Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Does This Man Look Like a Senator to You?

By Miss Kubelik

Okay, Claude Rains he isn't. But since we cats are doubtful that Lisa Murkowski will be able to catch Joe Miller in the ballot-counting race — she still trails by more than 1,200 votes — this dude could soon be the other Senator from the state of Alaska.

Unless, of course, something happens.

Like what, you ask? Well, we cats are, as you know, curious souls. And this Miller guy is more than just a right-wing whack job. Seriously, just look at him. You know that he's got to have some nefariousness in his past. Sexual? Financial? Drug-related? The sky could be the limit.

Our first question is whether the Murkowski people did any successful opposition research on Miller, which their high-minded candidate — who foolishly declined to go negative — refused to let them use.

Our second question is whether a defeated Lisa Murkowski will agree to share whatever Miller information she has with Democrat Scott McAdams.

We cats realize there are a lot of "ifs" in that scenario, and that McAdams is a longshot. But this is why we're always in favor of fielding candidates everywhere and anywhere, even in seemingly hopeless races. You never know when the folks on the other side will get caught in bed with a sheep — or nominate somebody the Republican establishment doesn't want. Like Joe Miller.

UPDATE: Lisa Murkowski has thrown in the towel. We cats are struck that the media pay tremendous attention when a sitting Senator — like Specter, Bennett, and now Murkowski — gets booted, but seem far less interested in John Cornyn's sorry list of non-incumbent primary candidates creamed by his party's right-wing insurgents.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Conspiracy of Silence

By Sniffles

So The New York Times has decided that Ken Mehlman's now-admitted homosexuality isn't news.

Apparently absolutely everyone in journalism knew that Kenny was gay. Maybe even before Kenny knew. Despite the hypocrisy inherent in Kenny's role in a nationally orchestrated Republican campaign against gays in 2004, the punditocracy — in their infinite wisdom — determined back then that his sexual orientation wasn't worth reporting.

(More on their "infinite wisdom": Murkowski's a shoo-in.)

But we digress. Now that Kenny has owned up to being a traitor to the gay community, the media have decided — again — that it's not a story. Are we surprised?

At times like these, it can be tough to embrace the First Amendment rights of these punditizing hypocrites. But we must try.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


By Baxter

This is the final resting place in Saint Remi, Quebec of Pierre Trudeau, who died 10 years ago next month. We cats stopped by today to check it out.

It looks a little different now — a short metal gate and an overhead plaque have been added — but only a little. What you can't see in this photo is the fact that the Trudeau family mausoleum sits in a small suburban Catholic cemetery right across a two-lane highway from an industrial park.

Okay, we understand that Trudeau may not be the most important Canadian. That title probably goes to John A. McDonald, the first prime minister. And among recent PMs, Lester Pearson might edge Pierre out in the statesman category.

But for the first time ever in the country's history, Trudeau made Canada cool. He is the one Canadian leader that many people around the world can name. And the modesty of his gravesite paradoxically carries a big punch. Consider us cats amazed.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

That Other Nation's Capital

We cats are hitting the road again. And we're eager to find out if there's a plaque or some sort of historical marker on the Chateau Laurier suite where Belinda Stronach and Peter MacKay broke up back in 2005. We doubt it, but we'll look anyway.

And since the teabaggers will be swarming the Mall in Washington, D.C. this weekend, we can think of no better time to be away. But we'll post when we can.

Friendly Fire

By Zamboni

Today's big political story — even though it's not finished yet and probably won't be for a couple of weeks — is Lisa Murkowski's potential primary defeat at the hands of a Palin-backed teabagger.

It's not that we cats aren't intrigued. We do wonder whether teabagger Miller's slim lead is due to an anti-choice stampede at the polls, or if Murkowski — whose photographs always make her look like Lucy Van Pelt in full fussbudget mode — didn't take her opponent seriously enough.

But we're more interested in the bigger picture, and we're wondering when everyone else will notice. In short, the message that this year's primaries have sent the Republican establishment is chilling. Look at the list of GOP stalwarts who have crumpled so far:

Bob Bennett — Incredibly conservative Republican Senator from Utah. Killed by his own troops because he wasn't, um, conservative enough.

Kay Bailey Hutchison — Really right-wing Senator gal who decided she'd rather be Governor of Texas. Killed by her own troops because she wasn't as nutty as Rick Perry.

Bob Inglis — Rock-ribbed Southern conservative Congressman, killed by his own troops because he said President Obama probably wasn't a socialist.

Charlie Crist — Supposed moderate and closeted Florida Republican who dared to welcome stimulus money to his beleaguered state. Killed by his own troops and running for Senate as an Independent now.

Bill McCollum — Chosen gubernatorial candidate of the Florida Republican establishment, which wasn't enough to carry him in the primary over Rick Scott, a slimy multimillionaire who made his money cheating Medicare. McCollum was killed by his own troops, who didn't care enough to turn out for him.

Rob Simmons — Alleged Connecticut moderate and Senate candidate, killed by his own troops in favor of Republican wrestling nutbag Linda MacMahon.

Dede Scozzofava — Remember her? She was a New York candidate for Congress, killed by her own troops for being a "radical leftist."

This list is long, and we may be adding Senator Murkowski to it. Who's next? David Vitter? Rick Lazio? We cats lick our chops and wait.

But there's a down side to all this Republican chaos. While we enjoy the fact that inmates control the GOP asylum, how this is good for their party — and, consequently, for the country — is beyond us.

UPDATE: While we now know that David Vitter will not make this list, we cats realize we made a serious omission when we forgot to include Mitch McConnell's handpicked candidate for Jim Bunning's Kentucky Senate seat. Trey Grayson. Killed by his own troops.

(IMAGE: Douglas C. Neidermeyer, killed in Viet Nam by... well, you know.)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Lest We Furr-get: "Ambassador" Karen Hughes

By Miss Kubelik

We cats are wondering if, in honor of this post, we should change the name of "Lest We Furr-get" to "What a Crock."

Because that's what Karen Hughes' Bush-era stint at the State Department was.

Remember? Think back very, very far... to 2005, to be exact. (Which you might be doing anyway due to the upcoming Katrina anniversary.) The Worst Person Who's Ever Lived appointed the ever-grating Ms. Hughes to an ambassadorship of sorts. Her job — to "change Islamic perceptions about America."

A bare two years later, Ms Hughes, either bored out of her skull or just trying to cover up abject failure, resigned and returned to Texas.

Today, the same Ms. Hughes is "writing" op-ed pieces for The Washington Post, most laughably about the non-Ground-Zero non-mosque. Which she's against. And now, she says she simply can't remember ever working with the non-mosque's imam, Feisal Abdul Rauf — although she did so frequently during her "ambassadorship."

The non-Ground-Zero non-mosque story continues to morph into something less flattering to the Republicans and right wingers who claim to be so whipped up about it. We cats await the situation's final resolution with eager, and at the same time weary, anticipation.

In the meantime, though, we think this much is abundantly clear: Hughes' entire tenure at the State Department — like so much of the Bush Administration — was a colossal fraud. From beginning to end.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Shameless, Ignorant Exploitation — And The People Who Love (To Do) It

By Sniffles

We cats believe that there used to be a time — maybe when the Peace Corps was created? — when Americans were known for their friendliness and curiosity about other parts of the world. We had a certain amount of innocence, of course, but that was part of our charm.

However, we either must have been horribly mistaken, or we've turned into a nation of ignorant, hateful, xenophobic yahoos.

Or there's an entire cable "news" network devoted to feeding the paranoia of said yahoos.

Or both.

How embarrassing. We are scheduled to travel out of the country again this week, to another world capital — which, although narrowly ruled by Conservatives, seems somehow more civilized than ours these days. How will we explain, if asked, the screaming over the non-Ground-Zero non-mosque? Or the Americans who apparently now believe that our President with the controversial Christian minister is a Muslim?

Yes, we know it's the nuts on the fringe right who are feeding this insanity. But we also know that the media have been slow to call them out on their fringy-ness. But that's a HISS for another post.

Meanwhile, we were struck by a line from Nicholas Kristof's column this morning. "Today's crusaders against the Islamic community center [in New York]," he writes, "are promoting a... paranoid intolerance, and one day we will be ashamed of it."

"One day"? Heck, we cats are ashamed of it now.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lest We Furr-get: Jeremiah Wright Edition

By Baxter

Remember the guy posing with then-Senator Barack Obama in this photo? Two years ago March, the right wing was all upset about him.

They accused Senator Obama of — drum roll — sitting in church for years and listening to the sermons of a racist.

That's right, church. When it suited them just fine, the Obama haters knew plenty well that the soon-to-be Democratic nominee was a practicing Christian.

But now, the same nut cases are saying that President Obama is a Muslim. Whoops!

Can our national discourse get any crazier? Or the Republican Party any stupider? Is it time for us cats to go back to Canada already?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tidbits and Cat Treats — Back from Canada Edition

By Zamboni

It's not that we cats don't love America. There isn't a day that we don't marvel that we were lucky enough to be born in this country and at this point in history. The freedoms that we enjoy are unparalleled.

Nevertheless, it's always a relief to get away for a few days to Canada. Our neighbors to the north don't have Glenn Beck, or the teabaggers, or John McCain's lifetime legacy (the famous quitter from Alaska). But now that we're back, let's take a quick look at what we missed.

Oh, gosh! — Some primary elections took place. And it seems as if the above-mentioned famous quitter didn't do so well.

In the Wyoming governor's race, Rita Meyer came in second — and, in true non-Palin fashion, selflessly dropped out rather than contest the results. But more important — our count is that Her Quitterness has been rebuffed in three recent primary elections: in Wyoming and also in the Washington State Senate race. Add that to the recent Georgia gubernatorial election, and we'd say Palin is a very, very damaged brand.

The "mosque" is not a mosque — but even if it were, who cares? The President is right. This is one of those "issues" on which we cats prefer to be on the correct rather than the white-hot-political side. Because the white-hot-political side is, quite frankly, full of crap. All the jerks making hay of this story will be labeled Coughlin-esque by historians in years to come.

(Besides, 9/11 family member Ted Olson agrees with us on this — so, nanny-nanny-boo-boo, right wingers.)

We cats are very happy that Bill McCollum is now leading Rick Scott in the Florida Republican gubernatorial primary, because it'll just make Scott spend more money and be more divisive. You go, Rick!

Finally, happy Women's Suffrage Day. But we cats are mystified. Fifty percent of Americans were denied the right to vote for nearly 150 years of our nation's existence. That's pretty damn serious. Yet why does it always seem to be treated by journalists and historians in lighthearted, wry terms? To us cats — three of whom are female — it's no laughing matter.

We cats PURR in the direction of everyone who worked so diligently, and so long, for women to get the vote. "Well done, Sister Sufragette!"

Sunday, August 15, 2010

True (and Legal) Patriot Love

By Miss Kubelik

Same-sex marriage has been legal across Canada since 2005. There were several bumps and a slew of court cases along the way, but all in all, it took remarkably little time for marriage equality to become the law of this land.

We cats salute two Liberal governments (under Jean Chretien and Paul Martin), an enlightened and reasonable Supreme Court, and an overall positive change in attitude on the part of the Canadian people for helping this to pass.

Only the Tories — mostly in Alberta — held out nearly to the end. Then, in 2006, the new Conservative Prime Minister — the ever-unappealing Stephen Harper — made noises about reopening the issue and returning to "traditional" marriage. After a motion to do so was defeated in Parliament that December, Harper gave up. That was fast.

We cats continue to be amused at the right's insistence that same-sex marriage threatens opposite-sex unions. From the Botanical Gardens to the Plateau to Old Montreal yesterday, bikers passed no fewer than three heterosexual wedding parties. And as it was a beautiful Saturday in August, there surely were hundreds more that we didn't see.

Take a hint from Stephen Harper, right-wing hypocrites, and stop firing. You're out of ammunition.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Vile Velos?

By Sniffles

Today in Montreal, it was sunny and the temperature was in the high 70s Fahrenheit. Which meant that every restaurant that could had its terrasse set up, with nearly every seat full.

Other seats were filled, too — all over town. Bike seats.

See, Montreal is a very velo-friendly city, with easy-to-navigate commuter bike lanes downtown as well as well-maintained trails for pleasure riding. Bikes are welcome on designated Metro subway cars during rush hour. And of course, Montreal is the birthplace of the BIXI, the public bike-sharing franchise that's spread as far as London, Melbourne and Minneapolis — and coming soon to Washington, D.C.

But don't tell Dan Maes, that demented teabagger who just won the Republican nomination for governor of Colorado. Dan Maes thinks that bike sharing is evil. It's — gasp! — a "United Nations program."

We cats have no idea what that means. What we do know is this: Lots of Montrealers are getting around more easily at prices they can afford. They're getting good exercise and they're not polluting the air. And because the BIXI systems are selling all over the world, Quebec's economy is laughing all the way to the bank.

Oh, and there's one more thing we know. Dan Maes is an idiot.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Climb Ev'ry Mountain

Okay, so Mount Royal isn't as high as the Alps, and the Von Trapps would have had a much easier time if they'd fled the Nazis through Montreal's famous Olmstead-designed park. We'll think about that while we enjoy Canadian climes for the next few days. But as usual, we'll post when we can.

Tidbits and Cat Treats — South Carolina-Georgia Edition

By Baxter

We cats are inspired to comment on the following news items from the Palmetto and Peach States.

In the category of "Lest We Furr-get," a little-noticed item in today's New York Times made us laugh: "South Carolina Takes Stimulus Money."

How droll. We all remember when Mark Sanford, in his pre-Argentine-soul-mate days, was considered such a rising Republican star that he was defying the hated Obama Administration on the stim (and, in the process, sticking it financially to his very poor state).

Talk about retreating with your tail between your legs. We predict Sanford will do it all the way to Buenos Aires someday.

Meanwhile, some of Tuesday's election results have grabbed our attention — specifically, the GOP runoff for governor of Georgia. In that race, a right-wing nutcase named Karen Handel has conceded to another right-wing nutcase named Nathan Deal, even though Handel only lost by a whisker — a mere 2,500 votes.

Our first thought was how amazing it was that a candidate endorsed by the famous quitter from Alaska would do something so gracious and unifying — instead of following the usual Palin model of "Me, Me, Me."

Our second thought was how interesting that Palin’s endorsement in Georgia didn’t roll the way her endorsement of Nikki Haley in South Carolina did. Given that Deal finished way behind in the original race, it's clear to us cats that that the Palin endorsement limited Handel's ability to pick up votes from supporters of the two candidates eliminated in the primary.

In other words, while the famous quitter may be golden with 20 to 25 percent of the hard-core Republican right, she apparently has no clout with the other 80 percent of the electorate.

But, hey — we cats are Democrats. Not our problem! Do we hear some PURRS?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lone Star Stupid

By Zamboni

Why should the federal government respond to the request for more National Guard troops from a Republican Governor who has openly flirted with secession?

We cats are in a cranky mood today. Screw you, Rick Perry. Find your own troops.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Happy Nixon Resignation Day

Thirty-six years ago tonight, we cats watched Richard Nixon's resignation speech. He left Washington the next day — after that bizarre farewell in the East Room of the White House.

Back then, we would never have dreamed that George W. Bush would someday make Richard Nixon look good. Or that the Republican Party of 2010 would be one that Nixon would not recognize.

Oh, well — Happy No-Dick Day anyway!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Lest We Furr-get: "The Will of the People" Edition

By Miss Kubelik

We cats are still plowing our way through 138 pages of Judge Vaughn Walker's decision in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, and enjoying every page. But we're enjoying the outrage on the right even more.

Gasp! Choke! Judge Walker is a lefty gay Commie who's overridden the values of 7 million California voters! Never mind that the time to complain about the judge's alleged sexual orientation is well past. Never mind that he's a Reagan-Bush appointee that the Democrats once blocked as too right wing. And never mind that we're only talking about 52 percent of "the people" — not that percentages actually matter when it comes to protecting minority rights.

What really amuses us cats is the suddenly sacred esteem in which the anti-gay-marriage crowd holds the electoral process. Somehow we don't remember them getting all upset when Floridians' votes went uncounted in 2000. And surely they haven't accepted the will of the 65 million American voters who decided two years ago that Barack Obama should be President.

Finally, if they really, truly believed in the will of the people, they would wholeheartedly agree with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham's vote to confirm our newest Supreme Court justice, Elena Kagan.

"Elections," Senator Graham quoted in deferring to Presidential appointment power, "have consequences."

Thursday, August 5, 2010

There's a Land That We've Heard Of, Once in a Lullaby

By Sniffles

Okay, we cats are generally very pragmatic and political. But today, we're writing to support something bigger than politics.

Yesterday, in his decision on Perry V. Schwarzenegger, Judge Vaughn Walker used language that gave us goosebumps. We suspect that his words will be quoted a century or more from now.

Why? Well, because when the U.S. Constitution was first written, the only folks with recognized rights were white, male, Christian landowners. And ever since, the evolution of the Constitution has been, in our view, the story of "Who's next?"

It didn't happen overnight. Slowly but surely — after a lot of blood, sweat and tears, and one Civil War — Constitutional rights were given to more and more Americans, including former slaves, African-American descendants of slaves, women, Native Americans, immigrants, et cetera, et cetera, and so on and so forth.

And that, in a nutshell, is why we cats revere the Constitution. Not because it was perfect at its creation — but because of its elasticity. Its malleability. Its willingness to offer more and more people its protections.

We've heard a lot of chatter over the last 24 hours about Judge Walker's brilliant decision and the adverse affect it could have on the Democrats' electoral fortunes this November. And you know what? We cats don't care. We're sorry, but we don't. Sometimes you have to take a bullet for what's right. And Judge Walker's decision yesterday was so, so right.

("Right" as in "correct," that is. Totally, completely, absolutely correct.)

There are times when you have to be on the right — that is, correct — side of history. This is one of those times.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Equality Wins

It may be President Obama's birthday today, but all of America got a present.

(PHOTO: Reuters)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Twelve Questions

By Baxter

So the Worst Person Who's Ever Lived has "written a book." O joy.

We cats can't complain that George W. Bush will be touring the country and peddling his pathetic little memoir just as America goes to the polls this fall. What better reminder do we need of how he and the Worst Person Who's Ever Lived (If Indeed He Were a Person) wrecked the country?

Meanwhile, we cats have some suggestions for the unfortunate journalistic poseurs who'll be assigned to interview this awful man. Since we can't count on reporters to ferret out the truth any more, we'd like to recommend the following questions. Take 'em, journalists, and see if George W. Bush — who either surreptitiously drank or ostentatiously vacationed his way through the 43rd Presidency — can answer any of them.

Here goes!

1. What was the title of the book you were reading to those Sarasota schoolkids on September 11, 2001? Who was the author?

2. What was the name of your Secretary of Housing and Urban Development?

3. What Virginia law school supplied many of your Justice Department appointees?

4. What does the acronym "FEMA" stand for?

5. What was the name of the aircraft carrier on which you landed for your "Mission Accomplished" moment? To what port was the ship heading?

6. Who was your lawyer in Bush v. Gore?

7. On what court did Samuel Alito serve when you nominated him to the Supreme Court?

8. What was the name of the Utah mine where five miners and three rescuers died as a result of the mine's collapse? What company owned the mine at the time?

9. Who won the Nobel Peace Prize the year after the September 11 attacks?

10. Who was Jeb Bush's lieutenant governor?

11. What college baseball championship team did you welcome to the White House in 2004? Whom did they defeat for the college world series title?

12. Who's buried in Grant's Tomb?

(Sorry, we cats stole that last one from "You Bet Your Life." Just a reminder that, thanks to George W. Bush, 4,413 American soldiers who died in Iraq no longer have their lives to bet.)

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Few Words About Weddings

By Zamboni

On the weekend of Chelsea Clinton's secret (and apparently very tasteful) nuptials, we cats received a verbal "save the date" for another wedding, planned for this fall. The happy couple will travel to Washington, D.C. for their marriage license and their ceremony — because the District is closer to their home than Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.

Yep, the couple is gay. So of course we immediately teased them that their rush to the altar will, in the view of the Republicans and teabaggers, destroy traditional marriage.

We are still waiting to hear how exactly that works. Our owners have been hitched for more than 23 years, and we've yet to see hordes of homosexuals descending on our home to tear it down brick by brick. And the right wingers never seem to be able to explain it, either — beyond citing the Bible. Which as we all know has nothing to do with civil law.

So we'd like to take this opportunity to remind the teabaggers of our favorite quote from Inherit the Wind: "The Bible is a book. It's a good book. But it's not the only book."

And as long as we're on the subject, we'd like to further commend the Clintons for pulling off Chelsea's wedding so brilliantly. How refreshing to have famous people resist the temptation to lay their lives bare for the world. There's been too much of that lately. We cats are sick of it — and you all know who we're talking about.