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Reposted from BlackWolf by JamieG from Md

Earlier this year, all of the Star Trek community mourned the passing of Leonard Nimoy. Now, comes the news of the passing of Grace Lee Whitney, the actor best known as Yeoman Janice Rand.

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Mon Apr 20, 2015 at 02:40 PM PDT

Still in Hospital and Other Updates

by michelewln

Reposted from michelewln by JamieG from Md

First of all thank you to the Daily Kos community for their help and support. I could not have gotten through these last few days without you. We may fight like cats and dogs about politics, etc. but when push comes to shove we are pooties and woozles taking care of each other.

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Reposted from Top Comments by BeninSC

I posted a ramble recently about my childhood memories of Star Trek and Spock. The Star Trek universe got a reboot in the 1980's, giving us Star Trek:  The Next Generation.  Now it's hard to believe the Trek universe ever existed without Jean-Luc Picard and Data, not to mention Q.

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Top Comments recognizes the previous day's Top Mojo and strives to promote each day's outstanding comments through nominations made by Kossacks like you. Please send comments (before 9:30pm ET) by email to or by our KosMail message board. Just click on the Spinning Top™ to make a submission. Look for the Spinning Top™ to pop up in diaries posts around Daily Kos.

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Please come in. You're invited to make yourself at home! Join us after the orange spaceship, where no one has gone before...

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Reposted from chaunceydevega by JamieG from Md

David Greven, professor and expert on Star Trek is the guest on this week's episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show.

David is the author of numerous books including Gender and Sexuality in Star Trek: Allegories of Desire in the Television Series and Films.

He is also Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of South Carolina.

In this episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show, David and Chauncey talk about the Star Trek TV and film universe and how it both represents and struggles with questions of gender, sexuality, and race.

David and Chauncey also discuss Kirk and Spock's "brotherly" love, Trek's problems with representing black masculinity, Voyager as a show where questions about gay and lesbian rights and agency were channeled via the holographic doctor, Data as a sexual being, and many other Star Trek related topics.

Chauncey and David also reminisce about their favorite childhood toy disappointments and the joys of watching early and mid 1980s New York television stations such as Channel 11 and Channel 9.

Chauncey DeVega offers some thoughts about the Oklahoma fraternity racism imbroglio and the Department of Justice's two reports on Ferguson.

This episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show with Professor David Greven can be listened to below or "watched" on the official Youtube channel for

The Chauncey DeVega Show can also be followed on Itunes and listened to via Stitcher on your smart phone or other related technology.

Reposted from Top Comments by BeninSC

The recent loss of Leonard Nimoy got me thinking about the Star Trek phenomenon, and why it meant so much to me and a whole lot of other people.  Gene Roddenberry's creation offered an optimistic view of the future, filled with discoveries and endless wonder, where humanity's best qualities emerged triumphant.

Growing up, I used to play Star Trek with my brother and other kids.  My brother liked to play Scotty (not coincidentally, my brother's now an engineer).  But I always had to be Spock.  My cousin once tried to argue that I had to be Uhura, since she was the only girl, but he was overruled.  It's not that I'm particularly logical like Spock, but he was the alien, the one who got to be different from everybody else.  The Spock factor is a large part of Star Trek's enduring appeal for self-identified nerds:  even when he was right (which was often), he was still an outsider.  This trope carried over through the various Star Trek incarnations.

But first, a word from our sponsor!

Top Comments recognizes the previous day's Top Mojo and strives to promote each day's outstanding comments through nominations made by Kossacks like you. Please send comments (before 9:30pm ET) by email to or by our KosMail message board. Just click on the Spinning Top™ to make a submission. Look for the Spinning Top™ to pop up in diaries posts around Daily Kos.

Make sure that you include the direct link to the comment (the URL), which is available by clicking on that comment's date/time. Please let us know your Daily Kos user name if you use email so we can credit you properly. If you send a writeup with the link, we can include that as well. The diarist poster reserves the right to edit all content.

Please come in. You're invited to make yourself at home! Join us beneath the orange starship...

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Reposted from Kitchen Table Kibitzing by annieli
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Tara the Antisocial Social Worker wrote a marvelous diary for Top Comments two nights ago, with musings on the original Star Trek and Spock, perhaps the series' signature character. Leonard Nimoy's (RIP) fine character has provoked as much thought, perhaps, as any fictional character ever has. And tonight a bit more.

More below the fleur de kos!

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Reposted from Postcapitalism by annieli

Awhile back, I wrote a diary on Star Wars, as a sort of critique of what happened to space opera and as a reminiscence of when I used to read that stuff back in high school.  I wasn't going to write a diary on Star Trek.  But this radical, visionary Leonard Nimoy obituary came out earlier this week in Jacobin on the topic of Star Trek ("Goodbye, Mr. Spock," by Leigh Phillips, 3/2/ 2015), and so as a consequence of reading it I decided to put forth my thoughts on Star Trek.

(public domain image, from Wikimedia Commons)

Star Trek originally came into focus for me with televised reruns of the original series.  When the original series came out, between 1966 and 1969, I was really too young (and not interested yet) to know what it was.  My interest in science fiction came later, in the 1970s.  When I was in sixth grade, my teacher had a small library in the back of the classroom with copies of Analog: Science Fiction/ Science Fact magazine, which is where my original interest in science fiction came from.  Star Trek, by contrast, appeared to me to be a cheap version of science fiction, adapted for television.  I was mostly interested in written science fiction, science fiction which explored ideas you wouldn't see on Star Trek.  (Another big limitation of Star Trek back then was its repetition of the spaceship-meets-planet plot mold, a mold which was only broken in 1993 with the first broadcast of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.)

One of the most promising aspects of Star Trek, however, was its invitation to serious writers of science fiction to write episode screenplays.  From the Wikipedia page:

In its writing, Star Trek is notable as one of the earliest science-fiction TV series to use the services of leading contemporary science fiction writers, such as Robert Bloch, Norman Spinrad, Harlan Ellison, and Theodore Sturgeon, as well as established television writers.
Moreover, a few Star Trek episodes attempted to use science fiction as a serious vehicle to probe contemporary social issues.  Wikipedia again:
"Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" presented a direct allegory about the irrationality and futility of racism. Anti-war themes appear in episodes such as "The Doomsday Machine", depicting a planet-destroying weapon as an analogy to nuclear weapons deployed under the principle of mutually assured destruction, and "A Taste of Armageddon" about a society which has "civilized" war to the point that they no longer see it as something to avoid.
However, Star Trek appeared to me to be as much fantasy (as opposed to serious science fiction as a category, which I thought was supposed to use its scientifically-now-impossible plot devices sparingly) as Star Wars did when it came out in 1977.  The most fantastic Star Trek plot device, as I pointed out in my Star Wars diary, was time travel -- but then Star Trek also relied for narrative purposes upon matter transmitters (although Wookieepedia claims that someone used them in Star Wars writing), "aliens" who looked more or less like people and spoke English (through imagined technical devices of course), and "aliens" capable of magical powers (of which the ultimate example was Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation).  

Star Trek, then, relied upon a quick-and-dirty imagined version of future "science," with few narrative concessions to realism and a spirit of we-can-know-it (and "fantastic things are out there") utopianism.  As Leigh Phillips pointed out in "Goodbye, Mr. Spock,"

In his 1964 pitch for the show, Roddenberry had initially intended Spock to be half-Martian, but later changed his home world out of fear that part way through the series, if it were successful and had a long run, it was not out of the question that humanity could land on Mars and ruin the believability of the storyline.
 The instinct behind Star Trek was that alien life was everywhere in the universe, that technology could in utopian fashion ultimately satisfy all of our desires regardless of its necessary foundation in what we today call "science," and that the universe would ultimately be rendered understandable despite its initial attempts to defy our understandings of it.

These Star Trek themes became mere literary conventions.   Today they serve as reminiscences of what we once thought the future might hold, and as context for bright shiny movies (see e.g. the JJ Abrams contribution) bearing no relation to our present-day Year 2015 expectations of what the future holds.  The fact that we no longer believe in the Star Trek technological utopia in any sense is elucidated in a wonderful David Graeber piece, "Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit," which I'd encourage you all to read if you haven't done so yet.  Graeber argues that our shiny visions of the future have been replaced by bureaucratic, neoliberal, capitalism.

In this regard, Leigh Phillips' piece, the main topic of this diary, is admirable especially for its attempt to pay tribute to Spock, and thus the recently-passed actor Leonard Nimoy who played him (and who in passing removed his Spock from the realm of reality), as a major contribution to the Star Trek mythos.

Science officer Spock was of course as much a creation of actor Leonard Nimoy, who died on Thursday (2/27/2015) at age eighty-three, as of Roddenberry and the other writers who built and continue to build the Star Trek mythos. In a production memo from 1968, Roddenberry wrote: “In the beginning of the Star Trek episodes, Mr Spock was a fellow who occasionally said ‘illogical’ and that was about it. We all worked hard to build him into a fully dimensional character, and a lot of people, including Leonard Nimoy, deserve credit.”
I also liked the connections the piece makes to Spinozist logic and to socialism (as would be appropriate to a publication like Jacobin).  On Star Trek and socialism:
Discussions abound online as to whether the Federation in the various series is intended as a socialist utopia (What about the Ferengi? Does Chateau Picard mean their is still private ownership of land?), and while the series makes no explicit references to democratic planning or the market, the consensus is that, well, it does appear to be a post-scarcity socialist economy of some description, albeit with a highly hierarchical, even militarist tinge.
As regards the Ferengi: The Ferengi were intended as an alien species of "beings" (really, people) who were more or less trapped in problems of capitalism and sexism which humanity proper had overcome a long time ago.  This allowed Star Trek writers to portray critiques of capitalism within the Star Trek universe -- so, for instance, in the episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine titled "Bar Association," the workers in Quark's bar go on strike, and the ultimate resolution of this strike becomes a series of pretenses -- the strikers win the strike, but Quark asks them to pretend that the union never existed because he feels obliged to look good as a Ferengi businessman.  Thus a fundamental problem of wages and of worker power is transformed into a mere cultural conflict with the socialist society of Star Trek, resolvable through the manipulation of appearances.

Ultimately, though, the appearance of Star Trek in our own culture represents a problem of our present-day capitalist culture.  The dwindling away of the "Space Age" is itself a problem of capitalism.  Since there is no perceived profit in "going where no-one has gone before," the space program, and the fantastic dreams which once accompanied it, have been dramatically scaled back -- and thus Phillips concludes that the reinvigoration of the public sector is a prerequisite to the rediscovery of those dreams, because the profit motive won't get us there by itself:

Whether manned or otherwise, space exploration is simply too expensive with too little promise of profitable return for the private sector to care about anything beyond the servicing of low-Earth-orbit satellites.
And then he laments:
Could it be that an unrecognized casualty of neoliberalism has been the forward-looking optimism of both the Left and Right? That neoliberalism and the global defeat of workers’ movements have resulted in a decadent bourgeoisie more interested in looting short-term profits than investing in new technology, research, and exploration?
The problem, of course, is that the "Left" has become a mirage Left, offering tantalizing visions of utopia which become "sold out" once anyone tries to put them into practice. We should have ended hunger and poverty a long time ago, for instance, but is anyone even thinking of doing that anymore?  And, as for the "Right," all there really is there is a reactionary historical residue, a series of different tint-shadings for the longing for some imagined past (much in the way in which 1968's Presidential candidate George Wallace was motivated by a longing for the return of racial segregation).  Political vision, then, has more or less congealed in a competition between varieties of conservatism, or pushed to the margins.

As for neoliberalism -- well, for a postcapitalism of Star Trek caliber to emerge on Earth, first capitalism has to die, and since this hasn't happened we have neoliberalism. Neoliberalism is the "picture of Dorian Gray" version of capitalism, in which both eternal youth and total corruption are granted the bourgeoisie, at the expense of that increasingly terrifying face which can today be seen in the portrait of working-class life under capitalism.

And, lastly, about the Star Trek universe: Phillips reminds us in passing that the Star Trek universe went through World War III -- between 2049 and 2053 -- but perhaps this isn't just an incidental fact. What sort of transformative, millenarian event (which we can hope will be relatively peaceful) will in fact prepare our capitalist world-society for a more realized utopia than the one we currently inhabit?

Reposted from Kitchen Table Kibitzing by annieli
Table with yellow teapot and cloth embroidered with blue flowers
Come oh come ye tea-thirsty restless ones -- the kettle boils, bubbles and sings, musically. ~ Rabindranath Tagore

watch for spock sign

I've commented elsewhere that a lot of us here, as kids, needed a smart hero who was strong enough to be considered an oddball and be himself anyway. When Star Trek went on the air in 1966, Spock became such a hero to almost-12-year-old me. A ton has been written here in the last few days about him, and about the late Leonard Nimoy, and I have no plan to rehash it all. But I can't let this passing go by without a little tribute diary to my beloved Mr. Spock and to the good and decent man who created that character for us. Join me below the Horta for a few pictures.

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Tue Mar 03, 2015 at 03:49 PM PST

Leonard Nimoy, a photo montage

by art ah zen

Reposted from art ah zen by JamieG from Md

My best friend collects photos from the net, cleans them up digitally and compiles them into tributes to various actors, mostly horror film stars of the past.  He was a huge Star Trek fan when we were kids.  He hand carved phasers and tricorders from balsa wood.  They were amazingly real looking.  He made films with the old super 8 technology where he wrote, acted, costumed and filmed.  He is a man of many talents.  This video is a fabulous collection of photos spanning Nimoy's career but mostly of his most famous role, as Spock.  

I embedded this on a diary about the WBC not being able to picket the funeral because they can't find it, but I was afraid that YOU wouldn't be ble to find the video, so here it is in its own diary.  Please enjoy the pix and another of my best friends wrote and played the music.  It is a work of love and adoration.

Reposted from Retroactive Genius by JamieG from Md

The Westboro Baptist Church, long-associated with their deranged and ugly protests at the funerals of US troops, have been thwarted in their attempt to 'protest' at the funeral of actor Leonard Nimoy, who died on Friday. According to The Guardian:

The church posted a Twitter update lamenting its inability to picket the event, which it said was due to a lack of publicity over the location.
Awww...that's a shame: the crazed, rancid bigots couldn't make it.
Westboro has become notorious for its uninvited presence at high-profile funerals of those whose sexuality and beliefs it disagrees with. The WBC, which is also anti-Jewish, anti-Catholic and anti-Chinese, believes that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are God’s punishment on America for tolerating homosexuality.
And what could be a more appropriate venue for these deranged scumbags to voice their disgusting views than the funeral of a civilized, thoughtful and much-loved actor?

It's hard to believe, given how close to GOP orthodoxy these people's vile beliefs are, that they haven't had messages of support from the usual suspects (i.e. Aryan Barbie, Havana Ted, Cantaloupe Steve and Hair-Turban Trump). It is illogical.

Still, it's early days.

Reposted from Daily Kos by JamieG from Md
Leonard Nimoy
This guy was not—as Oregon state Rep. Bill Post has claimed—a Republican.
John Nichols at The Nation writes Mr. Spock Was a McGovernite: Remembering Leonard Nimoy’s ‘Live Long and Prosper’ Politics:
George McGovern’s anti-war candidacy for the presidency in 1972 attracted a good deal of celebrity support. But few Hollywood figures worked as hard as [Leonard] Nimoy to advance the cause of the Democratic presidential contender.

Beginning in January of 1972, when he trekked to New Hampshire on behalf of what was then considered to be McGovern’s uphill battle for the nomination, Nimoy traveled to thirty-five states on the South Dakota senator’s behalf. Grainy photos and news reports from more than four decades ago tell the story of a young Nimoy campaigning in the southwest with Latinos, in urban centers with African-Americans, in rural Oregon and even in Alaska.

Nimoy did not mind trading on his Star Trek celebrity to appeal for McGovern. He even joked at campaign stops that “I’m at a disadvantage. I’ve spent most of my previous life on Vulcan, so I don’t know too much about the people in this country.”

But, of course, he did know a lot about the country and its politics. Referencing infant mortality rates and poverty issues in a land of plenty, he declared, “We don’t need another campaign that avoids these issues, another nice-guy campaign.”

On the campaign trail, Nimoy spoke against not just the war in Vietnam but against bloated Department of Defense budgets and misguided priorities. He decried the influence of Henry Kissinger on the Nixon administration and fretted that it was undermining traditional diplomacy. He condemned the Watergate break-in and complained about win-at-any-cost politics.

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2009Someone help me find the political genius here?:

Politico on the fight by New Democrats and Blue Dogs to stop the mortgage relief bill coming to the floor this week:

Moderates worry Pelosi is routinely staking very liberal positions to push House versions of big bills as far to the left as possible to enhance their standing in negotiations with the historically centrist Senate. This might be a smart tactic, but it often hurts Democrats who rely on Republican votes to win reelection. Put bluntly, it makes them look too liberal.
"Moderates worry."

Stop the presses! Hahahahahahahaha! "Dog bites man!" "Sun rises in East!"

Yes, trying to help the nearly 2.5 million homeowners projected to go into foreclosure in 2009 "makes them look too liberal," and the only way to make this bill "moderate" enough is to side with the banks, who had the gift of the Republican bankruptcy bill handed to them in 2005, but still couldn't manage to survive as a viable industry without at $700 billion bailout (with more to come).

So the genius of Ellen Tauscher's (D-CA-10) position? Democrats need to side with the banks who converted their 2005 gift into the complete meltdown of the world financial order, then siphoned off trillions of public dollars to "stabilize" themselves, and now want still more blood from the homeowners they killed in creating this mess.

Tweet of the Day
48,000 Oakland workers get a raise today! 52,000 receive paid sick days. @LiftUpOakland @workingeastbay #RaiseTheWage #MinimumWage

On today's Kagro in the Morning show, Texas weighs heavy in weekend GunFAIL. Greg Dworkin rounds up the Republican DHS collapse and the obscure rule that could possibly provide a way out, Chris Christie's engineering of a major environmental settlement from ExxonMobil to close his budget gap, and Scott Walker's possibly premature surge to frontrunner status. Armando primes us for King v. Burwell week, focusing on his Sunday piece on how and why the plaintiffs' textual arguments in the case fall flat. And Aaron Schock is in still more trouble, for taxpayer-paid private planes and hiring full-time personal photographer.

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Tue Mar 03, 2015 at 03:49 PM PST

The Final Frontier Is Still There

by xaxnar

Reposted from xaxnar by JamieG from Md

     With the passing of Leonard Nimoy, it has become apparent that the world of Star Trek still holds power in the minds of many. The vision of an optimistic future, where humankind has matured enough to start reaching out to the wider universe and deal with problems to the best of our ability is made all the more poignant by the constant daily stream of bad news, scandal, inanity, and demonstrations of how far we have to go if we truly want to qualify as intelligent life forms. Indeed, it seems like there are too many working to take us in the opposite direction, back into the Dark Ages of fear and superstition.

And yet the Final Frontier is still out there - and we ARE making progress in a myriad of ways.

       More below the Orange Omnilepticon.  


Do you think we as a society can "Live long and Prosper" if we meet the challenge of the Final Frontier?

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| 17 votes | Vote | Results

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