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An Open Letter to the Maine GOP

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From the Couch of Bill in Portland Maine

Dear Maine GOP,

I see you passed a new state Republican platform (pdf) at your convention over the weekend, and I have some questions:

• When you say "Marriage is defined as the union of one man and one woman," does this mean you don’t recognize Maine's law---approved by a vote of our citizens in 2012---defining marriage as the union of one man and/or one woman and one man and/or one woman? When and how do you plan to restore your definition of marriage? What specific harm has gay marriage inflicted on Maine and its citizens that causes you such alarm? Would the hundreds of same-sex marriages already performed here be grandfathered in, or would you cancel them?

• When you say "Repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care [sic]) and all initiated components," are you willing to pry my new health insurance plan---obtained via the ACA for hundreds of dollars less than my previous insurance options---from my cold dead hands, knowing that's the only way you're going to achieve your goal? Would you kick everybody else off their ACA-procured plans too? What would you replace them with? Or would you just return to the old system in which insurance companies charge sky-high premiums while looking for any way to deny people coverage when they get sick?

• I noticed that all references to "Austrian economics" have been removed from your platform. Have you abandoned your bedrock economic philosophy because it doesn't work or because you couldn't be bothered to learn how to speak Austrian? Do I get a refund for four years of now-worthless yodeling lessons?

• Why are you demanding "Legislation that requires photo identification to vote in the State of Maine," when last year an independent commission studied the issue and concluded that "there is little or no history in Maine of voter impersonation or identification fraud"? Can you claim to be a credible entity on this issue when your previous Republican party chairman said after the 2012 election: "In some parts of rural Maine, there were dozens, dozens of black people who came in and voted on Election Day. Everybody has the right to vote, but nobody in town knows anybody that's black---how did that happen? I don't know. We're going to find out." Did you ever issue a report on what you found out? If not, why not?

• You've removed references to the prevention of a "One World Government." Is this because you now do want a One World Government or because the United Nations fired gamma rays into your brains at night to take your minds hostage? (Blink once for yes, twice for no, three times to abstain.)

• You also removed this from your previous platform: "[I]nvestigate collusion between government and industry in the global warming myth." Does this mean you found no collusion, or did you find the perks of collusion so enjoyable that you're now colluding with the colluders?

• Finally, in claiming that you want to "Defend the sovereignty the United States," I have to ask, given the sacred and infallible nature of your document: who's your proofreader?


Billy in Portland
Curious Citizen of Maine

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

Cheers and Jeers for Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Note: C&J's designated NSA tracker Bart will be monitoring us for the next 24 hours from inside the Maypole we set up next to the kiddie pool last night. He politely asks that you not bang on it with something large like a monkey wrench.  We politely ask that you do.  ---Mgt.

Colorado Chocolate festival logo
9 days!!!
By the Numbers:
Days left in Obama's 2,922-day presidency: 996
Days 'til the Colorado Chocolate Festival in Denver: 9
Current consumer confidence index score, up from 80 in March: 84
The last time consumer confidence was this high: 4/07
(Source: University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index)
Number of bridges nationally in need of repair: 63,000
Rank of Pennsylvania among states with the most bridges (5,218) in need of repair: #1
(Source: USA Today)
Estimated age of the world's oldest rose, located in Hildesheim, Germany: 1,000 years)


Mid-week Rapture Index: 185 (including 3 Peace Processes and 1 hour of Nazi yoga).  Soul Protection Factor 32 lotion is recommended if you’ll be walking amongst the heathen today.


Puppy Pic of the Day:  Love, Sydney


CHEERS to honorary Wolverines.  Breaking news yesterday from Raven Brooks about this year's Netroots Nation convention July 17-20.  An architect of the modern progressive movement (and card-carrying Kossack) is jetpackin' it to Detroit:

Elizabeth Warren at Netroots nation
If you're a Netroots Nation regular, you already know Senator Elizabeth Warren.  She joined us in 2010, just days after President Obama signed into law the new agency she had been advocating for, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And she joined us two years ago in Providence, as a candidate for the U.S. Senate seat she now holds.  We are excited to announce that Sen. Warren will join us for a third time this summer for Netroots Nation 2014.
I remember seeing her in Providence---she was in the middle of her tough senate campaign and she'd lost most of her voice.  (Remember when her opponents stood out on the street doing the "tomahawk chop"?  That was real classy.  And Howie Carr?  Kiss my ass---your guy lost, and he's plunging headlong into another electoral buzzsaw in New Hampshire.  Oh, but I digress….)  But, damn, she inspires even when she barely speaks above a whisper.  Senator Warren and all the keynoters will be streamed live, but if you want to see her in person, click here to register.  Mention my name in the promo code and you'll receive a free reply email that's nothing but question marks.

CHEERS to the fierce fabulousness of now.  The transformation in the LGBT movement has been amazing to witness.  Seriously.  Not so long ago, the bigots were running circles around our movement in terms of passing bills and constitutional amendments codifying our status as second-class humans.  It was impossible to keep up with 'em all.  But now we're running circles around them, where it counts: in the courts, where their arguments collapse under the scrutiny.  Here's a map by the Human Rights Campaign showing where there are not any marriage-equality lawsuits or appeals moving forward:

Human Rights Campaign graphic of the five states where marriage equality lawsuits are not underway.  April 2014
I should mention that since that graph was published last week, South Dakota has joined the fray.  Like I said: circles.  Lots and lots of circles.

JEERS to the latest edition of This Headline Does Not Surprise Me A Bit.  Courtesy of CNN:

Oklahoma stops execution after botching drug delivery; inmate dies
This has been the latest edition of This Headline Does Not Surprise Me A Bit.

CHEERS to "#1."  225 years ago today, on April 30, 1789, sports bars were packed as millions watched George Washington take the oath of office as the first President of the United States.  This scene from HBO's John Adams perfectly captures firsthand accounts of the awkwardness (How do we do this?), solemnity (Shut up, you guys, we're doing this), and euphoria (We did this!) that hung in the air that day:

Time to haul out the ol' confetti cannon.  Light 'em if ya got 'em.

CHEERS to the eggheads who walk among us.  Congratulations---and bragging rights Whooooooo!!!!!---to Mira Loma High School in Sacramento, California (again) and the middle schoolers at Greater Boston Science and Math!  They're the winners of the 2014 National Science Bowl, billed as the "only science competition in the United States sponsored by a federal agency."  I'm happy to report there were no Menthos/Diet Coke disasters or, according to a statement released by the Polk administration, accidental time warps.  Nice prize package:

Imperial Walker (AT-AT) from
Mira Loma High School's
winning science project.
The first-place high school team in the academic competition will win a nine-day, all-expense paid science trip to Alaska.  They will explore the Copper River Delta, known for its prolific runs of wild salmon; hike through the Chugach National Forest’s old-growth hemlock and spruce stands; white-water raft on the Sheridan River and travel across the scenic Prince William Sound and Orca Inlet, home to the world’s largest population of sea otters. The trip also includes visits to Childs Glacier and the Alaska Wildlife Center, a rehabilitation facility for injured and orphaned wildlife.
Thankfully, Congressman Paul Ryan wasn't able to be there to demonstrate his favorite science experiment: waving his magic pen to make funding for the National Science Bowl disappear.

CHEERS to Great Moments in Real Estate.  On April 30, 1803, Robert Livingston and James Monroe concluded a deal with France that increased the size of the United states by 828,000 square miles.  Price tag: $23,000,000.  We know it as The Louisiana Purchase.  Century 21 agents know it as "The holy grail of commission checks."


Five years ago in C&J: April 30, 2009

CHEERS to cutting and running from the wankers.  Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter opportunistically re-joined the Democratic party (which he opportunistically left for the GOP in 1965) yesterday because he knew he'd get embarrassingly crushed in the Republican primary by a teabagger.  The GOP was shocked...Shocked!  (No, seriously...this time they really were shocked.)  The good news: his defection gives us our 59th senate seat, with Al Franken waiting in the wings to become #60 once Norm Coleman nabs that job at Starbucks and concedes.  The bad news: Specter is a weasel who often gets all blustery and defiant about important issues (wiretapping, Iraq, etc.), but then votes the wrong way.  So, all things considered, we greet this news with...let's say an "enthusiastic shrug."  Now, apparently, all eyes are on Olympia Snowe.  Don't hold your breath, kids---she'll win in a walk every time up here, primary or general, even as a Republican.  She may seem a little uncomfortable with her party, but in reality she's going nowhere except perhaps greener pastures in the private sector.  (And Susan Collins' weekend slumber party!)  [4/30/14 Update: Specter has gone to the great beyond, and Olympia Snowe did indeed flee to the private sector, where she now hoovers up money like no one's business.  But what does she actually have to do for that money?  Mostly sit around and wear a "Hi, I'm Olympia Snowe" name tag.  It's good to be the queen.]


And just one more…

Smiley faces
JEERS, JEERS AND MORE JEERS to the miracle diet…from hell!  Having gone six years since his first one, my devoted partner Michael gets his second colonoscopy tomorrow morning.  And you know what that means for today?  PREP!!!  The box of Miralax---which I believe is supposed to be short for "Miracle Laxative" and oh isn’t that just SO CLEVER NOT!!!---is sitting on the counter, waiting to be chugged in eight convenient (NOT!!!) installments mixed with 64 ounces (enough to fill three Olympic swimming pools) of Gatorade (But NOT RED or BLUE or PURPLE Gatorade because that's FORBIDDEN!!!)  And then there's the 24-hour fast, which is well underway and in which I'm joining him like last time.  That means a round-the-clock, all-we-can-slurp feast---A BOUNTIFUL HARVEST I TELL YOU!!!---of popsicles (But NOT RED or BLUE or PURPLE popsicles!!!), broth (we chose ferret broth) and Jello (But NOT RED or BLUE or PURPLE JELLO!!!).  In the eight hours since we stopped eating I've lost 28 pounds and been asked by half a dozen dead relatives to come into the light.  The neighbor lady has hired security so I won’t chase her down the street with a bottle of A-1 sauce in my hand again.  The dog is now telling me to stop gnawing on the furniture.  By the end of the day I'll be lashed to the furnace as a priest stands over me exorcising the demons long-trapped under my rapidly-diminishing flab as they try to flee.  So, anyway.  If tomorrow's C&J (we'll be posting early) ends up as little more than a series of emoticons progressing from sad to angry to homicidal, you'll know why.

Have a nice Wednesday eating all that solid food grumblegrumble.  Floor's open...What are you cheering and jeering about today?


Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial:

Denzel Washington, Bill in Portland Maine snubbed for Tonys
USA Today


You and all the presidents born in April have lunch together. Who gets stuck with the bill?

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