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Happy 60th Birthday, Liberal Hippie Numbers Guy

I admit I don’t know a fiduciary whatzamahoozie from a hole in the ground. I attribute my ignorance on money matters to a few things: sleeping through the one and only economics course I took in college, bonking my head on my household debt ceiling too many times, and generally fainting at the sight of any chart that doesn’t come from Graphjam. So all I can say is thank gawd Paul Krugman is around to explain economics in a way I can actually understand.

Krugman (aka Krgthulu): Princeton professor. Defender of Keynes. Winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics. Voted the #1 living economic thinker under 60 in a survey of U.S. economics professors. New York Times columnist and busy blogger. Best-selling author. More factually-reliable than the rest of the punditry. Intellectual slayer of George Will when he does roundtable duty on ABC's This Week. And someone who happily wears his ideology on his green eyeshades:

Paul Krugman, holding cat
And he loves pooties!
Modern conservatism is actually a deeply radical movement, one that is hostile to the kind of society we’ve had for the past three generations---that is, a society that, acting through the government, tries to mitigate some of the ‘common hazards of life’ through such programs as Social Security, unemployment insurance, Medicare and Medicaid.

I believe in a relatively equal society, supported by institutions that limit extremes of wealth and poverty. I believe in democracy, civil liberties, and the rule of law. That makes me a liberal, and I’m proud of it.

Of course, no one in the halls of power will put Krugman's ideas into practice at the moment, because doing that would actually help us lift all our proverbial boats and achieve economic prosperity again. Today's American government is all about careening from one ginned-up fiscal crisis to another. It's all about Simpson and Bowles, deficit hawks and austerity orgasmists, fear and suffering. It's a Very Very Very Very Serious Person World. Which is to say, mad mad mad mad.

Before I discovered blogs an eon or two ago, I didn't know anything about Paul Krugman. I'm glad that's changed. Today I never miss his columns or his guest appearances on the tube. Whether it's economics, foreign policy (he was a strong voice against the Iraq war) or raw politics, Krugman goes about cutting through the bullshit with a quiet, matter-of-fact efficiency.

Today is Paul's 60th birthday. In the C&J tradition, we wish him many blessings on his camels. And also many more years of driving conservatives crazy with the weapon they fear most: the liberal truth. Or, as it's better known: the truth.

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

Cheers and Jeers for Thursday, February 28, 2013

Note: Due to the sequester, dental floss will no longer be waxed.  We regret the inconvenience.


By the Numbers:
Days 'til Spring: 20
Days 'til the 2nd annual MHS Arts Club Chocolate Roll Festival in Marshall, Arkansas: 16
Percent of American adults who believe the Republican and Democratic parties, respectively, are out of step with the American people: 62%, 46%
Percent who believe the Republican and Democratic parties, respectively, are not open to change: 56%, 38%
(Source: Pew Research Center poll)
Number of coal-fired power plants that American Electric Power will close in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky---replacing part of their power output with solar and wind projects in Michigan and Indiana---as part of an agreement with the government: 3
(Source: The Washington Post)
Increase in sales of new homes in January: 16%
(Source: AP)
Average and actual snowfall, respectively, by this time of year in Portland, Maine: 45" / 82"
(Source: The Portland Press Herald)

Your Thursday Molly Ivins Moment:

If you do not pretend to believe everything Bush says, then you are unpatriotic, against Our Troops and probably in support of gay marriage. Those Europeans understand nothing.

Speaking of unsatisfactory allies, Canada has had the nerve (!) to announce it does not want to be under our nuclear shield, if we ever get it built. Gee, how could it not want to buy into (and help pay for) our Star Wars defense system? Just because it doesn't work and costs the earth? Well, they're partly French, you know.

---March, 2005


Puppy Pic of the Day:  The Oscar nominees you may have missed:


CHEERS to bidding a fond "Aufwiedersehen!"  Well, kids, this is it.  Pope Benedict XVI trades in his red shows for a pair of lira loafers, his miter for a raspberry beret (the kind you find in a second-hand store), his crozier for a sword cane, his robes for a sensible jean jacket, his opulent digs for a $650 a month (plus utilities and security deposit) one-bedroom efficiency.  And then there's the breakup letter:

The Popemobile with benedict XVI inside
"To Walmart and step on it--
I need some stretchypants."
Dear God,

This is hard to write. It's just not working out. I need to end this relationship.

Please don't blame yourself. It's not you. It's me. I just need some space. Some time to think. To pick daisies and run through the barley fields, and maybe get my degree in software development.

Here's your ring back and the shoes I borrowed. Also I changed the locks. It's for the best.

I know you'll find someone else. You always do. I'll always look up to you. I hope we can stay friends.


Of course, the relationship seemed kinda doomed to fail when the Pope literally accused the Lord of sleeping on the job.  Benedict's last official act today will be lying in state motionless until someone in the crowd says something that makes him giggle.  Then: election season starts.  Spoiler alert: Foster Friess funnels millions to his pet cardinals' super PACs, and tells Andrea Mitchell during an interview that priests used to stay celibate by holding a Bayer aspirin between their knees. It's mostly downhill from there.

CHEERS to the Comeback Kid Cheesehead.  Heyyyy!  Howd'ya feel about a return of The Feingold…as in former Senator Russ Feingold from Wisconsin?  I have to think that he's eyeing another run for something, given these poll numbers:

Run Russ Run
Former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) fell victim to nationwide Republican momentum in 2010, but a poll out Tuesday showed that the progressive champion could be in a strong position for a political comeback in the Badger State. […]

The poll indicated that Feingold could get the last laugh on the Republican who ousted him in the 2010 midterms. In a hypothetical 2016 Senate matchup, 52 percent said they would vote for Feingold over Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), who picked up 42 percent support.  […]   Moreover, Feingold fared better than any Democrat tested in hypothetical matchups against Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), who will be up for re-election next year. … Feingold has not given an indication yet if he will challenge Walker in 2014.

Personally, I like the sound of "Governor Feingold."  Almost as much as I like the sound of "ex-Governor Walker."

JEERS to the stupid spokesman for the "Stupid Party."  Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal fancies himself the leading voice for a kinder, gentler, more enlightened Republican party willing to engage in a serious, vigorous debate on the issues instead of dodging them.  So take a look at how he engaged in a thoughtful debate when David Gregory brought up the subject of marriage equality on Meet the Press:

They really are doomed.
David Gregory: Jon Huntsman says that it’s truly conservative to allow gays and lesbians to marry.  Is that a change you could support?

Gov. Jindal: Look, I believe in the traditional definition of marriage.  Let’s speak there what happened this last election, that we had election that was dominated by economic issues, unemployment higher than when the president started at…right after the election came out. We still lost an election where majority of the American people said we want…we think the federal government is doing too much.  We lost that election because we didn’t present a vision showing how we believe the entire economy can grow, how people can join the middle class.  We’re an aspirational party and we need policies that…that are consistent with that aspiration.

Civil rights excepted from that aspirational vision, I guess.  See what he did there? Jindal performed a cheap and cowardly pivot.  One line blowing off marriage and then election economy election economy election economy.  Your new, improved GOP hard at work being evasive and incoherent.  But now with puppy-dog eyes.

JEERS to sticky fingers.  On February 28, 2007, two Picassos worth some $66 million, were swiped from the Paris home of the artist's granddaughter.  Three thieves were caught the following August.  When asked why they stole the paintings, they said they were tired of lookin' at dogs playing poker all day.

CHEERS to your Thursday Pearl of Wisdom.  Every now and then I hoof it over to the World Net Daily site to see what the right wing's bottom dwellers are wallowing in.  The entire site is like crack for paranoids.  (Actual poll question: "Obama says BAN GUNS! What Do You Say?")  Anyway…a commenter there makes an observation.  I pass it on:

Not saying that Tim Tebow is Jesus Christ, but God gave us his son Jesus Christ then he gave us Tim Tebow.
You have been enlightened.


Five years ago in C&J: February 28, 2008

CHEERS and JEERS to William F. Buckley, Jr.  The "Poobah of Conservative Thought" had an interesting ideological arc over his lifetime.  He started out as an advocate of Joe McCarthy and promoted segregation in his magazine, Woman's Day.  [Note to self: fact check that.  Might be Good Housekeeping.]  And calling for the tattooing of AIDS patients was hideously cruel.  But as the years unfolded he seemed to mellow with age while his own party became more and more unhinged.  In the end, they didn’t really know what to make of him.  Mainly because they didn't know the meaning of half the words he used.  Buckley, Jr. was 82.  Many of his ideas were 750.


And just one more…

JEERS to spaghetti and mare balls.  I admit, I never expected to see the words "Ikea," "sausages," and "horse meat" in the same sentence.  But there it is:

Book shelf
Ikea Group halted the sale of sausages sold in five countries on concern about horse-meat contamination as the Swedish home furnishings and food retailer extended a ban on meatballs to some stores beyond Europe.

Ikea has found traces of horse meat “in a handful” of hundreds of test results and is continuing to examine all of its meat products, Ylva Magnusson, a spokeswoman, said today by telephone.  […]

The scandal that started in Ireland in mid-January has spread around the world as governments test products and retailers in some countries withdraw items such as frozen beef burgers, lasagnas and meatballs from the shelves.

On the bright side, we hear that their three-shelf faux-mahogany bookcase #00176264 is the odds-on favorite to win the Preakness.

Have a nice Thursday.  Sorry, but I won't be able to post C&J again until…next month.  Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!  Floor's open---what are you cheering and jeering about today?


Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial:

Americans hate Cheers and Jeers, but they'll hate deep spending cuts even more
---The Plum Line


With two months of 2013 behind us, how does the year seem to be movin' for ya?

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