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From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE

So, As They Were Saying...

Five years ago today a gaggle of retired military brass---three generals and an admiral---wrote a column that was published in The Washington Post titled, Gays and the Military: A Bad Fit. Their opening paragraph minced no words:

With the nation engaged in two wars and facing a number of potential adversaries, this is no time to weaken our military. Yet if gay rights activists and their allies have their way, grave harm will soon be inflicted on our all-volunteer force.
Facts are facts, they said, and there's no reason to pussyfoot around. So they fired up their rhetorical flame throwers and cleared a 778-word path to make America's military safe for heteros.

With the ban on openly-gay servicemembers lifted nearly three years ago, I thought it would be patriotic to revisit the predictions those pillars of military leadership made in their column five years ago, and then celebrate their pinpoint accuracy with sweets and flowers:

Bar of soap graphic
Historians will note that this is what
the DADT fuss was all about.
• Team cohesion and concentration on missions would suffer if our troops had to live in close quarters with others who could be sexually attracted to them.

• Some suggest that the United States must emulate Denmark, the Netherlands and Canada, which have incorporated homosexuals into their forces. ... America's armed forces are models for our allies' militaries and the envy of our adversaries---not the other way around.

• [I]mposing this burden on our men and women in uniform would undermine recruiting and retention, impact leadership at all echelons, have adverse effects on the willingness of parents who lend their sons and daughters to military service, and eventually break the All-Volunteer Force."

• [T]he question is one of national security and the discipline, morale, readiness and culture of the U.S. armed forces upon which that security depends. It is a question we cannot afford to answer in a way that breaks our military.

Today no grave harm has been inflicted on the military. Retention is fine. Cohesion and concentration are high. Foreign military cooties haven't spread to our men and women in uniform. Parents are still "lending" their offspring to the service. Discipline and morale are fine, as is readiness. And openly-gay servicemembers haven't broken the military. (However, the top brass's aversion to clamping down on the epidemic of sexual assault by straight servicemembers sure isn't doing it any favors.)

Wow. It appears that retired General James J. Lindsay, Admiral Jerome Johnson, Lt. General E.G. "Buck" Shuler Jr. and General Joseph J. Went---and all their right-wing allies who cheered them on---were spectacularly wrong. Fire up the forklift, Ma---looks like we gotta put all these sweets and flowers back in storage.

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

Cheers and Jeers for Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Note: Washington, D.C. residents: yes, you have to pay your taxes in exchange for no representation.  But please enjoy the gorgeous views of the Tidal Basin year-round at no extra charge.  ---Your Friendly Federal Government
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Free Comic Book Day 2014 logo
18 days!!!
By the Numbers:
Days 'til Earth Day: 7
Days 'til Free Comic Book Day: 18
Number of criminal investigations related to identity theft launched by the IRS last year, an increase of 66 percent from 2012: 1,500
Amount the IRS issued in fraudulent tax refunds in 2013: $4 billion
(Source: AP)
Decrease in the risk of getting type 2 diabetes among people studied in Britain who ate fermented dairy foods like yogurt four times a week: 28%
(Source: AARP)
Salary John Adams received as our first vice president: $5,000
What that equals in today's dollars: $131,600
(Source: Parade)

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Tuesday Words of Wisdom from the Right-wing Blogosphere:

The democrats are the Soviet Union. 7 Trillion of your hard earned dollars went to the Russians through America's first gay down-low communist President. America's recovery is in Russia, how do you think the built the Olympic Village? I don't need anyone making my tragedy worst. I can do bad all by my self. That last trillion Congress appropriated, will be paid for at the ballot box. Anybody need a job? Run for Congress. Barack's name, ss#, date of birth, country of birth, Columbia attendance, are all contradictory 7 or 8 different times. But this bastard found my 1st boyfriend from 40 years ago to start some stuff, amazing.I can't find his because he doesn't exist.
---Commenter nocdeces at the Michelle Malkin blog
All together now: 1…2…3… Classy!

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Puppy Pic of the Day:  In Perry, Georgia: Sploosh!!!

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

JC Penney massager machine
Every Pulitzer Prize winner will
receive one of these damn things.
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The Washington Post won two Pulitzer Prizes on Monday, including the prestigious public-service medal for a series of stories that exposed the National Security Agency’s massive global surveillance programs.

A team of 28 Post journalists, led by reporter Barton Gellman, shared the public-service award with the British-based Guardian newspaper, which also reported extensively about the NSA’s secret programs.  Gellman and Glenn Greenwald, then the Guardian’s lead reporter on the NSA pieces, based their articles on classified documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the former government contractor who has fled to exile in Russia, lending a controversial edge to this year’s awards.

The top prize in fiction was The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.  She barely edged out Paul Ryan's A Path to Prosperity: A Responsible, Balanced Budget and Rand Paul's I Did Not Plagiarize This Speech.

CHEERS to Matzoh Fever!  Passover (aka "Bad people tried to kill us, we survived, let's eat!") started last night and is in full swing.  The holiday commemorates Moses's exodus from Egypt three thousand years ago, including his Oscar-nominated parting of the Red Sea.  (For conservatives, Passover is a celebration of what modern-day Republicans do to competent people.)  I'm not Jewish---my roulette wheel stopped on "Wild 'n Crazy Episcopalian"---but I still like to commemorate it with an abbreviated seder during which I go straight to the four glasses of wine.  Now you know why in our house the holiday is known as Passout.

JEERS to Supreme stupidity.  Televangelist Pat Robertson, saying "we need to do something," wondered out loud recently if his followers wouldn’t mind praying for the death of the President of the United States.  That sounds pretty disturbing and worth a jingle to the Secret service, except they probably know he also said this about the liberal justices on the Supreme Court eleven years ago:

Pat to his followers every day.
"We ask for miracles in regard to the Supreme Court. … One justice is 83-years-old, another has cancer and another has a heart condition.

Would it not be possible for God to put it in the minds of these three judges that the time has come to retire?"

So how'd that work out?  John Paul Stevens did retire, but not until seven years later and he's still going strong at 90-something.  David Souter retired six years later and he's doing fine.  They were replaced by not-conservatives Sotomayor and Kagan.  And Ruth Bader Ginsburg---the one Robertson mentioned with cancer---is still on the bench and doing one-armed pushups 11 years later.  So it appears that God has no problem ignoring Pat Robertson.  Smart lady.

CHEERS to letters from the C&J mailbag.  Sent via treacherous mountainous overpass post:

Dear Pakistan,

Hi! How are you? We're fine here in Maine except for our lunkhead governor and our fickle weather. But at least we're not in Alabama. Ha ha! We enjoy our regional humor.

I'm writing to praise your recent decision to drop murder charges against that nine-month-old baby.  While I agree that nine-month-olds can be a handful, we believe they would probably have to be freakishly large, and in possession of considerable dexterity and coordination, to pull off a genuine act of murder. So, good call.  (Or as they say in Alabama: "Good call 'yalls." Ha ha. There I go again.)

Sincerely,

BiPM

As always, little hearts dotting all the i's.

The iceberg that the Titanic scraped in April, 1912.
This iceberg was struck
by the HMS Titanic.
JEERS to the unsinkable ship---the one that's in the process of sinking, I mean. 102 years ago this morning, the Titanic plunged to the icy depths of the Atlantic after getting its side split open by an iceberg.  (Photos of the rescue here)  Today it seems an apt analogy for the Republican party: a once-proud icon thought to be invincible that, because of poor design, shoddy workmanship and an air of arrogance on the part of the people in charge sank itself because it wasn't looking where it was going and is now a rusting hulk stuck in the mud and you can't do anything with it but re-arrange the deck chairs.  But the movie was pretty good.

CHEERS to cosmic disappearing acts.  Last night there was a total lunar eclipse between 2 and 5:30ET.  It's an occurrence that happens occasionally when Donald Trump stands up to go pee in the middle of the night and his ego gets between the sun and the moon.  Unfortunately I missed it on account of my vision was obstructed by my eyelids.

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Five years ago in C&J: April 15, 2009

CHEERS to the payoff of perseverance.  More than five months after the election, a three-judge panel has confirmed that Al Franken is indeed the winner of the U.S. Senate race in Minnesota.  Well done:

Al Franken image in the same form as Sheppard Fairey's Obama poster.
Boom goes the dynafranken.
The judges swept away Coleman’s argument that the election and its aftermath were fraught with systemic errors that made the results invalid.  "The overwhelming weight of the evidence indicates that the Nov. 4, 2008, election was conducted fairly, impartially and accurately," the panel said in its unanimous decision.

In rejecting Coleman’s arguments, the panel said the Republican essentially asked it to ignore Minnesota election requirements and adopt a more lenient standard allowing illegal absentee ballots to be counted.

Because, of course, that's the only way Republicans can hope to win these days.  Now all that stands in Al's way is the three-member(?) state supreme court.  And the governor.  And possibly the U.S. Supreme Court.  And definitely the secret Senate initiation paddle line.  (Watch out for Feinstein---she leaves welts.)

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And just one more…

CHEERS to tiptoeing around the IRS.  I have good news and bad news.  The good news: this is not your day to die.  The bad news: unless you're filing an extension, that other "certain" thing in life---your tax form---is due today.  Here are a couple money-saving tips for last-minute tax filers, courtesy of Dave Barry:

Let's take a look at the standard Form 1040 and see where you should focus your tax-cutting efforts:

Tax form
Reminder: do NOT use a pencil
to fill out your tax forms online.
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Taxpayer name: Here's a tax-saving opportunity few taxpayers take advantage of: Instead of simply writing your name, write your name plus the word "DECEASED."  This can save you big money down the road.

Exemptions: In calculating your dependants, you should bear two things in mind: 1. The more dependants you have, the less tax you owe.  2. Nowhere in the U.S. tax code does it explicitly state, in so many words, that these dependants cannot be imaginary, if you are catching my drift.

If you're called in for an audit, the important thing is: Don't panic.  Gather up all your financial records, consult with your lawyer and your accountant and then, on the appointed day, flee to Uzbekistan.

---From Dave Barry's Money Secrets (2006, Crown)

For your convenience the C&J Coffee/Red Bull/No-Doz courtesy wagon will circulate hourly throughout the day.  Floor's open...What are you cheering and jeering about today?

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Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial:

"When I go to Cheers and Jeers, I have to get in the surrender position, people put hands all over me, and I have to provide photo ID and a couple of different forms and prove that I really am not going to terrorize Bill in Portland Maine."
---Mike Huckabee

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Poll

So how's your taxes lookin' this year?

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| 3425 votes | Vote | Results

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