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From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE…

Netroots Nation 2013: 18 Weeks and Counting

Things are jumpin' as the June 20-23 San Jose convention edges closer. The latest:

The deadline for submitting panel ideas ended last week. A record 530 proposals were sent in. The list of panels that get the green light will be posted around April.

Netroots nation Exhibition Hall
The exhibit hall is always buzzin'.
(Photo courtesy of NPI)
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Free booth space! Get yer free Exhibit Hall booth space! The annual "Grab a Booth" contest is underway. It's a way of making it easier for new vendors to attend the convention who otherwise might not be able to come. The contest applies specifically to non-profit c3 and c4 organizations and qualified small businesses who haven't exhibited at YearlyKos/Netroots Nation yet. Submissions will be accepted through February 25th. Online voting---open to everyone---will take place between February 26 and March 12 to determine the first three winners. A blue-ribbon panel of NN organizers will choose three additional winners. Click here for more information and the entry form. If you have questions, questions or even questions, email Karen Kolber via karen [at] netrootsnation.org.

For a smokin'-hot chance to suit up and experience what it's like to be a fire fighter for a day, check out Netroots Nation Fire Ops 101:

As political attacks on fire fighters heat-up, the insights learned during Fire Ops will better prepare participants to respond to outrageous statements being made by some political leaders about fire fighters, their job and service to the community. Sponsored by the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), in conjunction with San Jose Fire Fighters Local 230, the San Jose Fire Department and Netroots Nation, Fire Ops 101 puts civilians directly in the smoke and the heat.
To reserve your spot at the June 19 event, Click here. Yes---I believe you will see the Jaws of Life in action.

Netroiots Nation Register Now icon
The first party has been announced! Wednesday evening, June 19, the Courage Campaign kicks off the fun with a "Liquid Courage" welcome party. Details TBA. I'll take my liquid courage in a chilled glass with a lime twist, please and thank you.

Current status on registrations: I'm told by organizers that "we're experiencing record numbers on registration this year. We only have a certain number of tickets available at each price tier, so make sure you register before the current price tier sells out." Click here for registration and here for official hotel info. Last year over 3,000 people parachuted into Providence, Rhode Island. Look for that number to be easily topped this year.

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

Cheers and Jeers for Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Note: As you can see above, today is Wednesday the 13th.  The good news is: it's not unlucky!  The bad news is: it's still only effing Wednesday.

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By the Numbers:
Days 'til International Women's Day: 23
Days 'til the Charleston Wine & Food Festival: 15
Percent of the wine produced globally that's swigged by Americans, making us the top market for the vino: 13%
(Source: Time)
Percent of Americans who say they trusted Republicans and Democrats, respectively, more on immigration in October 2010: 46% - 41%
Percent of Americans who say they trust Republicans and Democrats, respectively, more in immigration now: 34% - 41%
(Source: AP-GfK poll)
Number of popes there have been since St. Peter in 32: 265
Year the first commercially-produced Valentine cards were sold in the US: 1834
(Source: Reuters)

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Mid-week Rapture Index: 186 (including 3 plagues and 1---NSFW!!!---really sucky president).  Soul Protection Factor 50 lotion is recommended if you’ll be walking amongst the heathen today.

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Puppy Pic of the Day: And the winner is...

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CHEERS to arriving fired up and ready to go. That Barack Obama is a baaaad mother…. (Shut your mouth!)…Well, I'm talking about Obama… (And we can dig it!)  Last night's State of the Union address (transcript here), in my humble opinion, had confidence, optimism, and just the right amount of tough running through it.  My notes are all over the place, but here's the brain dump for future archaeologists to marvel over:

>> The Congressmembers belonging to the "No Labels" caucus wore special circular badges that read: "Kiss me. My cause is futile.".

>> Obama's exploding fist bump with Republican Senator Mark Kirk (IL) is the night's Moment of Cool.

>> Obama: "The state of our union is improving, despite the best efforts of you idiots sitting in front of me with the elephant pins to prevent that."

2013 State of the Union address  Feb. 12, 2013
Somebody throw Boehner in the
House jail until he sobers up.
>> The teabaggers lasted a whole three minutes before shouting "Tyranny!"  A record.

>> John Boehner's Jim Beam fumes gave me a contact high through my TV.

>> It wouldn’t be a State of the Union without the annual plea to make tax forms simpler to fill out.  It never gets done, though, because no one wants to fuck with that time-honored rhetorical tradition.

>> We must pass the DREAM Act so we can make it safe for Canadians to come out of the shadows.

>> Every "deficit hawk" who eagerly and hypocritically siphoned every federal dollar they could get their hands on for state projects got chopped off at the knees last night, and I say GOOD:

"The CEO of Siemens America---a company that brought hundreds of new jobs to North Carolina---said that if we upgrade our infrastructure, they’ll bring even more jobs. And that’s the attitude of a lot of companies all around the world.  And I know you want these job-creating projects in your district. I’ve seen all those ribbon-cuttings."
When he said that, the chamber went stone-cold silent.  A very red-faced stone-cold silence.  BUSTED!

>> Obama's 2013 goals include a hike in the minimum wage, equal pay for women, quality pre-school for every child in America, better health care, more protection from gun-related violence, and a streamlined voting system.  Or as Republicans call them: big gifts for the moochers.

>> Thirty-one members of Congress took as their guest someone with a connection to gun violence.  When the president said, "They deserve a vote!"---referring to victims of gun violence deserving a vote on gun-safety bills---the chamber went wild in a way I haven't heard in a long time.  A good omen?

>> When Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews squabble on the air, it sounds like Christmas around a dysfunctional-family dinner table.  More, please.  I'm a sucker for nostalgia.

Overall, a better-than-average effort, I thought.  Equal parts vision, nuts-and-bolts policy, impatience, and a firm dissection of why modern conservatism sucks.  Methinks someone has hit his proverbial stride.

JEERS to the rebuttal.  Senator Marco Rubio followed Obama last night.  The "Republican Savior" (I bet Time magazine's chokin' on that headline right about now) on my TV last night scolded me for five minutes for not suffering enough, and then this happened:

My theory: he was playing a SOTU drinking game and "false choices" was one of his take-a-swig phrases.  Meanwhile, because one Republican response just isn’t enough these days, Rand Paul showed up to give the "Tea Party" rebuttal (I think it aired on the Cartoon Network right after The Misadventures of Aqua Buddha).  I'd tell you what he said, but I fell asleep after "Good evening…"

CHEERS to another voice of common sense.  Claire Berkowitz is the research and Kids Count director at the Maine Children’s Alliance, and if her recent column in the Portland Press Herald is any indication, she's all kinds of awesome.  You can read the whole thing here, but I especially appreciated the way she wrapped up a very complex subject with a bit of level-headed common sense and an appropriate twinge if anger:

While the First and Second Amendments are constitutional rights, they shouldn't trump the rights of children to be safe in their homes, streets and schools.  The regulation of firearms is not confiscation.  Understanding the science behind exposure to media violence is not censorship.  Providing mental health services to those who need assistance is not a waste of public resources.

An estimated eight children are killed by a firearm every day in this nation. That number, that loss, is simply intolerable.

Yeah.  What she said.

JEERS to Presidents' Day ads.  They're all over TV and print hocking everything from cars to mattresses---bad actors in bad Abe and George costumes spouting lines like "We'll free your credit with no payments `til 2014!" and "We cannot tell a lie...we're dealin'!!"  I've even seen one with Abe and George pillow-crooning:

My God, Spock, what have they done?  What…have they…done?  And advertisers wonder why they always find themselves at the bottom of the professional food chain.

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Five years ago in C&J: February 13, 2008

CHEERS to the Big O.  Yesterday Barack Obama swept the primaries in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, thus putting a cork in Hillary Clinton's contention that she's the primary queen while he's the caucus king (although Clinton still looks strong in the must-win state of Ohio).  But the real lessons of the day---once again---are that a) judging by the record turnout, Democrats are more energized than Republicans by a factor of at least two-to-one, and b) we've still got two great candidates in the race, and the other team still has four shitty ones.  Up next: Hawaii and Wisconsin next Tuesday.  Guess which place reporters will be begging to get assigned to?  [2/13/13 Update: My fearless prediction for how Hillary will do in D.C., MD, VA, OH, HI and WI in 2016: STOMP STOMP STOMP STOMP STOMP STOMP!!!  Call it a hunch.]

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And just one more…

JEERS to Deadeye Dick.  Seven years ago today, after the coward Dick "Five Deferments" Cheney and his handlers sat on the news for nearly a day, America finally learned that the vice president went hunting and bagged a lawyer:

Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot and wounded a campaign contributor during a weekend quail hunt on a friend's South Texas ranch, local authorities and the vice president's office said Sunday.  The wounded man, 78-year-old Harry Whittington, was in intensive care at a Corpus Christi hospital after being hit by several pellets of birdshot Saturday afternoon, hospital spokesman Peter Banko told CNN.
That was the signal to unleash the late-night hounds:
Lawyer Harry Whittington with birdshot wounds inflicted by Dick Cheney on 2/12/06
The head that got between
Dick Cheney and his quail.
"Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a man during a quail hunt ... making 78-year-old Harry Whittington the first person shot by a sitting veep since Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton, of course, was shot in a duel with Aaron Burr over issues of honor, integrity and political maneuvering.  Whittington?  Mistaken for a bird."
---Jon Stewart

"To the vice president's credit, he did own up to it. On FOX News he said the fault was his, he can't blame anybody else. Boy, it's amazing, the only time you get accountability out of this administration is when they are actually holding a smoking gun."
---Bill Maher

"We can't get bin Laden, but we nailed a 78-year-old attorney. ... If this story gets any bigger, pretty soon they're going to have to tell the president."
---David Letterman

The most amazing part?  Whittington apologized to Cheney.  Republicans are weird.

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:

There's a sucker born every minute (and most of them end up listening to Bill in Portland Maine)
---Digby.

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Poll

All things considered, I'd give President Obama's State of the Union Address a(n)…

62%3113 votes
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