The Senate’s Unaffordable Care Act

aidspicIt would be a big mistake to call the legislation Senate Republicans released on Thursday a health care bill. It is, plain and simple, a plan to cut taxes for the wealthy by destroying critical federal programs that help provide health care to tens of millions of people.

The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, and other Republicans have pitched the bill as a fix for the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. But their true ambition is not to reform Obamacare, which, whatever its shortcomings, has given 20 million Americans access to health insurance. If passed in its current form, the Senate bill would greatly weaken Medicaid, the federal-state program that provides insurance to nearly 69 million people, more than any other government or private program. It would do this by gradually but inexorably shifting more of the financial burden of Medicaid to states, in effect, forcing them to cover fewer people and to provide fewer services. Over all, the Senate would reduce federal spending by about $1 trillion over 10 years and use almost that much to cut taxes for rich families and health care companies.

In the days ahead, while the Congressional Budget Office totes up the bill’s cost, and before a floor vote, some Republicans, President Trump included, might be tempted to see the Senate bill as an improvement over the draconian House measure passed in May that would take insurance away from 23 million people. Mr. Trump previously expressed the hope that the Senate version would be less brutal. It isn’t. True, Mr. McConnell and his colleagues have made a few superficial improvements; the rollback of Obamacare’s intended expansion of Medicaid would proceed more slowly than under the House’s timetable. But the long-term damage might be worse. That is because the Senate bill would cap federal spending on Medicaid on a per-person basis. Currently, federal spending varies from year to year based on demand for medical services and the cost of care. Starting in 2025, the cap would be allowed to increase at the rate of inflation in the economy. But the overall inflation rate has typically been much lower than the inflation rate for medical services; in 2016, the overall inflation rate was 1.3 percent, whereas medical costs increased by 3.8 percent. Over time, this would means states will get a lot less money than they do under current law. The inevitable shrinkage in Medicaid will be particularly devastating to older Americans. Contrary to what many people think, the program does not just benefit the poor. Many middle-class seniors depend on it after they have exhausted their savings. Medicaid pays for two-thirds of the people in nursing homes. The disabled and parents who have children with learning disabilities also rely on Medicaid. The program covers nearly half of all births in the country. And in recent years, it has played a very important role in dealing with the opioid epidemic, especially in states like Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Ohio and West Virginia. Medicaid pays between 35 percent and 50 percent of the cost of medication-assisted addiction treatment, according to two professors, one from Harvard and one from New York University.

Like its House counterpart, the Senate bill would also hurt millions of non-Medicaid beneficiaries of Obamacare, those who buy insurance on federal and state marketplaces. It would greatly reduce federal subsidies that help low-income and middle-income families buy health coverage, while allowing insurers to increase deductibles, forcing people to pay more for medical services. It would let states waive rules that now require insurers to cover essential health services like maternity care, cancer treatment and mental health care, which is likely to happen because this will be the only way that states can lower premiums. In sum, it will make health insurance more expensive and less useful, to the great misfortune of the poor, elderly and sick.

Mr. McConnell seems determined to steamroll this travesty through the Senate before July 4, despite complaints by conservatives and moderates. Expect him and his colleagues to try to buy support of wavering lawmakers by offering sweeteners like a few billion dollars for addiction treatment and some extra cash for states with high medical costs. Republican senators like Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Rob Portman of Ohio and Dean Heller of Nevada ought not to fall for these cheap gimmicks. Instead, they should vote no on a bill that will take a devastating toll on millions of Americans and that no amount of tinkering around the edges can make better.

T r u m p ’ s L i e s

EYESMany Americans have become accustomed to President Trump’s lies. But as regular as they have become, the country should not allow itself to become numb to them. So we have catalogued nearly every outright lie he has told publicly since taking the oath of office.

Jan. 21 “I wasn’t a fan of Iraq. I didn’t want to go into Iraq.” (He was for an invasion before he was against it.)Jan. 21 “A reporter for Time magazine — and I have been on their cover 14 or 15 times. I think we have the all-time record in the history of Time magazine.” (Trump was on the cover 11 times and Nixon appeared 55 times.)Jan. 23 “Between 3 million and 5 million illegal votes caused me to lose the popular vote.” (There’s no evidence of illegal voting.)Jan. 25 “Now, the audience was the biggest ever. But this crowd was massive. Look how far back it goes. This crowd was massive.” (Official aerial photos show Obama’s 2009 inauguration was much more heavily attended.)Jan. 25 “Take a look at the Pew reports (which show voter fraud.)” (The report never mentioned voter fraud.)Jan. 25 “You had millions of people that now aren’t insured anymore.” (The real number is less than 1 million, according to the Urban Institute.)Jan. 25 “So, look, when President Obama was there two weeks ago making a speech, very nice speech. Two people were shot and killed during his speech. You can’t have that.” (There were no gun homicide victims in Chicago that day.)Jan. 26 “We’ve taken in tens of thousands of people. We know nothing about them. They can say they vet them. They didn’t vet them. They have no papers. How can you vet somebody when you don’t know anything about them and you have no papers? How do you vet them? You can’t.” (Vetting lasts up to two years.)Jan. 26 “I cut off hundreds of millions of dollars off one particular plane, hundreds of millions of dollars in a short period of time. It wasn’t like I spent, like, weeks, hours, less than hours, and many, many hundreds of millions of dollars. And the plane’s going to be better.” (Most of the cuts were already planned.)Jan. 28 “Thr coverage about me in the @nytimes and the @washingtonpost gas been so false and angry that the times actually apologized to its dwindling subscribers and readers.” (It never apologized.)Jan. 29 “The Cuban-Americans, I got 84 percent of that vote.” (There is no support for this.)Jan. 30 “Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning. Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage” (At least 746 people were detained and processed, and the Delta outage happened two days later.)Feb. 3 “Professional anarchists, thugs and paid protesters are proving the point of the millions of people who voted to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” (There is no evidence of paid protesters.)Feb. 4 “After being forced to apologize for its bad and inaccurate coverage of me after winning the election, the FAKE NEWS @nytimes is still lost!” (It never apologized.)Feb. 5 “We had 109 people out of hundreds of thousands of travelers and all we did was vet those people very, very carefully.” (About 60,000 people were affected.)Feb. 6 “I have already saved more than $700 million when I got involved in the negotiation on the F-35.” (Much of the price drop was projected before Trump took office.)Feb. 6 “It’s gotten to a point where it is not even being reported. And in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it.” (Terrorism has been reported on, often in detail.) READ MORE:https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/06/23/opinion/trumps-lies.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region&region=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region&_r=0

watch: drake premieres a new track at the louis vuitton paris menswear show

Drake joined designer Kim Jones for a spot of fashionable island-hopping today, the 6 God premiering a brand new track inspired by the Louis Vuitton spring/summer 18 menswear collection as models walked the runway at the show in Paris.

Dubbed “Archipelago,” the collection is inspired by travel and remote islands. “Someone gave me the book Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I Have Not Visited and Never Will. And I realized I’d been to about all of them!” Kim Jones says in a statement. “I thought of specific islands — New Zealand, Easter Island, and especially Hawaii — but I was also inspired by the idea of an island, and of travel. Of moving easily from place to place, and experiencing these different pockets of civilization, these different identities simultaneously.”

There fresh new takes on the Maison’s signature Aloha shirts, with outdoor sports influences, and plenty of desirable luggage via reworkings of the iconic Louis Vuitton trunk. As for the footwear, it crossbreeds “clogs with hiking boots, Harajuku with Honolulu.”

Revealing the Drake collaboration on Instagram last night, Kim wrote, “We are very proud to announce that Drake @champagnepapi will be premiering a brand new song inspired by our #louisvuitton #pfwSS18 collection,” with Drizzy himself noting in a similar post that the track is produced by “@OVO40,” AKA Noah Shebib.

Here Are the 5 Projects Competing in the HBO Short Film Competition at ABFF

The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) announced its 2017 lineup short films that will compete intango-300x180 their annual HBO Short Film Competition which awards a grand prize of $10,000 to one filmmaker, and $5,000 to the runners-up, after a panel of HBO executives judge the final entries during the festival. In addition, all finalists will have the opportunity to have their films licensed by HBO for exhibition on HBO, HBO Go, and HBO Now, as the premium cabler continues with their support, celebrating 20 years as an ABFF founding sponsor. The complete list of films selected for the HBO Short Film Competition is as follows:

— “Amelia’s Closet”
Writer and Director: Halima Lucas
— “Gema”
Writer and Director: Kenrick Prince
— “Plaquemines”
Writer and Director: Nailah Jefferson
— “See You Yesterday”
Writers: Frederica Bailey and Stefon Bristol Director: Stefon Bristol
Presented by Spike Lee, two Brooklyn teenage science prodigies build a time machine to stop one’s brother from being wrongfully killed by the police.
— “We Love Moses”
Writer and Director: Dionne Edwards

 

‘Love Jones’ Cast & Crew Celebrate 20th Anniversary in Conversation Moderated by Barry Jenkins

Two nights ago, June 13th, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hosted the event “In the Mood for ‘Love Jones’ – The Academy Celebrates the Film’s 20th Anniversary,” which included a special screening of director Theodore Witcher’s first and still only feature film, “Love Jones,” in front of a packed house at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. The evening also reunited the film’s cast including Nia Long, Larenz Tate and Isaiah Washington and more, in a panel discussion with members of the crew, starting with writer/director Witcher and others.

The conversation was moderated by Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”) and was thankfully videotaped and has now been released online via the Academy’s YouTube page.

Watch the entire panel discussion below, split up into 5 individual videos, for a conversation during which Witcher’s start in Hollywood is talked about, as well as casting the film, the technicals including the film’s look and sound, the cinematography, editing and soundtrack, and more.

Bravo Greenlights 4-Part Special ‘Xscape: Still Kickin’ It’ (Working Title)

screensceneAs TV One preps its previously-announced unauthorized biopic on the group, Bravo Media has giving the greenlight to a four-part special “Xscape: Still Kickin’ It” (working title), chronicling the much-anticipated reunion of one of the most successful, chart topping, female R&B groups of all time. Coming this fall, the series will follow Xscape’s former members Kandi Burruss of Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” Tameka “Tiny” Cottle and sisters LaTocha and Tamika Scott.

Xscape exploded onto the music scene in the 90’s and emerged as one of the most prolific girl groups of all time. The women had three consecutive Platinum albums, with six of their top-ten songs hitting the Billboard 100. However, fans were shocked at the group’s seemingly sudden split and have been persistently calling for a reunion ever since. With the upcoming 25-year-anniversary of Xscape’s first album release, the women have decided to reunite for this special milestone and most importantly as an ode to their loyal fans.

“We are so excited to team up with Bravo and give our fans an up-close-and-personal look into our lives as we get ready for Essence Fest!” says Xscape. “This process has been a whirlwind with so many ups and downs, but we are loving every minute of being back together, and cannot wait to share the love, laughs, and craziness with you all!”

Each episode will document the group as they attempt to heal past wounds and reconcile after nearly two decades apart, all in an effort to make beautiful music together culminating at Essence’s 2017 Festival.”Xscape: Still Kickin’ It” (wt) is produced for Bravo by Truly Original and Monami Entertainment. Steven Weinstock, Glenda Hersh, Lauren Eskelin, Lorraine Haughton-Lawson and Thomas Jaeger (Truly Original) and Mona Scott-Young and Stephanie Gayle (Monami Productions) serve as Executive Producers.

Golden State Warriors parade set for Thursday in Oakland

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Aftwarriorser a night of celebrating the Golden State Warriors latest NBA title, fans snapped up victory shirts and hats Tuesday, while Oakland crews were busy hanging championship banners along the parade route. The parade will take place Thursday morning in downtown Oakland, following the same route as the team’s parade to celebrate the 2015 NBA title. It will start at 10 a.m. at Broadway and 11th Street, wind through downtown streets and end with a procession to the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center. Fans are encouraged to line up for the parade and rally as soon as 5 a.m. Thursday and taking public transportation is encouraged. Following the victory Monday night, warriors’ fans danced in the streets in downtown Oakland and wildly honked their horns in San Francisco. The party began as soon as Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and the Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 129-120 at Oracle Arena to clinch their second championship in three years. In San Francisco, people hung out of cars waving blue and gold flags.

Across the bay, in downtown Oakland, about 1,000 people celebrated in the streets, but most were peaceful. Crowds gathered in intersections, including one where cheering fans made a circle to watch several men break dance. Some climbed street lights, some sprayed champagne and some threw bottles leaving broken glass in streets. Others set off fireworks.

One car was damaged when fans jumped on its roof, police said. Police issued more than 40 citations and towed at least 30 cars that were driving recklessly on city streets following the win, according to Oakland police spokeswoman Johnna Watson. Between 400 and 500 spectators and vehicles participated in “sideshow” activity in East Oakland on Monday night and some revelers threw rocks and bottles at officers, though no serious injuries were reported. The Warriors won the title in 2015 before the Cavaliers made their historic comeback last year. Then it was Golden State’s turn again, taking the title in five games.

a massive hip-hop museum is coming to harlem next year

twiwIt’s official: a hip-hop museum is set to open in Harlem, the birthplace of the genre, early next year. The museum will be over twenty stories tall and include an arcade, a concert lounge, and a sports bar, plus a five star hotel right next to it. The large-scale project is estimated to bring in over $350 million to the Harlem area.

Announced in a press release today, the move will help cement hip-hop’s legacy and cultural influence. The museum will provide a space for the genre’s iconic artists to be recognized and celebrated. “The Museum will enshrine hip-hop pioneers and legends in wax and through displays (memorabilia and collectibles are presently being gathered and catalogued),” the release reads. Currently, only seven of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 295 inductees are hip-hop acts (Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Run-D.M.C., Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, N.W.A., and Tupac).

First emerging out of New York City in the 70s with commercially successful tracks like The Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight,” hip-hop has become a cross-cultural, mainstream genre —80% of hip-hop listeners being white men. In 2015, Spotify found that hip-hop was the most played genre in the world on its streaming service.

The Elusive New York City $1,500 Rental

Finding an apartment in New York that does not drain your bank account can feel like a lightbulbnearly impossible task.

Competition is fierce. And for what? Cramped spaces that deliver little more than a grinding commute to work. But knowing where to look — and when to act — can mean the difference between crummy or cozy quarters. Apartments for less than $1,500 a month do exist, as long as you’re willing to take on a roommate or two or explore neighborhoods that might be less than convenient to your work. Price, of course, dictates most searches. Pay too much and a tight budget can spiral into an unmanageable one. More than half of all New Yorkers are considered “cost burdened,” meaning they spend more than a third of their income on rent.

As the city’s population grows, the number of apartments available shrinks, particularly the cheaper ones. The median income for New Yorkers in 2015 was $56,350 a year, which puts median housing costs at $1,409 a month for rent and utilities, according to the New York University Furman Center. Yet in May, the median rent for a Manhattan apartment was $3,475 a month, according to a Douglas Elliman report. To pay that much without being burdened, you’d have to earn $139,000 a year.

“Rents have gone up, there’s no doubt about that,” said Vicki Been, the faculty director at the Furman Center and a former commissioner of the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development. “At the same time, people’s incomes have stayed flat. That’s making housing less affordable.”

And what about recent college graduates moving to New York in search of jobs and housing? While someone starting out in finance is looking at a median starting salary of $70,000 a year, jobs in arts and entertainment, for example, offer a much smaller starting median wage of $29,700 a year, according to data provided by the job site GlassDoor.com. Do the math, and many New Yorkers should be paying considerably less than $1,000 a month in rent.

To find those apartments, renters “are going to have to look long and hard,” Ms. Been said. “People are having to make trade-offs. The cheaper the apartment, the further away from transit it is.”

Know Where to Look

The search for apartments fitting a smaller budget often leads to pockets of the city that are rapidly changing, but often lack conveniences like express trains, shops and restaurants. Although rents have been stagnating over the last two years, they are still near historic highs. And neighborhoods that were considered reasonably priced options just a few years ago no longer are.

“We used to do studios in East Harlem all the time,” said Shawn Hindes, a founder of Teacher Space, a brokerage firm that helps new teachers find apartments. “But that’s not really feasible anymore on a teacher’s salary.” The same goes for many Brooklyn neighborhoods. “Five years ago, someone saying ‘I want a place in Crown Heights’ got the pick of the litter,” he said. But that is no longer the case.

In 2016, only about 14 percent of the one-bedroom apartments listed in Crown Heights on StreetEasy were asking less than $1,500-a-month rent; and in Washington Heights, around 10 percent of one-bedrooms asked less than $1,500 a month, according to data provided by StreetEasy.

But head over to a Brooklyn neighborhood like Northeast Flatbush, an area south of Crown Heights, and about 63 percent of the one-bedrooms were listed for less than $1,500 a month last year; while in Norwood in the northwest Bronx, almost 94 percent of them were, according to StreetEasy.

“These are predominantly residential neighborhoods with older housing stock,” said Grant Long, the senior economist for StreetEasy.

Mr. Hindes of Teacher Space said young teachers who once might have looked in East Harlem are now heading to neighborhoods like Morris Heights in the West Bronx. In Brooklyn, neighborhoods like Flatbush, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens and Kensington are getting more traffic, according to Harley Courts, the chief executive of Nooklyn, a brokerage firm that also helps renters find roommates. “Half of our inventory has shifted south in the last 18 months,” deeper into Brooklyn, Mr. Courts said.

15 films you should be excited for this year The second half of 2017 looks set to be a big one for cinema.

As summer blockbuster season gets underway, you might be forgiven for thinking there’s a lack of imagination in cinema this year. But fear not. Between the 80s reboots and top auteurs at work, the rest of the year on the big screen looks thrilling. Here’s 15 of the best to watch out for.

The Beguiled
Sofia Coppola’s much anticipated retelling of the 1971 Don Siegel film, reimagines the story from a female perspective. The Beguiled sees wounded civil war soldier (Colin Farrell) turn up at the door of a girls boarding school in the south, and con his way into each woman’s heart. Nicole Kidman is the headmistress while Elle Fanning and Kirsten Dunst co-star. They do not, it seems, take this lying down.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Luc Besson is back with a new, visually stunning, sci-fi epic. Based on a French graphic novel, Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne star as two human operatives sent to safeguard Alpha, an ever expanding metropolis where diverse species gather together. The director of The Fifth Element gets to run wild with his imagined future.

You Were Never Really Here
It’s been a long time since Lynne Ramsay’s last feature length outing, the psychotic child drama We Need to Talk about Kevin, but this adaptation of another novel (this time the work of Jonathan Ames) sees her in equally hard-hitting territory. In You Were Never Really Here, Joaquin Phoenix is an army vet who tries to save a young girl — played by Ekaterina Samsonov — from prostitution.

Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami
Originally titled Grace Jones  The Musical of My Life, this documentary from Sophie Fiennes began way back in 2005. Mixing personal footage with staged musical sequences, Fiennes says that for her biopic, Jones “made the bold decision to unmask.” If that’s the case, the results should be cracking.

Slice
In what may be the first film to tackle the perils of zero-hour contracts, Chance the Rapper stars as a local outlaw framed for killing off all the local pizza delivery boys. There’s also a werewolf element to this first feature by Austin Vesely, Chance’s video director and frequent collaborator. So expect more gore ‘n’ gags than socio political commentary.

God’s Own Country
This Yorkshire-set gay romance won a Special Jury award when it premiered at Sundance, and is set to be one of the most buzzed about British films of the year. Rightly so. Writer, director, and local Yorkshire lad, Francis Lee’s story about a young, gay farmer (Josh O’Connor) who forms a relationship with the hired help, a Romanian migrant worker (Alec Secareanu) is a raw, revelatory beauty.

It
If you cannot wait until Halloween for the second series of Stranger Things, the It remake should stave off your retro 80s scary cravings. This timely reimagining of the 1986 Stephen King novel about a dancing clown who haunts the kids of a small town in Maine, looks like a visually nostalgic treat, terrifying as hell, and even features Stranger Things alumni Finn Wolfhard as, you guessed it, an 80s kid investigating the local shapeshifter.

David Lynch: The Art Life
By the time this David Lynch doc arrives in cinemas, you should be well into his Twin Peaks revival; perfect timing then to hear from the man himself as he explains the events that helped shape his enigmatic art. Just don’t expect him to tell you what’s in the Mulholland Drive blue box.

The Death and Life of John F. Donovan
Xavier Dolan made his name at Cannes, but this drama — his 7th film — is only his second not to premiere at the French festival. Dolan announced that, between the trolling he received in 2016, and the fact The Death and Life of John F. Donovan wouldn’t be finished in time, the French-Canadian wunderkind wasn’t going to enter it for selection. Time will tell if Cannes has lost out on premiering another winner from Dolan, but the premise sounds strong: it’s about a pen-friend relationship between an adult TV star (Kit Harington) and a young actor (Room’s Jacob Tremblay) that spirals when publicly exposed.

Flatliners
Less of a remake and more of a sequel to the 1990 original, in which medical students experiment with near-death experiences. That one starred a young Julia Roberts and Kiefer Sutherland. The latter returns in 2017, alongside Diego Luna, Kiersey Clemons, and Ellen Page.

Blade Runner 2049
Arrival director Denis Villeneuve has huge expectations to meet with this sequel to Ridley Scott’s much-loved sci-fi noir classic. It’s 30 years on from the original’s 2019 setting, but everything looks pretty similar in dystopian L.A. K (Ryan Gosling) is the man charged with hunting down replicants, while also searching for Rick Deckard, the original Blade Runner (Harrison Ford, reprising the role). 

Mute
Duncan Jones’s Moon was one of the best sci-fi films of recent years and Mute, 12 years in the planning and set in Berlin 40 years in the future, is directly connected to his debut work. Alexander Skarsgård stars as a mute bartender who journeys into the underbelly of the city.

Mother!
Little is known about Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky’s latest project, but the recently released first look at the artwork suggests an absolute creep show. The official blurb sounds earthbound enough, a story about a couple whose relationship is tested by uninvited guests. But the teaser poster, with Jennifer Lawrence’s character offering a bloody heart torn from her chest, suggests we might be in for something altogether more ghoulish.

Call Me by Your Name
A Bigger Splash director Luca Guadagnino finds romance in the mid-80s Italian summer. On a vacation of the most cultured kind with his professor dad and equally smart mother, 17-year-old Elio (Timothée Chalamet) falls in love with Oliver, his father’s 24-year-old teaching assistant (Armie Hammer). A grand, queer, sun-soaked romance follows that will steer the course of Elio’s life.


Phantom Thread
Paul Thomas Anderson’s first film with Daniel Day Lewis since There Will Be Blood in 2007 has a working title of Phantom Thread, and is currently being filmed in Whitby, North Yorkshire. The film will take place in the “couture world” and will follow a man commissioned to design for high society. Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood is on scoring duties. The film is due for a Christmas 2017 release, teeing it up nicely for Oscar glory in 2018. But that’s another year in cinema…