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From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE…

What's in a Storm Name?

This is what America looks like this morning. By which I mean, this is what America feels like this morning:

National temperature map for Jan 7, 2014 via NOAA
If you watch the Weather Channel, you may have noticed that they now give winter storms names. The blizzard last week was "Hercules." (Or, as everyone actually called it: "Hercules! Hercules!") The National Weather Service doesn't use 'em, so I consider what the Weather Channel is doing more odd and gimmicky than useful.

But if they can do it, so can I. Here are winter storm names you can substitute for theirs. Frankly, I like my list better because, unlike TWC's list, my names represent the truly cold, cruel, destructive, slippery and/or windbaggy:

ALEC, Bachmann, Calgary Cruz, Duck Dick, ExxonMobil, Fox News, Gohmert, Homophobe, Issa, Jim Crow, Koch, Limbaugh, Mandatory Ultrasound, "No!", Orange Man, Palin, Querulous Quietus, Rand, Scalia, Teabagger, Union Buster, Vampire Squid, Walker, Xenophobe, "You Lie!" and Zygote Zealot.
On second thought, most of those names would be unusually cruel. To the winter storms.

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

Cheers and Jeers for Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Note: I'm going on a hunger strike until the Eagles let that poor man out of the Hotel California. Until they do, I plan to survive on nothing more than water, meat, vegetables, fruit, whole grains, booze, soup/chowder, Tootsie Pops and mango juice. If it means my death, so be it. Oh, and also candy corn because I still got a ton of it leftover from Halloween.

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National Pie Day graphic
16 Days!!!
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By the Numbers:
Days 'til the State of the Union Address: 21
Days 'til National Pie Day: 16
Number of former members of Congress who are now legally able to badger their former colleagues as lobbyists as of this month: 71
(Source: Sunlight Foundation)
Percent of U.S. financial advisers who say they don’t have a retirement plan for themselves: 46%
(Source: The Wall Street Journal)
Median hourly earnings of women as a percentage of what men earned in 2012: 84%
(Source: AP)
Number of the top 100 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. where the rate of commuting to work by car is falling: 99
(Source: The Week)

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Tuesday Words of Wisdom from the Right-wing Blogosphere:

We have Hitler's illegitimate son in the white house and his daughter will run for president in 2016. I have proof from the illegal alien invasion flying saucer.
---Commenter droll at World Net daily
All together now: 1…2…3… Classy!

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Puppy Pic of the Day:  Idgie the dachshund protects Ruth the paralyzed pootie. (Great video if you can sit through the obnoxious ad.)

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CHEERS to the new Master of the Universe.  With a minimum of fuss, the Senate yesterday approved Janet Yellen, who now becomes the first woman to head the Federal Reserve and brings the "Helicopter Ben" era to a close.  Says the hippie who nominated her:

A confirmation for
the history books.
With the bipartisan confirmation of Janet Yellen as the next Chair of the Federal Reserve, the American people will have a fierce champion who understands that the ultimate goal of economic and financial policymaking is to improve the lives, jobs and standard of living of American workers and their families. … [S]he understands that fostering a stable financial system will help the overall economy and protect consumers. I am confident that Janet will stand up for American workers, protect consumers, foster the stability of our financial system, and help keep our economy growing for years to come.
---President Obama
The first item on her agenda: spending a few hours rolling around in a giant pile of money shouting, "Yippeeee!!!!"  (I hear it's a sacred tradition.)

JEERS to hitting the brakes on progress.  Well, the Supreme Court stopped same-sex marriages from happening in Utah, and the first thing that popped into my head was, "Here we go again…it's California, Part Dieux."  Some 1,300 same-sex couples have all the legal rights and privileges of marriage, making them equal in the eyes of the law with straight married couples.  But thanks to the Supremes, the rest of the Utah's gay community who want to get married can't---they're stuck in legal limbo until an appeals court sorts through the state's arguments for why gay people shouldn't be allowed to get married.  (Hint: because it would change a few words on a secular, civil contract that gets filed with the county clerk; and that, of course, would cause Armageddon and rain showers containing caffeine.)  And so, as the appeals process begins, the LGBT community does what it's become really good at: waiting.

President Millard Fillmore
Voted president most
likely to play the skipper
on Gilligan's Island.
CHEERS to the wast of those wascally Whigs.  Happy 214th Birthday to #13 Millard Fillmore, whose beginnings could scarcely be more humble:
He was born in upstate New York in Cayuga County the second of eight children to such an impoverished family that they could not even afford to feed him. His father apprenticed (indentured servant) him to a cloth maker at age fifteen, so brutal it stopped just short of slavery. Millard Fillmore taught himself to read by stealing books. He finally managed to accumulate thirty dollars to pay the obligation to his master and was free.
During his accidental presidency (thanks to Zachary Taylor's death from hanging around Chinese drywall too long), he sent Commodore Perry to open trade with Japan.  He also postponed a civil war by signing the Compromise of 1850, which added California as a free state but also established a fugitive slave law.  Oh, and Queen Victoria told him was the most handsome man she'd ever laid eyes on.  Moments later, he unofficially became the first person to run a one-minute mile.

JEERS to progress at the speed of Boehner.  The United States House of Representatives convenes today for the second half of the 113th Congress.  To give you an idea of how busy they plan to be, consider this: last year they were in session for a low, low 135 days, and this year they only plan to report to work 97 days before the midterm elections.  In the words of Steve Benen at the Maddow blog…

Graph of the number of bills the House has passed from 1947 to 2013
Proof that you don't have to be stoned
to sit around the house and do nothing.
[I]t’s been three years since Republicans took control of the House of Representatives, and since that time, Congress has no accomplishments of note (unless one considers a shutdown and two debt-ceiling hostage cries “accomplishments”). Looking ahead, GOP leaders have decided to keep this streak going another year, at least.

The electoral calculus is that inaction and failure is the key to success. Sure, Congress could be ambitious and rack up meaningful wins, but the fights would be contentious; the Republican base might not like the results; and the successful governance would probably give President Obama a boost in the polls, along with Congress.

On the bright side: the No Post Office Left Un-named Act will slide through like buttah.  Sign painters, your ship has come in.

Outline of Iran filled in with the Iranian flag
Quit smirking, Iran. Liz
Cheney's still gonna gitcha!
JEERS to an early curtain call.  Instead of following in her father's political footsteps by fighting to the bitter end, Liz Cheney decided instead to follow in his military service footsteps by taking a deferment on her senatorial campaign in Wyoming.  (Health issues with one of her kids, we hear.)  So she's out.  And now she'll settle down in a little cabin in the Wyoming woods somewhere and integrate herself with the community there that she bonded with so strongly.  By which I mean she'll be moving back to Virginia to live in a fancy house and get rich telling Fox and ABC News how much Obama sucks and joining neocon think tanks to plan U.S. invasions.

CHEERS to the Republic's BIG Moment.  On January 7, 1789, the first U.S. Presidential election was held, but there was no popular vote.  Instead, each state's appointees to the Electoral College got to vote twice.  The top two vote-getters would become president and Veep.  They picked the stoic hero George Washington and the cranky curmudgeon John Adams.  Their first conversation:

George Washington and John Adams portraits
"Tickle tickle goosey goosey."
"Stop that, John."
"What do we do now?"
"I dunno, I thought you knew."
"Well, I thought you knew."
"Hey...wanna get drunk and pee in Jefferson's desk?"
"Does the Constitution say we can?"
"I assume so."
"Awesome.  Pass the rum."
The rest, as they say, is history.

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Five years ago in C&J: January 7, 2009

CHEERS to the new kids.  Please give a warm welcome to our newly-minted Democratic senators, who will be sworn in today: Mark Begich (D-AK), Mark Warner (D-VA), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Tom Udall (D-NM), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Mark Udall (D-CO).  Meanwhile security will be on the lookout for Roland Burris, who plans to sneak into the chamber disguised as a lamp and superglue himself to Obama's old chair.  C-SPAN, don’t fail me now.

CHEERS to healthy attraction.  For years the makers of therapeutic magnets were called quacks and snake-oil salesmen.  Well, research out of the University of Virginia suggests that magnet therapy may "increase the flow of blood, thus providing more oxygen and nutrients to injured tissue."  Good news: it could mean faster recovery times from injuries at virtually no cost.  Bad news: you may develop an unhealthy attraction to your refrigerator door.

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And just one more…

CHEERS to U.S. Mint'y freshness.  Sadly, a trillion-dollar coin, as lovely as it sounds, isn't going to be needed in 2014.  But the "America the Beautiful" state quarters collection, which celebrates our national parks (or as Republicans call them, "future oil drilling sites once we get back into power"), continues to weave its spell of numismagic on the nation for another year.  Here's a sneak peak at this year's lineup---I think you'll agree they're quarterrrrrific:

Everglades National Park in Florida
Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado
Arches National Park in Utah
Shenandoah National Park in Virginia
Great Smoky Mountain National Park in Tennessee
The first release will be Tennessee's later this month. It features a hawk pooping down the chimney of a log cabin.  Corker's place, I hope.

Have an ice-free Tuesday (I'm a fan of setting out impossible tasks).  Floor's open...What are you cheering and jeering about today?

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Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial:

Rand Paul: James Clapper and Bill in Portland Maine should ‘share a prison cell’
---The Daily Caller

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Poll

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| 6238 votes | Vote | Results

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