Cheers and Jeers for Thursday, April 29, 2021
Note: Here, drink this. It’s meat tea with a hint of chamomile. Nice, huh? I’m pitching it on Shark Tank next week. Wish me luck.
By the Numbers:
Days ’til summer: 52
Percent of Americans polled by NBC News who say their bigger concern when it comes to voting is “making sure that everyone who wants to vote can do so,” including 87% of Democrats and 65% of independents: 58%
Percent who are more concerned about “making sure that no one votes who is not eligible to vote,” including 78% of the GOP cult: 38%
Number of U.S. cities with populations over 1 million: 10
Number of those that are in Texas or California: 6
Increase in Maine‘s population from the 2010 census, according to the 2020 census: 2.6%
Average cost of a gallon of gas these days: $2.88
Your Thursday Molly Ivins Moment:
My term in N.Y. City is also passing, to my glee. I have just been named the Rocky Mountain Bureau Chief of the New York Times. Reason I am chief is on account there ain’t nobody else at the bureau. There will be NO fucking morale problems in MY bureau. I get to cover New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and both Dakotas. I keep wandering around the city room with the tactless grin pasted on my kisser, saying, “I’m leaving. Bye.”
This here move is considered very big on the Times’s part because it has become known that I have a Bad Attitude. I believe [my former headmaster at St. John’s School in Houston] Mr. Chidsey was the first to note the fact. Much passes, little changes. I am specifically charged with A) walking around the city room in my bare feet B) laughing too loud C) not dressing right D) making fun of editors E) showing insufficient enthusiasm for the Times and all its wonders and F) just generally coming on too strong. What can I tell you? As Gary Trudeau once wrote: Guilty, guilty, guilty.
—September, 1977 letter to a friend in Austin, excerpted from Molly Ivins: A Rebel Life by Bill Minutaglio and W. Michael Smith. Molly’s rocky tenure with the Times lasted from ’76 to ’80.
Puppy Pic of the Day: Tired traveler…
CHEERS to rockin’ the house. President Biden made history last night in a couple different ways. He became the first president to give an address to a dramatically scaled-back joint session of Congress—with attendees masked and socially distanced in a public display of tyranny—during a global pandemic. And, in another first, the glass ceiling revealed a few more cracks as his dais-mates were two women: Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi:
As for the speech itself, the president offered a sober assessment of the way things are (still somewhat shitty but getting better relatively fast),presented a strong and sensible outline for how to rebound (duct tape, $20 trillion in unmarked bills), and even left himself some time to bat around the Republicans like a cat toy. Also, for the first time ever during a presidential speech, the representation from the Supreme Court started a wave. Unfortunately the only one who was allowed to show up was John Roberts, but the point is: history.
CHEERS and JEERS to We The People in an Excel spreadsheet. Chris Cillizza has a decent summary of the political fallout regarding the latest count of America‘s humanoid biological units. Bottom line: the 2020 Census appears to benefit Republicans a little bit, but not by the margins most folks were expecting considering it was conducted on the watch of Donald Trump and Wilbur Ross (who remains a-snooze in a basement storeroom over at Commerce). The big sigh of relief in New England happened in Rhode Island, where Reps. David Cicilline and Jim Langevin learned that neither would be losing their seats. But Texas is where the action is, as its greater influence coincides with greater swingy-ness:
While Texas remains a state that favors Republicans (former President Donald Trump carried it twice and Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz were both reelected in the past four years in hugely expensive races), Democrats have clearly made inroads over the past decade.(Trump won the state by just 5.5 points in 2020, compared with George W. Bush, who won Texas by 23points in 2004, or Mitt Romney, who won it by almost 16 points in2012.)
The increasing competitiveness of the state when coupled with its ever-increasing swat within Congress makes Texas the single most important state, politically speaking, over the next decade.
Oh, and if you’re wondering: the Census Bureau says there are officially 331,449,281 humans in the United States. 331,449,280 if you don’t count the half a dozen raccoons standing on each other’s shoulders under a raincoat who answered the doorbell in Bismarck. (But we will, because, c’mon, that took some effort.)
CHEERS to exactly the right word. 169 years ago, Roget’s Thesaurus was first published. And for that I am truly—[flip flip flip]—“grateful; thankful; affording pleasure or comfort; fulfilled; appreciative; obliged; down with that; sweet on it; fist bump-ready; engorged with the sweet nectar of gratification in a small cabin in Saskatchewan where the only sound is the bugling of the elk.” Just a hunch, but I think Roget was lonely.
BRIEF SANITY BREAK
END BRIEF SANITY BREAK
CHEERS to draining the swamp. When Joe Biden took office, one of the federal agencies that needed a major overhaul was Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). He needed to find someone to lead it with the stones to reform the 20,000-employee joint, which under Trump had earned a reputation for acting like its official playbook was Gestapo101. This guy sounds promising:
As head of ICE, [Ed] Gonzalez would help oversee one of the most contentious parts of Biden’s agenda: enforcing U.S. immigration law. Biden has promised to unwind much of predecessor Donald Trump’s hardline border policies.
Gonzalez is a former Houston police officer who served on the City Council before first getting elected sheriff in 2016. He won a second four-year term in 2020. During his first term, he was a vocal critic of Trump’s approach to immigration.
In 2019, when Trump tweeted that his administration would be deporting “millions of illegal aliens,” Gonzalez posted on Facebook that the “vast majority” of undocumented immigrants do not proposed a threat to the U.S. and should not be deported. “The focus should always be on clear &immediate safety threats,” he said.
As head of ICE, he’ll dramatically scale back the midnight raids and mass deportations of peaceful undocumented workers, focusing instead on ridding the U.S. of only the worst scumbags who hate our country enough to actually attack it and its institutions. Just one small problem: so far no other country is willing to take our Republicans.
JEERS to Nazi Nuptials. With Russian artillery booming in the background, Adolf and Eva got hitched in der Fuhrerbunker 76 years ago today. Instead of a ring, Hitler presented his bride with an Iron Cross, and it pretty much went downhill after that. By the way, the 76th anniversary present for a dead Nazi is 76 more centuries in the deepest circle of Hell. And no fresh lemon wedges to squeeze over their schnitzel.
Ten years ago in C&J: April 29, 2011
CHEERS to a lifelong mystery solved. Yeah, yeah, yeah…I caught the tail-end of Bill & Kate’s Royal wedding this morning. If it’s one thing the Brits know how to do, it’s shine up their armor, fluff their bearskin caps and put on a spectacular pageant. (Plus I wanted to make sure they got our wedding present: a blender with special settings for English food: “Chop,” “Mince,” “Puree” and “Make Edible.”) And now I finally know the answer to the question, “What does the Queen sing while everyone else is singing God Save the Queen? Answer: I Have A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts. Finally…my Ph.D. in Lip Reading paid off.
And just one more…
CHEERS to Thursday morning Obama blogging. The White House Correspondents Dinner, the late-April schmooze-fest during which the politicians, pundits, reporters, and the one-percenters who fund them gather under the beltway bubble for an evening of rubbery chicken and jokes from the emcee and the president, is being put on ice for another year. I know that’ll cause a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth among the unwashed rabble across the nation, so in its stead please enjoy the very best jokes delivered by our previous president Donald. J. Trump:
Oh, that’s right, Silly me. He failed to show up because he’s a lily-livered coward. Oh well. To fill the void that’s admittedly as tiny as Trump’s hands, enjoy some barbs from his predecessor through the years…
2009 ”Dick Cheney was supposed to be here but he’s very busy working on his memoirs, tentatively titled: How to Shoot Friends and Interrogate People.”
2010 “A few weeks ago I was able to throw out the first pitch at the Nationals game. I don’t know if you saw it, but I threw it a little high and a little outside. This is how FOX News covered it: President panders to extreme left-wing of batter box.”
2011 “Where is the National Public Radio table? You guys are still here? I know you were a little tense when the GOP tried to cut your funding, but personally I was looking forward to new programming like No Things Considered or Wait, Wait…Don’t Fund Me.”
2012 “Congress and I have certainly had our differences—yet I’ve tried to be civil, to not take any cheap shots. And that’s why I want to especially thank all the members who took a break from their exhausting schedule of not passing any laws to be here tonight.”
2013 “I know CNN has taken some knocks lately. But the fact is I admire their commitment to cover all sides of a story just in case one of them happens to be accurate.”
2014 “I’m feeling sorry, believe it or not, for the Speaker of the House. These days, the House Republicans actually give John Boehner a harder time than they give me, which means orange really is the new black.”
2015 “Just this week, Michele Bachmann predicted I would bring about the biblical end of days. Now that’s a legacy. That’s big. I mean, Lincoln, Washington, they didn’t do that.”
2016 “And then there’s Ted Cruz. Ted had a tough week. He went to Indiana—Hoosier country. Stood on a basketball court and called the hoop a ‘basketball ring.’ What else is in his lexicon? Baseball sticks? Football hats? But sure, I’m the foreign one.”
And yes, Obama tipped his server.
Have a nice Thursday. Floor’s open…What are you cheering and jeering about today?
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