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From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE…

Either/Or

As Barack Obama started his second term this week, I found myself asking the question: "How will I know if he's a great president…or a broken one?"

I mean, that's a hard call, especially since Obama's only halfway through his presidency. As a slovenly blogger slogging away in my Underoos without a shred of intelligence or common sense, I'm in no position to pronounce judgment on the most powerful person in the world. I hate to admit it, but me and my Dorito-stained fingers are lost souls when it comes to #44's legacy.

I needed a grownup to settle this. No…I needed the grownup to settle this. I needed David Brooks. "Bobo" knows all, sees all, judges all and pronounces all. He'd know if President Obama is a great president or a broken one.

I was planning to scale the New York Times building with suction cups strapped to my knees and elbows and seek Mr. Brooks's counsel from his lofty perch. Fortunately, that proved unnecessary. (I say fortunately because suction cups are really pricey these days due to the worldwide suction shortage.)

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts administers the oath of office to President Barack Obama during the official swearing-in ceremony in the Blue Room of the White House on Inauguration Day, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013. First Lady Michelle Obama, holding t
To David Brooks, Obama is either
a great president or a broken one.
Does he look broken to you?
Turns out David Brooks provided the answer in a January 8, 2009 column penned by his own hand.  Yes, just days before Obama was set to take the oath for his first term, Mr. Brooks made the call:
"By this time next year, he'll either be a great president or a broken one."
There you have it: since he's clearly not a broken president (CoughRe-electionCough) President Obama joins Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, TR, and FDR among the greats. It's right there in writing.

I love either/ors. They're so clarifying. Thanks, Mr. Brooks!

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

Cheers and Jeers for Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Note: This blog may be monitored for quality-assurance purposes.  We're also monitoring your fridge.  Don't eat the cottage cheese.

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By the Numbers:
Days 'til the next full moon, during which you're required to go outside and wink at Neil Armstrong: 3
Days 'til the Groundhog Trail Wine Festival in Clearfield, PA: 10
Estimated crowd size at Obama's inauguration, which was higher than expected: 1 million
(Source: Newsday)
Percent of Mainers who say they own a gun: 55%
Percent of Mainers who believe in restrictions on gun ownership: 79%
(Source: Maine Sunday Telegram poll)
Rank of DC, WI, ND, IA and IL among states with the highest rate of binge drinkers: #1-5
(Source: CDC)
Number of hotels and restaurants, respectively, that got a "Five Diamond" rating from AAA this year: 125, 53

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Mid-week Rapture Index: 185 (including 4 gogs and 1 case of a match made in hell).  Soul Protection Factor 12 lotion is recommended if you’ll be walking amongst the heathen today.

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Puppy Pic of the Day: Crashing the gate

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CHEERS (I hope) to cloture closure.  Yesterday Senate Sheriff Harry Reid gave Outlaw Mitch McConnell 36 hours to come up with a "compromise" on filibuster reform.  If that fails---and please, god, let it---Reid says he's got 51 votes in his pocket to change the filibuster rules solely on Democrats' terms during the first session of the new term.  I'm not at liberty to reveal the entire list of changes to the filibuster process yet, but I'll give you one hint: chicken dance.

Senator Al Franken
Franken vs. Crazy Lady?
Oh, yes...yes please!
CHEERS to the Franken Era: Take II.  Say this for Al, as a freshman senator he's mostly kept his head down and his nose clean.  The only thing I can fault him for was his support of SOPA/PIPA that would've restricted internet freedom.  (I think he's since backed off that crapola.)  Otherwise, he's fightin' for Minnesota through a prism of liberal values and by all accounts doing a pretty good job at it.  So this isn’t exactly a surprise, but it's still good to see:
A new Public Policy Polling survey in Minnesota finds Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) with a relatively healthy 52% to 41% approval rating.

One thing that may help Franken's re-election in 2014: The top choice of Republican voters to take him on is Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) with 45% say they would like her to be their candidate with no one else even coming close.

Franken crushes Bachmann in a hypothetical match up, 54% to 40%.

I want one hundred debates.  Minimum.

JEERS to not going out of business. Four years ago, newly-minted President Barack Obama signed an order that was intended to close the prison at Guantanamo within a year:

Guantanamo Bay prison
Still open for nasty business.
"The orders that I signed today should send an unmistakable signal that our actions in defense of liberty will be just as our cause and that we, the people, will uphold our fundamental values as vigilantly as we protect our security. Once again, America’s moral example must be the bedrock and the beacon of our global leadership."
A bunch of cowards in Congress and state houses---Republicans and Democrats, of course---got the vapors and said no, America isn't smart enough or strong enough to handle those detainees ON AMERICAN SOIL!!!  So, four years later, Gitmo is still open for business, and now the president can have American citizens arrested without probable cause and black-helicoptered there, too, if he chooses.  Memo to DHS: if I'm on your list, I'd like my steak medium, please.  Light on the tater tots, extra broccoli.

JEERS to frozen assets.  Oh, we have been spoiled the last couple years---here in Maine, at least---with milder-than-usual winters that made 'em zip right along.  But this week we---and a big swath of the republic for which we stand with our tongue stuck to a flagpole---have been thrust into the deep-freeze.  How cold is it?  It's colder than Dick Cheney at a civil liberties convention.  It's colder than a Koch brother at a union rally.  It's colder than the glares the on-air staff gives the lone fact-checker at Fox News.  Oh yeah…it's cold.

CHEERS to timely retro-advice.  Seventeen years ago today---oh, this is so cute---Bill Clinton delivered a State of the Union speech in which he told Republicans that they had to pinky-swear…

Bill Clinton at 1996 State of the Union address
Clinton saved Republicans
from themselves.
"Never, EVER shut the federal government down again.  On behalf of all Americans, especially those who need their Social Security payments at the beginning of March, I also challenge the Congress to preserve the full faith and credit of the United States---to honor the obligations of this great nation as we have for 220 years; to rise above partisanship and pass a straightforward extension of the debt limit and show people America keeps its word."
Read that out loud to a tea party Republican.  They'll stand there all day waiting for the rimshot.

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Five years ago in C&J: January 23, 2008

YEESH to Sunday morning yammering.  Time magazine's Richard Stengel gets the prize for most out-of-control analogy of the weekend on The Chris Matthews Show:

"As somebody once said, in every relationship there's a flower and there's a pot.  And when there is a candidate, the candidate is the flower and the spouse is the pot.  The problem is, Bill Clinton likes to be the flower.  He wants to be the bride at the wedding and the departed at the funeral."
He added: "He wants to be the steaks on the grill, the Rolls in the garage, the mansion on the hill, the gum on the shoe, the Hemingway on the bookshelf, the yacht in the marina, the ball in the dog's toy basket, the Beyonce on the iPod..."  If the tranquilizer dart had missed him, he could've gone on all day.

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And just one more…

CHEERS to flying filling.  Today is a high holy day at Daily Kos.  Yes, it's…National Pie Day.  Let the fun begin:

Three Stooges ppie fight
If it's lemon meringue
it must be Wednesday.
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"Love Obama!" [Splot!]  "Hate Obama!" [Splot!]

"Site moderation!" [Splot!]  "Self-policing!" [Splot!]

"Ginger!" [Splot!]  "Mary Ann!" [Splot!]

"Ideological purity!" [Splot!]  "Practical centrism!" [Splot!]

"Woozles!" [Splot!] "Pooties!" [Splot!]

"Three point one four one five!" [Splot!]  "That's pi, not pie, you idiot!" [Splot!]

"Hi, I'm just here to use the restroom." [Splot! Splot! Splot! Splot! Splot! Splot!]

Whee.  Same time next year?

Have a tolerable Wednesday.  And please keep commonmass and GreenMountainBoy02 in your thoughts today.  Floor's open...what are you cheering and jeering about today?

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Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial:

Linking Cheers and Jeers to devastating weather and fires, Obama said the country could grow its economy while protecting itself from the worst effects of Bill in Portland Maine.
---Reuters

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