Sunday, November 29, 2015

Au (Revoir) Canada

By Sniffles

We cats soon will be traveling from one enviable Western democracy to another. In the Western democracy we'll be leaving, climate change is taken seriously, federal elections wrap up in a matter of weeks, diversity is valued, Syrian refugees are welcome, and women can go to a health clinic without worrying that they'll be shot by a Republican-inspired gunman. Sadly, in the Western democracy we'll be entering, none of those things is true. Which makes us HISS.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

More Strange Language

By Miss Kubelik

As if we needed more possible proof in this world that words matter, a middle-aged white guy has attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado and killed three people, including a police officer.

No, we don't know why he did this. Maybe it was a domestic violence dispute with a patient or a staffer at the clinic. But sorry, folks — after 1) months of PPA vilification by smarmy little video editors and bandwagon-jumping Republicans, 2) Cecile Richards abuse on Capitol Hill, and 3) over-the-top language by GOP Presidential candidates, we cats find it hard to believe that this Colorado moron didn't have a political agenda.

Was Robert Lewis Dear inspired by Carly Fiorina's completely bogus lie that Planned Parenthood harvested the brain of a living, leg-kicking fetus? If so, will Fiorina accept any responsibility for the death of the Colorado police officer (a religious man and father of two) and the others at the clinic?

Somehow, we doubt it. After all, Donald Trump said he wasn't to blame for the recent beating that a Black Lives Matter demonstrator endured at one of his rallies. In fact, he endorsed it. Trump supporters have messed with pro-immigration demonstrators, too, and it's hard not to draw a direct and very bright line between Trump's routine demagoguery and people's awful behavior.

Words, as we all know, are powerful, but they're particularly dangerous in a culture as steeped in guns as ours is. We Americans are currently obsessing over ISIL guys shooting us up at the mall. But with the deliberately provocative language and total lies that are being tossed around by the Republicans these days, we should worry about our fellow citizens instead. It's too easy in America to get mowed down, not just at our workplaces, our churches, our McDonald's and our schools, but at our health clinics, too. It all makes us HISS.

(IMAGE: Chan Lowe, Tribune Content Agency)

UPDATE: Of the passengers in the 2016 Republican clown car, only Kasich and Cruz issued statements today, neither of which mentioned Planned Parenthood. Fiorina and the rest were conspicuously silent, even though a police officer was killed. They are all cowards, knaves and fools, and we cats HISS.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Then Again...

We cats stand corrected on the selfie thing — at least as far as the legendary Montreal cartoonist Aislin is concerned.

No Selfie Necessary

 By Zamboni

Justin Trudeau meets the Queen. Looks like it was a pleasant encounter.

And about that portrait of Elizabeth II that Trudeau had removed at Ottawa's Foreign Affairs building in order to restore two Canadian paintings?

"[Taking down the Canadian paintings] was something that the previous government did as, I think, a sign of its disrespect for the arts community — for which they had been famously accused, and I think rightly accused on many levels," Trudeau told the BBC. "So it was more about restoring Canada’s place, and not meant at all as a disrespect to our Queen."

We cats note that Her Majesty seems to not have a hair out of place over the whole affair. And we PURR.

Another Passenger For The Clown Car

By Baxter

Does Ralph Nader have dementia? We cats have never been fans, especially since Nader helped cost President Gore an important election 15 years ago. But we can't think of any other reason why even Ralphie would write this obnoxious open letter to Federal Reserve Board chair Janet Yellen:

"Chairwoman Yellen, I think you should sit down with your Nobel-Prize-winning husband, economist George Akerlof, who is known to be consumer-sensitive" — to discuss, as Nader favors, raising interest rates.

Aside from acting piggy to the Fed's first-ever female chair, Nader apparently felt that, for clarity, he needed to name Yellen's husband in a public letter. But we're wondering if he was also trying to remember it himself. We cats HISS.

Voice Of Reason

By Sniffles

Despite the day, we cats are resisting calling Donald Trump a turkey. "Turkey" is too mild for him.

Now, he's in the news for making fun of a disabled New York Times reporter. Well-deserved outrage has ensued, and Trump, as is his wont, has pushed back by attacking some more.

All of this clownishness is paralyzing the Republican Party, which we Democratic cats love, but as we've said before, it's also wearing thin. Immature behavior from privileged white guys who enthrall trailer-owning, Confederate-flag-flying, not-so-privileged white guys ceases to amuse after awhile.

So this Thanksgiving, we're grateful that just over the 49th parallel, we're hearing reassuring words from Justin Trudeau, who recently cited both Trump and the fat drug addict from Toronto, Rob Ford, as wannabe leaders who are destined to fail.

"When you get right down to it, when citizens take a long hard look in the ballot box at actually voting against your neighbors, against someone who's different from you," Trudeau said, "in pluralistic societies like we have, it becomes very difficult to sustain the hatred."

We'll raise a glass of egg nog to that. And of course we PURR. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Au Canada, Part Deux

Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, November 24, 2015

Strange Language

By Miss Kubelik

The Republican clown car increasingly inhabits another decade, another generation, another century. The way Donald Trump is talking these days, we cats are thinking that it's 1964 and that Freedom Riders are on the verge of getting murdered in Mississippi. And fast-forwarding to today, we wonder if we'll soon see extra security at the mosque down the road from us in Northern Virginia.

It is all despicable — and even more embarrassing to us as Americans, since we're visiting a Western democracy whose citizens have consciously chosen to embrace their diversity (and tell those who would divide them to go to hell).

But equally revolting as Trump's bigotry (which his fellow GOP candidates weakly refuse to decry) is the other weird stuff coming out of Republican mouths. Like Ben Carson, the world's stupidest pediatric neurosurgeon, saying that he saw "newsreels" of New Jersey Muslims celebrating the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9/11.

Newsreels? If you asked Carson what year it was, what would he say? The 1930s? (Come to think of it, the GOP rhetoric is kinda Nazi-ish.)

As always, however, because it is just as offensive as casting aspersions on other groups of Americans, we cats are duty-bound to call out horrible grammar when we hear it. On that, we must finger Baby Marco Rubio, who, talking through his hat as usual, said in the latest Republican debate that America needed "more welders and less philosophers."

Sigh. It's "fewer," Baby Marco, "fewer." But we sure would like to see less of you. We cats HISS.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Confusion To The Enemy! (Cat Style)

By Zamboni

Post-Paris, while we Americans are whining and worrying that some ISIL guy is going to mow us all down at our local Starbucks, the citizens of Brussels are in actual lockdown for a third day.

So, how are they coping with across-the-board closures, with nowhere to go and nothing to do? Tweeting pictures of cats, of course.

After the authorities asked people not to use social media to discuss any of the anti-terrorism raids they're staging — and tip off ISIL to police operations — Belgians are doing the cops one better. What could be more confusing to the terrorists than a cute feline photo? Not to mention Super Cat, Darth Vader cat, Hovercats, Socks the Cat, gifs of cats jumping out of backpacks, and countless cats wielding machine guns, just daring ISIL to come and get them.

We cats are not only proud to play such an important part in the Global War on Terror, we are bowled-over impressed by our Belgian friends, who, despite all this crap going on in their capital, have clearly retained their sense of humor. Good for them! They deserve a great big PURR.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Strategic Alienation (Whoops!)

By Baxter

The Republican Party keeps committing suicide with different constituent groups. Shall we recap?

After the demonization of Barack Obama in which the GOP has engaged for years, African Americans have cemented themselves as the group most likely to shun Republicans in significant numbers for generations (if not centuries). Even Rancid Pieface and the rest of the Establishment must assume that's a given. But despite its post-2012 "autopsy," the Grand Old Party has been very successful in alienating a ton of other people: gays, Millennials, women, Asians, soccer moms — and, of course, Hispanics — with their regressive policies, gun love, religious zealotry, xenophobia and general intolerance of All People Not Like Them.

To that list, let us now add Muslim Americans.

That group might not strike you right away as a critical voting bloc in a general election, but here are a few points to keep in mind.

The Muslim-American demographic is growing, big time, and in key states. And while in 2000, 70 percent of them voted for The Worst Person Who's Ever Lived, 15 years later, we don't see them maintaining that GOP loyalty when the current Republican front-runner is talking about setting up Muslim databases, issuing special IDs and closing mosques. (Whatever happened to "religious liberty"? Oh, wait.)

We cats will be happy to welcome all those Muslim Americans who voted for Bush into the Democratic Party. Particularly if it means that, while maybe a few more paranoid white guys in Roanoke vote Republican, we get a bigger edge in Northern Virginia — solidly delivering the Old Dominion to Hillary in 2016, and to the Democrats overall in elections to come.

And we'll be pleased to cede a couple of percentage points in the Godforsaken red state of Alabama if the GOP's anti-Muslim rhetoric helps take Michigan off the table for the Republicans forever.

And do you know where else a lot of American Muslims live? Texas and Florida. Hmmm! We cats PURR.

Au Canada

The French Consulate in Montreal is located in an office tower at 1501 McGill College. We cats were in the area today and happened upon this impromptu memorial outside, near the building's front door. A week after the Paris attacks, people were still lighting candles.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Who's "Not Ready" Now?

By Sniffles

We cats are popping into Canada soon, to see how things are going under the new Liberal government. But even before we get there, we've noticed that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau already has the G20 in Turkey and the APEC Summit in the Philippines under his belt.

In fact, he's made quite an impression. There have even been suggestions that he's outshone another "young, telegenic global sensation" who happens to be President of the United States.

Hm. That may be a teensy bit over the top, but who cares? It's pretty hilarious that Justin has captured the fascination of the world — and has proved that he can mix in thsee new, big-league circles with style and confidence — because a mere three months ago, we were seeing ad after ad from Stephen Harper and the Conservatives, claiming that Trudeau was "Just Not Ready."

LOL! The 2015 Harper campaign will probably go down as the worst in Canadian history. Sorry, Stevie — you not only went stupidly negative on Justin, you tried to appeal to people's worst instincts in the most digusting, Rovian way. And Canadians told you to get lost. We cats PURR.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Letter To ISIL

 "Friday night, you took away the life of an exceptional human being, the love of my life, the mother of my son. But you will not have my hatred.

"I do not know who you are, and I do not wish to. You are dead souls. If this God for whom you kill so blindly has made us in His image, every bullet in the body of my wife will have been a wound in His heart.

"So I will not give you the privilege of hating you. You certainly sought it, but replying to hatred with anger would be giving in to the same ignorance which made you into what you are. You want me to be frightened, that I should look into the eyes of my fellow citizens with distrust, that I sacrifice my freedom for security. You lost. I will carry on as before.

"I saw her this morning. Finally, after nights and days of waiting. She was as beautiful as when she left on Friday evening, as beautiful as when I fell madly in love with her more than 12 years ago.

"I am of course devastated by heartbreak. I'll cede you that little victory, but it will be short-lived. I know that she will be with us every day and that we will meet again in a paradise of free souls to which you will never have access.

"There are only two of us, my son and I, but we are stronger than all the armies of the world. Moreover, I have no more time to grant you, I must go to Melvil, who is waking up from his nap. He is just 17 months old. He will eat his snack like he does every day, then we will play like we do every day, and every day of his life, this little boy will affront you by being happy and free. Because you will not have his hatred either."
—Antoine Leiris

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

David Bowers: Naughty And Stupid

By Miss Kubelik

We cats are continuing to see a lot of behavior over Syrian refugees that would make Emma Lazarus cry.

The latest case in point is a lamebrain from here in the Old Dominion, Roanoke Mayor David Bowers — who's trying to justify barring Middle Eastern refugees by invoking FDR and World War II.

"I’m reminded that President Franklin D. Roosevelt felt compelled to sequester Japanese foreign nationals after the bombing of Pearl Harbor," Bowers said.

Um, no, Mr. Mayor. President Roosevelt did not uproot Japanese foreign nationals. (Well, maybe a few.) Mostly, he interned thousands of American citizens of Japanese descent. Sixty-two percent of the people the government rounded up and sent to camps were Americans! Just ask George "Mr. Sulu" Takei.

Bowers should be ashamed of himself for trying to score points by citing the biggest mistake FDR ever made. Instead, we should all be learning from it. We can start by not casting panicked aspersions on innocent people — Americans and non-Americans alike.

Oh, well. This Bowers jackass left the Democratic Party in 2008, so it just goes to show you he's not very bright. We cats HISS.

(IMAGE: Allegiance, a new musical.)

Naughty And Nice

By Zamboni

It's always amazing how events like the attacks in Paris bring out people's bright — and, sadly, dark — sides. We guess you could say "It was the best of behavior, it was the worst of behavior."

On the "best" side, you have the crowd at Wembley stadium last night — mostly British fans, we assume — singing a spirited rendition of "La Marseillaise" before the UK's friendly match with France.

You also had an emotional tribute to Paris from the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on Saturday. Listen to the cheering when the French national anthem starts up, and watch how many fans hold up their glowing smartphones. (In the old days at rock concerts, it would have been cigarette lighters.)

But on the "worst" side, you have the jackass who yelled out "Muslims suck!" — or something equally ignorant — during the moment of silence that the Green Bay Packers held before their game on Sunday. How embarrassing that an American would be so disrespectful (and, by the way, wrong). On the "best" side, though, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers called out the guy as a racist.

But let's not forget that Turkish fans booed the moment of silence that was held before their match with Greece yesterday. That definitely qualifies as "worst."

Still, in our furry little minds, nothing tops the behavior of the right-wing Republicans here at home who are demonizing Syrian and other refugees from the Middle East. We won't repeat any of their execrable language here (we're looking at you, Fat Mike Huckabee, and you, Donald Trump, and you, Chris Christie, just to name a few). Instead, we'll simply note that President Obama had it exactly right when he said, "First, they were too scared of the press being too tough on them in the debates. Now they are scared of three-year-old orphans. That doesn’t seem so tough to me."

Should we take down the Statue of Liberty? Because if the Republicans get their way, the Golden Door will be swinging shut. We cats HISS.

Monday, November 16, 2015

We Are All Bleu, Blanc et Rouge

The Eiffel Tower, lit up again.
The Sydney, Australia Opera House.
Washington Square, New York City.
One World Trade Center, ditto.
The CN Tower, Toronto.
The Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Created by a French sculptor, by the way. We cats PURR.

The End Of The Appeal: Very Appealing

By Baxter

Here's a small ray of light as the West goes bat-crazy with paranoia about innocent Muslims fleeing Islamic extremists: Canada's new Liberal government has officially dropped Stephen Harper's "niqab appeal."

Meaning that with Harper out, Ottawa will no longer demand that the two or three niqab-wearing women who take the oath of citizenship every year doff their silly dress to swear allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II and the laws of Canada. Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Immigration Minister John McCallum have basically said to Canada's Supreme Court, "Oops, about that niqab thing — never mind."

We cats say, thank goodness. There is nothing ISIL would like more than for Westerners to start demonizing every Muslim in sight — and betray their values in the process. Plus, Harper used the damn niqab as a wedge issue to drive Canadians apart. And Canadians said, "Up yours, Steve." So, good. A tiny sliver of sanity as the world goes bonkers. We cats PURR.

We'll Always Have Opportunism

By Sniffles

Goodness gracious. We cats had no idea that our fellow Americans loved the French so much. Is it that we all secretly dream of ourselves as Bogie and Bergman in a Paris cafe? We're not sure, but it's mighty curious.

See, we remember a time — not so long ago — when our fellow citizens, whipped up into a warmongering frenzy by the Bush-Cheney liars, slandered the French people as "cheese-eating surrender monkeys." A prominent French restaurant in our then-neighborhood was forced to hang a large American flag in their window or probably go out of business. Oh, and just for good measure, the enlightened hockey fans of South Florida lustily booed the Montreal Canadiens at a Panthers game because the True North had also refused to take part in the invasion of Iraq. (And their name was kinda French, ya know. Quel horreur!)

Now, however, a series of horrific attacks has taken place in the City of Light, and the Republicans are up in arms — well, not literally, but they think someone should be. (Bill Kristol, that storied military hero, called for 50,000 troops to fight ISIL on the ground.) The media are going overboard, too, just like after 9/11. And sadly, a whole passel of (mostly GOP) governors are saying ixnay to any Syrian refugees. Never mind that those desperate people are fleeing the very same criminals who slaughtered folks in Paris on Friday night.

It's so striking to us cats how we Westerners couldn't care less about atrocities unless they're happening to people of non-color or non-Muslimish religions. We are pleased that the new government of Canada appears to be bucking the hawkish trend by continuing with its plan to resettle 25,000 Syrian victims of ISIL by year's end. But we have little hope that the refugees' fate will survive the posturing and the screaming and the blaming that currently make up the American political process.

Meanwhile, we're waiting to see how many GOP Presidential candidates will take it upon themselves to tell John Kerry, "Hey, sorry for saying back in 2004 that you 'looked French.'" Funny how the Republicans just use these events for their own ends, rather than try to approach them in a reasoned, thoughtful manner. But then, they're not capable of any thought at all these days, are they? Which, because these foreign-policy questions are so damned serious and scary, makes us HISS.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Reality Check

By Miss Kubelik

Before the right wing goes completely crazy (in fact, they already have), we cats think that today is a good day to remember that back in May, a college student in Nevada gave Jeb! Bush a history lesson.

When The Worst Person Who's Ever Lived invaded Iraq on a lie in 2003 and then disbanded the Iraqi army, "30,000 individuals who were part of the Iraqi military were forced out," she said. "They had no employment, they had no income, and they were left with access to all of the same arms and weapons.

"Your brother created ISIS."

We sure hope all those Bushies and Cheney-ites are proud. And of course we HISS.

Friday, November 13, 2015

But About Those Coffee Cups...

By Zamboni

We cats have been frustrated in the past by Howard Schultz, CEO of that coffee place, who has a penchant for blaming everybody equally for everything.

Specifically, we're talking politics. Schultz has a habit of tarring both Democrats and Republicans with a Republican brush, and as Democrats, we cats find that irritating. In fact, just this past August he took to the Op-Ed page of The New York Times to scold "leaders of both parties" for "abdicat[ing] their responsibility to forge reasonable compromises to expand the economy, rebuild our infrastructure, improve schools, transform entitlement programs and so much more."

Um, no, Howard. We Democrats would love to govern. It's one of the things we do best, and good things happen when we do it. But maybe you've noticed that right now, we're not exactly in charge of either the House or the Senate. And it's not Democrats who make up the group of psychopaths known as the "Freedom Caucus," who block everything that doesn't destroy the very programs and services you cited in your Times editorial.

So having been annoyed by Howard and his naivete and that ridiculous "Race Together" thingy he tried to make his employees do awhile back, we're enjoying a bit of Schadenfreude now that the right-wing religious nutcases are slamming him for his insufficiently Christmasy red-and-green coffee cups.

How is Schultz, born and raised Jewish, enjoying the attacks he's getting from his Christian friends in the Republican Party? Not fun, is it, Howard? Are you happy about Donald Trump's call for a national boycott? Is it exciting to be targeted by Bill O'Reilly and the whole "WOC"' crowd?

We assume the answer is no. So maybe Schultz should revise his assessment of the GOP versus us. After all, we Democrats couldn't care less that Howard's cups don't have snowflakes anymore. We just keep lining up to buy his stupid coffee. We cats HISS.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Have Yourself A Merry Little Date Rape

By Baxter

Forget the faux furor over stupid red coffee cups. We cats won't be going to Bloomingdale's any time soon.

But maybe not why you think. Yes, we're appalled at the carnal-abuse allusion in this now-notorious Bloomie's holiday ad. But we're even more revolted by the grammar. A little subject-pronoun agreement, please!

It's getting really tiresome that folks who are torn between using "his" and "her" try to avoid the choice by using "their" — but if you're talking about your "best friend," singular, you really have to decide what gender that person is.

Since it's the man in this ad who's looking suggestively at the unsuspecting woman, he's the one with Bill-Cosby-type behavior in mind. So it's "when she's not looking."

The ad agency involved obviously has no original thinkers in its creative department. And they're also illiterates. We cats put not just lumps of coal but copies of The Elements of Style in their stockings. And of course we HISS.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Committing Suicide At The Ballot Box

By Sniffles

The man in the pink shirt is a guy from Kentucky named Dennis Blackburn. He's 56, unemployed, and has a passel of health problems: "a hereditary liver disorder, numbness in his hands and legs, back pain... plus an abnormal heart rhythm." But luckily, Blackburn has medical coverage to help him with all that, because Kentucky's outgoing Democratic Governor, Steve Beshear, instituted a robust Obamacare program, Kynect, and expanded Medicaid in the state. In fact, after losing his mechanic's job, Blackburn signed up for a Medicaid plan with help from his local Obamacare rep.

So you must be feeling pretty bad for Dennis Blackburn, right? After all, in a surprise upset, Kentucky just elected a Republican Governor, a teabagger who insists that he's going to dismantle Kynect and remove the sinister stain of the ACA from the Bluegrass State forever.

Um, not so fast. Dennis Blackburn voted for Matt Bevin — the teabagger.

Reports The Washington Post, "Blackburn voted for Bevin because he is tired of career politicians and thought a businessman would be more apt to create the jobs that [his] county so needs. Yet when it comes to the state’s expansion of health insurance... 'Without this little bit of help these people are giving me, I could probably die,'" Blackburn said.

Excuse us, but this man is an idiot. Bevin based his entire campaign on hatehatehating Obamacare — and if Blackburn, with his Medicaid insurance plan and his many maladies, didn't realize that, we are simply baffled.

Yes, we know that Bevin won't be able to smite Kynect the moment he gets into office, but we are wondering why in the world some Americans behave the way they do. Whatever it is that causes ailing 56-year-old white males like Dennis Blackburn to vote against their own best interests is a mystery. Although it does explain why so many of them are dying. We cats HISS.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Every Picture Has A Story

By Miss Kubelik

See these paintings? They are "Canada East" and "Canada West," the work of a Quebec artist named Alfred Pellan. And they hung in the entrance foyer of the Foreign Affairs Building in Ottawa for nearly 40 years, until Stephen Harper's Conservative government removed them in favor of a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.

Now, they're back. And the Tories and the monarchists are not amused. "It is curious, at the start of the first complete week of the Trudeau government, that such a high-profile removal of the Queen’s portrait would have been made," said the chairman of the Monarchist League of Canada in a sniffily restrained, passive-tense email.

First of all, goodness gracious — who knew that "the Monarchist League" even existed? Second, we'd bet money (which in Canada, has Elizabeth's face on it) that League members were mightily irked when the current Prime Minster's father executed that famous pirouette behind Her Majesty's back 38 years ago. So this latest umbrage may have a long pedigree.

But most important, let's get some perspective here: These Canada-celebrating paintings were taken down and replaced with the Queen in 2011 because Stephen Harper wanted to do some serious sucking up to royal visitors — specifically, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. And you know who was unhappy about that? The Parti Quebecois. "It's a lack of respect for Quebecers. It's an indifference to artists, to Quebec art," fumed one critic.

So fast-forward to 2015, and the Pellan paintings have returned, and we cats say, good for them. To the Monarchist League, we say, don't worry. We're sure that Her Majesty's portrait didn't end up in a bathroom or in a dark corner the way Lyndon Johnson's did at the 1968 Democratic convention. And as they'd say in Quebec, nous ronronnons.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Brain Frieze

By Zamboni

We cats hope you've had the chance to tour Ben "The Pyramids Are Big Silos" Carson's dreadfully decorated house, especially if you need a good laugh. But we're still wondering about this Biblical inscription that Carson had chiseled into a wall.

Does he know that there's no space between the comma after "Riches" and the word "Honor"? And that "proverbs" is missing its "r"? Or did he just not notice? And why is "poverbs" not capitalized when everything else is?

Pretty scary! Either Carson's a brain surgeon who can't read, or his attention to detail is mighty flighty. We sure wouldn't want him operating on us. We cats HISS.

More 1954 Than 2015

By Baxter

Democrats really need to message better on the fact that a climate-change-denying Republican numbnut from Texas is chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Why should Lamar Smith, a guy whose brain routinely inhabits the Dark Ages, chair this important committee? Especially since he's trying to intimidate the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — threatening NOAA's administrator with, um, something if she doesn't turn over a bunch of confidential internal documents on global warming.

Apparently Smith didn't like the fact that agency scientists chose to disagree with the clearly silly assertion that climate change had slowed over the last 10 years. So in the Republican playbook, McCarthyesque browbeating, even in the face of objections from the scientific community, is the way to go.

We cats are so tired of the GOP frantically fishing for evidence of things that never happened (e.g., "Benghazi") while maddeningly ignoring the environmental disaster that's unfolding right in front of them.

It's also pretty embarrassing that while Republicans are bullying scientists in this country, things are getting back to normal above the 49th parallel. Justin Trudeau and the Liberals have just lifted the Harper-era ban on government scientists speaking to the media. "Our government values science and will treat scientists with respect," announced Navdeep Bains, Canada's new minister of innovation, science and economic development.

Valuing science — what a novel concept! Until the Republicans come to their senses (unlikely), or until Democrats call them out for putting Neanderthals in charge of scientific committees, we cats HISS.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Tidbits And Cat Treats: X'ing KXL Edition

By Sniffles

So much news in one short week, we cats can't react to it all. But here are a few stories that caught our attention.

Yes, we know that climate and weather are two different things, but on a November day in Washington when the temperature breaks records at 80 and the air conditioner is back on, we're glad that President Obama has squashed the Keystone XL Pipeline. We've never understood the allure of tar sands when there's so much money and so many jobs just waiting to be had in clean energy.

Meanwhile, Ben Carson is not having a great week. Sure, he's leading in some numbnut Republican polls and just got Secret Service protection — but now he's not just the butt of thousands of Egyptian pyramid jokes, his ain't-I-great autobiography is looking more and more like one big fib. It's just more proof that a person can be a pediatric neurosurgeon and separate conjoined twins at the head and still be a liar and a fool.

And after this morning's most excellent jobs report — and with the unemployment rate at 5.0, the lowest since since The Worst Person Who's Ever Lived was President — we sure hope that at the next debate, all those economic experts over at the Fox Business channel will ask the GOP clown car passengers why they should be back in charge.

Finally, if you even had a smidgen of hope that the Mormon church was evolving after its benign acceptance of the Supreme Court's ruling on marriage equality, guess again: They just did a total smackdown on any gay folks who have the gall to try to exist in LDS world. Still, it's at least a step up from those annoying religious nutcases who refuse to do their county clerk jobs or comply with the Affordable Care Act. Until America is able to make, execute and interpret sensible laws without whining and pressure from the "religious freedom" crowd, we cats will just have to keep HISSING. And so we do.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Loudon County 1, Houston 0

By Miss Kubelik

Here's a bright spot from a real ouch of an Election Day: Eugene Delgaudio is no more.

Well, let's correct that: Sadly, Delgaudio still exists. He just won't be a member of the Loudon County, Virginia, Board of Supervisors. A young Democrat named Koran T. Saines beat Delgaudio's gay-hating butt by — get this — 200 votes.

That's 200 sane people who were sick of Delgaudio and his "Public Advocate of the United States" organization that the Southern Poverty Law Center has long listed as a hate group. Two hundred people who decided that Loudon County, which went for Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012, deserved better than a guy who worries about the US legalizing "horse-man marriage."

So, there you have it, folks: On the same day that the City of Houston turned away a ban on LGBT discrimination because of a ridiculous freakout over bathrooms, Loudon County threw their most notorious anti-gay teabag out of office. We cats love that, and we PURR.

(IMAGE: Honest to Godless, a blogger who Eugene Delgaudio thinks likes him.)

Sunny Day, Sunny Ways

Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau and wife Sophie arrive for the new government's swearing-in — accompanied by the most diverse (and gender-equal) Cabinet in Canadian history. We cats PURR.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Harperman, It's Time For Young Trudeau

By Zamboni

Whee! After nine years, today is Stephen Harper's last day as Prime Minister. We cats say to Canadians, we feel not only your pain but your utter relief.

We hope that after tomorrow's installment of Justin Trudeau and his new Liberal majority in Ottawa, Canadians will enjoy the kind of moment we Americans did in January 2009, when the Worst Person Who's Ever Lived left Washington in a helicopter and everybody cheered.

Meanwhile, it's interesting that in his final hours, Harper tried to make nice with the Canadian civil service he so abused. Like Republicans in this country, he apparently thought that if he didn't mention how he cut public-employee jobs, demanded partisanship or muzzled climate scientists, those actions simply didn't exist.

Nice try, Stevie. The Public Service Alliance of Canada punched back right away with a pretty blistering statement: "It is unfortunate that the Conservative government was not able to recognize the important contribution of public service workers during their mandate. We look forward to building a positive and constructive relationship with the new Liberal government where trust and respect for public service workers is restored.''

We have a proposal for the new Prime Minister: Is it possible to give "Harperman" composer Tony Turner his government job back? We know he retired to avoid persecution, but that would make us PURR.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Note To The RNC: Your Voters Are Dying

By Baxter

Whenever you hear right-wing Republicans complaining about the nanny state or railing against Democrats for promoting healthy eating or sensible gun regulation, think about this: "The mortality rate for white men and women ages 45-54 with less than a college education [has] increased markedly between 1999 and 2013."

We cats read that and thought, goodness gracious — that's the base of the Republican Party. And according to the National Academy of Sciences, they're dying at a rate only exceeded by "Russian men after the collapse of the Soviet Union." Wow!

What's killing them? Booze and drugs, chronic liver disease, diabetes, lung cancer and — hold onto your hats — suicides. The Academy revealed the data but provided no answers, except to speculate that maybe all these middle-aged white folks are going through midlife crises. Which strikes us as kinda lame.

That's because we think we know the answer. In addition to the opioid-slash-heroin epidemic, which Hillary Clinton has a plan to combat, we chalk all these white-people deaths up to teabaggery and its root cause — anger.

Sure, the "Don't Tread on Me" crowd doesn't want to be told to eat healthy, get their flu shots, stay away from the 20-ounce sugary drinks and exercise more. That's government interference! But in addition to all those other bad habits they have, they harbor a deep-seated fury that we cats see every time we check on our right-wing friends over at Free Republic. They are so mad! Mad that a good-looking African American guy is President, mad that gays are getting married, mad that Spanish-speaking people want to be Americans, mad that the Confederate flag's been taken down, and mad that the government is going to herd them into detention camps under Walmarts.

You know what all that anger does to you? It raises your blood pressure. It stresses all your systems. It can kill you.

So, if it's more important to the teabags to indulge their rage than to get to the voting booth next year, that's fine with us cats. (More votes for Hillary.) In the meantime, though, we certainly hope these unhealthy middle-aged white people aren't taking any government handouts — like Medicare and Medicaid. We cats HISS.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Looking In The Wrong Direction

By Sniffles

We cats have always kept tabs on our favorite paranoid friends who post over at Free Republic not just because they amuse us (at least, to a point), but because they show us how little the GOP establishment and the lazy pundits who serve as their stenographers understand the base of the Republican Party.

Latest case in point: Following Baby Marco Rubio's smackdown of the hapless Jeb! in last week's debate, the media are falling all over themselves to tout Baby Marco's nomination prospects. Why? Because the Republican establishment has just decided (and is no doubt dictating it line by line to compliant journalists) that Baby Marco could just possibly satisfy both the elites and the hoi polloi.

Sorry, folks, thanks for playing.

See, we had a vague memory of the Freepers going after Baby Marco when his effort at comprehensive immigration reform went up in smoke — the Freeps being absolutely, positively and totally in favor of Donald Trump's wall. So we decided to check on them to see how they were feeling about Rubio lately.

Answer: They still hate him.

Sample representative comment: "Rubio is a nonstop pathological liar and easily the most devious creep in the field." Short list of only acceptable candidates: "Cruz, Carson or Trump. That’s it. One of those three, preferably Cruz, or I shall not vote for the Republican candidate." Winning the support of billionaire Paul Singer has only hardened the Freepers' hearts against Baby Marco. Singer is pro-"amnesty," pro-"sodomite marriage," you see.

So... how do Rancid Pieface and the GOP back-room deal makers think they're going to get around the party's teabaggy base? They never address this. They just skate around the subject and presume it goes away at some point. From the time we cats have spent reading the Freeps, we think the elites are living in Fantasy Land.

Nope, if the media are so convinced that none of the "outsiders" — Trump, Carson, Fiorina — can snag the nomination, they're looking at the wrong Hispanic guy. Watch Cruz. In the meantime, we cats HISS.