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From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE…

Cheers to the "Mayor of Castro Street"

Today marks the 83rd birthday of the late San Francisco District Supervisor and gay rights (aka civil rights) pioneer Harvey Milk. Not coincidentally, today is also the fourth annual Harvey Milk Day.

“It takes no compromising to give people their rights. It takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no survey to remove repressions.”
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“All young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential.”
He was a talented politician---smart, witty, eloquent, tireless, eager to learn from his early mistakes, but not without his flaws and personal demons. He understood well the power of grassroots campaigning and consensus-building. One of my favorite things Harvey wrote is his 10 rules on how to win a local election (from Randy Shilts' book The Mayor of Castro Street, which doubles as a riveting history of the gay rights movement in San Francisco):

Harvey Milk sigtting in front of campaign poster
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1. Interviews with all major papers. ['All' was underlined three times.]
2. Knock on all doors.
3. Ride buses
4. Visit non-gay bars during the daytime and any singles bars at nite.
5. Coffee shops and restaurants. Stop off early in morning and late at night.
6. Shake hands.
7. Shake hands.
8. As few meetings as possible---just meet the people.
9. Door to door of registered Demo's is very best thing you can do outside of media coverage.
10. Don't stop.

If he hadn’t been assassinated in 1978 at 48, he would've grown in staure as a guiding force and relentless fighter for full equality. He'd be thrilled with the gains made in the military (he was a Navy vet himself), marriage equality, corporate non-discrimination policies, and the overall de-stigmatization of LGBT Americans. But he'd be impatient as all get-out at the snail's pace at which those accomplishments happened, and furious that anti-LGBT violence is still happening with such depressing regularity.

Harvey's now-famous core message of hope is as relevant as ever, and it's one of the reasons he was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009:

Harvey Milk Day graphic
"It’s about the us’s out there. Not only gays, but the Blacks, the Asians, the disabled, the seniors, the us’s. Without hope, the us’s give up. I know you cannot live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living. So you, and you, and you…you gotta give em’ hope.”
Happy birthday, Harvey.

Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]

Cheers and Jeers for Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Note: The launch of tomorrow's surprise war on Christmas has been postponed until next Thursday as Gladys double-booked and has chosen to keep her podiatrist appointment instead.  I know, I know…fake war is hell.

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By the Numbers:
Days 'til National Hamburger Day: 6
Days 'til the Freedom Creek Blues Festival in Aliceville, Alabama: 10
Portion of Americans who will be traveling over the Memorial Day weekend: 1/3
Portion of those travelers who will be spending time at the ocean: 1/2
(Source: TripAdvisor survey)
Democrat Jim Graves' lead over Michele Bachmann at the moment in Minnesota's 6th District: 47-45
(Source: Public Policy Polling)
Portion of U.S. river miles capable of sustaining "healthy biological communities": 1-in-5
(Source: EPA)
Percent of U.S. adults with "married" status in 1960 and 2010, respectively: 72%, 51%
(Source: Time)

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Mid-week Rapture Index: 185 (including 4 Globalisms and 16 words of truth).  Soul Protection Factor 14 lotion is recommended if you’ll be walking amongst the heathen today.

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Puppy Pic of the Day:  Brooklyn reunion

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JEERS to a mighty wind.  When I was a kid growing up in Mount Vernon, Ohio, a tornado briefly touched down while I was playing a minor-league baseball game at Phillips Park.  Damn thing stole my baseball cap, and to this day I have bad dreams about a funnel coming towards me and I can barely outrun it.  Even so, I can't even imagine how thoroughly the recent spate of twisters has rattled folks down south-and-west, especially in Moore, Oklahoma.  (The before-and-after pics of the level OMG-WTF-5 monster are beyond the scope of any existing adjective that I know of.)  This is the umpteenth disaster that's happened on President Obama's watch, and the federal response has been swift and sure:

Craig Fugate, FEMA director
Craig Fugate is
on Moore like glue.
Monday afternoon, FEMA activated a national center that coordinates the federal response to natural disasters, dispatched a team to Oklahoma’s emergency operations center, and deployed urban search and rescue teams. Early Tuesday, the president sent FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate to Oklahoma to coordinate federal help.

Obama also said he had spoken with Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) and Glenn Lewis, mayor of Moore … The president's response drew appreciation early Tuesday from US Rep. Tom Cole (R), who grew up in and now represents Moore.

Kudos also to the maestros at the news networks for having their Oklahoma tornado music themes written and recorded within minutes.  (Fox News: excellent use of your arsenal of gongs.)

CHEERS to eerie similarities.  Oh my god, this is so not a coincidence!  Forty-one years ago today, President Richard Nixon flew overseas and came away with signatures on an anti-ballistic missile treaty with Russia:

Nixon and Brezhnev sign the Anti-Ballistic-Missile treate on May 26, 1972
And guess what?  Three years ago, President Obama flew overseas and came away with…signatures on an anti-ballistic-missile treaty with Russia:
President Obama and Russian President Medvedev sign the Anti-Ballistic-Missile treaty---April, 2010
The conclusion is obvious: IMPEACH OBAMA!!!

CHEERS to the miracle weight loss miracle to end all miracle weight loss miracles.  Hey, friends!  What if I told you there was a simple, easy, not hard and totally un-difficult way to lose those excess pounds while still eating all the foods you love?????  Now you CAN!  Introducing…HuhHuhHuh…weed:

Chocolate cake
What the American Journal
of Medicine looks like when
you're stoned. (We hear.)
Current marijuana users had significantly smaller waist circumference than participants who had never used marijuana, even after adjusting for factors like age, sex, tobacco and alcohol use, and physical activity levels. They also had higher levels of HDL ("good cholesterol").  The most significant differences between those who smoked marijuana and those who never or no longer did was that current smokers' insulin levels were reduced by 16 percent and their insulin resistance (a condition in which the body has trouble absorbing glucose from the bloodstream) was reduced by 17 percent.
The study was published in The American Journal of Medicine, which is now available in a special pothead edition made out of chocolate cake with Skittles dotting the i's.

CHEERS to knowing where there is.  The 25th annual National Geography Bee is going on this week in Washington, D.C.  Maine's representative is not to be trifled with:

6 percent of people who think Benghazi is the biggest scandal ever believe it is in Cuba according to a new PPP poll
Hint: Benghazi is in Cuba.
(Source: Tea Party)
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When Archer Thomas was about 4 years old he pointed to a map inside a Maine Atlas and Gazetteer and said to his mother, "Look, here's the town of tub."  At first Thomas' mother, Jean Whitney, could not figure out what her son was talking about.  She had never heard of a town in Maine called tub.

But Whitney laughed when he pointed on the map to Bath, the city in Sagadahoc County.

He'll be competing against the rest of the field with one continent tied behind his back.  Just to keep it fair.

CHEERS to Abraham "That's Using the Old Bean"-coln.  On May 22, 1849, Honest Abe received patent #6469 for his design of a floating dry dock---in fact, he was the first president to receive a patent.  Sadly, he never found the time to complete his follow-up invention: the floating wet bar.  Our nation's loss.

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Five years ago in C&J: May 22, 2008

CHEERS to the great escape.  Ted Kennedy grabbed an umbrella stand, smashed his hospital window, rappelled down to street level and thumbed a ride home yesterday while thinking about how to start filibustering his malignant brain tumor.  Meanwhile, Chris Dodd sums up what we all thought when we got the bad news Tuesday: "I wouldn't want to be that tumor.  With Teddy Kennedy fighting back you're in trouble."  We expect a little white flag to emerge from his ear any moment now.

JEERS to torture as usual.  Over 200 FBI agents complained to higher-ups about abuses at the United States' Soviet-style gulag at Guantanamo, but nothing came of it even after senior White House officials were informed.  Dan Froomkin writes:

Dick Cheney superimposed over flag-draped coffins.
The man who made the
world safe for torturers.
That the White House ignored the FBI's red flags is not really surprising, considering that as of Spring 2002, top Bush aides including Vice President Cheney were reportedly micromanaging the torture of terrorist suspects from the White House basement.  In other words, those aides...intentionally and specifically approved some of the tactics that alarmed the FBI.

And yet---mark my words---the scumbags will get off without so much as a modest slap on the hiney, a fact that will be like torture to people like you and me who have watched the facts bubble to the surface with all the predictability of the sunrise.  Which reminds me: free belts of scotch all morning in the C&J cafeteria.

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And just one more…

JEERS to non-punishment that doesn't fit the non-crime.  In Merrimack, New Hampshire, an unusual case of road rage management:

The victim said William Farrell was stopped in front of her when a light turned green, but Farrell did not drive ahead.  The woman said she honked her horn at him.

Police said Farrell got out of his car at the next intersection, and squirted suntan lotion on the victim through her open window.

Remember that, kids.  When you're really mad at another driver, just get out of your car, walk over to their window and reduce their risk of skin cancer.  That'll teach 'em.

Have a nice Wednesday.  Floor's open...What are you cheering and jeering about today?

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Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial:

"I know that when I'm on my deathbed someday, I won't be thinking about any particular legislation I passed, or policy I promoted; I won't be thinking about the speech I gave, or the Nobel Prize I received.  I'll be thinking about Cheers and Jeers."
---President Obama
5/19/13

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