Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Lest We Furr-get: Schiavo At 10

By Sniffles

So, wow, Terri Schiavo was finally allowed to die 10 years ago today. And we cats were totally planning to post about that — and talk about how the teabags and the Freepers hate Jeb! Bush for not sending the FDLE in to kidnap Terri and force her to live.

But it's been another day of Hoosier State Hate news, and we simply must opine on that again. Mainly because we can't believe how stupid Mike Pence and his Republicans are, to have let this get so out of hand.

But this is not just a case of a right-wing Republican Governor and his similarly right-wing legislature jumping off an ideological cliff. Plenty of GOP-run states have done that very thing, usually about abortion, and nobody's batted an eye about it (except maybe for Rachel Maddow). But this time, it's different. This time, the voices of American capitalism have risen to speak. And goodness gracious, isn't it amazing.

It's not just lefty-type businesses like Apple, whose CEO is openly gay. It's Angie's List, for heaven's sake. And Subaru, and Eli Lilly, and Dow Agro Sciences. Marriott's CEO, Arne Sorenson, said Pence's bill was "madness" and "idiocy." Marriott! The folks who place a Book of Mormon in every hotel room's nightstand drawer. We cats love, love, love this.

Some sort of important watershed moment has been reached. The disgust and outrage that's been expressed against Indiana's so-called "religious freedom" bill is not far from the revulsion the nation felt after seeing the attacks on the Selma marchers in 1965. America has realized what Indiana has done, and has thrown up all over it. And it's just about the worst possible timing for any right winger hoping that the Supreme Court will take us all back to the 1950s come June.

And you know what? We can draw a line from Mike Pence's gay loathing to Jeb! Bush's interference in the Schiavos' private medical decisions. Because both Jeb! and Pence are Republican Governors who have tried to impose their personal values (or lack thereof) on their states' economies and their citizens' lives. We cats HISS at them for that, but PURR at the body politic, who have expressed themselves in no uncertain terms. There's hope yet. Yes, we can.

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Times, They Have Been Changin'

By Baxter

See if you can guess who made this terrific speech, and when:

"For someone of my generation...this is a very difficult issue. But I have learned over 40 years in public life that society evolves, and that the concept of human rights evolves often more quickly than some of us might have predicted — and sometimes even in ways that make some people uncomfortable. But at the end of the day, we have to live up to our responsibilities. And none of these are more essential than protecting the Constitution and the fundamental rights it guarantees."

Who was the elected official? Was it, say, Governor Dan Malloy of Connecticut — who today barred his state employees from traveling to Indiana because of Hoosier State Republicans' new hate law?

Nope. As much as we applaud Governor Malloy for his travel ban, it was former Prime Minister Jean Chretien of Canada — speaking about marriage equality in 2003! Just insert "born and brought up in the Catholic rural Quebec of my youth" after the word "generation" — and "all Canadians" after "guarantees" — and you have the whole quote.

That's 12 years ago, folks. Marriage equality went national in Canada in 2005, and we haven't noticed the country blowing up yet. So Indiana's intolerant (and apparently befuddled) Republican Governor Mike Pence — who looks like one of the Nazis who chased the Von Trapps through the abbey, by the way — might want to take a lesson from a wizened Catholic Quebecker. Change, Governor? Yes, you can.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Hoosier State Hate

By Miss Kubelik

The firestorm over Indiana's "religious freedom" law continues, which makes us cats very glad. They deserve all the grief they can get, because the law is not only based in hate, it's ridiculous. After all, if folks aren't buying wedding cakes, hiring photographers and renting formal wear, how can right-wing religious business owners be sure that their potential customers are gay? How can this law possibly work in the all-American world of retail and commerce?

In fact, we've even thought up some examples of the downright havoc that it could wreak. Send in more if you've got 'em!
  • A front-counter drugstore clerk could refuse to serve a customer whom he saw buying birth control at the pharmacy.
  • A toy store owner could turn away a woman holding a baby because she's not wearing a wedding ring.
  • A Mormon could refuse to sell anybody a cup of coffee or a Coke.
  • A Muslim taxi driver could deny rides to airline passengers carrying duty-free liquor.
And finally, we suppose that, under the law, the so-called Christians in Indiana's business community could discriminate against anybody they thought wasn't going to heaven. That would include Jews, wouldn't it? We cats HISS and dump our dirty litter boxes over Mike Pence's head.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Greensboro, North Carolina, 1960 — Indianapolis, Indiana, 2015

By Zamboni

It's heartening that — on the same day that we learned the repulsive chant that sank Sigma Alpha Epsilon at the University of Oklahoma was taught at the national fraternity's "leadership cruise" — we also saw a big backlash starting up against Indiana's new "religious freedom" law.

It's like going from deepest darkness to a flash of the brightest light. Sure, frat brothers are jackasses and racists, but at least the Hoosier State could suffer serious financial consequences from Mike Pence's need to have gay people turned away from lunch counters.

(Well, maybe not lunch counters. But believe us, being refused service by a bakery, a photographer or a hotel is very much the same thing.)

So we're pleased to see that grammatically challenged but otherwise heart-in-the-right-place CEO Marc Benioff of Salesforce has been joined by business leaders like Yelp's Jeremy Stoppelman and Apple's Tim Cook — and the NCAA, which is headquartered in Indianapolis — in expressing condemnation and concern. We cats can think of nothing more delicious than to have the haters called out by the business community.

So we support George Takei's call for the world to shun the Hoosier State. And in the spirit of the season, let's start with college basketball.

We note from the NCAA's website that they don't really make it easy to email them. So give them a call at 317-917-6222, and tell them that there are plenty of diverse and tolerant states in America that would welcome their relocation there. Or write them at 700 West Washington Street, PO Box 6222, Indianapolis, IN 46206-6222.

And maybe the next local production of The Music Man will consider dropping that "Gary, Indiana" song. What can we say, Mike Pence? You make no sense. We cats HISS.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Right Sentiment, Wrong Punctuation

By Sniffles

Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce, is our new hero for pulling his company's events out of Indiana after the Hoosier State's Republican Governor, Mike Pence, signed an anti-LGBT bill.

But we're sorry to see from Benioff's tweet that Salesforce must not be doing very well. They only have one employee, and one customer.

Unless — whoops! — Benioff doesn't understand the difference between singular and plural possessives. We cats HISS while we PURR.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Ted Cruz Is A Big-Government-Loving, Deadbeat, Parasitic Socialist

By Baxter

We cats are glad that we're not the only ones who have noticed that the right-right-right-wing junior Senator from Texas with the reedy voice is an Obamacare beneficiary.

That's because Rafael Cruz now will get his family's medical insurance through the Affordable Care Act — because his wife has taken a leave of absence from her job-with-benefits at Goldman Sachs to work on Cruz's laughable Presidential campaign.

Hmmm, Goldman Sachs. We bet that Heidi Cruz was making a lot of money there. So why can't the Cruzes buy health insurance on their own? Surely they could afford it. And they look pretty healthy (although of course, Obamacare, which Cruz has pledged to wipe out, prevents insurers from disqualifying people with pre-existing conditions).

But no, Cruz chose instead to make himself vulnerable to questions from reporters who want to know why he went through the ACA and if he'll be taking the subsidy that the government provides members of Congress. That's where things got really cognitively dissonant. "We will follow the text of the law," Cruz said. "I strongly oppose the exemption that President Obama illegally put in place for members of Congress...I believe we should follow the text of the law."

What does that even mean? First, that Rafael Cruz is the only Canadian we know who is a liar, a hypocrite and a fool. Second, that in honor of the fifth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, every Republican Presidential wannabe and pretender for 2016 should be asked why one of their party's teabag "stars" wants to repeal his own health insurance. And then we'll just sit back and watch the fun. We cats PURR.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Too-Full Plates

By Miss Kubelik

We cats were vexed to discover that the Old Dominion is one of the states that allows drivers to buy specialty license plates that sport the Confederate flag. Ugh. We've never seen one of those up here in Northern Virginia — which is pretty blue and therefore unlike, say, the rest of Virginia. (At least, unlike the part of the commonwealth where Rafael Cruz announced his laughable candidacy for President today.)

But we see plenty of "Choose Life" plates — which are unbelievably ugly — and Gadsden flag plates, whose existence we still don't understand. We assume that they predated the teabags, but you never know.

And now, the Supreme Court has to decide whether racists and secessionists in Texas should be able to drive around with Confederate-flag plates on their cars — because the state's DMV refused to issue one and the Sons of Confederate Veterans (wouldn't they all be dead by now?) got their knickers in a twist.

You know what we cats say? Dump all the stupid specialty plates. They are ridiculous, a nuisance and a pain in the ass. States should find some other way to raise revenue — and actually, allowing drivers to personalize their tag numbers is probably lucrative enough. Keep that, but outlaw the special designs — kids, animals, the arts, education, "fighting terrorism," Purple Hearts, the whole shebang.

We know it sounds harsh, but it's the only way to resolve this "free speech" silliness (which in our view doesn't apply to state-issued license plates anyway, since it's the government, not the driver, making the statement). And once again, we turn to our neighbors in the True North to set the example. Canada has almost no specialty plates, and in the province in which we cats spend the most time, there are virtually none. (Except for one with a commemorative poppy. We excuse that because we do love that Flanders Fields poem.)

So, sorry, teabags. If you want to spread your messages of hate, we hope that the Supreme Court restricts you to bumper stickers. That would make us PURR.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Our Kingdom For A Hearse

By Zamboni

It may sound odd, but we cats are big fans of funerals that are done well.

If we had to pick the two best funerals that we've seen, either on TV or online, we'd have to say that Katharine Graham's is probably in in the number-one spot — with Jack Layton's a close second.

Take your pick: A-list stars from the US political, academic and journalistic worlds vying to make the pithiest quotes at the first, or the Youngbloods' "Get Together" and Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" at the second. (We cats are loyal Americans, but we have to admit that in our heart of hearts, we're leaning toward Layton's.)

Third runner-up might be Pierre Trudeau's Montreal rites in the fall of 2000. Not only did you have Jimmy Carter and Fidel Castro sitting a pew or two apart from one another, but there was also that lovely eulogy by Trudeau's son Justin, which has made it into "best Canadian speeches" anthologies. Great stuff.

And now, perhaps the latest entry into the race? Could it be none other than the funeral of a monarch who died a mere 530 years ago?

Yep, believe it or not, the citizens of Leicester, England, buried Richard III today. After half a millennium of scorn — heaped on by some incomparable Shakespearean poetry — the newly discovered remains of one of the sceptr'd isle's least-regarded kings were buried after years ignominious entombment under a car park.

We have no idea if any UK celebs jockeyed with one another to pay tribute at today's services. But we think it's really hard to compete with the stature of a funeral for a king who had gone missing for so long. Especially one who was so astonishingly discovered and identified, and in so short a time.

Every now and then, we Americans are reminded that our history as a country is laughably short. It's always jarring, because we've had such an outsized influence on everything, from wars to business to culture. But today was one of those days.

When Richard III was fighting at Bosworth and when Shakespeare was setting down his immortal lines, America was just a continent of green dark forests, too silent to be real. Hello, perspective! We cats PURR.

Alberta-Born, Alberta-Born, It's Odd To Be Alberta-Born

By Sniffles

Hang onto your hats. It looks like the 2016 Presidential campaign is about to get its first real candidate. We give you, fresh out of the Republican clown car, the junior Senator from Texas: Ted Cruz.

In other words, the nutcase whom Sarah Palin helped put in the Senate has decided that Tom Cotton has gotten quite enough of the right-wing spotlight, thank you very much, and he — Rafael/"Ted" — is going to take it back. (Shucks, just when we were starting to enjoy all the comparisons between Cotton and Norman Bates.)

But hold on a second. We cats would like to know why Cruz thinks he can be President. He was born in Canada. Now, we like Canada a lot, and even own some property up there. But we don't pretend that we're qualified to be Prime Minister, let alone an MP. Why do Cruz and his teabag supporters think he ranks as a "natural-born" American citizen?

Oh! — they'll tell you — that's easy. It's because although Rafael was born in Alberta and his father was Cuban, his mom was American. So everything's cool.

To which we cats say, piffle. Because these are the same teabags who've been screaming for the last six years that Barack Obama was born in Kenya. Which he wasn't, of course. But if it hasn't mattered that Obama's mother was American — if that didn't make Obama a natural-born citizen, no matter where Ann Dunham gave birth to him — then Rafael Cruz can't be an American, either.

Funny thing, logic. The crazy Republican base never seems to use it. We just hope that some enterprising journalist will pose the question to Cruz as he runs for an office that, by GOP reasoning, he's not eligible for. "Senator, if so many of your supporters think Barack Obama isn't an American, why are you?" We cats HISS.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Friday, March 20, 2015

We Simply Remember Our Favorite Red Pandas, And Then We Don't Feel So Bad!

Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage*

By Baxter

Election Night 2008 was memorable for a lot of reasons, but for us cats, one that's stayed uppermost in our minds was the relief and joy felt by our non-American friends. A Canadian, for example, sent us an email saying she was so happy that night, she "cried like a baby."

We didn't ask her why she was happy because we knew. It wasn't just that she admired Barack Obama and understood what a milestone the nation's first African-American President would be. It's because after eight years of shaking her head and grinding her teeth, she wanted to feel good about America again.

See, although the teabaggers would probably try to tell you different, most of the rest of the world really does like and admire the United States. Okay, not the ISIL guys, or Jeb! Bush's friends the "Beaucoup" Haram. And we're probably not the first name on Vladimir Putin's christening invitation list. We could name others. What we mean is that for the billions of reasonable folks across the globe, it's painful when America does stupid things. This never fails to happen when people like The Worst Person Who's Ever Lived get into the White House.

During the Bush-Cheney years, our allies were appalled and alarmed — at the Iraq war, the torture, the fiscal recklessness, and the abandonment of the climate to oil producers and polluters, just to name a few. (A more complete list is here.) And it was awkward for them. When a good country has a bad leader, citizens outside that good country, who like that good country, are chagrined. And they feel so much better when the bad leader goes away.

This is how we cats feel about Israel these days. And after this week's election, it's even worse. Benjamin Nutty You Who's "Southern Strategy" win was wildly depressing, for all the reasons we've mentioned.

But if there's one consolation, we're not alone. Check out this quote from Rabbi Misha Zinkow of Temple Israel, Columbus, Ohio: "The scare tactics that emerged in the 11th hour of the [Israeli] election appealed to very deep anxiety and fear...Those statements appealed to emotions that young American Jews just don’t have, and they sound racist." (Note to the Rabbi: They sound racist because they are.)

Said Rabbi Richard Jacobs of the Union for Reform Judaism: "Having Israel so isolated and marginalized in so many places is profoundly troubling."

So, good: There will be consequences for Nutty You Who and his slobbering GOP fan club. But will that be good for Israel? We cats fear not. Which means we can't wait till Nutty You Who and Likud go down in defeat to Bougie Herzog or whomever, and we can cry like babies (or kittens) ourselves. In the meantime, we HISS.

(*Okay, our headline is actually the title of an Alice Munro book. But it keeps bouncing around our furry little heads whenever we get on this topic. Sorry, Alice!)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

"Nutty You Who" Joins The Clown Car

By Miss Kubelik

We cats are wondering if all those right-right-right-right wingers in Israel are feeling had right now. They hauled ass to the polls on Tuesday — alarmed that Arab Israelis were "voting in droves," and excited by racist panderer Benjamin Nutty You Who's vow that there would be no two-state solution while he was Prime Minister.

Now, after voting their hearts out for Likud, they've basically been told: Oops, never mind.

We're still searching from some reaction from the ultra-ultra-ultra side of Israeli politics. But for the rest of us in the meantime — pop quiz!

Did Prime Minister Benjamin Nutty You Who walk back his "no two-state-solution" campaign pledge because:

A. John Kerry read him the riot act?
B. The US said it would stop backing Israel in the UN Security Council?
C. He's a liar and a phony?
D. All of the above?

Yes! The answer is "D," of course. And we might even want to add a fourth option: Benjamin Nutty You Who is, at heart, a Republican who tries to rewrite history. Because right now, he's denying he ever flip-flopped on the Palestinian state in the first place.

Remind you of anybody? We're hearing Boehner, McConnell and all the passengers of the 2016 clown car, insisting there's no GOP war on women. Or that Republicans don't hate gays. Or that they're not racists, even while they're trying to deny people of color their voting rights. That the economy is doing better because of them. That Obamacare is a disaster even though it's not.

Welcome to the clown car, Benjamin Nutty You Who! You fit right in. We cats HISS.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tidbits And Cat Treats: St. Patrick's Day Hangovers Edition

By Zamboni

Well, it looks as though Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Nutty You Who is going to keep being a pain in everyone's ass (and we do mean everyone's). Sigh. It would have been nice to like Israel again. In the meantime, here are a few other political disasters we're keeping tabs on.

Sexually ambiguous GOP Congressman Aaron Schock — yes, we'll say it — shocked everybody, including his own House leadership team, by announcing his resignation yesterday. We cats are thrilled, since on top of all the other annoying things Schock has done, he'd started employing a version of the infamous Republican climate-change dodge: "I'm not a lawyer, therefore I don't know if I broke the law." Idiot.

Speaking of which, the cross-eyed college dropout Scott Walker lost his digital strategist, Liz Mair, one day after appointing her to his nascent Presidential campaign. Guess you shouldn't diss Iowa on Twitter if your boss is going to run for the GOP nomination. Hawkeye Staters are "government-dependent," she said, among other insults. In the words of the residents of River City, welcome to the picnic, Liz. You can have your fill of all the food you bring yourself.

Finally, Donald Trump is forming a Presidential exploratory committee. Yay! This is one electoral calamity we can get behind. We're happy to see any Republican who is viewed negatively by 74 percent of GOP voters throw his toupee into the ring. So go for it, Trumpie! (Although the people of New Hampshire may not want to answer their doorbells for the next few months.) We cats PURR.

Monday, March 16, 2015

False Witness

By Sniffles

While we're all waiting for election returns from Israel, let's return to the very strange subject of Missouri auditor Thomas Schweich's alleged suicide.

We say "alleged" because this whole story seems mighty fishy. You don't shoot yourself because some Republican lamebrain is going around saying you're an M.O.T. (Well, maybe in Missouri you do. We cats don't exactly have a favorable impression of the Show Me State these days.)

So we're thinking, maybe somebody offed him. Who knows? Let's find a prominent Republican to pin it on, a la Vince Foster.

In the meantime, though, we cats are most offended by the eulogy former GOP Senator John Danforth delivered at Schweich's funeral. First, because it was Danforth who gave it. He may be spending his post-Senate time in the Episcopal pulpit, but to us he will forever remain the jackass who helped saddle the nation with Clarence Thomas.

But what's bugging us most is the way Danforth spoke of "politics...gone so hideously wrong." It's that old false equivalency again — when the Schweich thing was a Republican whisper campaign going on in Republican circles about an expected Republican candidate. Amazing! As if today's politics of personal destruction weren't dreamed up in the first place by former RNC chair Lee Atwater (who is now, by the way, burning in hell because God punished him with a brain tumor).

"If this is what politics has become," Danforth whined, "what decent person would want to get into it?" This makes us ill. Danforth should call up Rancid Pieface, and Karl Rove, and Rush Limbaugh, and Ken Mehlman, and Cliven Bundy, and Steve Scalise, and Donald Trump, and Brian Fischer, and all the other right-wing, so-called Christian evangelical nutcases, and ask them that question. We cats HISS.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

What If? (Gridiron Version)

By Baxter

President Obama spoke at the annual Gridiron Club dinner last night. The Gridiron is a lot like the White House Correspondents' Dinner, except that there's no C-SPAN, and no one is supposed to report what happened there, although everybody does. Which means that it gives the WHCD a run for its silliness.

Still, we're happy any time Obama has the opportunity to be funny, because he's so good at it. (Yes, he has great writers. But delivery matters, folks.) And any time you get to mock Scott Walker to his face about questioning your religion, it's a good night.

But the President's reference to politics in the Old Dominion didn't escape our notice, either: "Terry [McAuliffe] loves fundraising. He's the first person who's actually been upset to learn you can't ask people for tons of money once you become the Governor of Virginia. Well, except maybe the previous Governor of Virginia."

After we finished Cheshire-cat-grinning, it dawned on us cats that there were two McDonnells who were convicted of corruption last year. But Obama chose only to joke about Transvaginal Bob. We wondered how quickly the Republicans would have excoriated him if he had also chosen to make fun of Maureen. (The answer: Faster than it'll take the GOP to blame an Obama-led conspiracy if Israel tosses "Benjamin Nutty You Who" out of office on Tuesday.)

So why was it okay in Republican World for Transvaginal Bob to throw his wife under the bus in court? Just one of the many questions about GOP behavior that strikes us as contradictory at best and, at worst, phony to the max. We cats HISS.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Tidbits And Cat Treats: Friday The 13th Edition

By Miss Kubelik

None of us cat bloggers are black, so we don't put a lot of stock in superstitions like Friday the 13th. But today, we're seeing a fair number of unlucky folks around. Here are a few who are catching our eye.

Is anyone more behind the eightball than the hapless racist pigs at the University of Oklahoma? One week ago, their lives were intact. One small bus ride (and one amazing lesson in the power of social media) later, they're the objects of scorn and ridicule around the world. We cats can think of no more fitting punishment — except maybe to make them sit through an excruciatingly detailed college course on the history of lynchings in America.

(As for any Freepers who may be screaming about freedom of speech — and believe us, they are — once again, we must remind everybody that the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting speech. The rest of us have a perfect right to banish fraternity boors from polite society for ever.)

Another unlucky fool this week is Rodner Figueroa, a former Univision TV host who chose to link First Lady Michelle Obama with the cast of "The Planet of the Apes." We just don't understand this subconscious need of non-black people to do crap like this. While we're sure that the Freeps are also fulminating about Figueroa being fired (in fact, we don't even need to look), hey — Univision is a corporation and can do whatever the hell it wants, right? Just ask people like Scott Walker.

Finally, we cats are almost afraid to add this person to the unlucky list, because although we said we weren't superstitious, maybe we are. We sure don't want to jinx what appears to be a noticeable drop by Prime Minister Benjamin "Nutty You Who" in the latest Israeli polls. Ohplease ohplease ohplease ohPLEASE, could he lose next Tuesday? That would so make us cats PURR.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

If Not Treason, Then Definitely Anti-Tom

By Zamboni

People tend to forget that Thomas Jefferson served as America's first-ever Secretary of State. And although he was completely sympathetic to the revolutionaries in France, Jefferson recognized the power of the executive and the federal government's official position of neutrality in European conflicts.

So we think Jefferson would not approve of any silly Senatorial letters to other countries — let alone to adversaries — undercutting the supreme representative of the federal government, the President, in foreign affairs. Just sayin'. In short, one of our founders and greatest Presidents would have been on John Kerry's side today.

Worth pointing out to any teabagger or Republican who foments about separation of powers and we the people and all. We cats PURR.

Hialeah Hearts Obamacare

By Sniffles

Ah, Hialeah. Once the home of jai-alai, horse racing and Amelia Earhart's last US takeoff, the quaint South Florida hamlet — formerly a haven for the white elite — is now 74 percent Cuban-American. In fact, it has the highest percentage of Cuban and Cuban-American residents than any city in the United States.

And now, guess what? Hialeah has two of the five zip codes with the most Obamacare enrollments in the country. Wow!

So how is that possible? You could probably cite the 25 percent of the Hialeah population that lives below the poverty line, or the effective Obamacare marketing campaign that the feds have conducted (gosh, who knew?). But that just makes us cats wonder: What happened to the Republican messaging campaign on Obamacare? A dismal failure, yes?

Because Republicans — like Jeb! Bush and Baby Marco Rubio, just to name two — have been screaming since 2010 that the Affordable Care Act is the worst catastrophe in the history of Western civilization. Why, then, has Hialeah not listened?

Of course, on the other hand, in 2013 Baby Marco enrolled his family in healthcare coverage through the ACA exchange — taking the government subsidy that's offered to elected officials and their staff.

What a putrid hypocrite Baby Marco is. But at least that kinda explains his community's affection for a law he hates. Or does it? We cats switch our tails and wait for an answer.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Or Maybe "Quislings"

By Baxter

We cats have a friend who, sadly for him, is represented by Republican Senator Mark Kirk in Washington. When this friend called to complain that Kirk was one of the infamous 47 who had signed the Senate GOP love note to Iran, the Kirk staffer who answered the phone at first talked over him, and then hung up on him. When the constituent called back, the young man said, "I'm tired of being yelled at."

To which we cats say, suck it up, kid — or else go work for someone who is slightly less of an idiot than your boss. Someone who isn't being called a traitor in traditional and social media.

And Kirk is getting it from all sides. "Americans cannot afford to have leaders who seek to obstruct and undermine legitimate efforts in order to score political points," said Representative Robin Kelly. "It is completely inappropriate to undercut and call into question our President's credibility," said Representative Tammy Duckworth. "Those who signed this letter have set a dangerous precedent."

(Okay, both Kelly and Duckworth are thinking about running next year against Kirk, who is vulnerable. But they would have been negligent not to slam him, election or no election.)

Well, we hope that the other 46 Republican signers are also getting deluged with outraged calls and emails. And we're thankful that Virginia's two Senators are Democrats and, thus, not traitors. As for that extremely loaded T-word, we're not sure about it — although we admit that it's good shorthand for the 140-character world of Twitter. We actually prefer what Hillary Rodham Clinton did — opening her press conference today with these measured yet withering words:

"Either these Senators were trying to be helpful to the Iranians [or] harmful to the commander-in-chief in the midst of high-stakes international diplomacy. Either answer does discredit to the letter's signatories."

Whoa. Woodshed time. We cats PURR.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Feeding Frenzy

By Miss Kubelik

We cats are waiting for Jeb! Bush's involvement in the Terri Schiavo case to catch up with him, nationally. We are not worried that it won't. Although the Iowa caucuses are 11 months away, that's plenty of time for right-wing evangelicals in the Hawkeye State to brand him as "the man who let Terri Schiavo die."

Yep, you read that right. While most clear-thinking, independent-minded Americans think of the Schiavo escapade as overreach by the state of Florida and the federal government, true-blue Bible bangers believe that Jeb! is a murderer. Why? Because he didn't send FDLE storm troopers into Terri's hospice to kidnap her and keep her alive. This is so great — because it promises lots of fireworks in the 2016 Republican primaries. Pop the popcorn!

But while we're amused by all that, we cats just want to sound one note of caution — or, maybe we should say, disgust. The thing that drives us most crazy about Republicans' positions on social issues like Schiavo — and, by extension, abortion — is their distrust of people's abilities to make their own decisions. Pretty ironic, considering they view themselves as the party of personal responsibility.

See, the evangelicals and anti-choice crazies — not to mention Jeb! — who took on Terri Schiavo as their cause du jour were making an argument that infantilized her. They were saying that Schiavo — a grown, married woman — could not possibly have discussed with her husband Michael her end-of-life decisions. Instead, it was her parents, not her spouse, who knew best what their little girl would want.

We cats find this outrageous. On top of all the other Bush-Schiavo conduct that made us spitting mad back in 2005, it was the dismissive attitude of "Oh, she couldn't have possibly understood what she wanted; leave it to Mommy and Daddy Schindler instead" that made us hack up the biggest hairball.

So we look forward to the Terri Schiavo free-for-all that will surely arise in the 2016 Republican caucuses. There are 99 counties in Iowa — that's 99 opportunities for the subject to come up. And we can't wait. In fact, it all makes us PURR.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Lest We Furr-get: Churchill's PDB

By Zamboni

Winston Churchill is very hot in right-wing circles, isn't he? Latest case in point: Pain-in-the-ass Benjamin Netanyahu invoked the storied British PM in his silly speech to Congressional Republicans last week, and John Boehner presented his Israeli patsy with a bust of Churchill afterwards. And wasn't there some flap once upon a time about President Obama removing Winston's head from the Oval Office in favor of Martin Luther King's? All very dippy.

Because as anyone familiar with history knows, it's always ridiculous that the GOP, Netanyahu and their ilk reach for those lazy Churchill-Chamberlain-Nazi-appeasement references. But it's even more telling that they do it when events like the 100th anniversary of the Lusitania sinking come along.

See, Winston Churchill kind of had a "Bin Laden Determined to Attack In the US" problem.

As a new book on the Lusitania centenary reminds us, the British knew that a U-boat "was...somewhere in the North Atlantic under orders to sink troop transports and any other British vessel it encountered; and knew as well that the submarine was armed with enough shells and torpedoes to sink a dozen ships." Yet Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty at the time, neglected to provide the luxury liner with an official Naval escort.

We know now that Churchill was keen for something that would bring America into the First World War, and apparently was willing to let it be a disaster like the Lusitania. We have no idea why the Worst Person Who's Ever Lived ignored the Presidential Daily Brief of August 6, 2001.

Don't get us wrong: We cats generally admire Churchill. In addition to being perhaps the most important Prime Minister in UK history, he was a great writer, orator and — unlike Bush and Hitler — even a good painter. But we don't unthinkingly invoke him every time we want to make a point about leadership, because we know that people are complicated and Winston had many flaws. We find it ironic — and interesting — that the Republicans, whose most recent President brushed off a sure warning about 9/11, have no such qualms.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

"Israel Wants Change" (We Hope)

Big event today in Selma, Alabama, of course — but we cats were also keeping an eye on Tel Aviv, where an estimated 35,000 Israelis gathered to declare Benjamin Netanyahu a big pain in their ass.

And yes, there will be a Likud Party rally in the same square next week. But in the meantime, we cats can dream, can't we? Because the thought of Israel sans Netanyahu makes us PURR.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Party Of Hate

By Sniffles

In normal times, we cats would think that if there were one thing the two political parties could agree on, it would be that what happened in Selma 50 years ago was bad. And that it's good to observe it, and resolve that it never happen again.

But in today's GOP, that's an impossibility. Which means, we guess, that these are not normal times.

Wait: We cats call bullshit on that. The times are normal. The Republican Party is not. Boy, are they not.

They are so not normal that no member of the House Republican leadership will attend commemorative events in Selma this weekend. This is a mini-surprise to observers who had speculated that moon-faced Steve Scalise would participate so he could make up for the fact that he once addressed a white supremacist group. Whoops! Apparently he, Boehner and McCarthy decided there was no point after all.

We'd say shame on them — except we've gotten so used to prominent Republicans ignoring their 2012 autopsy, which said the party needed to reach out to minority groups, that we're in a total "Inspector Renaud" mode at this point. After all, didn't we just learn that Republican state legislators are frantically trying to figure out ways to get businesses out of having to serve gay people? And never mind the whole let's-defund-DHS-over-immigration thing.

We snicker at the GOP, because we know they'll suffer for all this at the ballot box. But over and above that, we just feel sad. Our country is better than this. So we cats SNARL.

WHERE Are The Jobs?

And where are the journalists asking John Boehner to take back his silly question? We cats HISS.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Shades Of Shanks

By Baxter

We cats had no idea why an artist like Nelson Shanks would bother with painting a subject he apparently loathes. Was he really that hard up for the commission? We couldn't imagine, since under Bill Clinton's leadership the US economy boomed like never before.

And then we took one look at Nelson Shanks and we realized that interns and other nubile young nymphs probably aren't making any passes at him. So we chalked up his silly shadow-on-the-Clinton-portrait gimmick to pure jealousy.

But what if Shanks has started a trend here? Will portraits of other Presidents have to be redone — with shadows? If so, here are some suggestions.

Woodrow Wilson's portrait will have to have a ghostly Edith Wilson standing behind him, since she effectively acted as President when he was incapacitated by a stroke.

Whoever painted FDR will have to pencil in Lucy Mercer somewhere, maybe with Eleanor tripping her down some stairs.

There wouldn't be enough room in JFK's portrait for all of his paramours. Add Frank Sinatra instead — since he felt that Kennedy jilted him for Bing Crosby.

Nixon, of course, had no sex life. So he'll need to be repainted surrounded by tape recorders, cassettes, black bags and Cuban burglars.

Reagan was a slave to Mommy, so let's forget the shadows and just put him in an Alzheimer's ward. Maybe with some weapons addressed to Iran at the foot of his bed.

And of course, the portrait of the Worst Person Who's Ever Lived would have to include 4,491 shadows — one for every American service member he killed in Iraq. We cats HISS.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Tidbits And Cat Treats: Boehner Caves Edition

By Miss Kubelik

So much going on today — stuff we find amusing, and stuff we don't. We cats are settling in for our 16th nap of the day, but before we nod off, here are a few quick takes on what we've seen.

As soon as we read the headlines about John Boehner bringing a clean DHS bill to the House floor, we thought, ah — just like Nancy Pelosi said he would. And just like Boehner spokesman Michael Steel-Without-An-E said he wouldn't. That Nancy Pelosi sure knows her stuff. Good thing she stepped in and took charge.

Our next thought was that we had to check on our teabag friends over at Free Republic. Boy, were they mad! They hate Boehner more than they hate Obama now! And they think he's gay! (What?) And they want to start a third party! Now, that last one, we can get behind.

But the Freeps may not have to start a third party to seal the doom of today's GOP. It's surely not lost on Hispanics that House Republicans' latest meltdown happened thanks to their hatred of folks they call "illegals." Nevertheless, we cats would like to remind everyone that this is nothing new. Back in 1994, there was Pete Wilson and Prop 187. California's been blue ever since.

Finally, to Jeb! Bush and all those other Republicans who are screaming about Hillary Rodham Clinton's State Department emails and whether she's held any of them back, we say: Get a grip. How do we know? We read Hillary's 656-page doorstop of a book — and believe us, there's nothing she did as Secretary of State that's not in there. We cats PURR.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Bless My Homeland Security Forever

By Zamboni

Fifty years ago today, The Sound of Music premiered. The film employed a ton of talent (director Robert Wise, an editor of Citizen Kane, first among equals, we'd say). But what we cats keep thinking is, damn! — what a brilliant composer Richard Rodgers was.

Here is one of the songs that was not sung in the original TSOM stage production, but which Rodgers contributed to the film after lyricist Oscar Hammerstein had died. Audra McDonald proves how timeless Rodgers's music really is (even if Rodgers himself wasn't a very nice person). It all makes us cats PURR.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Lest We Furr-get: Beating The Blue Dog Blues

By Sniffles

So Blubberpuss John Boehner has decided to play the Ann Romney "this is hard" card on how tough it is to head the US House of Representatives. He thinks he can still lead there, he said on a Sunday gabfest today. But, he added, "I'm not going to suggest it's easy."

In short, WAAAHHH! Well, we cats say, "Boo-hoo to you, you Republican jackass." Of course it's not easy. As Tom Hanks said in "A League of Their Own," if it were easy, everyone would do it. And Boehner has clearly never been up to the job.

So while we're on the subject of women stepping up to the plate, let's talk about one woman in particular, Nancy Pelosi. When she was Speaker, you never saw this kind of crap going on. The House functioned, not only doing its most basic job (like, um, funding the government) but going above and beyond to accomplish great stuff (Obamacare, the stimulus, Lilly Ledbetter, DADT repeal, financial reform). And Nancy Pelosi did it in spite of having 50 to 60 Blue Dog Democrats who could strain at the leash at every turn.

Well, you know the old saying: You want something done right, ask a woman to do it. Nancy Pelosi gets a lot of guff, but she's never failed to keep us in awe. The hapless Republicans could learn a thing or two from her — but of course, being idiots, they never will. We cats HISS.

(IMAGE: She could beat him up with one hand tied behind her back.)