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Unlike urban areas that have also come to typify entrenched poverty, Kentucky’s 5th District is overwhelmingly white (98 percent). And unlike many of the other districts where constituents are heavily reliant on government programs like SNAP, it is represented by conservative politicians who have voted to dial back those programs, alleging fraud and individuals addicted to handouts.

It’s hard to imagine they are talking about McCoy, 62, who is among those who could not survive without federal help yet has seen a dramatic reduction in her benefits, from $200 to $82 a month.

McCoy’s life followed the same contours of many living here in rural Appalachia. After she turned 18, she started working — 17 years on the assembly line at Ford Motor Co., six years in a hospital-supply factory, seven more at a plant where she sewed men’s underwear. By the time she was in her late 40s, McCoy’s body had begun to break.

In addition to diabetes, she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and declared legally blind; she suffers from neuropathy, a nerve disorder that causes a burning sensation in her feet. Her last job was as a waitress working for $2 an hour under the table and scraping together tips, but that was more than 10 years ago, when she was able to drive.

With disability payments and SNAP, McCoy can just get by.

hman:

Kids: five. Salary: about $14,000 before taxes.

“You’re going to qualify for a medical card,” she told Hudson.

“Well, thank God,” Hudson said, laughing. “I believe I’m going to be a Democrat.”

Lively printed out his papers.

“RONALD’s Health Care Coverage Options,” one of them read.

“Oh, man,” Hudson said.

In rural Kentucky, health-care debate takes back seat as the long-uninsured line up

But Harlan is still waiting for its own backup plan. Past boarded-up stores, pawnshops, and an abandoned tattoo parlor, a new pizza parlor sells alcohol and memories. The walls of Portal are lined with maps of old coal camps and black-and-white photos of miners. Every night, it plays the same song to close: In the deep dark hills of eastern Kentucky. That’s the place where I trace my bloodline. And it’s there I read on a hillside gravestone. You will never leave Harlan alive.

Maybe Senate candidate Ashley Judd hitched a ride with us. Gonna meet again at Rupp arena in a month. #mizzou (via @clairecmc)

I am incredibly honored and frankly overwhelmed by the outpouring of support — that the people of Kentucky are interested in having me represent them is the greatest honor of my life so far, and I am certainly taking a close look at it,” Judd told POLITICO before The Kentucky Society of Washington’s Bluegrass Ball in Washington. She continued: “The people of Kentucky need a fighter and certainly going back 10 generations I’ve got some fighters from those hills in my family and as soon as I know anything — after I’ve told the family members to whom I’ve made my promises that they’ll be the first to know — you will be up to date in real time.
Joe Biden: The Most Influential Vice President in History? - Michael Hirsh - The Atlantic


The previous two vice presidents, Cheney and his predecessor, Al Gore, significantly changed that power dynamic. But on Biden’s watch the “OVP” — Office of the Vice President — has become something even more: almost a conjoined twin to the presidency, organically linked and indivisible from the Oval Office. Cheney succeeded for a time by creating a kind of shadow presidency, yet there’s nothing shadowy about Biden. Indeed Biden remains, in many respects, the anti-Cheney.

Joe Biden: The Most Influential Vice President in History? - Michael Hirsh - The Atlantic

The previous two vice presidents, Cheney and his predecessor, Al Gore, significantly changed that power dynamic. But on Biden’s watch the “OVP” — Office of the Vice President — has become something even more: almost a conjoined twin to the presidency, organically linked and indivisible from the Oval Office. Cheney succeeded for a time by creating a kind of shadow presidency, yet there’s nothing shadowy about Biden. Indeed Biden remains, in many respects, the anti-Cheney.

The Republican party is incapable of competing at that level,” Gingrich said during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet The Press.” “First of all, she’s very formidable as a person,” he said. “She’s a very competent person. She’s married to the most popular Democrat in the country; they both think [it] would be good for her to be president. It makes it virtually impossible to stop her for the nomination.” In addition to having Bill Clinton’s support, Hillary Clinton would also have the backing of President Barack Obama, who will still be a “relatively popular president,” Gingrich added. “Trying to win that will be truly the Super Bowl.

Aung San Suu Kyi hugs Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton after shaking hands with President Obama in the driveway of her home in Rangoon, Burma on Monday. Obama made history by becoming the first U.S. president to visit the nation. Post reporter @DavidNakamura took this photo and described it as a long, emotional embrace. (via washingtonpost on Instagram)