From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE…
Friday we recapped the first four months of 2013, then sealed 'em in a lockbox, wrapped the lockbox in chains and tossed it off a pier. They can never hurt us again unless they return as…Zombie 2013 Months from the Deep!
where they were when this happened.
Um...what happened, again?
May through August of 2013 was a significant period because, for the first time, people started using crude writing devices to document important events, such as twerking and the rapid disintegration of Richard Cohen's brain, and share this information with the wider community. Mere weeks later, telecommunications technology allowed these "stories" to be "broadcast," first in small villages and towns and then across county and even state lines. It was as if a blindfold was lifted from our eyes and wax stopples were pried from our ears. We must be very careful with how we proceed with this emerging field of "journalism." But for now, it's exciting.
Below the fold is the second of our three-part series called "God, Bill, Does Every Series Have to Have a Name? Just Post It Already and Let's Go Outside and Play with the !!#&*! Ball. (Thanks to our dog, Haley, for coming up with that great title.) We've rounded up some pics, stats and newsy bits, and tossed 'em into a giant cauldron of snarky stew. You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll beg me to seal this post in a lockbox, wrap it in chains, and toss it off a pier. I'll be happy to oblige.
Your wormhole to the past opens up again below the fold... [Swoosh!!] Right now! [Gong!!]
Note: The conclusion of our look back at 2013 will be posted tomorrow morning. Then we'll be off (our rocker HA HA HA) Wednesday and Thursday. Back Friday evening to start the whole trip around the sun thing all over again. What could possibly go wrong?-
And here's your puppy pic(s) of the day: Maddie's Greatest Hits.
C&J Flashback: May
School, outside what remains of the school following last week's tornado in Moore,
Oklahoma, May 26, 2013.
South Korea's new president, Park Geun Hye, begins an official visit to the U.S. The biggest topic of discussion is a closed-door meeting with President Obama to figure out what to do with North Korea's Kim Jong Un. The tentative plan includes a "carrot and stick" approach. Or, in language Jong Un can understand: "sippy cup and time-out."
The House is back in session. Or maybe it's not. Who the hell can tell these days?
A week after Rhode Island passes same-sex marriage into law, Delaware follows suit. Or, to put it more accurately, follows tuxedo.
By the Numbers
Increase in Americans' hourly wages since 2009, taking inflation into account: $0
(Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Approximate number of militias operating inside Syria: 1,000
Percent of Republicans surveyed who think Benghazi "is the biggest political scandal in American history" and also don’t know where Benghazi is: 39%
(Source: Public Policy Polling)
Estimated taxpayer cost of all the GOP's Obamacare repeal attempts in the House of Representatives: $55 million
(Source: Think Progress)
Percent of American adults who are either pissed/disappointed that the Senate failed to pass a background-checks bill in April: 59%
Percent who believe gun laws should generally be tougher and more relaxed, respectively: 54%, 10%
(Source: CBS News/New York Times poll)
Number of U.S. states that have fewer abortion providers than in 1978: 48
(Source: Harper's Index)
Due to the sequester, the hearts, moons, stars and clovers in Lucky Charms cereal are replaced with lint balls, knuckle hairs, cigarette butts and metal shavings. The nutrition content remains the same.
A majority of voters in South Carolina's 1st District pull the lever next to a scandal-plagued congressional candidate with an "R" after his name, instead of the smart, practical, perfectly qualified centrist with a "D" after her name. Mark Sanford then has to go to court to face accusations by his ex-wife of breaking into her house at night and trying to escape using the light from his smartphone. The judge throws the book at him---specifically the one titled Charmed Lives for Teflon-Coated Dummies.
5 positives about the just-concluded NRA convention in Houston
1) No one shot themselves while cleaning their gun.
2) No one left their gun in the bathroom.
3) No one dropped their gun on stage.
4) No one said "of course it's not loaded" and then shot somebody.
5) No bra-holster related injuries were reported.
Everything else about it? Nutsville.
Day cards and other crafts in the State Dining Room of the White House, May 9, 2013.
Due to the sequester, all condoms must now be made out of cheesecloth and a zip tie.
On Meet the Press, David Gregory bends down and washes Donald Rumsfeld's feet as he begs him to impart words of Very Serious Wisdom, but not before bowing down and washing Mitch McConnell's turtle shell while begging him to impart words of Very Serious Wisdom. Obama senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer tries to avert his eyes, fails, and turns into a pillar of salt.
Some guy in Florida catches and kills the biggest snake Florida has ever seen. As soon as he hears the news, Governor Rick Scott immediately checks his pulse and then breathes a huge sigh of relief.
E. Robert Kinney, the man who popularized fish sticks, dies. Among those expected to boycott his funeral: fish.
Late Night Snark
"The NRA this week elected a new president, choosing Alabama lawyer Jim Porter, who recently referred to Attorney General Eric Holder as 'rabidly un-American,' and still calls the Civil War the 'war of northern aggression.' He's known around the NRA as Reasonable Jim."
"The cicadas are back after 17 years, but they don't have their original drummer."
Clip of Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan on Meet the Press: All of these scandals makes a cluster that implies some very bad things. This is so broad. This IRS thing is something I've never seen in my lifetime.
Jon Stewart: Never in your lifetime have you seen a scandal this bad? What if a President secretly sold weapons to Iran in return for American hostages, and then used the proceeds to illegally fund a bunch of coked-up right-wing jungle rapists in Nicaragua? Ring a bell? Here's a hint: you worked in his White House as a high-profile speechwriter.
---The Daily Show
According to a new survey, white Americans are more likely to see President Obama as angry than black Americans. After hearing about it, Obama got really angry, according to white Americans.
Former Senate Majority Leader and '96 presidential contender Bob Dole comments on the current state of the GOP: “I think they ought to put a sign on the national committee doors that says 'closed for repairs' until New Year’s Day next year and spend that time going over ideas and positive agendas.” Following Dole's remarks, the chyron operator at Fox News starts "accidentally" putting a "D" after his name.
Pope Francis suggests that atheists can still get into heaven when they die. In return, atheists suggest that popes can still get into nowhere when they die.
Michele Bachmann offers America a choice: either Barack Obama goes or she goes! Moments later, Bachmann announces that her last day in Congress will be in January 2015.
Mandela's cell as they listen to former prisoner Ahmed Kathrada during their tour
of Robben Island Prison in Cape Town, South Africa, June 30, 2013.
The president makes headlines when he announces that Susan Rice is his new National Security Advisor. The best thing about Rice's appointment: her first name's not Condi.
Keith Olbermann returns to his roots with a new sports show on ESPN2. Happiest about hearing the news that he's finally getting out of the apartment to go to work again after 18 months? His bathrobe.
NSA contract employee Edward Snowden spills the beans to the media about the enormity of America's Borg-like domestic surveillance apparatus. Suddenly he starts being taken more seriously by the American people who start to realize that when the government tells us not to worry our pretty little heads about what it's doing behind our back, it's time to worry our pretty little heads about what it's doing behind our back.
By the Numbers
Number of avoidable deaths estimated to be caused by states that reject the Medicaid expansion that's a part of the Affordable Care Act rollout: 19,000
(Source: RAND corporation study via Paul Krugman)
Number of people who are in space right now: 9
Current approval rating of Congress, the lowest of any institution Gallup has ever tracked: 10%
Percent of 18-29 year-olds and those older than 65, respectively, who support the NSA data leaks by Edward Snowden: 60%, 39%
(Source: USA Today-Pew Research poll)
Number of Hispanic citizens here who reach voting age every month: 50,000
(Source: Charlie Cook)
Percent of Kossacks who believe that relations will improve between the U.S. and Iran with the election of Hassan Rouhani as Iran's new president: 51%
(Source: C&J poll registering over 5,000 votes)
American troops killed in combat in Afghanistan during the first six months of 2013: 72
Mitt Romney whines in public again, claiming that a "leading Democrat" told him a week before the election that his win was a lock. When asked why he didn't rely instead on "leading Republicans," Mitt said every time he tried to find one his GPS kept sending him to a unicorn farm.
The short list of VIPs who will be at the Netroots Nation convention in San Jose: Howard Dean, Sen. Jeff Merkley (OR), Barney Frank, Sandra Fluke, Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA), Atrios, Lizz Winstead, Senator Tom Udall (NM), Jeremy Scahill, the DKos front-pagers in Smurf costumes, Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL), House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the CA State Assembly John Perez, Amanda Marcotte, Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Joel Silberman, Zach Wahls, Joan Walsh and Darcy Burner. The long list reaches to the moon and back.
and Luna introduce the President during the LGBT Pride Month celebration in the
East Room of the White House, June 13, 2013.
The reaction to the presidential election in Iran is being greeted with cautious optimism. After all, there are stark differences. The old president was beholden to the mullahs who run the country with an iron fist. The new president is beholden to the mullahs who run the country with an iron fist but he doesn’t believe the holocaust was a hoax.
Actual opening statement by the defense lawyer in the George Zimmerman murder trial (yes, this is real):
"I would like to tell you a little joke. Knock knock. Who’s there? George Zimmerman. George Zimmerman who? All right. Good. You’re on the Jury. Nothing? That’s funny."Thus placating those who were concerned that the trial might turn into a circus.
Texas state Senator Wendy Davis (D), aided by stubborn protesters inside the chamber, manages to run out the clock on an abortion bill written by Republicans. Republicans will try and ram it through again, but for now Democrats spend a few moments enjoying the news of the Texas GOP's collision with a brick wall. And their annoyingly-high Stetson repair bills.
Liberal Congressman Ed Markey is elected the new junior Senator from Massachusetts, replacing State Department-bound John Kerry. With Kerry's departure, Elizabeth Warren becomes the state's senior senator, which mostly involves getting gold braid on her seat cushion.
Late Night Snark
"Verizon's business services division was ordered by the FBI to deliver millions of customers' "telephony metadata." That's a lot of jargon so let me break it down for you: Metadata means information about a call's length, location and participants. Telephony is what a two-year-old calls a telephone."
"Syrian President Assad crossed a red line. He used chemical weapons. Using harmful chemicals to hurt your own people? Who does he think he is, Monsanto?"
"Due to the government spy scandal, sales of the classic George Orwell book 1984 have skyrocketed. So the fallout is worse than we thought: it's making Americans read."
The Supreme Court guts the Voting Rights Act. In her dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg unloads on the court's conservatives for yesterday's display of judicial activism: "Hubris is a fit word for today’s demolition of the [Voting Rights Act]. … The Court appears to believe that the VRA’s success in eliminating the specific devices extant in 1965 means that pre-clearance is no longer needed. … With that belief, and the argument derived from it, history repeats itself.” Moments later Clarence Thomas wakes up and mumbles, "Miss anything good?"
Reaction by commenters at the far-right Michelle Malkin blog about the immigration reform bill that passes in the Senate with Republican support:
What I wouldn't give to see an old vet walk in there and cane the hell out of two or three of those rats before he gets hauled off.Remember, teabaggers: it's not rain. It's liquid sunshine.
I can't believe any Republican could vote for this. It's political suicide.
The Republic is toast!
How much more proof do we need that Marxists have taken over the RINOpublican party and that we have a one party system?
celebration at the White House, July 4, 2013.
Congress ramps up for another stretch of incompetence, intransigence and invective. Among the things they're not expected to get done: all the things they say they're expecting to get done.
Current list of things for which the White House is currently "under fire," according to the beltway media and their lapdog pundits: Egypt, Syria, Israel/Palestine, health care, surveillance, thunderclouds, unemployment, Alec Baldwin's latest tirade, baggy pants, car trouble, Glenn Greenwald's twitter feed, the heat, the humidity, the shrinking number of daylight hours, gas prices, an American not winning Wimbledon, chaos in the helium reserve, the crazy jet stream, the giant asteroid headed straight for us, plus the one next to it, and the size of this font.
The live coverage of the massive laser-pointer-filled Tahrir Square demonstration in Egypt becomes the highest-rated TV program of all time among cats.
Search engine AltaVista goes dark. If you don’t believe me, go Google it.
By the Numbers
Date on which the world's last telegram company, located in India, will stop sending them: 7/13/13
Increase in sales at the Lark gift shop in Gettysburg, PA so far this year, the 150th anniversary of the Civil War battle there: 670%
Number of women's-health experts who have appeared on Fox News to discuss the Texas abortion bill over the last two weeks: 0
(Source: Media Matters for America)
Drop in worldwide PC sales during the 2nd quarter of 2013 compared with the 2nd quarter of 2012: 11%
Percent of U.S. voters who say they share the Republican party's values: 13%
(Source: Democracy Corps survey)
Percent of doctors in North America who say they'd prescribe marijuana to their cancer patients if it was allowed: 75%
(Source: Harper's Index)
The most hated and feared man in the eyes of the Republican party and their corporate overlords is approved by the Senate. Veep Joe Biden swears in Richard Cordray as the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. On the breakfast menu in Scamville: Alka Seltzer.
The inventor of the game Twister dies. Chuck Foley was 82. He's buried with his right foot on green and his left foot on blue.
the East Room of the White House, July 9, 2013.
On Face the Nation, least-competent-ever Speaker of the House John Boehner discusses how hard he works…on his tan, his golf game and his cork-sniffing skills.
Take-no-prisoners journalist Helen Thomas, who grilled presidents Kennedy through Obama (with whom she shared a birthday), dies at 92. In her honor all newspaper presses are lowered to half speed.
With help from the machine that goes "Ping!", the Duchess of Kate delivers a bouncing baby boy and names him George, thus thwarting my chance to make a million bucks on etrade by not naming him Sir Loin of Beef.
Late Night Snark
"The Supreme Court struck down the part of the Voting Rights Act which protected minority voting in areas where it needed to be protected. Their reasoning is that we don't need it anymore. Racism is basically over in America, so let's get back to talking about Trayvon Martin and Paula Deen."
"President Obama is getting a new limousine that will have advanced night-vision capabilities. The technology even has a cool name. It’s called headlights."
President Obama has Hillary Clinton over to the White House to look over paint swatches for the Oval Office…er, um, to have lunch. Afterward Obama and Clinton play lawn darts in front of the press pool. Afterward, doctors say Chuck Todd won’t be able to sit down for a week.
Pope Francis performs Miracle #1, saying the word gay without invoking Sodom and Gomorrah or shooting lightning bolts out of his fingers: "If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?" The statement leads to Miracle #2: saying something about gays that doesn't cause gays' blood pressure to spike.
Clinton and Jimmy Carter walk past the statue of President Lincoln to participate
in the ceremony on the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington for
Jobs and Freedom and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech,
at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., Aug. 28, 2013.
President Obama straps on Jetpack One and flies to Arizona to deliver a speech on housing. Among other things, Obama says he wants to eliminate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In related news, all of the actual living Fannie Maes and Freddie Macs spend that evening frantically googling "How to survive a drone strike."
Another consequence of climate change. Scientists say the hotter this planet gets, the less civil we might be towards each other. When asked how they came to their conclusions, the researchers say shut the fuck up.
The Perseid meteor shower puts on a display of Perseidiousness. Everyone agrees it's beautiful, it unites Americans in a common activity, and it makes lots of people happy and curious about the universe and the wonders of science. In other news, Republicans introduce a constitutional amendment banning all future Perseid meteor showers.
By the Numbers
Copies of the Boston bomber cover issue of Rolling Stone that were sold the week of its release, more than double the sales from the same period last year: 13,232
Days George W. Bush and Barack Obama spent, respectively, on vacation after 4½ yrs in office: 367 / 92
(Source: Mark Knoller)
Percent of Americans who do and don't believe, respectively, the government is winning the "war on drugs": 4% / 82%
(Source: Think Progress)
Number of firefighters working to contain the wildfires in California, which have consumed over 161,000 acres so far: 3,600
Percent of Americans who say Obamacare should and should not, respectively, have its funding cut off: 36%, 57%
(Source: Kaiser Family Foundation poll)
Attorney General Eric Holder directs federal prosecutors to change the way they file charges for some drug crimes to reduce the number of convictions for offenses that carry inflexible, mandatory minimum sentences. Holder says that he's ordering the Justice Department to take it down a notch when it comes to prosecuting small-time, non-violent pot smokers. Or as they're better known: pot smokers.
Hardball host Chris Matthews predicts that "the hard right is going to take over the Republican party in 2016 and the nomination is going to Rand Paul. You watch---this is what I do for a living." He fails to mention that his '08 prediction was President Rudy Giuliani and his 2012 pick was President Michele Bachmann. America's Nostradumbass.
Syria: attacks with chemical weapons
Iraq: suicide bombers
Egypt: massacres by the military
Yemen: al Qaeda mobilizing
The Philippines: killer flooding
Japan: major radioactive Fukishima H2O leak
Britain: journalists treated like terrorists
Canada: Ted Cruz is one of us? Ick, eh.
Russia: LGBT citizens no longer exist…by law.
Greece: economic suffering continues
The North Pole: now called Lake Santa
Afghanistan: still no Club Med in Kabul
Qatar: superyacht paint scratched!
No wonder the space station guys never seem terribly eager to come home.
Over 100,000 people descend on the nation's capital to commemorate the 50th-year anniversary the 1963 "March for Freedom and Jobs," which is capped by a rousing speech by President Obama---flanked by former presidents Carter and Clinton---at the Lincoln Memorial. Meanwhile, the tea party commemorates the third anniversary of Glenn Beck's 2010 "Restoring Honor" rally from their barcaloungers by trying and failing to remember a single thing about it.
Late Night Snark
"Okay, let’s just be honest now. The House of Representatives is clearly where things go to die. It's where parents are going to start telling their kids their aging pets went. 'Oh, Fluffy's fine, darling, she just got stuck in committee.'"
---John Oliver (who was so amazing when he guest-hosted for Jon Stewart over the summer that he landed his own show on HBO)
"Ever since the leaks from NSA 'traitor and guest-at-your-wedding-no-one-seems-to-know' Edward Snowden, we've all had questions about domestic spying: How much do they know about us? As much as Facebook? Or nothing at all because they're using Google Plus?"
"Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon.com, bought The Washington Post for $250 million. He just walked into the Post's headquarters and said: 'Add to cart.'"
Russian president Vladimir Putin bans all demonstrations in or around Sochi for the two-and-a-half months before the Winter Olympics. The announcement makes people in other countries very mad. But probably not as mad as the owner of the Sochi Ronco outlet store.
And finally---your #1 picks in our Friday "Who won the week?" polls:
May 3 NBA center Jason Collins, who came out as the first openly-gay player in a major professional team sport
May 10 The three kidnapped Cleveland women (and one child) who were found alive, and the neighbors including Charles Ramsey & Angel Cordero who helped free them
May 17 (Tie) Bangladesh seamstress Reshma Begun, who survived under the rubble of that collapsed factory for 17 days and is in good condition ….. and Minnesota, which became the 12th state to approve gay marriage
May 24 Oklahoma heroes--the teachers, first-responders, rescue workers, volunteers, local TV meteorologists, and relief agencies who sprang into action during and after the tornadoes
May 31 Former Republican Senator (and Bill Clinton's '96 challenger) Bob Dole, for saying his party has no ideas and should shut its doors.
June 7 Glenn Greenwald and the Guardian newspaper, for breaking the story about the Congress-approved NSA Eye-of-Sauron data-mining operation
June 14 Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), for revealing details that destroyed Darrell Issa's anti-Obama claims in the IRS controversy
June 21 The 700+ Texans who held a 'people's filibuster' in the state House yesterday and prevented an anti-abortion bill from advancing
June 28 Texas state Senator Wendy Davis, who maintained her filibuster of a Republican-sponsored anti-abortion bill for 11 hours, then got an assist from fellow Senator Leticia Can De Putte and the gallery crowd to run out the clock
July 5 None—Holiday
July 12 Malala Yousafzai, who knocked the stuffing out of the Taliban with her speech to the U.N. Youth Assembly. (P.S. Happy 16th birthday today!)
July 19 Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Democrats, for making Republicans blink on their filibuster threat, paving the way for approval of (among others) CFPB head Richard Cordray and Labor Secretary Thomas Perez
July 26 Attorney General Eric Holder, who announced the DOJ will invoke Section 3 of the Voting Rights Act to target areas in Texas that discriminate against minority voters
August 2 The Pope, for his remark on gays that produced the quote of the week: "Who am I to judge?"-
August 9 Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who reversed his position from 'no' to 'Absofrickinglutely' on medical marijuana, and apologized for doing such crappy research the first time he looked into it
August 16 Judge Shira Scheindlin, who ruled that New York City's 'stop and frisk' law is unconstitutional
August 23 Antoinette Tuff, employee at Georgia's Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy, who talked a gunman who had entered the school into surrendering (so much for the NRA's notion that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun)
August 30 (Tie) The fast-food and retail workers who went on strike all over the country Thursday for better wages and union rights
Those who organized and took part in the 50th anniversary commemoration of the 8/28/63 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, including Presidents Carter, Clinton and Obama