legislative and judicial commitment to eradicating sexual orientation discrimination as our backdrop, we now hold that denying rights and benefits to committed same-sex couples that are statutorily given to their heterosexual counterparts violates the equal protection guarantee of Article I, Paragraph 1. To comply with this constitutional mandate, the Legislature must either amend the marriage statues to include same-sex couples or create a parrallel statutory structure, which will provide for, on equal terms, the rights and benefits enjoyed and burdens and obligations borne by married couples.”

Decision, Supreme Court of New Jersey
October 25, 2006

…and in case you’re wondering, the Court ruled that although New Jersey doesn’t have to call it “marriage”, it’s got to a least be a proper civil union; the existing “domestic partner” provisions in New Jersey law “Do Not (Constitutionally speaking) Cut It”.

Of course, I’m paraphrasing.

Do Something!

Michael J. Fox has recorded a heartfelt ad in support of Claire McCaskill, Democratic candidate for the Senate in Missouri. She is running against horrible Republican Jim Tennant, who goes that extra mile for evil by proposing leglislation to criminalize embryonic stem cell research.

The elections are two weeks away. Take a moment, and donate a little bit of money, $10, say, to a Congressional contest that is winnable by the Democrats (Claire McCaskill’s is one of them!). Norman Lear’s People for the American Way is still around, is still fighting for your rights, and has set up a page at congress06.org to help funnel funds to the most-tippable races.

Worst. Congress. Ever.

From the opening of a frankly brilliant article by Matt Taibbi in the current Rolling Stone:

These past six years were more than just the most shameful, corrupt and incompetent period in the history of the American legislative branch. These were the years when the U.S. parliament became a historical punch line, a political obscenity on par with the court of Nero or Caligula — a stable of thieves and perverts who committed crimes rolling out of bed in the morning and did their very best to turn the mighty American empire into a debt-laden, despotic backwater, a Burkina Faso with cable.

…The 109th Congress is no mild departure from the norm, no slight deviation in an already-underwhelming history. No, this is nothing less than a historic shift in how our democracy is run. The Republicans who control this Congress are revolutionaries, and they have brought their revolutionary vision for the House and Senate quite unpleasantly to fruition. In the past six years they have castrated the political minority, abdicated their oversight responsibilities mandated by the Constitution, enacted a conscious policy of massive borrowing and unrestrained spending, and installed a host of semipermanent mechanisms for transferring legislative power to commercial interests. They aimed far lower than any other Congress has ever aimed, and they nailed their target.

…The end result is a Congress that has hijacked the national treasury, frantically ceded power to the executive, and sold off the federal government in a private auction. It all happened before our very eyes. In case you missed it, here’s how they did it — in five easy steps:

Read the Full Story in Rolling Stone
“The Worst Congress Ever”

Heroes, The Best Show on Television

…and as long as I’m mentioning TV shows, Heroes is the best show on television right now. I literally haven’t yet spoken to someone who has seen this show who wasn’t passionate about it.

Episode one was intriguing, with a climactic ending that left you shaken, perhaps laughing, and hungry for more.

Episode two was incredible, notable for being “even better than episode one!”

And episode three? It was, and I am not kidding, even better than episode two.

The series is hilarious, enigmatic, terrifying — in short, great TV.

It airs Monday nights on NBC, with a repeat broadcast Friday nights on the Sci-Fi channel.

Official NBC site:

Torchwood to Debut Sunday on BBC 3

The story so far:

Doctor Who, the famous BBC Science Ficton show, was brought back last year and was a spectactular success, as far as I’m concerned – much faster paced, and much funnier, than any of the episodes from the original 20-odd-year run that I have seen, which is saying a lot, when you consider that Douglas Adams wrote some of those old shows.

If you haven’t seen them, you’re really missing out, but you can get the first season of the new run on DVD, and the second season is playing right now on the Sci-Fi network on Friday nights.

The exciting news, the thing that has me hugging myself in anticipation, is that a spinoff show, Torchwood, is set to debut Sunday night on BBC 3 (and on torrents everywhere), and somewhat later in North America, via its co-creator, the CBC.

I had known that Torchwood was coming Real Soon Now, but didn’t realize that it was literally tomorrow, and that it stars one of my absolute favorite characters from last year’s season of Doctor Who, Captain Jack Harkness from the 51st century.

To give an idea of why I like the show so much, and to introduce Captain Jack, here is an excerpt from the first season of the revived Doctor Who:

[Our heroes are menaced by a steadily-advancing, deadly mob]
CAPTAIN JACK HARKNESS: [Pulls out weapon] Okay! This can function as a sonic blaster, a sonic cannon, and a triple-enfolding sonic disruptor. Doc, what you got?
THE DOCTOR: I’ve got a sonic…
[Fishes around in pockets, gets out his Sonic Screwdriver]
THE DOCTOR: …er, never mind.
THE DOCTOR: It’s sonic, okay, let’s leave it at that.
CAPTAIN JACK HARKNESS: Disruptor? Cannon? What?
THE DOCTOR: It’s sonic, totally sonic, I am soniced up!
THE DOCTOR: Screwdriver!

[After they have escaped using Captain Jack’s blaster]
CAPTAIN JACK HARKNESS: *Who* has a sonic screwdriver?
CAPTAIN JACK HARKNESS: Who looks at a screwdriver and thinks,
    “Oooh, this could be a little more sonic!”?
THE DOCTOR: What? You never been bored? Never had a long night? Never had a lot of cabinets to put up?

Doctor Who, 2005
“The Empty Child”-“The Doctor Dances”

Official BBC Sites:
    Doctor Who

From Episode 1 of Torchwood:

[A COP is confronting a scary ALIEN in a hospital corridor. A PORTER arrives.]
PORTER: [to scary alien, thinks it’s a man in a mask] Oh! There’s a face! Nice one! Hey, tell you mate, you should try plastic surgery — not on the NHS, mate.
[ALIEN looks at him, appraisingly, threateningly]
PORTER: [oblivious, to COP] You all right?
COP: [still in shock from seeing the ALIEN, not sure that it’s a mask] Yeah!
PORTER: [still oblivious] Bloody hell, that is brilliant! That’s like…uh, Hellraiser! That is first class, that is. Look at that! That is just like real teeth, that’s……aghhh!

[CAPTAIN JACK HARKNESS has just shown the COP a lift from a secret underground lair to a public sidewalk in Cardiff.]
COP: But hold on, if no one can see it, when the lift’s comin’ up, there’s a bloody big hole in the sidewalk. Don’t people fall in?
COP: What is?
CAPTAIN JACK HARKNESS: I show you something fantastic; you find fault.

How Fatuously Stupid Are Americans?

…well, in surveys of the people of 34 developed countries, we were less retarded than the people of Turkey, and…oh, sorry…no, that’s it, just Turkey.

Public Acceptance of Evolution:

You know, I try to be tolerant of religious beliefs, but delusion at this level is willfully ignorant to the point of being dangerous.

Read the Full Article in Science:

“Public Acceptance of Evolution”
Jon D. Miller, Eugenie C. Scott, Shinji Okamoto
Science 11 August 2006:
Vol. 313. no. 5788, pp. 765 – 766
DOI: 10.1126/science.1126746

And thanks to Dave Gorman of The Daily Show, for pointing out the study, and for the joke about Turkey that I stole without shame, above:

[You can’t, now] watch the segment on The Daily Show:

“Poll Smoking: Education”
October 5, 2006

“Yeah, but try telling that to the good people of Flaccid Penis with Tiny Ball Sack.”