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An Open Letter to America

From the Couch of Bill in Portland Maine

Dear America,

Hello from Maine. We hope this finds you well. Summer is in full swing here (although I reject the humidity on religious grounds), and it's a nice change from the awful winter that finally left us last month. Of course, summer brings its own perils, like black flies that'll grab you by the neck and carry you off to lord knows where. Ha ha…just kidding. They really can't lift anything larger than a cocker spaniel or a Smart Car. But I digress.

Do you remember in 2008 how Republicans kept saying that Barack Obama was "palling around with terrorists," except he really wasn't? Well, we'd like you to know that our tea party governor has been palling around with alleged terrorists…like, for real!

Eight times---VIII!!!---Governor Paul LePage met with members of an FBI-labeled domestic terrorist group who apparently wouldn't mind killing state Democratic leaders for high treason. LePage "nodded" at them thoughtfully. He called them "reasonable." He shook their hands and may have even given them a real Fox News "terror fist jab." Every time he saw them he said "It's good to see you again." It was all smiles and sugar cookies and freedom punch. Come, fellow wackadoos---let us sit and ruminate on the important issues of the day, like the 9/11 hoax and the United Nations plot to steal our golf courses and replace them with gulags. And do tell me more about how the Jews are going to disappear the Christians, and how failure to pay your bills with anything but gold or silver might lead to a bumpy ride in a cramped car trunk. It's all so fascinating!

It's all so downright creepy.

So, basically, we're writing to request a favor, America. Just check up on our state from time to time to make sure we're still here and in possession of our precious bodily fluids. Call us, text us, tap on our windows. Not forever, mind you….just until November when our terrorist group-coddling governor gets replaced by a responsible, level-headed, non-terrorist-paller-arounder and conspiracy-free Democrat. We're not sure if Maine is in real danger or not, but when a governor kicks up his heels with a terrorist organization eight times, ya gotta wonder if they're not cookin' up something. Ayuh. Somethin' wicked sinistuh.


Bill in Portland Maine
On behalf of all sane Mainers

P.S. To those of you who bet me that your governor was crazier than ours: you can pay up now.

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

Cheers and Jeers for Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Note: A programming note for the next few days.  Tomorrow's C&J will be posted at its usual time.  Friday's commemorative "1776" edition---a cult fave among the grog-swilling crowd---will be posted Friday morning.  Then C&J returns for one more full week before taking a break during Netroots Nation.  After that, it's C&Js without interruption until October 2025, except for 2017 through 2019, when I'll be recovering from a nervous breakdown at an undisclosed tiki hut.

2 days!!!
By the Numbers:
Days 'til President Obama's 53rd birthday: 33
Days 'til John Williams debuts his new arrangement of The Star Spangled Banner during the Capitol Fourth concert in DC: 2
Wisconsin's rate of economic growth when Scott Walker became governor and today, respectively: 1.3%, 1.3%
Wisconsin's rank among all states and the seven states that surround it, respectively, in job growth, which was Walker's signature platform: 37th, 8th
(Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index for June, the highest since May, 2010: 57.3
(Source: The New York Times)
Number of casinos ready to close in Atlantic City, out of 12, due to "casino saturation" from other states: 3
(Source: AP)

World Cup Soccuh
Belgium 2  USA 1  
Argentina 1  Switzerland 0


Mid-week Rapture Index: 186 (including 4 wild weathers and 1 Demon-Obsessed Anti-Gay Exorcist GOP primary winner).  Soul Protection Factor 666 lotion is recommended if you’ll be walking amongst the heathen today.


Puppy Pic of the Day:  Step into the world of the Ancient Order of the Basenji…


CHEERS to Kentuckyquality.  These gay-marriage rulings come down so fast I don’t even try to predict 'em anymore.  Yesterday a federal judge in the Bluegrass State ruled that the ban on marriage rights for same-sex couples is unconstitutional.  Then he killed the buzz by putting a stay on the ruling pending appeal.  Off the top of my head I believe Kentucky will be the 20th state to join the 21st century on the issue of marriage equality.  And the judge's bluntness will go in the LGBT time capsule:

Graphic touting a judge's ruling on marriage equality in Kentucky July 1, 2014
In striking down Kentucky's ban on gay marriage, a federal judge Tuesday rejected Gov. Steve Beshear's argument that the ban is needed because only opposite sex couples can procreate and maintain the state's birth rate and economy.  "These arguments are not those of serious people," wrote Senior U.S. District Court Judge John G. Heyburn II.
Nice!  While we wait for the appeal, here are some Kentucky fun facts: the state bird is the cardinal, the state animal is the gray squirrel, the state gemstone is the freshwater pearl, and the state fossil is Mitch McConnell.

ALL TEMPACHEERS to thinking outside the box.  President Obama named his pick to replace Eric Shinseki at the backlogged and scandal-plagued Veterans Administration.  And the winner is: the NEW, IMPROVED Bob McDonald.

McDonald’s background is a significant departure, though he and his wife have deep family ties to the military. McDonald graduated in the top 2 percent of his class at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and served in the Army for five years, achieving the rank of captain in the 82nd Airborne Division before taking an entry-level job at [Procter & Gamble]. … During McDonald’s tenure, P&G was recognized multiple times for its leadership development, including twice being named the best company for leaders by Chief Executive Magazine and being named No. 1 in Hay Group’s annual Best Companies for Leadership study, which analyzes more than 2,200 firms around the world.
McDonald says he won't rest until the stains are gone and the VA smells April fresh.

CHEERS to leveling the playing field.  On July 2, 1964, President Johnson signed into law a sweeping civil rights bill that secured "equal rights in voting, education, public accommodations, union membership and in federally assisted programs---regardless of race, color, religion or national origin."  And that sure pissed off the asshole wing of the American public:

President Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on July 2, 1964.  With martin Luther King, Jr. behind him.
During the debate on the bill, segregationist politicians from America's deep south expressed their disappointment and anger.

Congressman Howard Smith of Virginia called it a "monstrous oppression of the people."

How sweet to know that today's racist apples don’t fall far from the crazy tree.  Today the Republicans---led by Chief Justice Roberts and his Federalist Society brethren on the Supreme Court---seem to believe that overt discrimination against minorities is a thing of the past, and America is now a multi-racial conga line of equality and unicorns.  Yeah, I believe that, too.  But only when I'm smokin' something really good.

CHEERS to less stirrup-time.  I should probably preface this item with a brief disclaimer: I am not a doctor but you should still follow my medical advice because I did get my First Aid merit badge in the Boy Scouts.  Now that we're clear on that, here's some probably-good news for women from real doctors:

American College of Physicians logo
I believe them because
they have a serious logo.
The American College of Physicians said Monday that it strongly recommends against annual pelvic exams for healthy, low-risk women.  In fact, the intrusive exams may do more harm than good for women who aren't pregnant or don't have signs of problems, a group of doctors wrote in the Annals of Internal Medicine.  […]  Not all doctors agree about these new guidelines. "This recommendation will be controversial," obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. George Sawaya wrote in an accompanying editorial with a colleague at the University of California, San Francisco.
However, the ACP cautions that regular pelvic exams are still highly recommended for Elvis impersonators.

CHEERS to open rebellion.  On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress passed a resolution saying that "these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States."  Luckily, Edward Rutledge had a camera phone and recorded the whole thing on his smartphone:

And that, kids, is why we have those awesome July mattress sales.

JEERS to gravity-defiance denied.  Yesterday NASA was poised to launch a rocket containing a very important satellite:

NASA rocket carrying satellite that will monitor US carbon dioxide emissions
Also going into space with
the satellite: NASA technician
Walt's missing car keys.
The $465 million OCO-2 mission is designed to be NASA's first satellite devoted to monitoring Earth's atmospheric carbon dioxide. Once in space, the craft will take measurements of the planet's carbon dioxide 24 times each second. The frequent measurements will help scientists on the ground see where the heat-trapping gas is being produced and even trapped.  The OCO-2 mission marks NASA's second attempt to measure atmospheric carbon dioxide from space. The original OCO satellite fell into the Pacific Ocean shortly after its failed launch atop an Orbital Sciences Taurus XL rocket in 2009.
Sadly…no go.  There was a problem with a water line (damn our aging infrastructure!) so they had to abort the liftoff.  It took Mission Control over an hour to console the sidewalk counselors.

Update: Hey, guess what? A couple hours ago NASA found a rubber band in a drawer and so they just twanged it into space this morning under cover of darkness.  So resourceful, those people.


Five years ago in C&J: July 2, 2009

CHEERS to seven simple words.  Al Franken yesterday: "Well, it was close...but we won."  If you get a few minutes today, grab a hankie and watch the Minnesota Senator-elect's boffo victory speech (or read the excerpts), in which he pays tribute to his senatorial mentor and friend, Paul Wellstone.  And then think about who Norm Coleman would've thanked, had he won: Ronald Reagan, Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn...  I'll stop there, just in case you're still eating breakfast.  


And just one more…

CHEERS to a good try.  Well, it was not to be yesterday at the World Cup, as Team USA got beat by Belgium 2-1.  It was a brutal match---including 30 minutes of over-over-overtime---and goalkeeper Tim Howard will go down in soccer history as The Legend Of 2014:

Lawn darts
The Lawn Darts World Cup
finals were cancelled due
to a lack of survivors.
"For my heart, please don't give me too many games like this," said Belgium coach Marc Wilmots, who must now get his team ready to face Argentina in Brasilia on Saturday.  Belgium's unyielding attacks for 90 minutes on Tuesday only highlighted the great performance of the 35-year-old Howard, but the goalkeeper's teammates finally wilted in the evening heat once extra time came.  "They were all on their limit," United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann said. "[Howard] had an absolutely amazing match." […]

It always was going to be a physical battle between the two teams, but Belgium was the only one adding creative touches, underscoring their individual class.

On the C&J dinner plate tonight: anything…but…waffles.

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


Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial:

Deep frozen testicle tissue used to produce Bill in Portland Maines in mice


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