Cheers and Jeers for Thursday, January 14, 2021
Note: If you wish to return a broken New Year’s resolution for a refund or credit toward a future resolution, please take a number and have a seat. Our average wait time this morning is three and a half months. Thanks for your patience. —Mgt.
By the Numbers:
Days ’til Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: 4
Days ’til the Sundance Film Festival: 14
Minimum number of criminal case files opened against Republican Party traitors who stormed the Capitol last week: 200
Number of DHS agents who were near the Capitol when Republicans attacked it, but just sat there with their thumbs up their asses waiting to be deployed: 50
Percent chance that “President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated on Jan. 20 and will become our 46th president,” according to an official statement by the Joint Chiefs of Staff: 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
Your Thursday Molly Ivins Moment:
Oh boy! Starting the year off briskly, lending it such tone already, such cachet, such je ne sais quoi—those Republicans are so special, aren’t they? Their first move, first rat out of the trap, top priority: lower ethics standards. Yessiree, this 2005 is going to be quite a year.
Let’s put that to a vote. Many problems before us—Iraq, a Social Security “crisis,” a real health care crisis, world terrorism, our international reputation possibly at its lowest ever … who is in favor of lowering ethics standards first? Who thinks ethics standards in Washington are too high? […]
Now, I’m not going to conclude that Fascism Is Upon Us just because we have an administration that not only can’t find the Constitution but apparently doesn’t know there is one. Too early in the year for that. Long way to go. Got to save your indignation. But it is unpleasantly reminiscent of Watergate, isn’t it? That’s what we’re looking at here, folks—not just constitutional deafness, but moral turp as well. All we need is one bag job and an alert night security man.
Puppy Pic of the Day: Lifeguard on duty…
CHEERS to a proportional response. Yesterday saw a historic moment of epluribus unuming, Annuit cœptising, and—[double-checks back of dollar bill]—rampant Novus ordo secloruming. For the first time in U.S. history, a president got impeached twice, this time—by a vote of 232-197, with only 10 Republicans including Liz Freaking Cheney—for incitement of insurrection:
President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government. He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of Government. He thereby betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.
Wherefore, Donald John Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law. Donald John Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.
Now the House will march the article of impeachment into the esteemed upper chamber atop a Roman shield carried by a half dozen off-duty WWE titans, whereupon it will be voted on by the august body…eventually. If Trump is found guilty, white smoke will appear from the smokestack and the document will be secured inside a “freedom cylinder” and placed in the Ted Stevens Memorial Tangled-Up Pneumatic Tube, which will go “Thoop!!!” and send it flying out from a hole in the Senate chamber wall and may God have mercy on anyone who happens to be in its path. (As the official Capitol Hill historian will tell you, that’s how we lost Senator Byrd.)
CHEERS to taking care of unfinished business. Michigan‘s Rick Snyder was one of the worst governors in history. Not just because he replaced governments in black-majority cities with hand-picked “emergency managers” (read: dictators). Not just because he coddled the rich, hated on his LGBT residents, and restricted voting rights. No, his ultimate shame was allowing an entire major city—Flint—to be poisoned by lead-tainted water. He was never held to account for his actions (or inaction), but it now appears that his luck has run out:
The revived criminal investigation into the Flint water crisis expanded this week with charges now expected against former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and other ex-officials for their role in the environmental catastrophe that devastated the majority Black city with lead-contaminated water, according to press reports and defense attorneys. […]
The news marked a sharp escalation of the long-dormant prosecution. Critics had once chided criminal investigators for only bringing charges against lower-ranked local and state officials while bypassing Snyder.
Snyder, a Republican who has been out of office for two years, was governor when state-appointed managers in Flint switched the city’s water to the Flint River in 2014 as a cost-saving step while a pipeline was being built to Lake Huron. The water, however, was not treated to reduce corrosion—a disastrous decision affirmed by state regulators that caused lead to leach from old pipes and poison the distribution system used by nearly 100,000 residents.
If there’s any justice, he’ll spend a few years in prison with nothing but bread and water. Flint water.
CHEERS to stopping with all the shooting and the banging and the bayoneting and whatnot. 237 years ago today, on January 14, 1784, Congress ratified the Treaty of Paris, officially ending our War of Independence:
After the British defeat at Yorktown, peace talks in Paris began in April 1782 between Richard Oswarld representing Great Britain and the American Peace Commissioners Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, and John Adams.
The American negotiators were joined by Henry Laurens two days before the preliminary articles of peace were signed on November 30, 1782. The Treaty of Paris, formally ending the war, was not signed until September 3, 1783. The Continental Congress, which was temporarily situated in Annapolis, Maryland, at the time, ratified the Treaty of Paris on January 14, 1784.
Among the other provisions we secured from Britain: recognition of our borders, repairs to all the airports they damaged, and royalty-free Benny Hill reruns.
BRIEF SANITY BREAK
(Is this grog???)
END BRIEF SANITY BREAK
JEERS to the evildoers among us. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a warning about al Qaeda this week, saying their base of operations might have moved to Iran. Of course, it’s important that we not confuse al Qaeda with the similar-sounding Q-Anon. One is a terrorist operation consisting of brainwashed religious-fanatic right-wing traitors recruiting other aimless losers to plot the violent overthrow of the U.S. government using propaganda, guns, explosive devices, and other tools of violence and mayhem. And the other is al Qaeda.
CHEERS to the ‘Miracle on the Hudson.’ File this story under “My, how time flies.” A hundred and fifty five airline passengers got a shock twelve years ago this week when some suicide birds flew into the engines of Flight 1549 as it took off from LaGuardia, leaving it crippled with no way to keep it aloft. To give you an idea of the freakish nature of the event, and the skill of now-living-legend pilot Chesley Sullenberger in landing the craft, consider this:
“This is only the fourth time in the jet era” that pilots have intentionally put an airliner down in water, said Todd Curtis, a former Boeing safety engineer who runs the AirSafe.com website.
“Sully” has no formal plans to mark the occasion, but he’ll probably say a few words. Nothing prepared, really. He’ll just wing it.
P.S. This week also marks the anniversary of another infamous moment in public transportation: the time the captain of the cruise ship Costa Concordia tried to impress his lady friends by running it onto the rocks off the western coast of Italy. I looked it up, and the traditional nine-year anniversary gift for a preventable shipwreck is a sterling silver facepalm. Same as all the other years.
Ten years ago in C&J: January 14, 2011
HEH to strange jetfellows. One of the passengers on Air Force One as it flew to the Tucson memorial service for those killed in the assassination attempt on Rep. Gabby Giffirds was newly-minted Congressman Ben Quayle. Yeah, that Ben Quayle—son of former VP Mr. Potatoe Head and the guy who in a 2010 campaign ad called President Obama ”the worst president in history.” I understand Quayle got a little face time with Obama, who had some useful advice for the representative: “We’re running late—flap harder!”
And just one more…
CHEERS to our new digs (pending signature on the lease). Sorry, humanity, but we’ve now screwed our planet so bad that not even an army of Greta Thunberg’s armed with magic wands to make all the fossil fuel industries around the globe disappear in an instant can do anything about it. In another hundred years it’s just gonna be cockroaches, swarms of jellyfish, and leftover Twinkies ‘round here. But if that seems like a downer, here’s good news! All we need to do is develop escape pods that can travel 4.5 million miles per second in air-conditioned comfort so we can start over again at this sweet little newly-discovered patch of real estate:
A newfound exoplanet is a real blast from the past. Astronomers just confirmed the existence of KOI-5Ab, which was first flagged as a potential planet by NASA’s pioneering Kepler space telescope way back in 2009.
The elusive alien world was the second “candidate” ever identified by Kepler, which hunted for planets on two different missions from 2009 through 2018. [T]he data confirmed that KOI-5Ab is indeed a planet, one that’s about half as massive as Saturn.
Kepler used the “transit method,” spotting the telltale brightness dips caused when alien worlds crossed their host stars’ faces from the spacecraft’s perspective.
So there ya go, kids. We’ve saved you from ourselves. We trust you’ll name your new home Boomer World in our honor. We’re humbled.
Have a nice Thursday. Floor’s open…What are you cheering and jeering about today?
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