Friday, April 18, 2014

The State Of The States

By Baxter

We cats have noted before that America is balkanizing into Places You Want To Live versus Places You Don't Want To Live.

Places You Want To Live have Governors who care about the welfare of their people: They participate in Obamacare exchanges, accept Medicaid expansion money, protect access to reproductive healthcare, abortion and the right to vote, promote raising the minimum wage, support marriage equality and gun control, and believe that science should be taught in schools.

And then there are the states where Republicans rule — where their Governors, um, don't.

Those states are mostly in the Deep South — and if you're looking for a place that supports your health and well-being, you may want to steer clear. As The New Yorker reports, on top of the usual health-disaster suspects — like obesity, diabetes and heart disease — the South is being ravaged by AIDS. A terrible lack of funding and a hostile social environment have meant that serious public health challenges in the region, like HIV, go unaddressed — turning states like Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi into Places You Don't Want To Live.

We cats don't understand why Governors like the ever-repulsive Bobby Jindal of Louisiana aren't asked about this. The little creep is going to give this year's commencement address at Liberty University, where we're sure he'll tell all those born-again virgins to stay firmly on the path of personal morality. But where is the morality in keeping the citizens of your state not only ill-informed but ill? Why does no one challenge Jindal on the failure of Louisiana's abstinence-only sex education, the state's skyrocketing rate of AIDS-related mortality, and why he's refused Medicaid-expansion money? It's a mystery.

Meanwhile, consider this scenario from Canada: We cats have learned that the owners of one of our favorite Montreal restaurants are battling cancer. The husband is receiving radiation therapy through Health Canada, the country's publicly funded healthcare system. But transplant their story to the U.S., and what have you got? A small-business-owning married couple who would probably be financially wiped out — unless, of course, they were enrolled in Obamacare. It's something to ponder while the country celebrates 8 million ACA enrollees, and the Republicans continue to rail and pout.

Why does the GOP think people want to live in their America? Because it doesn't seem like the kind of place you can make a living wage, enjoy personal freedoms, and, most of all, be healthy without going bankrupt. We cats HISS.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Tidbits and Cat Treats: Selfie Thursday Edition

By Sniffles

As you can see, we cats have a way to go before we perfect our selfie skills. But if the President and the Vice President can do it, we can, too! So we'll keep practicing.

Meanwhile, though we're in Canada, developments from South of the Border continue to grab our attention. Here are a few of them.

Since the Jeb! 2016 boomlet is still rolling along, Mom Barbara's comment from a year ago that "We've had enough Bushes" seems, in retrospect, a little strange. We wonder if it was rooted in a mother's trepidation that a certain customs-criminal daughter-in-law still might not be ready for prime time.

This doesn't happen often, but it looks like we were wrong: Vance McAllister is still in office. We honestly don't know what he's doing there. Surely anybody who ran for office as a "godly" man who would "defend our Christian way of life" has got to go.

Speaking of Republican hypocrisy, check out their new emphasis on populism. We could make an endless list as to why this is hilarious. First because of the Kochs, of course. But get a load of what Republican Governor Mary Fallin just did in Oklahoma: Outlawed raising the minimum wage. Some populism!

Finally, here's some exciting news: Kay Hagan, Mary Landrieu, Michelle Nunn and Alison Lundergan Grimes all outraised their expected general-election GOP opponents in the first quarter. Hm — despite the best efforts of the Washington media to hand all four of those races to the Republicans, it appears that they're still competitive. We cats PURR.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Hail To Mindy. Boo To Baby Luke.

By Zamboni

So after a pathetic anti-Semite decided to observe Passover by randomly killing two Methodists and a Catholic, we cats noticed a couple of things during the subsequent media coverage.

Nope, sorry — no cable news talking head brought on a Republican to defend Frazier Glenn Cross's holy right to bear arms under the sacred Second Amendment. Darn it.

But Baby Luke on MSNBC, who reports news on TV only because his last name is "Russert," did say that Cross shouted "'Hail' Hitler" as he was arrested. Gosh, Baby Luke, do you not know your hails from your heils? Have you never seen a World War II movie?

But on the bright side, Mindy Losen — the daughter and mom of two of the victims — gave an extraordinary news conference. She spoke about her father and her son, and the importance of faith and forgiveness. And she also said, "When I pulled up I saw [my father] lying on the ground. My first thought was that he had a heart attack and was just lying there."

We cats wanted to kiss Mindy Losen — not just because she seems like a nice person, but because she said "lying" and not "laying." Good grammar like that doesn't happen often. Savor it when it does.

Monday, April 14, 2014

La Vie Post-PQ

By Sniffles

We cats are in Quebec, which is a very interesting place to be in the wake of last week's momentous provincial election.

On the one hand, everything seems quite normal. Of course, Montreal delivered a heavy Liberal vote — so if we really wanted to see discontent, we probably should have driven into rural Quebec today instead of just biking around the city.

Still, we had an election-tinged encounter. Having crossed over the St. Lawrence locks to the South Shore on our way to St. Lambert, we were stopped by a cyclist going in the opposite direction. He was surprised that the bike-path overpass was already open, since it was supposed to be closed until tomorrow. Was it really open? he asked. Could he get to Parc Jean Drapeau today, instead of having to wait until April 15?

When we said yes, he laughed and said, "It's Mr. Harper's gift to us, since we lost our election."

We cats laughed, too. Sure, Harper is probably thrilled to have the Parti Quebecois thorn removed from his side. But federal Liberals are pleased to have a majority in Quebec City, too.

So, everybody wins except the haters. Could the US take a few lessons from this election? We cats hope so, because it would make us PURR.

(IMAGE: Pierre Peladeau, with this single gesture, loses the election for the PQ. Why is Pauline Maurois applauding?)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Rudy Redux

By Baxter

We cats find this recent Republican-establishment Jeb! boomlet hilarious. The talking heads not only utterly ignore the fact that the crazy right-wing base hates him — they never discuss anything substantive about what a Jeb! campaign is going to look like. That is: They never say where Jeb! is actually supposed to win.

Seriously, where? Especially since Jeb!, true to his silver-platter upbringing, has made it clear that he wants the nomination without having to work for it. So in which state in the GOP's early primary calendar will he start his, ahem, inevitable march to the nomination?

Not in Iowa. We don't see Jeb! campaigning his tail off in all 99 counties like Rick Santorum did and probably will again. Plus, Christian conservatives despise him for "letting" Terri Schiavo die.

New Hampshire? Those mavericky folks in the Granite State occasionally like to kick the Republican establishment in the teeth. (Remember 1992? We bet the Bush family does.) Besides, as in Iowa, voters there like a candidate who practices hard-core retail politics. Is Jeb! willing to slog door-to-door, diner-to-diner, for days and weeks on end? Not.

South Carolina? Forget it. He's nowhere near crazy enough.

Even Nevada, which is a possible win, could pose some dangers for Jeb! The conventional (and stupid) wisdom is that he'll ride to victoria in Nevada because, being married to a Mexican and speaking Spanish, he'll win back the Hispanic vote. But with the base on fire about illegal immigration being an "act of love," what happens if the father of "the little brown ones" doesn't get enough of a win in Nevada? Sounds like New Hampshire '92 (see above).

Nope, we're not seeing much of a Bush bandwagon here. By the time they get around to the Florida primary, in fact, somebody else — or a few somebody elses — could already have won four states and be well on the way to Vegas (or wherever the convention will be). No, we cats predict that if he runs, Jeb! will be a 2016 version of the 2008 Giuliani campaign: Cause a premature stir in Pundit World; get embarrassed in the early states; bet everything on Florida and come up empty. We cats can't wait, and we PURR.

Friday, April 11, 2014

When Republicans Say They Want To Repeal Obamacare, They'd Be Repealing Stuff Like This

Now that 7.5 million Americans have health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, let's let Mark Begich show his fellow Senate Democrats how the ad wars are done.

(We cats are busy packing to head to Canada for a week, but we're taking a moment to salute Senator Begich — and PURR.)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Her Work Here Is Done

By Miss Kubelik

A couple of resignations are in the air — one that's already happened, and one that's surely going to.

In the first case, you have a former Governor of Kansas who is packing it in over at HHS after signing up 7.5 million Americans for affordable healthcare coverage. That is nothing to sneeze at. Kathleen Sebelius may be "embattled," as the headlines so love to say — and yes, the ACA roll-out had its share of problems. But she has just presided over the biggest expansion of healthcare coverage since the 1960s, and she can leave with her head held high.

The other resignation, which will probably happen tomorrow at 8 or 9 PM (Friday night news dump, don'tcha know), will be from a Republican who self-identified as a Christian conservative and devoted family man, but who this week was exposed as a smooching, hopeless fraud. As the saying goes, kiss that guy goodbye.

We cats are as amused by the specter of Republicans turning on Vance McAllister as we are amazed that so few in the media have picked up on the "self-identified" part of his shtick. "He broke out the religious card and he's about the most non-religious person I know," said the wronged husband. Hmmm... So now hypocritical GOP Christians are hypocritical about being Christian in the first place? Our heads are spinning.

Kathleen Sebelius never pretended to be a computer geek. But Vance McAllister said he was holier than thou. For that, he gets the Donald Trump Mountebank Award of the Week. And we cats HISS.

(IMAGE: The New Yorker celebrates the ACA's success. Ain't it the truth?)