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From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE…

Angus SMASH!!!

Angus King (I-ME, the most narcissistic-looking political ID in the universe), has only been in the Senate for a year and a few months, but he's already proving to be willing to dole out the piss 'n vinegar when he feels it's called for. That includes taking a well-deserved shot at a certain disgraced---and so far unpunished---advocate of human suffering you and I know as Five Deferments Dick:

Angus King
"The Mustache
of Independence."
U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine on Sunday bluntly criticized former Vice President Dick Cheney for defending the CIA’s use of waterboarding on some al-Qaida members in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and suggested Cheney ought to try it himself. […]

During a video teleconference interview Sunday with [MSNBC's Steve] Kornacki, King said: “Frankly, I was stunned to hear that quote from Vice President Cheney just now. If he doesn’t think that was torture, I would invite him anywhere in the United States to sit in a waterboard and go through what those people went through, one of them a hundred-and-plus odd times. That’s ridiculous to make that claim.”

By Senate standards, this is pretty, um, direct. Telling Dick Cheney to strap himself down and put his money water-soaked rag where his mouth and nose are is a breath of fresh outrage. Of course, Cheney would never submit to waterboarding on account of his lily-livered cowardice, a trait that runs through his biggest supporters including Sean Hannity, who famously wimped out himself. (One skeptic who went through with it was Christopher Hitchens, and he swiftly concluded, "Believe me, it's torture.")

King recently voted with a majority of intelligence committee members to release a condensed version of a Senate report on the CIA's use of torture, and word is even the short version will drop plenty of jaws. Until it comes out, I'll try to avoid filling my head with the image of Cheney taking King's advice. I'd feel guilty for smirking.

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

Cheers and Jeers for Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Note: I spent all day yesterday weighing the evidence, interviewing advocates and opponents on all sides, making last-minute fact-finding trips to Academia, and spending time talking with regular Americans at cafes, bus stops and bars.  I've made my decision: vanilla.
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By the Numbers

Spring Beer and Wine Festival logo 2014
10 days!!!
Days 'til oral appeal arguments before a three-judge panel begin in the Utah marriage-equality case: 2
Days 'til the Spring Beer and Wine Festival in Portland, OR: 10
Estimated percent of vehicles recalled for safety defects that are never fixed: 1/3
(Source: Carfax estimate)
Age of baby boomers these days: 49-67
Number of concussions reported in 20 high school sports between 2008 and 2010: 1,936
Number of them that were football-related: 912
(Source: Nationwide Children's Hospital research)
Number of employees at the IRS: 90,000

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Tuesday Words of Wisdom from the Right-wing Blogosphere:

Poor old Dubya.  He's gone past the awful stage.  Now he's at good grief.
---Commenter crasus at RedState
All together now: 1…2…3… Yup.

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Puppy Pic of the Day:  Two-legged Duncan Lou Who hits the beach for the first time.

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The New Yorker cover for April 14, 2014.  Obama spoon-feeds meds to Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Ted cruz and Michele Bachmann
Obama spoons ACA meds to Boehner,
McConnell, Bachmann and Cruz.
CHEERS to joining the club.  In another sign that Obamacare is doomed to failure, a major new health insurance company is climbing on board in Lobster Land:
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care [joins] Maine Community Health Options and Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield in the marketplace, a key element of the Affordable Care Act that reduces the ranks of the uninsured.

“We believe in the ACA’s goal of providing affordable health care coverage for everyone,” said Edward Kane, vice president for Harvard Pilgrim Health Care’s Maine division, when asked why the company, which already operates in Maine, will likely enter the marketplace. … [Health policy analyst Mitchell Stein] said Harvard Pilgrim’s move to join the marketplace in Maine is a sign that the system “is working and almost certain to grow.”

Meanwhile, over at ACAsignups.net, brainwrap's latest first-period enrollment projection stands at 7.6 to 7.8 million, and 7-point-something million of them will be paid up.  As Rachel Maddow and Frank Rich both agreed last night on my TV, the ACA is drying up as a Republican campaign issue faster than Rand Paul's curls in a beauty salon dryer bonnet.  The photos of which, I'll say again, I'm willing to pay very good money for.

CHEERS to good news from unexpected places.  The farm bill that just passed had a lot of turdy turds in it, not to mention totally arbitrary cuts to food stamps.  It was one of those bills that gets passed and then everyone just kinda slinks Away from.  But apparently, it's making conservationists kinda happy:

Vintage Fisher Price farm play set
Ahh...my old homestead.
Wildlife and environmental groups are claiming victory for conservation practices in the new farm bill, where two of their top priorities made it into law.  Farmers will be required to use good conservation practices on highly erodible lands and protect wetlands to qualify for crop insurance subsidies. And the law requires "sodsaver" protections to discourage farmers from plowing up native grasslands in several Plains and Midwest states.

"I think we're going to get a quite a lot of bang for the buck on conservation compliance and sodsaver," said Bill Wenzel, agriculture program director for the Izaak Walton League of America.

Coincidentally, sodsaver is also the name of this month's $99 special down at the funeral home.

JEERS to shunning your child.  Sorry to inform you of this, but as of today Windows XP is dead to Microsoft.  Without the company's supervision, anyone still using the system may experience crashes, cyber attacks, frozen screens and glitches that defy description.  In other words, nothing will change.

P.S. My Windows 95 is still good to go, though.  Right?

Bunny humping a chicken
Random stock photo.
SHOCK!  SHOCK!!! to news that infidelity is going on in this solar system!  A Republican congressman from Louisiana, who was elected in part thanks to an endorsement from the Duck Dynasty guys, is in big trouble after a surveillance camera caught him giving a staffer an extramarital tonsillectomy.  Vance McCallister, a garden-variety "faith, family and freedom" religion exploiter, says God is telling him to soldier on and beg forgiveness.  You know what God's telling me?  That, in addition to everything else, the Duck Dynasty guys are shitty judges of character.

CHEERS to escaping hell in a handbasket.  On April 8, 1766, the first fire escape was patented---it consisted of a wicker basket lowered by a pulley and chain.  The deluxe model included a cup holder.

CHEERS to hoops hopes.  Congrats to UConn, which was crowned the NCAA men's basketball champs after their 60-54 win over Kentucky last night.  (Feel free to pin all the blame for your loss on Mitch McConnell, bluegrass staters.)  Tonight the women wrap up the Madness d' March with a board-stompin' dustup between unbeaten teams Notre Dame (37-0) and UConn (39-0).  My head says the Fighting Irish (because if anyone knows how to win a fight, it's the Irish), but my gut's cheerin' for the Huskies because our dog is part husky and if we don’t root for 'em she'll pee in our slippers.  Ya gotta be scientific about these things.

CHEERS to a fine FLOTUS.  Happy Birthday to the late Betty Ford on what would be her 96th birthday.  She gained fame in an era that many Americans can vaguely remember---namely, a time when the GOP had a smattering of class.  But even then, she was a persistent thorn in her party's side:

Betty Ford
Betty!
Throughout her husband's term in office, she maintained high approval ratings, though some on the far-right of her own Republican Party strongly opposed her on more liberal social issues.  Betty Ford was noted for raising breast cancer awareness with her 1974 mastectomy and was a passionate supporter for the Equal Rights Amendment.  Pro-choice on abortion and a leader in the Women's Movement, she gained fame as one of the most candid first ladies in history, commenting on every hot button issue of the time from sex to drugs.

Her most enduring legacy, of course, is the Betty Ford Center.  Sadly, the center doesn't have a wing for candy corn addicts like me.  But I'm happy to say my self-administered Tootsie Pop replacement therapy seems to be holding.  One day at a time.

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Five years ago in C&J: April 8, 2009

Kim Jong Il puppet in the movie
Jong Il.
JEERS to big noise from a little man.  North Korea launched another rocket which, if you believe their propaganda ministry, was "actual size of glorious Kim Jong Il penis no lie."  Also like Jong Il, shortly after liftoff it suffered a case of premature deceleration and crashed into the ocean (if ya know what I mean).  In response, everyone is sticking to their time-worn scripts.  The United Nations: "Oooh, we can't do anything, our hands are tied!"  The White House: "Bad, North Korea, bad---one more unauthorized test and we're canceling your Netflix account."  The American neocons: "The fact that President Obama hasn't launched a dozen nukes and wiped the country off the map---and, of course, Iran, too---means he's a failed president."  The North Korean people: "Hey, don't look at us, we just starve here."

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And just one more…

CHEERS to a new way of escaping the dog-eat-dog world.  If you live in London, please pardon us across the pond for feeling a little jealous.  After all, you get to kick back in a café with cats.  A "catfe," if you will:

Lady Dinah's cat Emporium logo (London)
Feline company is exactly what one of London’s newest cafes is offering – and stressed-out city-dwellers are lapping it up.  “People do want to have pets and in tiny flats, you can’t,” said cafe owner Lauren Pears, who opened Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium last month in an area east of the city’s financial district.

“There’s not many places in London you can just curl up with a book and chill out with a cat or two on your lap,” she said Friday. “I think that’s what our success is down to.”

The U.S., behind the curve as usual, will get its first cat emporiums later this year, in San Francisco.  Meanwhile the first attempt at opening a Florida python coffee shop appears to be delayed, as no one seems to be able to locate the owners.

Have a fuzzy wuzzy Tuesday.  Floor's open...What are you cheering and jeering about today?

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Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial:

MARS, EARTH, AND CHEERS AND JEERS TO ALIGN THIS WEEK
---Matt Mercuro

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Poll

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