Senate Health Care Bill Posted On Line

The full text of the Senate health care bill is now on line. It is 2,074 pages. I don’t think I can handle reading through all of this and watching all six hours of  the remake of The Prisoner the same week. I think I’ll watch Glee tonight and wait for Fox or the right wing blogs to review the plan. Then I’ll assume that the actual facts are the opposite.

Aaron Sorkin Returning to Television


TV Guide reports that Aaron Sorkin (Sports Night, The West Wing, Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip) will be returning to television:

Sorkin tells TVGuideMagazine.comthat – like his previous series Sports Night (set around an ESPN-style sports news show) and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (set around a Saturday Night Live-esque sketch comedy show) – his next effort will take place backstage on yet another TV series.

“I’m going to be starting on a new TV series” when filming is done on the upcoming movie “The Social Network,” the Sorkin-penned account of the founding of Facebook directed by David Fincher, he says. “It’s going to be what turns out to be the third in the trilogy of TV shows that take place behind the scenes of a TV show, but this will be a different kind of TV show. That’s all I can let out of the bag right now.”

Sorkin said he “hopes” to reunite on the project with at least some of the actors he’s worked with previously. “If you’re a writer, when you’re find an actor like Josh Malina, Felicity Huffman, Brad Whitford, Matt Perry, Allison Janney, Richard Schiff, all these great actors that I’ve worked with, you just want to stick them in your pocket and work with them forever, so I hope so.” He also expects to be working with director and longtime collaborator Tommy Schlamme “for sure.”

I hope that whatever type of TV show it is set in lends itself to considering political issues.  Watching Studio 60 I often felt that Sorkin would have preferred writing The West Wing.

Tonight’s Television

What a relief. The remake of The Prisoner is over. Now I can catch up on Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars, Monday’s episode of Heroes, and then later watch Glee.

Update: The Waters of Mars was fantastic. Sadly it leads us towards The End of Time and the end of David Tennant’s run as The Doctor, but I also anticipate great things from Matt Smith with Steven Moffatt becoming show runner after The Doctor’s next regeneration.

Update II: In the past twenty-four hours I have watched Doctor Who and The Prisoner. I also bought a copy of the Star Trek movie. Ignoring the fact that there was no Blu-ray back then, I feel like I’m back in the 1960’s. I never would have guessed around 40 years ago that I’d be watching the same shows now which were showing back then. While more recent, in the past day I’ve also watched V.

Democrats Should Not Tolerate Restrictions on Basic Liberties As in Stupak Amendment

Nancy Pelosi clearly knows far more than I do about getting bills passed. It is certainly possible that she knows what she is doing in attaching the Stupak Amendment to health care reform. Maybe this was necessary for initial passage in the House and maybe she has reason to be certain that a final bill will be passed without such restrictions on abortion rights. We won’t know until we see how this all plays out but I consider to fear she made a huge mistake.

Talking Points Memo summarizes a study which shows why I doubt that Democrats should have voted for any bill containing  the Stupak Amendment as it risks making it impossible for all women to purchase insurance which includes coverage of abortion:

A new study by the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services adds some expert imprimatur to what many progressives have been saying all along: The Stupak amendment to the House health care bill–which will prevent millions of women from buying health insurance policies that cover abortion–is likely to have consequences that reach far beyond its supposedly intended scope.

The report concludes that “the treatment exclusions required under the Stupak/Pitts Amendment will have an industry-wide effect, eliminating coverage of medically indicated abortions over time for all women, not only those whose coverage is derived through a health insurance exchange.”

In other words, though the immediate impact of the Stupak amendment will be limited to the millions of women initially insured through a new insurance exchange, over time, as the exchanges grow, the insurance industry will scale down their abortion coverage options until they offer none at all.

“As a result, Stupak/Pitts can be expected to move the industry away from current norms of coverage for medically indicated abortions. In combination with the Hyde Amendment, Stupak/Pitts will impose a coverage exclusion for medically indicated abortions on such a widespread basis that the health benefit services industry can be expected to recalibrate product design downward across the board in order to accommodate the exclusion in selected markets.”

It is disappointing that the Democrats have so far voted for a bill which contains such an amendment. This is about the fundamental right of a woman to control her own body. Democrats should not be willing to compromise over such fundamentsl rights. Rather than compromising, they should have spoken out against this attempt by Republicans to control health care and interfear in the decisions made between a patient and her doctor.

The Republican Party in recent years has become the organ of an authoritarian movement. The Democrats need to present a clear alternative to their views, not compromise over basic rights. Offering a clear voice in support of individual liberty, on abortion rights as well as other issues where the Republicans desire increased government intervention in the lives of individuals (despite their hypocritical adoption of the language of liberty), might also give independents a reason to stick with the Democrats.  If the Democrats fail to offer a clear contrast between themselves and the Republicans we are likely to continue to see stories about the loss of independent support.

Patrick McGoohan Explaining The Prisoner

Warner Troyer interviewed Patrick McGoohan in 1977, discussing the meaning of The Prisoner. After watching the dreadful remake on AMC, this is a good reminder of the brilliance of the original:

Possibly The Worst Remake Ever


Well, I’ve now made it through all six hours of the remake of The Prisoner. It wasn’t easy. As a huge fan of the original I had to see this, but it was a real bore. I’ll probably write a more detailed review later, but the main problem is that it totally missed the meaning of the original. A lot was thrown in which simply made no sense. In the end the Village revealed to be helping people but besides being a radical change from the original this did not even seem consistent with the prior episodes.

Some remakes make sense but this did not. It didn’t matter that Ron Moore totally changed the concept of Battlestar Galactica in his remake since the original was such a weak show, but there’s no point in re-imagining a show as great as The Prisoner and minimizing what made it great. This included aspects such as the attempt to discover why Six resigned and, more importantly, the underlying theme of fighting for the right of the individual to be individual.

The remake took as much from The Matrix as from Patrick McGoohan’s original version of The Prisoner. The two actual sequels to The Matrix were already pretty bad.  This was worse. Besides similarities from the pills to the Village existing in the mind , this remake and the sequels to The Matrix have something else in common: they should never have been made.