Cheers and Jeers: Wednesday

Just Two Words Above the Fold Today:

Happy Birthday!

Cheers and Jeers for Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Note: The annual C&J flagpole-tasting competition starts this afternoon at 1pm in front of City Hall. If you show up and there’s no one there, please moisten your tongue and start without us.

—Mgt., which is totally not snickering

By the Numbers:


Days ’til the New Hampshire primary: 6

Days ’til the Sustainable Foods Summit in San Francisco: 6

Amount Republicans wasted on the Iowa caucuses: $123 million

High tide in Portland Maine last Saturday, an all-time record that flooded the waterfront: 14.57 feet

Minimum age of the iconic fishing shacks in South Portland that got swept out to sea in Saturday’s storm: 100

Number of presidential inaugurations John Marshall presided over: 9  (2 x Jefferson, 2 x Madison, 2 x Monroe, 1 x J.Q. Adams and 2 x Jackson)

Cost of a ticket to the first inaugural ball—James Madison’s—in 1809 at Long’s Hotel: $4

Mid-week Rapture Index: 188 (including 3 date settings and 1 headline that is ambiguously definitive).  Soul Protection Factor 8 lotion is recommended if you’ll be walking amongst the heathen today.

Puppy Pic of the Day: Moe meets Stanley

CHEERS to finding a needle in a haystack. Mark it down in the history books: apparently a Republican or two sobered up long enough to think that boosting the economy while helping families with kids is a good thing. Assuming Speaker Mike Johnson isn’t too busy swapping porn app-avoidance tips with his teenage son or escorting his daughter to a creepy debutante ball, there might be some happier campers in America soon, thanks to a new bipartisan tax relief bill:

“American families will benefit from this bipartisan agreement that provides greater tax relief, strengthens Main Street businesses, boosts our competitiveness with China, and creates jobs,” [House Ways and Means Chair Jason] Smith said in a statement. […]

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 15: U.S. President Joe Biden arrives for an event to mark the day tens of millions of parents will get their first monthly Child Tax Credit relief payments in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on July 15, 2021 in Washington, DC. Most families will receive up to $300 per child a month, a temporary increase in the child tax credit that was part of the American Rescue Plan. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
The child tax credit championed by Joe Biden during the pandemic, then abandoned by the MAGA cult in Congress, may be revived soon.

“Fifteen million kids from low-income families will be better off as a result of this plan, and given today’s miserable political climate, it’s a big deal to have this opportunity to pass pro-family policy that helps so many kids get ahead,” [Democratic Senator Ron] Wyden said in a statement.

“Fifteen million kids from low-income families will be better off as a result of this plan, and given today’s miserable political climate, it’s a big deal to have this opportunity to pass pro-family policy that helps so many kids get ahead,” [Democratic Senator Ron] Wyden said in a statement.

This will, of course, interfere with the Republican presidential nominee’s hope that the U.S. economy will crash by November. So we’ll file this item in the bin marked “Feel-good Stories.”

CHEERS and JEERS to moolah matters. As the week rolls on towards its inevitable conclusion (tomorrow’s the Rapture, so get packing), let’s check in with some recent economic headlines we plucked off the money tree to find out if we should start moving our cash from the secret hole in our back yard to the secret hole in our basement. Caution: whiplash ahead:

»  Goldman Sachs expects the Fed to cut interest rates 5 times this year

»   Warmer, wetter winters are hurting Maine businesses that count on snow and ice

»  The world could get first trillionaire within ten years

»  Credit card delinquency rates climb to decade high in fed study

Harriet Tubman $20
How’s that Tubman 20 coming along, Secretary Yellen?

»  Biden awards $623 million to states, local governments and tribes to build EV charging network

»  Renewables grew rapidly in 2023

»  1-in-10 U.S. restaurants serve Mexican food

»  China’s economy grew 5.2% in 2023, Premier Li says

» China’s double whammy: Exports fell for the first time in 7 years, as domestic demand dips

»  The rich and powerful are meeting in Davos

»  Renters hit harder by inflation than homeowners

»  Annual light vehicle sales up 12% in 2023

»  As EV sales growth slows, some drivers could buy one for as little as $10,000 this year

And this just in: USA Today reports that the average 50-something now has a net worth of over a million dollars. I only have 7 months ‘til 60, so I hope my check for $999,999 arrives soon!

JEERS to yesteryear’s sleazebag. On January 17, 1997, then-Speaker Newt Gingrich—the guy who promised to clean up Washington—accepted a reprimand by the House that included a $300,000 penalty as punishment for ethics violations.  Four days later the House voted 395-28 to discipline its leader for ethical misconduct.  If memory serves, the sun was shining and the birds were singing that day.



JEERS to turning a deaf ear. On this date 62 years ago, during his farewell address in 1961, President Eisenhower warned us all against the rise of the now-infamous “military-industrial complex.”  (Although we’re quick to point out that Ike himself helped contribute to it, so his hands aren’t exactly clean. But, hey, c’mon—he did D-Day.)  Every year, as his warning appears ever more prescient, this speech ranks right up there with Lincoln‘s Gettysburg Address or FDR’s Four Freedoms speech:

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.

A somewhat typical newspaper headline from back in the day.
And be sure to check out the great discounts at Sears. Page A-12.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

Let’s see how that’s working out: We did let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties and democratic processes. We did take it for granted. And we the ignorant and apathetic citizenry did not compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty are now fighting like rabid dogs. Other than that…Thumbs-up!

CHEERS to reefer opposite-of-madness. My my my…if ya wait patiently enough for nearly a century you might just catch the federal government doing something it should’ve done for nearly a century. After all the fearmongering and pearl-clutching (thank you, Nancy Reagan), the acceptance of marijuana is going full steam ahead. ‘Bout damn time…

Marijuana has a lower potential for abuse than other drugs that are subjected to the same restrictions, with scientific support for its use as a medical treatment, researchers from the US Food and Drug Administration say in documents supporting its reclassification as a Schedule III substance. […]

Another reason Dark Brandon deserves 4 more years.

The members of the FDA’s Controlled Substance Staff write in the documents that the agency recommends rescheduling marijuana because it meets three criteria: a lower potential for abuse than other substances on Schedules I and II, a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the US and a risk of low or moderate physical dependence in people who abuse it. The National Institute on Drug Abuse concurs with the recommendation.

Although marijuana has a “high prevalence of nonmedical use” in the US, it doesn’t seem to elicit serious outcomes compared with drugs such as heroin, oxycodone and cocaine, the researchers say.

I admit I’ve enjoyed a relaxing late-night puff now and then, and it sure came in handy during my double stint of chemo a few years back. Absolutely no negative side effects. And in other news, after all the fearmongering and pearl-clutching (thank you, Nancy Reagan), the acceptance of marijuana is going full steam ahead. ‘Bout damn time.

Ten years ago in C&J: January 17, 2014

JEERS to living down to your reputation.  The media—social, network, cable, and dead-tree—are swarming like flies over the latest congressional approval poll.  Behold what the people in the most exceptional country in the world think about the leaders of the most exceptional form of government in the universe ever invented:

Thirty-four percent approve of the performance of congressional Democrats, stable since last spring… As for the Republicans in Congress, 25 percent approve.

Painfully, congressional Republicans get only a 51 percent approval rating from Republicans themselves, highlighting the party’s popularity problems—including internal rifts over its Tea Party component—among its own core supporters.

The Democrats in Congress, by contrast, get a much better rating, 64 percent, from self-identified Democrats in this poll.

The stabilized numbers mean that our D.C. overlords are no longer less popular than cockroaches, airline seating and used baby wipes.  And if that doesn’t look great on a resume, I don’t know what does.

And just one more…

CHEERS to America’s favorite “Girl from the South Side.”  Michelle Obama (who you can follow on twitter here) was the ninth First Lady whose iron-fisted regime I lived under. During her eight way-too-fast years in that official capacity, she was an amazing role model—not only in terms of her grace and humor and intelligence and optimism and down-to-earth authenticity and… (I’ll stop there for space reasons—my list of her pluses is 12 pages long, single spaced), but also for throwing open the doors of the White House and making it feel more like the “People’s House” than any time I can remember. (Under her icy successor it felt more like 1945 Berlin.) Today is Michelle’s frrfrrfrth birthday, and that’s all the reason I need to post these…

First Lady Michelle Obama with daughters Malia and Sasha sled in the snow on the South Lawn of the White House 3/2/09. .Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
First Lady Michelle Obama joins children for a group photo during a visit to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

I know there’s no job description or requirements for the role of presidential spouse, but I think it’s fair to say that she set the bar just about as high as it can go. She rocked it. So, in conclusion: Happy happy happy (I’ll stop there for space reasons—my list of happys is also 12 pages long) birthday, Michelle, and many blessings on your camels.

P.S. I don’t care what fate says, in my book she made it to 100:


So there.

Have a happy humpday. Floor’s open…What are you cheering and jeering about today?

Today’s Shameless C&J Testimonial

Miss America 2024 is active-duty Air Force officer, Harvard student, and Cheers and Jeers kiddie pool splasher

USA Today