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March 17, 2014
Facebook/The Veronica Mars Movie

This weekend, Veronica Mars fans were delighted by the release of the long-awaited film sequel, which was partially funded through a Kickstarter campaign to the tune of $5.7 million last year. But now that the excitement of a new Veronica Mars adventure has worn off, critics can start evaluating the content of the film — and NPR's Linda Holmes has a particularly thoughtful critique of the movie's troubling philosophy on relationships. (Spoilers for the Veronica Mars movie to follow.)

The Veronica Mars movie offers a textbook example of what Holmes dubs "The Bad Caterpillar Theory": The idea that a "mean, jealous, possessive, violent, angry, emotionally unavailable," guy will evolve into a noble, trustworthy, good-hearted man if the female protagonist simply waits long enough. In this case, Veronica's boyfriend of nearly a decade is pushed aside in favor of Logan Echolls, a bad boy with a heart of gold:

By the time the movie starts, Logan has emerged as the Butterfly to a degree that's almost comical. He no longer has any flaws whatsoever; he shows up in Navy whites that weirdly look like they're too big for him, but the message is clear: he's all grown up. There's effectively no edge left to the character at all, and although the movie co-opts the language of addiction and recovery to have Veronica talk about the relationship as an addiction, there's no indication that any of it is actually bad for her or that she's even legitimately conflicted about it. He's transparently innocent of the crime she's trying to get him off the hook for, he's in the Navy ... he's basically been transformed into a cartoon prince.

At last, her patience, her faith, her unwillingness to give up has paid off. The Butterfly has arrived.

So of course she has to dump her nice, generous, supportive, unexciting boyfriend. Of course she does. [NPR]

Read the rest of this thoughtful article at NPR. Scott Meslow

7:57 p.m. ET
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Philadelphia 76ers selected University of Washington guard Markelle Fultz as the first overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft. The Sixers traded with the Boston Celtics to get the top spot. UCLA's Lonzo Ball was chosen second by the Los Angeles Lakers, while the Celtics, drafting third, picked Duke's Jayson Tatum. The draft is taking place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn; follow along live on ESPN. Catherine Garcia

6:55 p.m. ET
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) isn't bothered by some members of her party criticizing her, following Jon Ossoff's loss Tuesday in Georgia's 6th Congressional district special election.

His opponent, Karen Handel, ran more of an anti-Ossoff campaign than pro-Handel, and ran ads linking Ossoff to Pelosi, a liberal from California. This isn't a new GOP tactic, Pelosi said during a press conference Thursday, "and usually, they go after the most effective leader." Two-thirds of the caucus backed Pelosi last year when she was challenged by Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), and she feels "very confident" about the support she has. "I think I'm worth the trouble, quite frankly," she said. "I love the fray." She didn't hesitate to stand up for herself, saying, "You want me to sing my praises? Well, I'm a master legislator. I am a strategic, politically astute leader. My leadership is recognized by many around the country, and that is why I'm able to attract the support that I do."

Pelosi said the party is "paving a way for a new generation of leadership, and I respect any opinion that my my members have," but the "decision about how long I stay is not up to them." Looking ahead to 2018, "history is on our side," she added, as the president typically loses House seats during their first midterm election. Catherine Garcia

4:51 p.m. ET
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Senate Republicans unveiled their health-care proposal Thursday, the upper chamber's version of the GOP-backed American Health Care Act that passed the House early last month. The Senate bill, titled the "Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017," allows states to apply for waivers to certain insurance regulations intended to protect the sick and the poor, proposes steep and lasting cuts to Medicaid, and rolls back taxes and subsidies levied under the Affordable Care Act.

Former President Barack Obama, of course, signed the Affordable Care Act a.k.a. ObamaCare into law just over seven years ago. On Thursday, he took to his Facebook page to offer his thoughts on the Senate's proposed replacement for his signature legislative achievement, slamming the bill's "fundamental meanness":

The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health-care bill. It's a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else. [...]

Simply put, if there's a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family — this bill will do you harm. And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation. [Barack Obama]

Senators are expected to vote on their bill next week. You can read Obama's entire statement here. Kimberly Alters

3:57 p.m. ET

An awkward linguistic loophole in a Republican bill in the New Hampshire state Senate would have, in theory, allowed pregnant women to legally get away with committing murder, Slate reports. Senate Bill 66 defined fetuses past 20 weeks old as "people" for cases of murder or manslaughter, such as when unborn babies are killed in reckless driving accidents. But in order to avoid convicting pregnant mothers of murder if they sought abortions, the bill included an unintentionally hilarious work-around:

The bill's original language stated that "any act committed by the pregnant woman" or a doctor acting in his professional capacity wouldn't apply in cases of second-degree murder, manslaughter, or negligent homicide. Unfortunately, "any act" implied, well, any act. The bill "allows a pregnant woman to commit homicide without consequences," Republican representative J.R. Hoell told the Concord Monitor. "Although that was never the intent, that is the clear reading of the language." *blooper sound effect* [Slate]

The bill initalliy passed both the state's House and Senate without lawmakers realizing the loophole, Slate adds. But unfortunately for anyone with Purge-esque visions of bloodthirty mothers-to-be, the House passed an amendment Thursday "to make sure pregnant women don't go around killing people." Read the full details of the case at Slate. Jeva Lange

3:37 p.m. ET
JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK/AFP/Getty Images

From the get-go, President Trump's so-called "Carrier deal" has not lived up to its expectations. In December, the then-president-elect promised to save 1,100 jobs at the air conditioner and furnace manufacturing plant that had been slated to go to Mexico in return for $7 million in state financial incentives.

In reality, only 730 union jobs were preserved. Fast-forward a few months, and now more than 600 employees at the Carrier plant are anticipating being laid off next month. "The jobs are still leaving," the president of United Steelworkers Local 1999, Robert James, told CNBC. "Nothing has stopped."

"To me this was just political, to make it a victory within Trump's campaign, in his eyes, that he did something great," added T.J. Bray, who has worked at Carrier for 15 years and whose seniority saved him from layoffs. "I'm very grateful that I get to keep my job, and many others, but I'm still disappointed that we're losing a lot."

In addition to the $7 million in incentives Carrier received for agreeing to employ at least 1,069 people at the plant for the next 10 years, the company vowed to invest $16 million into the Indiana-based facility. But "as for Trump's claim that the $16 million investment in the plant would add jobs, United Technologies CEO Greg Hayes told CNBC in December that the money would go toward more automation in the factory and ultimately would result in fewer jobs," CNBC reports.

Indiana Economic Development Corp. president Elaine Bedel added that all of Trump's promises "really [haven't] changed anything."

"We have been doing this since 2005," she said. Jeva Lange

2:41 p.m. ET

As the Senate Republicans' ObamaCare replacement was sending ripples of alarm and anger through the Democratic ranks — and some of the GOP ones, too — conservative health-care wonk Avik Roy was reading. And reading. And reading.

After finishing the 142 pages of the "Better Care" act, Roy — who served as Mitt Romney's health-care policy adviser during his 2012 campaign — reached this conclusion:

Not all Republicans will be so pleased, though. Read nine ways the bill breaks with promises President Trump has made here at The Week. Jeva Lange

2:24 p.m. ET

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) took to the floor Thursday to passionately attack the Republican Senate's ObamaCare replacement, the "Better Care" act. "Senate Republicans wrung some extra dollars out of kicking people off tax credits that help them afford health insurance," Warren said. "They raked in extra cash by letting states drop even more protections and benefits, like maternity care or prescription drug coverage or mental health coverage."

"And then they got to the real piggy bank," Warren added. "Medicaid. And here, they just went wild."

Warren noted that 1 in 5 Americans is on Medicaid, and that the program serves 30 million children. "These cuts are blood money," she said. "People will die. Let's be very clear. Senate Republicans are paying for tax cuts for the wealthy with American lives." Watch below. Jeva Lange

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