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In Praise of Public School Teachers

I’m a product of America’s public schools system, and you can put me on record as feeling pretty ashamed of the way our teachers are treated these days. Why we see fit to kick 'em around---the convenient scapegoats---the way we do is beyond me. I had great public school teachers. And they had a troublesome student. That’s why, on this Teacher Appreciation Day, I offer not only my eternal thanks for their wisdom and patience, but also the following apologies to my earliest schoolmarms, starting in 1969:

Mrs. Dunn, Kindergarten: Sorry for throwing up at my desk and also believing that the louder I shouted in class the funnier I was.

Mrs. Cline, 1st Grade: Sorry for pouring milk in your classroom fish tank. I have since googled the nutritional needs of our gilled friends and…my god, the horror.

Teacher Appreciation Day cartoon icon
Mrs. Martin, 2nd Grade: Sorry for using a stray piece of carbon paper to leave virtually-indelible scribbles on the wall of your classroom, including the word "Hell." If it's any consolation, my mom let me have it when I got home.

Mrs. Wiley, 3rd Grade: Sorry for stealing on virtually a daily basis from the box of candy you kept on a high---but not high enough---shelf to reward “good, smart and helpful” boys and girls. I was none of those things. Also: sorry for never putting the SRA cards back in the right order and I think I threw up in your class, too.

Mrs. Giaque, 4th Grade: Sorry for dumping a gallon of gray paint on your light green classroom carpet. I can
still hear the way it went "Gloomp" when it landed, and it
haunts me to this day.

Miss Woolson, 5th Grade: Sorry I (unwittingly) got you in trouble by begging, with other classmates, for you to play the 45rpm single of Ray Stevens' "The Streak" during music period. Principal Hauk was a puritanical jerk about it. To my knowledge, less than half of us actually became professional or recreational streakers after hearing it---a statistical blip.

And to all my teachers from K-12: I humbly apologize for driving so many of you to drink. Your fresh swizzle sticks are in the mail.

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

Cheers and Jeers for Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Note: On the menu today in the GOP cafeteria: stupid soup and unethical casserole with crumbled denial bits.  For dessert: hypocrite pudding.

Charlotte Dragon Boat Festival logo
11 days!!!
By the Numbers:
Days 'til the start of the Memorial Day weekend: 17
Days 'til the Charlotte Dragon Boat Festival in Cornelius, NC: 11
Increase in vehicle sales from April to April: 8%
Nissan's growth, which tops the list: 18%
(Source: Autodata)
Number of Americans hobbling around with osteoarthritis: 27 million
Number of knees and hips that'll be replaced this year in the U.S.: 885,000
(Source: AARP)
Minimum number of live-action comedies slated for movie theatres this summer: 20


Tuesday Words of Wisdom from the Right-wing Blogosphere:

We in America need to privatize everything and forget about the past 'inequities'. That way people will stay in these different classes as in earlier times and in China now. That way people would be content, so that there would be order.
---Commenter bbword at the 700 Club's news page
All together now: 1…2…3… Classy!


Puppy Pic of the Day:  Flipping the bird


Voter buttons
CHEERS to thinning the herd.  Today is primary day, and all eyes are on (among other places) North Carolina, where upwards of ten Republicans are duking it out for the chance to duke it out with Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan in November.  The establishment wants Thom Tillis to win, and the Paulites want hardcore teabagger Greg Brannon to win.  If no one crosses the 40% threshold there'll be another vote this summer, so please send your 39-percent vibes to the entire field.  Meanwhile, I'll be watching another contest, where state Senate candidate Steve Wiles is running as a---okay, deep breath here---former Miss Gay America pageant promoter and vivacious drag queen who turned into a homophobic know-nothing jerk and isn't happy unless you're miserable.  Typical Republican---always evolving in reverse.

JEERS to yesterday's Supreme Court decision.  Before we discuss this ruling, please rise and embrace the warm and loving tone of our opening Christian prayer.  No, it's not mandatory, but we will be taking note of who the seat-warming heathen are, and this may affect your next zoning request:

Jesus loves me, this I know
For the SCOTUS tells me so
The rest of you can cry and bawl
But this is Mr. Christ's town hall.
You can read Adam B's analysis here.  My conclusion is that the Court ruled that all religions are created equal, but---[Wink wink!!!]---Christianity is just a little more equal than the others.  Bad news: the Bible-thumpers get to become even more obnoxious in government venues.  Good news: America is still becoming, and will continue to become, less religious.  Can I get a non-denominational Amen?

CHEERS to a helluva deal steal.  388 years ago, on May 6, 1626, Manhattan was purchased from Native Americans for around $24 in beads, trinkets and wampum.  Or in today's terms: A medium espresso.  Or funding for 1/1000th of a second at a private college.  Or the amount of money Republicans would like to put into alternative energy.  Or the number of singles a Koch brother rolls up and uses to light their cigars.  Or...  Well, let's just say really cheap.

CHEERS to BillyFact: Premarital Sex Edition.  Today's BillyFact---my Pulitzer-snubbed claim-checking service---comes from Las Vegas, and it goes like this:

Girls who are not sexually abstinent, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Officer Regina Coward reportedly said, typically wind up victims of sexual assault. Or they become members of a gang. Or they take drugs. Or they become prostitutes.  To drive this message home, Coward organized a “Choose Purity” event that was co-sponsored by her police department. The message of the event, according to the Las Vegas Sun is that “[g]irls who ‘get promiscuous’ can wind up dead."
Think Progress notes that a 2006 survey revealed that "95 percent of Americans have had premarital sex."  Therefore C&J concludes that 95 percent of Americans are, in fact, dead as a result of their libertine ways, and we rate Regina Coward's claim TRUE.  In a very weird alternate universe.

CHEERS to lime, tangerine, strawberry, blueberry and grape. The rainbow-colored "flavors" of the new iMac were unveiled 16 years ago:

Original display of iMacs 1997
"We'll sell lots of them. This is the sexiest computer I've ever seen," said Jim Halpin, president and CEO of CompUSA. … The iMac will also be the first Mac to feature USB (universal serial bus) technology. This is important since the iMac is slotless. In other words, it does not offer the ability to add new features via circuit boards that typically plug into slots inside the computer; most computers come with these slots. Instead, Apple claims the USB technology will allow users to add devices externally through the USB connection. Apple has made another radical design decision: the iMac won't ship with a floppy disk drive or serial port connector.
Not to be outdone, PCs still come in a variety of cool colors, too: beige, black or gray.  My current laptop is both black and gray.  What can I say…I was born to be wild.

CHEERS to getting up and around.  One of my favorite liberal pundits, The Last Word host (and Emmy-winning West Wing writer) Lawrence O'Donnell, got banged up in a taxi accident a few weeks ago, but nothing has been reported on his condition since.  Thankfully, I noticed he's been sending out the occasional message on twitter, and it sounds like he's on the mend:

Too bad he can't patch himself himself up by putting the accident through one of his nightly "Rewrite" segments.  We wish him a speedy recovery---but not in a "speedy taxi ride from hell" way, of course.

JEERS to incorrigible dirigibles.  The "Hindenburg" airship caught fire and crashed 77 years ago today---May 6, 1937---in Lakehurst, New Jersey.  Herb Morrison's anguished broadcast is as riveting now as it was then.  Sadly a similar tragedy occurred several years later during the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Drop over Cincinnati.

Oh the humanity, indeed.


Five years ago in C&J: May 6, 2009

JEERS to fine print that's a little too fine.  C&J did someone a small favor last week, and they thanked us with an American Express gift card.  Inside the festive little micro-envelope was the plastic gift card and an eight-panel insert with what looks like 4,000 words (okay, 3,620 to be exact) in 7-point type which they call "The American Express Gift Card Cardholder Agreement."  Nearly half of this tissue paper-thin document of corporate bureaucracy is devoted to a section titled, "Arbitration."  (Here...take a look for yourself.)  Anyway, I redeemed it yesterday.  I used it to pay for an attorney to explain the gift card rules to me.  An oddly unsatisfying gift.


And just one more…

JEERS to HELLO URGENT MESSAGE KIND MADAM 7PLEASE RLPY V&i*GR#A HOT SEXY LOVER NEED ASSISTANCE!!  We can't let the week slip by without acknowledging the 35th anniversary of spam.  It had a fascinating beginning.  Via Geekosystem, here's how it started back in 1978:

Spam-free Zone graphic
Ha Ha! That's impossible.
Gary Thuerk, a marketer for the Digital Equipment Corporation, blasted out his message to 400 of the 2600 people on ARPAnet, the DARPA-funded so-called “first Internet.” Naturally: He was selling something. (Computers, or more specifically, information about open houses where people could check out the computers.) He annoyed a lot of people. And he also had some success, with a few recipients interested in what he was pushing. And thus, spam was born.
Aren't we lucky.  Now if you'll excuse me, I just got an email I have to attend to from "Íâó¾Àí/½ø³ö¿Ú¾Àí " with the subject line "|Íâó½Óµ¥Ó뺣Í⩵ ¥»ñÈ¡²ßÂÔ|"  It might be news from my favorite Nigerian finance minister.  Or his widow.

Have a spam-free Tuesday.  Floor's open...What are you cheering and jeering about today?


Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial:

He has a face only a mother could love---a mother who lives 1,000 to 3,000 feet under water and voraciously feeds on live squid and fish. We're talking about Bill in Portland Maine.
---Mark Morgenstein, CNN


What overall grade would you give Education Secretary Arne Duncan for the job he's done over the past five-and-a-half years?

4%114 votes
16%393 votes
20%472 votes
20%469 votes
22%519 votes
15%360 votes

| 2330 votes | Vote | Results

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