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In fact, now he’s a supporter of single payer!

The 49-year-old South Carolina man who garnered attention — and thousands of dollars in donations — after revealing his medical issues online is now supporting the Affordable Care Act and turning away from the GOP, Think Progress reported.

“Now that I’m looking at what each party represents, my wife and I are both saying, ‘Hey, we’re not Republicans!’” Luis Lang said, adding that he wants to rip his voting registration card up on national television to confirm his change of political affiliation.

As of Tuesday night, Lang had received just over $22,000 in online donations to help him seek treatment for a partially detached retina and bleeding from his eyes.

While Lang initially blamed President Barack Obama for his inability to sign up for a healthcare exchange program, he said he was motivated to learn more about the federal mandate after his case was widely reported online.

He told Think Progress that contrary to previous reports, he never totally opposed the law, commonly known as Obamacare. But he was frustrated with the way the law was written, explaining that it is hard for him to determine his yearly income because he is a self-employed contractor. He was also upset that the Supreme Court allowed states to opt out of taking part in the mandate, leaving millions of Americans without the ability to sign up.

“I put the blame on everyone — Republican and Democrat,” he said. “But I do mainly blame Republicans for their pigheadedness. They’re blocking policies that could help everyone. I’m in the situation I’m in because they chose not to expand Medicaid for political reasons. And I know I’m not the only one.”

Panhandle Slim… Art for Folk…

Falk

Panhandle Slim…

Every wingnut’s favorite lawman, Sheriff David Clarke Jr., testified before the House Judiciary committee Tuesday about tensions between the police and the black community. You’ll never guess who he blamed for the problems! Clarke criticized the use of “catch slogans” such as “Black Lives Matter” and “Hands up, Don’t Shoot.” He said that law enforcement officers… Continue Reading »

I’m into something good

The dark side of TPP

The country of Vietnam wants to make baby formula more affordable for its citizens. American trade negotiators think that’s a bad idea. The measures are among more than a dozen public interest policies adopted by governments involved in talks for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that the U.S. considers “barriers to trade,” according to the latest annual… Continue Reading »

An acquaintance of mine posted this question on Facebook last week: “Does anybody else find Mad Men‘s writing to be vapid, direction glacial, acting somnambulatory, and the cultural references boring?”

I asked my friend Swamp Rabbit if he’d like to respond, knowing he’d had plenty of time to watch TV while in rehab these past few months. “You jokin’ me?” he said. “I got a life, Odd Man. Got no time for TV.”

So I posted an answer of my own: Yes, I suspect most discerning viewers who followed Mad Men noticed that some of the plotting sagged and that many of writers’ references to the cultural milieu of the 1960s were laughably superficial.

So what? TV is a diversion. The most you can hope for in a TV series — in this case, a TV serial — is writing that’s good enough to occasionally generate scenes that illuminate the human condition. The same is true of most long novels. Viewers will encounter a lot of filler, no matter how good the writing, but they continue watching a serial for the same reason readers persevere with a long novel. They become emotionally invested. They stick around for the story-telling and, in particular, to witness how their favorite characters behave at critical moments.

I didn’t watch all of Mad Men, not by a long shot, but I was a fan. The show had an unusually charismatic lead character — Don Draper, played by Jon Hamm — a quirky supporting cast, and a thoughtful head writer, Matthew Weiner, who focused on the world of commercial advertising to dramatize the socio-economic forces that metastasized into contemporary American culture, such as it is.

Weiner and his co-writers juggled a lot of sub-plots, some compelling and some not so much, and they seemed in early episodes of the final season to know how to successfully resolve most of them. But give Weiner a lot of credit for how he handled what looked like the total crackup of his enigmatic anti-hero. In the final show’s final scene, Don Draper, after hitting bottom, is shown having an epiphany while chanting “Om” in a meditation group at some New Age-y spiritual retreat. His epiphany involves conceiving what will become a famously insipid TV commercial (circa 1971) that uses touchy-feely cliches to sell Coca-Cola, “the real thing.” Mad Men ends with the showing of the actual TV commercial.

I’d thought Don might kill himself or be killed in some sordid way, or maybe even to find redemption in a good cause. Instead, he is reborn as a sleazier version of his former self, selling a nutritionally empty icon of a spiritually bankrupt culture. The real thing.

Not bad for a TV show.

John Oliver explains the politics of chicken

As much as I enjoy Jon Stewart, he doesn’t really hold a candle to John Oliver: Because Oliver always draws the line between outrageous situations and the political actors who created them. Because Oliver urges you to contact your legislators and get something done. This segment, exposing the abuses of contract farming in the chicken industry,… Continue Reading »

gtr-Toomey4-062114

I have to admit, I didn’t know any of these stunning details when I confronted Pat Toomey last week (although I knew enough of his Club for Growth ways to assume) — but now that I’ve read it, I’m really, really glad I got in his face. As I told him: These are real votes affecting real people and their lives. Via Politico:

For years, Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey has campaigned to delay a multibillion-dollar railroad safety technology, calling it an “exorbitantly expensive unfunded mandate.”

But safety officials say the technology would have prevented last week’s deadly train crash in Philadelphia. And Democrats argue that the railroads were starved of the money necessary to finish it.

Interviewed two days after the crash, Toomey abandoned some of his budget-cutting bombast of years past. He’s dropped his sponsorship of legislation that would postpone the safety system rollout for several more years. And he says the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority that he was trying to protect from unnecessary spending no longer needs a delay.

Asked whether he thinks there should be any further delay in the positive train control system rollout, Toomey replied: “No.”

“SEPTA has been able to catch up to a very large degree. We helped them get a grant so they can do that. So I’m not concerned,” he said in a Thursday interview.

That’s a different argument from the one Toomey had made earlier. Since the Pennsylvania Republican came to the Senate in 2011, he’s argued that money for the crash prevention system could be better spent on things like rehabbing Pennsylvania’s crumbling bridges. Over the years, he’s written letters to regulators complaining about the system’s high costs, sponsored legislation to delay it and testified at hearings that it’s a misplaced priority.

Though he is a top target in 2016, national Democrats were loath to discuss Toomey’s crusade against the safety system. But Danielle Lynch, a spokeswoman for former Rep. Joe Sestak, a Democrat challenging Toomey in next year’s Senate race, said Toomey’s past fight against PTC “tragically shows the sad struggle by those who oppose what government can do for its citizens” and accused him of a flip-flop.

“When tragedy happens, he quickly calls for needed safety measures,” she said.

Duggar madness

duggars 2014

The Family Research Council is one of the more extreme right-wing orgs, and even they couldn’t tolerate this. I don’t think this guy was unusual; from what I’ve read, such behavior is very common in these sexually-repressed, fundamentalist families — and the Quiverfull people are even crazier than your typical fundies:

Josh Duggar has resigned as Executive Director of the Family Research Council, acknowledging he sexually molested underage girls including some of his sisters, calling his conduct inexcusable.

Josh just told People, “Twelve years ago, as a young teenager. I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret.” He continues, “We spoke with authorities where I confessed my wrongdoing, and my parents arranged for me and those affected by my actions to receive counseling.”

The molestations occurred in 2002 and 2003, when he was 14. He fondled the genitals and breasts of the girls, some of whom were sleeping.

Josh’s wife Anna says he confessed his “past teenage mistakes” to her 2 years before he asked her to marry him.

The incidents were not reported to police until 2006, and the statute of limitations has now long since passed. But Josh says he believes God has shown him mercy and given him redemption.

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