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Evolution. It's a thing.

The annual Beloit College Mindset List from the Wisconsin school (Go, Fightin' Buccaneers!) is out and generating the usual gasps and titters. The annual list reflects on how the mental cards are stacked in the collective minds of the college Class of 2018, meaning you whippersnappers born in 1996. Here's a sample of their world:

Looking ahead, the Class of 2028 will
never have known a world without lolcats.
• During their initial weeks of kindergarten, they were upset by endlessly repeated images of planes blasting into the World Trade Center.
• “Press pound” on the phone is now translated as “hit hashtag.”
•  Ads for prescription drugs, noting their disturbing side effects, have always flooded the airwaves.
• The Unabomber has always been behind bars.
• Yet another blessing of digital technology: They have never had to hide their dirty magazines under the bed.
• They have no memory of George Stephanopoulos as a senior White House advisor.
• The rate of diagnosed diabetes has always been shooting up during their lifetime.
• When they see wire-rimmed glasses, they think Harry Potter, not John Lennon.
• The Daily Show with Jon Stewart has always been the only news program that really "gets it right."
More on this year's list and the history of it from creators Ron Nief and Tom McBride here. I would add one to the list: Republicans have always been either incompetent hacks or obstructionist jerks. But I guess that's just a given.

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

Cheers and Jeers for Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Note:  As the newest adviser on the President’s Council on Fitness, I’ll be making some changes around here in our nutrition and fitness requirements starting tomorrow. And since tomorrow never comes, who wants a beer?

Syracuse Irish Festival logo
9 days!!!
By the Numbers:
Days 'til Ex-Gay Awareness Month: 35
Days 'til the Syracuse Irish Festival: 9
American households made up of a single person, the highest level ever: 27%
(Source: The Wall Street Journal)
Percent of Republicans who say they have confidence in police departments’ ability to use Pentagon-grade weaponry appropriately: 70%
Percent of Democrats who share that confidence: 45%
(Source: Pew poll)
Size of the fissure connecting three of Iceland's largest volcanoes: 40km
Number of Emmy nominations Breaking Bad ended up with over its run: 58


Mid-week Rapture Index: 187 (including 4 beast governments and 1 apocalyptic lobster).  Soul Protection Factor 30 lotion is recommended if you’ll be walking amongst the heathen today.


Puppy Pic of the Day:  A November flashback for fans of Emmy winner Bryan Cranston and his fuzzy gams…er, pooch.


CHEERS to looming leisure.  Hooray!  Another sign that things are perking up a bit in the United States of Getting Paid Less Than We're Worth.  It seems we're feeling better about getting paid less than we're worth these days, and our #1 way to celebrate, of course, is to spend a holiday weekend battling traffic:

Traffic Jam
Holiday Road
Nearly 35 million Americans are expected to travel for Labor Day weekend this year, a slight increase over last year and the most since recession-driven declines began in 2008, according to driver advocacy organization AAA Mid-Atlantic.
The group expects 34.7 million people to travel 50 miles or more over the course of the holiday weekend, a 1.3 percent increase from 2013.

"Despite stagnant income growth and a modest economic recovery, consumers continue to remain enthusiastic about traveling and are willing to pull out their credit cards to pay for the last holiday weekend trip of the summer," said Ragina Cooper-Averella, AAA spokeswoman.

If you're planning an excursion to the beach or the mountains or the in-laws (lucky you!), please drive with care and flip your birds responsibly.

CHEERS to squirtin' the bigots with the fire hose of justice.  As long as the gay-marriage haters can limit their arenas of verbal combat to churches, cable TV, and friendly web sites, they can keep their flames (read: hysteria in the service of fundraising) fanned without much fuss.  But drag that shit into a courtroom---as lawyers representing Indiana and Wisconsin did yesterday in front of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals---and you end up with this:

Freedom to Marry graphic with outlines of Indiana and Wisconsin and text
Judge Richard Posner, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, was dismissive when Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Timothy Samuelson repeatedly pointed to 'tradition' as the underlying justification for barring gay marriage. "It was tradition to not allow blacks and whites to marry---a tradition that got swept away," Posner said. Prohibition of same sex marriage, he said, is "a tradition of hate ... and savage discrimination."

Posner frequently cut off Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fischer, just moments into his presentation and chided him to answer his questions. At one point, Posner ran through a list of psychological strains of unmarried same-sex couples, including having to struggle to grasp why their schoolmates' parents were married and theirs weren't. "What horrible stuff," Posner said.

How quickly they'll rule is anyone's guess, but it sure seems like all three judges---especially Reagan's guy, who stopped just short of doing jazz hands---were itchin' to green-light some same-sex hitchin'.  As always, we'll sleep on the couch next to the ticker tape machine until the decision comes down.  Or until my partner Michael says I can sleep in the bedroom again after serving my sentence for eating the last slice of key lime pie.  Whichever comes first.  My money's on the judges.

CHEERS to the Arm-Twister-in-Chief.  Happy 106th birthday to #36, Lyndon Baines Johnson.  The 719 historians and political scientists surveyed for the book Rating the Presidents rank him 12th among the presidents, concluding that he was...

President Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on July 2, 1964.  With martin Luther King, Jr. behind him.
The good side of LBJ's presidency.
"A tragic figure," "A man of noble sentiments," and "a great political talent who overreached himself and his country." In ranking him in the top third of American presidents, they give him high praise for his domestic achievements, low marks for his Southeast Asia failure. "Great Society torpedoed by Vietnam," writes one participant. In the political skill category, Johnson is outranked only by Franklin Roosevelt and Lincoln.
As his press secretary, George Reedy wrote: "Of all his qualities...the most important was that he knew how to make our form of government work.  That is an art that has been lost since his passing and we are suffering heavily as a result."  Thankfully, one art that has also been lost is picking up Fido by the ears.  I'm sorry, but I gotta bump him down to 13th for that.

P.S.  On second thought, the tape that surfaced of LBJ placing a phone order for some new custom-made Haggar slacks with extra room "down where your nuts hang" moves him back up to #12.

JEERS to the Liar-in-Chief.  Fond memories: twelve years ago, on August 27, 2002, George W. Bush had Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan-of-Swing over to his Crawford Ranch for a little brush-clearin', jerky chompin' and Iraq discussin':

George W. Bush meets with Saudi Prince bandar on August 27, 2002.
"Who can make the sun rise
and sprinkle it with dew? The
Bandy Man! HehHehHeh."
The meeting, however, failed to change Saudi Arabia's strong opposition to a military attack.  "There is no country in the world that I know of that supports military action against Iraq at this time," Adel Al-Jubeir, a foreign policy adviser to the Saudi kingdom, told CNN. […]

"If the objective is to dismantle the weapons of mass destruction program, we could probably do that without going to war," Al-Jubeir said.  "Why not use that option?  Why do people want to risk the lives of tens of thousands of American men and women in uniform for an objective that can be achieved through negotiations?"

Oh, let’s see: to get our hands on cheap oil, to feed the military-industrial complex, to scare Americans into re-electing the macho Republicans, to bully the world, to get revenge on Saddam for "tryin' to kill mah daddy," and to act out G.I. Joe fantasies aboard an aircraft carrier under a "Mission Accomplished" banner.  Other than that, I got nothin'.

CHEERS to the way all battles should be fought.  As I write this column (on birch bark with the burnt end of a stick I found outside my lean-to), tomatoes are flying through the air in Bunol Spain.  It's their annual "throwing of the 130 tons of tomatoes."  Check it out:

No one's sure exactly how the tradition came about, but one theory is that the townspeople got pissed at local politicians during a festival and started pelting them with tomatoes, and it felt so good they made it an annual event.  Which brings me to the obvious question: Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

CHEERS to bubblin' crude.  Oil, that is.  Black gold...Titusville tea.  My, how time flies when you're polluting the planet.  155 years ago today, in 1859, "Colonel" Edwin Drake's newfangled drilling technique (ramming a pipe in the ground so the hole wouldn't clog) paid off when his employee, "Uncle Billy" Smith, struck oil 69 feet down in a spot near Titusville, Pennsylvania.  And a few years later solar and wind power completely replaced it as the world's primary energy source and everyone lived happily ever after with tons of sex, booze, fistfuls of thousand-dollar bills, universal health care and.... [POOF!!!]  Well...that was a fun dream while it lasted.


Five years ago in C&J: August 27, 2009

CHEERS to lighting this candle!  The Space Shuttle Discovery is a go for launch at 11:59 tonight.  Depending on the cloud cover, people living as far north as Maine could, perhaps for the last time, see the trail it leaves behind as it blasts into orbit.  And you may also get a glimpse of the banner streaming behind it that says, EAT AT ROSIE'S---BEST RIBS IN TOWN---RT.1 TITUSVILLE.  Hey...NASA's gotta make up for those budget cuts somehow.


And just one more…

CHEERS to Minty freshness.  "The new America the Beautiful State Quarter is here!  The new America the Beautiful State Quarter is here!!!"  And it's beeeyoooteeeful.  The latest in the series was released this week, and represents the great state of Colorado:

America the Beautiful state quarter featuring Great Sand Dunes National Park.  August 2014
"You kids get offa
my sand dune!
The Great Sand Dunes National Park quarter is the fourth of 2014 in the America the Beautiful Quarters Program. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve has the tallest dunes in North America as the centerpiece of the site's diverse landscape of grasslands, wetlands, conifer and aspen forests, alpine lakes, and tundra. These can be experienced through hiking, sand sledding, splashing in Medano Creek and watching wildlife. The Great Sand Dunes National Park was first established as a national site [in] 1932.

The reverse design features a father and son playing in the sand next to the creek bed. The distinctive mountains and sand dunes are featured in the background.

Father and son?  Playing in the sand?  Really?  Let's see how long it takes Fox News to wonder aloud, "Are those Muslims on prayer rugs calling for jihad on the homeland under the orders of Barack Obama and Eric Holder?  Is this a secret coded image designed to awaken radical Islamic cells in America?  Hey, we're just asking."  I'll give 'em about, oh, 45 seconds.

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


Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial:

Bill in Portland Maine's Hyperflatulent Space Weapon Destroyed Seconds After Lift-off


Massachus…er, New Hampshire Republican senate candidate Scott Brown believed in 2012 that man-made climate change was real. Now he says it's not. Why is he contradicting himself?

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