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Happy Birthday, Howard!

There's just no other way to say it: Howard Dean rocks.

From signing the first civil unions bill in America that paved the way for the marriage-equality movement, to being ahead of his time on health care reform and bunch of other issues, he's been an important reality-based voice at critical times over the last dozen or so years. Tomorrow's his birthday. He turns frrhrrfrrhrr years old.

Howard first showed up on my radar when he grabbed a microphone at the California State Convention in 2003 and woke the Democratic party establishment up from its Bush-kowtowing stupor. I practically know this by heart:

Howard Dean photo
To paraphrase Ann Romney:
"I love you HOWARRRRRD!!!"
"WHAT I WANT TO KNOW IS...what in the world so many Democrats are doing supporting the President's unilateral intervention in Iraq!

WHAT I WANT TO KNOW IS…why the Democrats in Congress aren't standing up for us, joining every other industrialized country on the face of the Earth in providing health insurance for every man, woman and child in America.

WHAT I WANT TO KNOW IS…why so many folks in Congress are voting for the President's Education Bill---The "No School Board Left Standing Bill"---the largest unfunded mandate in the history of our educational system.

As Paul Wellstone said---as Sheila Kuehl said when she endorsed me---I am Howard Dean, and I'm here to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party! ...

The only way that we're going to beat George Bush is to say what we mean, to stand up for who we are, [and] to lift up a Democratic agenda against the Republican agenda. Because if you do that, the Democratic agenda wins every time.

Thank god he spoke up when he did, and gave such a powerful voice to people like us who knew something was very wrong in our party, but couldn't break through the exalted DLC types and their Republican-lite bullshit. Look at the Senators and Congressmembers who were elected this year. Those are Dean Democrats.

As one of the most effective chairmen of the DNC, Howard came up with a great strategy: hey, whaddya say we actually compete in all 50 states? We may not win 'em all, but if an opportunity presents itself in a red state, we can capitalize on it. Dean's 50-state strategy is now seen as a model for both sides. Yeah, even Republicans are admitting that Howard is the man with the mojo.

A lot of Kossacks, myself included, became bloggers because of Howard. And he's still preachin' the progressive word. So when you're pouring your first drinky tomorrow, whether it's coffee or something stronger, hoist it and say happy birthday to the old man...and many happy returns.

Your west coast-friendly edition of  Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]

Cheers and Jeers for Friday, November 16, 2012

Note: "You have the power!  You have the power!  You have the power!  You have the pow...  Oops, sorry, ma'am.  Wrong number."  [Click]


By the Numbers:
Days 'til the winter solstice: 35
Days 'til the Downtown Boise Tree Lighting: 8
Number of states in which every county went for Mitt Romney: 2 (Utah, Oklahoma)
Number of states in which every county went for Barack Obama: 4 (Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Hawaii)
Number of same-sex couples expected to get married in Maine, Maryland and Washington within the next three years: 18,000
(Source: the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law)
Percent of Americans who have passed off a store-bought pie as homemade: 7%
(Source: Parade)
Temperature the inner thigh of a turkey (and stuffing, if used) must reach to be deemed safe to eat, according to federal guidelines: 165 degrees


NEW! Friday Joe Lieberman Wanker Walk Countdown:
Joe Lieberman will be replaced by Chris Murphy in 48 days.


Puppy Pic of the Day:  Never too early to start practicing your moves for the annual presentation of The Nutcracker.


CHEERS to a holly jolly orange-tinted holiday.  The mischievous elves at Netroots Nation---specifically, Joan McCarter, Linda Lee and Beth Becker---are prepping for the annual online Holiday Bazaar, and they're now accepting donations from the netroots community to put on the auction block:

Obama brand coffee pack for Netroots nation Holiday Bazaar auction
Up for bid in the Netroots
Nation Holiday Bazaar online
auction: Obama Blend coffee!
This year's Bazaar runs from Friday, November 30th through Tuesday, December 4th.  The creativity of our community never ceases to amaze us---from hand-cut greeting cards to scrumptious treats based on recipes passed down from generation to generation.  From hand-crafted woodwork to one-of-a-kind needlework.

Donating items to our auction catalog is a great way to support our fundraising effort. We appreciate any items you donate as well as any items you round up and submit on behalf of other donors.  To submit an item donation to this auction, you will be asked to provide some information about the item you would like to donate, along with pictures of the item. We will contact you via e-mail after the item has been reviewed.

To upload info about your donation, go to the auction web site.  If you have any questions, e-mail Linda Lee at exhibits [at]  Proceeds help defray the cost of putting on the Netroots Nation convention (in San Jose this year, June 20-23) and its regional events.  As always, no live organs, illegal substances or stolen paintings, please.  Oh, and also no endangered species---Republicans never attract any bids.

white bread slices
Maine GOP chair Charlie Webster
with some fellow party members.
CHEERS to groveling GOoPers.  Charlie Webster, a man so white he's known as "Retina Burn Chuck," is the chairman of the Maine Republican Party.  As such, he has the simple task of embarrassing his members whenever possible, and this week he succeeded wildly by accusing "hundreds" of BLACK people of flocking to rural polling places to [wink wink]…you know…[wink wink].  One little problem: state clerks and a spokeswoman for the (Republican) Secretary of State said they saw no irregularities and heard of nothing unusual, leaving ol' Emperor Charlie shivering in the middle of the street with no clothes on.  Yesterday he apologized for bringing blacks into his rant.  But he's still standing by his suspicion that hundreds of---oh, let's call them "blah" people---committed voter fraud on election day.  Which still makes him an embarrassment to his party.  Mission accomplished!

P.S. Meet one of our new Democratic members of the Maine State House of Representatives: Craig Hickman is, oh, let's see: black, gay, handsome, Harvard-educated, an organic farmer, gives 25% of what he grows away to those in need, is president of the Rotary Club, and is liked by everybody he meets.  Other than that...meh.

Richard Nixon with Elvis Presley
Nixon was arrested for being
a crook by Deputy Elvis.
JEERS to the hunchback of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Thirty nine years ago tomorrow, in 1973, Richard Nixon uttered his immortal words: "People have got to know whether or not their president is a crook.  Well, I'm not a crook."  So what was that Ford pardon all about?  I'm all retro-confused.

JEERS to the remains of the day.  Dagnabbit!  Here we are almost two weeks after election day and I still see campaign signs around town.  It's ridiculous---they're supposed to be taken down within 24 hours after the polls close.  I swear, if they don't disappear by this weekend, I may have to take matters into my own hands, yank 'em down and toss 'em in the dumpster myself.  I'm specifically lookin' at you, R.R. Xing and your twin brother, Moose Xing.  Final warning.  Not kidding!

CHEERS to blowin' this popsicle stand.  President Obama jogs up the steps of Air Force One tomorrow to embark on a three-day Asia trip:

Bush bows to Chinese leader
This is not Bush bowing to his
Chinese overlord in his jammies.
And you never saw this.
He will be meeting with President Thein Sein and opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who spent most of 20 years under house arrest for resisting the military-controlled regime.  Obama will visit with Suu Kyi at the home where she was imprisoned.  He'll also meet privately with activists and other leaders at Yangon University, where he is to deliver a speech outlining his vision for nascent democracies like Myanmar's. … Obama will have other missions on his trip. He'll travel first to Bangkok to meet with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and King Bhumibol Adulyadej, before heading to Myanmar.  From Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon, Obama is to attend meetings of the Assn. of Southeast Asian Nations and the East Asia Summit, which are convening in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
I'm guessing he'll also make a late-night swing into Afghanistan to say "Hua!" to the troops.  But one thing I'm sure of: if he so much as bends one-degree forward in front of a world leader, Drudge's blinky light will go off and Benghazi will disappear from Fox News in favor of "He Bowed Again"-gate.  Some things you can set your watch to.

CHEERS to home where the buffalo roam. Happy Birthday, Oklahoma! The "Hey, that looks like a skillet!" State officially nabbed the 46th star on the flag 105 years ago today. Incidentally, the state rock is "rose barite."  I believe you'll find it in the greatest abundance between Senator James Inhofe's ears.

Eric Idle in Twit of the Year sketch
Eric Idle, a twit before
Mitt, is on "Real Time"
with Bill Maher tonight.
CHEERS to home vegetation.  Here's some of the haps on the teevee this weekend.  On HBO's Real Time, Bill Maher flicks boogers with Michael Moore, Eric Idle, David Frum and Ana Navarro.  New DVD releases include Brave (animated), Oliver Stone's druggie flick Savages, and Lawrence of Arabia on Blu-Ray. (A restored scene has Peter O'Toole wishing Omar Sharif a happy birthday and blessing his camels. Sweet.)  The NFL schedule is here.  (The Patriots are gonna ride the Colts like a show donkey---Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!)  Jeremy Renner hosts SNL.  On 60 Minutes: DRUG BUST!!!...and also how college football resembles corporate America more than it does, y'know, college football.

Bill Moyers & Company (link) is a must-watch as Naomi Klein discusses the ways the "shock doctrine" is being employed by bad people in the wake of the election, Benghazi and Hurricane Sandy.  And don’t forget to check in with Up! With Chris Hayes and Melissa Harris-Perry tomorrow and Sunday morning.  Oh, and here are your "Sabbath Gasbags," as The Nation's Calvin Trillin calls them---now with C&J's EXCLUSIVE Republican Whiner Index (1 = no whining, 10 = insufferable):

Toddler crying
John McCain will be
on Face the Nation.
Meet the Press: Fusspot Senator Lindsay Graham (R-The State Whose Primary Newt Gingrich Won) whines insufferably about Benghazi; Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and House Intelligence Committee chair Mike Rogers (R-MI); Honeywell CEO David Cote; roundtable with Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID), Mustache of Understanding Tom Friedman, John Podesta; Mike Murphy, Andrea Mitchell.  Republican Whiner Index 10

Face the Nation: This week it's Bob Schieffer's turn to babysit John McCain while Cindy goes shopping.  Funny how he never has scheduling errors whenever cameras
and microphones are involved.  Plus Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Dick Durbin (D-IL); and roundtable with Tom Ricks, author of "The Generals," David Ignatius of the Washington Post, and CBS News' Margaret Brennan and Bob Orr.  Republican Whiner Index: 10 (And McCain makes it look so easy.)

This Week: Nancy Pelosi on her goal to make life uncomfortable for House Republicans; Carl Levin's reading glasses talk about what life is like at the tip of the Michigan Senator's nose; Rep. Peter King (R-NY) whines and whines and whines about Benghazi; roundtable with George Will, Donna Brazile, Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-X Men Academy), Newt Gingrich and Jonathan Karl.  Republican Whiner Index: 10

CNN's State of the Union: Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) whines a whiny whine along with Rep. Peter King; Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) do no whining at all.  Republican Whiner Index: 10

Fox GOP Talking Points Sunday:  Oh, joy!  Sens. Joe Lieberman (R-CT) and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) get an opportunity to whine like whiny whiners about Benghazi; Govs. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) whines about how his party is full of idiots, and Scott Walker (R-WI) whines about the quality of the cheese slices on the green room snack tray; roundtable with Bill Kristol, Charles Lane, Kimberly Strassel and Bob Woodward.  Republican Whiner Index: 10

Happy whiny whiners whining watching!!!


Four years ago in C&J: November 16, 2008

CHEERS to shittin'freude.  Some guy on a French high-speed train went to the bathroom and dropped his cellphone into the crapper.  While trying to retrieve it, his arm got stuck.  Rescue officials couldn’t dislodge it, so the guy ended up leaving the train with the crapper still attached to him.  That, of course, would never happen in America.  Not because we don’t have our share of morons, but because---[sigh]---we ain't got no high-speed trains.


And just one more…

CHEERS to the lexicon of our lives.  Being a casual fan of wurdz, I always spend my Novembers waiting by the telex machine for the annual five-bell alarm that signals the printout of the Oxford Dictionaries USA Word of the Year.  I'm happy to report that the results are in, and the #1 word of 2012 is:

GIF of Obama high-fiving a kid in a crowd
A GIF that keeps on giving

“The GIF, a compressed file format for images that can be used to create simple, looping animations, turned 25 this year, but like so many other relics of the 80s, it has never been trendier,” notes Katherine Martin, Head of the US Dictionaries Program at Oxford University Press USA.  “GIF celebrated a lexical milestone in 2012, gaining traction as a verb, not just a noun.  The GIF has evolved from a medium for pop-cultural memes into a tool with serious applications including research and journalism, and its lexical identity is transforming to keep pace.” ... Most recently many media outlets were live-GIFing the 2012 presidential debates.

Other letter-based vittles include Eurogeddon, Super PAC, Higgs Boson and Nomophobia (anxiety caused by being without one’s mobile phone).  We salute all the winners and hope they enjoy their lifetime supply of alphabet soup.  Oh, and for what it's worth, my #1 word of the year by a country mile: "Romnesia."

Have a great weekend.  Floor's open...What are you cheering and jeering about today?



Who won the week?

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