Andrew Breitbart 1969-2012

Andrew Breitbart has died at age 43. Big Journalism reports, “Andrew passed away unexpectedly from natural causes shortly after midnight this morning in Los Angeles.”

Large Majority Opposes Republican Medicare Proposals

A survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that 70 percent of Americans prefer to keep Medicare as it is as opposed to a premium-support system as is being promoted by Republicans (along with one Democrat who is making a terrible mistake):

About 70% of Americans say they favor the Medicare program as it exists today, while 25% say they would support a premium-support model in the federal healthcare program, according to a February survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Among those surveyed, 83% of Democrats said they want to keep Medicare as it is and 14% say they would support the change. That compares with 53% of Republicans who prefer the status quo and 39% who said they would like to see a premium-support model, which is the basis of a proposal from House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), as well as GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Although the plans are not exactly the same, both include a system in which the federal government guarantees to each person with Medicare a fixed payment to buy health insurance. But the survey indicated that current debate on the contentious issue could sway opinion.

I bet an even higher number will oppose the proposed changes when they realize how much it could increase their out-of-pocket costs. Just think back to the Tea Party supporters who demanded to keep the government out of their Medicare. While their understanding of government is poor, their motivation is quite clear

Saturn Award Nominations Released

The 2012 Saturn Award nominees are out. I wonder if this has ever happened before–two movies up for best movie in the Fantasy category were also nominees for an Academy Award. My choice as top genre movie of the year, Midnight in Paris, is one of them. Hugo is also nominated. While I’m not going to bother second guessing categorization, I don’t really see Hugo as qualifying as a fantasy movie, but as it is in contention I wouldn’t be surprised if it beats Midnight in Paris. I also wonder how well the last Harry Potter movie will do, but personally I was very disappointed in it. Going beyond the Fantasy category, another Oscar nominee is also in contention for a Saturn award–War Horse.

My choice for best hard science fiction movie of the year, Source Code, didn’t make it into the nominations for Best Science Fiction Film. I had predicted the ending early, but did enjoy watching it play out. The Adjustment Bureau was also enjoyable, but The Twilight Zone handled the same idea much better in the past. I find it interesting that X-Men and Captain America were nominated under Science Fiction while Thor was considered Fantasy. Again, I’m not going to dwell over categorization and am more interested in seeing the top genre movies recognized, regardless of category. I should also point out that my choices for top movies are limited by the fact that I’ve seen most but not all of the nominated movies.

Here are the nominations in various categories for best film:

Best Science Fiction Film:
The Adjustment Bureau
Captain America: The First Avenger
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Super 8
X-Men: First Class

Best Fantasy Film:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Midnight in Paris
The Muppets

Best Horror/Thriller Film:
The Devil’s Double
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
The Grey
Take Shelter
The Thing

Best Action/Adventure Film:
Fast Five
The Lincoln Lawyer
Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol
Red Tails
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
War Horse

Moving on to television, I’d choose Doctor Who as best over all if that was a choice, but it is limited a nomination as a youth-oriented show. I’d pick Fringe as Best Network Television Series, and is there any doubt that Game of Thrones will win for Best Presentation on Television (10 Episodes or Less)? I will abstain from making a pick as  Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series as there are a couple of shows listed which I’ve heard very good things about but have not seen yet.

Best Network Television Series:
A Gifted Man
Once Upon a Time
Terra Nova

Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series:
American Horror Story
Breaking Bad
The Closer
True Blood

Best Presentation on Television (10 Episodes or Less):
Camelot Starz
Falling Skies
Game of Thrones
The Killing
Torchwood: Miracle Day
Trek Nation
The Walking Dead

Best Youth-Oriented Series on Television:
Being Human
Doctor Who
The Nine Lives of Chloe King
Secret Circle
Teen Wolf
The Vampire Diaries

There are multiple other categories in play including best actor and actress, but I won’t bother with those tonight in protest over the absence of Karen Gillan among the nominees. The full list can be found here.