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From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE…

Well, this is nice.

World's turning to shit, everybody's broke, Congress is run by idiots and cowards…but once in awhile we're given a legitimate reason to let out a little cheer. Monday President Obama established five new national monuments, including…

Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Wilberforce, Ohio
Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Wilberforce, Ohio. The monument will preserve the home of Col. Charles Young (1864–1922), a distinguished officer in the United States Army who was the third African American to graduate from West Point and the first to achieve the rank of Colonel.

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument in Maryland. The new national park, located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, includes large sections of landscapes that are significant to Tubman’s early life in Dorchester County and evocative of her life as a slave and conductor of the Underground Railroad. Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument also includes the home site of Jacob Jackson, a free black man who used coded letters to help Tubman communicate with family and others.

First State National Monument in Delaware.
First State National Monument in Delaware. The monument will tell the story of the early Dutch, Swedish, Finnish and English settlement of the colony of Delaware, as well as Delaware’s role as the first state to ratify the Constitution. The park is comprised of three historic areas related to Delaware’s rich history: the Dover Green, the New Castle Court House complex, and the Woodlawn property in the Brandywine Valley.

San Juan Islands National Monument in Washington. Home to bald eagles, orca whales, harbor seals and other rare species, the San Juan Islands is a chain of 450 islands, rocks and pinnacles located in Washington State’s Puget Sound. the archipelago provides an opportunity for visitors, campers, kayakers and birdwatchers to experience the natural beauty of the undeveloped, rugged landscape. A number of historic lighthouses are located on the islands, as well as cultural resources and fossils dating back 12,000 years.

Río Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico.
Río Grande del Norte National Monument in New Mexico. Located northwest of Taos, the Río Grande del Norte contains stretches of the Río Grande Gorge and extinct volcanoes that rise from the Taos Plateau. The monument is also home to a dense collection of petroglyphs and extraordinary archaeological and cultural resources dating from the Archaic Period to the more recent passage of Hispanic settlers.
Said Obama: “These sites honor the pioneering heroes, spectacular landscapes and rich history that have shaped our extraordinary country. By designating these national monuments today, we will ensure they will continue to inspire and be enjoyed by generations of Americans to come.”

Said Republicans: "Drill there, drill now!!!"

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

Cheers and Jeers for Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Note: Due to the sequester, this June's lottery ritual will be carried out with pebbles instead of rocks.  Please plan to be there well past lunchtime.  We regret the inconvenience.  ---Mr. Summers & Mr. Graves

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By the Numbers:
Days 'til Easter: 4
Days 'til the 2013 Nebraska Book Festival in Omaha: 9
Percent of Americans who believe preserving Medicare and Social Security is more important than reducing the deficit: 55%
(Source: Pew poll)
Percent of U.S. households who owed any debt in, respectively, 2000 and 2011: 74%, 69%
Drop in median household net worth between 2000 and 2011: 16%
(Source: Census Bureau)
Factor by which energy drink-related emergency room visits increased over the past 8 years: 14
(Source: Harper's Index)
Percent chance the Iraq war will probably take less than six months: 100%
(Source: Donald Rumsfeld)

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Mid-week Rapture Index: 187 (including 2 Peace Processes and 1 deeply crazy faith healer).  Soul Protection Factor 18 lotion is recommended if you’ll be walking amongst the heathen today.

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Puppy Pic of the Day: publicity hound

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Sheepdog from Warner Bros. cartoons
Ted Olson argued
against Prop. 8
CHEERS and JEERS to circus time.  The Supremes heard arguments in the Prop. 8 case yesterday.  Considering how historic the moment was, I was disappointed when it ended up sounding like a bunch of old people hemming and hawing about where to go for Sunday brunch.  But as of this moment, I am officially hot for Elena Kagan:
Justice Kagan: If you are over the age of 55, you don’t help us serve the government’s interest in regulating procreation through marriage. So why is that different?

Cooper: Your Honor, even with respect to couples over the age of 55, it is very rare that both to the couple are infertile, and...

Kagan: No, really, because if the couple---I can just assure you, if both the woman and the man are over the age of 55, there are not a lot of children coming out of that marriage.

And Sonia Sotomayor:
Sotomayor: Outside of the marriage context, can you think of any other rational basis, reason, for a state using sexual orientation as a factor in denying homosexuals benefits or imposing burdens on them? Is there any other rational decision-making that the government could make? Denying them a job, not granting them benefits of some sort, any other decision?

Cooper: Your Honor, I cannot. I do not have any---anything to offer you in that regard.

As usual, Alito played dumb and Thomas played dumber while Scalia released his inner bigot and Roberts and Kennedy stood athwart history and yelled, "We'd rather be golfing!"  Today the justices hear arguments for and against the Defense of Marriage Act---aka the odious "DOMA."  At issue: can the federal government continue treating gay marriages as second-class to heterosexual marriages in the nine states that have legalized both?  Spoiler Alert: maybe, maybe not!  (Hey, I suck at spoiler alerts.  Sue me.)

CHEERS to famous firsts, Part I.  Obama does it again---appointing the first woman to head up the Secret Service:

Secret Service Director Julia Pierson
Someone around whom you
should be very, very polite.
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[Julia] Pierson, a native of Florida, is currently chief of staff at the Secret Service and began her career as a special agent with the Miami field office in 1983. The director's position does not require confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

"Julia is eminently qualified to lead the agency that not only safeguards Americans at major events and secures our financial system, but also protects our leaders and our first families, including my own," Obama said in a statement.

She'll be excellent at blending in among crowds without tipping people off, because when she talks into her wrist to give orders to her agents people will just think it's some chick testing perfume.  Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!  (File that under: sexist punchlines you have a 99% chance of hearing on a late-night show.  My guess: Leno.)

CHEERS to famous firsts, Part II.  On March 27, 1884, the first telephone "line" connecting Boston and New York went live.  It was soon followed by the first telephone "poles" between Boston and New York, mainly because people kept tripping over the damn thing.

JEERS to sinking to a new low.  Some folks in the Volunteer State apparently need to throttle back on the hallucinogenic 'shrooms:

Mushrooms
The Tennessee State Capitol
is the mushroom on the right.
A few Tennessee lawmakers apparently inquired whether a new sink at the state capitol designed for custodial use was a sink for Muslims to wash their feet in before prayer, the Associated Press reported Monday.  The lawmakers were reassured that it is simply a "mop sink."
Of course, that's exactly what someone would say who wants us to think it was "simply a mop sink" so they could continue using it as a secret Muslim foot washer in the pursuit of their secret Islamic plan to conquer America by blinding the rest of us with their shiny toenails.  And they would've gotten away with it, too, if not for those meddling Tennessee lawmakers.  Damn, they don't miss a trick.

CHEERS to grand openings.  On March 27, 1860, human civilization took a quantum leap forward when the corkscrew was patented by M. L. Byrn of New York City.  So no mail today seeing as it's a national holiday.  Or damn well oughtta be.

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Five years ago in C&J: March 27, 2008

CHEERS to the Great Orange Satan.  Every now and then some silly person comments about how this blog has jumped the shark or otherwise met its Waterloo (or should that be met its shark and jumped its waterloo?).  Let's take a look at the latest Nielsen Online rankings for "News" sites, shall we?  Oh, goodness---Daily Kos is a playa:

1. drudgereport.com
2. Daily Kos
3. Fox News Digital Network
4. CNN Digital Network
5. AOL News
6. Yahoo! News
7. MSNBC Digital Network
8. ksl.com
9. Breitbart.com
10. Google News
May I be the first to say "In yer FACE Fox," or would you like the honor?  [3/27/13 Update: We're not quite that high anymore.  But we blazed the trail.  Commemorative coonskin caps for everyone!]

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And just one more…

CHEERS to the Great Emancipator...in your living room!  I never made it to a theatre to see Lincoln, but you can bet your stovepipe hat I'll be renting it this weekend, now that it's arrived on DVD:

Director Steven Spielberg, Screenwriter Tony Kushner and actor Daniel Day-Lewis went to great lengths to ensure authenticity.  In fact, we hear they used the same iPhone Lincoln had in his hand when he got the text about the 13th Amendment passing, complete with 13 OMGs and a "Squeeee!"

Have a nice Wednesday.  Or as we call it here in Maine: a nice Wednesday.  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 clothed in IMMENSE POWER!!!"
---President Lincoln, 1865

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