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The Week Ahead

Monday President Obama discusses education issues with teachers over lunch at the White House. It goes well until the "Dangling Participle Incident," which sets off Drudge's blinky light and prompts Darrel Issa to schedule immediate impeachment hearings.

A new poll finds Democrats, Republicans and Independents in total agreement on something: Mondays are tyranny.

Tuesday The House and Senate are both back in session. This used to mean something but I forget what.

Buster Keaton title frame for the movie
Keaton: not quite as funny
as real life, but pretty funny.
Alcoa releases its latest earnings report. As usual, their most reliable area of growth is the tinfoil hat sector.

Wednesday President Obama straps on Jetpack One and travels to Denver, Dallas and Austin to stump for his policies and not be in DC.

The conservative justices on the Supreme Court get together at John Roberts' place to play a few rounds of Stare Decisis Jenga. The first one to cause a collapse wins.

Thursday The Netroots Nation convention begins one week from today in Detroit. (The events schedule is here.) If Elizabeth Warren shows up late for her keynote speech, it's probably because I've gotten her addicted to Euchre. Sorry. Not.

Democrats on the Hill try to restore jobless benefits, raise the minimum wage, fund critical highway projects and make it easier to vote. Republicans try to block jobless benefits, abolish the minimum wage, keep the potholes and make it harder to vote. Meanwhile new polling says Republicans will pick up seats in November because Democrats aren't doing enough to help real Americans.

Friday Today is International Town Crier's Day. Or as it's known in Washington: John Boehner Every Day.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes finally arrives in theatres. Spoiler Alert: there is such a thing as one banana joke too many, you dumb humans.

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

Cheers and Jeers for Monday, July 7, 2014

Note:  Now that the July 4th holiday is over, it's time for the annual post-fireworks Counting of Fingers.  One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, and…goat hoof grafted thumb replacement makes ten.  Woo hoo!

Maine Lobster Festival logo
23 days!!!
By the Numbers:
Days 'til the next full moon: 5
Days 'til the Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland: 23
Number of consecutive years the food-stamp error rate
has fallen: 7
(Source: Laura Clawson)
Portion of public sector workers and private-sector workers, respectively, who belong to a union: 1-in-3, 1-in-15
(Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Amount being offered by a scientist to anyone who can prove that climate change isn't caused by humans: $30,000
(Source: Blue&Green Tomorrow via DarkSyde)
Number of hot dogs eaten by Joey "Jaws" Chestnut, the winner of the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4: 61
Calories and grams of fat, respectively, in 61 hot dogs: 18,000 / 1,226
(Source: Mediaite)


NEW!  Your Monday Michigan Moment

Brought to you by the 2014 Netroots Nation Convention in Detroit, July 17-20.  This year's convention takes place at Cobo Center, which is getting a $299 million makeover. Among its pluses: a new commitment to its environmental impact:

Renovated Cobo Center in Detroit
Renovated and eco-friendly.
• The glass-enclosed Concourse area on the main level and the third floor corridor glass ceiling provide enough natural light during daytime hours to minimize main hallway daytime lighting.
• Induction lighting is currently installed in Cobo Center with an expected 40% reduction in electric usage for lighting.
• All in-house contractors participate in Center recycling and Green initiatives.
• The Cobo Center housekeeping staff uses products that are environmentally safe and non-toxic.
• Centerplate, the Cobo Center exclusive food and beverage contractor collects prepared food that has not been served for pick up by Forgotten Harvest, a local company that delivers the food to pantries, soup kitchens and shelters throughout Southeastern Michigan.
And to heat the place during the winter, they just put up a lectern and let Governor Snyder flap his gums for a few minutes.


Puppy Pic of the Day:  Bulldogs and their babies


CHEERS and JEERS to the blue, white and red.  Meaning, blue skies giving the sun carte blanche to turn white people red.  Once the remnants of Hurricane Chester Alan Arthur moved out Friday night, it was a picture-perfect Maine holiday/summer-vacation weekend, all wrapped up with Saturday flash flash boom booms that sent the cat scurrying for cover.  Now listen carefully, here's the plan for the rest of the summer: nobody blink.  If anyone blinks it'll be Labor Day.  [Blink]  No, wait, sorry, that didn’t count.  That was a practice blink.  Start over...  [Blink]  Damn.  Oh, well---enjoy wearing white while you still can.

CHEERS to greenier green shoots.  As we rev up a new week, here are some of the latest economic headlines that, if they continue, will cause real problems for Republican talking points in the midterms:

Green plants
> Auto sales surprise with fast growth in June
> Surprisingly robust growth in jobs energizes recovery
> People voluntarily leaving jobs at highest rate since 2009 downturn
> Global manufacturing expanding
> Dow tops 17,000 for first time
> Boat business starting to float again
> U.S. trade gap narrows, exports hit record highs
> Mortgage rates fall to near 4 percent
> Consumer sentiment rises
And then there's this brilliant headline: "Obamacare either hurts or helps the US economy---no one's sure."  That's also, by the way, this week's candidate for worst pickup line in a bar.

CHEERS to justice by the carton.  Fifteen years ago today, in the first class-action lawsuit of its kind to go to trial, a jury in Miami held cigarette makers liable for making a defective product that causes emphysema, lung cancer and other nasties in adults.  Big Tobacco learned a valuable lesson from the verdict: go after the kids.

Crying baby wearing a teabag hat and with a
Richard Mellon Scaife's army
JEERS to unpleasant tasks.  You may have heard that conservative-movement overlord Richard Mellon Scaife is dead at 82.  He was the conspiracy-theorist who hired private investigators to look into his crazy theories that the Clintons had murdered a bunch of people, including Vince Foster.  He got booted from Yale for being a drunken asstwit.  His ideology was vile and despicable.  His financing of delusional fringe groups like the tea party caused untold damage to this country, which he reveled in.  He was so committed to the institution of traditional heterosexual marriage that he married and divorced twice, after which he put a sign on his lawn reading, "Wife and dog missing---reward for dog."  But he's dead now, and my policy is I gotta say at least one positive thing about him, so here goes: he had a very nice lawn.  Ta-dah!!!

CHEERS to plain-spoken reminders set in stone.  One of the milestones in Maine's gay rights movement happened---and we sure wish it hadn't---30 years ago today up in Bangor.  Twenty three year-old Charlie Howard---who had the audacity to be openly gay in 1984---was walking across the State Street Bridge when he was  beat up, tossed off the bridge, and left to drown by three teenage thugs who knew exactly what they were doing: hating.  Today there stands a memorial to Charlie and we appreciate the bluntness of the message etched in stone:

Charlie Howard, the gay Mainer who was thrown off a bridge in Bangor and killed on July 7, 1984.
May we, the citizens of Bangor, continue to change the world around us until hatred becomes peacemaking and ignorance becomes understanding.

Charlie Howard, an openly gay man, died here at the hands of hatred and ignorance on July 7, 1984.

The murder sparked a new gay (now LGBT) rights movement in Maine---led by EqualityMaine---that eventually led to a transgender-inclusive non-discrimination law, a hate crimes law, and full marriage rights.  We still have our haters up here, but now they're the ones considered deviant freaks.  Ain't karma a bitch.


Five years ago in C&J: July 7, 2009

CHEERS to #60.  At 12:15 today, President Joe, sorry, President of the Senate Joe Biden...will lord over the initiation ceremony for Al Franken.  In addition to the oath of office, there's the spit handshake, the pinky clasp, the bunny hop, the blowing of the conch, and the ceremonial Listening to Robert Byrd Recount the "Day in 1924 When I Caught the Talking Tadpole."  If Al survives all that, he's home-free.

P.S. Give Inhofe a wide berth, Al.  He's an ankle-biter.


And just one more…

JEERS to fortune-teller FAIL.  Time to revisit an item we wrote about five years ago, in which we highlighted the prognostication genius of CNN's Gloria Borger who made the following prediction during the "Tell Me Something I Don't Know" segment on The Chris Matthews Show:

"A leader of the Republican party will finally emerge in the next year.  I'm not gonna tell ya who it is 'cause I have no idea."
...but money money money.
Awesome!  Now, let's see.  Who has emerged since 2009 as the leader of the GOP, embraced by its members with gusto and Gipper-like fervor? Not John Boehner or Mitch McConnell and god knows it ain't Eric Cantor.  It's not Glenn Beck, especially since he sided with Obama on something (Iraq).  Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker, Ben Carson---Larry, Curly, Moe.  Mitt Romney barely flirts with 'em anymore.  Michele Bachmann?  She's leaving Congress to become a second-rate grifter in the Sarah Palin mold.

So, for yet another year it looks like the "ideas man" of the GOP is the misogynist, racist, bigoted, lying and slowly dying loudmouth Rush Limbaugh.  And now we'll put Gloria Borger's amazingly-awesome prediction back in the freezer for another year.  Because what was true in July of '09 is still true in July of '14: until they figure out how to re-animate Ronald Reagan, the Republican party remains a bunch of floundering fathers.

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


Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial:

"I know there’s actually a petition on the White House website to make Bill in Portland Maine the next Secretary of Defense. Chuck Hagel’s got that spot right now, but if there is a vacancy, I’ll think about it."
---President Obama


Congress is back in session this week, and my expectation that they'll get anything significant done on behalf of ordinary American citizens is…

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