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From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE…

It's Monday. What's not to like?

Greetings.  I bring you news regarding the health insurance law known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act---conceived in the back seat of the Heritage Foundation's Studebaker, raised by a "severely conservative" governor in a blue state, molded for national prominence by Democratically-controlled legislative and executive branches, blessed by the high council of the Supreme Court, gravely wounded by friendly fire during its debut, then rescued and rehabilitated in a Sibelian monastery, and now able to crack walnuts with its biceps and deflect repeal attempts by House orcs with its pinky. In the state of Maine, it's kicking butt, says The Portland Press Herald:

Don't Tread on My Obamacare graphic
The number of Mainers enrolling in the federal health insurance marketplace surged by more than 70 percent in the weeks before the deadline to sign up, pushing the state’s total to 44,258 in the program’s first enrollment period, according to figures released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The total exceeded projections by the Maine Health Access Foundation, which coordinated the statewide enrollment campaign and expected 37,000 enrollees in the first six months. “This exceeded our wildest expectations,” said Wendy Wolf, the foundation’s president. The percentage of young people who signed up also exceeded analysts’ expectations, boding well for keeping overall insurance costs down.

So far, no reports of any grandmas being thrown over any cliffs, although one woman highlighted in the article did find herself going over a 20-foot ledge while skiing. And…
“Whoa, am I lucky,” [Eileen] Whynot said after finishing a grueling in-home physical therapy session. “I never had to worry about finances through all of this.” … She said the reasonable medical bills allow her to focus her mental energy on getting better.
Read the part in bold again. That's the ACA personified. And that's why every move we make toward a more liberal single-payer system will amplify that humane core justification for making "cost" the least of our worries when we're sick or injured.

Speaking for myself, my early frustration with the sign-up process last fall gave way to smooth sailing this spring. My provider (Maine Community Health Options) has been very good with information and instructions. And, yeah, I haven't needed to use it yet, but I'm glad to know some of my premium dollars are going to help people like Eileen, because that's how insurance pools work.

For his part, Maine Governor Paul LePage, a Republican who hasn't lifted a finger to help facilitate the rollout of the ACA here nor approve an expansion of Medicaid, had this reaction to the fantastic news that over 44,000 more Mainers no longer live in fear and worry of crushing medical bills:

[Scowl]
Such a leader, that one.

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

Cheers and Jeers for Monday, May 5, 2014

Note: Today is random drug test day.  Please randomly drug test some people today.  Together, we can make a difference.  ---Mgt

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Pittsburgh Folk Festival poster 2014
4 days!!!
By the Numbers:
Days 'til Victoria Day in Canada: 14
Days 'til the Pittsburgh Folk Festival: 4
Increase in factory orders in March: 1.1%
(Source: Commerce Department)
Amount Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch is paying for the Harlequin Romance empire and all its immoral, filth-ridden, libertine-infested trash novels: $415 million
Decline in the number of farms in the U.S. between 2007 and 2012: 4%
Percent chance that Maine showed an increase in farms during that period: 100%
(Source: The Portland Press Herald)
Global sales of art and antiques in 2013, in which the U.S. ranks #1 with 38% of the market: $66 billion
(Source: USA Today)

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NEW!  Your Monday Michigan Moment

Brought to you by the 2014 Netroots Nation Convention in Detroit, July 17-20.  Proudly it waves:

Michigan state flag
The one Spice Girl who never
quite caught on was Circumspice.
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Michigan's state flag was first unfurled at the laying of the corner stone at the monument of the Solders' National Cemetery at Gettysburg on the Fourth of July, 1865. … The state flag-Michigan's third since becoming a state in 1837-features the coat of arms showing an eagle holding an olive branch and arrows. An elk and a moose support a shield displaying a man standing on a grassy peninsula. Mottos on the coat of arms: E Pluribus Unum (From Many, One), Tuebor (I Will Defend) and Si Quaeris Peninsulam Amoenam Circumspice (If you Seek a Pleasant Peninsula, Look About You).
True Fact: Michigan's is the only state flag that glows in the dark.  Just google "Michigan's is the only state flag that glows in the dark" + "Cheers and Jeers" + "May 5, 2014" in 30 minutes or so and you'll see it's right there on the internet!

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Puppy Pic of the Day:  Man rendered silent due to Alzheimer's disease speaks again, thanks to…well, take a guess…

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Cinco de Mayo graphic.
Cinco de Mayo falls
on May fifth this year.
CHEERS to Cinco de Mayo.  Today is the one day a year when we can legally re-enact the Battle of Puebla using live ammunition.  At Casa de C&J we'll observe our usual custom of planting a Mexican flag in our neighbor's yard and then taking them prisoner.  Finally, after beating our Archduke Maximilian piñata (now on sale at Costco in convenient 1862-packs) senseless, we'll dig in to some nachos so we can revel in, of course, an authentic Irish experience.  To mark the occasion, Iowa Congressman Steve King will walk around with cantaloupes strapped to his calves.  Yup, that's why we call him Mr Subtle.

JEERS to more ankle biting.  Here we go again.  The House will be holding hearings this month on BENGHAZI BENGHAZI BENGHAZI!!!  Answers will be demanded, whistles will be blown, tempers will flare, umbrage will be taken, fingers will be pointed.  And pointed.  And…[flips page]…pointed some more.  By the end of the day, Joe Biden will be sworn in as president after Barack Obama flees town with his Kenyan birth certificate and a steamer trunk full of arugula from the White House garden strapped to the back of a pimped-out Cadillac.  Oh, and to you students who will be reading about this event next year in U.S. History class from a textbook approved by the Texas Board of Education: Sorry---I shoulda yelled "Spoiler alert."

CHEERS to famous firsts.  This is cool: one of Spain's Canary Islands islands will soon become the first island to rely only on wind and hydro for power.  The way the system works makes it sound like they're got a perpetual-motion machine on their hands:

Gilligan and the Skipper talking via coconuts on
Gilligan's Island remains
addicted to coconut power.
When the wind isn’t blowing, hydropower will fill the void. When the wind is blowing, power will be used to pump water into a reservoir in a volcanic crater about 2,300 feet above sea level. Then when power is needed, that water will be released down to a lower reservoir and used to generate electricity on the way. This process is known as pump-storage hydroelectricity, and is used in many other countries across the globe.
So a huge amount of water is sent to the very top and then it "trickles down" in a way that benefits the entire population?  Holy crap---Reagan was so close.  Right solution, wrong problem.  Retro-impeach, I say.

JEERS to sensing a conspiracy afoot.  A horse race broke out during the 2014 Churchill Downs Drunks 'N Hats Show Saturday, and California Chrome crossed the finish line first.  Both the winning horse and his jockey were dressed in lavender as they clippety-clopped to an easy victory.  And if some fringe right-wing Jesus grifter doesn't post a claim today on the internet that the race was rigged by the Gay Kentucky Mafia, I'll eat a bag of oats.  Gay oats, of course, because the straight ones make me burp.

Pocketwatch
First watch left inside
a patient's chest cavity.
CHEERS to connecting the docs.  The American Medical Association was formed 168 years ago today.  Medical professionals from 22 states and 28 medical schools attended to hear such topics as: "How to Smoke a Stogie Properly Over an Open Wound," "Why Drugs Will Never Replace A Good Sharp Saw Blade" and Ether: Your Trusted After-hours Frenemy.  On their first day they unanimously approved the association's motto which is still in place today: "E pluribus 3 O'clock tee time."

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

JEERS to suckling at the teat of Big Insurance.  The public shouldn’t have access to a government-run health care plan, said Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who doesn’t want me to remind you that he and his family have a lifelong membership in a gold-plated government-run health care plan, and you and I are paying a big chunk of it.  Oops...too late.  (And, doggone it, both my 'delete' and 'backspace' keys are broken today.  Sorry, Senator.)

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And just one more…

CHEERS to getting even.  Sometimes in the sturm and drang of day-to-day politics, I wonder how aware President Obama is of the memes and other assorted insanity that pop up like wildfires at the intersection of Beltway Boulevard and Lunatic Lane.  The answer Saturday night was, apparently, "very" as he picked apart the wankers and spankers at the White House Correspondents Dinner.  Too many one-liners to mention (the best: "Republicans give Boehner a harder time than they give me. Which means orange really is the new black."), but you can watch it here or read it here.  But leave it to Biden and his surprisingly polished acting chops to steal the show (with an able assist from Michelle, Nancy Pelosi and Julia Louis-Dreyfus):

That was fun.  And on that note, we now return you to our regularly-scheduled bleh.

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

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Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial:

"Cheers and Jeers is not good for the body or mind.  Pardon a crude comparison but we are talking about a one-way alley meant only for the garbage truck to go down.
---Rep. Steve Hickey (R-SD)

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Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon May 05, 2014 at 05:18 AM PDT.

Also republished by Obamacare Saves Lives.

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