McCain’s Complicated Health Care Legacy: He Hated the ACA. He Also Saved It.

There are many lawmakers who made their names in health care, seeking to usher through historic changes to a broken system.

John McCain was not one of them.

And yet, the six-term senator from Arizona and decorated military veteran leaves behind his own health care legacy, seemingly driven less by his interest in health care policy than his disdain for bullies trampling the “little guy.”

He was not always successful. While McCain was instrumental in the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, most of the health initiatives he undertook failed after running afoul of traditional Republican priorities. His prescriptions often involved more government regulation and increased taxes.

In 2008, as the Republican nominee for president, he ran on a health care platform that dumbfounded many in his party who worried it would raise taxes on top of overhauling the U.S. tradition of workplace insurance.

Many will remember McCain as the incidental savior of the Affordable Care Act, whose late-night thumbs-down vote halted his party’s most promising effort to overturn a major Democratic achievement — the signature achievement, in fact, of the Democrat who beat him to become president. It was a vote that earned him regular — and biting — admonishments from President Donald Trump.

McCain died Saturday, following a battle with brain cancer. He was 81. Coincidentally, his Senate colleague and good friend Ted Kennedy died on the same date, Aug. 25, nine years ago, succumbing to the same type of rare brain tumor.

Whether indulging in conspiracy theories or wishful thinking, some have attributed McCain’s vote on the ACA in July 2017 to a change of heart shortly after his terminal cancer diagnosis.

But McCain spent much of his 35 years in Congress fighting a never-ending supply of goliaths, among them health insurance companies, the tobacco industry and, in his estimation, the Affordable Care Act, a law that extended insurance coverage to millions of Americans but did not solve the system’s ballooning costs.

His prey were the sort of boogeymen that made for compelling campaign ads in a career stacked with campaigns. But McCain was “always for the little guy,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the chief domestic policy adviser on McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign.

“John’s idea of empathy is saying to you, ‘I’ll punch the bully for you,’” he said in an interview before McCain’s death.

McCain’s distaste for President Barack Obama’s health care law was no secret. While he agreed that the health care system was broken, he did not think more government involvement would fix it. Like most Republicans, he campaigned in his last Senate race on a promise to repeal and replace the law with something better.

After Republicans spent months bickering amongst themselves about what was better, McCain was disappointed in the option presented to senators hours before their vote: hobble the ACA and trust that a handful of lawmakers would be able to craft an alternative behind closed doors, despite failing to accomplish that very thing after years of trying.

What bothered McCain more, though, was his party’s strategy to pass their so-called skinny repeal measure, skipping committee consideration and delivering it straight to the floor. They also rejected any input from the opposing party, a tactic for which he had slammed Democrats when the ACA passed in 2010 without a single GOP vote. He lamented that Republican leaders had cast aside compromise-nurturing Senate procedures in pursuit of political victory.

In his 2018 memoirs, “The Restless Wave,” McCain said even Obama called to express gratitude for McCain’s vote against the Republican repeal bill.

“I was thanked for my vote by Democratic friends more profusely than I should have been for helping save Obamacare,” McCain wrote. “That had not been my goal.”

Better known for his work on campaign finance reform and the military, McCain did have a hand in one landmark health bill — the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the country’s first comprehensive civil rights law that addressed the needs of those with disabilities. An early co-sponsor of the legislation, he championed the rights of the disabled, speaking of the service members and civilians he met in his travels who had become disabled during military conflict.

McCain himself had limited use of his arms due to injuries inflicted while he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, though he was quicker to talk about the troubles of others than his own when advocating policy.

Yet two of his biggest bills on health care ended in defeat.

In 1998, McCain introduced a sweeping bill that would regulate the tobacco industry and increase taxes on cigarettes, hoping to discourage teenagers from smoking and raise money for research and related health care costs. It faltered under opposition from his fellow Republicans.

McCain also joined an effort with two Democratic senators, Kennedy of Massachusetts and John Edwards of North Carolina, to pass a patients’ bill of rights in 2001. He resisted at first, concerned in particular about the right it gave patients to sue health care companies, said Sonya Elling, who served as a health care aide in McCain’s office for about a decade. But he came around.

“It was the human, the personal aspect of it, basically,” said Elling, now senior director of federal affairs at Eli Lilly. “It was providing him some of the real stories about how people were being hurt and some of the barriers that existed for people in the current system.”

The legislation would have granted patients with private insurance the right to emergency and specialist care in addition to the right to seek redress for being wrongly denied care. But President George W. Bush threatened to veto the measure, claiming it would fuel frivolous lawsuits. The bill failed.

McCain’s health care efforts bolstered his reputation as a lawmaker willing to work across the aisle. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, now the Senate’s Democratic leader, sought his help on legislation in 2001 to expand access to generic drugs. In 2015, McCain led a bipartisan coalition to pass a law that would strengthen mental health and suicide prevention programs for veterans, among other veterans’ care measures he undertook.

It was McCain’s relationship with Kennedy that stood out, inspiring eerie comparisons when McCain was diagnosed last year with glioblastoma — a form of brain cancer — shortly before his vote saved the Affordable Care Act.

That same aggressive brain cancer killed Kennedy in 2009, months before the passage of the law that helped realize his work to secure better access for Americans to health care.

“I had strenuously opposed it, but I was very sorry that Ted had not lived to see his long crusade come to a successful end,” McCain wrote in his 2018 book.

While some of his biggest health care measures failed, the experiences helped burnish McCain’s résumé for his 2000 and 2008 presidential campaigns.

In 2007, trailing other favored Republicans, such as former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani in early polling and fundraising, McCain asked his advisers to craft a health care proposal, said Holtz-Eakin. It was an unusual move for a Republican presidential primary.

The result was a remarkable plan that would eliminate the tax break employers get for providing health benefits to workers, known as the employer exclusion, and replace it with refundable tax credits to help people — not just those working in firms that supplied coverage — buy insurance individually. He argued employer-provided plans were driving up costs, as well as keeping salaries lower.

The plan was controversial, triggering “a total freakout” when McCain gained more prominence and scrutiny, Holtz-Eakin said. But McCain stood by it.

“He might not have been a health guy, but he knew how important that was,” he said. “And he was relentless about getting it done.”

Kaiser Health News


Serena Williams Opens Up About Her Complicated Comeback, Motherhood And Making Time to Be Selfish

On a bright, cloudless early-August day in Silicon Valley, Serena Williams opens the back door of the Spanish-style home she shares with her husband, tech entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian, and walks down a flower-lined path to her office. Lemon trees bloom near the entrance to the backyard tennis court; in the clear distance, airplanes slip over the San Francisco Bay. Serena–who long ago ascended into the pantheon of stars known by a single name–swaps her pink Crocs for sneakers, and grabs a broom and dustpan to sweep pine needles off the hard court.

Just three nights earlier, Serena suffered the worst defeat of her 23-year professional career, a 6-1, 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Johanna Konta in the opening round of a U.S. Open tune-up tournament down the road in San Jose. That it was only her fifth tournament since giving birth to her daughter in September–or that in the fourth, Wimbledon, she made it to the finals in one of the most spectacular displays of will, skill and grit in the history of the game–didn’t make the loss hurt any less.

Serena Williams Time Magazine Cover
Photograph by Alessandra Sanguinetti—Magnum Photos for TIME

Serena has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, one short of Margaret Court’s all-time record. The U.S. Open, which begins on Aug. 27 in New York City, is her last chance to even the score this year. And with age and the demands of parenthood looming over her singular career, Serena knows every chance matters. So, time to work.

She pounds shots from every angle, moving side to side, sending one ball screaming crosscourt at a cone target near the baseline. After a few hundred swings, her fitness guru, a white-haired sexagenarian named Mackie Shilstone, suggests she take a 30-second break. She insists on 20. He offers her water. She refuses.

Finally, Serena calls time. She sits on a wooden bench and fiddles on her iPhone. She’s tinkering with designs for her new clothing line when Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. waddles out the back door. Mom’s thwops and grunts have woken her from her nap. Serena leaps up to guide Olympia down the stairs to the court, counting off the steps in French: “Un, deux, un, deux.”

The moment can’t last. Serena isn’t done with her workout. Shilstone’s waiting to chase her all over the court and make her dodge tennis balls he tosses at her midsection. Olympia is led back inside, and Mom digs into more ground strokes. But for the rest of the training session, she steals glances at the house. “I wonder,” Serena says between backhands, “what my baby is doing?”

Millions of working parents wrestle with this question every day. In cubicles and call centers, at restaurants and on assembly lines, a large portion of the world’s workforce consistently thinks about their children. That concern can be deep, gnawing, even painful for anyone, but no working mother on the planet is quite like Serena Williams.

Becoming one almost killed her. The pregnancy was easy, she says, but the delivery led to a series of complications, including a life-threatening pulmonary embolism and hematoma that required multiple surgeries. She spent the next six weeks mostly in bed, too weak to get up on her own, let alone swing a tennis racket. Even as she gradually regained her strength, Serena couldn’t shake a sense of sadness, a feeling that she had done something wrong or wasn’t doing enough. She had gone through hell to have Olympia, and she loved her like it. “I didn’t think I’d be this attached,” Serena says. “It’s difficult to leave her.”

That’s a tricky proposition for a world-class athlete. Professional tennis all but requires selfishness–the time needed to train, to travel and to maintain competitive focus blot out virtually all else. Parenting is essentially the opposite. You are no longer the point. Yet at 36, an age when even the greatest champions tend to lose a step, Serena is determined to show that it doesn’t have to be so. Maybe not everyone can do it. Maybe just her. In her two tournaments since Wimbledon, she couldn’t make it past the second round. But maybe trying will be inspiration enough.

Serena William's Husband Ohanian Holding Olympia
Richard Shiro—Getty ImagesSerena’s husband Ohanian, seen holding Olympia during a Fed Cup match in February, has brought their daughter to most of her mother’s matches since she returned to tennis

Mothers the world over rallied around her remarkable run at Wimbledon, which Serena says has helped carry her through the low moments. “I dedicated that to all the moms out there who’ve been through a lot,” she says. “Some days, I cry. I’m really sad. I’ve had meltdowns. It’s been a really tough 11 months. If I can do it, you guys can do it too.”

Serena, as her vanquished opponents know, is different. And yet no modern athlete who has reached her level of stardom has ever returned from so difficult a childbirth, at her age, in a grueling individual sport like tennis, to claim a major global championship. And since Wimbledon, she’s faced a particularly rough stretch in her personal life. The man who killed her older sister Yetunde Price was released from prison. The postpartum symptoms haven’t fully gone away, and she says separating herself from Olympia has become even harder. Why keep at it?

“I’m not done yet, simple,” Serena tells me, as we drive into San Francisco one evening for a speaking engagement. She needs tennis as much as her sport needs her. It’s the one thing, as a mother, she can do solely for herself. “My story doesn’t end here.”

Serena was two months pregnant when she beat her sister Venus in the 2017 Australian Open final, a victory that broke Steffi Graf’s Open-era record of 22 major titles. (Unfair, Venus joked later: it was two against one.) Serena is convinced Olympia knows she’s a Grand Slam champion, describing her walk as a cocksure, “little bowlegged strut.”

Serena met Ohanian in Italy in 2015. They were engaged by the end of the following year and married in November 2017, in New Orleans, after Olympia was born. “I always assumed I’d marry a black guy,” Serena says. “I always felt that I could relate more with a black guy, that we’d have more struggles in common, you know?” But the pair clicked.

Their bond was tested fast. Olympia was born through emergency C-section. The next day, Serena began to feel out of breath. She suffered a pulmonary embolism in 2011, and thought this might be another one. Serena demanded a CT scan for her lungs. “If she doesn’t understand her body as well as she does, and the doctor doesn’t listen to her, I don’t necessarily think we’re sitting here,” says her agent, Jill Smoller, in the players’ lounge before Serena’s match in San Jose.

The scan showed blood clots. Coughing from the embolism caused her C-section wound to pop; in surgery, doctors found a large hematoma in her abdomen. Another procedure inserted a filter into her veins to prevent more clots. She kept the filter after it was removed, and puts it on her kitchen table as we talk. It’s shaped like a badminton birdie. “How was that in my veins?” Serena asks.

Ohanian remembers that harrowing stretch as a plunge from highest high to lowest low. “It’s a lot to change gears from being really happy and thrilled about bringing this life into the world to having to kiss your wife goodbye and praying she’ll be O.K.,” he says.

There were five surgeries, all told, and the first few months of recovery were particularly tough. The couple hunkered down at their home in South Florida, while Serena’s mother Oracene moved in to help. For weeks, Ohanian lifted Serena out of bed in the morning.

Olympia’s birth, and the frantic, fumbling bond of new parents, brought the family closer together. They now spend most of their time together in South Florida, and also have homes in Southern and Northern California, where Ohanian has installed a PlayStation near Olympia’s playpen. “Yeah, he’s a nerd,” says Serena. They also have a stocked bar in her playroom. “Sometimes,” she says, laughing, “you need it.” Serena even managed to implement “no cell phone” Sundays despite Ohanian’s full-time, device-dependent work life, but she’ll catch her husband in the act. “He doesn’t put it down until I look at him,” she says.

Her desire to play tennis again, however, never wavered. Williams began slowly, doing some light hitting in Florida. By early 2018, she felt strong enough to return to the pro tour. The results have been mixed. She lost in the first round in her second tournament, in March, and then reached the fourth round of the French Open in June before a pectoral injury forced her to withdraw.

Serena’s coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, says she made choices that put her family above her career, including staying home with Olympia and Ohanian rather than going early to Europe for clay-court prep. “I felt the decisions were taken through the angle of the family, where before, every decision was taken through the angle of tennis,” says Mouratoglou. “This is a big difference. Even if you are Serena, if you want to be successful in tennis, tennis has to be priority No. 1.”

Breastfeeding was another tension point. Serena nursed Olympia for the first eight months, even though she believes it made it harder for her to get back into playing shape. “You have the power to sustain the life that God gave her,” she says. “You have the power to make her happy, to calm her. At any other time in your life, you don’t have this magical superpower.”

Once Serena did arrive in France for clay-court training, Mouratoglou told her she should stop nursing, for the sake of her game. “It’s absolutely hard to take from a guy,” Serena says. “He’s not a woman, he doesn’t understand that connection, that the best time of the day for me was when I tried to feed her. I’ve spent my whole life making everyone happy, just servicing it seems like everyone. And this is something I wanted to do.”

But Serena also wanted to get back on top, and she says she came around to the idea that she needed to stop nursing Olympia in order to make it happen. “I looked at Olympia, and I was like, ‘Listen, Mommy needs to get her body back, so Mommy’s going to stop now.’ We had a really good conversation. We talked it out.”

Serena then committed to Mouratoglou’s training plan. “I’ve never seen her work like that before,” says her coach. In July, Serena made her thrilling run on the Wimbledon grass, before falling to Angelique Kerber in the final. The tennis world was floored.

“I’ve never met an athlete that can just produce the highest level of hunger, desire and mental determination other than her,” says Chris Evert, who won 18 Grand Slam singles titles in her career. “I’m in awe that she got to the finals.”

Still, Serena feels like she let the opportunity slip away. She stopped scouting her opponents so closely, since they tend to bring their game to another level against her. But she decided to prep for Kerber. “I really wish I hadn’t done that,” she says. “Because she played much, much harder than she’s ever played in her life. Hit nothing like she normally does. I was like, O.K., this is classic. Why did I do this? Just focus on Serena. That’s when I do my best.”

Back in Silicon Valley, Serena is behind the wheel of her white Lincoln Navigator, maneuvering the tank-size SUV into a metered parking spot outside her local Equinox. After her backyard hitting session, she agreed to a 30-minute strength and agility workout with Shilstone. But every minute at the gym counts as lost time with Olympia, and she sets the timer on her phone, promising to vanish after a half hour.

She means it. Olympia is almost always on her mother’s mind. On the ride to the gym, Serena spotted a deer and her fawn in the front yard of someone’s house. She stopped the car, rolled down the window, and gasped. “Oh my God, are you serious? That’s me, that’s Momma, that’s Serena.” She then looked toward the fawn. “That’s the baby, that’s Olympia.” She gazed at the deer for a few beats more, then wondered aloud if the baby deer had a “Qai Qai.” That’s the name of Olympia’s favorite doll.

Like so many new parents, Serena still marvels at how strongly she feels pulled to her daughter, finding joy in how Olympia washes her hands in the dog bowl, smooshes avocado into her hair and shot puts Tupperware across the kitchen. “Sometimes she just wants Mommy, she doesn’t want anyone else,” Serena says, nearly choking up. “I still have to learn a balance of being there for her, and being there for me. I’m working on it. I never understood women before, when they put themselves in second or third place. And it’s so easy to do. It’s so easy to do.”

Early on, eager to bond with Olympia, Serena was hesitant to let others even hold her. “She was a bit of a baby hog,” says her sister Isha Price. “She was putting way too much pressure on herself. But that’s what she does.”

Serena says now it was born of a deep insecurity that she was somehow failing as a mom. “It was crazy to hear her in a state of, ‘I just don’t know what to do with the different emotions,’” says the singer Kelly Rowland, part of a small group of moms Serena leans on for advice. “It was hard to wrap my head around it. I’m like, She can do everything.”

That’s the thing about being a parent, though, particularly a working mom. No matter your resources–and Serena, who has won more than $ 86 million in prize money, and Ohanian, a co-founder of Reddit and a prominent venture capitalist, have far more than most, including child-care help–it’s still easy to feel like you’re somehow failing. The stress of juggling family and career has brought out the same insecurities in Serena that other parents feel. “I don’t think I’m doing it right,” she says.

She fell prey to peer pressure on social media, posting a photo of her post-pregnancy body on Instagram. She says now that she used a waist trainer to push in her stomach. “I hated that I fell victim to that,” she says. “It puts a lot of pressure on women, young and old.”

Serena Williams at the Cincinnati Masters
John Minchillo—AP/ShutterstockSerena’s comeback has been mixed; she lost in the second round at the Cincinnati Masters, here on Aug. 14

Her vulnerability as a mom is a stark contrast to her poise on the court and, increasingly, off it. Since returning to the tour, for example, Serena has spoken out about gender discrimination in the workplace, questioning why women coming back from maternity leave should lose their seeds in a tournament draw. Williams was the top-ranked player in the world before she had Olympia. At the French Open, she did not receive a seed–a penalty that could dissuade other players from having children.

“It would be nice to recognize that women shouldn’t be treated differently because they take time to bring life into this world,” Serena says. She’s not the first player to come back after giving birth, but it wasn’t until she did that the U.S. Open pledged to incorporate maternity decisions into its seeding process.

Another sore spot: discrepancies in drug testing. The United States Anti-Doping Agency has tested Serena five times in 2018, according to its records. Meanwhile Sloane Stephens, who won the U.S. Open a year ago, has been tested once. Serena called such differences “discrimination” on Twitter and thinks it’s because some people won’t accept that she’s clean. “Look at me,” she says, glancing at her herself in a mirror at home. “I was born this way. They’re like, ‘Oh, she can’t be that great, she must be doing something.’ I don’t even lift weights.” Serena laughs. “It’s all God, you know,” she says. “But whatever.”

Serena is used to being a target. It began when she and Venus started rising up the ranks of a predominantly white sport, and has continued even as she became the face of the game. Last year, while Serena was pregnant, the former top men’s player Ilie Nastase made a racist comment about her child, and in the spring, the owner of a pro tournament in Madrid took a shot at her weight.

“They sure don’t throw a dart at other people, huh?” Serena says after I ask what accounts for the hate. She says, rightly, that the vitriol is far outweighed by her millions of fans, before considering the question again. “I’m a black woman,” she says. “Women in general are not treated the same as men who’ve had the same amount of success. And then, being a black woman, doing something historically that’s never been done, it’s easy to feel like, ‘We’ve always picked on people of this color. So I’m O.K. to continue to do it.’” Serena says she thinks black men have it even tougher. In February, NBC released a documentary she narrated on the 1968 Summer Olympics, and she marvels at Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who famously raised their fists during the national anthem to protest America’s civil rights record. “They sacrificed everything,” Serena says.

So did Colin Kaepernick, I mention. Serena owns a small stake in the Miami Dolphins, and she supports the right of NFL players to protest during the national anthem.”He hasn’t lost his joy,” she replies.

Serena has met the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback twice: once before he started his protests in 2016, and once after he became Donald Trump’s bogeyman. Since taking a knee during “The Star Spangled Banner,” Kaepernick has raised $ 1 million for various nonprofits. “Colin is happy with what he’s doing,” she says. “Some people are different. He’s just different.” She doubts an NFL team will hire him, especially after he filed a collusion grievance against the league. But she’s convinced Kaepernick would win a Super Bowl. Few believe in the power of determination like Serena. “He’d have so much to prove,” she says. “I would. I can’t imagine he would be any different. ‘Man, I’m about to show out. Y’all gonna see stuff you’ve never seen before.’”

After her workout at Equinox–30 minutes, on the dot–Serena drives the SUV back home and lingers in her attached garage. She’s beginning to talk, for the first time publicly, about a painful discovery from three nights earlier. She was in a players’ area before her match in San Jose, with about 10 minutes until showtime, when she pulled out her phone and checked Instagram. There, she learned that the man convicted of fatally shooting her sister Yetunde Price, in 2003, had been released on parole earlier this year. “I couldn’t shake it out of my mind,” Serena says. She laughs, which she sometimes does during uncomfortable moments. Price had three children, who were 11, 9, and 5 at the time of the their mother’s death. “It was hard because all I think about is her kids,” she says, “and what they meant to me. And how much I love them.”

Serena Holding Olympia
Alessandra Sanguinetti—Magnum Photos for TIME Serena, holding 11-month-old Olympia at their home outside of San Francisco

She takes a deep breath. “No matter what, my sister is not coming back for good behavior,” she says. “It’s unfair that she’ll never have an opportunity to hug me. But also …” she pauses, the thought hanging in the air. “The Bible talks about forgiveness.” Does she forgive the killer? “I’m not there yet,” she says. “I would like to practice what I preach, and teach Olympia that as well. I want to forgive. I have to get there. I’ll be there.”

Serena will bring all of this onto the sport’s brightest stage at the U.S. Open in late August, the final Grand Slam tournament of the year. She’s playing for something bigger than herself now, which can bring outsize expectations. “I really hope she gets to 25,” says Billie Jean King, a pioneering 12-time Grand Slam singles champion. King says she’s seen signs that the fire is back in Serena’s belly. “It’s in everything she’s telling the world,” she says. “She gets this look, then she puts that leg up and she gets that fist going. I love it when she gets like that.” King even thinks Serena could be President one day. Serena laughs off the suggestion.

The bright lights of Flushing Meadows have been the site of some of Serena’s greatest triumphs–she’s won the Open six times–but her last two appearances ended bitterly. In 2015, Roberta Vinci shocked Serena in the semifinals, denying her bid to become the first player since 1988 to win all four major tournaments in the same year. The next year, she again was upset in the semis, falling to No. 10 seed Karolina Pliskova. “I’m trying to get a new vibe there,” Serena says, “but I’m not going in there thinking I’m going to lose. That’s not being Serena. That’s being someone else.”

Serena wants Olympia to see and remember her mom winning a Grand Slam title. When I mention that some kids might not begin recalling specific events until around age 5, she says she hopes Olympia’s memory will be more advanced. Or maybe she’ll will keep going, long past when her peers have given it up. “I don’t plan on that,” Serena says. Then again, she never figured she’d still be playing at 36. If someone would have asked her a decade ago if she’d still be swinging a racket in 2018? “I would have said, Absolutely no, impossible, no chance,” she says. “I’d bet my life on it.”

Priorities have changed. She wants Olympia to have a sibling. She’s learning on the fly, like all parents. She still gets down, and has moments when she doesn’t want to hang out with Olympia and then feels terrible for it. And then there’s all the time she can’t bear to pry herself away, despite knowing that her game will suffer for it. But mostly, Serena is learning to recognize the swings, tell herself they’re normal and fight the urge to beat herself up. “Nothing about me right now is perfect,” she says. “But I’m perfectly Serena.”

Sometimes a good cry helps. And sometimes lessons come the hard way. San Jose was one of her first nighttime matches since she gave birth. Before Olympia, the day of a night match was all about Serena. Practice early, nap, focus. But this time, she tended to her daughter. She took a little rest, but woke up when Olympia did. She fed her, made sure she’s O.K. “I need to be more selfish for just those couple of days,” she says. “I keep telling myself she’s not going to remember that I spent an extra two hours with her. I should be taking that two hours and focusing on my career.”

Earlier, Serena says as much to Olympia in the kitchen. She wipes yogurt off the baby’s face and swings her around the room, much to Olympia’s delight. “Momma’s going to make you very sad right now,” Serena tells her. “Momma has to go to the gym. But it hurts me more than it hurts you.”

Serena then steps into the garage and heads out. Back to work. Again.

This appears in the August 27, 2018 issue of TIME.
Sports – TIME


Beyonce’s complicated ancestry and the scars of our past

The past traumas of Beyoncé’s ancestors have taken a major toll on her.

The pop star told Vogue she had to come to grips after learning she’s the descendant of a slave owner who “fell in love with and married a slave,” and she says her family history is filled with abuses of power and “broken”…

/entertainment – New York Daily News


‘Legion’ Director’s Tips On Decoding the Show’s Complicated Scripts

If you’re a fan of Legion, it won’t have escaped your notice that it’s a complicated show. If you find yourself frequently lost, be assured that you’re not alone. Its confusing nature isn’t lost on series director Tim Mielants, who benefits from the intervention of series creator Noah Hawley and the show’s co-writers to shed light on what’s going on in the scripts. FANDOM asked Mielants to help viewers decode the complex shenanigans of the entirely unique superhero series. Here are his top five pointers.

1. Know That It’s Character Driven

Mielants says to always watch with the characters front and centre in your mind, rather than the events and story per se.

“The character is always at the centre of it. What are they feeling, what’s the relationship, what’s the central feeling of it all?” he says.

“I know where the show is going,” he adds. “I know what’s going to happen with [main characters] David and Syd and I know these two characters are at the centre of it. You’ll always feel emotionally engaged with these characters [as the show progresses], and I think that’s going to be important; I know that’s what the story is about. About them, and about Syd, and about identity. About all these different things that really connect with an audience.”

2. Think of It As Poetry

Rachel Keller as Syd and Dan Stevens as David.

It doesn’t always have to make sense.

“I like to see Legion as an experience where you don’t necessarily have to understand everything,” says Mielants. “It’s like something hypnotic. So, approaching everything from a rational point of view isn’t necessarily the experience [we’re going for]. When I did the first season, I was watching a lot of [Russian filmmaker] Tarkovsky and, strangely enough, I see a lot of similarities. It’s more ‘let the poetry come to you, and just let the images and everything come to you’ rather than attempting to understand everything. Because you might end up very frustrated.”

3. The Showrunner Hires Directors Who Bring Personality

Look at other work by the episode directors to help you understand what you’re watching. And be aware that each individual episode may have its own independent feel.

“Noah pushes you to put your own personality into it and give your own point of view,” says Mielants. “Because he likes to have a subjective point of view from the director in approaching the material. [Reading the script for the first time], I always start crying for a while because it’s so difficult. Am I going to pull it off? But if you just work on it step by step and you keep on collecting ideas, and try differing things out and go back into film history, you always come up with a solution — and that’s always very rewarding.”

4. Put the Marvel Comics Aside and Watch Buñuel Films

You may find more to help you unpack Legion in the films of Luis Buñuel than in comic books.

You may well find yourself more in tune with what’s going on if you look to surrealism.

Mielants says, “From a personal point of view, I’m a director who loves surreal cinema. I’m a big Buñuel fan and I’m a guy who really loves European surrealism, and [artist] René Magritte and [director] André Delvaux. When Noah asked me to do the show, I told him I have no Marvel experience; I know nothing about comic worlds. He said, ‘I just like the crossover from surrealism to the American world and that’s all very interesting, this exploration’.

“The first thing I do is I go into movie history and I steal the hell out of it. Really steal, literally. And then you combine your own ideas and you come to a result, for better or worse. But that’s the way I have approached every episode of Legion so far.”

5. Gen Up on the Works of David Lynch

Twin Peaks - Fire Walk With Me
The work of David Lynch holds the key to getting to grips with Legion.

Mielants says there’s a definite Lynchian influence apparent in Legion. “I’m a kid from the 80s so you can’t be indifferent from watching [David Lynch’s work]. It sticks with you forever. So it’s there always, whatever I do. And I know it’s the same for Noah. He loves David Lynch.”

So there you go. The next episode of Legion should be a cinch to decode. Cheers, Tim.

The post ‘Legion’ Director’s Tips On Decoding the Show’s Complicated Scripts appeared first on FANDOM.



The complicated path for new ESPN president to save ESPN

In being named the new president of ESPN, Jimmy Pitaro will be asked to thread a very fine needle in trying to retain the network’s self-proclaimed title as the Worldwide Leader in Sports. Pitaro will try to sustain ESPN’s place as a huge revenue driver for Disney in spite of the cable and sports industries’…
Media | New York Post


Americans Have Really Complicated Feelings About the Oscars This Year, According to a New Survey

When the 90th annual Academy Awards air on Sunday, March 4, audiences will find out what the nearly 7,000 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences think about 2017 in film. But what do average Americans make of last year at the movies?

To find out, TIME ran a survey in partnership with SurveyMonkey. We asked respondents how they felt about many aspects of the Oscars and awards season in general, including the ways in which real-world issues and offscreen behavior should or should not influence which actors and films take home awards.

As it turns out, 65% of Americans watch two or fewer Best Picture nominees each year. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have strong opinions. See their responses below, and scroll down for an explanation of SurveyMonkey’s methodology and a complete breakdown of the results.

Americans are divided on Hollywood’s treatment of social issues

Over the past several months, Hollywood has been rocked by allegations of sexual harassment and abuse, and insiders have taken action with the formation of groups like Time’s Up. More than a third of Americans believe Hollywood decision-makers haven’t taken appropriate action in responding to allegations, while half say it’s still too soon to tell. More than four out of ten Americans think the industry has paid too much attention to social movements like #MeToo and #OscarsSoWhite, while 31% would argue that too little attention has been paid.

Seventy percent of Americans don’t think the presence of a social or political message makes a film any more deserving of an award. But more of those who do think such a statement increases awards-worthiness are female (21% versus 15% of males) and nonwhite (26% versus 14% of white respondents).

Less than half of Americans believe awards shows have gotten more inclusive

Ever since the #OscarsSoWhite campaign took off in 2015 and 2016, in response to the lack of people of color among acting nominees, there has been increased scrutiny whenever nominations are announced and awards are won. Americans have mixed feelings about how much progress has been made on the diversity front, with 44% believing awards shows have become more inclusive over the past five years, 42% believing it’s remained about the same and 13% responding that awards have gotten less inclusive. Twice as many respondents who identified as nonwhite (18%) think it’s gotten less diverse, compared to white respondents (9%).

Americans are split on whether an actor’s behavior offscreen should impact awards’ prospects

Survey respondents were torn when it comes to the influence personal behavior should have on professional honors. Just over half (53%) believe behavior should be either “a great deal” or “somewhat” a part of awards criteria.

The survey also asked Americans to weigh in specifically on allegations of misconduct against The Disaster Artist director and star James Franco, who was accused of sexual misconduct days before voting closed for nominations (Franco, who denied the allegations, was not ultimately nominated), and The Darkest Hour actor Gary Oldman, whose ex-wife accused him of assault in 2001 and who has been accused of making anti-Semitic comments. The responses were split, with 47% saying the allegations should affect their chances of winning or being nominated and 51% saying they should not. When asked who should win Best Actor, Oldman won with 32% of responses.

The people have spoken, and they want Get Out to go all the way

When asked which of the nine Best Picture nominees should take home the golden statue, 18% chose Jordan Peele’s social thriller Get Out. This pick was slightly more popular with women (19%), adults between 18 and 29 (28%) and non-white Oscar watchers (29%). The Shape of Water came in a close second, with 16%, followed by Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, with 15%. Oldman and Frances McDormand (Three Billboards) were the top picks for Lead Actor and Actress, but young adults favored Get Out‘s Daniel Kaluuya and The Shape of Water star Sally Hawkins.

Methodology: This SurveyMonkey Audience survey was conducted February 13‐17, 2018 among a national sample of 1,875 adults, including 745 people likely to watch the Academy Awards this year. Respondents for this survey were selected from the nearly 3 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. The modeled error estimate for this survey is plus or minus 3 percentage points. Data have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age 18 and over. The full breakdown by demographics is available here.

Entertainment – TIME


A look at Puerto Rico’s complicated water crisis


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“Aquaman” has been super complicated to shoot because of, you guessed it, water

“Aquaman” has been super complicated to shoot because of, you guessed it, water

“Aquaman” has been super complicated to shoot because of, you guessed it, water

Filming for upcoming DC film Aquaman is well underway, but it seems there’s one major challenge to making a film set in the ocean. You guessed it: water.

Before our internet boyfriend Jason Momoa protects Atlantis from whatever is going to cause strife in the standalone film, he’ll become a fish (of sorts) out of water in Justice League, alongside Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, and Ezra Miller. That’ll hit theaters on November 17th, with Aquaman swimming onto screens on December 21st, 2018.

Now, we’re really excited to see Atlantis in all its glory in Aquaman, but according to director James Wan, it isn’t easy making a movie where everyone’s underwater a lot of the time.

“It’s a very technically challenging shoot to be on,” Wan told The Hollywood Reporter. “Working with water, and even the dry-for-wet sequences are very complex…Our equivalent of two people sitting around chatting in the underwater world is super complicated. You have to think about CG with the hair, and how their clothing moves, how are they floating, what kind of rig we put them on and all that stuff.”

You may be wondering how water could be an issue for a film set in and around water.

This *is* Aquaman, after all. Wan stressed to THR he’s been avoiding CGI for as much of the film as possible, using the actors in as much of the underwater scenes as he can. So, it’s been purposefully more difficult, but it will hopefully be for the better in the long run.

“That just makes it very difficult and time-sucking and time-challenging to do all of this,” Wan added. “So it’s not an easy shoot — but hopefully it will pay off in spades down the line.”

This sounds really badass, and we can’t wait to see Momoa, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren, Patrick Wilson, Amber Heard, and Willem Dafoe in action when Aquaman hits theaters in 2018.