Friday, September 30, 2011

Tidbits and Cat Treats — Anwar Al-Awlaki Edition

By Zamboni

So another terrorist bites the dust. The ACLU is mad, but so is Ron Paul, which we cats found very amusing because none of the other Republican candidates appear to have rushed to his side. Here are some other aspects of the Al-Awlaki story that have our lips quietly curling tonight like Cheshire cats'.

Wow, that Barack Obama guy is one fierce and ruthless mother, isn't he? He's even got us cats a little scared, now. But we remember with laughter and derision how the famous quitter from Alaska once questioned the President's manliness. Well, Sarah Palin, we think Obama has plenty of cojones, and you, madam, are full of mierda.

Given the Obama Administration's impressive record on fighting terrorism, and the Republicans' smoke and mirrors, we should remind ourselves that Ron Paul belongs to the political party that A) cheers when the subject of Texas executions comes up, and B) won a Georgia Senate seat by claiming that a decorated, combat-wounded Vietnam vet aided and abetted guys like Osama bin Laden and Al-Awlaki.

Now that Obama has nailed so many major al Qaeda figures, we're waiting for the fat man from New Jersey to apologize for calling him a "bystander" President.

Killing all these al Qaeda guys also makes it hard to take seriously Republican charges that Obama has been running around the world begging other countries to forgive America's sins.

Ron Paul says it's okay to let a U.S. citizen die if he doesn't have health insurance. But it's not okay to kill a U.S. citizen who living abroad and actively working with the organization that brought down the World Trade Center. Ron Paul is a nut.

And finally, yes — in case you ever doubted it, Glenn Greenwald is still a liberal loser pain in the ass.

This Shoe Doesn't Fit

By Baxter

How can somebody who speaks fluent Mandarin be so dumb?

That's what we cats want to know after we ran across Jon Huntsman's latest goof. Responding to questions about shuttering his Orlando campaign headquarters and moving it lock, stock and barrel to New Hampshire, the former Utah guv tried to spin it as a real grassy-rootsy kind of move. The Granite State, he said, "is a market where the old Adlai Stevenson shoe leather is important."

We cats can just hear all those Republican primary voters going, "WTF?"

Huntsman may be able to chit-chat in Chinese, but he hasn't exactly mastered his own party's language. Of course, this recent cultural reference isn't quite as painful and awkward as his Kurt Cobain "joke," because it wasn't made in front of a stony-faced debate audience. But if the Cobain line was a pathetic attempt to appeal to the GOP youth vote, we doubt that more than three young Republicans in the entire country know 1) who Adlai Stevenson was, and 2) why his name is associated with shoe leather. (See above.)

Somebody also should tell Huntsman that the teabaggers are in charge, and the way to their hearts is probably not to invoke the name of the Democratic sacrificial lamb whom Eisenhower twice slaughtered at the polls. Heck, they think Ike was a socialist anyway.

Yep, we cats still think Huntsman is cute. But the way things are going, his campaign will end up a surefire case of Jonny, we hardly knew ye.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Life, Liberty And The Pursuit of Happiness

By Miss Kubelik

Today, we cats drove by an anti-choice demonstration. We flipped them the bird — and 10 minutes later, when we drove past them again, they had dispersed.

We'd like to think that our rude gesture had upset them. But we're sure that, like Nazis, they were following a clockwork schedule — and punched their time cards at the moment they said they would.

Which leaves us cats wondering: When will the definition of "unalienable rights" include women's? We think, unfortunately — considering the resurgence of right-wing conservative Christians — the answer is, never.

In fact, a woman's right to determine her reproductive destiny is not the only liberty that the American experiment with democracy has refused to protect. We are reminded — in the wake of the endorsement of Alabama's immigration law — that there are many questions of individual freedom that the United States has not yet gotten right.

Why should we trust the U.S. to eventually see the light, when countries like Canada have already gotten there?

We cats are waiting for that answer. In the meantime, we're planning ahead.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Other Rick

By Sniffles

We cats just want to point out that we called Herman Cain the GOP's new flavor of the week well before the famous quitter from Alaska did. And, unlike the quitter, we got his name right.

Today, however, it seems that the Republicans' new taste sensation is a big (high-calorie, of course) bite of Chris Christie. Gah. We can't go anywhere on our cable TV dial today without seeing the New Jersey Governor, looming large.

Of course, this will continue until the pundits either talk themselves out or finally understand that the nutcase Republican base will nix Christie faster than you can say "Get your fat butt back to Jersey and lower my damn taxes, you blowhard!" (Seriously. Someone said that very thing on Free Republic yesterday.)

Meanwhile, nobody is paying much attention to Rick "Don't Google Me" Santorum, which doesn't surprise us because the very mention of his name probably drives the TV gabfests' ratings down. But we cats think that, for the incredibly limited resources he has, Mr. Man On Dog is probably running the best campaign. He has a strategy. He's sticking to it. He's slowly moving up in the polls. And he may even be poaching another candidate's staff.

Our only questions at this point are whether his money holds out, and whether another Bachmann-like phoenix rises close to the Iowa caucuses and steals his support.

On the other hand, he may also want to stop fighting with voters. And, oh, yes — eating phallic food.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Hissy Fit

By Zamboni

Okay, let's get this straight.

New York Times columnist Joe Nocera has to apologize to teabagger members of Congress for (accurately) comparing them to terrorists.

But when gay rights individuals and groups complain that Apple, Netflix, Microsoft and major retailers are indirectly supporting religious hate groups, and Fat Mike Huckabee calls it "economic terrorism," that's acceptable?

We cats are so sick of this linguistic hypocrisy. We thought that once Obama offed Osama bin Laden and took the terrorism sword out of the Republicans' hands, this kind of idiocy would stop. But no, the GOP has doubled down instead.

If Joe Nocera had to apologize, Fat Mike has to, too. Simple as that.

(By the way... holding FEMA funding hostage to insane desires for more, and more, and more spending cuts? That's terrorism. Americans are suffering, and Republicans couldn't care less.)

We cats hate these people. We cannot wait for November 2012.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Cain Mutiny

By Baxter

The hapless Republican Party has a new flavor of the week, and it appears to be pepperoni with extra cheese.

That's right, folks: Pizza man Herman Cain won the GOP's Florida straw poll this weekend. Herman Cain!

Yep, Florida Republican stampeded to the guy who never met a Muslim he liked, all (we suspect) to express their extreme disapproval and disappointment with Rick Perry's rocky rollout — not to mention with the rest of their laughable candidates.

In fact, OMG — they're even swinging back to the fat man from New Jersey. (Or at least, the media are, because after all, all these trial balloons are usually floated by them first.) Regarding Christie, we cats have to admit we're tempted. Look at this photo from President Obama's recent visit to the flood-ravaged Garden State. Wouldn't it be hilarious to see these two standing side-by-side at their debates?

It's all too pathetic, because we know from our forays into Freeper World that the nutty Republican base is just Waiting for Sarah.

We cats don't know why we're paying any attention to a bunch of losers who refuse to reprimand an audience that boos a gay soldier. But it's been long apparent that the 2012 Republican clown college has morphed into the Island of Misfit Toys.

We cats PURR.

A Quickie: Keys to the Kingdom

Come 2015, it will be 1920 in Saudi Arabia. Saudi women will gain the right to vote.

Let's just hope they have someone to drive them to the polls.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd

By Miss Kubelik

Is it a reflection of the weakness of the Republican field, or the repulsiveness of the Republican base — or both — that has enabled the GOP debate audiences to grab headlines from the candidates?

We cats vote, both. The 2012 candidates are repellent — but the audiences, even more so.

They've cheered for hypothetical people with no health insurance to die. They've applauded for Rick Perry's 234 (and counting) executions. They've booed the notion of an academically high-achieving child of illegal immigrants. And they've hissed an active-duty soldier in Iraq who self-identified as gay.

Appalling. But it's oddly satisfying that the Republican audience is going to be a bigger problem for the eventual 2012 nominee than anything he (or she) said in a debate.

The GOP base is indeed a heartless, bloodthirsty group of people who hate their fellow Americans. Period, end o' story.

"Is Our Children Learning?" (A Sequel)

By Sniffles

Remember all those blacks who fought for the Confederacy? You know, those enslaved Americans who enlisted by the thousands to win the South's independence and preserve their own bondage?

Well, okay, they didn't. But don't worry — the error-riddled textbook that asserted this fantasy has allegedly been fixed.

After a flurry of embarrassment (but not nearly enough, in our opinion), the Virginia Board of Education has blessed a corrected version of Our Virginia that soon will be headed for the Commonwealth's classrooms.

We cats say, hm. We realize that we're curmudgeons when it comes to factual, typographical and grammatical errors, but somehow we have the feeling that if we picked up a "corrected" copy of this book today, we'd still find plenty of goofs to complain about. An earlier reference to the United States "Navel" Academy comes to mind.

On the other hand, how much worse can it be than what we encounter elsewhere every day? We've just about given up on "lie" and "lay," which are routinely abused by everyone from NPR business correspondents to healthcare workers. And POLITICO, which frequently appears to be operating editor-free, doesn't know the difference between "stationary" and "stationery."

Sigh. Sometimes there's no fixing the world. We know that just from the errors and falsehoods that the Republican Presidential candidates committed last night.

Nevertheless, we cats reserve the right to HISS.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Thought For The Day

"But what then is capital punishment but the most premeditated of murders, to which no criminal's deed, however calculated it may be, can be compared? For there to be equivalence, the death penalty would have to punish a criminal who had warned his victim of the date at which he would inflict a horrible death on him and who, from that moment onward, had confined him at his mercy for months. Such a monster is not encountered in private life."

—Albert Camus, "Reflections on the Guillotine"

UPDATE: While the execution of Troy Davis has been temporarily postponed, we cats note that the execution of a man convicted of the James Byrd dragging death in Texas has taken place. We take no joy or sense of justice from this. No matter what their instigation, perpetration or victim, capital crimes are heinous. But our system of justice is not about revenge. We just wonder why the media haven't paid as much attention to the Lawrence Brewer execution as to the pending Troy Davis one. Interesting, yes?

UPDATE #2: One of our more cynical, sick-humored Democratic friends has weighed in on the Davis-Brewer situation. "So the black guy gets saved and the white guy gets killed. Typical Obama-America justice!" We cats laughed — but our amusement is tempered by the sure knowledge that the Freepers, in their little corner of online paranoia and hate, are saying exactly that.

P.S. Isn't this photo of Camus sexy?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Some Change We'll Keep

By Zamboni

When something wonderful happens — like today's repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" — we cats permit ourselves a bit of schadenfreude.

We can't help it. Our nutty right-wing friends over at Free Republic are so upset.

They're swearing up and down that they and their families will never, ever serve in the military again. We cats say, good. Boycotting the U.S. Armed Forces means that Freepers and teabaggers will miss out on career, educational and economic opportunities. (And of course, we can only assume that they're not really patriotic after all.)

We cats often enjoy posting a sampling of the Freepers' most moronic comments. But today, the joy among gay and lesbian service members is so moving and infectious that we decided not to waste any space on those who denigrate them. But allow us to report, with Cheshire cat grins, that it didn't take long on today's many DADT threads for the Freeps to start jumping all over Rick Perry.

We cats PURR.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Banned Books, Banned People

By Baxter

Tomorrow the U.S. military's loathsome "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy will officially end. Finished! Kaput! Gays and lesbians will be able to openly serve in the armed forces, and America will finally join the 21st century. Hooray!

Here's a small coincidence, we thought: The day before DADT becomes toast, we were notified that next week is Banned Books Week. BBW is a celebration of our freedom to read and a recognition that a lot of really great authors have seen their works get, shall we say, squelched. Just another reminder that when people get freaked out by ideas, they'll simply try to remove them, like gays, from our sight.

(We also found it amazing that among last year's most banned books was Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. Barbara Ehrenreich?!? The woman who waits tables and takes other low-paying jobs so she can experience — and share — the plight of this country's hard-pressed working families? What's that about?)

Who can explain it, who can tell you why? In fact, we cats often wonder why right wingers (and face it, it's usually them) ever bother to ban stuff in the first place. The banned books or movies or fashions or people — gays, blacks, union members, women, etc. — almost always get unbanned, and come roaring back or otherwise win in the end. And we all look back at the banners and say, well! Weren't they narrow-minded/bigoted/afraid/downright stupid?

So, Happy DADT Repeal Day. Please make a special observance of it tomorrow, especially if you live in a state that's taken steps to ban (that word again) same-sex marriage. Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of our lives, marriage equality will go the way of DADT. We're not askin' — we're tellin'.

(PHOTO: Mark Wilson, Getty Images)

UPDATE: What were we just saying? A federal judge ruled today that the videos from the Proposition 8 trial can be released. This was the trial that resulted in Judge Vaughn Walker's incredible smackdown of California's gay marriage ban. Right-wing marriage-equality opponents had argued against releasing the videos — no doubt because they make their side look so, so bad. We cats can't wait for the commemorative DVDs!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tidbits and Cat Treats — Life & Death Edition

By Miss Kubelik

Several notable events have occurred this week highlighting the right's hypocrisy on the "life" issue. We cats couldn't help noticing a pattern. Here they are:

The Virginia Board of Health has passed the nation's most restrictive (and, frankly, ridiculous) regulations on abortion clinic operations. Hm. We cats are a tad past the kitten-bearing age anyway, but until young women in this country start protesting against right-wing men deciding their reproductive destiny, we can only say we're also glad we're fixed.

Speaking of children (and how they must never, ever be aborted), it appears that the famous quitter from Alaska isn't much of a mom.

We cats sure wish we knew the woman who allegedly told Presidential candidate and all-around crank Michele Bachmann that the HPV vaccine made her daughter retarded, because we'd love to make a quick $10,000. But good for the Minnesota bioethicists who are calling Bachmann out.

Finally, brrrr. The Supreme Court has stayed the execution of that black guy in Texas because of questions about the fairness of his sentencing. The condemned man had come within hours of death and had already eaten his last meal.

Boy, how we cats dislike capital punishment. We can't think of anything more cruel for the state to do than to whipsaw somebody back and forth from the death chamber. Of course, we guess that the pseudo-Christians over at Free Republic see nothing wrong with it and are probably furious that Duane Buck is still around. But you know what? We don't feel like visiting their paranoid, bloodthirsty little world this morning. Sorry, readers — you'll have to do it yourselves.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Joe Says It's So

By Sniffles

Goodness gracious, we cats suppose we should climb on Joe McGinniss bandwagon again.

The famous quitter from Alaska, he says, snorted cocaine, slept with (black) NBA player Glen Rice before her marriage, and cheated on her hapless husband afterwards.

We simply had to check on our goofball right-wing friends over at Free Republic to get their reactions. Yep, they're pretty upset. But after screaming "libel" and "Obama's worse," and after questioning McGinniss's sexuality (not to mention threatening him with a tire iron), they finally come to the uncomfortable conclusion that even if Sarah did do any of this stuff, it's okay.

Meanwhile, The New York Times, of all papers, is complaining that the book is thin, trivial and second-sourced. But that stance is, we believe, ultimately silly. Here's why.

If this kind of malicious tattling had been written about a hardworking, incumbent elected official who was a serious heir apparent to the next Presidential nomination of one of the nation's two major political parties, it would be a legitimate outrage. But Sarah Palin is none of these things.

She chose to ditch her responsibility to the people of Alaska and conduct herself like a cheap celebrity. Oh, well! We cats say: More power to Joe McGinniss and Levi Johnston and The National Enquirer and everybody else, for giving this pathetic clown the tawdry treatment she deserves.

Of course, we only used this titillating topic to entice you to read. Sarah Palin is not important. This, however, is.

(IMAGE: Glen Rice's mug shot from a 2008 arrest for battery. We assume he didn't slap Sarah around back in '87 — but who knows? The revelations have just begun!)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A NY-9 State of Mind

By Zamboni

We cats went to the vet this morning, which seemed kind of fitting. We figured that as long as we had to cope with the results of the New York 9th District special election, we might as well have a thermometer shoved up our butt.

Appointment over, we now have several thoughts we should share.

First, while we'll doubtless witness a lot of Republican crowing and Democratic hand-wringing, we cats believe the best refuge is in cold, hard data. Therefore, we find Nate Silver's analysis in today's New York Times the most reasoned and sober piece of the day. Note to Democrats: The sky is not falling, but attention must be paid.

On the other hand, we can't help but suspect that Turner's upset was fueled by ugly invective against the half-black President with the middle name "Hussein," whom Republicans insist on painting as anti-Israel and, goodness gracious, in favor of religious liberty here at home. We're not sure how those narrow prejudices translate to a national electorate in 2012, but again, Democrats should be mindful.

Meanwhile, Turner's victory will most likely be a Pyrrhic one, since thanks to redistricting, he'll have to run in 2012 against an incumbent in a more Democratic, less-conservative CD. He should be toast.

But even these points don't change the most maddening fact: that but for Anthony Weiner's foolishness, none of this would be happening. Weiner has deprived us not only of his own eloquent voice, but has handed Democrats an unnecessary and embarrassing defeat.

We cats HISS — and dump dirty litter into Anthony Weiner's boxer shorts. Divorce him, Huma. He doesn't deserve you.

(PHOTO: This pic kinda says it all.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tidbits and Cat Treats — Marie Antoinette Edition

By Baxter

We cats are generally pleased with the "debate" that the Republican clown college held last night. Of course, we quibble with CNN's decision to partner with the right half of the rabidly right-wing base of the Republican Party for a television show. But as long as the 2012 candidates are savaging each other while the President barnstorms the country on jobs, we're happy.

Sometime soon, we'll visit our teabagger friends over at Free Republic to see how they feel about last night's big Romney-Perry kerfuffle. In the meantime, here are a few things on our minds today.

We don't know about you, but we cats sure are glad that Dr. Ron Paul isn't our vet.

Of course, how different is cheering for uninsured Americans to die than applauding the fact that Rick Perry has put 234 Texans to death? Get out the guillotines, everybody.

On top of that, the Republicans (except for, ironically, Rick Perry) seem to think that it's better to let young women die of cervical cancer than to ever, ever admit that they'd become a teensy-weensy sexually active. That naughty HPV vaccine might put ideas in their heads! Horrors!

Finally, as bloodthirsty and hypocritical as the Republicans are, we cats are continually amazed at their thin skins. Eric Cantor is wailing about an alleged White House "all or nothing" approach on jobs. Rick Perry tells Michele Bachmann he's "offended" at the thought that he could be bought for $5,000. Bachmann says she's "offended" back. And the famous quitter from Alaska whines about everything.

Boy, they can dish it out, but they sure can't take it. We cats HISS.

UPDATE: Free Republic. We checked. They hate Romney. Perry gives them pause. Every other announced candidate is objectionable for one reason or another. They're all Waiting For Sarah.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Trudeau: Yay! POLITICO: Boo!

By Miss Kubelik

We cats are tired of being the curmudgeons of the world, but we guess we have no choice.

What else can we do when the children who write POLITICO can't even spell Garry Trudeau's name correctly? We cats HISS.

Other than that, the "Doonesbury" strips that preview Joe McGinniss's upcoming book on the famous quitter from Alaska are, in a word, brilliant. Don't miss them!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Gander the Good

By Sniffles

Although we cats are grateful to have today's anniversary events presided over by a President who did not ignore the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Brief, we were searching for something to say about September 11 that wouldn't have already been said over, and over, and over again. It wasn't easy — although Vice President Biden, in a wonderful speech at the Pentagon today, came close.

Then we decided that since, as far as American media are concerned, the country of Canada does not exist, we would take this opportunity to salute the citizens of Gander, Newfoundland.

Nearly 40 planes on their way to the U.S. on 9/11 were forced to land at Gander when the FAA shut down America's airspace — stranding 6,600 scared and nervous passengers (two of whom lost a firefighter son at the World Trade Center that day). The people of Gander didn't hesitate. They opened their arms and welcomed those frightened strangers into their homes, forging friendships that still thrive 10 years later.

It's a great story. So in the midst of all the hand-wringing and excruciating public grief and the depressing analyses of the wasted decade since, we thought it would be nice to dwell on something uplifting for a change.

In the words of President Obama: "We remember with gratitude and affection how the people of Canada offered us the comfort of friendship and extraordinary assistance that day and in the following days by opening their airports, homes and hearts to us."

We cats PURR.


Friday, September 9, 2011


By Zamboni

One of the sidebars of last night's speech on jobs is whether and when the Republicans applauded what the President said.

We've seen comments online and heard them on air. Apparently, for example, Congressional Republicans would clap for veterans but not for teachers. (Although they refused to stand for the GI Bill. Which, in retrospect, explains a lot about the Bushies' hypocrisy of cheering vets while simultaneously screwing them for eight years. But, never mind.)

We cats can only assume that the GOP was in shock. Who was this strange man, Barack Obama, whom they thought they'd manipulated so easily in the past? And why was he yelling at them? Perhaps they weren't thinking when they sat on their hands? Perhaps they really do believe that every American child deserves a great school?

Don't bet on it.

We have a little advice for the Republicans: You look petty and small. So take a page from your good buddy Stephen Harper's book. At Jack Layton's funeral, when the crowd went wild for Jack's last "manifesto for social democracy," the Tories in the house looked a little stunned. But then Harper got up and joined the applause. Sure, it was a funeral, not a joint session of Congress — but it didn't hurt Harper, and it was the right thing to do.

Four Little Words We'll Never Hear

By Baxter

Legend has it that all of Hollywood expected Judy Garland to win the Academy Award for her performance in 1954's "A Star Is Born." So convinced were they that, although Miss Garland had just given birth to her son Joey, reporters and cameramen set up camp in her hospital room, with Judy propped up in bed, ready to react on live TV to the glorious news.

But the moment William Holden announced Grace Kelly's name, the lights snapped off, the cameras shut down, and the media mob stampeded away. As Judy later recalled, nobody even said goodbye.

This exodus is exactly what will happen to the famous quitter from Alaska if she ever makes a formal announcement that she's not running for President.

Which is why she'll never do that very thing.

Oh, she'll fritter away the 2012 filing deadlines — skating past them by speaking vaguely of open conventions and what-not. She'll make more silly comments about career politicians and belly fires — just enough to keep her slavering fans and the gullible media on tenterhooks. But she'll never actually say, "I'm not running, folks." Because then the cameras will go away. And to Sarah Palin's ego and her relentless money machine, that would be a fate worse than death.

The good news for Democrats is twofold: One, Palin's never-ending tease continues to drive Republicans crazy. And two, she's their problem, not ours. Which makes us cats PURR.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Content of His Character

By Miss Kubelik

We cats drove down to Fredericksburg last weekend and visited one of our favorite haunts, a used-book store. (Being a college town, Fredericksburg is home to many of those.)

There, we must confess, we picked up at a bargain price Politics, a collection of essays by one of our faves, Hendrik Hertzberg. Although we served in the same Administration as Rick Hertzberg, we cats can only hope to write as tenth as well as he does. (If we did, The New Yorker would hire us, too — but so far, no dice, we're sorry to say.)

One of the first offerings we turned to was Hertzberg's 1995 essay on his former boss, Jimmy Carter. Suffice it to say we agreed with what he said: That Jimmy Carter conducted himself according to a moral, not a political, code — and that by doing so, got himself in a heap of trouble in Washington (and beyond).

We also noticed a very interesting, and potentially relevant, observation: That Carter did not have a fixed political ideology.

"Jimmy Carter did not have the advantage of dogma. In this respect he was like all other presidents of recent times — all except Reagan, who was the only leader of the militant wing of one of the two parties to come to power since World War II. All the other postwar presidents — Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Bush and Clinton — have been drawn from the pragmatic center. (No leader of the left or liberal wing of the Democratic Party has ever become president — which is one reason that the conventional assumption that liberalism has been tried and found wanting is a little unfair. Unlike unalloyed conservatism, unalloyed liberalism has not been tried.)"

We cats suspect that 16 years later, this essay is still true — although one could argue that George W. Bush was perhaps the most purely conservative President ever. (On the other hand, since he spent so profligately — on two wars and on Medicare Part D — perhaps he wasn't.) Bush aside, we think that this "pragmatic center" label could also be affixed to Barack Obama — despite what the teabaggers and the Koch brothers would have you think.

Which means, we cats believe, that Barack Obama's behavior in office might not be predictable — or even understandable. On the other hand, 30 years ago, a scholar from Duke hit it big with his theory that Presidential character determines performance in office. While we cats consider Professor Barber's models probably outdated, it seems reasonable to us that a President's world view and personality can help determine what he will do as Chief Executive.

Which begs the question: Will President Obama continue to insist that he can work with Republicans on the problems that face the nation? Or will he say "screw you," go long and throw down the gauntlet?

We cats bet on the former. But if there's anything we know from Rick Hertzberg, it's that the actions of complex and sensitive thinkers are usually hard to predict. (And you know what? They're usually the kind of people you like to have in charge.)

We cats PURR.

UPDATE, the morning after: Bipartisanship, or gauntlet throwing? The President did both! Goodness gracious, did he fake us cats out.

We cats PURR, again.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Republican Debate: What Brian Should Ask (But Probably Won't)

By Sniffles

Compared to their pathetic performance in 2008 and at the GOP debate in New Hampshire earlier this year, the FOX "News" actors at the August pre-straw-poll yapfest in Des Moines actually did an okay job. They asked some tough questions and even tried a few follow-ups. They posed a query that became a revealing — and valuable for the Democrats — soundbite-slash-visual for 2012. (See image above.) In short, FOX set a reasonably high standard for future debates.

And whoops, one of those is tomorrow night! It's such an important event, in fact, that for the first time in history, a Speaker of the House refused the President's request to address Congress at the same time. Under such momentous pressure, what will Brian Williams and his co-moderators do?? Will they cop out and throw softballs, or will they hold the 2012 clown college accountable for some of their most outrageous statements?

We cats aren't so foolish to assume that blow-dried Bri will be as tough as he should be. But in the wan hope that he might, we have assembled a list of questions that he should ask. Here goes!

Questions that all the 2012 Republican candidates should answer:
  • Should creationism be taught in public schools? Will you push legislation to do so?
  • Should FEMA be dismantled? Is there any constitutional role for the federal government in disaster relief?
  • Should the National Weather Service be abolished?
  • Should the U.S. Geological Survey be abolished?
  • Is there any role for the federal government in healthcare? If not, do you then strongly condemn what George W. Bush and Congressional Republicans did in the Terri Schiavo matter?
  • Can you swear that you and your immediate family have never benefited from any federal programs, subsidies or payments, including Medicare and Social Security?
  • What Constitutional amendments should be repealed and why? 
Questions for individual candidates:

For Michele Bachmann: Does the recent shakeup in your campaign and the long history of turnover in your Congressional staff mean, as some have charged, that you lack the executive talent to be President?

For Herman Cain: Please name one Muslim American you admire.

For Newt Gingrich: You say that there was nothing wrong with your recently revealed purchases at Tiffany's. What has been your average income, then, for each of the last five years? 

For Rick Perry (if he shows up):
  • Direct election of US Senators by the people — yes, or no?
  • Social Security — Ponzi scheme, or not?
  • If you object to the Supreme Court as nine "oligarchs in robes," will you now publicly disagree with their ruling in Bush v. Gore? 
For Mitt Romney:
  • How many US plants did Bain Capital buy and close during your tenure there? How many jobs were lost? How many were exported?
  • When will you release your tax returns? 
For Ron Paul:
  • If you are elected President, how and when will you move to abolish the Federal Reserve?
  • As a strong libertarian, how do you balance those principles with your support for federal limits on a woman's right to choose?
  • How much of your medical education do you think was subsidized by federal healthcare spending? What percentage of the cost of educating today's physicians is subsidized by federal healthcare spending? How do you plan to deal with a resulting physician shortage if you abolish federal healthcare spending?
Finally, a last question for all:

Do you agree with Charles Koch's recent statement that the election of Barack Obama is like having Saddam Hussein as President — and if not, will you publicly repudiate him now?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Lest We Furr-get: Empty Platitudes

By Zamboni

Remember this slogan from the 2008 McCain campaign? It was silly then — how could a 71-year-old cancer survivor choose an idiot for Vice President and say he was putting his "country first"?

But it's even sillier now.

That became clear the moment Mitch McConnell declared that the number-one Republican priority was to make Barack Obama a one-term President. Not creating jobs, not adequately stimulating the economy, not making sure every American has access to affordable health care, not reforming the banks that helped drive America's financial state into the ground. Better that the country suffers. Defeat Obama at all costs.

Well, on this Labor Day, thank goodness the President has finally called them on it. Because the Republicans have skated by with remarkably little media damage on their lack of patriotism. Not only is the GOP's about-face from 10 years ago amazing — remember their jingoistic "You're either with us, or with the terrorists"? — no one today is challenging any Republican leaders or candidates to explain why their hatred of Obama, a decisively elected President, is more important than helping Americans.

We cats can hope that Brian Williams and his fellow goofball moderators will ask the 2012 clown college about this at their debate on Wednesday. But we're not holding our breath.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

In Lee We Trust?

By Baxter

It's interesting to us cats that Tropical Storm Lee, tracked by the government agency that the Republicans want to cut, soon will be chugging through the South and up to the Mid-Atlantic. Right on the heels of the drenching from Hurricane Irene, and just in time for the President's jobs speech to Congress.

We sincerely hope that the President refuses to re-reschedule, that he drags Congressional Republicans to Capitol Hill through torrents of rain — and makes them sit there, sopping and cold, while he lectures them on their lack of patriotism.

Meanwhile, though, we're interested to note that Lee will completely bypass the drought-stricken state of Texas. Whassup with that? We thought that Rick Perry said back in April that if his constituents begged Him hard enough, God would send rain. (Of course, Perry also held that silly prayer event last month to ask God to fix America. And then it turned out that the Republicans' friends in the business world did absolutely no hiring in August. Hm.)

And speaking of the Lone Star State, we wonder how Texans feel about the fact that their Governor is prancing around the country running for President while they're home grappling with unprecedented drought and wildfires. It all sounds terribly Biblical to us — but Perry is too busy shaking hands in Iowa and South Carolina to care.

But maybe it's not simply Biblical. Maybe it's divine retribution. We cats prefer to think that God is punishing Texas because Rick Perry executed all those people, including a probably innocent man.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

New Eyes On The Prize

By Miss Kubelik

Remember when President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize and everyone was bitching and moaning that he hadn't done anything to deserve it? Aside from liberal losers like Glenn Greenwald, the bitching mostly came from folks on the right, who haven't liked the Peace Prize since Ronald Reagan failed to win it himself. But, never mind.

This afternoon, we cats have the Nobel on our minds. We've been inspired by Nicholas Kristof's moving column in today's New York Times, in which he documented Libyans' gratitude to the United States for helping them overthrow Muammar Ghadafi. "Thank you, Americans," they shout. "Thank you, President Obama."

Although the President was ridiculed earlier this year as allegedly having been "henpecked" by female advisers who feared atrocities in Libya if NATO didn't act, the last few days' horrifying slaughter of rebel prisoners by pro-Ghadafi forces proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Secretary Clinton, Ambassador Rice and NSA aide Samantha Power — and by extension, President Obama — were right.

In other words, we cats think that President Obama has more than earned his Nobel.

Note to teabaggers and liberal losers: The President may not await your apology, but we do.

P.S. Interestingly, Greenwald has posted a link to Kristof's column on his Salon page today, without apparent comment. What a coward, what a weenie. We cats HISS.