One of the good guys

Always nice to hear a story like this:

A Canadian man who won $12 million in the lottery last year recently left a restaurant owner a $10,000 tip after the proprietor — without realizing the man’s worth — shared a story about his daughter having cancer.

Bob Erb popped into The Old West Express for lunch with his wife last month during a road trip when he got to talking to the eatery’s owner, Clifford Luther.

One thing led to another and Clifford mentioned how his daughter is battling cancer, which touched a nerve with Erb, who lost his own adult son a few years back.

On his return trip, Erb pulled back into the restaurant to eat again, except this time Luther said he had a surprise — a check for 10 grand:

“He asked for a pen and said, ‘Here, you can just take the bill out of that.’”

For his part, Erb, a staunch supporter of legalizing marijuana, said he was impressed with Luther’s “open-mindedness, and how he was just looking to talk and to learn about things from another perspective.”

Luther is now the impressed one, adding, “It certainly lightens the load for us. You kind of think, ‘Why would someone do that for somebody they don’t even know?’”

ALEC’s handmaidens

So you may have heard by now that Scott Walker signed a sneak attack on Wisconsin abortion rights. It’s clear that this wave of stealth legislative assaults on abortion is being driven by ALEC’s corporate agenda, and it doesn’t have a damned thing to do with “protecting the unborn.” It’s about keeping people poor, desperate and docile. It’s about cheap, disposable labor — which is what Republicans and their corporate sponsors always want, and of course they’re shameless enough to manipulate people into thinking they have some noble purpose behind it. Via Media Matters:

Every conceivable element of this story is offensive.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed into law on Friday new abortion restrictions that opponents said could lead to the closing of two of the state’s four abortion clinics. […]The law requires women to undergo an ultrasound before they get an abortion and doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinics.

So, in addition to forcing two of the state’s four abortion providers to shut down, Walker will now require women undergo a medically unnecessary procedure before exercising their constitutional rights. What if a woman doesn’t want the ultrasound? Too bad; her governor is imposing one on her anyway. What if her physician says there’s no need for an ultrasound? It doesn’t matter; Republican politicians in Wisconsin have decided to put themselves between patients and their doctors.

And of course, insurance companies won’t cover an ultrasound unless it’s medically indicated, so the cost falls fully on the patient, who probably can’t afford it! (If she could afford it, she’d fly to a sane state for her abortion.)

This, we’re told, is the result of sensible policymaking from advocates of limited government.

But the way in which the Wisconsin governor signed this legislation into law adds insult to injury (in this case, almost literally). Scott Walker could have approved the measure in any number of ways, but he chose to do so privately, over the course of a holiday weekend, when the governor apparently thought it’d generate less attention.

There is, in other words, a degree of cowardice here — if Walker thought he was doing the right thing, signing a measure with broad support into law, he wouldn’t have been reduced to hiding.

Suicide watch

Justin Carter, that teenager who was charged and jailed after making sarcastic remarks on Facebook, is reportedly on suicide watch. I’m so tired of what passes for a justice system coming down hard on ordinary people for these imaginary infractions (like chalking on the sidewalks). I find it hard to believe that someone, somewhere (like the Reddit community) hasn’t started a bail fund for this kid:

“He’s very depressed, very scared, and … concerned that he’s not going to get out,” Carter’s father, Jack, said in an interview with CNN Tuesday. “He’s pretty much lost all hope.”

Carter, 19, was arrested in February of this year following an argument he had on Facebook regarding “League of Legends,” an online video game.”[S]omeone had said something to the effect of ‘Oh you’re insane, you’re crazy, you’re messed up in the head,’” Jack recalled to ABC affiliate KVUE in an earlier interview.

“To which [Justin] replied ‘Oh yeah, I’m real messed up in the head, I’m going to go shoot up a school full of kids and eat their still, beating hearts,’ and the next two lines were ‘lol and jk’ [all sic].”

Despite the teen’s insistence of “lol” and “jk” — internet shorthand for “laughing out loud” and “just kidding,” respectively — a woman who came across the comment on Facebook failed to see the humor. She alerted police after realizing Carter lived near an elementary school. On February 13, a judge authorized a search warrant.
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Ted Cruz’s dad: Obama is ‘just like Fidel Castro’

Well! Guess the apple didn’t fall far from the tree! Ted Cruz’s father is a Cuban refugee with some rather extreme views. If he were right, we’d have universal healthcare right now:

Speaking to an audience recently at the “Free the People” conference put on by the industry-financed tea party group FreedomWorks, the father of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) explained how his ultra conservative worldview helped shape his son’s outlook on President Barack Obama’s policies, which the elder Cruz said are “just like the dictator Fidel Castro.”

Cruz likes to mention that his father fled Cuba for the United States, but typically doesn’t mention that Rafael Cruz was actually a pro-Castro revolutionary during the rule of the U.S.-supported, right-wing military dictator Fulgencio Batista. However, he did mention it in a 2006 interview with The Austin American-Statesman, when he called his dad “a guerrilla” who busied himself during those days by “throwing Molotov cocktails and blowing up buildings.”

Cruz’s father left Cuba before Castro came to power, traveling to Texas on a student visa issued by the Batista regime. He mentioned that in his speech to the FreedomWorks crowd, telling them that he was once energized by a bold new leader who spoke of “hope and change,” but his opinion shifted when that leader turned out to be yet another dictator.
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