Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Now It's The Washington Post's Turn...

"There is a difference between an African-American writer using the word 'Negro' in an ironic way and the Limbaughs and Saltsmans of the world thinking it is acceptable in common usage. There is a difference between an African-American writer discussing the tensions between different generations of black political leaders and a white Tennessee Republican thinking it is funny to sing about who is or is not 'from the 'hood.'

"Mr. Saltsman doesn't seem to get that. 'I think that RNC members have the good humor and good sense to recognize that [Mr. Shanklin's] songs for the Rush Limbaugh show are light-hearted political parodies,' he said in a statement. We think — we hope, anyway — that RNC members have the good sense to find a chairman who understands how wrong that assessment is."

We cats agree with almost all of today's Washington Post editorial. Except for that last little aside at the end ("we hope, anyway"). Heck, if the Republican Party wants to head down this self-destructive path, we're eager to cheer them on.

UPDATE: "Mr. Saltsman... could still be vaulted into the chairman’s seat by hard-core committee members who resent the explosion of criticism and have learned nothing from the last election. Maybe [the Republicans] like the hole their party is standing in and want to dig it even deeper." — The New York Times, Thursday, January 1

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Peter Yarrow Weighs In On "Barack The Magic Negro"

"I and my co-writer of 'Puff,' Lenny Lipton, have been eagerly awaiting an end to the mean-spiritedness, outright disrespect and bigotry that was commonplace prior to this last Presidential election. What might have been wearily accepted as 'the way it was' in the campaign is now unacceptable.

"Obama is not a candidate. He is the President-elect, and this ['Magic Negro'] song insults the office of the Presidency, the people who voted for him, as well as those who did not... [T]aking a children's song and twisting it in such a vulgar, mean-spirited way is a slur to our entire country and our common agreement to move beyond racism.

"It is almost unimaginable to me that Chip Saltsman... would seriously be considered for the top post of the Republican National Committee."

Monday, December 29, 2008

We Cats Win Our Bet

By Baxter

When we first saw the headline over at Politico, we cats thought maybe we had lost our bag of Whisker Lickin's.

But — no. Weighing in on the Chip Saltsman "Magic Negro" controversy, Chipmunk Cheeks' former Presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee, tried to have it both ways.

"Chip should have been more careful in his selection of Christmas gifts," Governor Huckabee said. "But no one who knows him would ever suggest that he in any way would purposely disparage other people."

Oh, yeah? We cats think that a song like that is pretty darn disparaging. And we don't think a lukewarm follow-up paragraph about the historic and wonderful nature of Senator Obama's election lets Mike Huckabee off the hook. either. So we HISS at him, and we dump our dirty litter boxes in his and Chip Saltsman's beds.

P.S. We also offer a low GROWL to Politico's Ben Smith, whose headline referred to the former Republican Presidential candidate as "Huck." A much too friendly way to reference a guy who puts crosses in his political ads. Plus, it reminded us of a famous fictional character who floated on a raft down the Mississippi River with a man whose name cannot be repeated in polite company today because it employs a — shall we say, disparaging? — term. A term that has fallen, mercifully and deservedly, out of fashion. Kind of like "Negro," only worse.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Real Funny. Yeah. Right.

By Sniffles

Just when we think the Republicans couldn't get any worse, they do.

One of the candidates for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee — Chip Saltsman, who managed Mike Huckabee's unsuccessful run for President — sent fellow party members a holiday CD that included a song called "Barack the Magic Negro."

Saltsman — aptly nicknamed for those apparently nut-filled cheeks of his — defended his action, saying that songs like "Magic Negro" were "light-hearted political parody."

We've got news for you, Chipster. Songs that use terms that once were polite but have since passed into irony are not light-hearted. They're sarcastic now, and, in that spirit, not very nice. But we think you and your fellow faux-Christians already know that. And we're not surprised that a Republican would campaign for his Party's chairmanship in a manner completely tone-deaf to the current mood of the country.

RNC Chair candidates Michael Steele and Ken Blackwell — both African-Americans — could not be reached for comment.

We cats hope they soon are. We just have one question for them: What are you doing in that Party?

UPDATE: Incumbent RNC Chair Mike Duncan says he is "appalled." Of course, he's running for re-election, too, so maybe he has to say that. But we cats half-salute him with a switch of our tails, since he had the good sense to add, "The 2008 election was a wake-up call for Republicans to reach out and bring more people into our Party... [This] clearly does not move us in the right direction."

P.S. We're dying to hear what Mike Huckabee has to say. He's supporting Chipmunk Cheeks for Chair. We bet a bag of Whisker Lickin's that he defends him.

UPDATE II: Michigan GOP Chair Saul Anuzis says the CD "isn't funny" and is "in bad taste." But Ken Blackwell, proving he can outdo even Joe Lieberman in the self-loathing department, thinks it's just hunky-dory.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Poll Sticks America's Thumb in Bush's Eye

By Zamboni

Can't wait until Bush moves back to Texas? You're not alone.

A new CNN poll reveals that 75 percent of respondents said they're glad that the Worst Person Who Ever Lived is leaving office.

Well, they didn't refer to him exactly that way — but goodness, from the numbers in the poll, we cats think they certainly could have. Forty percent said that Bush's Presidency was "poor," and 28 percent think he's the worst President in history. And here's a no-brainer: 82 percent said that he did not unite the country.

Well, except maybe in convincing us that he's been a complete and total disaster.

In our humble opinion, that could be Bush's biggest failure. After September 11, Americans were completely of one mind and looking to him for leadership. We were ready to do something — anything — to respond to the strange new world we found ourselves in. What did he tell us? "Go to Disney World." "Go shopping."

In the words of Harper Lee, "It's a sin."

Thursday, December 25, 2008

May God Bless Us, Every One

By Baxter

Here's to packages that we sent to friends at their old address (because we can't be bothered to keep up with their moves and renovations, eek!). No problem, we'll resend.

Here's to good, simple dinners — like roasted chicken, with garlic and lemon — that Mom can handle without too much trouble.

Here's to the catnip toys that Mom and Dad toss to keep us busy while they open presents.

Here's to our favorite versions of A Christmas Carol, most especially the 1984 production with George C. Scott.

But most of all, here's to a great 2009. We expect that come January 20, once again America will concern itself with the Cratchits of the world. Not to mention those two specters that hid under the robe of the Ghost of Christmas Present — Ignorance and Want.

May we turn ourselves away from the era of Bush and toward the task at hand: To save the planet, and ourselves.

We cats PURR.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Bush to U.S. Retailers: Drop Dead

By Sniffles

Why does George W. Bush hate America?

That may sound a bit drastic, but we cats can't come to any other conclusion. Not because of all the horrible things Bush has done to the country (too numerous to list here, although it'll be President-elect Obama's job to fix them). No, we think Bush hates America because this holiday season, he's apparently refused to be seen doing the one thing he urged us all to do after September 11 — shop.

With retailers nationwide reaping such poor holiday profits this year, we can't think of anything they would have appreciated more than a photo op of the Commander-in-Chief buying presents for his family. Sure, it would have only been symbolic, but every little bit helps. Bush could even have been seen buying nice but inexpensive gifts. That would have conveyed an important message: You don't have to spend a ton of money — just spend.

We cats estimate that an excursion like that would have only taken a couple of hours out of Bush's day. But, no — as with so many other matters that require him to think beyond himself, he can't be bothered; he doesn't care.

We cats HISS at Bush, for this and so many other reasons. It makes us even more nostalgic for the days of the unstoppable First Shopper, Bill Clinton. Okay, maybe he was buying gifts for Monica, but at least he was injecting money into the economy.

Poor Sports, Bad Grammar

By Zamboni

Looking for a fun, cathartic way to decompress when there's just too much celebrating going on and you've overdone the eggnog? Throw some snowballs at Sarah Palin!

That's the fun holiday game over at the website of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Just one hint: You have to ascend to the fourth level for the opportunity to sock Sarah with snow. But it's not too difficult to get there.

The other amusing thing about PETA's game is that it apparently has raised some ire up in Alaska. Politico reports that someone phoned PETA claiming to be from the Governor's office and threatening to sue if the game weren't removed. After which followed a mighty testy e-mail exchange between Bill McAllister, Governor Palin's communications director, and PETA President Ingrid Newkirk.

Now that cooler heads have prevailed, however, McAllister has denied any concern. He told Politico, "I could care less about the game."

If you'd like to write Mr. McAllister and tell him the correct expression is "I couldn't care less about the game," send an e-mail to

(Image: PETA)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Maybe... Maybe...?

By Baxter

Oooh! We cats just love the fact that Minnesota will not certify a winner of the state's Senate race until next month.

The message to us is simple — Al Franken is going to win this seat. Right now, he's apparently ahead by 47 votes. (Hello, Nate Silver!) And if the ever-repellent Norm Coleman is talking about what else he'll do if he loses, we take that as an extra, added indication that All Signs Are Favorable.

We're already feeling pretty gifted this Christmas — between a solid Presidential win and added seats in both the House and the Senate. But there's something special about Minnesota. Maybe because Paul Wellstone died so tragically before his time, and because Norm Coleman is so patently inadequate to follow in his footsteps.

We cats PURR. Softly, just in case.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Nuthin' but a Pound Dog (er, Cat)

By Sniffles

We cats don't usually write about dogs, but this morning we'd like to say, "Good for you, Joe Biden."

That's because we hear that in an interview with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, the host of "This Week" twitted the Vice President-elect for wanting to add a "pound dog" to the family as a companion for the Bidens' new German Shepherd puppy (above left).

"Very politically correct," the unctuous Mr. Stuffin' Envelopes said.

Mr. Biden begged to differ. His family had always had pound animals, he countered. Including a pound cat.

"Pound cat"? Well, we guess, then, that we bloggers were also pound cats. Meaning, of course, that we were rescued from a shelter. We had all been given up by previous owners; one of us was about a week away from the gas chamber. But all our stories had happy endings — which we guess is a good thing for us and for the blogosphere.

Therefore, in the spirit of the season, we'd like to urge families across America to consider adopting a pound cat or dog. Don't do it during the holidays, when you're busy celebrating and your house is in an uproar. Make the decision carefully and plan for it. Then, after the first of the year, head out to your local shelter and save a little furry face. It'll be a great way to kick off 2009.

(Photo: AP/Brown Family/Princess Sparkle Pony's Photo Blog)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Franken, My Dear...

By Zamboni

Now that Al Franken has taken the lead against Norm Coleman in the Minnesota Senate race, we cats are switching our tails and rolling our eyes as we recall the ever-repellent Mr. Coleman's behavior in the early days of the recount.

"Normie" pretty much immediately called on Franken to drop out of the race in the interest of — well, frankly, we don't remember what lame reason he offered. But rest assured, it was — like Coleman himself — not only lame, but skin-crawling and weaselly. Something along the lines of "I'm a Republican and I'm entitled and how dare Al Franken drag this election out."

Franken, of course, wisely ignored that demand. Having learned the bitter lesson of 2000 — i.e., never let up in a fight to the political death — he soldiered on. We cats can't count the number of Franken fund-raising appeals we've received since Election Day. But if Al pulls this out, it'll all be worth it.

So, on this very cold, snowy and windy night in La Belle Provence, we send warm PURRS over to Les Forces de Franken in Minnesota and wish them a continued lead. For a lot of reasons, this is one Senate seat we'd love to have back.

Deepest Sympathies

By Baxter

Poor Mark Felt. His name will be forever linked with a bad, if iconic, porno flick filmed in a cheap motel in North Miami. But we cats say, thank goodness it was.

Mr. Felt, who quietly died yesterday, helped save the country. It seems a little strange to say that in the waning days of an Administration that's made Richard Nixon's look almost good. But there you have it.

We cats send the Felt family our condolences. And we PURR at Mark Felt himself. We realize that he wasn't perfect. But he was there when we needed him.

(Image: All the President's Men, 1976)

Team of Clowns

By Sniffles

In case you're wondering, the answer is no. We cats are not happy with Rick Warren giving the invocation at the Inauguration. First, Rick Warren is a fat, homophobic, misogynist opportunist who's merely figured out how to make scared, insecure people feel slightly better about themselves. And made a ton of money doing it. He has no business on that Inaugural podium, and when he rises to speak, we cats will visit the litter box.

But second, we don't believe there should be an invocation at all. Separation of church and state, remember? In short, if we cats had our way, President-elect Obama would swear his oath on a copy of the Constitution instead of a Bible. But we realize we will not have our way. So, since we won't, why not invite a liberal Christian to pray over the swearing in? There are such people — they just don't get as high a profile as the right-wing nutbags do.

Therefore, we cats HISS at President-elect Obama. We think we understand what he's doing, but this one makes us want to throw some shoes. In fact, shoes the size of Bozo's would be just about perfect.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Shoes & Socks

By Zamboni

Two quick thoughts this morning.

First, everyone's having a really good time punning on the Iraqi Flying Shoes, and we cats are no exception. But we haven't seen a lot of serious discussion of what a grave insult shoe-hurling is in the Arab world, and how NOT funny it is that it happened to an American President. What a tremendous failure George W. Bush is, and what an extraordinary amount of work President-elect Obama will have to repair the damage Bush has done.

Second, on a happier note, we cats are thrilled to learn from today's New York Times that Socks Clinton, the former White House cat, is still alive and at large. Or at least, alive and residing in Betty Currie's suburban Maryland home. Hooray for Socks!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Shoes & Scams

By Baxter

We cats have to weigh in to politely applaud the Iraqi journalist who, um, threw his shoes at George W. Bush.

Think about it: You're in a press conference with the very person who bombed and invaded your country, and killed tens of thousands of your fellow citizens, for nothing. You're furious, but you probably don't want to throw your cellphone or your iPod (too expensive, although we can't tell from the video what brand the flying footwear were). All we can say is that we're sorry the man didn't wear size fourteens. And if cats wore stuff on our feet, we'd be throwing them at Bush, too.

But we must digress from this brave man's Eliza Doolittle moment to also comment on the "suspicious fire" at Sarah Palin's church in Wasilla. To say: Oh, please. Spare us.

Yeah, we cats find this fire pretty suspicious, all right. As in, the folks at Wasilla Bible just figured out how to get themselves a brand-new building. Just burn the existing one down and get all of Palin's biggest fans to pay to rebuild it!

What a crock. The only question that remains: How soon will our friend who occasionally gets Republican solicitations find a fundraising appeal in his mailbox — signed by "Sarah," of course?

UPDATE: We now understand (thank you, New York Times) that throwing shoes is one of the highest insults you can give in the Arab world. Good! And aside from the fact that we fully expect some creative person stateside to do a delicious parody on this incident — Cinderella throwing her glass slippers, Dorothy hurling her ruby ones — we'd like to offer a word of advice to all who wished the shoes had hit their target: Hang on. Today in Montreal we saw a French translation of The Audacity of Hope in a shop window. With a tag that said, "Par le Nouveau President des Etats-Unis."

Ahhhhhh, what a wonderful feeling. The bad days are almost over. Hope is on the way.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A "Gaffe" is When You Accidentally Blurt Out the Truth

By Sniffles

We cats are always happy when National Public Radio alters events. First, they bring a whole new audience to our favorite anti-Condoleezza Rice photo blog; now, they appear to have denied right-wing religious nutbags their favorite lobbyist.

The Reverend Richard Cizik has had to quit representing the National Association of Evangelicals, because he let slip to Terry Gross on the NPR program "Fresh Air" that he was in favor of civil unions for gay couples.

Aw! This is truly a tragedy of momentous proportions. But we cats aren't just pleased that Reverend Cizik's "shocking" social beliefs have burst from the closet. We wonder why in the, um, hell the good Christians in the NAE need a lobbyist at all. Isn't the mighty word of God enough?

We HISS at the evangelicals, for being their usual intolerant selves — and we also say to them, nanny nanny boo-boo. To Reverend Cizik, we don't quite purr. But we gaze somewhat approvingly on him for his ever-more-progressive views. And if his new position was inspired by a secret lust for Sean Penn — who plays gay icon Harvey Milk in an acclaimed new film — we simply say, "We understand."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Joe's "Plunge" into Politics Continues

By Zamboni

So Samuel J. Wurzelsmurzelweeneywonka has some not-so-nice things to say about Senator John McCain and his Presidential campaign. To wit: McCain "appalls" him and he "felt dirty" being around politics.

Although Senator McCain frequently appalls us, too, this strikes us as a little churlish. Also rather unseemly coming from a guy who fixes clogged toilets for a living.

But as you might expect, Mr. Whifflerburkerpuffinlooper takes a nasty swipe at President-elect Obama and gives a gooey compliment to — wait for it — Sarah Palin. But what would else you expect from someone who cleans the matted hair and dead skin flakes out of your shower drain?

Joe, we cats switch our tails at you. Like the non-dynamic duo who made you famous, you need to go away. But at the same time, it's kind of entertaining to see you contributing to the Republican circular firing squad. We're just afraid that Santa will get you for being so mean.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

We Care What He Did

By Baxter

We cats have already added Robert Prosky to "Human Beings We Will Miss," but we can't let his passing — well, pass — without citing a most important line he spoke in the 1986 film Broadcast News.

In the movie, after William Hurt's anchorman character hosts a special report on a U.S. shoot-down of a Libyan fighter jet, he tells his television audience, "In short, I think we're all okay." Prosky, in the role of the Washington, D.C. news station's executive producer, says to the T.V. monitor, "Who cares what YOU think?"

Goodness. If that's not an archaic line in the light of today's opinionated newscasters, we cats don't know what is. And we cherish it to this day for that very reason.

If Robert Prosky were still with us, we'd rub against his ankles — for an outstanding, lifetime body of work. Good on you, sir.

Joyeux Noel et Bonne Annee

By Sniffles

We hear it's a little bit cold in Montreal. What do we cats care? We're ensconced at a tropical five-paw cat hotel, enjoying massages and catnip mice.

But our owners, who type this blog for us, are heading north.

But that's okay. They like cold weather (imagine!), and they enjoy the holiday ambiance in La Nouvelle France. They're also looking forward to hearing the locals' views on the Canadian Parliamentary crisis. Sacre bleu!

En bref, we'll be posting from time to time between now and Bill O'Reilly's favorite holiday. But don't be alarmed if a day or two intervenes between posts. It only means that although we're dictating, our owners are out enjoying the snow. And the French cooking.

In the meantime, the happiest of holidays and merriest of seasons and all that. And a pleasant Obama-Biden to us all.

Speaking of "Rods"...

By Zamboni

Well, goodness gracious. We cats think we know what the lead story will be on the nightly news tonight. We'll have to catch all the details of the "Busting of Blagojevich" then — but, at least, this incident has finally taught us how to spell his last name. And we continue to hope that "Governor Rod" will take an early opportunity to find a better hairdresser.

Meanwhile, on an equally unsavory note, we're happy to report that soon-to-be former Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho) has lost his latest attempt to withdraw his guilty plea to causing a ruckus by propositioning another man in an airport bathroom.

And we love, love this picture of the allegedly non-gay Senator Craig and his "SARAH!" campaign button. What an early Christmas present!

Tidbits and Cat Treats

By Baxter

Some random thoughts as we prepare to depart for the True North for the holidays:

Just because John McCain reportedly told his campaign staff that they couldn't run negative ads featuring Rev. Jeremiah Wright does not mean he gets a pass on the other smarmy stuff that he and his running mate did. Especially since his campaign cut a Wright ad anyway.

The fact that it was Justice Clarence Thomas who circulated the appeal for the Supreme Court to hear the bogus anti-Obama citizenship case is just, well, pathetic.

The GOP needs to wipe the foam off its face about Saxby Chambliss and the Congressional election in Louisiana. The results of both races are just more proof that the Republican Party is a marginalized creature of the South. (Meanwhile, Democrats picked up a seat in Ohio that they haven't held in 42 years.)

We think the timing of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's arrest is a little suspicious. We know ol' Rod has been on the cusp of trouble for a long time now, but why do we think the Bank of America had something to do with this?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Casus Nobelli

By Sniffles

President Gore is meeting with President-elect Obama tomorrow.

O happy day. We're not only going to have a President who respects science, who knows how to write, who believes that talking to other nations is better than refusing to, who's ready to close Guantanamo — we're going to have a President who will listen to President Gore's advice on saving the planet.

Not that we're worried about our own future generations — we've been fixed. But we've been very stressed out about all those polar bears who are drowning because the ice is melting.

And we have some waterfront property that we'd like not to be flooded, thank you.

We cats PURR.

(Photo: Getty Images)

Note to Liberals: Relax and Have a Martini

By Zamboni

We cats just want to say: We are lefties. And we're not upset.

It's just amazing to us that if there's one group that's more worked up than the Obama birth-certificate conspirators — who failed today in the Supreme Court — it's some of our fellow liberals. They're apparently concerned that President-elect Obama isn't appointing enough of "us" to his Cabinet and executive team.

To which we cats say: Do you have any idea how bad things have been the last eight years? And how long it's going to take the country to recover?

Obama's not going to turn around the Bush-wreaked damage in a second — in fact, he can only begin by stanching the bleeding, not outright healing the wounds. But even more important, he's not going to turn the country around with ideological purity. That's what got the other side in such trouble, remember?

Here's one example. Appointing Senator Clinton to the State Department, and keeping Robert Gates at Defense, gives President-elect Obama political cover to pull our troops out of Iraq. Just try to imagine how the Republicans would pillory a team of down-the-line Iraq war opponents. We can hear the hue and cry now: "You don't support our troops! You're putting them in danger! You're soft on our national security!"

Instead, a withdrawing from Iraq under the aegis of initial war supporters takes those swords right out of the neocons' hands. We cats think that's smart politics.

It's also nice to know that President-elect Obama — unlike Bush — is confident and comfortable enough to have people around who disagree with him. In our book, that's change we need.

So, instead of wasting time hissing, let's all curl up in the sun and take a nap.

UPDATE: We cats had a wonderful nap, thank you.

And we just remembered an insult that Republicans would be sure to hurl at the Obama Administration if it tried to withdraw from Iraq without bringing centrists into the tent first: "You're waving the white flag of surrender!"

Hmmm... we've heard that revolting little accusation before. Remember where?

Asking folks who voted for the war in the first place to help end it now makes such stupid, Palin-esque comments unutterable.


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Open Mouths, Empty Heads

By Baxter

It's hard to imagine that there are any winners in the Canadian Parliamentary crisis. Everyone — from Stephen Harper and his Bush-like arrogance to Stephane Dion and his embarrassingly bad video — is coming off badly.

But we cats do have to blame Harper first and foremost. He needlessly touched off this fiasco by submitting a budget that not only didn't address the global economic meltdown but which gratuitously stuck thumbs in the Opposition's eyes. He practically forced the other parties to try to bring his minority government down. Now that Parliament has been dissolved and the smoke is clearing somewhat, there's no real reason that anyone — the Liberals, the Bloc, the NDP, or even his restive Tories — should trust, or work with, Harper again.

What a mess. Canada has been stuck in a minority-government rut for three years now, and we're not sure how they're going to get out of it, minus an election — which could yield another minority — or, as the Opposition was prepared to do, a coalition.

But there's one other thing that's more worrisome to us cats about all this. (That is, besides the fact that the Liberals need to choose a new leader NOW.) Harper, with his recklessness, may have unnecessarily stirred up new separatist sentiment in Quebec. “There's a portion of the [separatist] movement that grows among Quebec nationalists when they feel they've been rejected, by Ottawa or English Canada or other provinces,” a Canadian political scientist explained.

Didn't Stephen Harper learn anything from palling around with Bush and Rove? Demonize your opponents, and sooner or later it all comes back to bite and scratch you.

Maybe we cats are more unsettled about this than necessary. But on this 67th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, we can't help thinking about the perils of awakening a sleeping giant.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Wouldn't It Be Loverly?

By Sniffles

Senator Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg (D-N.Y.)... *Sigh.*

We cats love the idea. Only for a million reasons.

(Photo: Bryan Snyder / Reuters)

The Eye of the Beholder

By Zamboni

Fifty-five thousand dollars. That's getting close to what we cats have made in a year for our writing abilities. (Yes, we've had a writing life beyond this blog, believe it or not.)

But never mind. That's what the RNC paid to have a "stylist" advise Governor Sarah Palin when she became John McCain's running mate.

Goodness gracious. The Republicans are fond of a Janey-come-lately feminist outrage when it comes to the coverage of money spent on Palin's image — but even they must be scratching their heads over this latest allocation of scarce campaign resources.

Didn't Sarah Palin already have somebody who knew how to do her hair? As the Governor of Alaska, didn't she have a set of professional outfits that she wore to work and which would have been appropriate for the campaign trail? And why did the Republicans think that outrageous expenditures on hair, clothes and makeup would help Palin appeal to the working class Republican voters that make up the party's nutbag religious base?

We cats apologize for harping on this, but we truly see a cultural disconnect here. We keep thinking of the wide, polyester-clad women who turned out so enthusiastically for the early Palin rallies in August and September. The perks that their darling Sarah gouged the RNC for must be as alien to their lives as the daily existence of Angelina Jolie. In short, we don't see how they can possibly relate.

"Why are you here?" we recall a T.V. reporter asking a dedicated Republican rally attendee in early September. "Sarah," the woman firmly replied, a dopey smile creasing her face. Well, dopey-Sarah-smile person, have you ever had a spa treatment, or a fashion stylist, or a wardrobe from Saks and Neimans worth tens of thousands of dollars? And will you ever figure out that that makes your idol a fraud?

Hm. Probably not.

Jesus Loves Us Democratic Cats

By Baxter

Several things are making us cats happy today.

One is the fact that the stock market went up. (Like the rest of America, we're sick of it going down.) Another is listening to the Vince Guaraldi "Charlie Brown Christmas" CD while we finish putting up the tree. (Believe us, holiday decorations are tough when you don't have any thumbs. Vince helps the work go by more easily.)

But another is hearing that Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin are leading in a poll for the GOP nomination in 2012.

Whee! Could the Republican Party be tying itself any more tightly to religious nutbags? And could we be more pleased? We think not. The fact that Huckabee likes to air ads with subliminal crosses in them and that Palin is still trying to explain why the RNC spent $180,000 on clothes and spa treatments for her are just icing on the cake. God is so good to us!

You go, Republicans! Keep leaning toward those fringe maniacs. Meanwhile, with Barack Obama and Joe Biden, we'll try to extricate the country from the, shall we say, unholy mess George W. Bush has left it in.

We cats PURR.

Push-Up Bras for Palin

By Sniffles

If you make $30,000 a year, it must be good to know (NOT!) that that's the additional amount that the Republican National Committee spent on the Palin family this fall. This makes a grand total — so far — of $180,000.

The hillbillies from Wasilla not only touched the RNC for clothing from upscale retailers like Brooks Brothers, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, they also availed themselves of items from — somebody please explain this to us — Toys R Us and Victoria's Secret.

Victoria's Secret? Oh, good — that'll appeal to all those fundamentalist Christians named Wanda who love Palin so much. Our guess is — and yes, we're being catty — that those ladies tip the scales a bit too much to indulge in VS's scanty panties, Miracle bras and fancy garters themselves.

But we cats are thrilled. How nice to know that all this money was wasted on sexy underwear, when it could have been spent on efforts to get out the vote instead. Our only question is, when will some RNC heads roll — for letting Alaska's trailer-trash first family roll them?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Postponing the Inevitable

By Zamboni

Governor General Michaelle Jean today granted Prime Minister Stephen Harper's request to suspend Parliament until January 26, staving off a certain vote of no confidence next week.

Perhaps the G.G. refused to engage in a smackdown because of a recent Ipsos-Reid poll that showed that a clear majority of Canadians are scared about their economic future. Which means that Madame Jean probably was reading public sentiment correctly. But it doesn't mean that we're at the end of this particular story.

You know what we cats think? Give the coalition some breathing room, and see if the appetite for a new government in Canada isn't reborn after the inspiring inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama in the United States.

Our guess is that if the coalition can produce a new leader and a plan for Canada's economic recovery, Stevie Boy is toast.

In the meantime, Joyeux Noel, O Canada. See you soon.

(Photo; Agence France-Presse)

The Odd Couple

By Baxter

Here's that charming young white supremacist lad, Derek Black, confronting Palm Beach County, Florida GOP Chairman Sid Dinerstein at the party's county executive committee last night, demanding the seat that he won in last August's election. Don't they make a cute couple?

We cats just wanted you to know, though, that the embarrassed Palm Beach County GOP refused to seat Mr. Black, the son of a KKK grand wizard, because he didn't sign a party "loyalty oath" before running. Mr. Black is claiming that party rules don't supersede elections and he vows legal action.

Although we know it's just the party's lame excuse to get rid of this child, "loyalty oath" sounds kind of National Socialist to us. What's next, arm bands and goose-stepping?

We cats obviously HISS at anyone remotely connected with the Ku Klux Klan, but we confess we're still enjoying this little drama (although we also question Mr. Black's sartorial taste). Funny how the Democratic Party doesn't have any executive committeemen like this.

(Photo: The Palm Beach Post)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Quelle Drolerie

By Sniffles

Ugh. This is just one reason why we cats despise Bush-Rove-brand politics. Look at this shot of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper addressing his nation tonight. Note the big flag sitting to his right. Then note the teeny little flag pin on his left lapel. Ugh, ugh, ugh! Even they're wearing them now!

But, anyway.

Harper made this dramatic speech because he had to warn Canadians about the serious danger threatening them. What danger, you say? Maybe that report that came out today predicting a terrorist WMD attack by 2013? Why, no. It's the Bloc Quebecois!

Those scary separatist Francophones who run all those great restaurants in Montreal and Quebec City cannot, absolutely cannot, be part of a national government. Never mind that the BQ has agreed it won't have any Cabinet ministers if the Liberal-NDP-Bloc coalition brings down Harper's minority Tories. In Stevie's book, they can't even be allowed near the table.

Sounds pretty disingenuous, we think. Particularly since to try to avoid a sure vote of no confidence, Harper is also attempting the very same Parliamentary maneuver that he criticized the Liberals for three years ago — asking for the legislature to be dissolved.

We cats HISS at the always-unappealing Stephen Harper. He seems to forget that the Liberal Party has championed federalism for years, and has paid a pretty steep political price for it. Trying to scare Canadians with separatism when they're really worried about jobs and the economy is truly the lowest of the low.

UPDATE: A little bird has just told us that Harper is scheduled to meet with Governor-General Michaelle Jean tomorrow morning to ask her to prorogue — our new favorite word; it means "dissolve" — Parliament. We can't wait to see if the "G.G." does what he asks or gives him a smackdown.

(Image: The Globe & Mail)

Free the "Impeach Bush" Ornament!

By Zamboni

We cats want to say right up front that we are not disturbed that the ever-repellent Saxby Chambliss won the Georgia Senate runoff yesterday. First, we expected him to. Second, if it helps to elevate him — as a rare winner in a very bad Republican year — to the rank of Potential 2012 Contender, we're happy to see that, too. Let's throw the not-so-Grand Old Party into even more jockeying and turmoil, shall we?

No, what we're truly upset about is that the Deborah Lawrence "Impeach Bush" ornament will not be displayed on the White House Christmas tree. Hey, this is America!

However, we cats do chide Ms. Lawrence, a multimedia artist based in Seattle, for spilling the beans about the ornament's theme to The Washington Post. Duh, Deborah — if you'd just kept your mouth shut, your little bauble might have made it onto the tree. That Bush crew, as we all know, is rather dim. They probably don't understand the complex thought that the ornament bears — inscriptions like "America cannot regain its moral leadership in the world if America cannot hold its leaders accountable for their actions at home." A little over their heads, we'd say.

So, cat out of the bag and all that. But we suspect that Laura Bush's inexplicably high popularity ratings would have gone even sky-higher if she'd turned the other cheek and let the ornament pass. At least, we would have been pleasantly surprised. She could have said something clever like, "I choose to hang this ornament in the spirit of the First Amendment, on which so many of our other freedoms as Americans hang." Oh, well.

Instead, an East Wing spokeswoman named Sally McDonough said of the ornament's rejection, "I think it really is a shame and, quite frankly, not very much in the holiday spirit."

Ya know what, Sally? We cats think that actions like launching wars on false pretenses, raping the Constitution, letting New Orleans drown, and presiding over the biggest economic meltdown since The Great Depression aren't "much in the holiday spirit," either. And season's greetings to you, too. HISS.

(Image: Salon)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cat Fight! (Rowr!)

By Baxter

As far as we cats are concerned, there's a juicy story that doesn't get covered nearly enough — the lack of love that the big names in the Republican Party feel for Sarah Palin.

But we understand why. It's a tough story to report. The "boys" at the head of what's left of the GOP, their eyes on 2012 and not wishing to anger the base, haven't said a lot about Palin publicly. There was a little anonymous grumbling after that strange press conference in Miami, but otherwise, nothing much.

Until now.

Senator Lisa Murkowski, back arched and claws out, is warning Governor Palin away from her Senate seat. Since Mark Begich defeated the sure-to-be-expelled Ted Stevens and took that possible avenue to Washington off the table, Alaska has rumbled with rumors that Palin might run against Murkowski in the GOP primary in 2010. "I can guarantee it would be a very tough election," Senator Murkowski said — hissing through her clenched teeth, no doubt.

The story's deliciously complicated by the fact that Senator Murkowski was appointed to her position by her very own daddy, Frank — whom Palin defeated for Governor in 2006. Seems that Frank Murkowski was one of those corrupt "old boys" that Palin has bragged about sweeping out of Alaska politics.

Oooh! No love lost between Lisa and Sarah! Any second now, they'll be caught by the gym teacher, fighting in the girls' locker room.

Actually, while we cats love a good spat as much as anybody, we have a different suggestion. Governor Palin, why not move to Florida and run for Mel Martinez's seat instead? There's news today that he'll retire in 2010 after only one term. Apparently Senator Martinez isn't addicted to the limelight. Unlike you.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Note to Bush: We Hate You. Go Away. Forever. Please.

By Sniffles

Oh, God — we're going to have to put up with all the valedictories now, right?

We cats are appalled at the reports of the George W. Bush-Charlie Gibson interview, in which Bush does a few mea culpas and probably pisses off masses of hard-core Republicans in the process. Which, by the way, pleases us.

But we just don't feel like dealing with Confessions of a War Criminal, ya know? If he wants to get all squishy about how he wasn't prepared to handle September 11, screw him. As far as we're concerned, September 11 is the kind of thing we hire Presidents for, dammit. If he wasn't up for the job, well, shame on us — or, rather, shame on the Supreme Court, for picking this asshole over the highly experienced Al Gore to begin with.

However, there's just one thing that we have to say in light of this interview. We haven't watched it — and if we're lucky, we won't — but it sounds like the kind of things a drunk might say under the influence. "Please forgive me! Please still think I'm swell! Please don't hold all these Iraqi civilian and U.S. military deaths against me!"

Ugh. George W. Bush is The Worst Person Who Ever Lived. You know why? Because even though Hitler and Pol Pot were awful, too, George W. Bush is an American. And we expect more from Americans.

We cats SNARL.

No "Political Capital" in Ottawa

By Zamboni

Whew. For some reason, we cats think that Canada got mighty jealous of the political drama that's taken place in the U.S. over the past few months.

Why? Because they've concocted some of their own. As in a Conservative, minority-government Prime Minister acting an awful lot like George W. Bush.

Here's how. In October, Stephen Harper's Tory government was re-elected — but still as a minority. That's the way it is in parliamentary democracy. Sometimes you have a super mandate (think Tony Blair in 1997), and sometimes you don't (think Lester Pearson in the '60s).

In this past October election, the Tory minority picked up seats, but remained 12 short of a majority. To most normal Prime Ministers, a situation like this would advise a certain amount of caution. Not so Harper, who we suspect has a direct line to Karl Rove in the White House (at least for the next month and a half, after which he'll have to go through a serious case of withdrawal).

So what does Harper do? Basically a version of Bush in 2005. He said "screw you" to the rest of the country and submitted a budget that not only didn't address the global economic crisis — no economic stimulus, for example — but which also cut the political parties' governmental subsidies. Nice move, Steve! What better way to get your opponents' backs up? Which is precisely what happened: Right now, the Liberals and the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois are trying to figure out if they can topple Harper's fragile minority government on a budgetary vote of no confidence.

Harper's tone-deaf reaction after a squeaker election is so reminiscent of Bush’s "I earned political capital and I’m gonna blow it the way I’ve blown through everything else in my worthless life" attitude that followed his theft of the U.S. vote in 2004.

We all know what awaited Bush in the wake of his bluster. Social Security reform cratered, Terri Schiavo repulsed all Americans who resented governmental intrusion in their lives, and the response to Hurricane Katrina horrified everyone else. Now, Bush is the most despised American President in modern history. So why is Stephen Harper taking political advice from his team?

A Delicous Dinerstein Dilemma

By Baxter

Gee, how much work do you think David Duke's had done? He's a veritable doppleganger for Richard Chamberlain these days.

But we digress. What we cats really mean to talk about this morning is a continuing problem that the Republican Party is wrestling with in Palm Beach County, Florida.

See, a 19-year-old white supremacist was elected to the party's county executive committee — before anybody in GOP circles realized who he was. Now, the lad — Derek Black, the son of a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard — is fighting to take his seat when the committee meets this Wednesday. Meanwhile, the embarrassed Republicans say he's not welcome.

Joining the fray is Mr. Duke, another former KKK grand wizard (pictured above — or at least, what's left of him after all that plastic surgery).

The best part of this entire kerfuffle is that the Republican county chairman, Sid Dinerstein, is Jewish. So you can imagine the insults that are flying his way from his new little KKK friends. We hope that Mr. Dinerstein learns his lesson: that the Republican Party — which exploits divisions among Americans and gladly makes room for haters and bigots — is no place for Members of the Tribe.

Ah, well. Sid probably won't take that lesson quite to heart. But at least he and his executive committee might now understand the consequences of getting caught with your pants down on the grass-roots organizing level.

As for us cats, we can only describe our feelings in the original German: Schadenfreude!

(Photo: Brandon Kruse / The Palm Beach Post)