During a discussion of the Supreme Court decision that juveniles cannot be given a sentence of life without parole for murder, an interesting point came up. Steven’s parents thought it was a bad decision since now a court must review every juvenile murder case, which is a waste of resources. Courts should be allowed to decide that some juveniles deserve life without parole, and even implied that they should be allowed to give the death penalty to juveniles.
I decided to point out that this is good because young brains are still developing and the possibility of rehabilitation may be higher compared to adults. Steven’s dad replied, “I don’t want them to be rehabilitated. They don’t deserve that right. I want them to be punished.”
I’m having trouble with this. Steven’s parents are very devoted to their Christianity, but that response seemed to go completely in the opposite direction of Christianity’s ideas about redemption. This is one of the reasons I feel so put off by mainstream Christian/conservative beliefs.
I chose not to say anything else. Steven had already started a debate regarding the moral nature of killing vs murder, and things were already getting heated.
But he basically said there is no opportunity for redemption for murderers, only punishment. I don’t even know what to say about that.
The blatant racism present in this minivan is astounding. Driving through Memphis, we can’t stop to pee because we’re “in a bad part of town.” This statement was probably repeated about 10 times by Steven’s dad. Everyone had to pee but apparently we would just get immediately attacked by the black masses if we exited the car.
Even Steven’s parents were a bit surprised when one of Steven’s sisters blurted out “There are too many black people in this town!”
But here is the best part of the full-bladdered journey through Memphis: A black woman pulls up next to us at a stop light. One of Steven’s sisters looks over and says, “I think that lady is talking to herself. Or maybe she has a Bluetooth thing…no, look at her. She *definitely* doesn’t have a Bluetooth.” I was like, “Seriously? Then Steven’s other sister chimes in with, “Maybe she’s rapping!”
So, Black Widow. I must confess I missed the fact that she appears to be fucking terrified of the Hulk from the outset. In my defense, there is a lot going on in that movie. A lot. (Other second viewing posts are forthcoming, because feels.) And when you’re still getting to know a character, it can be difficult to pick up on whether something really means something or it’s just a throw-away line.
Anyway, I must also confess that I like the character a lot more because of it, and my opinion of Scarlett Johansson’s handling of the character went up several notches. I mean, her response to the clarification that “the big guy” does not mean Tony Stark, “the big guy” means the Hulk, is “My God.” And why shouldn’t it be? She is, as is brought up several times, not a soldier. She’s a spy. She out-thinks her opponents. Where force is needed, it’s targeted and limited. The idea of facing down an invulnerable, super-powered bulldozer fueled by incoherent rage, for her, has to be roughly up there with asking Batman to go fight his dead parents. His dead parents, who only want to hug him and tell him how proud of him they are. But Barton needs her, so next time we see Romanoff, it’s alone in a small room with an unstoppable force and some “insurance purposes only” back-up out in the bushes, acting like this dude isn’t the sum of all fears and explaining why SHIELD would very much appreciate it if Dr. Banner could help them save the planet.
And then Banner decides to fuck with her! Which I can’t imagine really endears him to her much. But considering that Fury (has an army) and Rogers (can survive getting punched through a wall, plunging into ocean, being frozen for 70 years) both handle the “zomg Hulk is dangerous” aspect of the situation with less grace than Romanoff putting the gun down and telling everyone to back off, Banner’s just being a dick, it’s hard to fault her for maybe being a little prickly about it afterwards.
After the helicarrier gets attacked and she’s stuck with Banner in an enclosed space? She’s still afraid of him. None of this has gone away. Her conviction that Loki plans to use the Hulk against them has probably brought it into sharp focus. And she’s still on point, trying to stabilize the situation and get him calmed back down. The help that could get her unstuck is ordered back because stalling Banner’s transformation takes priority. After he tries to kill her and comes very close to succeeding? Like, smashed into a wall close to succeeding? And she’s injured and shaking and hardly out of danger herself? She still pulls herself together, gets up, and goes after Barton. She’s hurt, and she’s afraid, and she pushes through it and gets shit done.
And I’m really not trying to be all “Hooray, competence!”, because Black Widow demonstrates in pretty much every scene she’s in that she is extremely good at what she does. Find a weak spot, find a blind spot, poke it just enough to get what you need out of it—it’s what she does the entire film. Play stupid to get intel out of Russian mobsters. Play on Banner’s sympathies to get him where she needs him. Play mortal audience to Loki’s ranting. Find the vulnerability in the invulnerable system. Shut it down. But she’s very much not a character whose design lets her punch Evil Space-God in the face and walk away from it, and she’s very much out of her comfort-zone when that’s what’s going on, and she still stands up with everyone else because fuck failure, and then she saves the day by doing what she really does best.
I need to watch that again, there’s A LOT of nuance to the characters in that move, like how banner seems very “nervous”, twitchy and awkward all the time. He knows people are scared of him and it makes him uncomfortable.
Or how Banner and Stark are kind of bro’s because Stark teases Banner like he’s anybody else - which gives a lot of insight into Stark’s character - he’s a playboy that was board with life then almost died, he’s a thrill seeker who plays with explosives, his teasing Banner is a form of self destructive behavior.
big thanks to reddit user CaspianX2 for typing all this out!
What people call “Obamacare” is actually the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. However, people were calling it “Obamacare” before everyone even hammered out what it would be. It’s a term mostly used by people who don’t like the PPaACA, and it’s become popularized in part because PPaACA is a really long and awkward name, even when you turn it into an acronym like that.
Anyway, the PPaACA made a bunch of new rules regarding health care, with the purpose of making health care more affordable for everyone. Opponents of the PPaACA, on the other hand, feel that the rules it makes take away too many freedoms and force people (both individuals and businesses) to do things they shouldn’t have to.
So what does it do? Well, here is everything, in the order of when it goes into effect (because some of it happens later than other parts of it):
Already in effect:
It allows the Food and Drug Administration to approve more generic drugs (making for more competition in the market to drive down prices)
It increases the rebates on drugs people get through Medicare (so drugs cost less)
It establishes a non-profit group, that the government doesn’t directly control, to study different kinds of treatments to see what works better and is the best use of money.
It makes chain restaurants like McDonalds display how many calories are in all of their foods, so people can have an easier time making choices to eat healthy.
It makes a “high-risk pool” for people with pre-existing conditions. Basically, this is a way to slowly ease into getting rid of “pre-existing conditions” altogether. For now, people who already have health issues that would be considered “pre-existing conditions” can still get insurance, but at different rates than people without them.
It renews some old policies, and calls for the appointment of various positions.
It creates a new 10% tax on indoor tanning booths.
It says that health insurance companies can no longer tell customers that they won’t get any more coverage because they have hit a “lifetime limit”. Basically, if someone has paid for life insurance, that company can’t tell that person that he’s used that insurance too much throughout his life so they won’t cover him any more. They can’t do this for lifetime spending, and they’re limited in how much they can do this for yearly spending.
Kids can continue to be covered by their parents’ health insurance until they’re 26.
No more “pre-existing conditions” for kids under the age of 19.
Insurers have less ability to change the amount customers have to pay for their plans.
People in a “Medicare Gap” get a rebate to make up for the extra money they would otherwise have to spend.
Insurers can’t just drop customers once they get sick.
Insurers have to tell customers what they’re spending money on. (Instead of just “administrative fee”, they have to be more specific).
Insurers need to have an appeals process for when they turn down a claim, so customers have some manner of recourse other than a lawsuit when they’re turned down.
New ways to stop fraud are created.
Medicare extends to smaller hospitals.
Medicare patients with chronic illnesses must be monitored more thoroughly.
Reduces the costs for some companies that handle benefits for the elderly.
A new website is made to give people insurance and health information.
A credit program is made that will make it easier for business to invest in new ways to treat illness.
A limit is placed on just how much of a percentage of the money an insurer makes can be profit, to make sure they’re not price-gouging customers.
A limit is placed on what type of insurance accounts can be used to pay for over-the-counter drugs without a prescription. Basically, your insurer isn’t paying for the Aspirin you bought for that hangover.
Employers need to list the benefits they provided to employees on their tax forms.
Any health plans sold after this date must provide preventative care (mammograms, colonoscopies, etc.) without requiring any sort of co-pay or charge.
If you make over $200,000 a year, your taxes go up a tiny bit (0.9%)
This is when a lot of the really big changes happen.
No more “pre-existing conditions”. At all. People will be charged the same regardless of their medical history.
If you can afford insurance but do not get it, you will be charged a fee. This is the “mandate” that people are talking about. Basically, it’s a trade-off for the “pre-existing conditions” bit, saying that since insurers now have to cover you regardless of what you have, you can’t just wait to buy insurance until you get sick. Otherwise no one would buy insurance until they needed it. You can opt not to get insurance, but you’ll have to pay the fee instead, unless of course you’re not buying insurance because you just can’t afford it.
Insurer’s now can’t do annual spending caps. Their customers can get as much health care in a given year as they need.
Make it so more poor people can get Medicare by making the low-income cut-off higher.
Small businesses get some tax credits for two years.
Businesses with over 50 employees must offer health insurance to full-time employees, or pay a penalty.
Limits how high of an annual deductible insurers can charge customers.
Cut some Medicare spending
Place a $2500 limit on tax-free spending on FSAs (accounts for medical spending). Basically, people using these accounts now have to pay taxes on any money over $2500 they put into them.
Establish health insurance exchanges and rebates for the lower-class, basically making it so poor people can get some medical coverage.
Congress and Congressional staff will only be offered the same insurance offered to people in the insurance exchanges, rather than Federal Insurance. Basically, we won’t be footing their health care bills any more than any other American citizen.
A new tax on pharmaceutical companies.
A new tax on the purchase of medical devices.
A new tax on insurance companies based on their market share. Basically, the more of the market they control, the more they’ll get taxed.
The amount you can deduct from your taxes for medical expenses increases.
Doctors’ pay will be determined by the quality of their care, not how many people they treat.
If any state can come up with their own plan, one which gives citizens the same level of care at the same price as the PPaACA, they can ask the Secretary of Health and Human Resources for permission to do their plan instead of the PPaACA. So if they can get the same results without, say, the mandate, they can be allowed to do so. Vermont, for example, has expressed a desire to just go straight to single-payer (in simple terms, everyone is covered, and medical expenses are paid by taxpayers).
All health care plans must now cover preventative care (not just the new ones).
A new tax on “Cadillac” health care plans (more expensive plans for rich people who want fancier coverage).
The elimination of the “Medicare gap”
Aaaaand that’s it right there.
The biggest thing opponents of the bill have against it is the mandate. They claim that it forces people to buy insurance, and forcing people to buy something in unconstitutional. Personally, I take the opposite view, as it’s not telling people to buy a specific thing, just to have a specific type of thing, just like a part of the money we pay in taxes pays for the police and firemen who protect us, this would have us paying to ensure doctors can treat us for illness and injury.
Plus, as previously mentioned, it’s necessary if you’re doing away with “pre-existing conditions” because otherwise no one would get insurance until they needed to use it, which defeats the purpose of insurance.