Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
We cats despise New Year's Eve. It's the most artificial, unpleasant, sorry excuse for a holiday that humans ever invented, and whenever it rolls around we're routinely in our beds well before midnight. But on the eve of the dreaded Eve, we have a few thoughts that we'd like to share.
All those stories in the media about "the end of the decade" are not only boring, they're wrong. The "decade" isn't over until December 31, 2010. And why should we care about these 10-year increments anyway? Please, spare us.
How have the Republicans gone from "United We Stand" and "Support the Troops" to the bile Dick Cheney is spewing today? We don't know the answer, but it's more proof that The Worst Person Who Ever Lived (If Indeed He Were a Person) has a most apt first name.
While we are pleased with the poll that has Secretary of State Clinton topping the famous quitter from Alaska as America's most admired woman, we wonder how Secretary Clinton could not win this contest.
As if we needed any reminding that Chip "Chipmunk Cheeks" Saltsman is an idiot, try this on for size: Mike Huckabee, Saltsman says, is "the most successful failed Presidential candidate in the history of our country." Gee — when did Mike Huckabee win the Nobel Peace Prize? Guess we missed that.
We can't believe that anyone would have been fooled by that ridiculous JFK "photo" that TMZ posted. Get a grip, people.
Finally, although we dislike New Year's, we're very happy to be bidding farewell to 2009. Even if the decade's not over yet.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
We cats have always quibbled with the idea that the Baby Boomer generation — of which President Obama is a member — fancied itself special.
It wasn't just that, as cats, we have shorter life spans than most humans, whenever born. It's just that the Boomers weren't experiencing anything unique — but rather, that they had the time, and the ability, to reflect on what they were experiencing. Perhaps more than any other generation before them.
So as our parents and others before us pass on, at this turning of the calendar year we cats are in a reflective mood.
We think that perhaps our current world is too hurried. In the ability to connect with one another almost instantaneously — a rare privilege indeed — we might be losing the gift of perspective, of being able to view experiences in a certain context. Or at least to pause and privately sum things up before we react.
How ironic, therefore, that the singular talent we perceive in the current occupant of the White House is the ability to stop for a moment, and consider. It's not just that he thinks — a welcome change from the previous Administration — but that he thinks at a measured pace.
We know, folks. It'll take some getting used to. But in the end, we'll all PURR. We cats promise.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Hoo, boy. We cats can just imagine how the Republicans would have excoriated — in fact, did excoriate — any Democrats who dared question the Bush Administration's handling of national security.
But as you might imagine, they're not allowing that to keep them from jumping all over the Obama team in the wake of the foiled Christmas Day airplane bombing — even though the TSA has no administrator because GOP nutbag Jim DeMint has held up Erroll Southers' nomination over a labor union issue. Shameless.
We cats will agree, though, that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was too quick to proclaim that "the system worked." Now, she's backtracking. Embarrassing, for sure — but at least she didn't try to say she'd only been using a metaphor.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
South Florida Republican Congressmen Lincoln and Mario Diaz-Balart have given their Governor, Charlie Crist, a strange Christmas present.
They've taken back their endorsement of him in the 2010 Republican Senate primary. Goodness gracious. We cats have heard of re-gifting, but never de-gifting.
The brothers also declined to endorse another candidate, i.e., right-wing darling Marco Rubio. And they allowed The Miami Herald to float the wacky idea that they reneged on the endorsement because Lincoln Diaz-Balart, especially, was miffed over an unmade judicial appointment.
Hm. Seems pretty fishy to us cats (and we're good at smelling out fish). But we have a possible explanation that we'd like to propose.
What if the Rubio campaign has been doing serious opposition research and now is making the rounds to prominent Crist endorsers, warning them that the Governor will be outed, with proof, by thus-and-such a date? If so, supporters like the Diaz-Balarts (who, as former Democrats, are not exactly known for their bedrock principles) could jump ship now — on a phony pretext — and avoid having to defend a gay candidate later.
Knowing how comfortable (NOT!) today's Republican Party is with homosexuality, we find this theory not only compelling but quite plausible. Are we onto something? We cats PURR at the thought.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Despite the travails of their long-suffering aides, not to mention the "little people" — security officers, cafeteria workers and gift shop cashiers — who keep Capitol Hill functioning, obstreperous Senate Republicans seemed hell-bent on delaying the healthcare reform vote until Christmas Eve.
No more. Not only did right-wing nutbag James Inhofe miss today's procedural vote, but Minority Leader Mitch McConnell caved to Harry Reid and, with the Majority Leader, announced a Thursday vote of 8 a.m. instead of 7 p.m.
Now, we cats are mindful that it ain't over till it's over. But we find it amusing in the meantime that, Sarah Palin-like, the GOP can't seem to follow through on their threats and finish what they start.
P.S. We're a little mystified about Inhofe's reason for missing the second cloture vote today. His wife isn't capable of flying home alone?
So, embattled Florida GOP chairman Jim Greer has injected some startling venom into the holiday season, in the form of a 19-paragraph screed to his state committee members. Goodness gracious. We know that the pro-Marco-Rubio forces have been giving Greer a hard time lately, but as Scarlett O'Hara would say, Oh, Jim, how you do run on.
But it's not just the length of the tome that has our suspicions heightened instead of assuaged. His angry ramblings evoke the best of Richard Nixon and Captain Queeg combined. He even uses the word "treason"! (We cats thought that term was reserved for Presidential candidates who pick completely unqualified running mates.)
Despite that, though, Greer makes some interesting points — all of which will get lost in his party's ongoing vitriol. He's right when he cites the fratricidal infighting among Florida Democrats in the 1990s and blames it for the party's decline into near-total irrelevance. He's right to warn that that could also happen to the Florida GOP. He's right to defend his privilege as party chair to endorse a candidate, even in a primary. And he may deserve points for identifying his critics by name — although the wave rising up against him is so high, so long and so strong that he might as well call it what it is.
Finally, Greer makes some unforced grammatical errors: using inconsistent capitalization and "Democrat" as an adjective (although we're certain that's intentional), typing "precept" instead of "percent," saying "my support with" Charlie Crist instead of "of." These mistakes — which were, of course, "made," in classic-Reagan passive tense — may just be the latest proof of the Sunshine State's inferior schools. Or they may reveal a writer under a certain amount of duress.
Those Rubio folks sure seem to have him unhinged. We cats PURR.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Well, it's about time. We cats PURR in the direction of Michael Tomasky over at The Guardian, for explaining why healthcare reform has been so ugly. Yes, folks, the culprit is the GOP — the party that has been purged of all reason.
"Lyndon Johnson got 83 Republican congressional votes for Medicare [in 1965]," Mr. Tomasky writes. "And he didn't have to lift a finger for most of them. They were moderates... But in 2009? Believe me, I'd be a happy camper if this bill had had the support of even five moderate GOP senators and 12 moderate GOP House members. But they no longer exist."
Forty Republicans marching in lockstep against giving Americans what other Western democracies can take for granted — healthcare as a right, not a privilege — is a problem. It gives the Democratic majority absolutely no wiggle room: They must get 60 votes, and do to so they have to make deals, including some pretty unattractive ones. Why the cable-news talking heads in the U.S. haven't been all over this point, we cats have no idea. But it's one of the main reasons we've been reluctant to jump on the isn't-this-bill-awful bandwagon.
Note to all you alleged journalists out there: The next time you find yourself blathering about the minefield Harry Reid has had to negotiate, try asking yourselves why.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Does this look like the end of civilization as we know it? Aside from the fact that there's a dog in it, we mean.
Apparently some unenlightened people thought so — although it's merely a Christmas card, sent to constituents by Nova Scotia Liberal MP Scott Brison. The problem, as bigots posting to the Globe & Mail website saw it, was that it featured Mr. Brison's partner, Maxime St. Pierre. (That's Maxime on the left.)
OMG! A pair of sodomites on a holiday card! Never mind that Mr. Brison is openly gay, married to Mr. St. Pierre for two years, and (in addition to the dog), there is a decorous amount of space between them. Unfortunately, though, the Globe & Mail was forced to disable its comments section after "an overwhelming number" of hate-filled posts. "We can't allow our site to become a platform for intolerance," the website commendably says.
The good news? MP Brison has been inundated with messages of support. So we cats take heart that most Canadians don't agree with the homophobes — whom we'd like to remind that the man they repeatedly hail as "the reason for the season" commanded us to love one another.
(PHOTO: Garey Pridham)
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Is there anything prettier than the White House in the snow? If so, we cats are hard-pressed to think of it — unless it's a successful vote on healthcare reform. We hear reports that the Democrats have reached the magic number of 60. It's the least they can do after 92-year-old Robert Byrd managed to arrive on Capitol Hill at one o'clock this morning.
On that note, we cats would like to echo another keeper of the late Ted Kennedy's flame and join Victoria Reggie Kennedy in urging passage of this bill. "[Ted] predicted that as the Senate got closer to a vote, compromises would be necessary, coalitions would falter and many ardent supporters of reform would want to walk away," she writes in The Washington Post today. "He hoped that they wouldn't do so. He knew from experience, he told me, that this kind of opportunity to enact health-care reform wouldn't arise again for a generation."
We agree. As for those ardent supporters who want to walk away, many of whom we like and admire, we can't believe that they don't realize that when they say "Kill the bill," they sound just like the wacko teabaggers. You know what, guys? Denying insurers the ability to withhold coverage over preexisting conditions is huge. Just think about it.
And if that doesn't convince you, remember that the Republicans will hold failure over our heads for decades — maybe even longer than they've tried to make us weak on defense. And they'll never, ever be made to pay for their despicable, lockstep opposition to any reform whatsoever. We cats deeply, deeply want them to pay.
So let's slog through the snow and pass this thing. "As Ted always said," Mrs. Kennedy concludes, "when it's finally done, the people will wonder what took so long."
Friday, December 18, 2009
We cats are watching the impromptu lake on our street slowly drain away — while Washington and other points north are bracing for a record-breaking wall of snow. (Silver lining: Maybe Congress will be forced to pass healthcare reform, because no one will be able to leave.) So since the weather outside is frightful, here are a few thoughts on current events to pass the time.
Our friends at Politico have touted the following screaming headline for the last day: "Monica's Back — Says Clinton Lied." With all due respect to President Clinton, whom we love, we'd like to know why this is news.
We also are quite fond of Howard Dean, but fear we must part ways with him on the healthcare bill. The good Dr. Dean was Governor of a very small state with a legislature that could not possibly have compared with the intractability and polarization of the current U.S. Congress — so we question his appreciation of how complicated and difficult all this is. But at the same time we're happy to report that unlike many of our ideological friends on the left, we don't feel the need to agree with our heroes 100 percent of the time.
Does the famous quitter from Alaska ever finish anything? Now it's her alleged vacation that she's bailing out on. And by the way, since she's making so much money from her so-called "book," can't she afford a new sun visor?
We HISS and SNARL at MSNBC anchor Dylan Ratigan for channeling Glenn Beck this morning. Dylan, you owe an apology to Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. We dump our dirty litter boxes all over your collection of Savile Row suits.
And finally, here's a note to everybody else in Talking Head World on cable TV: Before you start jumping all over President Obama for the climate change deal he reached in Copenhagen today, remember that the Bush Administration wouldn't even have been there.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Al Franken, you are our hero. We cats PURR, rub your ankles and knead the biscuits. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
P.S. To write Senator Franken and express your appreciation, visit http://franken.senate.gov/contact/.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Goodness gracious, what lack of holiday cheer these days. Everyone is crabby, everyone is fighting. So we cats thought we would interrupt our Christmas preparations and join the bashing for a moment. (Look away, Santa.)
Unlike many of our colleagues in the left-wing blogosphere, we cats recognize the difficulties of governing in a highly polarized era — especially with the crushing problems bequeathed by the current Administration's horrifying predecessor. But we do fault the Obama team for wasting a precious resource: their campaign workers. If most Americans want healthcare reform, then Organizing for America should have had us all marching in the streets this summer. Instead, the teabaggers took over. We cats HISS at that.
But here's something on which we do agree with our fellow bloggers: We hate Joe Lieberman. Really. We hate him. If we could, we'd lift our tails and spray his pant legs so bad he'd never get the smell out. And we'd do it on a Saturday so he couldn't go to the dry cleaner until Monday.
However, let us emulate President Obama and face reality. We had our chance to knock Lieberman off in 2006. We didn't get it done, alas. So, we're afraid we're stuck with this cretin until we get healthcare reform and other key elements of the President's legislative agenda passed. But after that — watch out, Joe. We sincerely hope that thousands of lefty bloggers are not waiting for 2012 and are doing massive oppo research on Lieberman now.
Okay, we've indulged. Time to get back to holiday cheer. Let's see, what can we be joyful about? Well, there's the lovingly rumpled Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, who never seems to take his eye off the healthcare ball — and there's Al Franken, who continues to make us proud that Paul Wellstone's Senate seat is back in safe hands. Gentlemen, you are gifts that keep on giving. We cats PURR.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
The world is short at least one charlatan today, as evangelist Oral Roberts has finally checked out — 23 years after he claimed God would kill him if he didn't meet a fundraising goal.
We cats don't mean to sound harsh, especially during the holiday season. But we're not sure there's any group we loathe more than those who peddle religious claptrap to gullible people and bilk them out of their money. Unless it's the ones who try to inject their faith — such as it is, since we don't think Jesus lived in multimillion-dollar compounds or flew on private jets — into public policy.
Oral Roberts was just one of the many religious buffoons who failed to understand that the Constitution was built on the separation of church and state. So as with Jerry Falwell, we cats do not mourn his passing. We merely sigh with relief and hope that the country can continue to move forward to, um, further enlightenment.
Monday, December 14, 2009
The city of Houston has elected Annise Parker mayor, becoming the largest U.S. city to be headed by someone who is openly gay.
During a campaign debate, Ms. Parker said, “I am not running to be a role model. I am running to be the mayor of Houston.” Now, she is able to acknowledge the milestone, saying, "It's a historic election for my community, and I believe an election that will change some people's minds about the city of Houston. It's a diverse, international city that welcomes everyone."
We cats PURR and celebrate Ms. Parker's win, although not with her chosen method (a bubble bath — ick!). To laud a metropolis — in Texas, no less — for this election makes perfect sense. After all, we've just come through a year in which the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the President, not just for what he's accomplished but for the very good reason of who he is not.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
"We lose ourselves when we compromise the very ideals that we fight to defend. And we honor those ideals by upholding them not just when it is easy, but when it is hard."
—President Barack Obama, Nobel Peace Prize Lecture, December 10, 2009
The Huffington Post has a very entertaining gallery of "The Funniest Protest Signs of 2009." It includes many examples of teabaggers who can't spell and who don't understand that Medicare is a government program — just to name two.
But the ones we most appreciate are from gay-rights supporters who find rich comic material in demented homosexual hater Fred Phelps and his ragtag band from the so-called Westboro Baptist Church.
This is our favorite. We have no idea who made it or where it was carried — but we cats PURR.
Friday, December 11, 2009
On this, the first night of Hanukkah, our attention is taken by the liberal blog Firedoglake, which is scolding the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Center for employing as a "Global Ambassador" the wife of arch-healthcare-reform-foe and ever-irritating whiner Joe Lieberman.
We cats are amused and sympathetic, and have signed the petition asking the Komen Center to fire Mrs. Lieberman. But since she undoubtedly raises tons of money for Komen from Jewish philanthropists and from pharmaceutical and managed-care foundations, we're not holding our breaths.
Still and all, we dare to hope — that perhaps the lesson of this exercise is that actions have consequences. Too often, people in high-level political positions don't have to pay them. One example: Alex Castellanos, who not only is a cable-news talking head but also is apparently allowed to walk around unmolested — despite the fact that he's responsible for much of the hate-filled paid political speech of the last two decades.
Are we equating the Liebermans with hate-spreading Republicans? As the famous quitter from Alaska would say, you betcha.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
If we cats were with our owners right now, we'd leave little paw prints in about two inches of snow outside. (Twelve inches, later.) But instead, we're warm and snug in our cat-hotel paradise down south. Here are our thoughts as we watch the lizards and butterflies at play in our tropical garden.
So the Republicans are all upset with Harry Reid. To which we cats reply, oh, please spare us. After months and months of way-over-the-top GOP rhetoric, we have little patience with their umbrage. In fact, we wish Harry would simply tell them to kiss his Mormon ass.
We're confused. We thought that The Washington Post didn't accept ghostwritten op-eds. Hm.
Speaking of the famous quitter from Alaska, we cats are intrigued that President Obama has appointed one of her sternest critics to a federal position. To us, this is the best evidence of the President's political smarts since Jon Huntsman became U.S. ambassador to China.
Topics in the news that we don't care about: Tiger Woods' marital problems, anything that's on Michael Steele's tiny little mind, and whoever the next host of "Good Morning, America" will be.
Why has John Boehner never taken John McCain to a tanning salon? (Ankle rub to our friend Allan for this canny observation.)
Friday, December 4, 2009
Well, okay, not 20. But former Governor and famous quitter Sarah Palin has had to amend a remark she made about President Obama's birth certificate, and we cats are inspired.
Palin said that she really meant that "Voters have every right to ask candidates for information if they so choose."
Thanks for your permission, Governor. Since the sky's the limit, we'd like to ask you the following:
- Is Todd really Trig's father, or is it — as we suspect — actually Levi Johnston? (You see, unlike the rest of the blogosphere, it's the paternity of that child that we cats doubt.)
- What does Todd really do when he's up on the North Slope for three months with a bunch of guys? By that, we mean for sexual release, if you'll excuse the expression?
- Did you know Bristol was having sex?
- When did you have a conversation with her about birth control — if ever?
- Is Bristol using birth control now?
- Are you willing to make public your grades from the seven colleges you attended?
- While we're on the subject, when will your college sex tapes be released?
Monday, November 30, 2009
The celebrations of last night's stunning Grey Cup victory by the Montreal Alouettes might still be going on. Our owners will find out at around noon tomorrow, because they're flying up north for a little taste of winter before the holidays. We cats, meanwhile, are snug like bugs in the five-paw cat hotel. But we'll try to post from time to time. Stay warm, everybody!
Mike "I'm Fat Again" Huckabee is probably real busy today, answering questions about his early release of an alleged cop killer. (Goodness, we can just imagine what Karl Rove and all the Republican talking heads would be saying on cable news if a Democrat were involved!)
But police assassinations aside, we cats found Fat Mike's recent interview on FOX "News" Sunday — in which he said he may not run for President in 2012 — very interesting. We think it says several things:
First, Fat Mike evidently thinks President Obama is a shoo-in for re-election and is willing to bide his time, building his media profile, until 2016.
Second, he apparently is convinced that Sarah Palin is sucking all the air out of the right-wing Republican room, and he might have to get out before he suffocates. This elevates the threat to rumored 2012 candidates Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney. With the specter of Huckabee supporters turning to Palin instead, Newtie and the Mittster will have to take her down quicker and harder.
Third, a Huckabee withdrawal, if it happens, could be partly blamed on the media. One of their favored "nice" guys on the Republican side may end up being pushed out by the rabid Palinistas that populate the GOP base. Where have the talking heads been when it comes to confronting the harsh tactics and language of the teabaggers and right wing? Nowhere, that's where.
These are just our initial impressions. As for any further observations, we cats will wait to see how the Maurice Clemmons situation unfolds. Willie Horton, anyone?
Saturday, November 28, 2009
The conservatives in the GOP are gleefully steering the Republican Party into icebergs, and we cats couldn't be more pleased.
Latest case in point: The New York Times has paused to consider the woes of South Carolina Republicans, who not only appear ready to impeach their hapless and silly Governor, but whose Senators — right-wing maniac Jim DeMint and only slightly less-right-wing Lindsey Graham — are trying to take their party in diametrically opposed directions.
We love it, because it's always good for Democrats when Republicans fight with each other. But over and above that, this quote really got our attention:
"Mr. DeMint... has said he would prefer having fewer, but ideologically pure, Republicans in the Senate rather than more Republicans who were ideologically suspect."
We cats fail to understand how, with that attitude, the demented Mr. DeMint thinks his side will ever get back in power again. But hey, Jim, have at it.
And to our liberal friends out there, we cats simply say this: We agree with you on many of your frustrations with our own party. But may we never, ever find ourselves rearranging those famous deck chairs again.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Can we lock them up, and throw away the key?
You know of whom we cats speak. But we will not state their names, because to do so would give them what they so desperately want.
We continue to be mystified at people's desire to give up their privacy. We've never succumbed to watching reality TV shows — first, because the "reality" is never real, and second, because we're certain we'd be bored.
Now, we're just mad. It's one thing to defraud law enforcement about an errant balloon in Colorado. It's quite another to embarrass the hardworking members of the U.S. Secret Service and put the safety of the President in question. So we HISS and GROWL at that deservedly nameless husband and wife, and we dump our dirty litter boxes on their stupid heads.
Once, the subject of party crashing made a classically funny Hollywood movie. But of course, the people depicted in "The Philadelphia Story" were true society bluebloods. The couple who wormed their way into the White House the other night are — shall we say — not.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Gee, if only Republicans would take Ari Fleischer's 2001 admonishment to heart. If they'd just watch what they say and do, they'd have a much smoother ride with their crazy-eyed base.
How do we know? Here's one example — Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.
Bobby, the nutcases over at Free Republic have turned against you. First, you had the temerity to support the $300 million Senator Landrieu secured in the health care bill for your state's Medicaid program. Governor, the Freepers believe you should have turned that money down. Since you didn't, you've generated comments from them like this:
"Jindal has been incredibly disappointing in terms of potential for national office... [H]is comments on working with Obama on health care show him to be tone deaf. I had very high hopes, but 2009 has been a bad year for Bobby."
"[W]e need strength of character and someone who is willing to say NO to all our enemies foreign and domestic."
"Jindal looked like he might be good, but he's proven, especially with this, that he's a dud."
"Well, looks like ol’ Bobby was a very rapid flash in the pan."
Adding insult to injury, Jindal, all smiles, turned up at the White House for last night's state dinner. The Freepers are sure it's political payback for the health care bill. Of course, the dinner honored the Prime Minister of India — and Jindal is Indian-American — but, never mind.
So Governor Jindal is now wanting in the eyes of the far right. Which means he probably also would fail the GOP's new "purity test." Our only question is, who would pass?
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Oh, Lou Dobbs, please, please run for President. We cats don't care whether you're a Republican or an Independent. We just want you to suck all the oxygen out of the room, eat up a lot of money that otherwise might go to the GOP, and drive more Hispanics and minorities into the Democrats' arms. Plus, you'll be one more cartoon figure — move over, Palin, Huck and Gingrich — taking on a real President. (We do, though, find your hypocrisy astounding. A guy as rich as you doing the populist pose. Give us a break.)
Speaking of hypocrisy, consider the Catholic Church. Bishop Thomas Tobin of Rhode Island recently demanded that Representative Patrick Kennedy refrain from taking communion because of the Congressman's support for abortion rights. Sounds like a red herring to us. Tobin is trying to distract us with this faux communion issue — and what better way to grab headlines than to involve a Kennedy? — because his fellow church leaders in Connecticut have been ordered to release documents about priestly sex abuse on December 1. Stay tuned, everyone.
Why do we have the feeling that the so-called "abrupt" resignation of RNC communications director Trevor Francis was actually in the works long before, and that somebody convinced him to stay just until the November elections were over?
David Frum has gotten into more trouble with the nutbag Republican base by suggesting that GOP men like Sarah Palin a lot more than GOP women do. We cats disagree with Mr. Frum on many things, but not on this. We all know that if Palin looked like Barbara Mikulski, none of this would be happening. (Forgive us, Senator! We love you!)
Finally, we cats don't know about you, but we never want to be at an event where it's okay to announce, "We're fixin' to introduce the ladies." Which means we're glad we didn't attend the Republican Governors Association meeting. Ugh. Excuse us, but we feel a hairball coming on.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
"Now, this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
One of Sarah Palin's many undesirable traits is her constant desire to have things both ways.
Example: If she'd been in elected office 30 years ago, as a right-wing Republican she surely would have campaigned against the Equal Rights Amendment. Yet today she expects us all to join her in outrage over a "sexist" magazine cover. (Sorry, ma'am, but we cats haven't cared about Newsweek since they hired Karl Rove as a contributor.)
Another example: We find it really interesting that Palin — as someone who opposes reproductive rights and believes that all pregnancies should be carried to term — seems to be falling down on the job when it comes to parenting herself.
It's a question we haven't seen posed since the great "book" tour began:
Who's taking care of that baby she had last year?
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
We cats are amazed at the reaction to Attorney General Holder's (correct) decision to try the September 11 conspirators in New York. While we now fully expect the Republicans to oppose everything the Obama Administration does, they still somehow manage to surprise us with their — well, their idiocy.
We say "idiocy" because the railing right-wingers are the very people who always rush to extol all things American (and, in the process, slander those whom they find less than patriotic). But too often, they fail to understand that which they extol.
Do the Republicans not believe that an American court will render justice? Do they fear the first amendment of the Constitution? Do they doubt the mettle of Manhattanites — not to mention all other Americans?
The lack of logic is breathtaking. The Attorney General's decision is as American as apple pie. We should be standing up proudly to the rest of the world, saying, "Look at us! How many countries on the planet could be so grievously wounded and still treat the accused in such a democratic fashion?"
The right wing is very fond of quoting Winston Churchill. Funny how they can't see that a terror trial in New York could be our finest hour.
Monday, November 16, 2009
In an era in which anybody, no matter how ordinary, can become a celebrity, we cats would like to say goodbye to someone who was truly accomplished: the actor Edward Woodward.
Mr. Woodward first came to our attention in 1980, in "Breaker Morant." It was a film about so many serious topics — the twilight of empire, the agony of an unwinnable war, the insanity of the death penalty — that we wonder how much patience audiences would have for it today. In another of our favorites, he did a spirited turn (no pun intended) as the Ghost of Christmas Present in 1984's "A Christmas Carol."
That's just a sliver of his impressive filmography, and we cats will miss him. But we secretly suspect that he died just to get away from the relentless coverage of you-know-who's book tour.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Oh, boy, here we go again. The right-wing nutbags must be going bananas over President Obama's latest bow to a head of state. This time it was to the Emperor and Empress of Japan, with whom he lunched in Tokyo.
While we cats see nothing terribly significant in the President's gestures and are certain he is doing them to be polite, we wish he'd cut it out. Not because it inflames the crazy base of the Republican Party (which we enjoy), but because it's simply wrong.
Decrees no less an expert than Miss Manners:
"Royal personages... do not have the right to receive physical obeisance from American citizens. One does not bow or curtsy to a foreign monarch because the gesture symbolizes recognition of her power over her subjects."
Okay, Mr. President? Can we stop now?
As for all those right-wing maniacs who frothed over a completely fabricated earlier Obama "controversy" — and you know what we mean — Miss Manners also has the final word: "The hand-over-the-heart gesture is optional for all."
Saturday, November 14, 2009
The news is simply chock-full of Republican brawls these days. While we celebrate them all, here are a few of our faves.
Hutchison vs. Perry: We cats note with interest that Kay Bailey Hutchison, who is itching to be Governor of Texas, has decided not to resign her Senate seat after all. Perhaps she didn't want to equate herself with the recent sorry string of Republican quitters? We cats think she decided it would be too dangerous to hand a Senate appointment to her despised GOP rival, Governor Rick Perry — who could promptly solidify his standing with the whackjob base by choosing... oh, say, Lou Dobbs.
South Carolina GOP vs. Lindsey Graham: Poor little Lindsey. Far-right nuts like the folks at Free Republic have always hated him. Now his own state party has decided it likes him even less than it likes Mark Sanford. Lindsey is so unpopular back home now that we cats are wondering when, not if, that inevitable other shoe will drop.
Crist vs. Rubio: Speaking of such shoes, Florida Governor and Senate wannabe Charlie Crist has had a very rough week. He's been caught needlessly lying about his support of the stimulus plan, and now his telegenic right-wing primary opponent has been invited to keynote CPAC. We cats think Marco Rubio is a mental case, but Crist — ugh, what a revolting fake of a man.
Sarah Palin vs. Everybody: While we will spend none of our valuable time reading about the "book" tour, we are thrilled that what's-her-name's ghosted tome has reopened all those ugly McCain campaign wounds. (And P.S. to Katie Couric: Since the Alaskan quitter has accused you of leaving "substantive" interview bits on the cutting-room floor, we urge you to release all of your Palin tapes. Surely the more appropriate "S" terms for what you didn't air are "silly," "stupid," and "shockingly unqualified.")
RNC vs. The Unborn: Finally, although they are hastening to "correct" it, the fact that the RNC insurance plan covers abortion is another deliciously disgusting example of Republican entitlement. They think nothing of butting into the rest of our lives, but assume that the rules do not apply to them. We cats HISS at their hypocrisy. Did we mention how happy we are that they're not in power any more?
(IMAGE: Pelea de gatos en una despensa, Paul de Vos, 1592)
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
UPDATE: If you don't believe us, read this account of the President's visit from The New York Daily News.
(PHOTO: Luke Sharrett, The New York Times)
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
We cats are very fond of former President Clinton. In fact, we'd go so far as to say that he would have escaped his second term completely unscathed if he'd only thought to proposition us instead of that Lewinsky girl. Of course, our scratchy tongues may have bothered him a bit. But he was clearly, um, a cat man.
Anyway, we were very pleased when we heard that Bill was heading up to Capitol Hill today to give Senate Democrats a pep talk on health care. It sounds as if he not only breathed new life into an understandably roiled caucus, he made incredible sense along the way. (And supported our post from yesterday, too.)
He said, "Just pass the bill, even if it's not exactly what you want. When you try and fail, the other guys write history.”
Bravo, Mr. President. We cats can only add the following words from a predecessor of yours: "No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings."
And to all 100 members of the Senate, we say this: It's time to find out who's a human being — and who's not. We already have plenty of nominees for the latter category. Prove that you belong in the former one.
Monday, November 9, 2009
What did we cats say about governing being complicated and difficult? The House version of the health care overhaul is not even 48 hours old, and an urgent fund raising appeal from the National Abortion Rights Action League has landed in our e-mail.
"The House passage of the Stupak-Pitts amendment is an outrageous blow to women’s freedom and privacy," the message says. "If this gets through the Senate, it will be tantamount to a FULL BAN on abortion access in the new system."
Sigh. We cats are not sure that Stupak-Pitts is what NARAL goes on to call it: "the greatest restriction on abortion in a generation." But let's not split hairs. Our point is, while we almost always agree with NARAL on the issues, we're going to let this one go.
Why? Because governing is complicated and difficult.
We need to give cover to all those Democrats who represent Republican-leaning Congressional districts and who voted for health care reform. It's more important to us cats to hold the House with a healthy 258-seat majority comprised of Democrats like Congressmen like Brad Ellsworth (D-IN). Because a lot of stuff has to get done.
In our view, it's not only important to get health care reform passed — it's crucial for abortion rights that we Democrats continue to control the White House and the Congress. The folks on the Supreme Court aren't getting any younger.
In the end, House members like Rosa DeLauro agreed, and voted for the bill. “I stood my ground,” the pro-choice Connecticut Democrat told Politico. “We all stand our ground. We also know, we all know, that you must focus on the endgame, and that’s to pass health care.”
So — sorry, NARAL. We cats won't be sending you any money today. We're too busy focusing on the endgame — not just health care, but Roe v. Wade. Try us again later.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
A week that saw the Fort Hood shooter brought down by a feisty five-foot-four civilian police officer named Kimberly was capped last night by an historic House vote that even the cranky guys over at Politico admit was thanks to Nancy Pelosi.
"For all the work that went into pulling together the votes for the bill — the President, Cabinet secretaries, legions of White House aides, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s deft touch with conservative Blue Dogs and senior lawmakers, Majority Whip Jim Clyburn and his team of vote-counting lieutenants, progressive grassroots organizations and any number of others who could rightly take credit for a piece of the victory — no one could doubt that it took Pelosi’s leadership to deliver a congressional vote in favor of a national health care system that eluded President Bill Clinton, Sen. Ted Kennedy and [Congressman John] Dingell’s father, who first introduced such a bill in 1943."
We cats don't know what's going to happen over on the Senate side. But today, we PURR at Ms. Pelosi — all, um, five feet of her. Well done, Madam Speaker!
Saturday, November 7, 2009
In this age of cable news gab- and shoutfests, it can be difficult to appreciate the lasting impact of the political events we're witnessing. Talking heads — with or without journalistic credentials — inflate or spin them to suit their preferred narratives.
Knowing that, we cats are gratified that The New York Times has chosen to remind us today of ripples from NY-23 that you'll never hear on FOX News. Heck, you may not even hear them on "Hardball," although the chances there are probably greater that you could.
Ripple #1: The National Republican Congressional Committee sank a quarter of a million dollars into the candidacy of Dede Scozzafava, only to see her driven from the race by their conservative base and endorse the Democrat — who went on to win. That's $750,000 they won't have to spend somewhere else. We cats are sure that Democratic Congressmen like Ron Klein from Florida are grateful for that.
Ripple #2: Now-Congressman Owens will be, in the words of The Times, "a crucial vote in the health care debate." Hel-LO, teabaggers! You can shout and scream and wave your disgusting Holocaust signs all you want, but our guy just won a seat that's been Republican for almost 140 years. And he's on the floor voting. (Canceled out on his White House meeting, in fact, to do so.)
Ripple #3: Not mentioned in this particular Times article, but front and center in our furry little minds, is how effectively the Republicans have shot themselves in the foot by alienating and banishing a moderate woman candidate. Goodness, they're even thinking of stripping her of her leadership position in the New York State Assembly. We cats are not in the business of advising Republicans, but we think this would be a mistake. And we're dying for them to do it!
In the end, amid all the shouting, what to think about all this? We cats don't really like water, but we believe the lesson is simple: Don't focus on the rock or pebble hitting the pond surface. Watch the ripples.
Friday, November 6, 2009
We cats worry that mass ignorance of historical and cultural references could forever render outrages like McCarthyism and the Holocaust meaningless.
In other words, folks, over-the-top language gets you nowhere. It immediately diminishes whatever argument you're making because you're reaching for the easy allusion, whether or not it makes sense. (In the teabaggers' case, it never does.)
Therefore, we will not reproduce the ridiculous sign that invoked the Holocaust and which was carried at the "spontaneous" anti-healthcare-reform rally led by that mentally ill woman from Minnesota. We will simply quote Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel — who, unlike the right-wing nuts who have been convinced to lobby against their own interests, actually has some credibility on the subject.
"This kind of political hatred," Mr. Wiesel tweeted, "is indecent and disgusting."
We cats note with interest that President Obama has invited victorious Congressional candidate Bill Owens (D-NY-23) to the White House this afternoon. In that spirit, we'd like to issue a few invitations of our own.
We invite former Republican Congressional candidate Dede Scozzafava, chased out of her race in NY-23 by the teabaggers and Palinistas, to become a Democrat. Oh, and those 11 Republican county chairs in New York who nominated Scozzafava and rejected Doug Hoffman? We invite you over, too. Your party base obviously doesn't think you know what you're doing — despite the fact that you guys have held this seat since 1872. Kiss the crazies goodbye and throw in with us.
While we cats are sorry he lost the election in New Jersey on Tuesday, we can't entirely disagree when The Rude Pundit calls Governor Jon Corzine a naughty name. So we invite Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to appoint Governor Corzine to a position at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Perhaps he could spearhead a new ad campaign on the lifesaving benefits of seat belt use.
We invite New York City Michael Bloomberg to switch parties once more. Put a "D" after your name again, Mike. If you can't win by a large margin after spending $100 million of your own money, you might as well come back.
And finally, now that unemployment has hit 10.2 percent, we invite all those businesses who got stimulus money to start hiring again.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Before we leave the topic of NY-23 for tonight, we cats just wanted to mention a little throwaway item about failed Conservative candidate Doug Hoffman that we saw in The New York Times.
"Mr. Hoffman spoke to a deflated crowd of about 50 in a hotel ballroom here soon after midnight on Wednesday and said he had called [Democratic rival Bill] Owens to concede."
Fifty people? Just 50? Where were the hordes of fervent teabaggers and Sarah Palin lovers who flooded upstate New York to return America to God? Surely midnight is not too late to stay up when so much is at stake?
And then it dawned on us. These are the teabaggers — folks who are much more interested in calling the President an usurper and screaming about taking their country back than in doing the actual hard work of politics. The former gets you talked about on the cable news screamfests. The latter doesn't.
See you in 2010, guys! We cats look forward to it.
Since we cats are getting to this a tad late, we're behind absolutely everybody on the post-election overanalysis. But we'll take a whack at it anyway.
Hairball: The Democrats lost the gubernatorial races in Virginia and New Jersey for several reasons. But the thing that sticks up our puckered little butts worse than our veterinarian's thermometer is the fact that, at least in Virginia, we had a prolonged and expensive primary. We HISS at primaries. We simply cannot waste time fighting with each other. Let the Republicans do that.
Yummy: Speaking of Republicans fighting, we absolutely love the results in NY-23, particularly since Sarah Palin intervened so mightily in the race and got slapped back for her trouble. It's clear to us cats that, as with the elections in Virginia and New Jersey, voters said they preferred pragmatism over ideology. Will this teach the Republican base a lesson? We fervently hope not.
Hairball: As for the vote in Maine, on behalf of all our friends and loved ones in the gay and lesbian community, we are devastated. But we took heart when we heard Barney Frank's advice: Time is on our side. A new generation is coming. So hang in there, guys. On this, the first anniversary of the election of Barack Obama, we cats still believe in a place called Hope.
Monday, November 2, 2009
We cats are understandably confident of our superior writing skills. In fact, we're confident of everything we do. But sometimes, it's best to just sit back, shut up and let someone else do the talking.
Surfing around some Maine-based media sites to get a sense of what might happen with gay marriage there tomorrow, we found these most excellent observations at the website for The Bangor Daily News. Meet poster CGGage. We certainly would like to.
He writes: "I remember... when I was a kid (we wintered in Florida) and I, as a white male, was not allowed to ride in the back of the bus (where the BIG window was!)... I was told that I did not belong in the back of the bus... [that] that is where the 'n****s' sit. I was stunned. I was five years old.
"Now, my home state of Maine, always a place to subscribe to 'live and let live,' has a new challenge that, to me, ought to be an 80/20 vote for NO on 1. Instead, it is split. The YES people comment on morality, offenses to religion, children being taught in schools, and the general downfall of the all humankind. I am so disappointed by these self-serving, sanctimonious, reactionary, out-of-touch comments. I wonder how many of the same arguments were directed at blacks in 1960 in Miami?
"It seems as if we have regressed as a country. Instead of progressing forward to benefit all of mankind, many of our citizens instead have wrapped themselves in a cocoon of Old Testament values. It is almost like talking with those rattlesnake charmers and KKK people. It is so far out of touch with reality, you would think they were a member of the original Crusades. If you really want to see how far back to the Stone Ages we have fallen, just go to the message boards (as I did) on FOX News. ...Every gay epithet possible is used. Obama fares no better and is just short of the N-word. It is almost freakish. You would not believe these attitudes were possible in the United States of America in 2009.
"I ask myself why? What happened that pulled the bus into the ditch? Was it Falwell and that group? Is the bad economy driving people to circle the wagons, hate everyone, and 'protect' their own? What possible effect will the lifting of the marriage gender restriction be on them? None, but yet they feel somehow threatened by this. I am astounded this even came to a vote...
"The rest of the modern world long ago resolved this same-sex marriage rights. We, instead, are in the Dark Ages, and for some reason many of our citizens cling to these archaic ideas. It makes no sense. It is not even logical, yet it is happening.
"When I retire to my farm in Maine in a few years, I guess I will need to build a high wall and install that sprinkler system. No doubt there will be a cross-burning on my front lawn."
Sunday, November 1, 2009
We cats have to say we're as surprised as anyone that the fracas in the 23rd Congressional District of New York has turned — well, so fracas-y.
But indeed it has. Erstwhile Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava, chased from the race by conservative whackjobs, sang in her church choir this morning and then quietly released an endorsement of her former Democratic rival, Bill Owens, for Congress.
Will that throw the election to Owens? We cats are not counting chickens. It's a longtime Republican district — and conservatives, crowing with their "victory" of purity over moderation, surely must be pumped. They don't need anybody to push them to get to the polls.
Which brings us to the dire warning captured in our headline. We're still enjoying the antics of all the right-wing nutbags because we agree with David Plouffe that they could send the GOP into a permanent minority status. We also think that today was a very bad day for so-called Republican moderates. Like Republican Governor of Florida Charlie Crist, who wants to be his state's next Senator.
The conveniently married Charlie was the first GOP "star" we thought of yesterday when we heard Scozzafava had quit her race. Crist is way ahead in fundraising for the Senate seat — but his poll numbers in Florida have dropped, and his ultra-right primary opponent, Marco Rubio, has got to be feeling mighty bold in the wake of NY-23. Like their compatriots Palin, Pawlenty and Beck, Mr. Rubio and his supporters tolerate no dissent from their very conservative beliefs.
Watch your back, Charlie. The right-wing pod people are after you!
We cats are honored. Choosing elegance and power over the spectral, First Lady Michelle Obama decided to dress like us for Halloween! Or is she commenting on the cat fights going on in the Republican Party? Either way, we're thrilled.
(PHOTO: Getty Images)
Saturday, October 31, 2009
It appears that Dede Scozzafava, the Republican Congressional candidate in NY-23, has been scared out of the race. She's suspended her campaign — citing money troubles. (Hm. Election Day is only a few days away, but never mind.) We cats regret the move, since we savor any and all Republican infighting and have particularly enjoyed the snarling and hissing in NY-23. But we're not at all displeased that right-wing nutbags have managed to cow a moderate Republican into submission at the expense of their party's broader electoral appeal.
Speaking of scary, can Virginia really be ready to elect Robert F. McDonnell Governor? We cats find it amazing that after eight years of George W. Bush, any American voters would be willing to believe a right-wing religious nut when he says he'll govern as a moderate, and be a uniter, not a divider. What was it Bush tried to say? "You can't get fooled again!"
By the way, we also can't believe that Liz "I'm Nobody, But You're Supposed to Care What I Think" Cheney will be very happy about a McDonnell ascendancy. She's thinking of running for Senate in Virginia, and a Republican Governor limited by state law to one term would certainly be a potential rival.
Meanwhile, out in California, while we're sorry that Mayor Gavin Newsom has decided to drop out of the race for Governor, we're pleased that apparently the Democrats will have no primary while the Republicans will. Let them duke it out — nastily, divisively and expensively.
Finally, on a happier note, one of the last icky legacies of the late, unlamented Jesse Helms was removed yesterday when President Obama finally lifted the ban on HIV-positive people who want to travel to the United States. Jeez, it's about time, folks. Now maybe the World AIDS Day conference can be held somewhere in the U.S., and one of our cities will benefit from all the tourism dollars. (That's in addition, of course, to the fact that the U.S. is no longer behaving like Neanderthal hypocrites about AIDS — which pleases us very much.)
Happy Halloween, everyone! Pet a black cat today.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
We cats have a saying we're fond of: You can't do $!&*%$!%*&$! if you don't win.
After a long string of voting for losing Democratic candidates, and watching policies we didn't like get enacted, we gravitated toward folks who proved they could deliver at the ballot box. This often meant resisting the temptation to insist that all Democrats prove themselves 100 percent liberal. It also meant avoiding wasteful, divisive primaries. It usually involved compromise and consensus, both of which can be painful. But both of which are necessary.
Now, we can think of no greater affirmation of this approach than what's going on in New York's 23rd Congressional District — on the Republican side.
The GOP candidate for Army Secretary John McHugh's former seat is just not pure enough for conservative nutbags like Sarah Palin, Dick Armey and Marilyn Musgrave (all of whom are currently out of office, we can't help noting). Or for the hordes of true believers who have descended upon the district to help the Conservative Party candidate, Douglas Hoffman.
One quote from The New York Times that made our little ears prick up: "Many of the workers acknowledge that their efforts could deliver the election to the Democratic candidate, but they say it is more important to send a message than to win this race."
Well, now. We cats aren't guaranteeing that the Democrats will pick up this seat. But we love it when Republicans are less interested in winning than in tearing each other apart.
So we PURR at our friends on the right who continue to marginalize themselves. In the meantime, we'll just get along with the business of governing the country, and leave the true believing to them. Because you can't do you-know-what if you don't win.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
The Worst Person Who's Ever Lived was in Montreal on Thursday.
See, some former residents of the White House spend their post-Presidencies curing guinea worm disease and river blindness. Others are like George W. Bush. He's traveling Canada right now, on a pre-publication tour to promote the book he's allegedly writing — speaking to friendly business groups for $150,000 a pop. We cats find this obscene.
But wait, there's hope. Well before the Metropolitan Montreal's Board of Trade luncheon began, hundreds of protesters turned out at the Hotel Queen Elizabeth to honk horns, burn Bush in effigy and, you guessed it, throw shoes. And it's extremely amusing that during his speech, Bush made a thrilling Freudian slip when he listed a few of his "regrets" from his term in office. One of them, he said, was standing in front of that banner on the aircraft carrier — the one that said "Mission Impossible"!
Finally, there was the French-language newspaper glimpsed over the shoulder of a fellow subway passenger. It wasn't until later, when we checked our French dictionary, that we realized that a headline we'd read declared, "Everyone Spits at Bush."
Okay, we cats have a question. Our current President wins the Nobel Peace Prize. His predecessor is an object of loathing and disgust.
And the Nobel Peace Prize is bad how?
(PHOTO: John Mahoney, The Montreal Gazette)