And Now…This Message
We normally don’t engage in shameless commerce here. But I’ll allow it.
No operators are standing by. Because, come on.
Cheers and Jeers for Thursday, December 3, 2020
Note: Only 12 days left to sign up for ACA health insurance at Healthcare.gov. Pass it on.
By the Numbers:
Days ’til Hanukkah: 7
Number of people screened at security checkpoints by the TSA last Sunday, the highest since mid-March: 1.18 million
Amount the Trump campaign ended up paying for each of the additional votes Joe Biden got during the $3 million recount in two Wisconsin counties: $34,000
Years since a country sent a spacecraft to the moon to collect rock samples, as the Chang-5 is doing now: 44
Weight of the rocks they’ll be bringing back: 4.5 lbs.
Percent drop in online sales over the Black Friday weekend compared to last year: -14%
Age of openly-gay Maine state Rep. Ryan Fecteau (D), who was just elected our new Speaker of the Maine House: 28
Your Thursday Molly Ivins Moment:
Today’s challenge is “Spot the Next Brownie.” In this game for the whole family, review a list of Bush administration cronies and see if you can pick the next Michael “Heckuva Job” Brown, another disaster waiting for a hurricane.
Scope out the Bird Flu Czar from Amtrak. Stewart Simonson is now in charge of “the protection of the civilian population from acts of bioterrorism and other public health emergencies” according to his government biography. He is also in charge of ensuring the country has adequate vaccines and antiviral meds to combat an avian flu epidemic. This would be peachy-keen if Simonson had any experience in public health, bioterrorism, epidemics, or even management. Unfortunately, he’s a political lawyer. As he recently told a congressional subcommittee, “We’re learning as we go.”
Simonson’s rabbi is former Gov. Tommy Thompson of Wisconsin, who hired him out of law school, took him to Washington as deputy general counsel at Health and Human Services and then got him the job as general counsel of Amtrak. Ed Garvey, a well-known lawyer in Wisconsin political circles, told The Nation magazine, “He’s a political hack, a sycophant. People just laughed when he was appointed to Amtrak, but when word came out that he was in charge of bioterrorism, it turned to alarm. When you realize that people’s lives are at stake, it’s frightening. It’s just one of those moments when you say, ‘Oh, my God.’”
Puppy Pic of the Day: Marshmallow floofs on parade…
CHEERS to Joe’s number crunchers. “Show me your budget and I’ll show you who you are.” Of all the words that have come out of President-elect Biden’s mouth over the years, those are the ones that I remember most vividly. And now, as president, he’ll have no choice but to show the world who he is. As he assembles his economic team, it would appear that he’s a pretty good guy:
“This is a family-oriented team,” Biden said during an event in Wilmington, Delaware, featuring the nominees. “This team will always be there for you and your families.”
Indeed, family was the consistent, if unexpected, theme that ran through each of the six speeches delivered by the nominees Tuesday.
Biden’s economic advisors described how their early experiences of hardship became windows through which they still view economic policy as accomplished economists.
Among the six members are four women (two of color) and two men (one of color), all focused on helping the poor and middle class, versus Trump’s eight white guys dedicated to fluffing the membership of Mar-A-Lago. They’ll have a big job ahead, starting with Step 1: tracking down all the gold bars Steve Mnuchin stole from Fort Knox and buried in his back yards.
JEERS to grumpy old men. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), a shining example of obstruction for obstruction’s sake during the Obama years and red-hatted spinelessness in the age of Trump, gave his farewell address yesterday at the age of 80. Clutching his toga, he moaned about the loss of can’t-we-all-just-get-along’ism and said a bunch of other worthless stuff nobody will ever remember. For your free copy, just look in the C&J library under “Insomnia Therapy.”
CHEERS to new discoveries. 24 years ago this week—ah, 1996, those golden Clinton years—during its Pathfinder mission NASA sent a six-wheeled rover called Sojourner to roam the surface of another planet and gather rocks. Moments after landing, the space agency got a call from Newt Gingrich asking them to please come get it off his head.
BRIEF SANITY BREAK
END BRIEF SANITY BREAK
CHEERS to shorter wait times. Good news for those among us who feel the walls closing in when we’re hunkered down too long:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is shortening the recommended quarantine period from 14 days after a person has been exposed to the coronavirus, offering two alternatives, the agency said Wednesday.
The first alternative is to end quarantine after 10 days if no symptoms are reported, Dr. Henry Walke, the CDC’s Covid-19 incident manager, said on a call with reporters. The second option is to end quarantine after seven days if an individual tests negative and also reports no symptoms. The decision is based on new research and modeling data, Walke said.
And in related news, research and modeling data also show that, for the good of all covid patients, the recommended period for the completion of the Trump presidency can safely be shortened to—[checks notes]—zero days.
CHEERS to seeing stuff up close. On this date in 1621, Galileo perfected his new invention. He called it the telescope. The following day the lady next door perfected her own new invention. She called it window blinds.
Ten years ago in C&J: December 3, 2010
JEERS to rookie mistakes. Well, kids, if nothing else, Maine’s new tea party governor, Paul LePage, is going to provide us with lots of laughter as he Galts his way through his four-year term. Here’s the latest:
On Thursday, Republican Gov.-elect Paul LePage told MaineToday Media that he will ask [incoming Attorney General] Schneider to join the health care reform lawsuit against the federal government. … LePage also said he recently learned that if 35 states join the lawsuit, the law “dies, automatically.”
Not true, according to outgoing Attorney General Janet Mills. “That’s not the law,” she said. “A congressional act does not get voided or overturned simply because a certain number of state officials join some lawsuit. I don’t know what he’s talking about.”
Brain cell for brain cell, I believe Rick Perry may have finally met his match.
And just one more…
JEERS to perilous playthings. I probably should’ve mentioned this item a couple weeks ago before the entire country shopped for toys over the Thanksgiving holiday. The Public Interest Research Group is out with their latest list of the most dangerous toys, and the good news is that, on the whole, toys are safer. As usual, toys whose chemical levels are too big, noise levels are too loud, or whose parts are too small topped the list. (The VTech Drill & Learn Toolbox gets a special mention as a choking hazard.) And in the internet age there’s another hazard parents should watch for: “connected toys” that hoover up your kids’ personal information in possible violation of privacy and consumer protection laws. Meanwhile, the Cheers and Jeers Public Safety Commission and Unlicensed Liquor Institute has a few additions that the PIRG missed:
The Li’l Warrior Happy 57E6 Surface to Air Missile: Could pose a choking hazard to children 5 and under; may also be detrimental to flowerbeds and small nations.
Tickle Me Donald Doll: May warp the minds of impressionable, underdeveloped adult brains. May also lead to class-action sexual harassment lawsuits in federal and/or state courts.
Playskool Mexico-Funded U.S. Border Wall: No particular danger to kids, but parents should know that this is just an empty box.
Baby’s First Papa John’s Pizza Bake Set: Considered dangerous because the end product is Papa John’s pizza. [See also: Baby’s First Godfather’s Pizza Bake Set]
Mike Pence Gives A Speech Play Set: May cause children to die of boredom. Adults, too. And pets. And microorganisms. And many in the immediate Pence family.
“Keep America Great” baseball cap: Side effects include lower IQ, frothing at the mouth, and delusions that Daddy’s coal job is coming back.
Ho Ho Ho! You’ve been warned.
Have a nice Thursday. Floor’s open…What are you cheering and jeering about today?
Today’s Shameless C&J Testimonial
“How does Bill in Portland Maine not have a Presidential Medal of Freedom?”