Sunday, March 22, 2009

Lessons from Galactica and the AOTW

It was with a little sadness that I watched the final episode of Battlestar Galactica on Friday. But thankfully, they tied up all the loose ends, except the ones they couldn't. And that's part of what I have from this post. If you haven't watched the show, I'll try to give you enough to follow (thus parentheses). If you watch the show but haven't seen the final episode yet, this is your spoiler alert! Skip down to the Asshat of the Week (it's in bold) if you must.

There were a couple of lessons that we should all take from the show.

First, there's the warning that everything that has happened before will happen again. And it almost did again, with a showdown where the Cylons almost got resurrection technology (where they don't die, they just download into a new body) again. And when Galactica escaped, they almost built another colony where there would have been another point of contention between the classic Cylons (same ones from the 1978 series) and their badass new versions and the humans and skin jobs (Cylons in human bodies). Strangely, we sure as shit haven't learned this.

Second, our choices define us. Two characters come to mind on this. Gaius Baltar finally committed a truly selfless act (his self-serving ways began with sex with a Six (There are 8 Cylon models, lots of copies) that led to the destruction of the colonies, through an assload things. In the end, he manned up, staying on the ship even though he's pretty clueless when it comes to fighting a battle, and was able to finally hook up permanently with said Six. That, and we find out why both he and the Six are seeing each other in their heads (more later). The other person is Boomer. Beginning as a sleeper Cylon (an Eight), she shot Adama, kidnapped the child Hera (more on her later), which necessitated the whole rescue. But she chose well in the end, kidnapping Hera back and returning her to her mother, Athena (another Eight), who promptly shot her dead.

Third, we should not deny the guiding hand of God in the world. First there was the visions that led everyone to where they had to be (too complex to explain without watching). Then there's Starbuck (aka Kara Thrace). First, the song All Along the Watchtower (which kept reappearing)
became the coordinates she used to jump the ship out and led Galactica to Earth (our earth, not the one that was nuked). And after this, Kara (who had died back in the third season) reveals that her journey is done and disappears, because apparently, she is an angel. And finally, when it's revealed that the humans and Cylons spread themselves out on Earth 15,000 before the present day, and the mother of civilization that appears on the news is none other than Hera, the child of a human and a Cylon (Cylons normally can't reproduce). And it ends with the idea that perhaps this time, with a little nudging from a higher being, maybe we'll get it right this time.

And now that I'm done with the spoilers:

Timothy Geithner is Asshat of the Week

Very simply, the whole AIG debacle is to blame. But as Congress is doing their usual point and be indignant, the AIG guys are scrambling while the lynch mobs are organized, it falls to the guy who has been ball deep in the whole AIG bailout form the beginning.

Well, Timmy, now you're leading in the polls on who will get the boot from the Obambus (and be duly thrown under).

Considering you started the whole "Oops, my bad on the taxes" train that is the string of Obama appointments, I suspect the POTUS is feeling a bit of buyer's remorse. As one regular commenter keeps saying (and I say to you): Hang in there, there's only 1,401 more days to go. Until then, I'd lay off the asshatery if I were you. Otherwise you're going to wake up with in a hot tub full of stale beer with a hairy guy and a satisfied dog licking away (metaphorically speaking).


Anonymous said...

More or less agreed.
There is something to what you say of course.

But what you have failed to say as well as so many other people Is that the GOP ran this country for 8 years. And didn't say a word about the CEO's bonuses.
The Republicans have fought to destroy the agencies that are supposed to protect us from completely unchecked capitalist greed, and have even packed the remaining agencies with industry insiders.

Democrats are not completely clean either..

But, the GOP caused about 90% of the current messes and are still seeking to somehow blame anyone else they can pin it on.

dmarks said...

90%? The root of this mess is clearly the policy at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: started under Andrew Cuomo, and it was Democrats who resisted Republican efforts to reign it in.

Toad734 said...

First off, they didn't actually say it was the guiding hand of God. They merely say that there is some higer power or powers at work. Nothing you can prove but somethinig that they all know is envolved. Although I am pretty much an atheist, I do like that they still left room for evolution but saying that the odds of them finding a planet where humans also evolved with the same exact DNA as their own, millions of light years away from eachother, were so astronomical that one could say it almost had to be planned by divinity.

That was a cool touch. And at first I didn't really get the Starbuck, 6/Baltar visions and what they were all about but after watching it a second time it is pretty obvious that they were pretty much all Angels/Devils only 6 and Baltar were archangels like Gabriel or Michael who would appear in visions and dreams and offer instruction to the "profits" such as Caprica and Baltar.

What I don't get is how Starbuck is the "harbinger of death". That was left pretty much unexplained.

Ultimately I think the show was more about moral absolutions, right and wrong, seeing things from a different perspective and not necessarily judging what is right and what is wrong, merely suggesting the delima. Was the Pegasus right in stripping the other ships to ensure their survival? Is suicide bombing of civilians every justified? Is genocide sometimes ok? At what point can you forgive and what point are you justified in revenge, etc. I think it was more about those than God and technology although by watching the finale, you would have thought it was about technology and God.

Anyway, best show on tv period.

So who would do a better job than Timothy Geithner?

Toad734 said...


Wrong, 90% of this was deregulation of the financial and mortgage industry, greed and counting debt as profit.

If this was all Fannie and Freddie we would be talking today about how many more times we have to bail them out but we are talking about free enterprise banks who decided to buy bad assets assuming the housing bubble would never burst knowing full well that the people in these homes would be foreclosed on. In fact, they were counting on it. But in the end, the bubble burst and their plan backfired...sort of. We are still witnessing one of the biggest wealth transfers since the great depression as AIG, Citi and Bank of America etc are still going to get our money, just in the form of our tax dollars instead of them getting rich by repossessing our homes.

Toad734 said...


Oh, and you can't blame it on Clinton either. Here is a nice little blast from the past:

National Homeownership Month, 2006
A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

Owning a home is an important part of the American dream. During National Homeownership Month, we raise awareness of homeownership and encourage more Americans to consider the benefits of owning their own home.

Nearly 70 percent of Americans enjoy the satisfaction of owning their own home, and my Administration continues to promote an ownership society where the promise of America reaches all our citizens. The American Dream Downpayment Act of 2003 is helping thousands of low to moderate income and minority families with downpayment and closing costs, which represent the greatest barrier to homeownership. Since 2002, when I announced our goal to help 5.5 million minorities become homeowners by the end of this decade, the rate of minority homeownership has climbed above 50 percent, and more than 2.5 million minority families have become new homeowners. My Administration will continue to provide counseling and assistance for new homebuyers and expand homeownership opportunities for all Americans.

During National Homeownership Month and throughout the year, we applaud the men and women who work to achieve the dream of homeownership, and we are grateful for those who provide counseling, lending, real estate, construction, and other services to these individuals. The hard work, financial discipline, and personal responsibility of our country's homeowners help transform neighborhoods throughout our Nation and reflect the best qualities of America.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim June 2006 as National Homeownership Month. I call upon the people of the United States to join me in building a more hopeful society and recognizing the importance of expanding the ownership of homes across our great Nation.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fourth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirtieth.


Arthurstone said...

To the right Geithner is a socialist hell bent on nationalizing the banks and herding us into collectivization.

To the left he's a puppet of Wall Street hell bent on delivering us back into the fatal grasp of unfettered capitalism.

He must be doing something right.

I think we're in uncharted waters and the fix is going to be more complicated and time consuming than throwing a wall switch.

Patience & understanding of how we got here are going to be required and it has long been my view folks who derive useful life lessons from television don't have much of either.

BB-Idaho said...

The, lawyer, who wrote the AIG bonus contract...was He in running for AOTW?

dmarks said...

toad asked: "So who would do a better job than Timothy Geithner?"

Maybe someone who isn't a tax criminal. Perhaps they can get a "do over" and fire Geithner and nominate someone who is not a crook to head Treasury.

toad said: "Oh, and you can't blame it on Clinton either."

True. The problem started under Clinton, and Bush did not stop it.

toad said: "Wrong, 90% of this was deregulation of the financial and mortgage industry, greed and counting debt as profit."

No, it was overregulation. The interference of Fannie and Freddie in the free market, with an explicit policy to absorb unrealistic loans to undeserving people. We would not be in this mess at all had Andrew Cuomo disolved Fannie and Freddie instead of directing that they do bad things.

BB: Do you mean Chris Dodd? He made it part of the bailout.

TRUTH 101 said...

All I know is that the stocks I bought when President Obama told me to buy are up a good deal. Thank you Mr. President.

That has to piss you off that a Liberal like me made money Patrick. Money that is taxed at the lower capital gains rate at that. Money that I can donate to Obama's re-election campaign. That is if the nasty republicans even bother to field a candidate in 2012.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Maybe someone who isn't a tax criminal.--dmarks

Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.

Tell us, dmarks, exactly what crime Mr. Geithner was convicted of.

Toad734 said...


For the 1000th time, the government didn't force any entity to give loans to the homeless and no government entity forced AIG or Bear Stearns to buy those securities.

Tax criminal?? Most of the Bush administration were criminals and now some guy forgets to file something on his taxes one year and he needs to be in jail?? What ever.


The banks are the ones who turned to the government, the banks are the ones who can't govern themselves and it wasn't Geitner or Obama who started this trend of socializing corporate losses, that was Bush. And until you can find a member of Obama's cabinet who is registered as a socialist, you will have to call them Democrats. I don't go around calling Republicans toilet seat cock suckers, Johns, Gay pedophiles, Oxy Contin or Meth addicts or racist Nazis now do I?

Toad734 said...


I wish I could have bought some stocks back in early February. I mean, look at what Obama has done for the stock market since he has taken office, just the opposite of what Bush did in his first 6 years until the banks started trading phony money.

dmarks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dmarks said...

Toad: The government encouraged and provided an incentive for the bad loans. Bad regulation.

Shaw said: "Tell us, dmarks, exactly what crime Mr. Geithner was convicted of" and Toad said "Most of the Bush administration were criminals"

The logic is the same, even if the person making the two comments is not the same: that whether or not a person is a crook depends on whose administration they are part of.

I guess, Shaw, that "forgetting" to pay your taxes is a great qualification for Treasury Secretary! And Toad, I don't know about putting Geithner in jail, but is it too much to ask that we have a Secretary of the Treasury who isn't a tax cheat? Also, you claimed that he "forgot" to pay taxes for one year. It was actually two years. So tell us, what is the total number of years that one must cheat on their taxes before it is fair to call someone a tax cheat?

President Obama has higher standards than you on this. While he has kept Geithner on, he has withdrawn other tax-cheat nominees. At least he mostly opposes something that you think is "OK". I only wish that it was "entirely opposes".

It's interesting to see the logical somersaults people go through to defend the presence of aspecifically unqualified crook as the head of Treasury, especially considering that his presence there makes the Barack Obama administration look bad, and is proof that any of Obama's intentions of having an ethical administration were not serious at all.

Toad734 said...

You mean the repeal of regulation like Glass-Steagall act.

I have probably "cheated on my taxes" more than once. Not intentionally but I have probably written off something that I really shouldn't have or forgot to report income from small sources or even messed up my filing when I sold stocks.

I wasn't even aware he was a "tax cheat" but its not like he hired a prostitute or solicited sex in a mens bathroom and those guys are still in congress and not in jail. So if its ok for Republicans who willingly, clearly committed a true crime, why isn't it ok for a guy who may or may not have purposely "cheated" on his taxes?

Toad734 said...

And by the way, Wall Street also encouraged people like Country Wide to hand out more subprime loans and they did. That had nothing to do with Freddie and Fannie.

And I can encourage anyone to do anything but if its a bad idea to begin with, I would expect them not to take the worm and act on their own free will and informed decisions.

Arthurstone said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arthurstone said...

Arthur)-And until you can find a member of Obama's cabinet who is registered as a socialist, you will have to call them Democrats. I don't go around calling Republicans toilet seat cock suckers, Johns, Gay pedophiles, Oxy Contin or Meth addicts or racist Nazis now do I?'

I think you have me mixed up with someone else Toad.

And poor old Geithner. If only he'd been involved in waterboarding, Iran-Contra or some other aspect of US imperialism all would be forgiven by the right. Instead he misfigured his income tax. Perfidy!

Oh woe is us.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Arthurstone said it for me, but I'll reinforce his statement.

How quickly and loudly the Right yells FOUL! CHEAT! BAD, BAD, BAD TIMMEH! for his failure to pay taxes but when it came to actually breaking the law and defiling the Constitution we hear...


I'll be incensed over a guy who failed to file his taxes when I hear outrage over the Bush administration's use of torture from folks like dmarks.

Patrick M said...

GHB, and everyone on the thread concering fault for the mess we're in:

This is bigger than just one party or another. This is systemic, a product of the Washington mentality. In which every president and most of Congress, under some ideal, involved the power of the federal government in guiding the lives of the individual. Until the GOP realizes this (I have no expectations for the Dems to), we're going to continue down the same path every other empire has, until we collapse under our own arrogance (and maybe have our robots nuke us).

Toad: A monotheistic God is referenced many times by both the Cylons, then Baltar (at his 6's urging). At the end, the angel Baltar and 6 make a reference to it even. But you are right that it's not absolutely clear which denomination's God they refer to (becasue the specifics don't matter).

As for Starbuck being the harbinger of death, metaphorically, she did end the existence of the 12 colonies, and the series, by jumping them where they belonged. It could be said it's the death of their existences as they were, and it certainly was the death of an assload of Cylons. Also, she did lead them to Earth (the nuked one).

As for the other things the show brought, it was absolutely a lens for humanity.

I don't go around calling Republicans toilet seat cock suckers, Johns, Gay pedophiles, Oxy Contin or Meth addicts or racist Nazis now do I?

Yes. You do. And you have an inordinate amount of fascination with GOP man-ass sex. :)

Arthur: I don't derive life lessons from TV alone. But it is an interesting microscope to examine those things we should all learn.

And you missed one of the best shows out there. But hey, you can catch reruns on and Hulu. It might be worth your while. And on that note, let me get started about Babylon 5....

BB: Probably, but he'd have to be in the news. Geithner is currently Obama's shit shield on this issue. This makes him visible.

101: Why would I be pissed off if you made money? I begrudge no one success.

However, you having done so is not necessarily because of Obama (pending more specifics). I'm assuming whatever stocks you bought are the kind that would rise in response to the current political environment. That just makes you a smart investor. Primarily because there are always opportunities out there, even in the bad times.

Shaw: I'll be incensed over a guy who failed to file his taxes when I hear outrage over the Bush administration's use of torture from folks like dmarks.

Probably because you wouldn't ever hear it from me....

TRUTH 101 said...

Although I am hypocritical enough to be an owner of several shares of Exxon, I do feel guilty about it.

As for debating torture, I've been there and done that with guys like you Patrick. You look at the world through blinders. You seek the simple because that's all you choose to understand about your fellow human beings. Good or evil. No curiosity as to why they hate us. No empathy. No willingness to look honestly at yourself or our Country and work to make it better. Just torture them because they're not like us.

Toad734 said...

When referring to Republicans in general I don't substitute Republican for "Oxy Contin Pedophile", for instance. I call Rush a fat Oxy Contin addict and I call Foley a Pedophile and Vitter a John and Craig a toilet seat licker but I don't refer to Republicans as something they are not. I think you guys all need to get a dictionary and figure out what a real socialist is before you start calling everyone who doesn't belong to the Cato Institute, a socialist.

And Baltar, in the CIC says "God or Gods" and says he can't say for sure what it is but whatever it was was there and it was real. The Angel Baltar did refer to "God". IT doesn't really matter, in fact, Science Fiction is the only place I think God belongs in the first place.

dmarks said...

Every time Foley is mentioned, I also think of Tom Foley, the scandal-ridden Democrat who famously filed a frivolous lawsuit against his electorate.

I keep forgetting the first name of the guy Toad is bashing for being gay.

Shaw Kenawe said...


Toad isn't bashing Mark Foley because he's gay.

Why can't you guys get it through your heads--Mark Foley voted against gay marriage, and once said questions about whether or not he was gay were revolting and unforgivable. Why did he think being gay was revolting? And he refused to denounce Rick Santorum for comparing homosexuality with beastiality. That's what is reprehensible and deserves ridicule and bashing--his hypocrisy.

Rush Limbaugh did the same thing when he was shoving OxyContin down his prodigious gullet and commented on Kurt Cobain's drug induced death, calling Cobain a "worthless shred of human debris."

Soon after that Limbaugh was exposed for illegally using OxyContin and making his housemaid score for him. That's why we ride his ass--he is a hypocrite.

You have a difficult time sorting this out. But I'm happy to continue to elucidate the difference between mindless bashing (of which you eagerly accuse people) and richly deserved bashing for two-faced, mean-spirited hypocrites.

Arthurstone said...


Has there ever been, in your view, a lawsuit that wasn't *frivolous*?

Regardless. Foley's wasn't. In fact he won with a ruling Washington State couldn't place term limits on federal offices.

You might be interested to know the Consevative Republican who ousted Foley, the completely forgetable George Nethercutt ran on the promise to serve no more than three terms in the House. He served five undistinguished terms before running for the Senate and losing to Patty Murray. Oh well. He earns a ton more working as a lobbyist.

Toad734 said...

I bash them for being hypocrites and criminals. It is illegal to bang underage boys, and it’s unethical to bang the ones who work for you. It’s illegal to solicit paid or unpaid sex in a men’s bathroom, its illegal to hire prostitutes, etc.
I make fun of Barney Frank because he is a funny caricature of himself, not because he is gay.

I live in a lesbian/gay neighborhood, if I were a homophobe I would live somewhere else. Don't try to play that card.

dmarks said...

Arthurstone: "Has there ever been, in your view, a lawsuit that wasn't *frivolous*?"

Plenty. Most are not frivolous. But the ones where people sue others who did nothing wrong, or people do something to themself (like spil hot coffee) and sue others to get rich, are nothing but frivolous. Other famous examples of frivolous lawsuits include the ones John Edwards was involved in. He successfully sued obstetricians for genetic birth defects. Yes, Edwards got rich by lying in court and destroying the careers of innocent doctors.

This is one area where the US can learn from Europe, where there are reforms that limit the problem of frivolous lawsuits.

Foley's was very frivolous. It was basically a corrupt arrogant man lashing out at the voters.

"Oh well. He earns a ton more working as a lobbyist."

Well, if not for his political affiliation, that would qualify that guy for a post in the Obama administration.

dmarks said...

Shaw: And thanks for pointing out that it is not "mindless" to bash someone for being gay. I still do not agree with you.

Patrick M said...

101: Although I am hypocritical enough to be an owner of several shares of Exxon, I do feel guilty about it.


As for fighting the war, it's all about the enemy's psychology. We're fighting an enemy who is driven with a religious fervor to wipe us out of existence at best, and minimally clear us from their part of the world in every way. And as our policies over decades have entangled us deeply in that part of the world, there's no easy way for us to get out.

So while I understand their motivation, have some degree of sympathy for their worldview, and know that we have some things we need to correct, the middle of a war is not that time.

I don't suggest anything approaching genocide lightly. But, as one episode of Galactica (33) shows, sometimes you have to kill people (1300 to be specific).

Arthurstone said...

dmarks typed:

'Foley's was very frivolous. It was basically a corrupt arrogant man lashing out at the voters'

Actually state term limits on federal offices have been found unconstitutional time and time again. A frivolous lawsuit has 'no sound basis (as in in law or fact). Hardly the description of Foley's action. Why would he be the only representative of the US Congress subject to such a limit?

Likewise it's always fun to poke fun at the McDonald's ruling while ignoring the fact that hundreds of similar complaints had been ignored over the years by the company.

And thanks for the gross mischaracterization of Edward's legal work. Typical. Should that day come when a doctor puts you or a loved one into PVS through negligence I guess you (or your loved one on your behalf) will just shrug 'Don't worry Doc, no hard feelings. Shit happens'.


Shaw Kenawe said...

dmarks wrote:

Shaw: And thanks for pointing out that it is not "mindless" to bash someone for being gay. I still do not agree with you.

You are being willfully obtuse on this, demarks.


You're being too cute by half on this and you know it.

dmarks said...

Nope. Bashing someone for being homosexual when hidden behind a layer or two of deniability is still bashing them for being homosexual. Nothing obtuse about it at all.