Saturday, November 8, 2014

I Am Satisfied With My Care

Let's talk movies today!

We've got a sci-fi double feature this weekend on ZVTS, and first up is Disney's Big Hero 6.

Loosely based on the 2008 Marvel comic series of the same name (and I mean loosely, the comic had Marvel's two iconic Japanese mutants, Silver Samurai and Sunfire, teaming up with these distinctly less-than-serious heroes) this film adaptation takes place in the metropolis of San FranSokyo, a very pretty mashup of San Francisco and Tokyo, which ends up being the 7th member of the team the way Gotham City is in any of Christopher Nolan's Batman films.

Right off the bat we meet Hiro Hamada, brilliant teenage robotic genius, doing what any robotics prodigy who graduated high school at a young age would do, which is hustling thugs in an underground robot fighting arena for scads of cash.  When the hustle goes bad, Hiro's bacon is pulled from the fire by his  college-age brother Tadashi, who is a robotics genius himself at nearby San FranSokyo Institute of Technology.

Tadashi promises their Aunt Cass, who has cared for them for the last ten years, to try to set young Hiro on the straight and narrow by showing off his latest invention at SFIT,  a goofily lovable heathcare robot named Baymax.  Meeting Baymax and Tadashi's college friends, extreme speed junkie and magnetics master Go Go, bubbly Latina and chemistry whiz Honey Lemon, neat freak and laser whiz Wasabi, and science fanboy and school mascot Fred, all mentored by robotics professor Dr. Robert Callaghan, is exactly what Hiro needs to put his mind towards a truly amazing invention that will change the world.

But we wouldn't have a super hero origin story without some grim tidings and heartbreaking loss, and that's exactly what happens to Hiro as he loses both his marvelous invention and his brother in a tragic accident.  It's up to Hiro, Baymax and their new friends to solve the mystery behind Tadashi's death and save San FranSokyo.

Personally, any hero team that's two-thirds people of color, with a terrifically endearing robot, and just one white guy is refreshing enough of a concept to warrant going to see this film.  Both the kids and the adults in the theater had a blast, and hopefully we'll be seeing more of these guys in the future.  It's a visually striking film and quite a lot of fun and I recommend at least a matinee ticket for the family.

Be on the lookout for a Stan Lee cameo, as always, and stick around for the post-credits scene.

Hail To The King Case, Or The Biggest Tax Hike In History

Greg Sargent doesn't sugar-coat what it means for SCOTUS to even take up King v Burwell. It means Obamacare could be in big trouble, and millions of Americans on federal exchange states could find their insurance too expensive to afford, which could wipe out the entire system.

To get caught up on the legal ins and outs of this challenge, read Jonathan Cohn’s piece. It turns on the claim that the plain wording of the law’s text shows Congress never intended subsidies to go to people in the three dozen states where governors refused to set up exchanges, requiring the feds to do so. If the subsidies are invalidated in these states, it could deprive millions of coverage, posing a dire threat to the law.

Multiple Democratic lawmakers who participated in the creation of the Affordable Care Act have explained that making subsidies available to people in all 50 states, regardless of who set up the exchanges, was always the intention. Staff members involved in the drafting of the law have said the same, and have carefully explained how the faulty language ended up as it did.

But SCOTUS could still rule against the administrative rule, anyway. Nicholas Bagley explains how the fact that SCOTUS has agreed to hear the case at all doesn’t bode well, and even increases the odds that the government will lose it.

So what if next June SCOTUS trashes the subsidies?  There's already four justices on record (Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Kennedy) who have gone on record as saying the entire law needs to be thrown out, so there's already four votes there I would think to scuttle it.   That would put pressure on Congress to fix the law, Sargent says.

So let’s say SCOTUS does strike down the subsidies. If so, it will create an interesting situation for Republican lawmakers. It will make it impossible for them to get away with the clever game they’ve been playing for some time on their true intentions toward the law.

As the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Larry Levitt explains it, a SCOTUS ruling gutting the subsidies could easily be rendered “moot” in one of two ways: Either Congress fixes the law, or governors in those states set up state exchanges to keep the subsidies flowing to their constituents. “A simple fix from either Congress or Republican governors would allow people to keep their benefits,” Levitt says.

As Brian Beutler has explained, the prospect of so many of each of these governors’ constituents losing insurance would theoretically put pressure on them to make things right. The same might be the case for GOP lawmakers in Congress. One possibility might be that the two parties use this as an occasion to enter into negotiations over the law’s future, in which Republicans try to leverage the need for the fix to get other changes to it they want — which could be dicey for the law but perhaps not too much of a threat to it.

Of course, these lawmakers would also face intense pressure from the right not to fix it. And for all I know, they might let the law’s subsidies disappear for millions.

Why wouldn't they?  Republicans aren't going to lift a finger to fix the law, they're going to say "this is your punishment for electing Democrats" and to blame Obama and company.  And judging from Tuesday's election results, that's an entirely viable plan heading into 2016.

Now, GOP governors *might* want to not be blamed for a massive premium hike on their constituents, especially those running in 2016 or considered veep prospects (Christie, Jindal, Walker, Martinez, Haley, etc)   Some of them may try to find a way to strike deals, and if they do, they will be the "heroes" that fixed what "Obama and the Democrats" messed up.  That could go a long way in 2016, but how would the national GOP base take it?

Answer: however FOX News tells them to.  Watch.

This will destroy Obamacare and Republicans know it.  If SCOTUS ulls the trigger, what will rise from the ashes?  What it will be replaced with?  Who knows? But millions of Americans will suffer as a result, and they'll all blame the black guy.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

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