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The Roundtable Gathers…

Host: Welcome back to our exclusive Super Tuesday coverage here on the Shiny Object Network. Chet, let's go to you first: what should people be watching for tonight?

Chet: My gut tells me that the most important races to watch tonight are in Alaska, Georgia, Ohio, Virginia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Vermont. And we'll be focusing on those states like a laser as the evening progresses. That's where the action is, I suspect.

Host: My thoughts exactly. Wendy, what's your take?

Wendy: I look at it slightly different. Instead of the states, I'll be watching the candidates to get a feel for which way this thing's headed by staring into their souls. I went to school for that, y'know.

Host: Soul staring. Terrific, terrific. Marty, how 'bout you?

Marty: I'll be watching to see how Republicans screw it all up. Lost ballots, people turned away at the door, changing rules at the last second, results that end up in the election commissioner's spam folder, miscounts, ignoring complaints until they come back to bite 'em in the butt. That's what I'll be watching: the complete and utter train wreck that the Republican primary system has become so famous for.

Host: You are so…smart. You really are. I mean that. We got the best in the business around this table, ladies and gentleman, we really do. Let's bring in Republican strategist Appleton Vanapple. Appleton, it's gonna be a wild, topsy-turvy night for Republicans. What are you watching for?

Appleton Vanapple: I can't speak for the individual campaigns, but what I'm watching for tonight are things like hints, clues, inklings, signs, suggestions, omens, wild guesses…anything that might point to results one way or the other.

Host: That is so good. That is so good!!! That's why you're here---you make us think about this stuff! And on the other side of the aisle is Democratic strategist Murray McFaddle. Obviously, Murray, Democrats are hoping that Santorum or Romney or Paul or Gingrich wins tonight so you can trounce 'em in the general, but what'll you be watching for?

Murray McFaddle: I think you guys are missing the big picture. It's not about the states or the candidates or the clues. It's about the graphics. The pie charts, the bar charts, the crawls, the checkmarks next to giant photos of the candidates' heads. Do we have functional holograms? Is the set lit with swirls of blue and red mood lighting? And I think you also have to pay close attention to the network's theme music, because theme music can make a real difference in what we're watching and how we're watching it.

Host: And come tonight we'll know who's at the "top of the charts" and who's  a "one-hit wonder." HaHaHa!

Entire roundtable: HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa!!!

Host: Does politics run through our veins or what! Coming up next: what not to watch for, when our Super Tuesday coverage continues here on the Shiny Object Network…

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

Cheers and Jeers for Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Note: As of today, there are only 300 days left in the year.  Time to start workin' on those 2013 New Years resolutions!


By the Numbers:
Days 'til March Madness starts with "Selection Sunday": 5
Days 'til the Portland (Maine) Flower Show: 2
Percent of America covered by snow on Jan. 10, 2010 and 2011: 62%
Percent of America covered by snow on Jan. 10, 2012: 15%
(Source: National Weather Service)
Price of admission to the private Obama fundraiser dinner on March 30 at the Portland Museum of Art: $30,000
Average hourly wage of Mitt Romney when he was at Bain Capital: $6,400
(Source: Huffington Post)
Date on which signatures must be turned in by candidates planning to run for Senator Olympia Snowe's seat: 3/15/12


Tuesday Words of Wisdom from the Right-wing Blogosphere:

There should be humiliation and pain in government assistance. Every time someone accepts food stamps, they are spitting on the principles of independence, and they, not the taxpayers who fund the program, should be reminded of that fact.
---Brian McClanahan at The Daily Caller
All together now: 1…2…3… Classy!


Puppy Pic of the Day:  Oh, take yer pick…


CHEERS to a big fish in a big race.  Angus King was Maine's independent governor for eight years (1995-2003).  He won his second term with 59 percent of the vote, and people up here think he was a pretty good governor---especially when you compare him with our current walking tea-party disaster.  As soon as Olympia Snowe announced her retirement, King's name popped up as a contender and yesterday he made it official:

King said the problems facing the country are huge and daunting, ranging from the national debt to crumbling transportation and communications infrastructure.  Some of the problems facing the country are felt more acutely here in Maine, said King, including a over-reliance on foreign oil.  “Everything we have … is built on the premise of fossil fuel,” said King, a long proponent of alternative energy sources, particularly wind power.  “We still are trying to struggle along the same way and it’s going to kill us, particularly in Maine.” …

“Nobody will be able to tell me how to vote except the people of Maine,” he said Monday night. “I think that’s the way it should be.”

The early speculation is that King would siphon more Democrats than Republicans on election day, so this is more of a conundrum for the candidates on our side than theirs.  But if King wins, he'll be further to the left than Snowe ever was…and likely caucus with the Democrats.  The deadline for hats to enter rings is Thursday the 15th.  We'll keep ya posted.

JEERS to all things not being equal.  The retirement of Olympia Snowe, on the grounds that Washington has become too hostile, has sparked a discussion of just how partisan Republicans and Democrats really are.  That is, is it true that both sides are equally to blame for all the spitballs and purple nurples and swirlies that've been doled out over the last couple decades?  Short answer: nuh-uh.  Over the weekend, the Maine Sunday Telegram published some graphs that are pretty stark: Democrats maintain a consistent bell curve between "Liberal" and "Blue Dog," But Republicans have fled to tea party country on the right.  Essentially, the failure of conservatives to produce positive results with their policies has led them to believe that they'll succeed if they just…double down on the mindset that produced those failures.  Somewhere in the hereafter Ike is poppin' Valium.

CHEERS to the flight of the lead balloon.  Hey, I've signed the petitions, sent my email and recc'd the diaries.  Now I'm standing back and watching the show as Rush Limbaugh flails away at the blast furnace of outrage from Americans of all stripes, especially parents who can picture their own daughters being the target of Rush's three-day tirade the way Sandra Fluke was.  Meanwhile the Republican presidential candidates still refuse to condemn Mr. Limbaugh (what courage---let's put 'em in charge of national security!), and here in Maine a large client of Portland radio station WGAN, heating oil company Downeast Energy, wants their ads pulled from Rush's show.  You might say they're…adding fuel to the fire.  (But I never would---too easy.)

JEERS to an unsatisfactory conclusion, Part I.  On March 6, 1836, the Alamo fell to Mexican forces after a 13-day siege.  And here's a bizarre twist: singer Phil Collins apparently believes he fought at the Alamo in a previous life and now appears to own more Alamo artifacts than anyone else.  Oh, and what happened to Mexican General Santa Anna?  His army was trounced a mere month later by a very pissed-off Sam Houston.  Now that's what you call fast and furious.

JEERS to an unsatisfactory conclusion, Part II.  On March 6, 1857, the Supreme Court ruled in the Dred Scott case.  Their brilliant conclusion: slaves aren’t citizens, according to their strict interpretation of the Constitution:

in the opinion of the justices, black people were not considered citizens when the Constitution was drafted in 1787.  According to [Chief Justice Roger] Taney, Dred Scott was the property of his owner, and property could not be taken from a person without due process of law.  In fact, there were free black citizens of the United States in 1787, but Taney and the other justices were attempting to halt further debate on the issue of slavery in the territories.  The decision inflamed regional tensions, which burned for another four years before exploding into the Civil War.
Chief Justice Taney---with political pressure from none other than President Buchanan---thought the decision would settle the issue of slavery.  I think enough time has passed that I can say with reasonable confidence: dope.

CHEERS to documenting the atrocities.  I can barely keep up with these guys!  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, founded by Elizabeth Warren and headed by Richard Cordray, is rockin' and rollin' as it seeks to give ordinary Americans a teeny bit of pushback power against our corporate overlords.  Two big initiatives are taking shape: one that takes on people's complaints about bank accounts, and one that fields student-loan complaints:

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said it expects complaints about billing, confusing advertising and collection by private student lenders.  It will relay complaints about federal student loans, such as Stafford and PLUS loans, to the Department of Education.  Americans owe more to student lenders than they owe to credit card issuers or any other category of unsecured lender, the CFPB said.
No wonder the other side fought tooth and nail to keep the CFPB from hanging out their shingle---Cordray seems eager to light some fires under some asses.  By the way, here's their web site if ya need it.  Mention my name and they'll get ya an extra pound of flesh.


One year ago in C&J: March 6, 2011

CHEERS to the arrival of the banjo-strummin' cavalry.  Always nice to have a living legend on your side in a labor dispute, and the latest to weigh in on the strange Madison times is a man who knows a thing or two about unions---folk singer Pete Seeger:

"Maybe the Republican governor, he's done us a favor by bringing the problem to national attention," the 91-year-old Seeger said in a telephone interview from his New York home. "It shows the whole country how much we need unions. We may end up thanking him." […]  Seeger, who's been singing since the Great Depression and released a record in 1942 titled "Talking Union," said he was following the issue in Wisconsin.

"Without collective bargaining rights we'd be right back to primitive times," Seeger said.

Upon hearing the news, Governor Walker called Seeger's remarks outrageous and then drew a frowny face on his cave wall.


And just one more…

CHEERS to a grand opening.  When conservatives want to pop a book up on a bestseller list they just buy a shitload of copies and give 'em away as freebies when people sign up for magazine subscriptions or whatever.  But liberals do it the old-fashioned way…by writing books that are so good they make it onto the list honestly.  It's probably not too much of a stretch to suggest that Rachel Maddow's new book will find its way onto most lists.  It's called Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power, and you can read an excerpt from it here.  My favorite part is Rachel's dedication:

To former vice president Dick Cheney.

Oh, please let me interview you.

The book, already #3 on's political science list and #27 on its U.S. history list, gets its release on March 27.  Rachel, unfortunately, will probably get her Cheney interview on the first of Never.  I believe his exact words, delivered through his spokesman, were: Bwok bwok bwok."

Have a truly above-average Tuesday.  If you'll be following the primary action tonight, be prepared.  Floor's open...What are you cheering and jeering about today?


Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial:

"You don't see people out in the street waving Bill in Portland Maine signs at this point."
---Dan Haley



In your opinion, how does the current neo-conservative saber-rattling over Iran compare to their behavior during the run-up to the Iraq war?

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