Cheers and Jeers for Thursday, September 8, 2011
Note: Police called to home after baker's man refuses to play pattycake. Film at 11.
By the Numbers:
Days 'til the Summer Olympic games in London: 323
Days `til the Warrens Cranberry Festival in Wisconsin: 15
Increase in U.S. auto sales in August vs. August of 2010: 7.5%
Increase in Chrysler's sales: 31%
Number of California's seven Supreme Court justices who are of full or partial Asian descent: 4
Rank of the Carolinas, Kansas City and Texas among places to find the best BBQ: #1, #2, #3
Rank of "My backyard": #5
(Source: TripAdvisor.com/USA Today survey)
Your Thursday Molly Ivins Moment:
Despite repeatedly claiming his company would not do business with Iraq---he was defense secretary during the Persian Gulf War---Halliburton racked up $23.8 million in sales to Iraq in '98 and '99. It did so by using two European subsidiaries, so Halliburton was not directly violating the sanctions against Iraq. Hey, it was business.
And striking another blow for freedom from government interference, Cheney led Halliburton into the top ranks of corporate welfare hogs, benefiting from almost $2 billion in taxpayer-insured loans from the U.S. Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corp.
Puppy Pic of the Day: Ready for takeoff…
CHEERS to Democrats. They weren't in the room, but they came out looking pretty good after last night's Republican Tea Party debate at the Reagan Library. As Lawrence O'Donnell said during the MSNBC post-game show about the debate's namesake, who was probably spinning in his nearby grave: "Ronald Reagan would've been the wild lefty in the room tonight." Aaaaand cue the bullet points…
- Mitt Romney Poised, prepared, peppy, pithy, but still plastic. Romney came looking to poach a Perry pelt, and he partially pulled it off---particularly by un-Ponzifying Social Security. Plus: he has a plan for progress! It has 59 points! But points off for not publicly professing perfect parity with the tea party. Will they poop on his parade in favor of the pistol-packin' pioneer? Perhaps!
- Rick Perry A good debut, but he had heads spinning: Social Security is a Ponzi scheme and an outrageous lie? Yay! Signing an executive order to increase HPV vaccinations? Boo! The death penalty is frontier-style justice? Yay!!!!!!!!! (Seriously, the crowd went absolutely wild over the death penalty---I now picture Perry in a toga giving a thumbs-down to some poor sap in a giant arena before unleashing the lions.) Obama captured bin Laden and that's a good thing? Meh. (The crowd was dead silent when Perry said this, and fuck them all for sitting on their hands out of pure spite.) Climate change is not supported by scientific consensus? Yay! So, in sum: he had his moments and I think he's still safely in the top tier. But, to coin a phrase, there sure was a lot of hat and not much cattle. Next time: Strap on them shootin' irons and give 'em a loving pat 'em from time to time. The audience will swoon.
- Ron Paul All over the map, this guy---a confusing byproduct of being a down-the-line libertarian. Kudos for admitting that the war on drugs is causing huge problems and getting people killed, and questioning the wisdom (or lack thereof) of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. But deserves to spend a day scrubbing barracks toilets with a toothbrush for suggesting that "If our troops didn't have air conditioning in the Green Zone, you bet they'd come back home." Classy.
- Herman Cain WTF??? He just kept saying "9-9-9" over and over again. Keep your eyes on the skies, Kossacks---I think he was signaling the nefarious pod people from outer space to swoop in and steal our precious bodily fluids. If they enter your home and threaten you with laser annhilation, just feed 'em a plate of Godfather's pizza. It's like kryptonite with cheese.
- Newt Gingrich Oh, Newt Newt Newt. You're the Newtiest. He didn’t win the debate by any stretch, but he gave the media the biggest woody when he threatened to spank them for being bad. They do love being threatened with a good time.
- Michele Bachmann Sing it with me: Oh, the wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round. The wheels on the bus go round and round, right into a ditch. Kinda sad watching this play out: once a fiery tea-guzzling talking points regurgitator, she's now re-tooled herself into a kinder, gentler tea-guzzling talking-points regurgitator. Sorry, ma'am, but there's no path to the nomination that runs through Boredomville. And her two-buck-a-gallon gas promise? THUD! But thanks for playing.
- Rick Santorum Who? Memo to self: Google this guy.
Up next: President Obama's jobs speech tonight at 7ET. The good news: he won’t piss off NFL fans by preempting their opener. The bad news: Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy fans will be out in the streets with pitchforks and torches.
JEERS to the not-very-super committee. It meets for the first time today: six white men for the Republicans, and 5 men (one Hispanic, one African American) and one woman for the Democrats. They'll come together in a spirit of bipartisanship and compromise to ensure that they hit their hard November 23 deadline for ending up completely deadlocked, after which a "trigger" gets pulled that causes America to sink further into economic quicksand. But they'll get to keep their souvenir "I Was On The Super Committee!" pens, so it won’t be a total loss.
CHEERS to a little moment worth a little "Yay!" Rachel Maddow has been on MSNBC with her own show three years as of today. She's brilliant, liberal, and everybody loves her except those Republicans who fear her. ("Scary lesbian fact checker! Run for your lives!") Score one for the dirty fucking hippies!
JEERS to free passes. Thirty seven years ago today, President Ford granted an unconditional pardon to Richard "I am not a crook except Monday through Sunday from 6am 'til 5:59am" Nixon. He said it was absolutely necessary to help "heal" the country. What the hell does that even mean? I don't remember anyone flipping out over the Watergate hearings, do you? Everyone I knew laughed their asses off. Some even snorted milk out their nose. Final verdict on the pardon: bad call. The American people were robbed of the opportunity to see that, when the president does what Tricky Dick did, it IS illegal. Here endeth the lesson.
JEERS to false equivalence: taxes edition. Stephen Carter at Bloomberg News might be sweet as a bucket 'o molasses sitting on a pile of sugar in a field of lollipops, but I fear he lacks a little thing called perspective:
Taxes are in bad political odor these days. True, there has been no era in which taxation was popular, but we seem to have reached a moment of particular confusion. We have one major party dedicated to the bizarre principle that nothing that is not taxed now should ever be taxed again, and another dedicated to the equally bizarre principle that taxes are a magical elixir that will eliminate the nation’s indebtedness while touching only those who happen to own private jets.
See what he did there? Republicans and Democrats are equally bad on taxes, see? Which is bullshit, of course. Because here's the truth: Republicans sign pledges in which they pinky-swear to never, ever raise taxes (and yes, closing loopholes for the rich counts as raising taxes, according to Saint Grover Norquist). When they break their pledge they get primaried and shunted aside, forever condemned to walk the earth alone carrying the shameful yoke of party impurity. Democrats, on the other hand, have never signed tax pledges and have never said or even implied that taxes alone are magical anything---they're one tool in the tool belt, is all. I'm sure Mr. Carter regrets his massive, career-threatening blunder. As soon as he makes it official, we'll return his lollipops.
HUZZAH to the secession squisher. Happy 183rd birthday to General Joshua Chamberlain from the Great State of Maine. In 1863 he held Little Round Top against overwhelming odds during the battle of Gettysburg, helping save the north from being ruled by Confederate General George "Macaca" Allen (yeah, he has a cameo in that bloated-but-semi-watchable Ted Turner movie). Then he came back home to be Maine's governor for four years (winning his third one-year term in 1868 with 72 percent of the vote). Today we consider him our state's #1 hero. Well, if you don’t count the guy from Farmington who invented earmuffs.
Five years ago in C&J: September 8, 2006
CHEERS to turning a new corner. Look, everybody! Iraq just took control of its own military. Now that they've "stood up," we can "stand down," right? Right? Right? [tap tap] Is this thing on? [9/8/11 Update: Right? [tap tap] Right? Well…kinda sorta yeah!]
CHEERS to booting whatsizname. A Senate panel said "Naaaah" to renewing John Bolton's license to berate, badger and belittle the U.N. Shortly after he heard the news, he was caught stabbing the Ambassador from Madagascar in the thigh with a pencil. You don't wanna know what he would've done if he'd been in a sour mood. [9/8/11 Update: Yesterday we learned that Bolton won’t be running for president. He ditched his plans when he learned he might have to smile once in awhile.]
And just one more…
CHEERS to 45 years in space...the final frontier. On September 8, 1966 the first episode of Star Trek ("Wagon Train to the Stars" as Gene Roddenberry called it) aired on NBC. It was regularly beaten in its time slot, and it placed #52 among all series in 1966-1967, its best season. But four and a half decades later its message of peace, respect for diversity and get-alongness still resonates. Recently the cast was asked about their most enduring Gene Roddenberry anecdote. Here's George "It's Okay To Be Takei!" Takei's memory of a chat at a Roddenberry pool party:
I swam up to him and started chatting. I didn’t come out to him, but I talked to him about some of the conversations I’d been having with fans, who’d said that we were dealing with diversity---racial diversity, ancestral diversity---but not the diversity of sexual orientation. So I didn’t speak personally, but I spoke in terms of the issue. And he said, yes, he was well aware of that, but that he was dealing with issues that were pretty controversial, as they were, and he said that the episode in which Bill and Nichelle kissed was blacked out in the southern parts of the country. His point was that he needed to keep Star Trek on and that the parameters of what he could get away with were known, and that if he crossed that too far over that threshold, that the opportunities to make the statements he was making would be lost. So he was making a practical decision and basically taking his shots.
Famous line by Spock: "You Earth people glorified organized violence for forty centuries---but you imprison those who employ it privately." Nice shot, Gene.
Have a nice Thursday. Floor's open...What are you cheering and jeering about today?
Today's Shameless C&J Testimonial:
Seriously I was dreaming of DailyKos and posting in C and J. I dreamt I was posting about comment number 15 or so. Odd.