From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE…
Seven years ago today America lost Molly Ivins. She was 62. Cancer got her, but she was full of fight right to the end. In their must-read biography, Molly Ivins: A Rebel Life, Bill Minutaglio and W. Michael Smith describe her as...
and crushing lows.
...a latter-day Mark Twain-meets-Will Rogers. She was the wisecracking social commentator who gleefully teed up on anyone whose boot heels clicked across the marble floors in the House of Power. Her column and her books were always anchored by a photo of her wide-open, inviting face---and she always seemed on the verge of a booming laugh. She crisscrossed the country, drew huge crowds, made innumerable national TV appearances, and was given honorary degrees, and all the while, powerful Hollywood producers were trying to decide whether to create a television series based on her---or to go all the way and put her life on the big screen.She was first-rate at documenting the quirks and oddities of her home state of Texas, especially its good-old-boy political machine:
We had a governor who was caught in a big, fat lie about a football scandal (serious stuff) and explained, "Well, there never was a Bible in the room."More Molly:
Some civilians believe the definition of an honest Texas pol is one who stays bought. But among pols of the old school, the saying was, "If you can't take their money, drink their whiskey, screw their women and vote against 'em anyway, you don't belong in the Legislature." Many of our pols have the ethical sensitivity of a walnut.
When last we left that merry band of Republican brothers in Congress, they were deregulating shit on beef.You can revisit Molly's columns from the 2000-2007 here. Her monthly back-page contribution to The Progressive magazine, and her books, had a big role in shaping my attitude---substance and style---towards politics. She let me know it could be much more satisfying to make a point with less emphasis on fuming and more emphasis on snark and sarcasm. Molly was Red Bull for the progressive soul.
George W. Bush is not a daddy president, he's the Testy Kid---Mr. Snippy. Every question is lese-majeste to the Snappy Prince, and a follow-up question is outright treason.On Pat Buchanan's culture-war speech at the 1992 Republican convention: "[It] probably sounded better in the original German."
Bush was replaced by his exceedingly Lite Guv Rick Perry, who has really good hair. Governor Goodhair, or the Ken Doll (see, all Texans use nicknames—it's not that odd), is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. But the chair of a major House committee says, "Goodhair is much more engaged as governor than Bush was." As the refrain of the country song goes, "O Please, Dear God, Not Another One."
The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion.
I have been attacked by Rush Limbaugh on the air, an experience somewhat akin to being gummed by a newt. It doesn't actually hurt, but it leaves you with slimy stuff on your ankle.
We get so scared of something---scared of communism or crime or drugs or illegal aliens---that we think we can make ourselves safer by sacrificing freedom. Never works. It's still true: the only thing to fear is fear itself.
Daily Kos was one of her favorite blogs, by the way. Cheers Molly, wherever you are. If it's not too much trouble, please come back.
It's 4:20 on the west coast. Gurgle gurgle. Your west coast-friendly edition of Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]
Cheers and Jeers for Friday, January 31, 2014
Note: There will be no C&J Monday. To suggest that it's because I plan to get schnockered while watching the Superb Owl is completely untrue. I plan to get schnockered during the Puppy Bowl. Back Tuesday with no memory of Sunday.-
Days 'til the Chinese New Year Festival and Parade in San Francisco: 15
Days 'til the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show: 10
GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2013, stronger than expected: 3.2%
(Source: Commerce Dept.)
Percent of Democrats, independents and Republicans, respectively, who believe the federal government should do "a lot" to reduce poverty: 67%, 56%, 27%
Percent of Democrats, independents and Republicans, respectively, who believe the rich got where they are because they "had more advantages" than less well-off people: 63%, 57%, 32%
(Source: Pew survey)
Surge in pizza sales on Superb Owl Sunday: 35%
Surge in antacid sales at 7-11 the day after: 20%
NEW! Michele Bachmann Departure Countdown
Michele Bachmann and her googly eyes leave Congress in 337 days.
Puppy Pic of the Day: Sunday Sunday SUNDAY!!! 3 O'Clock! Puppy Bowl X---Be there!!!
JEERS to watching the man in the white hat ride off into the sunset. On that glorious day in 2006 when Democrats re-took the majority in the House, one of the first things I thought to myself was, "Henry Waxman is going to be a chairman of a committee, and I can't wait to see him in action." It was the Energy and Commerce Committee and he didn't disappoint. He didn’t hold cheap show hearings like Republicans prefer---he dug into substantive issues and held them up to the light. As McJoan wrote yesterday, Waxman's departure is just full of dammit:
The announcement today from Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) that he will retire after this year threatens to end an era of an effective, aggressive, public service-minded House of Representatives. The list of Waxman's accomplishments is legion. … Waxman takes his pledge as a public servant as seriously as any person who has held elected office. He used his position first as chair of the Health and Environment Subcommittee and then the full Energy and Commerce Committee to conduct investigations on the issues that mattered most to the health and safety of Americans. … Public service---the hallmark of Waxman's long career---has been put aside by the Republican majority.Please join me in the parking lot after you read tonight's C&J for a group primal scream. I hear it's therapeutic.
JEERS to bad pennies that keep turning up (via Kossack xxdr zombiexx). George Zimmerman sure is having a ball these days. While the kid he murdered lies six feet under, ol' Georgie Porgie Puddin' 'n Pie plans to yuk it up as a pummeler of celebrities in the boxing ring. Golly, I hope he approaches it with the same class and seriousness that Tonya Harding and Paula Jones did:
Wild guess: people will be lined up out the door to take a crack at Mr. "These Assholes Always get Away." I hope they remember to put a horseshoe in their gloves.
CHEERS to Democrats and their wacky bizarre concept of safety nets. 74 years ago today, the first Social Security chec (#00-000-001) was issued to Ida May Fuller---a Vermonter and childhood classmate of Calvin Coolidge---for $22.54. Or, as the Republican leadership calls it, "$22.54 too much, ya moocher.
CHEERS to campaigning on your weakest point. Charles Krauthammer knows the path to victory for Republicans in 2014: make it all about late-term abortion. Not jobs. Not immigration reform. Heck, not even deficits or Obamacare or the generic "down with tyranny" that worked so well for them in 2010. Nope---late-term abortion is definitely the power issue for Republicans in November. Because, as Krauthammer himself admits, this is a slam-dunk:
What is it about women that causes leading Republicans to grow clumsy, if not stupid? When even savvy, fluent, attractively populist Mike Huckabee stumbles, you know you’ve got trouble. Having already thrown away eminently winnable Senate seats in Missouri and Indiana because of moronic talk about rape, the GOP might have learned. You’d think.I say go for it, GOP! Encourage your clumsy and stupid candidates, pundits and mega-doners ("care for some aspirin between your knees, little lady?") who never learn their lesson to continue making clumsy and stupid arguments based on lessons not learned. What could go wrong?
Meet the Press: White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough; Sen. Tim Scott (Crazy-SC); Julian Assaaaaaange; roundtable with Rich Lowry, Robert Gibbs, Gwen Ifill, Chuck E. Todd and Doris Kearns Goodwin.Of course, the only news shows worth anything are Melissa Harris Perry and Up with Steve Kornacki, the latter of whom has been dropping a lot of well-researched poo in Chris Christie's lap lately. Happy viewing!
This Week: Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI); roundtable with Donna Brazile, Bill Kristol, Matt Dowd, Ana Navarro and Paul Krugman.Sunday on This Week:
Face the Nation: Denis McDonough; Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA); Rudy Giuliani on how he would make the Superb Owl safer, which should fill everyone with dread; roundtable with David Gergen, Michael Gerson (WaPost), Kimberly Stassel (WSJ) and Bob Shrum (Daily Beast).
CNN's State of the Union: Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA).
Fox GOP Talking Points Sunday: Golly, the Superb Owl is on Fox, and guess who's on Fox News Sunday this weekend? Elway, Bradshaw, Johnson, Long, Strahan, Goodell and Archie Manning. What a coincidence!
CHEERS to the great uniter. On this date in 1928, Scotch tape was marketed for the first time by 3-M. It holds things together like a charm. But to shut up a Ted Cruz fauxlibuster only duct tape will do.
Five years ago in C&J: January 31, 2009
CHEERS to amazing discoveries. This is crazy. I can't believe it. A new Harvard/Brigham Young study concludes that when pollution is removed from their air, people tend to live longer. Even more shocking (are you sitting down?): apparently the Bush administration didn’t do enough to clean up the air. Thanks for the groundbreaking news, guys---that was money well spent.
And just one more…
CHEERS to Roman numeral abuse, Version XVIIIIIVIXIIIIIIIV. Not many people know this, but I've predicted every single Superb Owl winner since I was knee-high to Howard Cosell. Last year, for example, I picked the New England Patriots over the other team by 13, and although I haven't checked yet, my gut tells me I was spot-on. Over the decades people have asked, re-asked, begged, pleaded and prayed that I would reveal the secret to my success…all to no avail. But since my heart grew three sizes today (memo to self: schedule appointment with cardiologist), I'm prepared to give you a little peak behind my faux-pigskin prognostication curtain. Here's how I do it:
As you can plainly see, my 2014 prediction is ridiculously easy: Patriots by 13. Oh, and in order to make life easier for the nation's water-management teams, everybody please remember to flush at exactly 7:29:59. Thanks for your cooperation and bwoo-ha-ha.
Have a superb weekend! Floor's open...What are you cheering and jeering about today?