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From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE…

Margaret and Helen Monday

The 80-somethings got somethin' to say, and I 'spec we best listen:

Margaret and Helen blog photo
Only three more months and
their battleship will be paid for.
Some peckerwood named Wayne LaPierre at the National Rifle Association announced that the NRA would form the National School Shield Emergency Response Program. And by that he means “armed security” at every school. I don’t know Margaret, NSSERP doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily as NRA. This from the people who came up with “Trigger the Vote” as a voter registration slogan for the last election. I guess I expected better. …

Of course, asking the NRA for a solution to gun violence is like asking Wal-Mart for a solution to big box stores. Somehow having more of them was going to be a given. … If we follow the logic of LaPierre, we need armed security at elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, college campuses, movie theatres, malls, churches, office buildings, grocery stores, parades… I guess the NRA needs to create the National Everywhere Shield Emergency Response Program (NESERP). Now that has a nice ring to it. Sadly, with almost 300 million guns in America, we’re already there thanks to the lobbying efforts of the NRA.

Mr. LaPeirre also called on Congress to create “an active national database of the mentally ill". I couldn’t agree more. The first name on that list can be his. I mean it. Really.

Joe Biden comes out with his task force recommendations tomorrow. I'm sure it'll be a low-key affair, with thoughtful input from both sides, resulting in comprehensive legislation passed into law by huge margins of bipartisan support. Tonight when I'm dreaming, I mean.

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

Cheers and Jeers for Monday, January 14, 2013

Note: If you need a trillion-dollar coin, take a trillion-dollar coin.  If you have a trillion-dollar coin, leave a trillion-dollar coin.
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By the Numbers:
Days 'til Inauguration Day/Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: 7
Days 'til the Asbury Park Beer Fest in New Jersey: 12
Number of states in which the flu was widespread two weeks ago and last week, respectively: 41 / 47
(Source: CDC)
Number of Kansas's 105 counties that have been declared federal disaster areas due to drought, clearing the way for folks there to get low-interest communist socialist loans from the wealth-distributing government: 104
Number of solar panels that will be installed on 20 acres at Oahu, Hawaii's new solar park at Ewa Field: 21,000
Amtrak ridership in 2012, a record: 31.2 million
Years since Amtrak's operating loss was as low as it was last year: 1974
Years the designated hitter rule has been in effect as of this year: 40

Totally Random NFL Score:
New England 41   Houston 28

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NEW!  California Dreamin'

Brought to you by the 2013 Netroots Nation Convention in San Jose, June 20-23.  From the official City of San Jose site:

Founded on November 29, 1777, as El Pueblo de San Jose de Guadalupe, San José was California’s first civilian settlement. San José was also the site of the first state capital. With the booming tech industry in the 1990s, San José earned its moniker as the Capital of Silicon Valley. With nearly one million residents, San José is the largest city in Northern California and the 10th largest city in the United States.

Population in 1777: 66
Population in 2012: 971,372

Wild guess: San Jose is not the condom capital of the universe.

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Puppy Pic of the Day:  Punks

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JEERS to the return of the dolts.  The 113th "Do Nothingerest" Congress convenes today.  On the one hand, they'll ignore jobs, climate change, immigration, infrastructure improvements, gun violence and civil rights.  On the other hand, they'll hack away at women's rights, voter rights, Obamacare and Sandy disaster relief.  On the other other hand, they'll name some post offices, hold the debt ceiling hostage, and take a record amount of time off while getting paid $174,000 with full benefits.  I say this with no snark whatsoever: heckuva job.

JEERS to love boat on the rocks.  The Costa Concordia sank on January 13, 2012, and yesterday there were commemorations of the disaster:

Cruise ship Costa Concordia on its side
Look up "human error"
in the dictionary...
On Jan. 13, 2012, Francesco Schettino, the ship's captain, performed a "sail-by" stunt, bringing the massive luxury cruise liner too close to the island.

“It was a tragedy that never should have happened, caused by a rogue captain who didn't follow the rules,” said Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor-in-chief of Cruise Critic.

The incident was an anomaly, she added, during which passengers were given poor instructions after the ship deviated from the scheduled route.

I looked it up, and the traditional gift for the one-year anniversary of a half-sunken ship that won’t be righted for at least another nine months is a sterling silver facepalm.

CHEERS to stopping with all the shooting and the banging and the bayoneting and whatnot.  229 years ago today, on January 14, 1784, Congress ratified the Treaty of Paris, officially ending the War of Independence.  It also included earmarks for a pantaloon museum, a giant biodome for the study of butterfly flatulence, and a bridge to nowhere.  Say this for Congress---they learned quickly.

JEERS to today's Great Moment in Great Moments for Potentiallly Great Awfulness.  An Ohio school board wants janitors to be armed  +  A vague recollection that highly-influential political figure and erstwhile presidential nominee Newt Gingrich wants janitors to be children  =  today's Great Moment in Great Moments for Potentially Great Awfulness.

CHEERS to letters from the C&J mailbag.  Sent to Saudi Arabia via Camel Express:

Dear King Abdullah,

How are you?  I am fine.

Just wanted to send a quick note to say "Attaboy!" for agreeing to include women on your advisory council.  Even though the council has no power and can be dissolved at your whim, it was a bold and progressive step on behalf of your country.

At the same, I applaud the fact that the women who join the council still have to be covered from head to toe, use a lower-status entrance and be seated separate from the menfolk, in addition to still being prohibited from driving, studying abroad, picking their spouse, getting divorced, or gaining admittance to a public hospital without permission from a male guardian.  Because, hey, let's not get crazy.

I'll close with a joke: what's Saudi Arabia's favorite symbol?  The amperSAND! Ha Ha.  Thought you might enjoy that.

Billy in America

I just assume they'll know it's me.

CHEERS to a somewhat enduring career in animation.  Unreal---anyone born in 1987 or later has never known life without The Simpsons.  After spending a couple seasons as "shorts" on The Tracey Ullman Show, Homer & Co. began their regular run as a half-hour show---with the full title sequence---on Fox on this date in 1990.  For the most part, it's as sharp as ever (they even predicted the trillion-dollar currency craziness by, oh, a dozen years and change), and they apparently have no plans to quit anytime soon.  Today in the C&J cafeteria:

Duff Beer ad
…and keep 'em comin'.

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Five years ago in C&J: January 14, 2008

JEERS to Chimpy McFlightsuit.  The Bush legacy encapsulated: complaints about the faulty yet "certified" fire-extinguishing system  in the $740 million U.S. embassy complex in Baghdad were either ignored or overruled.  Result: the contractors get overpaid, shitty work goes unimpeded, lives are put at risk, taxpayers get hosed, and accountability ends up in a pile of charred embers.  Now maybe someone should look into the new Green Zone fire trucks---something about the square tires looks a little odd to me.

JEERS to ridiculous concoctions.  Good lord.  Bush and his neocons have been threatening to start World War III because of an incident in the Gulf of Hormuz involving a few Boston Whalers and a mysterious voice that probably belonged to a prankster who calls himself---I kid you not---"Filipino Monkey."  I tell you, I could not make this stuff up if I drank a case of scotch and smoked a bong full of mauwie wauwie.  But I'm willing to try!

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And just one more…

CHEERS to the victors and their spoils. The Golden Globes were handed out last night.  Congrats to the winners, including:

Abraham Lincoln
Daniel Day-Lewis does it again.
Best Drama: surprise winner Argo
Best Comedy or Musical: Les Misrblerezzbles
Miniseries or TV movie: Game Change
Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty
Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln
Ben Affleck for directing Argo
Quentin Tarantino for his Django Unchained script
Supporting Actor Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained
Supporting Actress Anne Hathaway for Les Miisrblzeeberebles
Actress in Miniseries or TV movie: Julianne Moore in Game Change
All of the nominees who didn’t win will receive a trillion-dollar consolation coin.  Meanwhile, in other competition news: this morning in New England there is no reason for us to pout, now that the mighty Texans have verily struck out. (They play baseball, right? Looked like it yesterday...)

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

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Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial:

Cheers and Jeers was something I couldn’t get enough of.  I was always a little more liberal-thinking than Bill in Portland Maine.”
---Miss America 2013 Mallory Hagan
1/12/13

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