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From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE…

And Republicans Would Still Love To Kill It

Today marks the 49th anniversary of a milestone that reminds us what a Democratic president and solid Democratic majorities in Congress can accomplish. And, like Obamacare, it wasn't a slam dunk until late in the game. Ladies and germs, let's give it up for LBJcare!!!

The legislative logjam finally broke with the election of 1964, which swept LBJ into the White House behind large Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress. Shortly after that election, a breakthrough occurred when House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Wilbur Mills (D-Ark.), who had previously blocked Medicare proposals, said, "I can support a payroll tax for financing health benefits just as I have supported a payroll tax for cash benefits."
Johnson signs Medicare bill with harry Truman watching, in Independence, Missouri
History: Presidents Johnson and Truman
shake hands after Medicare signing in
Independence, Missouri---July 30, 1965.
When the long-stalled Medicare effort came before the 89th Congress in January 1965, congressional leaders designated the bills as H.R. 1 and S. 1. Despite determined resistance by organized medicine and some of its congressional allies, the Medicare bill moved forward. A Mills rewrite cleared the House on April 8 by 313-115. The Senate approved its version on July 9 by 68-21. A conference committee labored for more than a week in mid-July to reconcile 513 differences between the two chambers.

At the [signing ceremony in Independence, Missouri], Johnson enrolled Truman as the first Medicare beneficiary and presented him with the nation’s first Medicare card.

Said President Johnson at the signing:
Harry Truman's application for the first Meeicare card, signed by Lyndon Johnson
Harry Truman's Medicare application,
signed by Lyndon Johnson.
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"No longer will older Americans be denied the healing miracle of modern medicine. No longer will illness crush and destroy the savings that they have so carefully put away over a lifetime so that they might enjoy dignity in their later years. No longer will young families see their own incomes, and their own hopes, eaten away simply because they are carrying out their deep moral obligations to their parents, and to their uncles, and their aunts. And no longer will this Nation refuse the hand of justice to those who have given a lifetime of service and wisdom and labor to the progress of this progressive country.
Cold-hearted Republicans (sorry for the redundancy) have made no secret of the fact that they want to turn Medicare into a voucher plan so they can whittle it down bit-by-bit until it resembles Swiss cheese and the private sector can feast on the carcass. Fat chance. Americans like it. A lot. That's why every Medicare-cutting "trial balloon" floated by either Congress or the White House That Should Know Better gets shot down before they have time to turn their head and cough.

It'll be interesting to see what historians write about the 49th anniversary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. But this much we know already: it's dramatically reducing the number of uninsured Americans, people love the benefits (especially when you don’t mention that it's "Obamacare"), and it's helping to improve Medicare's own financial outlook.

Of course, the ultimate proof will be revealed in the number of tea party protesters standing at the door to the Capitol in 2059 yelling, "Keep your government hands off my Affordable Care Act!" I think I may join them---I'll be 95, I'll have nothing else to do that day, and it'll be a fine way to test out the battering ram on my scooter.

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

Cheers and Jeers for Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Note: If you take every third letter in today's C&J and then put them together, they'll spell out a special greeting in a new language making its debut here this morning.  On this planet, anyway.
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Maine Lobster Festival logo
Starts today!!!
By the Numbers:
Days 'til Guardians of the Galaxy, which currently has a 93% fresh tomato score: 2
Days 'til the Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland: 0!!!
Democratic candidate Paul Davis's lead over Kansas Governor Sam Brownback in the latest SurveyUSA poll: 8 pts.
Portion of your cable subscription that's going to Fox News: 89 cents
(Source: Pew Research)
Years by which the Medicare trust fund's solvency has been extended since the ACA went into effect, according to its trustees: 13
Years by which running for as little as five minutes a day can extend your lifespan: 3
(Source: Journal of the American College of Cardiology)
Percent chance that North Carolina's attorney general plans to repeal the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right: 0%
(Source: NC AG Roy Cooper)

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Mid-week Rapture Index: 186 (including 5 Ecumenisms and 1 mid-Rapture photobomb).  Soul Protection Factor 12 lotion is recommended if you’ll be walking amongst the heathen today.

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Puppy Pic of the Day:  Handful

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Capitol building with Closed for vacation sign hanging from it
2 days left.
JEERS to your United States government: hard at hardly working.  There's a lot of confusion this week on the prognosis of various absolutely-must-pass bills facing our bicameral legislature before it trades its pinstripes for thongs and heads to the beach for five weeks.  So in the interest of clarity, here's the very latest from our C&J sources embedded in the Capitol:
Highway bill: Ummm...
Veterans bill: Errr…
Refugee bill: Uhhh...
NSA stop-bulk-data-collection bill: Derp...
Rename a post office: Hmm....
We hope this clears things up.

CHEERS to Pavlov's Dog: 2014 Midterms Edition.  Pretty nifty how it works: the Republican horde shouts "Impeach!" and, like magic, Democratic cash registers go "Ch'Ching! Ch'Ching! Ch'Ching!"  I never thought I'd say this to the GOP, but: keep talking!

JEERS to legal bullets that should not have to be dodged.  Judges to the rescue again.  Mississippi was about to see its last abortion clinic shuttered, but the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals said no dice:

GOP Graphic: This party has worked 0 days without insulting women.
“A woman has the constitutional right to end her pregnancy by abortion. [This law] effectively extinguishes that right within Mississippi’s borders. Mississippi may not shift its obligation to respect the established constitutional rights of its citizens to another state.”  In fact, at the trial on a similar law enacted in Wisconsin, an independent, court-appointed medical expert recently said of laws like this, “I think it is an unacceptable experiment to see if you decrease access [to abortion] and see if more women die.  It is not acceptable.  It is not ethical.  People will resort to illegal abortions.”
Also yesterday, Massachusetts passed a new set of rules in the wake of the Supreme Court's no-buffer-zone ruling to prevent women from being harassed at clinics.  The message to protesters thinking about obstruction: "Don't even…"

CHEERS to glowing reviews.  An appointee to Ireland's Council of State, Ruairí McKiernan, flew to Detroit for Netroots Nation, and in a "HuffPo" (that's how the cool kids say it) column writes that he was impressed:

Photo of Detroit skyline, NN banner
Thanks, Detroit!
Everywhere I went at Netroots Nation were incredible movers, shakers and world changers. These are people who are mostly in their twenties and thirties and leading organizations with the power to engage and mobilize millions of people through sophisticated online campaigning and organizing. They are birthing a new world superpower -- a digitally facilitated citizen superpower that offers hope for people and planet. […] Netroots Nation gave me hope that we are more organized than we think, that we are more connected than we imagined, that we are creating a tipping point towards a better world. Let us keep marching forward together---not one step back.
Meanwhile Kossack San Diego Dem posted her thoughts and pics from the Water Is A Human Right march and rally, including a shot of yours truly illustrating why the Detroit cops gave me a wide berth.  We didn’t change the world in those four days---but we made a joyful angry noise and moved the ball forward a bit.  Decent vittles, too.

JEERS to the politics of fear.  Fifty-eight years ago---on July 30, 1956---to ward off evil Communist spirits, the phrase "In God We Trust" became our country's national motto, a move led by a Democratic congressman---Charles E. Bennett:

In God we trust all others pay cash (author Jean Shepherd)
He proposed putting the phrase “In God We Trust,” which began appearing on coins in 1864, on all paper and coin currency.  “In these days when imperialistic and materialistic communism seeks to attack and destroy freedom, we should continually look for ways to strengthen the foundations of our freedom,” he declared on the House floor.
Today people have no freaking clue what our national motto is ("e pluribus spongecakes et creamy fillings unum Box of Twinkies?"), but they know that rolled-up paper currency is a great way to snort cocaine.  Yay, freedom!!!

CHEERS to winning the space race.  Pardon me while I turn the column over to my petty and vindictive inner child for a moment: Screw you, Russia! Choke on our dust!  Seriously:

Mars rover
"It's number one!
It's number one!"
NASA's Opportunity Mars rover, which landed on the Red Planet in 2004, now holds the off-Earth roving distance record after accruing 25 miles (40 kilometers) of driving. The previous record was held by the Soviet Union's Lunokhod 2 rover.

"Opportunity has driven farther than any other wheeled vehicle on another world," said Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager John Callas, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "This is so remarkable considering Opportunity was intended to drive about one kilometer and was never designed for distance.

The best thing about Opportunity?  The Yosemite Sam mud flaps.

CHEERS to an eye for an eye.  On July 30, 1863, in response to reports that Confederate forces were executing blacks captured wearing the uniform of the Union Army, President Lincoln issued orders to shoot one rebel prisoner for every black prisoner reported shot.  In fairness, that was only after threats to revoke their beach volleyball privileges didn’t work.

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Five years ago in C&J: July 30, 2009

JEERS to heart-wrenching breakups.  Martin and Lewis.  The Beatles.  Britney and Kevin.  Michele Bachmann and sanity.  And, as of tomorrow, the "Coalition of the Willing" in Iraq will be a thing of the past.  I believe I speak for everyone in America with a brain when I say: "It's been unreal.  Let's not do this again soon."

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And just one more…

CHEERS to fearless predictions.  Benedict Cumberbatch is going to earn his first Oscar nomination for The Imitation Game, in which he plays Alan Turing, the British genius who created a cousin of the first computer with the singular purpose of breaking the unbreakable Nazi Enigma code.  His country thanked him for shortening the war and saving thousands of lives by having him castrated for being gay, after which he committed suicide in 1954 at age 41.  Here's the trailer:

Using my own secret code, I'll post the opening date: 4102 ,12 rebmevoN.  When you figure it out, lemme know---my dog ate my cheat sheet.

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

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Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial:

Webcam Captures 100 Endangered Baby Bill in Portland Maines Hatching in Florida
---Time

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Poll

Do you believe House and Senate Republicans will get their shit together just long enough to join Democrats and pass the emergency VA-funding bill before they wander off for five weeks of vacation?

9%358 votes
25%968 votes
4%174 votes
25%956 votes
34%1298 votes

| 3754 votes | Vote | Results

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