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The Nation's Billy Rights Turn 221 Today

On December 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights was ratified. Let's take a moment for our annual review of The Precious:

I. You can say anything you want except "Fire!" falsely in a crowded theatre or "Let's elect Michele Bachmann President" seriously in a room full of people with functioning brains;

You can peaceably assemble in public spaces to call out the government when it's acting like a dick, but we reserve the right to pepper-spray you in the face, zip-tie your hands behind your back and haul your ass off to jail if we feel like it;

The press has the freedom to treat the statements and policies of the left and the right as equally valid because we know you gotta sell papers;

Bill of Rights
Nice coffee stains, Madison.
Bonus right: The United States is technically neutral on religion, except for prayers in Congress, and invocations at inaugurations, and language in proclamations, and at the end of political speeches, and during the Pledge of Allegiance, and in assorted draft legislation, and on your money, and...oh, never mind.

II. This amendment is the reason why this document is shielded by six-inch-thick glass.

III. You don’t have to let soldiers enter your house. But if they're offering to clean the place and do the dishes, you'd be crazy not to.

IV. There can be no searches or seizures without a warrant unless the information is gathered via a government-approved, retro-immunized telecommunications company which is paid via your tax dollars to suck up all your communications like a vacuum cleaner and spit 'em out at the NSA, where an agent will sort through it all, especially your "secret" cache of archived porn, for which he thanks you kindly.

V. The amendment to invoke when you've been naughty but you don’t want anyone to know just how naughty you've been.

VI. As an American citizen you have an ironclad, unshakable, and inviolable right to a trial by a jury of your peers. Unless you've been targeted for elimination by a drone, in which case never mind.

VII. What? Two jury amendments in a row? I'm losing interest in your list, founders.

VIII. No cruel or unusual punishment shall be authorized by anyone except an evil Vice President with heart problems and his own undisclosed location.

IX. If the score is tied after nine amendments, we go into extra innings.

X. States don’t gotta do nuthin' they don’t hafta if they don't wanna, and if you don’t agree then we're gonna secede. Also known as the "sore loser" amendment.

To quote James Madison: " was late and we were drunk. But we hope ya have fun with 'em!"

This C&J was rescheduled from last night. Feel free to come on down to drink and vent. Or, if you prefer, vent and drink.  More below the fold...

Cheers and Jeers for Saturday, December 15, 2012

Note: If you'd like to send a card expressing sympathy and support to the kids and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary, the address is: Sandy Hook Elementary School, 12 Dickenson Drive, Sandy Hook, CT 06482.


By the Numbers:
Days 'til Inauguration Day: 37
Days 'til Phoenix Tequila Fest: 0!!!
National average, out of 500, on the vocabulary portion of the National Assessment of Education report card: 263
Maine's average score: 270
(Source: The Kennebeck Journal)
Percent of registered voters who agree that their senator should vote for changing filibuster rules to reduce Republican obstruction: 61%
(Source: PPP via TPM)
Overall favorability of the Republican and Democratic party, respectively: 30% / 44%
(Source: NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll)
Rank of Michelob and Michelob Light among U.S. beers that Americans have abandoned the most over the last 6 years: #1, #2
(Source: NBC News)


Joe Lieberman Wanker Walk Countdown:
Chris Murphy replaces Joe Lieberman in the U.S. Senate in 19 days.


Puppy Pic of the Day: Happy retirement, Falco.


JEERS to innocents lost.  A mass shooting yesterday at an elementary school in placid New England---28 people killed, most of them students in grades K-thru-4.  It's the second-deadliest school shooting after Virginia Tech and the frequency of these massacres is starting to get a little ridiculous, don't ya think?  The President gave a statement in response that will go down as one of Obama's indelible moments.  Meanwhile, a caravan of counselors was dispatched to NRA Headquarters to help them deal with the trauma of having to cancel a day's worth of fundraising emails calling for more guns and fewer gun laws.  Let the healing begin.

Chief Justice John Roberts
Will Roberts be as favorable to
gays giving huge amounts of money
to wedding planners as he is to
corporations giving huge amounts
of money to political candidates?
CHEERS to potential friends in high places.  Speculation is swirling about how the Supreme Court will rule on the two gay rights cases (Prop. 8 and DOMA) they've taken on.  My prediction of a 6-3 ruling on both---with Anthony Kennedy and John Roberts on our side---still stands, and two recent posts bolster my thinking: TPM's reminder that Anthony Kennedy is a strong defender of gay rights, and this nugget at Americablog that I'd forgotten about:
Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. worked behind the scenes for gay rights activists, and his legal expertise helped them persuade the Supreme Court to issue a landmark 1996 ruling protecting people from discrimination because of their sexual orientation.  Then a lawyer specializing in appellate work, the conservative Roberts helped represent the gay rights activists as part of his law firm’s pro bono work.  He did not write the legal briefs or argue the case before the high court, but he was instrumental in reviewing filings and preparing oral arguments, according to several lawyers intimately involved in the case.
Sure, they've been known to twist themselves into pretzels and employ Escher-like logic to advance a conservative agenda, but on this issue their history suggests evolution, not devolution.  Besides, ruling against Ted Olson (in the Prop. 8 case) would be tantamount to throwing their beloved grandpappy out of the house and dropping him on an ice floe.  Scalia already called dibs on that.

U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice
Future President Hillary Clinton's
future Secretary of State.
JEERS to cooked Rice.  Wow, politics ain't beanbag…who knew??!!!  U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice withdrew her name from consideration for the Secretary of State job Thursday---the result of a successful hit job by Republicans.  McCain, Collins, Ayotte and Graham conspired with Mitch McConnell and lord knows who else to orchestrate the swiftboating of Rice so that Obama would be forced to---so they assume---nominate John Kerry, thus opening a Massachusetts senate seat tailor-made for the triumphant return of Scott Brown and his four-wheel-drive chariot.  I say fine, give Kerry the job---as long as I hear two simple words beforehand: "Markey's running."  Because a) Congressman Ed Markey would be awesome in the Senate and b) All decisions of this magnitude must be approved by me before I give the president the green light.  (But don’t bother me between 4 and 5, okay?  That's my Judge Judy time.)

P.S. Mega JEERS to the media for using the term "nabbed a scalp" with such reckless abandon (and even glee) to describe McCain's victory over Rice.  I would've thought the 1930 journalism stylebook would be out of vogue by now.  Wow.

CHEERS to Alabammy!  The "Banjo On My Knee State" celebrated its 193rd birthday yesterday.  A little-known fact: the state rock is marble.  A well-known fact: Judge Roy Moore lost his a long time ago.

JEERS to Republican family values.  I'm shocked---[Yawn]---shocked to hear that another member of the Sarah Palin family has embraced the Satan lifestyle.  First it was Bristol gettin' knocked up by future Playgirl poser Levi Hockeyhunk.  Now we learn that son Track, who only married his girlfriend after he knocked her up, is now divorcing her.  (He gets custody…of the guns.)  So now the Bible-thumpin' North Star of Morality's two oldest offspring consist of one never-married Ma and one divorced-after-18-months Pa, each with an out-of-wedlock child.  I can see the hypocrisy from my house.

CHEERS to tough broads. Happy 115th birthday to Maine's own Margaret Chase Smith.  She was the first woman to serve in both the U.S. House and Senate, and she reserved some choice not-so-nice words for Senator Joseph McCarthy.  And get a load of this from 1950, which would no doubt get her smeared by Rush Limbaugh and Fox News as a traitor today:

Margaret Chase Smith (R-ME) 1964 campaign button
Classy politician, TERRIBLE slogan.
"I don't want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the Four Horsemen of Calumny---Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry and Smear.

I doubt if the Republican Party could---simply because I don't believe the American people will uphold any political party that puts political exploitation above national interest.  Surely we Republicans aren't that desperate for victory.

I don't want to see the Republican Party win that way. While it might be a fleeting victory for the Republican Party, it would be a more lasting defeat for the American people. Surely it would ultimately be suicide for the Republican Party and the two-party system that has protected our American liberties from the dictatorship of a one party system.

Yeah. They'd be crazy to try that.

CHEERS to home vegetation.  Sure, we might manage to squeeze in a little couch time this weekend.  New DVD releases we may check out include Jeremy Renner as Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Legacy and Seth McFarlane as a potty-mouthed stuffed bear belonging to Mark Wahlberg in Ted.  The NFL schedule is here.  (The Patriots will make "fools gold" out of the 49ers---Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!)  Martin Freakin' Short hosts SNL with musical guest Paul Freakin' McCartney.  On 60 Minutes: director Judd Apatow.

Bill Moyers' show (link) features Bruce Bartlett and Yves Smith bashing their heads on the desk as they rail about the fiscal curb.  And here's your Sunday morning lineup.  Please hold your applause until the end since you may not feel like applauding at the end:

Meet the Press: Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC); roundtable with Ed Schultz, David Brooks, E.J. Dionne, Harold Ford and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA).

Sens. Kelly Ayotte, John McCain and Lindsay Graham at a press conference
The Three Stooges will fan
out and take a victory lap on
the Sunday shows for getting
Susan Rice to blink.
This Week: John McCain takes his victory lap for derailing Rice; roundtable with Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY), Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Donna Brazile, George Will, Christiane Amanpour, General Wesley Clark, and Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass.

Face the Nation: Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL); roundtable with Tom Friedman, David Sanger, CBS News' Allen Pizzey, John Dickerson & Clarissa Ward, and Bloomberg White House reporter Julianna Goldman.

Fox GOP Talking Points Sunday: Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Dick Durbin (D-IL); roundtable with Brit Hume, Nina Easton, Bill Kristol and Liz Marlantes.

Permission granted to drink freely if you choose to wade through all that.


Four years ago in C&J: December 15, 2008

CHEERS to the bestest farewell gift ever.  President Bush couldn’t leave well enough alone---he just had to swoop into Baghdad one more time to prove that the country is still so unstable that he can only arrive under super-secret cover.  Well, this time he got a surprise.  An Iraqi reporter delivered a message on behalf of the planet's collective human, animal and flora populations.  As he threw his shoes at Commander Codpiece, he shouted: "This is a farewell kiss, you dog!"  But what was really telling was this: the Secret Service agents, who normally are trained to take a bullet for the president, weren't even willing to take a shoe for this one.  Back to your bubble, boy!


And just one more…

CHEERS to current assessments of previous claims.  Since we mentioned Bush and Iraq above in our flashback, it seems like a swell time to also pause and remember Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf...aka "Baghdad Bob."  He was the Iraqi Information Minister who issued statements before and during the invasion that were so outrageous they kept us smirking for months.  ("We have destroyed two tanks, fighter planes, two helicopters and their shovels!")  He even spawned a popular fan site that's out of date but still live.  Now, nine years after the Worst Mistake In American Foreign Policy History, let's hop in our scratched-and-dented wayback Humvee and fact-check the rants of "Baghdad Bob."  Was he really wrong about everything?

Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf, aka
"Baghdad Bob" was almost as
fact-challenged as Republicans.
"I speak better English than this villain Bush!" [TRUE!]
"You have ruined the reputation of the American people in the most terrible way! Shame on you!" [TRUE!]
"The midget Bush and that Rumsfield [sic] deserve only to be beaten with shoes by freedom loving people everywhere." [TRUE!]
"The American people are not stupid, they are very clever. I can't understand how such clever people came to elect such a stupid president." [TRUE!]
"Even those who live on another planet, if there are such people, would have condemned this action before it started!" [TRUE!]
Meanwhile his nemesis---our former "decider"---said that there were WMDs, Iraq had a hand in the 9/11 attacks, the smoking gun could come in the form of a mushroom cloud, Iraq was buying uranium from Africa, and the war would be quick 'n 'glorious 'n cheap.  All [FALSE!]  Seriously.  Will we ever be able to trust Baghdad Bob again?

Our thoughts are with the families, friends and co-workers affected by yesterday's shooting in Connecticut.  May something come from this that will lead to steps that prevent future bloodshed.  Step 1: Time for this country to grow up.  Floor's open...What are you cheering and jeering about today?


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