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Friday Vonnegut Blogging

Kurt Vonnegut died seven years ago today at 84. A good time to remind ourselves why he was…well…Kurt Vonnegut:

True terror is to wake up one morning and discover that your high school class is running the country.

Kurt Vonnegut
Smart humor has a liberal bias.
Dear future generations: Please accept our apologies. We were rolling drunk on petroleum.

Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.

Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.

People have to talk about something just to keep their voice boxes in working order, so they'll have good voice boxes in case there's ever anything really meaningful to say.

Plato says that the unexamined life is not worth living. But what if the examined life turns out to be a clunker as well?

Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies---‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.’

And my favorite, which I've adopted as a personal motto:
I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.
If you want even more, check out Greg Mitchell's Daily Vonnegut page. Kurt did live to a ripe old age, but still…not ripe enough. So it goes.

Your west coast-friendly edition of  Cheers and Jeers starts below the fold... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]

Cheers and Jeers for Friday, April 11, 2014

Note: I spent part of my day in a crouching position because I noticed today's date is 41114.  I was glad to learn that it doesn't mean squat.

Bodega Bay Fisherman's Festival logo 2010
15 days!!!
By the Numbers:
Days 'til Good Friday: 7
Days 'til the 41st Bodega Bay Fisherman's Festival in California: 15
Number of U.S. nuclear missiles that are being moved over the next four years from their silos into storage: 50
Total warheads that will be taken out of service by both the U.S. and Russia by 2018: 1,550
(Source: The Pentagon)
Percent of U.S. adults surveyed who say that doing their taxes is easy: 58%
(Source: AP-GfK poll)
Estimated number of words I can say that will instantly get our dog's attention: 45
Number of words I can say that will instantly get our cat's attention: 0:


NEW!  Michele Bachmann Departure Countdown

Michele Bachmann and her googly eyes leave Congress in 267 days.  Please remember to do proper stretching exercises before attempting your happy dance.  ---Mgt.


Puppy Pic of the Day: I always predicted that humanity would be defeated at the paws of a mighty dachshund clone army.  (And I hear they're working on a mighty clone navy, too.)


Satellite photo of hurricane
Nipple of mass destruction!
CHEERS to the calm before the storms.  Atlantic hurricane season starts in 51 days, and the meteorological elves at Colorado State University are out with their 2014 forecast (link is a pdf) They're predicting a quiet year, actually: only nine named storms and three of them major.  But more important, check to see of your name is on the 2014 storm list:
Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gonzalo, Hanna, Isaias, Josephine, Kyle, Laura, Marco, Nana, Omar, Paulette, Rene, Sally, Teddy, Vicky and…Wilfred Brimley
Remember that the usual meteorological Pottery Barn Rule still applies: if a hurricane named after you breaks it, you buy it.

JEERS to flying Keds.  Hillary Clinton calmly fired off three perfectly-delivered zingers after someone in the audience threw a shoe at her as she was giving a speech yesterday:

"Is that part of Cirque du Soleil?”
"My goodness, I didn't know that solid waste management was so controversial."
"Thank goodness she didn't play softball like I did."
Seconds later, the entire room tried the veal and tipped their server.

CHEERS to landmark legislation.  The 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act is deservedly getting a lot of attention today.  But President Johnson signed a companion bill into law 46 years ago today (one week after MLK's death): the Civil Rights Act of 1968.  The following housing issues became no-no's:

Johnson signs the Civil Righrs Act of 1968.
LBJ applies his John Hancock
to the 1968 Civil Rights Act.
1) Refusal to sell or rent a dwelling to any person because of his race, color, religion or national origin.

2) Discrimination against a person in the terms, conditions or privilege of the sale or rental of a dwelling.

3) Advertising the sale or rental of a dwelling indicating preference of discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin.

The law has worked really well up to this point---a huge success.  And that can mean only one thing: John Roberts and the other conservatives on the Supreme Court will be repealing it at their earliest convenience.

CHEERS to comings and goings.  Stephen Colbert has been hired to replace David Letterman as host of The Late Show.  His challenge won't be shedding the conservative character he's played for ten years on Comedy Central, but rather convincing the public that the real Stephen Colbert is just as funny and watchable as the fake one.  Meanwhile, Kathleen Sebelius is leaving her job at Health and Human Services after five rocky but ultimately triumphant years there.  The chief implementer of Obamacare says she was finally able to hoist the middle finger at her tyrannical boss and leave her dead-end job thanks to the portability of Obamacare.  Very sneaky, ma'am.

JEERS to cerebral hemorrhages.  They suck.  Franklin Roosevelt died from one 69 years ago tomorrow down in Warm Springs, Georgia.  His private Secretary Grace Tully recounts what happened here.  A snip:

President Franklin Roosevelt with Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin at Yalta in 1945.
Can you imagine the right-wing freakout
if Obama started wearing a cape?
The shock was unexpected and the actuality of the event was outside belief.  Without a word or a glance toward the others present, I walked into the bedroom, leaned over and kissed the President lightly on the forehead.  Then I walked out on the porch and stood wordless and tearless.  In my heart were prayers and, finally, in my mind came thoughts, a flood of them drawn from seventeen years of acquaintance, close association and reverent admiration. Through them, one recurred constantly---that the Boss had always shunned emotionalism and that I must, for the immediate present at least, behave
in his pattern. I did, for a matter of hours.
While FDR's generation got a rendezvous with destiny, ours got a rendevous with a fuckup named Dubya, and we'll be paying for it the rest of our lives---thanks a lot, fate.  Now comb your hair and go pay your respects.  As always, regards to Eleanor.

Miniature Golf windmill hole
The famous 12th
hole at Augusta.
CHEERS to home vegetation.  Here are some of the boob tube highlights this weekend.  On HBO's Real Time, Bill Maher's lineup includes Pussy Riot, Rob Lowe, Ana Marie Cox, Rep. Duncan Hunter and Matt Taibbi.  New DVD releases include Hobbit 2: Hobbit Harder and August: Osage County (Streep/Roberts).  Sports schedules are as follows: MLB, NBA, NHL and, of course, the Masters.  Seth Rogan hosts SNL.  And Sunday night it's an embarrassment of riches with Game of Thrones (Spoiler alert: Stab stab stab!), Cosmos, Veep and Mike Judge's Silicon Valley, whose debut last week was out-of-the-gate hilarious.

On Bill Moyers & Company, historian Harvey Kaye explains "why FDR's 'Four Freedoms' are more timely than ever."  And here's your Sunday morning lineup.  Please hold your applause until Louie Gohmert and Eric Holder actually sit down together to share a bowl of asparagus stew:

Meet the Press: Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin conducts a seance to get Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt's thoughts about the Boston bombings one year later, leaving Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, Boston Globe photographer John Tlumacki and former New England Patriots player Joe Andruzzi gobsmacked; roundtable with Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD), Kara Swisher, Mike Murphy and Wall Street Journal propagandist Paul Gigot (wearing his trademark seersucker suit and straw hat).  If nothing else, tune in to the last ten minutes of the show, as David Gregory loses complete control of his bangs.

Up with Steve Kornacki on MSNBC
Or skip all this crap and watch Steve
Kornacki 8-10 on MSNBC instead.
This Week: U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power; Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick on the Boston bombing anniversary; roundtable with James Carville, Robert Reich, Matt Dowd, Ana Navarro and, because no ABC News panel is complete without a Fox News anchor, Laura Ingraham and her pet sneer.

Face the Nation: Who better to discuss the future of Obamacare under a new HHS director than a Republican congresswoman---Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee---who tried to repeal it 52 times.  Awesome booking choice, Schieffer!  Plus: civil rights with Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Michael Eric Dyson of Georgetown University, Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry, Tavis Smiley of PBS and Nikole Hannah-Jones of ProPublica; roundtable with Peter Baker (NYT), Frank Rich (NY Mag), Leigh Gallagher (Fortune) and Michael Gerson (WaPost).

CNN's State of the Union: Dunno.  As usual, the CNN web crew is out back sharing brownies made from Candy Crowley's special recipe. No time for web site updatin'!

Fox GOP Talking Points Sunday: Interesting---they originally had Mike Huckabee booked, but he's been replaced by Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).  I'm guessing maybe Chris Wallace just wasn't in the mood to give Huck a tongue bath this week.  Then, with Charles Krauthammer having declared the Benghazi non-scandal dead, Fox turns its attention to the IRS non-scandal with House Ways and Means Committee members Rep Sander Levin (D-MI), and Rep Charles Boustany (R-LA); roundtable with Brit Hume, Julie Pace, George Will and Bob Woodward.

Happy viewing.


Five years ago in C&J: April 11, 2009

JEERS to happiness envy.  The Obamas welcome a lovely new puppy to their family that will help take Americans' minds off our troubled times, and how does Newt Gingrich react?  Naturally, like a jealous jerk: "I think that this whole thing is fairly stupid."  He's just mad because he knows they won't be kicking it.


And just one more…

CHEERS and JEERS to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Last night the latest inductees were officially given their secret decoder rings:

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland Ohio
True Fact: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
was built in 1993 by the ancient Egyptians.
Flamboyant rockers KISS, singer-songwriter Peter Gabriel, grunge band Nirvana and chart-toppers Hall and Oates entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Thursday but the original KISS quartet did not perform.  Also inducted were country rock star Linda Ronstadt, who suffers from Parkinson's disease and did not attend, and Cat Stevens, the British musician known as Yusuf Islam after converting to Islam and shunning the stage for decades.  The E Street Band, the group behind Bruce Springsteen, was inducted by the rocker through the Award for Musical Excellence.

Two prominent band managers - Brian Epstein for The Beatles until his death in 1967 and the Rolling Stones' Andrew Loog Oldham - rounded out the 2014 roster, each receiving the Ahmet Ertegun Awards for lifetime achievement.

Congrats to them all.  But, once again, C&J must object---as we have every year since inductions began in 1986---to the continued snub of musical supernova Shaun Cassidy, who made the world safe for slightly-askew painter's caps.  It's becoming increasingly difficult to tamp down the bitterness.  In fact, I feel a petition coming on.

But first have a nice weekend.  Floor's open…what are you cheering and jeering about today?



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