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Our $#%!! Governor Strikes Again

Maine State Representative Diane Russell represents Portland's Munjoy Hill and downtown areas. She's a scrappy Democrat who has attended a some of our New England Kossack meetups, and she's a particularly sharp thorn in the side of our horrible and soon to be one-term governor, Paul LePage.

LePage is a Teapublican, and that of course means he gets his jollies by…say it with me…hostage taking! At the moment that means ignoring orders from voters, who overwhelmingly approved $150 million in legislature-approved bonds last fall for improving our infrastructure with something other than spit and bailing twine. At the time, LePage thought they were a great idea. Today, not so much. And that has Rep. Russell---and many others---hopping mad. Saturday The Portland Press Herald published her opinion column that deserves a read for the personal way she lays out why our governor's little game of takesie-backsie is just plain dumb:

Maine State Rep. Diane Russell
Right on, Diane!
Gov. LePage seems to believe that holding the jobs bond package hostage hurts Democrats, but it doesn’t. It hurts construction workers like my dad.

A flatbed driver, my dad gets up at 2:30 in the morning every day during construction season to get the equipment to the side of the road so the morning crew can fix and pave the roads. [...]

Sadly, our infrastructure is crumbling, making it more difficult for businesses to transport their goods to market, or for our cars to survive the obstacle course that’s taken over our morning commute. Let’s be honest, whether you live in Portland or Allagash, we all have stories about “That $#%*!! road” or the giant abyss of a pothole we nearly disappeared into last week. These bonds are essential to fixing those issues, and to keeping our construction industry strong. […]

Maybe LePage’s Wall Street donors want him to hold up job creation and infrastructure investment, but back here on Main Street, we’d respectfully like our roads paved.

Also bound and gagged by LePage at the moment: bonds for improving National Guard and education facilities. Oh, and close to $200 million in federal matching funds. LePage is yet another example of a Republican who runs around claiming that government doesn’t work and then gets elected and proves it.

Democrat Mike Michaud can't kick the bum out fast enough, but unfortunately we have to wait 'til November. In the meantime, people like Diane Russell are mincing no words as they hold LePage's oafish feet to the fire.

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

Cheers and Jeers for Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Note: Due to a scheduling conflict, this year C&J has moved the Ides of March up from the 15th to the 5th. [Stab! Stab! Stab! Stab! Stab! Stab!] Thank you for your understanding and have a nice…[Stab! Stab!]…day.

World Champion Cheese Contest logo
13 days!!!
By the Numbers:
Days 'til the next full moon, assuming Putin doesn't blow it up first: 11
Days 'til the World Champion Cheese Contest in Madison, Wisconsin: 13
Number of nations from which the 2,600 cheese entries will come: 22
Minimum number of potholes NYC road crews have patched since January 1, versus 57,000 by this time last year: 136,476
Annual cost to the average urban driver in vehicle repairs due to "unacceptably rough" roads: $377
(Source: DOT and TRIP via AP)
Drop in salaries of professional pilots between 2000 and 2012: 9.5%
Average regional pilot's starting salary today: $22,400
(Source: GAO)


Mid-week Rapture Index: 188 (including 5 floods and a bunch of white homo demons).  Soul Protection Factor 666 lotion is recommended if you’ll be walking amongst the heathen today.


Democratic Senator Wendy Davis (L) of Fort Worth speaks as fellow Senator Royce West of Dallas listens at a protest before the start of a special session of the Legislature in Austin, Texas July 1, 2013.  REUTERS/Mike Stone
The winnuh!
CHEERS to women in the spotlight.  Filibuster hero Wendy Davis handily won the Democratic primary in Texas yesterday, making her the first woman governor candidate since Ann Richards.  If her ads are tough, her stumping is strong, and her opponent Greg Abbott makes some major blunders (like, say, giving Ted Nugent a tongue-bath as the rocker is calling President Obama a "subhuman mongrel"), she definitely has a shot of winning in the wake of Rick Perry's awfulness.  Meanwhile, here's a programming reminder that two of the sharpest pencils in the box, Rachel Maddow and Jon Stewart, will square off tonight on The Daily Show.  Tea party viewers are advised to have a dictionary handy in case they use words longer than three syllables.

CHEERS to speaking truth to Putin.  Maria Alyokhina, one of the members of punk collective Pussy Riot who was sent to prison (and released last year) for "Hooliganism," has written a raw analysis of the state of her country in the wake of the Crimea takeover.  I wish I could say I was shocked by any of it, but it's all too familiarly, well, Russian:

Denis Bochkarev, a member of Pussy Riot who was imprisoned in Russia.
Maria Alekhina: the terrifying
face of freedom and non-violent
dissent in Putin's Russia.
“Citizens, don’t block the way for other citizens.” These are the words we hear emanating from loudspeakers during the last demonstrations against arrests and war. These words most clearly embody the quiet creeping civil divide in Russia, a divide possibly more frightening than civil war. This is an artificial yet effectively constructed divide of citizens into those who have opinions but have no right to walk along the streets, and those who walk along the streets with empty heads and without a desire to have a say in government.

The habit of standing on the sidelines has become a pillar of life in Russia. Political involvement and a lack of indifference are mocked. Reflection and analysis of current events are simply dismissed as superfluous and unnecessary. Submission is welcomed, and so the state trudges on. (“…Into a bright future,” one might add here.) But this allusion to a Soviet belief in a better tomorrow is no longer a real conviction in contemporary Russian society, where a tired sigh at the end of the day is filled with the weary thought “at least there’s no war.”

For now.

Stifling public protest?  Artificially dividing citizens?  Pats on the head for staying ignorant and apathetic?  Do as we say and no one gets hurt?  Overworked, exhausted and war-weary?  Cynical of the promises of ponies and unicorns?  Hey Russia!  Quit stealing our act!

Mitt Romney in
A Palin pal, sporting
classy mom jeans.
CHEERS to a measured response.  Here's my reaction to Sarah Palin's praise of Vladimir Putin ("People are looking at Putin as one who wrestles bears and drills for oil, [and they] look at our president as one who wears mom jeans and equivocates and bloviates”) that I found on the internet this morning:
[Prints out article]
[Crumples up article]
[Sets fire to article]
[Dances on ashes of article]
[Laughs maniacally]
That's why I'll always love good old-fashioned paper.  Can't do that with an iPad.

JEERS to humans behaving badly.  On March 5, 1946, prompted by the shennanigans of Josef Stalin in post-World War II Europe, Winston Churchill introduced the new "Iron Curtain" in a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri.  Or, as Bed Bath & Beyond later called it, "our worst-selling curtain ever."

CHEERS to airing a blunt message.  This is cool---a snarky TV ad promoting medical marijuana will start airing in New Jersey, thanks to a group called Marijuana Doctors.  We're not talking public access cable, we're talking major stations.  (Yeah, okay, the Food Network buy is, shall we say, low-hanging fruit.)  You can watch the ad here.  As if it needs to be said, the ad will be shown everywhere in high def.  

JEERS to authorized peeping tommery.  If you've ever done anything sexually explicit in a Yahoo webcam chat room, I've got bad news and good news.  First the bad news, courtesy of Edward Snowden:

"Aunt Gladys???!!!"
Britain's surveillance agency GCHQ, with aid from the [NSA], intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of internet users not suspected of wrongdoing, secret documents reveal. … In one six-month period in 2008 alone, the agency collected webcam imagery---including substantial quantities of sexually explicit communications---from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts globally.

Yahoo reacted furiously to the webcam interception when approached by the Guardian. The company denied any prior knowledge of the program, accusing the agencies of "a whole new level of violation of our users' privacy."

The good news: you get a standing ovation every time the NSA runs "The pineapple clip."


Five years ago in C&J: March 5, 2009

A3JBF1 Members of the Westboro Baptist Church from Topeka Kansas demonstrate against homosexuality
A constitutional right to
be assholes in public.
CHEERS to the best decision we'll ever hate.  The Supreme Court ruled---correctly in C&J's humble opinion---that Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church minions have the First Amendment right to picket at the funerals of soldiers.  And you and I still have the right to exercise our free speech rights, too, including calling Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church minions assholes who are destined to spend eternity in the lowest circle of hell---the one with the 24-hour Charlie Sheen cable news coverage.


And just one more…

CHEERS to life lessons learned the hard way.  Our "Puppy Pic of the Day" feature has been moved today, because this is the highest note on which I could ever imagine wrapping up a C&J column.  Purina is out with a new bacon treat which sits inside a container whose lid is a pig's head. That's all I'll say except that this ad is a perfectly scripted, shot, edited, voiced and scored primer on the virtues of patience, perseverance, humility, forgiveness...and the occasional act of dirty pool:

Draw parallels to politics as you see fit.

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


Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial:

German chancellor Angela Merkel told US president Barack Obama that she thought Bill in Portland Maine may be “in another world.”
---The Guardian


Using your razor-sharp analytical skills (free of any ideological bias of course), which of yesterday's primary winners will be a better governor for the great state of Texas?

96%3558 votes
2%85 votes
1%53 votes

| 3698 votes | Vote | Results

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