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Movie Review: Life: New at Reason

LifeRidley Scott’s upcoming Alien: Covenant—the sixth film devoted to the celebrated space monster—is due out on May 19. For those who want an Alien fix right now, though—who just can’t wait—please try a little harder to hold on. Despite its robust cast (featuring Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal), the rousingly titled Life is an uncalled-for Alien rip—effective in a rote way, with a few icky shocks, but probably not exactly what you seek.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before (more or less). A team of space explorers discovers a mysterious organism in a cargo of red soil from Mars. One of the crew—the traditional mush-minded science guy (Ariyon Bakare)—hails this discovery as “the first incontrovertible proof of life beyond Earth.” He also announces that “We’re going to learn so much about life.” Much more than he suspects, of course, writes Kurt Loder.

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House Delays Obamacare Repeal Vote Because There Still Isn’t Enough Support to Pass It

Repeal and re... TAX REFORMThe House was supposed to vote on the bill to partially repeal and replace Obamacare today, but now reports say the vote has been delayed. That doesn’t mean the American Health Care Act (AHCA) is done for. But its chances have always been dicey, and the last minute delay at least raises the possibility that the bill won’t ever clear the House.

Reports surfaced last night saying that House Republicans planned to rewrite the bill overnight and then vote on it today, but so far no new language has been released. And a meeting between President Trump and the House Freedom Caucus, the locus of opposition to the bill, did not produce a deal.

At this point, there’s no official word on when, or if, a vote might happen. The White House is suggesting that it is possible we could see a vote as early as tomorrow morning. It’s also possible that the GOP health care bill dies before it gets to a vote, and that the party goes back to the drawing board, or moves on to other legislative priorities.

It’s as clear as sign as we have seen yet that the bill is in real trouble, and that both GOP leadership and the White House are having trouble making the final sales pitch.

Part of the problem is that appeasing holdouts from one faction can cause yes votes to flip to no in some other faction. It’s a tricky balancing act, and it’s not clear whether Republicans will ever be able to get it right.

If Republicans had the votes to pass the bill, or some modified version of it, we would either see a vote or some sort of timetable. The fact that we have neither suggests that the votes aren’t there, and no one who wants the bill to pass has a good idea how to put them together.

In any case, the GOP repeal plan will have to wait until at least tomorrow, and possibly forever.

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State Department Misses Deadline to Manage All Emails Electronically

The State Department has failed to meet a deadline to store and manage its emails electronically as part of a 2012 directive to improve government record keeping, according to a recent Reuters report.

Before the directive, the Obama administration attempted to update government record keeping by issuing a memo in November 2011. The memo identified six areas to focus on. One of those was transitioning from paper-based management to an electronic format.

“Greater reliance on electronic communication and systems has radically increased the volume and diversity of information that agencies must manage,” the memorandum read. “With proper planning, technology can make these records less burdensome to manage and easier to use and share. But if records management policies and practices are not updated for a digital age, the surge in information could overwhelm agency systems, leading to higher costs and lost records.”

The department says it has completed the transition for all emails on its main systems, but some additional systems require further review before the department can confirm it has reached its goal.

The State Department missed the December 31 deadline despite efforts to scale back its record-keeping obligations, a document obtained by Politico in 2015 revealed. “The vast majority of working files are of short term value and should be disposed of quickly,” the department’s records officer argued in the 2012 memo. But as Politico later observed, the agency “urged streamlining the rules so that much of the routine back-and-forth of government would be beyond their reach.”

Government transparency advocates said they were not surprised at the State Department’s attempt to get out of some of the requirements. “This is an attitude a lot of agencies have taken, actually: that all they’re required to save — and all [that] a lot of them do save — is the final product,” Patrice McDermott of told Politico. “All the things that document the work of government are records. … It’s important for accountability, and it’s important for history, for folks to be able to trace the development of a policy and to trace who had their hand in it. The final product isn’t enough.”

In response to complaints about the 2011 memo from the State Department and other agencies, the Obama administration issued another directive on August 24, 2012, requiring all email records—temporary and permanent alike—to be managed electronically by the end of 2016. It also requires that, by the end of 2019, all permanent electronic records be ready for eventual transfer to the National Archives.

The State Department contends that it is still working hard to meet its goal, per the Reuters report. When that will be, exactly, is unclear.

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Police Say London Attack Corresponds Closely To ISIS Propaganda Manual

Authorities are learning more about the man who attacked Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament in London this week. The attack corresponds closely with instructions provided by ISIS’ propaganda magazine, which details which kinds of vehicles to use and even which kinds of knives to use — and not use — in these types of terror attacks.

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