Tuesday The latest small business optimism index is released. As usual, there's not much optimism among the smallest businesses, mostly because people keep accidentally stepping on them.
Astonishingly, two weekdays pass without a Norfolk Southern train derailment.
Wednesday A Norfolk Southern train derails, spilling its contents all over a small heartland town. Later this evening, railroad officials attend a public meeting to assure residents that everything is fine, there’s no health risk, and they’ll be happy to answer anyone’s questions if they’ll just step up to the microphone and speak clearly through their new forehead tentacle.
In an annual sign of spring, most of the buzzards return to Hinckley, Ohio. The rest continue circling over Mar-A-Lago while checking their smartphones for news from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
Thursday New private text messages related to the Dominion lawsuit are released, and the Guinness Book confirms that Tucker Carlson set a new world record on election night 2020 for the most dollar signs and sad-face emojis in a single message.
George Santos is whisked to the hospital after suffering a brain aneurysm when he inadvertently states a fact.
Friday The University of Michigan’s latest consumer sentiment index is released. America's sentiment registers an uptick from "impetuous" to "goutish." (It's a weird index.)
Today is St. Patrick's Day. Please: pass out in the gutter responsibly.
Plus lots of the usual blah blah blah 'cause we never run out of that. And now, our feature presentation…
Cheers and Jeers for Monday, March 13, 2023
Note: I'm overbooked for the Ides of March this year, so I'm afraid I'm going to have to do this to you now:
Try not to bleed on my new toga. It's cashmere.
By the Numbers:
Days 'til spring: 7
Days 'til the National Cherry Blossom Festival in D.C.: 5
Percent jump in reported sexual assaults at the Army, Navy and Air Force academies during the 2021-2022 year, according to the Pentagon: 18%
Percent of the inaugural class from United Airlines' Aviate Academy, formed in 2022 to address the pilot shortage, who are women or minorities: 80%
Increase in vinyl record sales last year ($1.2 billion total), its 16th straight year of growth: 17%
Height of the new spoke-less Ferris Wheel South Korea is building in Seoul: 571 feet
Number of people who will be able to fit into each of its 36 carriages: 25
Puppy Pic of the Day: Monday feeling…
CHEERS to jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. But JEERS to the way the broadcast media greeted the expectation-defying news that 311,000 more Americans were employed in February. That was higher than the experts' forecasts by a factor of over 100,000—they were way off!!! And, right on cue, this was the entirety of "America's Most Trusted Newsman" Lester Holt's "report" buried in the middle of NBC Nightly News on Friday:
"The U.S. economy added 311,000 jobs last month, down from January in a sign the economy is still running hot. Unemployment rose slightly at 3.6 percent."
Thirteen seconds—seven fewer than his "report" on the fantabulous employment news last month, and followed by a shitty downer note by transitioning to that Silicon Valley Bank failure. Since no major media outlet put any of this in its proper context, here's the president to, as usual, do it himself:
Wow. Look at that. Whoever Trump is, he really sucked.
CHEERS to bragging rights. The number crunchers in the several states are finally done tallying the votes from the 2022 midterm elections. And the only question on everyone's mind (besides, of course, "Did the MAGA cult immolate themselves real good, or what?") is which state came out on top in terms of turnout. Given that Minnesota forgot to dot an "i" when they applied for statehood and thus get an asterisk by their name (I’m sorry but rules is rules), the undisputed champion this time around is THE GREAT STATE OF MAINE:
Nationwide, nearly 107.7 million valid votes were cast in the 2022 House elections, representing about 45.1% of the estimated voting-eligible population, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of official returns from all 50 states. That was down from 48.1% turnout in 2018—when midterm voting reached levels not seen in more than a century—but still higher than the 34.4% turnout rate for House elections in the 2014 midterms.
Minnesota and Maine, two states that frequently have led the nation in voter turnout for House elections, also topped the table in 2022, with turnout in each reaching about 60% of eligible voters. At the bottom were Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee, where only about a third of eligible voters cast ballots for the House.
Some say that Mainers flooded the voting booths because, in addition to the gubernatorial race that threatened a non-consecutive third term for mini-Trump Paul LePage (he lost in a landslide to Janet Mills), we had some important ballot questions, including infrastructure and food-growing rights. Perhaps so. But I prefer to believe it was the irrepressible sense of civic duty that bubbles like a cauldron of patriotic clam chowder in the lobster shack of our collective souls. Sounds better.
CHEERS to the little planet that tried but couldn't. On March 13, 1930, astronomers informed the world they had discovered Pluto. Unable to handle the fame that followed, the ball of rock and ice with the eccentric (read: emotionally unstable) orbit ended up on the drunken-party circuit and was publicly canned:
Pluto and its moon Charon, which would both have been planets under the initial definition proposed Aug. 16, now get demoted because they are part of a sea of other objects that occupy the same region of space.
Earth and the other eight large planets have, on the other hand, cleared broad swaths of space of any other large objects.
"Pluto is a dwarf planet by the...definition and is recognized as the prototype of a new category of trans-Neptunian objects," states the approved resolution. Dwarf planets are not planets under the definition, however.
It’s a cold, dark, toxic, dangerous, unforgiving and gassy place. But enough about Ted Cruz’s office. Happy birthday, Pluto.
BRIEF SANITY BREAK
END BRIEF SANITY BREAK
CHEERS and JEERS to Daylight Saving Time. Lovin' it because it's still light out at 6 o'clock! Hatin' it because now that it's dark at wake-up time again, I get paranoid about oversleeping, so this has become my DST sleep cycle:
Zzzzzz...[Jolt awake, check the time]...Zzzzzz…[Jolt awake, check the time]… Zzzzzz…[Jolt awake, check the time]… Zzzzzz…[Jolt awake, check the time]… Zzzzzz…[Jolt awake, check the time]…
It's like being at a rave organized by Mike Pence.
CHEERS to the fearsome five some. 21 years ago this week, after a grueling selection process involving thousands of hues, shades, pigments and a $100 billion consultation fee for the Pantone Corporation, five colors were chosen to stand watch over America's shores as official representatives of the federal government's new Homeland Security Advisory System.
During their first two years, Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge changed the alert level ten times, mostly due to the dire threat of Democrats winning elections. Then they stood frozen in time until they were disbanded by the Obama administration in April of 2011 and replaced with a traditional old-west warning system consisting of loudspeakers installed on the heads of cattle.
Where are they today? Green is now part of a traffic light in Bismarck, North Dakota. Blue took a job as a "Welcome to Connecticut" highway sign. Yellow is a food coloring consultant at the Brach's Candy Corn plant. Red is a 4-way stop sign in Reno. And faring the worst is Orange, which is now sitting in a 200-gallon drum in a Mar-a-Lago storeroom labeled "POTUS Tanning Spray: Toxic." The horror.
Ten years ago in C&J: March 13, 2013
JEERS to Saint Billy the Obnoxious. I think I got the New Pope Fever. This was me yesterday following our local Catholic bishop down Congress Street:
[Tap Tap!] Did they elect a new pope yet? [Tap Tap!] Did they elect a pope yet? [Tap Tap!] Does it bother you when I do this? [Tap Tap!] Does it bother you when I do this? [Tap Tap!] Did they elect a new pope yet? [Tap Tap!]
So now you have two ways to know when they've chosen a new guy: 1) white smoke from the Sistine Chapel and 2) the lifting of the bishop's restraining order against me.
And just one more…
JEERS to today's boring correction. James Corden had the audience in stitches last week with this hilarious joke:
"Biden's budget will propose raising a tax on Americans earning more than 400-thousand dollars. It's a brilliant idea from a guy who coincidentally makes exactly 400-thousand dollars."
Unfortunately, the setup of a joke needs a kernel of truth in order to make the punchline funny. Over to you, Joe:
And as for Mr. Corden’s joke, that's what I call dumb-dumb.
Have a tolerable Monday. Floor's open...What are you cheering and jeering about today?
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