Cheers and Jeers: Thursday

“Say what?”

I love the end of the year. It’s a time when we collectively start wrapping up the events of the previous twelve months in neat little boxes: Best, Worst, Top, Bottom, The Meaning of it All, and yadda yadda. Personally, I’m a fan of quotes, and I’m happy to say—and you can quote me on this—that Yale associate librarian Fred Shapiro’s 18th annual Top 10 list is right on schedule.

Here are some of his picks which, like Time’s person of the year, “are famous or revealing of the spirit of the times—not necessarily eloquent or admirable.” There are cringe-inducers galore, but for my money this is a fitting example of the orientation of the Republican brain which, on the cusp of 2024, is just sad (although thankfully the idiot who said it is no longer part of our national leadership):

“I never claimed to be Jewish. I am Catholic. Because I learned my maternal family had a Jewish background I said I was ‘Jew-ish.’”

—George Santos, who did, in fact, claim to be Jewish.

Continued…

Others on Fred’s list:

“We don’t take an oath to a wannabe dictator … We take an oath to the Constitution.”

—From Army Gen. Mark Milley’s remarks at his farewell ceremony as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that an American billionaire, in possession of sufficient fortune, must be in want of a Supreme Court justice.”

—Washington Post columnist Alexandra Petri opinion piece

“Bobby might share the same name as our father, but he does not share the same values, vision, or judgment …We denounce his candidacy.”

—Rory Kennedy, Kerry Kennedy, Joseph P. Kennedy II and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, joint statement

“Deeming race irrelevant in law does not make it so in life.”

—Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, dissenting opinion on Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College

I don’t know exactly what 2024 will bring, but I’ll take a wild guess and say it’ll be loud and obnoxious. This is, after all, America. Our colors may not run, but our mouths sure do.

And now, our feature presentation…

Cheers and Jeers for Thursday, December 21, 2023

Note: Here’s the schedule for the rest of the week:

This morning: No C&J unless it happens via immaculate conception.  [Update: It’s a miracle!!!]

Tomorrow: A Very Special Regular Evening C&J in the diaries

Next Monday and Tuesday: Very Special Days Off

If you need to reach me over the weekend, I’ll leave the telex machine on between 2-4 am. Feliz Navidad.

10 days!!!

By the Numbers:

Days ’til the First Night Talbot Crab Drop in Easton, Maryland: 10

Barrels of oil being produced by the U.S. each day during the 4th quarter, an all-time global record: 13.3 million

Number of out LGBTQ politicians who won their elections this year: 230

Drop in drug overdose deaths in Maine through October compared with the same time period in 2022: -12%

Year Christmas became a federal holiday: 1870

Years Christmas was banned by the Puritans in England: 1647-1660

Your Thursday Molly Ivins Moment:

We live in a great nation—among the Christmas catalogs is one especially for dog owners, full of dandy things you can get for Bowser and Fido.

Molly Ivins

I was perusing the item about the Gourmet Bone Basket—”He’ll jump for joy when he sees this handwoven, bone-shaped basket brimming with over two pounds of the most popular dog treats”—when what to my wondering eyes should appear but the item immediately underneath the Christmas gift basket for your dog. “Hanukkah Bowl With Treats,” in case your dog is Jewish.

“Say Mazel Tov to the dog in your life! Elegant, silver-plated 8-inch bowl is filled with hand-decorated, all natural peanut butter treats: six Star of David cookies and a Menorah bone, plus a furry ball squeak toy.” Now that I think of it, the poodle has shown distinct symptoms of being Jewish for years: She’s incredibly smart, has a mordant sense of humor and loves bagels.

—December 1998

Puppy Pic of the Day:  True…

CHEERS to calling an insurrectionist an insurrectionist. The number of people in this country trying to wrap Donald Trump’s role in the January 6, 2021 insurrection in a blanket of apathy or even sympathy is appallingly large. So here’s yet another dump truck full of STFU: the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that he’s ineligible to appear on the primary ballot there because of his desperate, and desperately illegal, attempt to hold onto power. And a titan of the legal world—and no bleeding heart liberal, at that—agrees:

Michael Luttig, a conservative former appeals court judge, told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that the state’s court had correctly decided the issue on its constitutional merits, and he said the U.S. Supreme Court should affirm the ruling based on the evidence against the former president. […]

JudgeLuttig.jpg
Luttig

“Based upon the objective law in this instance, the 14th Amendment and Section 3, I never had any doubt in the world that when the first court to address the issue, and that is this court in Colorado, that court would hold that the former president had engaged in an insurrection or rebellion against the Constitution of the United States.

To the court’s decision affirming the lower court decision, it was methodical, it was meticulous, and it was comprehensive.” 

And, pardon my salty language, but it’s was also about gosh darn time.

CHEERS to hitting another milestone on this crazy tilt-a-whirl we call Earth. Autumn ends with a gentle sputter-sputter-wheeze at 10:27 EST tonight—when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Capricorn, or 23.5° south latitude—and will be replaced with the season popularly known as “Is it !#&%!! spring yet?”  Today is also the shortest day of the year, daylight-wise, so at least we can look forward to slivers of extra light through late June.  Plus: nothing tastes better in winter than steaming clam chowder chugged from an L.L. bean boot during a blizzard. And now, here it is: your Moment of Stonehenge

Summer-Solstice-Stonehenge.jpg
True Fact: These are actually all petrified kippers.

Bonus winter tip: Remember that during ice storms, there’s no need to shovel or salt your sidewalk. We recommend you do fun stuff instead. A public service message from the Society of Unscrupulous Chiropractors and Personal Injury Lawyers.

CHEERS to Dramamine.  On December 21, 1620, 103 Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth, Massachusetts following a rough two-month voyage aboard the Mayflower.  And what are the chances they would just happen to step right onto the Plymouth Rock?  Man, that is some excellent GPS right there, bub.

BRIEF SANITY BREAK

END BRIEF SANITY BREAK

JEERS to bad spelling.  On today’s date in 1989, Vice President Dan Quayle sent out 30,000 Christmas cards that said: “May our nation continue to be the beakon of hope to the world.”  Really:

Quayle1989Christmascard.jpg

We’re sure he regerts the mistake.

CHEERS to meeting your Waterloo. Senator and military service dodger Tommy Tuberville spent nearly a year waging war against women in the military. And two days ago he waved the white flag of surrender after he got his wee wee-wee handed to him on a platter:

The Senate unanimously confirmed 11 top-ranking military officers late Tuesday, ending a months-long blockade staged by a single Republican, Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama.

Women in Military Service for America Memorial.
Women in Military Service for America Memorial. Tuberville has probably never even heard of it.

Without debate, the Senate swiftly confirmed the military officials, including four-star generals, whose promotions and family livelihoods had been held up by the GOP senator protesting the Defense Department’s policy on abortion.

So there you have it. The anti-abortion crusader ends up aborting his crusade. Saaaa…lute!

Ten years ago in C&J: December 21, 2013

CHEERS to the Maytag Repairman Chronicles: Outer Space Edition.  All those machines (the technical term is “gizmos”) running inside the International Space Station give off a lot of heat, so when half of the cooling system up there went Fzzzzzt, it was time to scramble:

Flight Engineers Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins continue preparing for a series of spacewalks to remove a failed pump module and install a spare pump module. NASA managers have planned for the first spacewalk to begin Saturday, the second on Monday and if necessary a third spacewalk on Christmas day. …

The last time a spacewalk took place on Christmas day was in 1974 during the Skylab 4 mission. NASA astronauts Gerald Carr and William Pogue stepped outside the Skylab space station to retrieve film from a telescope and photograph Comet Kohoutek.

Bad news: it’s super-tricky business, slow and tedious, and a lot can go wrong.  Good news: the toilet is working just fine!  

And just one more…

CHEERS to saving our celluloid. Twenty-five movies from yesteryear have been inducted into the 35th class of the National Film Registry. Many of them—Apollo 13Home AloneLady and the Tramp—are mainstream hits. Others are less known but significant in their own right, such as…

¡Alambrista! (1977) is the powerfully emotional story of Roberto, a Mexican national working as a migrant laborer in the United States to send money back to his wife and newborn. Director Robert M. Young’s sensitive screenplay refuses to indulge in simplistic pieties, presenting us with a world in which exploitation and compassion coexist in equal measure. [F]ilm scholar Charles Ramirez Berg called “¡Alambrista!” the “first and arguably best rendering of the Mexican American diaspora story.”

20 Feet from Stardom (2013) Morgan Neville directed this fascinating, Oscar-winning documentary on back-up singers, the unsung musical workhorse heroes who provide musical harmony and essential contributions to famous songs while lurking in the shadows.

NationalFilmRegistry2023.jpg
Another worthy class.

Helen Keller in Her Story (1954) Nancy Hamilton’s Academy Award-winning documentary tells the story of Helen Keller from her birth to early 70s. Keller lived for 14 more years after the film. The documentary came about long after Keller became an international speaker on behalf of both disabled rights and the United States.

Edge of the City (1957) features superb performances by John Cassavetes and Sidney Poitier in a psychological drama set among New York City railroad workers. Praised by the NAACP for its message of racial brotherhood, this first feature of blacklisted television director Martin Ritt offers finely delineated performances by Ruby Dee, Kathleen Maguire and Jack Warden. Critic Stanley Crouch called the film “one of the highest of the high points in Poitier’s career,” noting “an almost heartbreaking effect in his absolute freedom from the stereotypic, moving with such vitality through so many more moods than would be expected of a Black character then or now.”

A Movie Trip Through Filmland (1921) This educational and highly informative film about the production of motion picture film stock and the impact of movies on a global audience was shot at Kodak Park, the headquarters of the Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester, New York.

As ever, I remain hopeful that the all-time greatest movie ever—Cats and Dogs—will one day find itself nestled among the NFR’s pantheon of greatness for its message of universal truth in a world gone mad: “Dogs drool, cats rule.”

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

Today’s Shameless C&J Testimonial

“You know, I come here to Daily Kos, and I sit in the Cheers and Jeers kiddie pool, and I know how revered Bill in Portland Maine is. And Bill teaches us a whole bunch of things. But one of them is that some things like squirrels and candy corn have to matter.”

—Liz Cheney

SOURCE

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