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Votin' Day

It's primary day here in Maine. Not a whole lot to shout about---the most interesting race is in the 2nd CD (the northern two-thirds of the state), where Dems and Tea Partiers will pick their candidates to run for the seat Rep. Mike Michaud is vacating so he can be our next governor. Down here in the 1st CD, Rep. Chellie Pingree is running unopposed.

Portland Maine's Union Station being demolished in 1961.
The clock from the demolished Union Square
train station (now an ugly strip mall) sits in
Congress Square---a ticking reminder that
history judges harshly those who demolish
public spaces willy-nilly.
But in Portland we've got an interesting referendum question on a downtown space called Congress Square. At the moment, thanks to city neglect, it's not a whole lot to look at---basically a concrete plaza dotted with trees next to a hotel and across the street from our world-class art museum. It's sometimes a popular spot for drunks and other "undesirables." There's no question it needs an overhaul. But what the city did is agree to chop the square up, sell two-thirds of it to the hotel (a fine Westin establishment) on which it would build a banquet center, and promise to do…something something something but it'll be great, you'll see!…with the sliver that's left.

Outraged Portlanders swarmed City Hall last fall to vent their spleens at the city council, but the sale was approved anyway because…well, because it would throw some coin in the city coffers and besides the square is, so we're told, beyond saving. That last part is what steams my chaps---I've seen all kinds of spaces improved and revitalized here. Our local architects could do something awesome and creative with it. The city's uncharacteristically defeatist attitude on this square has been bizarre, as is their rather nasty and aggressive campaign of distortion, disinformation and doublespeak as it tries to beat back the rabble. One could easily surmise that they're just pissed they got caught trying to ram this deal through.

Anyway, the folks opposed to the sale of Congress Square secured enough petition signatures to force a David vs. Goliath referendum vote that'll make it more difficult to sell public spaces, and the tension has reached a level not often felt here on local issues. I'll be voting "Youbetcher" on Question One today. Happily.

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

Cheers and Jeers for Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Note: Now on sale in the C&J gift shop: the new limited-edition, hand-painted porcelain Tranquility Lighthouse rectal thermometer.  Lights up and makes authentic ocean sounds!  Upon insertion hear the lighthouse keeper yell, "Ahoy there!"  Motion activated.  Requires 4 size D batteries (not included).  The perfect gift for all the assholes in your life.

La Kermesse Franco-Americain festival  logo
16 days!!!
By the Numbers:
Days 'til primary elections in ME, ND, NV, SC and VA: 0!!!
Days 'til the La Kermesse Franco-Americain Festival in Biddeford, Maine: 16
Annual number of measles cases before the vaccine became available in 1963 and dropped cases to near zero: 500,000
Percent chance that my Ohio home county, Knox County, has the highest number of measles outbreaks (100) in the U.S. now: 100%
(Source: USA Today)
U.S. household net worth in the first quarter of 2014, up $1.5 trillion from the fourth quarter of 2013: $81.8 trillion
(Source: Federal Reserve)
Percent of Americans who self-identified as soccer fans in 1994 and today: 31%, 28%
(Source: Washington Post-ABC News poll)
Percent chance that John McCain (b. 1936) is older than Spam (b. 1937): 100%

NBA Finals:
San Antonio Spurs tied with Miami Heat 1 game to 1

Stanley Cup Finals:
Los Angeles Kings lead NY Rangers 3 games to 0


Tuesday Words of Wisdom from the Right-wing Blogosphere:

Words fail when trying to contrast Obama with Reagan, or any of the leaders and troops involved in D-Day. Obama is a child (or worse) compared to any of them.
---Commenter disqus at the Michelle Malkin blog
All together now: 1…2…3… Grenada!


Puppy Pic of the Day: World Cup Dream Team


CHEERS to same-sex-cheesehead marriage.  Last Friday, just in time for Milwaukee's Pride events, a federal judge struck down Wisconsin's ban on gay marriage.  And, of course, that prompted a mad scramble to get marriage licenses at town halls before the inevitable stay was issued.  But then the darndest thing happened….

Same-sex marriage map from Wikipedia including Wisconsin's admission on June 6, 2014.;
Current Wikipedia U.S. map with
marriage-equality states in blue.
[The] federal judge who struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage Friday refused to put her decision on hold in a hearing [yester]day.

Hundreds of same-sex couples have married in Wisconsin since U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb's Friday ruling striking down the ban, reports the Associated Press. Crabb's ruling found that Wisconsin's 2006 voter-approved constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage violated the U.S. Constitution, but also asked the American Civil Liberties Union, which represented the eight same-sex couples filing suit, to clarify which parts of state law the ACLU wanted suspended. The judge gave the ACLU until June 16 to respond to that request for clarification.

Click on the link above for pics tweeted by The Nation's John Nichols of various happy couples, some of whom have waited decades for official recognition of their togetherness.  But fair warning to all you nuptial newbies: at Wisconsin weddings, things happen a little differently: instead of throwing rice they throw slabs of medium cheddar.  Wear a helmet.  

Shut yer hole, Perkins.
You're attracting flies.
JEERS to the offensive Nazi references of the week.  Three more entries from the self-proclaimed "grown-up side of the aisle."  Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council believes that marriage equality will soon lead to Christians getting rounded up in boxcars by gay Nazis and shipped off to the worst place imaginable: Canadian politeness camps.  Meanwhile, outgoing Indiana treasurer Richard "Legitimate Rape" Mourdock says it's unmistakable that our on-the-mend economy is the same as Nazi Germany circa 1936 and therefore---say it with me---Obama is Hitler.  And then we have the Las Vegas shooters, who didn’t appear to have any difficulty fusing Nazi and tea party dogma and tying them up in a neat little bow by shooting a couple cops and calling it the "start of a revolution."  And to think it's only Tuesday...

JEERS to those wacky Puritans.  On June 10, 1692, the first Salem "witch"---Bridget Bishop---was hanged in the name of Our Lord.  George Will says she had it coming---after all, she was wearing jeans and making eye contact with the menfolk.  Trollop.

P.S. The Massachusetts General Court exonerated Bishop two hundred and sixty two years later.  Gee, why the rush?

CHEERS to a life well-lived…and lived…and lived.  The world's oldest man has died.  Alexander Imich was a chemist and parapsychologist, and attributed his longevity to genetics, diet and exercise.  After a thorough review, investigators listed the official cause of death as an acute and irreversible case of being 111.

logo for Idiotville, Oregon
The beltway's new beltway?
CHEERS to that shining city on a hill surrounded by gaseous swampland.  221 years ago today, in 1793, Congress---back when it was functional---voted to make Washington, D.C. the official replacement for Philadelphia as the nation's capital.  Today the beltway politicians, lobbyists and pundits have so sullied the name of our circle-with-a-star-in-it-on-maps, and besmirched the memory of the person for whom it's named (Ronald Reagan Washington, the Texas school board tells me), that we really should think about moving it again.  I have a few candidates: Goober Hill, LA…Devil's Den, CA…Cuckoo, VA…Crooks, SD…Rattlesnake Bend, FL…Mayday, GA…Oil Springs, KY…Petroleum, MT…Crappo, MD…Hell, MI…Money, MS…Loco, OK…and Idiotville, OR.  Completely out of the question, however: moving it to any town named Normal.


Five years ago in C&J: June 10, 2009

JEERS to playing the world's smallest violin.  Pity the poor, poor domestic terrorist.  George Tiller's murderer, Scott Roeder, is complaining that his jail cell is too cold.  And he needs his sleep apnea machine.  And he's lost without his bunny slippers and stuffed Teddy blastocyst (he calls it "Cuddles").  And there was a little too much oregano in the beef stroganoff last night.  And it's too drafty.  And the blanket isn't hypoallergenic.  And the toilet is just sitting there out in the open.  And no basic cable!  Hey, what can we say, Scott?  Club Med was booked.


And just one more…

Tony Award
True fact: the medallion part
of a Tony is foil-wrapped chocolate.
CHEERS to the business of which there's no business like I know (or something).  Sad to say, University of Southern Maine alum Tony Shaloub didn't walk Away with a Tony Sunday night, which is unfair because his name is TONY, duh!  But that doesn't mean there weren't winners we were happy about, like Bryan Cranston for his portrayal of LBJ and Audra McDonald who broke the record for Best Actress wins with her sixth ("Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill").  But perhaps the biggest winners of the night were the right-wing family/decency/moral values organizations, who will fundraise their little hearts out after seeing host Neil Patrick Harris and Lena Hall win awards for Hedwig and the Angry Inch.  The fundies' first public words after seeing NPH's live male-on-male grinding/smooching number was, "This is outrageous! Think of the children!"  Their first private words, however, as they raced to crank out their cookie-cutter emails: "Thank you, Jesus!"

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


Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial:

LeVar Burton: Criticism of Cheers and Jeers is 'Bullsh*t'
---Think Progress


Do you support Senator Warren's 'Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act,' which would let people with existing student-loan debt reset their interest rate to the 3.8% Congress agreed to for new undergrad students this year?

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