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From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE…

The Mustache of Independence settles in

Once upon a time, back when the GOP hadn't gone completely off the rails, Maine elected to the Senate a Republican who got a reputation as a reasonable centrist. Olympia Snowe was only a reasonable centrist sometimes, but she did occasionally buck her party without a whole lot of muss or fuss. Then her party went completely off the rails. Tired of all the tea party bullshit, she quit senatorializing and hit the shuffleboard circuit.

In a landslide election, Mainers sent former Independent Governor Angus King to Washington. After weighing the pros and cons of each party, he chose to caucus with the sanity-prone Democrats. Last week he completed his first 100 days, and Portland Press Herald columnist Bill Nemitz wrote about his experience shadowing King for a day. In addition to discovering that the privilege of wearing the toga of the upper chamber requires him to work "the hardest I've ever worked in my life," King is also facing the frustration of dealing with the Party of No:

Maine Senator Angus King
[Gasp!] Oh, Senator,
such language!
At one point during the marathon budget deliberations, King asked the Republicans across the committee table: "Let me just stop and ask a question---I'm new here. If we accept some of your amendments into the budget, are you going to support it?"

The query hung in the air for several seconds. Finally, the Republicans said no, there was no way they'd line up behind the budget with or without their amendments. Replied King, "So what the hell are we doing here?"

He's also appropriately impatient at times with the Democratic leadership:
That same frustration colored King's reaction to earlier negotiations over the Senate's oft-used filibuster rules---his call for "talking filibusters" in which senators must actually hold the floor to prevent a vote was left out of what many considered a watered-down set of reforms. "I'd call it a disappointment," King said. "I wanted to do more."
Hear that, Harry?

I think King is off to a good start, and if I was a betting man I'd wager that he's going to quickly get a reputation as one of the most honest and plain-spoken members of the Senate. And, no, I'm not just saying that because I have a Nerf football with his autograph on it that I got in 1996 and allegedly turned into a candle-and-lobster-shell-surrounded shrine in my living room. Really. It's just a decoration.

P.S. Both Maine senators, King and Republican Susan Collins, came out in support of the gun-buyers background checks legislation now up for debate in the Senate. So toss those two in the Yea column.

And from their joint statement on the Boston Marathon bombings:

"As we struggle to comprehend this senseless tragedy, and as we continue to gather more information, we hold the families and the loved ones of those lost firmly in our thoughts, and we continue to pray for the full recovery of everyone who has been injured. … We stand united as Americans in our unfaltering support of one another.”
Cheers and Jeers continues below the fold...

Cheers and Jeers for Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Note: Shortcrust tart pastry war breaks out at bakers convention. Flyin' flan at 11.

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By the Numbers:
Days 'til the Kentucky Derby: 17
Days 'til the Heads-n-Tails Beer and Crawfish Festival in Southaven, Mississippi: 3
Average size of the donations to Organizing for Action from the 109,582 donors who have given since the organization was announced in late January: $44
Tax refund Facebook got last year after making profits of $1.1 billion: $429 million
(Source: Harper's Index)
Percent of Americans who say they'd rather lose their wallet than their smartphone: 20%
(Source: 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll)
Height of the monument to Pope John Paul II in Czestochowa, Poland that's made entirely out of spam: 46 feet
Percent chance that the monument is actually made out of fiberglass: 100%

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Mid-week Rapture Index: 187 (including 5 Drug Abuses and 1 cry of the Greater Snark Hen).  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:  Maddie on Things

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CHEERS to picking up the pieces.  The moments following the Boston bombing were full of overtly heroic acts that will forever be remembered by, well, everyone.  But in the wake of the initial shock and triage, the heroism continues on a less-visible scale: hospital personnel performing miracles on the injured, law enforcement analyzing a gazillion bits of evidence and wearing out their shoe leather to track the ASSHOLE who planted the pressure-cooker bombs, the families and friends of the victims dealing with the emotional toll, and the community (and nation) refusing to be terrorized.  That's not to minimize the damage done and lives lost, but it's a pretty compelling slap in the face of evil.  So, uh…when do we invade Iraq?

Issue of the New York Post wth Tiger Woods
Stay classy, Post.
JEERS to all the phony news that's unfit to print.  The New York Post got their facts wrong about the attacks on the crowd at the Boston Marathon.  When they thought the Obama administration got its facts wrong about the Benghazi attacks, they went ballistic and called for Hillary Clinton's impeachment.  I wonder if the NY Post will now shut down because of their ill-informed incompetence.  Oh, a girl can dream.

JEERS to Very Serious People, Vatican-style.  This just in from Pope Francis: "Hey, guys!  I have a swell idea!  Let's deal with our truckload of ungodly internal and external church crises by appointing a Gang of Very Serious People!"  And off they go…

Pope Francis named eight cardinals from around the globe Saturday to advise him on running the Catholic Church and reforming the Vatican bureaucracy, marking his first month as pope with a major initiative to reflect the universal nature of the church in key governing decisions.  The advisory panel includes only one current Vatican official.
Naturally, Simpson and Bowles were made honorary cardinals.  They vowed to join the Gang and get down to business just as soon as they finish gluing on their red feathers..

CHEERS to masters of the quill. The Pulitzer Prizes were announced Monday, and you can check 'em out here.  This was nice to see:

Restraining order graphic
The Pulitzer Committee also renewed
their restraining order against me.
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NATIONAL REPORTING: InsideClimate News.

A 5-year-old nonprofit won for a series on the environmental hazards of diluted bitumen after a million-gallon spill of Canadian tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan in 2010. … The series was called “Dilbit Disaster: Inside the Biggest Oil Spill You’ve Never Heard Of.”

“We’ve introduced the word dilbit (for diluted bitumen) into the national conversation about energy,” said David Sassoon, publisher of the Brooklyn-based InsideClimate.

Last year there was a bit of a stir when no one won a Pulitzer for fiction, but this year they found a recipient that stands head and shoulders above the rest.  Mitt Romney's head speechwriter says he plans to put his award on the mantle above the fireplace next to the Etch A Sketch.

Old photo of telescope
"Gladys, all we need now is
a volcano to put it on!"
CHEERS to seeing in Lavavision.  In Hawaii, the green light has been given to build one of the world's biggest telescopes on top of a volcano.  Sucker's gonna mess with your mind, man…
Once built, the Thirty Meter Telescope will instantly shoot near the top of the list of the most advanced telescopes on Earth. According to astronomers, the telescope will have the ability to observe light and objects from 13 billion years ago. The observatory will also have the ability to observe the early formation of exoplanets and galaxies, providing astronomers with rare insight into the formation of the universe.
The project is the culmination of vision, hard work, perseverance, and a burning desire to find out what naked aliens looked like 13 billion years ago.

CHEERS to live fish going with the flow.  Lawmakers in Maine have approved a bill granting fish known as alewives permission to swim in the St. Croix River for the first time since 1995.  But, doggone it, if we catch 'em peeing in it again, out they go!

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Five years ago in C&J: April 17, 2008

JEERS to the maverick of unintended consequences.  Hey, my friends!  John McCain has a brilliant idea for helping you save money: a gas-tax holiday!  Yay!  It would lower fuel bills while erasing thousands and thousands of American jobs.  A chip off the old Bush.

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And just one more…

CHEERS to the Wanker Slayer.  Once upon a time in the blogiverse, a stranger came to town and dropped the biggest bombshell the world had ever seen

Is this thing on?
22:13  0 Comments
Okay, okay…so it took him awhile to unpack his jammies.  But in short order the blogger known mysteriously as "Atrios" (aka Duncan Black), soon developed the proverbial "large and loyal following" at the site he calls Eschaton.  Today is the site's eleventh blogiversary, and we'd be remiss if we didn’t tip our hat to the "Dirty Fucking Hippie" from his self-described "urban hellhole" of Philadelphia.  He was especially ahead of the curve on the economic meltdown and the Iraq debacle, and lately he's been going after the austeritymongers with a fury (okay, droll and witty fury but fury nonetheless).  For my money, though, he secured his place in the Blogger Hall of Fame with the immortal post poking fun at the lapdog Iraq War-smitten press, "Preznit giv me turkee":
Heh, indeedy.

Oh, and Boston native Ben Franklin died on this date in 1790.  I guess that explains why he never returns my calls.  Floor's open...What are you cheering and jeering about today?

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Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial:

“One of the real challenges of reading Cheers and Jeers is that when you complete it, you don’t atrophy.”
---George W. Bush

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