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From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE…

SOTU Notes

For better or worse, tonight America holds its annual family reunion. Once a year, our government's leaders and citizens are required to pile into the station wagon of freedom (minus a dog strapped to the roof, because only a freak would do that) and cruise to Capitol Hill to hear the head of our squabbling household deliver the equivalent of one of those multi-page "family update" letters that comes every December tucked inside a holiday card. It's President Obama's moment to define where we’ve been and where we're going and whether or not going there involves climbing into a handbasket.

One thread I've enjoyed following from year to year is his annual reference to the lifting of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy:

2013 State of the Union
Obama visits the hive of scum and villainy.
2010 State of the Union
"This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are."

2011 State of the Union
"Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love."

2012 State of the Union
"When you put on that uniform, it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white; Asian, Latino, Native American; conservative, liberal; rich, poor; gay, straight."

2013 State of the Union
"We will ensure equal treatment for all servicemembers, and equal benefits for their families---gay and straight."

That's a remarkable and welcome evolution after nearly twenty years of watching the policy completely fail to do anything positive for our country, and in fact wreak all kinds of havoc in the name of bigotry. I hope he moves on to urge the passage of ENDA and repeal of DOMA tonight.

Meanwhile, here's your SOTU drinking game: drink enough so that you're good and schnockered by the time garden-variety conservative Cathy McMorris Rodgers delivers the "Republican response," but not so much that you pass out during the "Tea Party response" by Mike Lee, but definitely enough to pass out during the "Tea Party response to the Tea Party response" by scratchy record Rand Paul. I'll leave the official analysis of those addresses to our dog Haley, who will deposit her feedback in a pile behind the garage tomorrow morning.

And before I head downstairs to open the kiddie pool, please enjoy this flashback from the days when Republicans swore on Bibles that history would judge this guy as one of the greatest leaders the world has ever seen:

"We will not pass along our problems to other Congresses, to other presidents, and other generations."
---George W. Bush, State of the Union address, Jan. 28, 2003
Of course not. Passing them along would be too civilized. He beaned us in the back of the head with 'em and ran.

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

Cheers and Jeers for Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Note: Today is National Fun At Work Day and also National Kazoo Day.  C&J assumes no responsibility for the consequences of mixing the two.
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Newport Winter Festival 2014 logo
17 days!!!
By the Numbers:
Days 'til the 2014 enrollment deadline for Obamacare coverage: 62
Days 'til the Newport Winter Festival in Rhode Island: 17
Estimated number of children hurt or killed by guns in a year: 10,000
(Source: Yale Researchers)
Years since nutrition labels on food packages got an official FDA-mandated facelift, as is happening now: 21
Year in which food companies started voluntarily posting nutrition info on the front of packages at the urging of First Lady Michelle Obama: 2011
(Source: Bloomberg News)
Ticket price to enter the Sept. 11 Museum at Ground Zero in NYC: $24
Number of people who "like" Portland, Maine's official Facebook page: 84,369

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Tuesday Words of Wisdom from the Right-wing Blogosphere:

One reason a lot of folks don't see it is because they don't watch FOX News and are PROUD of the fact that they HATE FOX! So...the truth never gets to them. They watch Jon Stewart, MSNBC, etc. and THAT is where they get their news, which they believe completely! They are totally brainwashed!
---Commenter Hapscrapr at the Michelle Malkin blog
All together now: 1…2…3… Classy!

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Puppy Pic of the Day: Breakfast imitates life

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CHEERS to the best seats in the house…er, the House.  If you're wondering who's attending tonight's State of the Union as a guest of the First Lady, here's a list.  Included is this lucky little whiz kid:

President Obama with a marshmallow gun made by Joey Hudy, age 14
Obama fires Hudy's marshmallow cannon
and starts World Wars III, IV and V.
Joey Hudy is a self-described “Maker,” part of a growing community of young people, adults, and entrepreneurs who are designing and building things on their own time.  Joey first shot to fame in 2012 when, at 14-years-old, he attended the White House Science Fair where the President took a turn using the contraption he had made---the “extreme marshmallow cannon”---and launched a marshmallow across the East Room.

Joey then handed the President a card with his credo: “Don’t be bored, make something.”

That explains why tonight Obama plans to end his address with: "Now witness the power of this fully armed and operational battle station."

CHEERS to The New Yorker.  With days to go 'til the start of The Most Depressing Olympics In Modern History, the magazine with the most talked-about covers doesn't disappoint with their latest:

The New Yorker with Putin cover  January 2014
Meanwhile back in Sochi, the mayor says his city is completely gay-free.  He knows this because everybody who enters has to pass through a jazz hands detector.

JEERS to premature descents.  On January 28, 1986---good lord, 28 years ago---the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after liftoff, killing all seven crewmembers, including civilian teacher Christa McAuliffe.  I'm guessing that, if you were around then, you remember exactly where you were when you heard about it.  I was in the Otterbein College (Westerville, Ohio) campus center at 11:38am, and can still conjure up the queasy feeling that set in when I realized what had happened.  A big crowd of students and faculty stood around the big-screen TV, stunned.  Earlier this month a bunch of unpublished photos were discovered and posted.  File this item under: Days we wish we could do over.  And just a bit differently.

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Gong!  Gong!!  BuddaBuddaBudda… GONG!!!

This is another edition of The One Word Answer Man.  Daily Kos labor editor Laura Clawson asks: Will the Supreme Court Take Its Latest Chance to Weaken Unions?

Probably.

Now back to Cheers and Jeers.

Gong!  Gong!!  BuddaBuddaBudda… GONG!!!
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JEERS to dispatches from the front lines.  "There's no Republican war on women," says Mike Huckabee. "There's a Republican war for women."  Yeah, and this is the latest salvo in that GOP war "for" women:

Woman in kitchen circa 1950s, cooking
She's not an enemy combatant
when she's busy in the kitchen.
New “emergency” abortion regulations in Louisiana require patients to wait 30 days between blood tests and their abortion procedures, according to the state’s Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH), which has also enacted new physical plant requirements, licensing procedures, and staffing rules that may soon have the effect of shuttering all five of Louisiana’s legal abortion providers. […]

“They’re tripling the size of what procedure rooms need to be,” said Schilling. “Nobody else has to comply with this, even general hospitals don’t have requirements like this for procedure rooms, separate recovery rooms.” The rules even dictate what specific kind of flooring materials abortion facilities must use.

With friends like Republicans…

CHEERS to the first ringy-dingy.  On January 28, 1878, the commercial telephone switchboard made its national debut in New Haven, Connecticut.  The first customers were Amanda Hugginkiss, I.P. Freely and Seymour Butz.  We hear the first operator lasted a whole five minutes.

JEERS to the dark side of Francis.  Two children stood on a St. Peter's Square balcony with Pope Francis over the weekend.  On the Pope's signal they released a pair of adorable peace doves, which were promptly attacked by a seagull and a crow.  Said the pontiff: "See you at next week's confession, kids.  This time bring your gerbils."

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Five years ago in C&J: January 28, 2009

CHEERS to the bipartisan shuffle.  President Obama sauntered coolly to his old stomping grounds on Capitol Hill yesterday, pausing only briefly on the way to halt a bank robbery, save a kitten from a tree and play a game of hopscotch with underprivileged children.  His mission: to convince House Republicans that this is no time to fuck around:

Baby picking nose
GOP response
to Pres. Obama.
"I don't expect a hundred percent agreement from my Republican colleagues, but I do hope that we can all put politics aside and do the American people's business right now," Obama said.

Republicans responded by grabbing their crotches and rolling their eyes.  I admire their restraint.

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True fact: "Leo" was Maine's
governor from 1889-1893.
His first act: legalize catnip.
CHEERS to the fuzzy wuzzy state.  We hijacks thees blog from da yoomans so we can bringz ya dis updateses: da bestest place for pooties in da Yoo Ess Uff Ay ees….
This one wasn’t even close---Maine is far and away the best state for cat lovers. The great cat state of Maine has the second-highest ranking of any U.S. State in these categories: percentage of cat owners in America (46.4), Facebook “likes,” animal protection law strength, no-kill animal shelters, and percentage of cat owners over dog owners (11%).

Maine is one of three states with an official state cat---the Maine Coon cat---a tall, muscular cat with heavily furred ears and feet ideally suited for cold winters.

Also included in the criteria that put Maine at the top of the scratching post: we understanding better than anyone else that if we don't respect our furry overlords, our tall muscular state cat will steal our breath in the middle of the night and deposit our carcass on top of the pile of rodent bones under the porch.  So THUMBS UP TO CATS ALL DAY EVERY DAY!!!  

Have a nice Tuesday.  Rest in peace, Pete Seeger.  Floor's open...What are you cheering and jeering about today?

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Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial:

Bill in Portland Maine Is Young and Old, All at the Same Time
---Smithsonian.com

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