1 MOVING BACKWARDS Obama’s health care law is under scrutiny for the third day as Supreme Court justices assess the provisions of Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, introduced in 2010. Critics question the constitutionality of the law’s individual mandate, which requires every American to buy health coverage. Two related provisions, protection from retracting health care coverage and higher premiums for pre-existing medical conditions, are also expected to fall if the mandate is ruled unconstitutional. Before this law was enacted, the United States was the only developed country without a national health care program.
2 NOT GOOD. An Iraqi woman was taken off life support on Saturday, after being severely beaten in what authorities suspect could have been race-related hate crime. Maybe it was the note saying “go back to your country” found next to the woman’s body that gave it away. Shaima Alwadi, a 32-year-old mother of five was found by her daughter in their San Diego home a week ago today. Oh yeah, and apparently Germany is having some issues with neo-Nazis. Great.
3 SPEAKING OF CRAZY RACIST GROUPS A document was leaked by the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights organization, exposing some pretty questionable strategizing by the National Organization for Marriage to eliminate same-sex marriage in the US. The documents indicate the organization has been trying to create a strategic divide between the black and gay/lesbian vote, while increasing support for traditional family values in the key swing Latino vote.
4 AHA! THEY’VE GOT IT! The Riots Communities and Victims Panel, a government-organized panel tasked to investigate the UK riots last summer has released its findings today. The issue: people need a stake in society. Weird, isn’t that what was figured out after the riots in Paris? And weren’t immigration, racism, and social integration central issues in BOTH LA riots? Maybe, just maybe, countries which rely so heavily on immigration for demographic stability should consider ramping up social integration policies rather than slashing them.
5 I DON’T KNOW IF I CAN HANDLE ANOTHER BUDGET Flaherty releases the Federal budget tomorrow, and if it follows the pattern of the budgets we’ve seen so far this month, it should be a treat. Newly appointed NDP leader Thomas Mulcair used the budget discussion to evoke some serious imagery, warning of Harper government’s painful public service cuts by a “rusty machete”.
6 BREATHING ROOM The deadline for Saskatchewan Film Employment Tax Credit applications has been extended three months in order to allow productions to wrap up their current seasons before the program is eliminated entirely. Brad Wall promised yesterday to consider alternatives of a more ‘sustainable’ nature. Ron Goetz, president of the Saskatchewan Motion Picture Industry Association points out that while the extension allows productions to capitalize on the film industry’s busy season, more importantly, it also provides the time for the industry’s supporters to come up with a new plan.