From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE...
Yesterday we recapped the first four months of 2012, sealed 'em in a lockbox, wrapped the lockbox in chains and tossed it off a pier. They can never hurt us again.
This evening we dispense with the middle third of the year, starting with May. Actually, one of the seminal moments of that month would linger under the radar before bursting on the scene in September: Mitt Romney's campaign-killing rant against half of the country in what has become known as his "moocher speech." We'd be shirking our historical duty for not pointing that out.
Otherwise, it was the summer of The Mars Rover, the Netroots Nation convention in Providence, Burger King's "bacon sundae," the Supreme Court's blessing on Obamacare, the London Olympics, the Aurora massacre, serial liar Mitt Romney choosing serial liar Paul Ryan to be his running mate, "legitimate rape," and Clint Eastwood's televised chat with an empty chair. Oh, and despite veterinarians' best efforts to save it, the zoo penguin that bit Newt Gingrich succumbs to Gingrich poisoning.
Below the fold is the second of our three-part series called, 2012: Is It 2013 Yet? We've rounded up some great pics, stats and newsy bits from May through August. You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll beg me to seal this post in a lockbox, wrap it in chains, and toss it off a pier. I'll be happy to oblige.
Your wormhole to the past opens up below the fold...[Swoosh!!] Right now! [Gong!!]
Note: Next week C&J will appear on Monday, Thursday and Friday. Tuesday and Wednesday we'll be invisible to the naked eye, or at least I hope we are, as we're planning a multi-state bank-robbing spree.
C&J 2012 Flashback: May
their commencement ceremony at Missouri Southern State University.
• Europe wakes up to find that France has a new president---Francois Hollande, an anti-austerity socialist. Or as Angela Merkel and David Cameron call him: Monsieur Killjoy.
By the Numbers:• The May consumer sentiment report comes out. Economists express optimism as the mood climbs from "flamboyantly indifferent" to "outlandishly nonplussed."
Percent of immigrants applying for U.S. citizenship who pass the 10-question citizenship test, on average: 93%
Percent of natural-born Americans who passed it in a telephone poll: 65%
Computer tablet sales in 2011: 56 million
Estimated computer tablet sales in 2016: 375 million
(Source: USA Today)
• A great disturbance in the Force is felt, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, as if something terrible has happened. Moments later, John Stossel's new book is released.
• In West Virginia, a majority of Republicans---70 percent, a record---fall asleep in the voting booth as they pull the lever for Mitt Romney.
"This is the true measure of how far we've come as a nation. In five years the prime talking point from Republicans about people who support gay marriage has gone from 'It will destroy society via turtle fucking' to 'Oh, of course you're for it, you'll say anything popular to get re-elected.' That is progress.-
"President Obama and Mitt Romney both gave commencement speeches over the last few days. Obama was like: 'You can be whatever you want to be.' Romney was like: 'I can be whatever you want me to be.'"
• Maine Republicans' new party platform, which they worked tirelessly to rewrite so it would seem a bit less paranoid and conspiratorial, gets tossed into the dustbin of history as the tea party takes over the state convention and keeps the old paranoid conspiratorial one. So the official party line still includes the "myth of global warming," the genius of "Austrian economics," and the belief that the U.N. is still trying to indoctrinate your children with invisible socialist gamma rays, which is the only part that's true.
• The Kansas legislature passes a law banning the use of Sharia law. Because, as everyone knows, the Islamic takeover of America will definitely start in Kansas.
• Ron Paul leaves the campaign trail. Bad news: he'll never run for president again, denying Democrats much hilarity. Good news: wide open availability as a rent-a-leprechaun for next year's St. Patrick's Day parties.
field at Lane Stadium to give the Virginia Tech commencement address.
• Through a rapidly-closing elevator door, George W. Bush mumbles: "I'm for Mitt Romney." When Mitt hears of the endorsement, he vows to increase the speed at which elevator doors close on Day 1.
• In a rare moment of candor, Mitt Romney sums up his mindset in a sentence: "I’m not familiar precisely with exactly what I said, but I stand by what I said, whatever it was." For once, nobody can argue with him.
"What voter is going to vote for [Romney] because he’s seen with Donald Trump? The cost of appearing with this bloviating ignoramus is obvious, it seems to me. Donald Trump is redundant evidence that if your net worth is high enough, your IQ can be very low and you can still intrude into American politics.”-
---George Will on This Week May 27
"George Will may be the dumbest (and most overrated) political commentator of all time. If the Republicans listen to him, they will lose."
---Donald Trump on Twitter May 27
• Astrologers from 30 countries meet in New Orleans and agree that a second term is in the stars for President Obama. They also agree that the world won't be ending on December 21 this year. More like January 20, 2013 if Mitt Romney proves the astrologers wrong.
• Donna Summer dies at 63. Disco balls rotate at half speed.
• After a successful launch, a SpaceX rocket heads to the International Space Station to drop off supplies, thus ushering in a new era of private sector outer-space derring do. Moments later, a second rocket is sent up with the keys to the door of the first rocket.
By the Numbers:• The world bids a fond farewell to TV-remote inventor Eugene Polley, who dies at 96. After an elegant funeral, he's laid to rest between two sofa cushions.
Percent of Americans who have a favorable opinion of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: 66%
(Source: USA Today/Gallup poll)
Percent of Americans who said in 1998 and today, respectively, that they personally knew a family member, friend or acquaintance who is gay: 59%, 71%
(Source: ABC News-Washington Post poll)
Obama support and Romney support, respectively, among Latinos: 61%, 27%
(Source: NBC News/Telemundo poll)
Median tenure of an American worker's current job: 4.4 years
(Source: Fast Company)
Age of Volkswagen as of this year: 75
• The Pope's butler gets busted for rummaging through Benedict XVI's stuff and feeding his findings to a reporter writing a book about turmoil in the Vatican. When the skullduggery airs out, he won’t be able to say enough Hail Mary's to absolve him of his sins. The Pope, I mean.
• After announcing that they're ditching nuclear energy, Germany produces a world record 22 gigawatts of solar energy, enough to power half the country during the midday hours. But they still suck at blowing the tops off mountains.
• Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her Diamond Jubilee. Among the events: The invasion of France by the Royal Barge, games of Bumper Hats, and the sash-snapping of the commoners.
By the Numbers:• The Netroots Nation convention opens in Providence, Rhode Island. By the time the convention ends four days later, every problem in the state is fixed.
Average temperature---five degrees above normal---in the lower 48 states during March, April and May of this year: 57.1 degrees
Number of similar periods on record that have been hotter: 0
Number of water main breaks every day in America: 700
Amount Americans are spending on graduation gifts this year: $4.7 billion
• Burger King introduces a summer treat called the "bacon sundae." The dessert includes ice cream, caramel, fudge, a bacon strip, bacon bits, and complimentary defibrillation.
"Mitt Romney won the Texas Republican primary last night, crossing the crucial 1,144 delegate threshold. What a story! He came from never being behind to clinch the Republican nomination. They said it could be done, and against no odds he achieved the possible!"-
"Other than George Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, no president in modern history has changed deportation policy through executive action. Except all of them."
• Child-molesting Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky is sentenced to prison for the rest of his life. His prison cell quickly requests a new inmate.
visit to Mom's Apple Pie Co. in Occoquan, Virginia.
By the Numbers:• By a 5-4 decision, with John Roberts casting the deciding vote, the Supreme Court rules that the mandate in Obamacare is constitutional on "taxing authority" grounds. This is a historic moment because Rush Limbaugh said in March of 2010 that "If this passes and it's five years from now and all that stuff gets implemented---I am leaving the country, I'll go to Costa Rica." The Buy Rush A Rubber Raft Foundation immediately shatters its all-time fundraising record.
Percent of Americans who believe the economy is recovering: 51%
(NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll)
Rank of the Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox in terms of major league stadiums with the most hot dog sales: #1, #2, #3
(Source: National Hot Dog & Sausage Council)
Percent of Americans who would give up sex before they'd give up the internet: 21%
Percent of Japanese who would: 56%
"For several minutes after the ruling, CNN was mistakenly reporting that the Supreme Court struck down President Obama’s healthcare law. In response CNN was like, 'Thank god no one watches us.'"
• Romney surrogate Ed Gillespie claims on Meet the Press that the candidate wasn't engaged in Bain Capital's outsourcing cruelty because, even though he was active within the company at the time, he later "retired retroactively." Amazingly, Gillespie's attempt to retroactively erase his comment from the public consciousness fails.
By the Numbers:• 83 year-old physicist Peter Higgs celebrates when scientists at the CERN supercollider discover that his boson particle really exists. To put the size of the particle in perspective: less visible than an atom, more visible than an anonymous SuperPAC donor.
Size of McDonald's temporary restaurant site at the London Olympics: 32,000 sq. ft.
Number of diners it expects to serve over the games' duration: 1.7 million
(Source: The Week)
Number of inmates in federal prison for drug convictions, per 100,000 U.S. adults, in 1987 and 2011, respectively: 6.8 / 38.7
(Source: Harper's Index)
Number of years out of the last nine that Amtrak has set overall passenger records: 8
• The Obama campaign creates one of the signature ads of the 2012 campaign, using Mitt Romney's ill-fated attempt to warble America the Beautiful as a metaphor for his offshoring activities:
Not nice, said dogs' ears.
Summer Olympic Events for Republicans:-
Fiscal cliff diving
Synchronized voter suppression
Individual and team pearl clutching
Pin the shame on the libertine
• "Five Deferrments Dick" Cheney slithers up to Capitol Hill to lecture lawmakers about responsible government spending. His new heart waits outside on a park bench wearing sunglasses, a straw hat and a very embarrassed look.
• The Space Shuttle Enterprise---the first shuttle built, and only used for test purposes---takes its place at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City. It'll get free universal shuttlecare for the rest of its life. Vive le socialism.
"Wall Street says they prefer Mitt Romney for president. And, by God, who could question Wall Street's judgment?"-
"I don’t know why, but Mitt Romney has gotten this reputation as a guy who can't identify with the common man, no matter how hard he fires them."
• In Aurora, Colorado, a lone gunman suits up in body armor and kills a dozen people inside a movie theatre showing The Dark Knight Rises. Gun control advocates suggest that this might be a good time to review our federal and state firearms policies as a way of preventing future massacres. The NRA says that none of this would've happened if all theatres were patrolled by armed superheroes.
• Astronaut Dr. Sally Ride dies of pancreatic cancer at 61. Many are surpised to learn that she was a lesbian and had been in a nearly three-decade relationship with partner Tam Shaughnessy. More proof that sexual orientation is no barrier to courage, intelligence, patriotism or superhuman achievement.
Special Advisor to the Vice President for Nonproliferation, in the Oval Office.
• The boycott against the anti-gay Chik-fil-A fast food chain gets bizarre: on one side are the gays and the Muppets, and on the other side are the bigots and the sock puppets. The smart money sides with the pig with the purse and the black belt in karate.
By the Numbers:• North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un marries Ru Sol-Ju. Her present to him: pearl cufflinks and a Netflix account. His present to her: the launch of a test rocket that'll explode seconds after liftoff.
Maximum fines that will be levied against streakers at the London Summer Olympics: $30,000
Percent increase in average annual federal spending during the Obama administration, the lowest since the Truman years: 2.4%
(Source: Harper's Index)
Amount of the contiguous United States that is now in a drought: 61%
(Source: U.S. Drought Monitor)
Minimum number of Syrian generals who have defected: 20
(Source: Rachel Maddow)
• Mitt Romney's trip to Britain turns into a disaster as he spills the beans about a meeting with MI6, mislabels the United Kingdom as the "Nation of Great Britain," straps the Queen to the roof of a lorry, criticizes the Olympic organizers, forgets a bigwig's name, questions the stiffness of their upper lips, and fails to understanding the hilarity of misusing the word "backside" in a land where Benny Hill made a cottage industry out of bum jokes. As Romney heads off to Israel, his followers hope and pray that he doesn’t claim that the Wailing Wall is "the right height."
Moments later, the blond-haired kid starts a petition to draft Ralph Nader.
• Gore Vidal dies at 86. His words:
[On George W. Bush, in 2002:] "Mark my words. He will leave office the most unpopular president in history."His lips to Bill Buckley's ears.
"You know, I've been around the ruling class all my life, and I've been quite aware of their total contempt for the people of the country."
"The Republican Party is fundamentally crooked and might well be outlawed one of these days."
By the Numbers:• July employment numbers are released. Our side proclaims: "163 thousand new jobs--- better than the experts' predicted!" The other side snarls: "Unemployment rose to 8.3 percent---this is terrible!" We're right. They're right. A brief moment of Kum by Yah.
Percent of gun owners who support requiring criminal background checks of anyone purchasing a gun: 74%
(Source: Mayors Against Illegal Guns survey)
Current overall unemployment rate in Spain: 24.6%
Current unemployment rate among those under 25 in Spain: 53%
Number of questions Mitt Romney took from the press during his European trip: 3
• NASA scientists and engineers erupt in rational exuberance after learning the Mars rover Curiosity touched down on the Red Planet safe and sound. The first photos reveal dust, rocks, and another Mitt Romney tax shelter.
"[Tomorrow] President Obama will celebrate his 51st birthday. Obama already got one really nice gift: Mitt Romney’s trip to London."-
Clip of Charles Krauthammer on Fox News: I'm not sure why the [Romneys'] horse has to be in the most upper-class, hoity-toity Olympic event ever invented. It's unnecessary. They're running for the presidency!
Stephen Colbert: How dare you, sir! Dressage is not hoity-toity! it's froo-froo! Get your facts straight!
• Bad news: based on July fundraising totals, Mitt Romney's campaign has become a perpetual embarrassment of riches. Good news: Barack Obama's campaign has become a perpetual embarrassment of Mitt Romney.
• Marriage equality for gays and lesbians will become an official plank in the DNC platform. Presumably also divorce equality.
White House. Benson accompanied her brother, SSG Michael Benson, during a tour of the White House.
• Since Republicans keep stomping on passage of the DREAM Act, President Obama issues an Executive Branch directive to lighten up on children of immigrants. Mitt Romney signs his own directive allowing illegals to start mowing his lawn again when he's no longer running for office, for Pete's sake.
"Mitt Romney is hoping to energize Republicans by announcing Paul Ryan as his running mate. Seriously? That’s like trying to spice up a bowl of oatmeal with MORE oatmeal."-
"His eyes are just so blue. It's like looking into a Smurf's anus."
"Tell me one area where Paul Ryan and Sarah Palin would disagree. I cannot find one area. So, somehow, he's the smartest guy in the party and she's the stupidest woman on earth but they agree on everything."
• Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin (R-MO) utters the immortal words: "If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." His rival, Senator Claire McCaskill, sends him the biggest thank-you card she can find and starts measuring her second-term drapes.
• Phyllis Diller dies at 95:
“Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.”Her legacy will be easy to remember: Phyllis Diller was the Phyllis Diller of comedy.
"My cooking is so bad that my kids thought Thanksgiving was in memory of Pearl Harbor."
“We spend the first 12 months of our children's lives teaching them to walk and talk and the next 12 months teaching them to sit down and shut up.”
By the Numbers:• After 24 hours of shooting things in its vicinity with an onboard laser, the Mars Rover "Curiosity" ends its first day of official duty by taking a victory lap and planting a "Mission Accomplished" banner. In the distance, a dog barks.
Number of registered voters in the U.S.: 146 million
Odds of finding an authentic case of attempted in-person voter fraud: 1:15,000,000
(Source: News21/Carnegie-Knight investigation)
Percent chance that Facebook is the worst-performing stock of the last three months: 100%
Number of bullet holes being left intact by the leaders of the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, WI, as a memorial to the victims of the shooting there: 1
• The Obama campaign introduces a new group called Rabbis for Obama. Together with Priests for Obama and Ministers for Obama, they walk into a bar. Hijinks follow.
"This year the theme of the Republican convention is '50 Shades of White.'"-
"Tonight is the vice-coronation of vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan: the man who has electrified the party base with his homespun, down-to-earth way of telling the poor to suck it up."
• Glasses of Tang are poured at half-glass in honor of Neil Armstrong. His "Small step/Giant leap" moment---which fulfilled JFK's vision to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade---was the ultimate example of reality meeting our wildest imagination and blowing our collective minds. If you see the moon tonight, give him a wink.
By the Numbers:• After brushing Tampa, Tropical Storm Isaac sets a course for New Orleans, allowing the GOP convention to ramp up. The speaker lineup: Birther, Obstructionist, Libertine Slayer, Token Female, Union Buster, Governor Ultrasound, Foot-in-Mouth Man, Islamophobe, Thrower of Grandma Off The Cliff, Token Black, Token Hispanic, and Vote Suppressor.
Percent of Republicans who view Arab Americans favorably and unfavorably, respectively, in a new survey by the Arab American Institute: 33%, 48%
Number of anti-abortion bills Paul Ryan has co-sponsored: 38
Percent of the lower 48 states that the Drought of 2012 covers: 62%
Chance of 2012 being the warmest U.S. year on record, even if the rest of the year's temperatures are average: 2-in-3
(Source: USA Today)
Current Arctic sea ice cover, a record low: 1.58 million square miles
(Source: National Snow & Ice Data Center)
• At the Republican National Convention, the party officially nominates Mitt Romney, who promises Americans cheesy grits in every pot and a car elevator in every garage because, of course, he lies about everything.
• Clint Eastwood flies to the Republican convention unprepared for his prime-time speaking gig and chooses to ad-lib an on-stage conversation with an empty chair as "President Obama." It's more proof that, when conservatives pick up a schtick, they usually poke their eye out.
Tampa. It was the most re-tweeted tweet from anyone of either party during the convention.
Oh, and here's your Puppy Pic of the Day: Saved!!!