November 28, 2021

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Cheers and Jeers: Tuesday

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As always, Charles Gaba’s—aka Brainwrap’s—ACA Signups is a must-bookmark for both the big picture and minutiae of this year’s enrollment period. (Toss him some coin while you’re there.) This year there are eleven important things he says you need to know as you’re sorting it all out, including:

★  RESIDENTS OF MOST STATES HAVE MORE TIME, BUT YOU STILL SHOULDN’T DELAY!

★  MILLIONS OF AMERICANS WHO DIDN’T QUALIFY FOR FINANCIAL HELP LAST YEAR DO NOW…AND THEY COULD SAVE THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS!

★  MILLIONS OF PEOPLE ARE ELIGIBLE FOR FREE “SECRET PLATINUM” PLANS (LABELED AS SILVER)! 

★  MANY STATES & COUNTIES WILL HAVE MORE CARRIER & PLAN CHOICES THAN EVER.

★  THE NAVIGATOR PROGRAM IS BACK AT FULL STRENGTH, BABY!

And one other reminder: now that the Affordable Care Act has a president who will take seriously his oath to “faithfully execute” the law, it’s worth noting again that these are benefits Americans now enjoy because of Democrats and only Democrats:

»  No penalties for pre-existing conditions

»  No out-of-pocket costs for preventive checkups, immunizations, and cancer screenings

Generic graphic for open enrollment on the Healthcare.gov exchange

»  No annual or lifetime limits on coverage

»  Coverage of dependent kids up to age 26

»  Prohibition of “retroactive cancellation” for no good reason

»  Prohibition on charging women more for coverage

»  High minimum amounts that insurance companies have to spend on your actual coverage versus their advertising

The list goes on and on.  So, to recap: enrollment is underway for federal exchange signer-uppers. Mention my name and they’ll throw in a free jar of cotton balls. (The things I do for you people, I swear.)

And now, our feature presentation…

Cheers and Jeers for Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Note: [Loads fruitcake with the words HAPPY HOLIDAYS on it into catapult. Launches in direction of Fox News.]  It is time.  Begun, the War on Christmas has.

By the Numbers:

FoodandGiftfestivalOregon.png
10 days!!!

Days ’til Thanksgiving: 16

Days ’til the 22nd annual Holiday Food & Gift Festival in Redmond, Oregon: 10

Number of jobs created during Trump’s first two years in office: 4.5 million

Number of jobs created during Joe Biden’s first 10 months in office: 5.8 million

Rank of the United Kingdom among windiest nations in Europe: #1

Estimated share of the UK‘s energy that came from wind power in 2020: 24%

Number of years the iconic Custom House Wharf on the Portland, Maine waterfront (next door from my old office) has been owned by one family, which is now selling it: 162

Puppy Pic of the Day: Fare thee well, Mochi…

CHEERS to Infrastructure Week! I was going to wait until President Biden actually signed the bill before I brought the champagne up on the dumbwaiter from the temperature-controlled salt mine under our back yard, but then I thought, naw, I’ve got 6,599 bottles of the stuff stored from all the weeks that haven’t been Infrastructure Week, so—[Pop!!!]—why not? Yes, the House finally passed the half of the Biden agenda that was easiest to pass, so now Transportation Secretary Buttigieg and Labor Secretary Walsh are really gonna have their hands full. The official White House Fact Sheet was released yesterday, and here are the Top 10 highlights of Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill:

1. Invests $110B to repair and rebuild roads and bridges, focusing on resilience, equity, and safety.

2. Invests $65B to ensure every American has access to reliable high-speed internet and lower the cost of internet service.

3. Delivers the largest federal investment in public transit ever. It will expand public transit options across every state, replace thousands of deficient transit vehicles, including buses, with clean, zero emission vehicles, and improve accessibility.

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4. $66B to eliminate the Amtrak maintenance backlog, modernize the Northeast Corridor, and bring world-class service to new areas.

5. Through a $7.5B investment, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal will develop the first national network of electric vehicle chargers.

6. $55B to deliver clean water to millions of Americans and eliminate lead service lines.

7. More than $65B to upgrade our power infrastructure, including thousands of miles of new, resilient transmission lines.

8. $50B to make communities more resilient to the impacts of climate change and cyber-attacks.

9. An historic $21B to: clean up Superfund and brownfield sites, reclaim abandoned mines and cap orphaned gas wells, and create good-paying jobs while advancing economic and environmental justice.

10. Modernize airports, ports, and waterways to support supply chains and reduce emissions. $42B to address repair and maintenance backlogs, reduce congestion and bottlenecks, and drive low-carbon technologies.

I’m also pleased to announce that my strategically-targeted 2020 campaign contributions paid off handsomely. As soon as the bill is signed into law, $2 billion will be allocated for a fresh chlorination tablet in the C&J kiddie pool. It’s 8 feet in diameter and weighs two tons. You’ll want to wear a hazmat suit for a few weeks. It’s gonna get fizzy.

JEERS to friendly fire. And then there’s the $1.75 Build Back Better framework, the real meat of the Biden agenda. The Congressional Roadblock Caucus—Manchin and Sinema in the Senate, 12 petty assholes in the House—wants to delay it to death. (Their latest stall for time: the petty assholes in the House want to see the CBO score, which will take weeks.) I’ll be blunt: if the conserva-Dems stab the progressives in the back by killing BBB now that they have their precious—and deficit-ballooning—infrastructure bill in hand, I’ll have to think twice about remaining a Democrat. The betrayal would be off the charts, not only to the party faithful but to all Americans who desperately need what BBB offers after being patient for so many decades. Let’s hope those 14 Roadblockers can tamp down the innate sense of sadism and malignant narcissism infecting their brains to keep their word. Because have you ever seen me in a MAGA hat? Trust me—you don’t want to see me in a MAGA hat.

CHEERS good readin’.  During this week in 1731, Benjamin Franklin opened the first lending library—officially called “The Library Company of Philadelphia,” an idea that sprang from his weekly meetings with tradesmen designed to expand their depth of knowledge.  (For our Republican readers: a library is a place where people go to learn facts and logic and wisdom from things called books and computers.)  The dedication ceremony was cut short, however, thanks to strict enforcement of the colonies’ first ever “3 shushes and you’re out” rule.

BRIEF SANITY BREAK

END BRIEF SANITY BREAK

CHEERS to today’s edition of Hey, Remember That Insurrectionist Who Said She’s Definitely Not Going To Jail Because She Has Blonde Hair And White Skin? Whatever Happened To Her?  Courtesy of HuffPost:

Jenna Ryan, a Donald Trump enthusiast who tweeted that she’s “definitely not going to jail” after she stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, was sentenced to 60 days in prison on Thursday.

This has been today’s edition of Hey, Remember That Insurrectionist Who Said She’s Definitely Not Going To Jail Because She Has Blonde Hair And White Skin? Whatever Happened To Her?

CHEERS to giving Hoover the boot. Eighty-nine years ago this week, in 1932, New York Governor Franklin Roosevelt was elected president. A few verbal goodies from FDR…

“A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward.”

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FDR was a populist. But the good kind.

“The only sure bulwark of continuing liberty is a government strong enough to protect the interests of the people, and a people strong enough and well enough informed to maintain its sovereign control over the government.”

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.”

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

[Memo to self: check source on that last one. Might be Polk?]

Ten years ago in C&J: November 9, 2011

CHEERS (for comedy purposes only) to boobs on the tube. The Republican candidates will gather in Michigan today for another debate, this one airing on CNBC. Also on CNBC and every other channel: the first nationwide test of the new National Emergency Alert System. Wow—two major TV events in one day. One will make you want to duck and cover under a desk in a fallout shelter, and the other is the National Emergency Alert System.

And just one more…

CHEERS to knockin’ that sucker down. Thirty-two years ago today, the world witnessed a surreal scene: Berliners hacking away with pickaxes and hammers at that damned wall that had divided their city for decades—a mind-blowing moment that briefly galvanized the planet in celebration.  And what sparked it wasn’t the pope or the U.N. or even ex-president Saint Ronald Reagan—it was this awkwardly-delivered comment by Politburo member Guenter Schabowski a day earlier:

“Therefore…um…we have decided today…um…to implement a regulation that allows every citizen of the German Democratic Republic…um…to…um…leave East Germany through any of the border crossings,” said Schabowski.

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Something we’ll never have to do to Trump’s wall, mainly because the tiny fraction of it that got built is falling down all on its own.

He appeared scarcely to believe his own words and we were all dumbfounded.  What did he just say?  Schabowski was asked when the new rule would take effect. “That comes into effect…according to my information…. immediately, without delay,” Schabowski stammered, shuffling through the papers spread in front of him as he sought in vain for more information.

I still link to this must-see Boston Globe photo diary, which documents the jubilation and its aftermath. I had the chance to visit Berlin a couple times in the 70s when I was kid.  I had a middle-school knowledge of the post-war history of Berlin, but nothing could prepare me for the contrast I saw in person: vibrant and colorful on the western side…oppressive, gray, boarded-up and barbed-wired on the eastern side.  In some ways it reminds me of what this country has become: reality-based, education-oriented and live-and-let-live on the left…authoritarian, trigger-happy, reality-averse and homogenous on the right. But my main point is: Happy reunification anniversary, Germany—let’s all drink beer.

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

Today’s Shameless C&J Testimonial

The efforts to tug on our heartstrings don’t always work, but Cheers and Jeers is a sweet-natured comic blog post about what it means to be human.

Russ Simmons, KKFI



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