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Sometimes people are amazing

What a wonderful story. It’s sad to lose such a nice guy:

SANTA BARBARA (CBSLA.com) — Paul Walker was best known for his movies and fast cars, but a former Santa Barbara jewelry store clerk will remember him most for his generosity.

Several years ago during the holiday season, Irene King says, an associate nudged her and said, “There’s Paul Walker.”

“Oh, OK, yeah,” King said with a smile. “I said, ‘Yeah, he’s a nice-looking man.’”

“The Fast and the Furious” star was shopping in the store at the same time as a soldier who had just finished up his first tour of duty in Iraq. The soldier was heading overseas again and was shopping with his fiancee, looking at engagement rings.

“She saw something that she really, really liked, but he said, ‘Honey, I can’t afford that,’” King said.

That “something” was a $10,000 engagement set, King said. Walker had overheard the conversation.

“He called the manager and he said, ‘Umm, the ring that those people are looking at – put it on my tab,’” King remembered. “Soon after that, he just left.”

When the couple asked whom to thank, the store said it was an anonymous gift.

King and the jewelry store’s employees kept the secret for more than a decade. But with Walker’s death, they want the world to know of his generosity.

Art by Panhandle Slim…

Fighting with the devil
Panhandle Slim…

Not-so-smart ALEC

I haven’t been writing about this here, but we have a couple of stories over at C&L here and here:

Concord, NH – New leaked documents show that corporate special interest lobbying group the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) asked state chairs, including New Hampshire State Representatives Gary Daniels (R-Milford) and Jordan Ulery (R-Hudson), to sign a pledge stating,: “I will act with loyalty and put the interests of the organization first.”

The pledge for elected officials to put their affiliation with ALEC over their oath of office was revealed in documents released about ALEC in an investigative report by The Guardian newspaper this week.

ALEC allows corporations to draft legislation that directly benefits their bottom line, then sit side by side with ALEC legislators to vote on which ones to introduce in State Houses across the country. The Guardian expose highlights the extent of this relationship; it also details ALEC’s internal concerns about lobbying while pretending to be a charitable organization and its plans to win back corporate members who left the organization in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting where the ALEC-supported Stand Your Ground law came into wide recognition.

ALEC’s legislative agenda for 2014 includes plans to harass navigators who help uninsured Americans sign up for affordable health coverage and to continue to push for a repeal of the minimum wage. These policies and others will be discussed at ALEC’s annual “State and Nation Policy Summit” in DC today, which several New Hampshire ALEC legislators are anticipated to be participating in – including Daniels, Ulery, Lenette Peterson (R-Merrimack), JR Hoell (R-Bow) and Pam Tucker (R-Greenland).

So about that Obamacare coverage

It turns out that, under the plan I selected, I’d have to meet a $6000 deductible before even a doctor visit was covered. (Thanks to Brendan for pointing this out.)

Then I spent a hour on the phone last night trying to find someone who could help me cancel the policy.

I finally figured out that the only plans I could afford with zero deductibles were HMO plans. But in the HMO plans, they have three-tiered service.

I’ve written about this before. Tiered service means if you want to go to a good doctor or hospital, you have to pay a lot more. So the co-pay for me to see my GI doctor at the Tier 3 hospital is… $100 instead of $30 or $50. Which is insane, because poor people on Medicaid can go to that same doctor!

By the time this CORPORATE CONSERVATIVE-DESIGNED clusterfuck gets straightened out, I’ll be on Medicare.

Santa Claus is coming to town

Dave Brubeck Quartet:

Just one more reason to give this guy a contribution:

Believe it or not, yesterday I heard the following from E. Christopher Abruzzo, Tom Corbett’s Nominee for Department of Environmental Protection Secretary:

“I have not read any scientific studies that would lead me to conclude that there are adverse impacts to human beings or to animals or to plant life at this small level of climate change.”

While it is absolutely galling that Corbett would have the audacity to nominate someone for the post of protecting our environment who hasn’t read anything, ANYTHING, about the human impact on climate change, it’s not unexpected.

However, I was the only member of the State Senate yesterday to hold Corbett’s nominee accountable, to ask hard questions, and to vote against his nomination.

Change of weather

It’s going up to 64 here today, and it’s also going to snow Sunday.

One of the things I hate about global warming is you can never really put your summer clothes away.

Bachmann staffer’s house raided by FBI

Hmmm. I sure this has nothing to do with her decision not to run for reelection:

The Federal Bureau of Investigations confiscated materials belonging to a former aide to Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) presidential campaign who left under acrimonious circumstances to help one of her GOP primary opponents.

The Daily Beast reported on Wednesday that agents spent hours at the home of former Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorensen (R) in November 2012.

“We were not notified that he was the target of any investigation,” Sorenson’s attorney, Ted Sporer, was quoted as saying. “They took computers and things that would be used to verify or validate communications with presidential entities.”

Documents uncovered in August 2013 stated that a spokesperson for Sorenson asked for an $8,000 salary and a $100,000 contribution to his political action committee for leaving Bachmann’s campaign to endorse then-Sen. Ron Paul’s (R-TX) candidacy during the 2012 Republican presidential primary. Sorenson, who joined the Paul campaign two months later, denied any financial promises at the time, though Bachmann accused him of taking payments from the Texas senator’s camp.

“I wasn’t part of this conversation,” Sorenson was quoted as saying. “I’m not even sure if the discussion happened, but if it did happen, I wasn’t part of it.”

Bad news

Bad in the sense that it will only encourage them to keep polluting the aquifers we already have.


Now see, when you appoint a former lobbyist (remember when Obama promised there would be no lobbyists in his administration?), you tend to get this kind of industry ass-kissing!

Newly anointed Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler said this week that it would be OK for Internet service providers to charge Netflix and other companies for a faster lane to consumers.

Wheeler’s stance is surprising given that it appears to contradict the FCC’s Open Internet Order, passed under his predecessor in 2010. That order, which sets out the country’s network neutrality rules, says that fixed broadband providers may not “unreasonably discriminate” against any type of traffic. The order specifically calls out pay-for-play arrangements as being potential violations.

“[B]roadband providers that sought to offer pay-for-priority services would have an incentive to limit the quality of service provided to non-prioritized traffic,” the rules state. “For a number of reasons… a commercial arrangement between a broadband provider and a third party to directly or indirectly favor some traffic over other traffic in the broadband Internet access service connection to a subscriber of the broadband provider (i.e. ‘pay for priority’) would raise significant cause for concern. … [A]s a general matter, it is unlikely that pay for priority would satisfy the ‘no unreasonable discrimination’ standard.”

The Open Internet Order is being challenged in court by Verizon. A Verizon win would let ISPs block content or charge providers for a faster lane to customers. But the rule is still in place, at least until the US Court of Appeals makes a decision.

Wheeler (a former lobbyist for the cable and wireless industries) spoke positively about the order but said he wouldn’t mind if Netflix has to pay for a faster lane to consumers while answering questions Monday after a policy speech at Ohio State University.

We must not be speaking the same English language as he is.

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