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From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE…

Oh! More Things I Know:

> Since Wikipedia was down yesterday, I did my research with a set of World Book encyclopedias from the attic. Boy, that Calvin Coolidge sure has led an interesting life so far!

> As of today, the Netroots Nation convention in Providence is only 20 weeks away.

> Every congressional committee that writes laws should include a randomly-chosen panel of ordinary citizens. A law can only be voted out of committee when this panel can accurately explain it to their friends in a bar on a Saturday night.

> Yes! I publicize Kossack meetups. There's one tomorrow in San Diego starting at 8pm at the Whistle Stop Bar in South Park. Don’t forget to tip your server.

> I figured out what the GOP debates are missing: vuvuzelas.

> During Jon Huntsman's presidential campaign, sales of Mandarin Chinese language-learning CDs skyrocketed among the Republican base by a whopping zero percent.

> If you correctly guess which culvert Bashar Assad will be found under when he flees his palace, I'll give you $100.

> Due to strict austerity measures in Britain, all bronze, silver and gold medals at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London will be replaced with a ticket for a free ride on the Ferris wheel.

> My dream Republican debate would consist of the candidates, a steel cage and a single tube of Krazy Glue.

> Newt Gingrich thinks children would make excellent janitors. Yeah, because kids are such neat freaks.

> With winter in full swing, be careful that you don't freeze your butt off. Insurance companies consider reattachment surgery "elective."

> After this debacle, we now know one thing about 2016: Iowa should go last.

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

Cheers and Jeers for Thursday, January 19, 2012

Note: Seriously, it's friggin' cold out this morning.  Our governor must be taking a stroll through the neighborhood.

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By the Numbers:
Days `til the 8th annual Pies on Parade Pie Tour in Rockland, Maine: 3
Days 'til the next new moon on Monday: 4
(Source: Duran Duran)
Percent of Gitmo prisoners who were captured by U.S. troops: 5%
Percent who were turned in by coalition forces in response to a bounty offer: 86%
(Source: Time)
Percent of Americans who believed in anthropogenic global warming in 2001 and 2011, respectively: 75%, 44%
(Source: Harper's Index)
Minimum cost of building a proposed new royal yacht for Queen Elizabeth II for her Diamond Jubilee: $92 million
President Obama's current approval/disapproval rating in the Gallup daily tracking poll: 45%, 46%

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Your Thursday Molly Ivins Moment:

When George W. Bush took office, he was handed a going concern.  Projected annual surpluses from 2002 to 2011 were $5.6 trillion.  In its most recent projection, the Congressional Budget Office says it expects $1.4 trillion in total deficits from 2004 to 2013.  Bush's new future spending proposals---including everything from the goofy manned-flight-to-Mars to the promotion of marriage---already total an additional $2 trillion.

When Bush took office, the national debt was $5.7 trillion and his first budget proposed to reduce it by $2 trillion over the next decade.  Today, the debt is $7 trillion.  Last year, Bush predicted a deficit of $262 billion.  According of the CBO, the deficit is currently $480 billion.  Bush plans to cut biomedical research, health care, job training and veterans funding, and that still leaves a projected deficit of $450 billion.

It is unclear to me why anyone would believe anything the president says about our fiscal situation.  Keep in mind, this is a man who took three Texas oil companies into bankruptcy.
---January, 2004

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Puppy Pic of the Day: Hi, Betty!

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CHEERS to more stupid human tricks.  It's another jump off the deep end for the Republican candidates---Romney! Cain! Gingrich! Bachmann Paul! Huntsman! Santorum! Pawlenty! Perry! (Correction: Perry)---tonight in Charleston.  It'll air on CNN at 8 and Jed Lewison will be liveblogging here at the great orange political, intellectual and moral center of the universe.  Here's why I'm looking forward to it: if my number crunching is correct, the only possible way Mitt Romney can lose this primary is if the other candidates literally hogtie him, toss him in the supply closet, and then spend the remaining hour and 55 minutes manually removing his name from the ballots with Wite-out.  Which is actually not as exciting as it sounds until they start getting high on the fumes.  Tonight's drinking game: take a swig every time Newt mentions a dangerous profession that small black children should be performing for 30 cents an hour (but no food stamps!) to gain life experience and personal responsibility.  See ya on the floor around 8:10!

CHEERS to terminating the suspense.  President Obama, refusing to be cornered by Republicans over approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, gave them his answer a full month early: "No!"  A visibly upset John Boehner quickly issued a response: "No fair---that's our word!"

CHEERS to good spelling.  On this date in 1955, Scrabble made its debut.  The highest scoring word, if you've ever wondered, is "Sesquioxidizing," which can earn you 2,044 points.  Plus some really dirty looks from the other players, you fucking showoff.

JEERS to takesie backsies.  Just to remind ourselves: one year ago the House---in its INFINITE wisdom---voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  When Harry Reid got hold of it in the Senate, he stuffed it in a mayonnaise jar and stuck it in the back of his fridge with the fuzzy green summer sausage.  The tea party stuck a fresh feather in its tri-corn hat, smug in the knowledge that it had achieved a symbolic victory.  Unfortunately for them, that symbol appears on their forehead in the shape of a giant "L".

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Gong!  Gong!!  BuddaBuddaBudda… GONG!!!

This is another edition of The One Word Answer Man.  After reading that Rick Perry created a diplomatic kerfuffle by saying Turkey is ruled by Islamic terrorists, John Cole over at Balloon Juice asks:  He really is dumber than Bush, isn’t he?

Yes.  

Now back to Cheers and Jeers.

Gong!  Gong!!  BuddaBuddaBudda… GONG!!!
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CHEERS to getting the message out.  It worked.  The internet blackout worked.  After 24 hours of quiet disruption and peaceful online protest, elected officials are walking back their support of SOPA and PIPA, a larger share of the public is pissed at the bills' rammer-throughers, and the legislation looks more stoppable than ever.  (Whish isn’t to say laws targeting foreign wholesale copyright infringers shouldn’t be enacted…but not at the expense of, say, a 10-year-old who posts a You Tube of "Happy Birthday To You" for Grandma.)  The front page of this morning's Portland Press Herald is awash in coverage, including the reaction from our congresscritters:

As phone calls, emails and tweets poured into their offices expressing opposition, the Maine lawmakers said the legislation in its current form would do more harm than good and threaten the openness and innovation that flourish on the Internet.

Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree said…"All a big entertainment or Internet company would have to do is claim that a website is somehow linked to piracy and it would immediately be blocked and censored," Pingree said.  "Just imagine the chilling effect that would have. The Internet was built on openness and innovation, not censorship."

The biggest whiners from yesterday's event, though, were the scattered thugs on America's police forces.  With the protest confined to the web and not the streets, they had to keep their pepper-spray canisters holstered.  The horror.

CHEERS to the original "spokes" men---Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!  On January 19, 1903, it was announced with great fanfare that the starting gun for a new bicycle race called the "Tour de France" would be fired that July.  The grand prize: 3,000 francs and a lifetime supply of jumbo butt pillows.

JEERS to the other sale-priced shoe to drop.  Right on cue.  Every year.  The holiday shopping season starts out FABULOUSLY!  Projections are up!  Shoppers are "believed to be" spending like teh awesome!  But now that all the holiday moolah has been counted, it turns out the season kinda sucked Christmas tree balls:

Despite the buzz about consumers spending more this past holiday season, we might have to chalk all that talk up to too much eggnog.  Consumer spending barely rose in December---0.1 percent, according to the Commerce Department---and without vehicle sales actually shrunk 0.2 percent, falling short of forecasts and leaving retailers and economists alike puzzled.

"It was a surprise because we had gotten some decent reports of sales during the entire holiday shopping season," says Joel Naroff, president and chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors.

Yeah, well.  Not to put too fine a point on it, but it's probably not a real good idea to listen to economic advisors who have the word "off" in their name.

CHEERS to natural beauty.  Happy 83rd Birthday to Maine's Acadia National Park---miles and miles of unspoiled and federally protected nature that invites travelers to rest their weary bones and let the soul-replenishing eye candy revive their hopes for a better tomorrow.  Or, as modern-day conservatives call it: a #!%$&!! wasted fracking opportunity.

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Five years ago in C&J: January 19, 2007

CHEERS to Democrats at the helm.  Nancy Pelosi promised a slate of progressive reforms within the House's first 100 hours...and blew through it (with robust Republican support) in less than half the time.  Since you have 58 hours left, Madam Speaker, send a caucus up here to shovel my driveway.

CHEERS to the Wolverine State.  Thank God someone's willing to defend traditional American values.  Michigan's second-highest court has ruled that cheating spouses can be charged with criminal sexual conduct and thrown in jail for life.  Which brings us to our Stock Tip of the Day: sink every penny you have into Acme Jailbuilders, Inc.

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And just one more…

SQUEAK! to one full furry house.  In Lawrence, Massachusetts, a man turned 94 hamsters that belonged to him over to a local shelter.  And congratulations to hamster #95 who got the red rose.

O, Thursday, My Thursday!  (I forget how the rest of it goes…)  Floor's open...What are you cheering and jeering about today?

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Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial:

Neuroscientists at Stanford University School of Medicine wanted to know whether the power of Cheers and Jeers could overcome physical pain.  When students focused on a photograph of Bill in Portland Maine, they felt less of a burning sensation than when gazing at a picture of an equally attractive acquaintance.
---Marshall Allen
U.S. News Health

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