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Molly Molly Molly

Six years ago today America lost Molly Ivins. She was 62. Cancer got her, but she was full of fight right to the end. In their must-read biography, Molly Ivins: A Rebel Life, Bill Minutaglio and W. Michael Smith describe her as...

Coover of Molly Ivins bioggraphy,
...a latter-day Mark Twain-meets-Will Rogers. She was the wisecracking social commentator who gleefully teed up on anyone whose boot heels clicked across the marble floors in the House of Power. Her column and her books were always anchored by a photo of her wide-open, inviting face---and she always seemed on the verge of a booming laugh. She crisscrossed the country, drew huge crowds, made innumerable national TV appearances, and was given honorary degrees, and all the while, powerful Hollywood producers were trying to decide whether to create a television series based on her---or to go all the way and put her life on the big screen.
She was so good at documenting the quirks and oddities of her home state of Texas, and not just its good-old-boy political machine. This snippet from a 1993 speech at Smith College (via the above book) cracks me up every time:
I played basketball all over East Texas. We used to play in a town called Bed. It was a big joke, going to play in Bed. And let me tell you, the East Texas women are some of the meanest women on the face of the earth. We used to play in these small towns; the guards were almost invariably named after flowers---there would be Lily, Rose and Violet. The forwards were always jewels---Ruby, Pearl and Opal. But it was East Texas, so everybody had two names, you know, like Ruby Jo or Pearl Ann. And they always wore pink plastic curlers in their hair during games so they'd look good at the dance afterwards. Meanest women I ever met.
More Molly:
Being Canadian is like living next door to the Simpsons. Here are all these patient, sensible, kind people (I swear, their real national motto is, "Now, let's not get excited") living right next to "the States," where some hideously noisy psychodrama is always going on.

Molly Ivins
Next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please pay attention.
Any nation that can survive what we have lately in the way of government, is on the high road to permanent glory.
Although it is true that only about 20 percent of American workers are in unions, that 20 percent sets the standards across the board in salaries, benefits and working conditions. If you are making a decent salary in a non-union company, you owe that to the unions. One thing that corporations do not do is give out money out of the goodness of their hearts.
I have been attacked by Rush Limbaugh on the air, an experience somewhat akin to being gummed by a newt. It doesn't actually hurt, but it leaves you with slimy stuff on your ankle.
And this from her final column:
Keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was.
Of Barack Obama, she said in '04: "He’s the only Democrat with any 'Elvis' to him.” And speaking of Elvis, here's a fun fact: while Molly was spending her rocky tenure at The New York Times ('76 to '82), she was assigned to write The King's obituary for the Newspaper of Record.

You can should revisit Molly's columns from the 2000s here. Even though she's no longer with us, her writing is still like Red Bull for the progressive soul.

Cheers, Molly.

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

Cheers and Jeers for Thursday, January 31, 2013

Note: The elevator to the liquor cabinet is out of order.  Please use one of the office jetpacks instead.  ---Mgt.


By the Numbers:
Days 'til Presidents' Day: 18
Days 'til the Chinese New Year Festival and Parade in San Francisco: 23
Percent of Mainers who favor banning assault-style weapons: 51%
(Source: Maine Sunday Telegram poll)
Surge in pizza sales on Super Bowl Sunday: 35%
Surge in antacid sales at 7-11 the day after: 20%
Cost of a 30-second ad in this year's Super Bowl: $3.8 million
(Source: USA Today)
Number of people in Seattle who took part in the record-breaking snowball fight this month: 5,834


Puppy Pic of the Day:  A few words and pics about our hard-workin' detection dogs


Interim Senator Mo Cowan and his family, January 30, 2013
Mo Cowan and his family.
CHEERS to the accidental legislator.  I was rooting for Barney Frank to be the placeholder senator from Massachusetts until the special election in June.  Barney would've brought a crazy amount of experience and knowledge to the crazy Senate budget talks, and no doubt would've provided some moments of unforgettable rhetoric from the floor.  But twas not to be.  Governor Deval Patrick had his choice in mind the moment President Obama nominated John Kerry to be Secretary of State: former chief of staff Mo Cowan:
Cowan is a North Carolina native and Duke University graduate who came to Boston to attend Northeastern University Law School in the early 1990s---and never left the region. … Patrick and Cowan built up a strong friendship over the years, in part, because both men have risen from difficult childhoods to prominence in Boston and in the state.  Patrick also served as a mentor to Cowan when both were practicing lawyers.
Cowan will no doubt be an honorable if unremarkable temp who will warm the seat to which he's been assigned with due diligence and gravitas.  Meanwhile, congratulations to Elizabeth Warren, who can now officially call herself the senior senator from Massachusetts.  That was fast!

CHEERS to indoor grilling.  Former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican and President Obama's nominee for Secretary of Defense, gets his turn in the spotlight today as he answers questions at his confirmation hearings today in front of the Senate Make War Not Whoopie Committee.  Gee, I wonder if there will be any pearl-clutchers in the room:

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, took to the floor of the upper chamber Wednesday to argue that Hagel’s nomination has already “done damage” to U.S. security.
He'll be watching the hearings from under his bed.  Once his mom checks for monsters, of course.

CHEERS to safety nets. 73 years ago today, the first Social Security chec (#00-000-001) was issued to Ida May Fuller---a Vermonter and childhood classmate of Calvin Coolidge---for $22.54 or, as the Republican leadership calls it, "$22.54 too much."  Despite all the despicable fearmongering coming from the right that Social Security is "flat broke," Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) reminds us via email….

Here’s the truth: Social Security is fully solvent, and will be through 2038.  So why all the bluster?  It’s a giveaway to Wall Street, plain and simple. Starting with Ida May Fuller in 1940, our nation has a proud history of rewarding a lifetime of hard work with the promise of financial security in one’s golden years. It’s been the most effective anti-poverty program in the history of the world.
Much obliged, FDR.

Gong!  Gong!!  BuddaBuddaBudda… GONG!!!

This is another edition of The One Word Answer Man.  Very Serious Person David Brooks asks in this week's New York Times column: The question is: Who’s going to build a second G.O.P.?


Now back to Cheers and Jeers.

Gong!  Gong!!  BuddaBuddaBudda… GONG!!!

CHEERS to a fitting end to a bunch of bullshitters.  Does the name "Americans Elect" ring a bell?  Here, let the Portland Daily Sun refresh your memory:

Bundles of cash
This is what "Americans
Elect" was really all about.
Last year, Americans Elect had petitioners across the state gathering signatures to get them on the ballot as Maine's, if not the nation's, newest political party. …

Americans Elect failed to have the required number of voters vote for a candidate in November's general election for several reasons.  They needed 10,000 enrolled voters to vote for the candidate of their choice, but never bothered to name a candidate.

In essence, this shady outfit, funded with dark money, failed to heed the words of Jim Hightower: "there's nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos."  Well, here in Maine Americans Elect is officially going belly-up.  In lieu of flowers, just point and laugh.

CHEERS to the great uniter. On this date in 1928, Scotch tape was marketed for the first time by 3-M.  It holds things together like a charm.  But to shut up Rush Limbaugh only duct tape will do.

The character Arnold Toht from
Bob, my dentist.
JEERS to getting picked over.  In a little less than two hours, I'll be taken on a terror ride in a dilapidated taxi to my dentist's office.  As I watch Fox News on the monitor above me, the hygienist will take a sharp metal grappling hook to my gums and follow that with a miniature sandblaster that will make the same screeching sound as nails on a chalkboard.  As a result of this abuse, my gums will bleed.  The hygienist will take pictures of my bleeding gums and display them on the IMAX screen that I'll have to contort my body like a pretzel to see behind me.  Then the actual dentist will pop in, tell me that he's concerned my gums are bleeding, and "strongly" recommend a $150 propane-powered toothbrush, a $400 nightguard, a $500 cap, a $1,200 crown, and whatever else he needs to tack onto the bill so he can buy a new Mercedes or, as the case may be, a Brazillian vacation.  I'll walk away with some free dental floss along with a lingering taste of latex gloves in my mouth, and spend the rest of the day trying to uncurl my toes.  Tonight for dinner: bag of Oreos.


Five years ago in C&J: January 31, 2008

CHEERS to bowing out gracefully.  John Edwards and Rudy Giuliani both suspended their presidential campaigns, leaving some to lament the exit of a true progressive (Edwards), and others wondering who the hell that nutty space alien was who obsessed about the numbers nine and eleven.  But C&J didn’t fail to notice that they both made their decisions mere hours apart.  Which can only mean one thing: they're up to something.  [1/31/13 Update:  Yeah---two peas in an infidelity pod, as it turns out.  Yick.]

"HEH HEH HEH" to George Bush's heir-apparent.  At last night's Republican debate, in which the remaining three and a half candidates spent a couple hours trying to impregnate Nancy Reagan, John McCain went after the "Is our children learning?" wing of the party with this: "April was a very interesting year in 2007."  Yes, and May was quite a day, too.


And just one more…

CHEERS to fun with the wayback machine.  I'm glad I archives C&J and spend time digging into old ones every week.  Not only do I find juicy morsels for our daily C&J Flashback, but sometimes I run into something that deserves to be hoisted onto a virtual pedestal.  In early 2008, before she was given her own show, Rachel Maddow was getting some serious airtime on MSNBC.  In an interview with the Queerty blog, she told this story about the night she was asked to cover the Iowa caucus:

Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow
The old man and the whippersnapper
I had been expecting to anchor Air America’s coverage that night, but when MSNBC asked me to do it, I was like, "Oh, that’s really nice."  So, I showed up that night and walked into the make-up room and there are Kelly O’Donnell, an anchor I don’t know and Keith Olbermann sitting in the make-up room and I walked in and, like an idiot, without thinking, say, "Aw, I feel like I’m getting bumped up from the kid’s table at Thanksgiving," which was a dumb thing to say because A. self-deprecation doesn’t help in a professional context if you’re trying to seem like a bigger deal than you are and, B, I’m subliminally calling them old, which is not a nice thing.

But that’s honestly how I felt: I get to be in the adult media!  I do feel like---I dress like a first grader, I’m a big lesbian, I’m not pretty like a Barbie doll.

Exactly how I feel posting among the front-pagers every day.  Minus the lesbian part.

Have a nice Thursday.  See ya next month!  Floor's open...What are you cheering and jeering about today?


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