A Blog devoted to progressive politics, environmental issues, LGBT issues, social justice, workers' rights, womens' rights, and, most importantly, Cats.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Politics: Official: Military Broken

Feel safer yet, people? Those of you responsible for electing Chimpy McDrunktard to power owe the rest of us - and the whole goddamned world - a fucking apology. Because you pathetic bedwetters were terrified out of your puny minds thanks to the tactics of Snarly McCrashcart and Pasty SlimeFingers, you failed to notice that this gang of crooks was using questionable tactics against yourselves, your fellow citizens, and the rest of the world.

You turned a blind eye as they ignored the true nature of the terror that brought this mighty nation to its knees and left it cowering under the covers for seven years. You ignored the fact that the majority of the terrorists who blew up the Twin Towers came from the same country that your Pretzeldunce flies to regularly, where he kisses the ruling family's royal arses. You believed the Idiot Boy when he told you to line up and throw your children, friends, neighbours, fellow citizens, or yourselves into a meatgrinder. You gave away your - and our - civil rights. You gave away everybody's human rights. You handed him your wallet, your ATM card and PIN number, and the keys to the house and car.

Well, Mr. Bring-It-On has one last arse-rogering for you. Better hope you've got lube, 'cause he sure as fuck won't be bringing any.

Raw Story tells us that the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves has issued a 400-page report essentially saying:
... that the nation "does not have sufficient trained, ready forces available" to respond to a chemical, biological or nuclear weapons incident, "an appalling gap that places the nation and its citizens at greater risk."

"Right now we don't have the forces we need, we don't have them trained, we don't have the equipment," commission Chairman Arnold Punaro said in an interview with The Associated Press. "Even though there is a lot going on in this area, we need to do a lot more. ... There's a lot of things in the pipeline, but in the world we live in — you're either ready or you're not."
The report adds that nearly a year ago, 88 percent of units were not combat-ready, and today that number is lower still.

So what the fuck happened to all the troop-supportin' war-lovin' and taxpayer-money-redistributin' that was going on? Where the fuck is our money and why was it not used to ensure that our troops are ready to protect our lives and our nation? Seems like we had plenty of money to give to Dumbass McChimperson's friends and family. Seems like we bought defective pumps for New Orleans with some of that fine taxpayer money from Dumbass' brother Jeb; and bogoid worthless "learning materials" from another brother Neal. Seems like a little of that TWO TRILLION FUCKING DOLLARS that we just threw down the bowlhole called Iraq might have been spent on military preparedness. You know, given 9/11 and all.
Punaro, a retired Marine Corps major general, had sharp criticism for Northern Command, saying that commanders there have made little progress developing detailed response plans for attacks against the homeland.

"NorthCom has got to get religion in this area," said Punaro. He said the military needs to avoid "pickup game" type responses, such as the much-criticized federal reaction to Hurricane Katrina, and put in place the kind of detailed plans that exist for virtually any international crisis.
No shit, sir. You tell 'em. Jeebus, what a pathetic buncha stiffs.

We realized just what a huge boondoggle The Idiotard and his myrmidons and the Republican Party Enablers had pulled on us when Hurricane Katrina hit NOLA. We remember the images, and we were stunned. We knew then that a government that could not even muster a half-assed response to a known, predicted, and defined disaster would need help keeping their own goddamned family jewels safe, much less the nation.

And what, precisely, comprises Stupie McTardibus' response to the news that the military is fucking broken? This. That's right. The Idiot-in-Chief, instead of coming up with a plan to fix what's broken, is, like any chimp, hooting and hollering and jumping up and down in the hope that the sight of his flaccid ballsack and crimson behind will distract potential threateners.

What a fucking idiot. No, really. What a thumpingly unreclaimable hopeless, useless fool. He's afraid that withdrawing troops from Iraq will cause Iran to think the U.S. is a paper tiger. Holy quacking duckshit, you fool. Who cares what anyone thinks? Not only are Americans being killed and injured in Iraq, but, Mister "we're fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here," our capacity to fight them ANYfuckingwhere is pretty much gone. More than 88 per cent - in plain English, Mr. Stupidous Chimperiffer, that means MOST - of the army reserves and the national guard are incapable, in their present state, of repelling an attack over fucking here.

The pathetic lying, lazy, drunken fool went on to flap his gums:
"You know, a lot of folks say, well, what's next, Mister President?"
Bullshit. We don't believe any "folks" is saying that no more. Based on your tanking poll ratings, we believe a lot of folks are saying, "Please God, how many days before this pathetic fool is back in Crawford clearing brush or whatever the fuck the useless turd does on his vacations? Where's my goddamn Bush Countdown Clock?" That's what "a lot of folks" are saying.

Yep. The Fuckwit-in-Chief, in a pathetic attempt to create a legacy other than the one of stark, staring, dismal FAILURE that is hovering over him right now, decided the way to pull the thrashing stock market out of its feebly flailing funk is - to cut Medicare! Huge cuts, at that. He is going to disembowel Medicare and Medicaid, try to make his tax cuts for the super-wealthy permanent, and keep the military in Iraq, slowly bleeding and dying.

And, even as Doofus O'Disaster is wrecking everything around him, he's proposing to charge Congress $200 for each copy of his (traditionally free) budget. We don't think this move will make enough to constitute a tax rebate for a single citizen.

Meanwhile, back in the nation where Osama bin Laden has been hiding for the past seven fucking years, things are slipping out of control, says Auntie Beeb. A suicide bomber has killed the governor of Helmand province in Afghanistan. A woman politician points out that the Afghani government is doing nothing to protect women (or politicians, for that matter) from routine death threats (which, given the current state of the recently-departed governor of Helmand, ought to be taken seriously). Canada is threatening to pull its troops out of Afghanistan. And the Afghani Senate that we are paying for has sentenced to death a young man who "humiliated Islam" by printing out and circulating an article that was apparently written by other Muslims who questioned the Prophet Muhammad's respect for the rights of women. The Guardian, unlike our own media lapdogs, reveals that the arrest of the person in question is an attempt to silence his brother, also a journalist, who has exposed some of the slavery and sexual abuse common to powerful Afghani warlords.

Is it any surprise that the maelstrom of turd created by the Turdibus Chimperor is causing more U.S. military personnel to take their lives than every before? Suicide rates in the military are the highest that they have been for a quarter of a century. Isn't it bad enough that the Idiotard is killing them, now he's treating them so badly that they're killing themselves. In an aside, we should add that the military has generously agreed NOT to prosecute Lt. Elizabeth Whiteside for attempting to kill herself.

If we didn't think more could be attributed to human greed and frailty than to malice, we would suspect Mister Fucknuts of being an agent of Osama bin Laden. Or part of a plot by Arab sheikhs to destroy the United States. Because that's the only thing the pathetic little turd has had any success in doing to date.

A PDF of the report is available here.

A parting of the hair with the Golden Bat o'Clue for all the idiots and bozos who dragged us, screaming and kicking, into the massive malfeasance and impending collapse that we face today.

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2008 Elections: Apologies

Apologies, folks. We were so upset when writing the preceding post that we didn't make sense at all. What we meant to say was: We wish Dennis Kucinich was going to be our next President. However, once he stepped out of the race, we elected to support John Edwards because his positions on issues such as the rights of workers, women, minorities, and the poor were similar to ours. When he stepped out of the race we were greatly disappointed, but seeing that we were down to two candidates, we elected to throw our support to Barack Obama because we feel that he is somewhat more progressive in his political positions than Hillary Clinton. Which is not to detract from Clinton's admirable skillset, nor to waver in our firm commitment to feminist principles.

We feel strongly that the preceding blog post makes the case for Obama. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely, and the longer someone has held on to power, the greater the likelihood that their very thought process is corrupted by their power. Obama speaks to this quite stirringly in his book, The Audacity of Hope. He recounts his effort to live his principled belief that a Senator or other Representative of the people should not lose touch with the people s/he represents. As part of this, he voluntarily ceased accepting flights on private or corporate planes. He recalls the first time he took a regular flight again, adding that some child threw up on his shoes, but that the experience reminded him that this is how regular folks travel.

With the possible exception of Senator Barack Obama, all the other candidates have been powerful for so long that they no longer even know how out of touch they are with their constituents. We believe that Senator Obama is a person of goodwill, and that he is honest. We believe that he is principled and ethical. Finally, we believe that his years of work as a community organizer outweigh the relatively few years that he has held a position of any power. He has not yet been corrupted. Unlike our other candidates, he shows a genuine, human warmth and concern for other people.

Please cast your vote for Senator Obama for our next President. If you belong to a political party or faction that precludes such action, please consider these arguments very carefully. Consider what a rich, spoiled, irresponsible, unethical person and his friends have done to your friends, neighbours, and country.

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2008 Elections: OMFG

This is exactly why we need political change. This is why we need to elect Obama, goddammit.

Raw Story tells us that Philip Shenon's new book, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation alleges that Philip Zelikow (former colleague of then-National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice) who was appointed executive director of the 9/11 Commission despite his close ties to the Bush White House, was in regular contact with none other than creepy, purulent slimebag KKKarl Rove while overseeing the commission. Shenon is a reporter for the New York Times.

Who the hell was responsible for electing Zelikow in the first place? Blogger, journalist, and author Max Holland blogged details from his copy of the book here. Shenon claims that those responsible for electing Zelikow knew about the conflict of interest, but - unbelievably - allowed Zelikow to retain his position. The article states, in part:
Zelikow "had laid the groundwork for much of what went wrong at the White House in the weeks and months before September 11. Would he want people to know that?" Shenon writes, according to Holland's summary.
Jesus suffering Christ. So this asshole Zelikow knew what was going on, worked to block any action on Clinton-era terrorism czar Richard Clarke's warning that bin Laden was "determined to strike" within the U.S., and then gets appointed to the commission that's supposed to be investigating what went wrong. All the time hangin' with his homies KKKarl and KKKondoleeza. Thanks, you piece of shit. Thanks to you, three thousand people lost their lives. God alone knows how many are walking around with shattered lungs and bodies and minds thanks to the events of that day. Thanks to you, we've squandered TWO FUCKING TRILLION DOLLARS of the taxpayers' money on an endless war and occupation of a tiny little country that had absolutely nothing to do with any of this shit. Thanks to you, Zelikow, you son of a thousand and father of none, nearly four thousand of the U.S. armed forces' troops have lost their lives, and some forty thousand others have lost their health and one or more limbs or organs. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have lost their minds, or their peace of mind, or a family member or loved one, or their jobs and their health care.

Just so you could suck KKKarl's dick. Just so you could "protect" Israel. We are so fucking angry right now that we're ready to plotz. The article adds:
Widows of World Trade Center victims demanded Zelikow resign around the same time, when news emerged that Zelikow had participated in Bush administration transition briefings, but the commission's chairmen defended their executive director.

"Because he was one of the best experts on terrorism in the whole area of intelligence in the entire country, the same--they asked him to help the same reason we asked him to help," 9/11 Commission chairman Thomas Kean said on Meet the Press then. "We haven't found, I think, either Vice Chairman [Lee] Hamilton or myself, any evidence to indicate in any way that he's partial to anybody or anything."
Are you fucking kidding me? Are you so full of shit, Mr. Kean, that you have the gall to say something like that?
"His academic career focused on Cold War issues, from the Cuban missile crisis to the fall of the Soviet Union.... He is certainly not among the world's 'foremost experts' on al-Qaida, a topic on which he appears to have written nothing," wrote Salon's Joe Conason, "and he is very unlikely to have briefed the new administration on that threat."
No shit? You mean just like his good buddy KKKondoleeza Fucking Rice? The bitch who shopped through Hurricane Katrina while people drowned?

According to Holland's summary of Shenon's book,
"Zelikow continued to insert himself into the work of 'Team 3,' the task force responsible for the most politically-sensitive part of the investigation, counter-terrorism policy. This brief encompassed the White House, which meant investigating the conduct of Condoleeza Rice and Richard Clarke during the months prior to 9/11. Team 3 staffers would come to believe that Zelikow prevented them from submitting a report that would have depicted Rice’s performance as 'amount[ing] to incompetence, or something not far from it.'"
Are you fucking KIDDING ME??? Incompetence? Try complete fucking malicious evildoing.

When are these goddamned children of the fetid slime going to be held to account? When? Send them all to a firing squad.

Nancy Pelosi, you stupid cunt, if this does not force your hand and make you move to impeach the whole gang of crooks and liars, you have lost the right to call yourself a human being. Fuck! Thank Evolution we have a Dennis Kucinich in the House. Perhaps the Mighty Munchkin of Justice will manage to get impeachment onto Nancy's agenda. We are truly sorry that Kucinich is not about to be our next President, but perhaps this way he will finally give the American people the justice for which they have longed lo these past seven years.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Would waterboarding be torture if it was done to you?

That’s the question Senator Edward Kennedy, bless him, asked United States Attorney General, Michael Mukasey.

Mukasey’s answer?
“I would feel that it was.”

Is he going to do anything about it?


And there’s all kinds of debate in web sites and blogs about this. Summary of it is this: He says that other folks, equally intelligent and thoughtful, have said that in certain circumstances they do not believe that is it torture. And, further, it is a practice under the umbrella of classified information. And, if the senators (Leahy too) want to abolish it, why don’t they gather the support in the Senate and create a law against it. And ... more ... if the citizens are really against it, they should petition their federal representatives to do something about it.

So, I ask you: Would waterboarding be torture if it was done to you?

If you think yes, please contact your Senator and ask them to create a law against this.


Here's where you can find out about your senators.

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2008 Elections: A Woman's Right To Choose

Wow. This video clip from YouTube totally blew the collected socks off los gatos at mi casa.

As longtime fans of Hillary Clinton and her husband, we have been very reluctant to turn our backs on her in this election. We think she would make a stupendously good president. She's articulate, brilliant, highly qualified, and holds positions that we support on most issues.

The one thing we're not wild about is what this video clip talks about. See it for yourself, and pass it on.

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2008 Elections: Oh, NOES1!!1i

Edwards is stepping out of the race. Goddammit. We admired him and loved him for forcing the other contenders to face up to issues like poverty and the breaking of the social contract. We understand - he needed to win a state, and did not succeed. But we still hate that it happened. Who will loyal Edwardsians cast their votes for now? Raw Story quotes AP in claiming that 40 per cent will probably vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton, while 25 per cent will vote for Obama.

We sincerely hope those numbers are reversed, that is, 40 per cent vote for Obama and only 25 per cent for Clinton. Obama has requested Edwards' endorsement, but the Edwards camp has not announced that it will endorse either candidate.

The race is now between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. On the positive side, that is wonderful, that a woman and an African-American candidate are vying for the presidency as Democratic candidates. On the negative side, we wish Dennis Kucinich and John Edwards were still contending, to spur the entire nation on to greater heights.

Jimmy Carter, the elder statesman and former President (and, quite frankly, one of Casa de Los Gatos' alltime favourite hoomans), has come out in support of Obama without actually endorsing him. Given his long and close relationship with the Clintons, he probably won't endorse - unless the Clintons get up to some more borderline shenanigans.

Speaking of Obama, Carter said:
"We have four children with their spouses, we have eleven grandchildren, four or five of them are married, and all of them, except one, are for Obama," he said in an audioclip of the interview on the Wall Street Journal's website.

"I think that Obama will be almost automatically a healing factor in the animosity now and the distrust that relates to our country and its government," said Carter, 83, who was president from 1977-1981.
Meanwhile, in some really heartwarming GOOD news, Rudy 9iu11ani announced that he is stepping out of the race. Good riddance, Nosferatu. Return to the dank halls where you belong, with that strumpety tiara-laden tart of yours. He was a nasty little bully and we're sincerely glad to be shed of him.

AFP characterizes Giuliani's flameout as "from hero to zero." Well, he was not considered a hero here at Casa de Los Gatos, where his wife's nasty practice of demonstrating surgical tools on live dogs incensed us from Day One. We don't even want to think about all the terrible things that happened during his tenure as Mayor of NYC - Amadou Diallo, Louima, Kerik, the pathetic episode with rescue workers and firefighters' worthless communication devices - all because of the greed and selfishness and outright racism of Rudy Giuliani.

Which makes this statement of his particularly ironic, don'tyouthink?
"You don't always win, but you can always try to do it right ... that's what the American people deserve, a return to honesty and substance in our political discussion," Giuliani said.
The schmuck is endorsing McCain. Let's hope it functions like the Kiss of Death.

Hickabee continues in the race, to provide amusement if nothing else. So, on the Republican side, your choices are dog-torturer Willard "Mitt" Romney; John "100 Years' War" McCain; and Mike "Deepfried Squirrel!" Hickabee. What a buncha creeps.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Karl Rove: Read about him in our sisterblog

On our sisterblog, TPC-CultureVultures, you can read a short item about Karl Rove schlepping his memoir around.

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2008 Elections: What Is Feminism

NOW President Kim Gandy

Newsday has a headline which reads "NY feminists accuse Kennedy of betrayal in Obama endorsement" that just makes us want to say: Sod off, you misogynistic gasbags. To both parties, you understand.

Sod off, Newsday, for having the gall to assume that NOW encompasses all feminists in New York. And sod off, NY NOW, for daring to equate support for any candidate but the only female running to betrayal. Bloody misogynistic of you both.

Just because Clinton is female and running for President does not mean that she is the best candidate. We won't deny her feminist credentials. She has long been active on women's rights issues, and her speech to the U.N. Conference on Women deserves to go down in history.

That still doesn't make her the best candidate, not even the right candidate. An election - as should be obvious from the success of the Naked Emperor who has been destroying the country for the past seven years - does not depend on merit. Politics has always been about throwing your support (no matter who you may be) to the candidate who you believe will best address your issues. However, nobody is entering the voting booth with a single issue. Not even women. Not even feminist women. Not even feminist women lawyers who might be married to some, like, powerful guy. And have one kid. A daughter. Who graduated college.

The economy is tanking, the housing market sucks ass, New Orleans still lies in ruins, public housing is way down since the Little Chimp came to power, education is a mess, free trade agreements have exported most jobs with decent wages to Outer Transylvania, the credit crunch means that, even though it's a buyer's market, anyone planning to buy a house needs to donate a liver or kidney for the privilege, the military is broken, no one has ever hated Americans more than the rest of the world does after seven years of Chimpito-in-Charge, the health care situation is dire, and al Qaeda and insane terrorists really do exist and want to kill at least some, if not all, of us. Add to that a government that is broken in almost every department, unable to investigate fraudulent practices run wild throughout, no-bid contracts, harrassment of whistleblowers, et cetera, ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

And you're getting your underoos in a bunch because Ted Kennedy endorsed Obama? Guess what, we're all still very divided on who should win. Bill and Hillary Clinton have spent the past few months engaging in some deeply troubling and questionable behaviour, including Mrs. Clinton's campaigning in Florida and Michigan despite having previously agreed that these states, having pushed their primaries up in defiance of the DNC, should not have their delegates seated at the convention.

Mrs. Clinton, if you thought that the delegates should be seated, you should have spoken up at the time. To campaign now in those states after promising not to do so is dishonest and makes you look as if you will stoop to anything to get elected. As for Teddy and Caroline Kennedy throwing their support to Obama, perhaps they feel the same way as the denizens of Casa de Los Gatos.

All these years, we've had the utmost respect for Bill Clinton. But his remarks about the South Carolina primaries changed our feelings for him overnight. We regard him with suspicion now where we used to regard him with admiration. We're sorry, NOW, but Mr. and Mrs. Clinton do not seem to be the people we used to think they were. As such, they might not deserve our support.
For us, such a stand is tempered by remembering the open hostility of the media and the rightwing attack dogs towards the Clintons. We're not going to join the Hillary-bashers, and we do not encourage them. We see that the media is much harsher in its treatment of Hillary, who is a feminist and has always worked hard for issues dear to progressive hearts, than it is to senile warmonger John McCain, whose arse it continually kisses for his "independent" stance.

NY NOW says:
"Women have just experienced the ultimate betrayal," NOW's New York State chapter said in a scorching rebuke. "Senator Kennedy's endorsement of Hillary Clinton's opponent in the Democratic presidential primary campaign has really hit women hard."
THIS is the ultimate betrayal? Hey, dumbasses, think about John Roberts and all the arse-fluffing he got from your elected representatives. He's determined to take away women's rights to their own bodies, one at a time. You're calling Teddy Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama, who supports women's right to privacy, a betrayal? As if such overheated rhetoric were not enough, the NY chapter went on to froth about feminists' obligation to elect Hillary.

We are happy to report that saner persons man the staff of NOW's national organization.
"The National Organization for Women has enormous respect and admiration for Sen. Edward Kennedy," NOW President Kim Gandy wrote. "For decades Sen. Kennedy has been a friend of NOW, and a leader and fighter for women's civil and reproductive rights, and his record shows that."

Gandy said her group respects Kennedy's decision to back Obama.

"We continue to encourage women everywhere to express their opinions and exercise their right to vote," she said.

NOW spokeswoman Mai Shiozaki said Gandy's statement was not a rebuttal and was intended to clarify that local chapters were independent.
There is nothing wrong with radical feminism, even separatist feminism. Where we have a problem with NY NOW is when they mistake their personal feelings for political stances. When you start telling feminists that they are obliged to vote for your candidate of choice because she shares the same plumbing they do, you've lost my vote, and the votes of millions of other feminists, women, people.

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2008 Elections: Problems in Florida

Hmmm ... where have we heard this before?

Raw Story tells us that Florida voters are reporting technical glitches with their voting machines.

So far, says Rep. Robert Wexler, the problem seems to be minor, but since Florida gave us Chimpy McDrunktard for the past seven years, and his host of major problems, you will, I am sure, excuse any Political Cats out there for being sheerly nervous. If any of the losers ("Hundred Years' War" McCain, "Flipflopping Android" Romney, "911!911!" 9iu11ani, Mike "Squirrel-Breath" Hickabee) from the Republican side of the fence takes the White House this time, we fear America, as a country, will be no more.

The article quotes a voter:
"There has been a major failure of the voting, at least at this precinct. ... None of the machines worked," Rabbi Richard Yellin, who was first in line at his polling place in Boynton Beach, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Yellin said he had to leave the precinct to attend a service at his synagogue and planned to return later in the day.
Not good.

Welp. Update: A Florida channel is saying that problems have been reported throughout the state. It appears that there is also a record turnout.
More than a million voters have already cast ballots.

While everyone can vote on the amendment, only registered Democrats and Republicans can vote in the primary. Polls show GOP rivals John McCain and Mitt Romney are in a dead heat for the lead.

And though the Democratic vote isn't offering any delegates to the national convention, many are still casting a vote of support.
In other truly depressing news, one of our favouritest ever politicians, Rep. Maxine Waters, is endorsing ... Hillary Clinton.

We do understand that Rep. Waters has worked closely with Senator Clinton; but we believe Rep. Waters underestimates the voters' desire for a change. Senator Clinton, despite her lengthy record of public service (yes, she does have one; she's been a very effective voice on policy issues, especially children's rights and women's issues), is really more of the same. More of Bill Clinton the centrist triangulator. More of the tendency for political dynasties (Bush-Clinton-Bush-Not Again). More of the Washington insider who has worked the halls of power for years.

No more, Rep. Waters, please. People are joking, but in the grimmest way, when they speculate on the policy plans of Presidents Jenna Bush and Chelsea Clinton in the coming decades. We don't need, or want, a ruling dynasty. We are 100 per cent committed to John Edwards in lieu of Dennis Kucinich, who was our first choice. And if John Edwards doesn't win the Presidency, then we could see ourselves committing to Barack Obama. But not Hillary Clinton. She's a corporatist, not a progressive. The country needs a president who can unite the people in a common cause. Mrs. Clinton may be greatly preferable to Chimpy McDrunktard and the rightwing thugs aiming at the presidency, but we need Edwards or Obama, we need real, progressive change.

Just so you shouldn't leave all depressed and what, Rep. Barbara Lee supports Obama! And ThePoliticalCat sincerely believes that the polls showing Clinton running ahead of Obama in California are about to be bogosified again.*

*Bogosified: Shown to be incorrect when push cometh to shove.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

World: Suharto Dead

Image from boardgamegeek

Good riddance to bad rubbish, we sez. Under his tyrannical dictatorship, over one million Indonesians lost their lives and even more suffered torture, repression, and loss of their families, wealth, and livelihoods. We will never forget the bodies floating in the rivers, Suharto, you filthy bloodstained monster. Hopefully, he is spending a long hot time in the worst of hells, suffering all the tortures that he inflicted upon the millions of Indonesians who were so unlucky as to be alive when he, with CIA money and assistance, overthrew Sukarno and sold Indonesia piecemeal to Western capitalists.

Of course, it goes without saying that the U.S. is commemorating this lousy dictator who escaped being another Saddam Hussein by a couple of hairs or less. Is the State Department staffed by the psychotically insane, or what? Because anyone who can make a speech like this should be immediately tested for Alzheimers', some other form of senile dementia, massive drug abuse, or clinical psychosis:
"President Suharto led Indonesia for over 30 years, a period during which Indonesia achieved remarkable economic and social development," ambassador Cameron Hume said in the release.
President Suharto is directly responsible for murder and torture and massive political repression in Acheh, East Timor, Irian Jaya, mass resettlements in Bali, and the deaths of at least one million Indonesians, mostly of Chinese descent. Any bets that thousands are saving for the trip to spit on his grave?

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Politics: FISA and Retroactive Immunity

Okay, we're not going to give Harry Reid much-deserved hell for failing to support Senator Chris Dodd's principled stand on the FISA bill and retroactive immunity for the telcos who assisted the Bush crooks and liars in illegally spying on the American people. At least the little creep is finally standing up on his hind legs and listening to Chris Dodd and the two out of three Americans who want the telcos to face up to their crimes and shenanigans.

Lookit, folks, these telcos are the same scumballs who cut the FBI off for failure to pay timely - not failure to pay at all, just failure to send the next whopping check on time. So they don't really give a sideways flying shit if terrorists show up tomorrow and bomb us all to smithereens. All they care about is (a) making money, and (b) NOT paying for their criminal acts. So why exactly would we want to give them immunity?

At any rate, the Senate will soon begin voting on the retroactive immunity issue, so if you have a moment to spare, call your congresscritter and make sure that they stand with Senator Dodd and the 60+ per cent of us who think if the telcos want to make big profits off the American taxpayer, they'd better be answerable to that same irate taxpayer.

Whatta buncha schmucks.

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2008 Elections: Buchanan: No to McCain

You all know Pat Buchanan, right? The frothing-at-the-mouth isolationist nutcase whose political stance is all the way to the right of Chingiz Khan? Yah. Dat guy.

So we here at Casa de Los Gatos have always taken political positions that are pretty much diametrically opposed to anything coming out of Pat Buchanan's mouth. Over the past seven years, scarily enough, a lot of what's coming out of Buchanan's mouth sounds so much like what's coming out of our own that we've actually started worrying. Is the guy, like, eavesdropping on our thoughts? Is the tinfoil in our hat thick enough? What gives?

Well, he just did it again. The guy is like totally listening in to the conversations we have with ourselves! How does he fucking do it?

At any rate. He's advising voters NOT to vote for John "Walnuts" because, as he put it on Joe Scarborough's "Morning Joe" show today,
"That's one of the things that makes me very nervous about him," Buchanan went on. "There's no doubt John McCain is going to be a war president. ... His whole career is wrapped up in the military, national security. He's in Putin's face, he's threatening the Iranians, we're going to be in Iraq a hundred years."
He's right, yaknow.

So unless you're ready, willing, and able to sign up for military service, do NOT vote for this guy.

Or every single person who's lost a relative, friend, neighbour, colleague, acquaintance, body part, or even, sheesh, money to PretzelNitwit Drunky McDuncecap's past six (very)odd years of warmongering is gonna show up on your doorstep and beat you unconscious with banana peels. Or something.

Raw Story has the video.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Religion: It Makes You Insane Files

Good grief! What's the world coming to? A pastor decides to have one of his congregation arrested for "trespassing" because she came to the church to pray? We're talking a 71-year-old retiree here, with two artificial knees and hips, who's been a member of the church for fifty years. Who taught Sunday school there, and donated 10 per cent of her pension (or tithed, if you prefer) regularly?

Oh, yeah, her crime - apparently, the Church's charter required that a board of deacons assist the pastor in governing the church, and the sinner in question, Mrs. McCaskey, had suggested to the pastor that he follow the Church's charter. A suggestion to which he took exception, accusing her of "spreading a spirit of cancer and discord." The article, in the Wall Street Journal, goes on to say:
Her story reflects a growing movement among some conservative Protestant pastors to bring back church discipline, an ancient practice in which suspected sinners are privately confronted and then publicly castigated and excommunicated if they refuse to repent. While many Christians find such practices outdated, pastors in large and small churches across the country are expelling members for offenses ranging from adultery and theft to gossiping, skipping service and criticizing church leaders.
These people are nuts. The pastor is nuts, the lady is right to refuse to be "shunned" and kicked out of the church, but the congregation - and any other congregation that submits to this kind of bullshit - is nuts.

Holy bees' knees, people! Your very own spiritual leader did not throw worshippers out of the house of God. Money-changers, yes. Commercial elements, yes. But he extolled the widow who gave her mite over the businessmen who sold sacrificial lambs in the temple's confines, yes?

Jesus mingled with the prostitutes and the tax-collectors. He fed the poor (the miracle of the loaves and fishes); he honored the meek and defenseless (the Eight Beatitudes). He washed the feet of those who followed him; healed their wounds, fed their families, and raised their dead to life (the miracle of Lazarus).

In addition to that, the Protestant reformation (a Diet, as it were, of Wurms) came about as a reaction to the hierarchy and formality that had overtaken the Catholic church. The reformers felt that communion between a communicant and their God was a private matter for each soul to determine for themselves, not a matter of Papal bulls for a supposedly inerrant hierarch to hand down to the teeming multitudes.

We'd like to believe Jesus, if he existed, ascended in the body to heaven; because if he didn't, he'd be rotating a corkscrew in the grave right now, watching these preachers condemn and punish their flock. Did Jesus punish sinners? When they brought to him a woman caught in adultery and said, "Master, what shall we do with her, for the law says an adulter shall be stoned to death," he said, "Let he among you who is without sin cast the first stone." And he sent her away, saying, "Go thou, and sin no more."

Have these morons forgotten that? And what of the sheep who follow them? Rise up, people. If you believe in God, then only that God can discipline you. No human has the authority to do so.

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Food: Winter Recipes for Sandy

And anyone else who wants to use them. These recipes are perfect for cold weather. They're also good for people who have diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels, or just people who want to eat healthy, nutritious, tasty food. They're relatively low in meat and high in fiber.

Chicken Vegetable Stew

This stew can be frozen. You can freeze the broth separately from the chicken and veges, or freeze it together.

2 stewing hens, quartered 4 stalks celery
2 parsnips 4 cloves garlic
4 sprigs dill 10 cups water
2 onions 4 carrots
1 lg tomato4 sprigs parsley
4 whole clovessalt and pepper to taste

Omit the salt, if you prefer. I don't add any, although I sometimes substitute a dash of fish sauce.

Stewing hens (older hens) have much more flavour. They're usually also cheaper. You can have your butcher cut them into quarters, or, if you're good with poultry, you can do it yourself. Wash the chicken, remove any large pieces of fat, and set aside.

Peel and halve the onions, if you plan to use them in the final stew. If you plan to discard the vegetables used for making broth, do not peel the onions, just cut them in half lengthwise. Cut the celery, parsnips, tomato, and carrots in large chunks. Place the vegetables in a large pot (you might need two pots) with the chicken, cover with water, and bring to a boil. If the water does not cover the chicken, add more. Reduce the heat and simmer partially covered for about an hour, skimming off any foam. Simmer uncovered for another hour. If the water level drops at any time, add more water so that the chicken remains covered.

This soup is good to make when you have chores to do around the house. Once it comes to a boil, you reduce the heat, set a one-hour timer (your microwave oven should have one) and do your chores. When the timer goes off, remove the lid from the soup, give it a stir, set another one-hour timer and go back to your chores.

Turn off the heat and remove the chicken from the soup pot(s). Set it aside to cool on a plate or in a bowl. When cool, remove and discard the chicken skin and shred the meat. Discard any bones or save them to reuse for stock. When the soup has cooled, strain it and discard or set aside the vegetables. Skim off fat. You might want to refrigerate the soup briefly to cool it enough for the fat to separate, or use a fat skimmer if you have one.

I put the cooked vegetables back into the pot. You can discard them if you wish, or add them to another stew or refrigerate them for future use. Now prep and add the following vegetables to the chicken broth. If you prefer, you can freeze half the broth for later use and add only half the quantity of vegetables shown.


4 carrots 4 parsnips
4 stalks celery 2 lg leeks
1 bunch parsley Remaining dill
2 cups pasta or rice 2 lemons

Cut carrots and celery into 1-inch pieces. Cut parsnips and leek in thick slices. Chop parsley and dill. Juice and zest the lemons.

Return the broth to the soup pot(s), add the rice (if using brown), raw veges and cook for approximately 45 minutes at medium heat until the veges are tender. If using white rice or pasta, add it now. White rice should cook in about 10-15 minutes. If using pasta, regulate the cooking time according to package directions. Lower the heat and stir in chopped herbs and the chicken. Taste and season as needed, adding a little lemon juice and zest for tang, and serve. Keeps frozen for approximately 2 weeks.

To make this soup deliciously reusable, save in individual-portion containers. When you reheat it, add fresh chopped herbs, or lemon juice, or zest, or a pinch or two of crushed red chilli flakes for a little zing.

Ham and Vegetable Soup


1/4 lb salt pork 1 small smoked ham hock
2 Tbsp olive oil 4 cloves garlic
2 lg onion 2 green bell pepper
4 ribs celery 2 red bell peppers
1 cup barley 1 cup green split peas
1 tsp dried thyme 3-4 lb winter vegetables
4 cups chicken broth 2 boiling potatoes (~3/4 lb)
~2 Tbsp red-wine vinegar 1 cup scallion for garnish

Freshen the salt pork by covering it with cold water and simmering gently for about 5 minutes. Remove from stove, drain, and discard rind. Cut the pork in 1/4-inch dice.

Chop the onions, bell peppers, and celery finely. Dice the potatoes. Mince the garlic and scallions.

Assemble 3-4 lb of any combination of these vegetables:

Carrots, cabbage, parsnips, turnips, broccoli, cauliflower, and kohlrabi. Chop them into bite-size pieces, saving the broccoli florets separately.

Place the salt pork in a skillet and render over medium heat until the cracklings are golden, then drain and place on paper towels. Pour off and discard most of the fat, add the oil, heat till nearly smoking, and saute the onion till fragrant, add garlic, stir for a minute, add the bell pepper and celery and stir over medium heat until the veges are soft. Add thyme and ground black pepper to taste and stir for approximately 15 seconds.

Transfer to a large soup pot. Add barley and split peas, stir to mix, add broth and the ham hock and water or broth to cover if needed, reduce heat to low and cook for about 3 hours until the barley and peas are done. Remove the ham hock from the mixture and turn off the heat. Skim off any fat. When the ham hock is cool, remove the meat and discard the skin, fat and bones. Shred the meat and set aside.

Place the soup pot on the heat at medium, add the potatoes, and stir for about 5 minutes. Add the chopped vegetables and water or broth, depending on how rich and how liquid you want the soup to be, and simmer for approximately 20 minutes at low heat or until the vegetables are tender. Add vinegar (or lemon juice) and bring to a simmer, and serve, garnished with cracklings and scallions.

This soup has a higher fat content and you might prefer to substitute pork stew meat or beef stew and leave out the salt pork altogether. For a richer soup, substitute broth for water. If using stew meat, cut bite-size, removing as much fat as possible, and add it after the barley and peas have cooked. Let cook for about ten to 20 minutes at a simmer before adding the vegetables. Reduce the amount of liquid for a very thick stew.

This soup usually gets devoured too quickly to experiment with freezing. It's great for cold weather. If you want to freeze it, reserve the cabbage, broccoli florets, and scallions in separate containers in the refrigerator and add them when heating individual portions of soup.

Split Pea Soup

This soup freezes well.


3 cups green split peas 3 onions
5 garlic cloves 6 lg carrots
6 celery stalks 2 Tbsp olive oil
15 cups water or chicken broth 2 meaty ham hocks
2 bay leaves 1 tsp thyme
salt and pepper to taste 2 tsp crushed red chilli pepper

Dice the onions. Crush the garlic. Peel and dice the carrots. Slice the celery, including the leaves. Rinse and drain the split peas.

In a flat skillet, heat the oil at medium and saute the bay leaves for a few seconds, add the onions till fragrant, add the garlic and stir till it is brown in spots and the onions are dark golden, add celery, stir, add carrots and saute until lightly browned.

Transfer to one or more soup pots, scraping up any browned bits. Add peas and water and ham hocks, and bring to a boil. Skim off any scum on top. Reduce heat to low and simmer for approximately 3 hrs.

Remove ham hocks, let cool, strip off meat and discard fat and bone. Shred meat and return to soup. Add thyme and pepper to taste, and simmer for approximately one hour, stirring to keep from sticking.

Remove bay leaves and serve.

Steak Soup

This soup can also be frozen in individual serving containers.


1 lb beef steak or stew meat 2 large onions
4 large carrots 5 celery stalks
2 lbs fresh or canned tomatoes 3 qts beef stock
2 small winter or kabocha squash 2 sweet potatoes
2 cups dried red kidney beans 2 green bell peppers
2-6 jalapenos 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste 2-4 large cloves garlic
4 black peppercorns 2 bay leaves
4 cloves

Soak beans overnight, or at least 5 hours, in plenty of cold water. Chop all the vegetables (except peppers and celery) bite-sized. Wash the beans, cover with 8 cups of cold water, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for at least 2 hours or until tender, adding warm water if needed. Mince the garlic, celery, and bell peppers. If using jalapenos, wash and slit lengthwise up to the stalk. Do not slice all the way through. Place cloves, slightly crushed peppercorns, and bay leaves in a cheesecloth or muslin bag and tie tightly. Slice meat into small bite-sized pieces.

Heat oil at medium heat, add onion, stir till golden and fragrant, add garlic, stir for a minute, add celery, and peppers and stir till softened and slightly browned, add remaining veges (except tomatoes), stir till partly cooked, add meat, stir to mix, then add stock, dry spices, and tomatoes and cook covered, for about 30 minutes at a simmer. Add beans and their liquid, stir, and simmer for a further 30 minutes or until all the vegetables are thoroughly cooked. Discard the bag of dried spices and serve hot plain or over rice and garnished with fresh herbs.

Dried beans are preferable to canned, which lose much of their nutrients in the canning process. However, red kidney beans contain a toxin and must be thoroughly leached before consumption. To leach the toxin, soak them for at least 5 hours in plenty of cold water, wash them in running water and cook in fresh cold water to cover for at least two hours.

To increase the digestibility of any pea, bean, or legume, add a pinch or two of epazote, a Mexican herb, to the soup.

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Another way to help local farmers and maybe eat healthier too

A friend of mine sent me this link to LocalHarvest today. I have never heard of them (OK, I live under a rock) but their food looks good and comes from family farmers who mostly sell their produce within their local communities. That sounds good to me. Keep our local family farmers in business instead of letting the big box stores drive them to extinction. I'm going to check LocalHarvest out.

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Former President Bill Clinton, quit awready!

A couple of funny blogs

From ScrappleFace:
...Associates of former President Bill Clinton privately tell reporters they would not be surprised if he announced, as early as this week, that he’s dropping his White House bid...

To read the whole thing, go here.

Then there's The Zoo via The Borowitz Report:
Hillary Sends Bill on Campaign Trip to Antarctica Will Remain There Until Convention, Aides Confirm

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton has sent her husband, former President Bill Clinton, on a “special campaign trip” to Antarctica that could last “six or seven months,” Clinton aides confirmed today.

“From here on in, Bill is going to be our man in Antarctica,” said top Clinton strategist Mark Penn. “We have sent him down there with enough food and firewood to last until the Democratic convention this summer.”

To read it all, go here.

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2008 Elections: The Current Political Picture

Well, Barack Obama totally rocked South Carolina, taking 54 per cent of the vote over Hillary Clinton's 27 per cent. We here at Casa de Los Gatos would have preferred that Edwards take the state, but when push comes to shove, we'd rather Obama took it than let Hillary Clinton win.

We feel the Clintons have just gone overboard lately, with their race-and-gender rhetoric, their arrogance, and their assumptions. Yes, Hillary Clinton is still much more desirable as a candidate and as a potential president than McCain, Romney, Ron Paul, Huckabee, or Giuliani. But that doesn't make her our preferred candidate.

Regrettably, our preferred candidate stepped out of the race. Dennis Kucinich, the Mighty Munchkin of Justice, as he's known in some parts of Blogtopia (y,Sctp!) bowed out to concentrate on keeping his seat in the House, which we fervently hope he does because he can help forward the cause of impeachment of the crooks and liars and war criminals who have ripped the country apart for the past seven years.

He served a noble purpose while he was running, though - he forced the other Democratic candidates to recognize the concerns of the progressives in the electorate. He showed up the mass media for the skanky corporate whore that it is. And he paid out of his own pocket to reassure us that, although there are problems with the voting system, our votes are being counted, but we must all strive for greater transparency and oversight of the voting process.

John Edwards has vowed to stay in the race to the bitter end. We really would prefer him to Obama, but there is no denying that Obama is electrifying the voting populace in a way that Edwards can't. We hope with all our heart that Edwards finds a place in the Obama cabinet that might result from the election.

Whatever happens, we don't want Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nominee. Although we were overjoyed when she won New Hampshire, her behaviour - and her political machine's - since that time have been utterly reprehensible. She's using a mighty political machine to steamroller voters, just as the Republicans have done for the past X years. And we don't want that. We sense that the voting populace at large is tired of it also. And we refer you to this excellent and highly readable post by Ms. Manitoba to prove our point.

When Barack Obama's supporters said they would not vote for Clinton, we were somewhat disappointed at first. We strongly feel that Democrats should hang together, and whoever the nominee is, we should vote for them. But the Clintons' shenanigans force us to see the declaration in a new light. And we now feel that it is correct to throw down the gauntlet and let the Clintons' political machine know that it's not going to steamroller the millions of young voters, progressive voters, female voters, minority voters in this country who are hungry for a change that Clinton, with her corporatist lackeys and lobbyist allies, will never provide.

So the race is now down to Obama (leading), Clinton (trailing, and, we hope, losing), and Edwards (hopefully, he'll take potential Clinton voters as she continues to enrage and annoy the voting public with her underhanded behaviour).

On the Republican side, things are looking pretty grim for cross-dressing manwhore Rudy Giuliani, who has been beaten soundly by Ron Paul in several states now. He's trailing Romney, McCain, Huckabee, and Paul, in that order. In Florida, where he concentrated all his efforts, ignoring South Carolina and Nevada, he appears to be headed down to a stunning loss - a loss so deep, it'll take decades for him to dig out of it. That's good. We don't need another autocratic, high-handed, obnoxious, bullying blowhard in the highest office of the land, or even anywhere near it. Go back to your speechifying, Rudy, rake in the bucks from your fellow Republicans who'll pay to hear you lie about your role on that fateful day, September 11th, as you continue to cover up your cronyism, your expending public monies on your various mistresses, your adultery, your unprincipled behaviour, your lies, and hopefully, your woes. You don't deserve a good life, buddy.

Fred Thompson, the brief darling of the mainstream conservatives (yes, the same who courted the religious right's vote while spitting on its voters) has vanished without a trace. No one seems to have noticed. He was a lazy jerk with a trophy wife half his age and no interest in serving the people whatsoever. Back to Hollywood, Fred. We hope you fail to land any significant movie/TV parts and are reduced to doing commercials for Viagra and hemorrhoid creams, like your predecessor, also-ran Bob Dole.

Duncan Hunter, another also-ran, dropped out before Thompson, presumably because a jail cell with his name on it was calling out for him. Given his role in the bribery and corruption scandals of Duke Cunningham and Jack Abramoff, he couldn't leave the political arena too soon for us. Have a nice time in jail, old son, and we hope you're getting the real deal and not some Club Fed cell.

Tommy Thompson, another also-ran, apparently left the campaign to change his adult diapers and never returned. Good riddance to bad rubbish, we say. Again, no one really seemed to notice that he was campaigning or when he left.

The less said about Sam Brownback, the better, so we will say less. Incidentally, while the worthless son-of-a-turtle might have given Hickabee a run for the evangelical vote, he -- unlike Hickabee -- was a corporate stooge, not a populist, and we're glad he's gone.

That leaves McCain, Romney, and Hickabee. We know that the Republicans hate Hickabee with a passion because he grew up poor and espouses populist positions. A Yahoo News article states, in part:
Rush Limbaugh couldn't be clearer - supporting former Governor Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign is a really bad idea if you are a true Reagan Republican. In his opinion, Huckabee's nomination would mark the end of the Republican Party as he knows it. And Limbaugh isn't alone: Fellow talking head Sean Hannity and a whole host of conservative talk radio hosts love to pummel Huckabee and fellow candidate John McCain. The hate formerly reserved for Democrats Bill and Hillary Clinton, Al Gore and Howard Dean is now directed at Republicans like Huckabee and McCain.
He doesn't have a problem with raising taxes on the rich to pay for better social programs, and has espoused improvements in education, health care, and social welfare, all seen by wealthy conservatives as unnecessary pandering to the poor and working class. Hickabee has the fundie Christian vote and he's striving for the backward racist vote as well, and we believe he has a better chance of attracting that than either Romney or McCain, unless Paul has that vote sewn up tight.

Still, that's not going to win him any significant number of the all-important independents and conservative Democrats that he must win for a realistic shot at the presidency. So I think we can safely say goodbye to him and his dog-torturer son. We won't be shedding tears.

McCain's involvement with the S&L scandal will hurt him among middle-class, working-class, and poor voters with long memories. However, they're not a significant proportion of the electorate. But there's more. Most conservatives distrust McCain because he has held positions that they don't agree with, and has only recently come around to the "accepted conservative wisdom." Hah! They're working to swiftboat him already. See the Council of Conservative Citizens (no link, they're fucking crazy) on the topic.

Many independents don't trust McCain because they remember when the Shrub's minions stabbed him in the back, and they also remember when he showed up to kiss the Shrub's baboon ass in public and without shame. They also remember how he once (in his "maverick" days) reviled Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson for the loony extremists they were, and now, in his nakedly wretched desperation to win the Presidency, kisses their asses in public. Anyone who dislikes the situation in Iraq must be feeling trepidation at McCain's comments about staying there for hundreds of years.

And finally, young voters have no connection at all to the man, because they are in the greatest danger of being drafted, and he's a warmonger. Because they grew up in a world that is half a century away from the world in which he grew up. And we also believe that there is a strong and rising fear out there that McCain is simply too old. He might not live out a term. Heck, he might not even live out the election. He looks old. He looks redfaced and tired and balding and sometimes he opens his mouth and says things that sound borderline senile.

So he might win the nomination, but we very much doubt he can win the election.

Finally, Romney is the darling of the business sector of the Republican party, but he cuts no ice with the evangelical Christians. Currently, reports are claiming that Romney is the most hated of all candidates. Non-Mormons mostly view Mormonism as a bizarre religious cult, with its emphasis on oppression of women, polygamy, and conversion of people without their knowledge or consent.

Interestingly, it's still all up in the air, and Super-Tuesday won't decide the winning candidate for either side. So your vote really does count, this time, for the first time in a long time. This time, you make or break the election. So get out there and vote, whoever your candidate is. Take your Mom or Dad or Grandma to the polls with you. Promise your colleagues you'll buy a round at the local bar or bagels for Friday breakfast if they'll bring in their proof of voting. Give your neighbour a ride, even if she's voting for a candidate you hate. Volunteer to be a campaign worker or a poll observer or just to pick up elderly people and schlep them to the caucuses or whatever.

Let your voice be heard!

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Dear Readers,

The pundits seem to think that all feminists in my category -- fiftysomething and pinky-white-- will devotedly vote for Hillary. Not this one. I have voted for Barack Obama. I’ve mailed my absentee ballot in. I’ve even donated money to his campaign.

He gives me hope more than any other candidate.

I also believe the following:

  • that he is more than capable of leading our country
  • that he will hire and appoint really sharp and forward-thinking people to his cabinet and other important posts in his administration
  • he has fresh ideas that will do so much for all of us in this country
  • his election will change the mood of our country from depressed and angry to one of hope and vigor and it will unite us in many ways
  • this may be one of the most important things ... his election will say something very important to the rest of the world - “We want change and did not agree with the policies that came before. We did not agree with the arrogant attitudes that came before. We want to be a true citizen of the world and not a bully.”

I did not come to this decision easily. I really like John Edwards’ sense of urgency and depth of feeling towards regular working people -- I really appreciate that at a time when so many politicians forget about us.

I struggled with the decision about who would be the right person ... and wondered and read. Gloria Steinem almost convinced me that I should vote for Senator Clinton. But, dear readers, I don’t want to vote for just *any* woman. And that’s what I would have been doing. She’s not my candidate and this last week proved it to me. Bob Herbert of the New York Times summed it up for me.

I feel that the Clintons have taken a page from the King of Slime--Karl Rove. Former President Clinton has gone too far in some of his remarks. I get a sense that he too is desperate to be back in the White House. Well, not on my vote.

And I am very glad that Senator Obama came back at them and fought against their remarks and the remarks of some of their friends. To me, it showed his strength and determination and I respect him for it.

In the last moments, my decision came to this:

He gives me hope more than any other candidate.

I urge you to vote for Senator Barack Obama!

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Children: Cat Finds Porn Stash

Sophie the cat is being credited (together with her hooman, of course) with putting the bite, so to speak, on one Luis Jimenez, collector of child porn.

Sophie, who looks pretty young herself, was exploring her human's kitchen when she came across a stack of DVDs of pornography involving children as young as five years of age. Fortunately, her curiousity saved Deity alone knows how many children when her person decided to check out what Sophie was rooting through and put a DVD in the player. Horrified at the contents of the DVD, she contacted the police and turned over the DVDs. The police, in following up with the landlord, found that the criminal was apparently as stupid as frozen cookie dough. Either that or he just had the worst luck on the planet. You see, his girlfriend had left an email address with the landlord when the scumbag moved out. Police tracked down the email address and got a warrant based on the DVDs as probable cause, and the next thing you know the slimy sleazeball admits its his porn stash and they find additional child porn on his computer.

Video here.

We're well aware that our dear friend and co-blogger, Ms. Manitoba, does not favour the death penalty, but child sexual abuse is one of the very very few cases in which we are pro-death penalty. We do not believe adults who would sexually abuse very young children can be rehabilitated. We have not read of any case in which an adult who sexually abuses children ever stops. We have read that on average, such people have approximately 100 victims before they are stopped. That they are only stopped when arrested, convicted, and deprived of their freedom. And that many of their victims go on to become child sexual abusers. We do not believe that they ever stop being a danger to the most helpless members of the community. And we would prefer that they be put in a position where they can never again inflict the same suffering on any other child that they inflicted on any child.

That said, we differentiate between thought crimes and real crimes. People who own or view child porn, as long as they did not actively participate in the creation of such porn, do not deserve the same punishment as those who actually search for and enslave and force children to participate in such porn. We believe those people can be rehabilitated, even if it's a long and costly process. And those who are pro-life, or believe in the sanctity of human life (which we don't, really) should bear the burden of saving such people.

For the abusers themselves, we do not believe in attempts at rehabilitation, but a quick and merciful death.

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Caturday! Yay!

Yes, it's Caturday. The day for smooching on our kittehs and tormenting them with tasty treats and overaffectionate pettin's. Bandicoot insisted on sharing our excellent cherry cheese danish (made with fresh ricotta instead of that gluey custard stuff, and preserved sweet cherries for a great taste of summer, and layer upon layer of buttery phyllo). Yum.

Zingiber had his pojamas trimmed. Yes, we actually lured that lump o' lard out from under the bed (which is where he hides whenever he hears the sound of snapping surgical gloves). Sorry, tubbo, that's what happens when you get too fat to clean your own behind. We cleans and clips it for ya!

Gojira is out terrorizing fallen leaves (she's too small to scare the squirrels, moles, and gophers - that's Madu's job).

Madu is also out, recovering from yet another goddamned catfight. At home he's the laziest, most narcoleptic, and sweetest of purry felines. Let him out, and he gets in fights with everybody and their sister-in-law. He's got a notch in one ear and a bleeding scratch in the other, and five distinct bite marks and missing fur. We don't even wanna know what the other guy looks like, because this guy is a big, scrappy fighter. He doesn't mess around. We've seen him kick holy shit out of other cats. Why, Madu, why?

Gustav went out briefly, but he's a tropical cat and the recent cold spell makes him moo. The only cat we ever met that moos. He's got that cow coloration thing going, too, which gives us a bout of serious dysfunction just watching him. And a tail that looks like a chrysanthemum bud.

So? How's YOUR Caturday going?

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Animal Stories: Voytek's Book

There's a book about Voytek the hero bear who served with the Polish forces in World War II. We at Casa de Los Gatos wish we had it, but we already got our birfday presents.

On the other hand, if someone decides we deserve a good book about an interesting creature (and we do love interesting stories, especially animal stories), the book, as we might already have shamelessly hinted, is available here.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Politics: YARS

That stands for "Yet Another Republican Sleazebag." Or "Sex Criminal," if you prefer.

Geez, louise, what is with these guys? They're almost all guys so far. I mean, there's Katherine Harris puttin' the moves on some young fellow, but hey, he's over the legal age, I think, and everyone knows Harris is fruity as a nutcake.

But it seems like we keep turning up stories of notable Young Republicans being busted for various totally sleazoid sex crimes. What is this, some kind of trend? You guys think if you want cover for your sex crimes, you should just join the Republican party and try to become some kind of youth leader?

Republican friends (yes, we have a few) tell us that the reason these scandals seem disproportionately Republican is, the Democratic party just lets it all hang out and approves of this stuff, so it's not a scandal when they get busted. We got a few words for y'all: Mark Foley, Larry Craig, Ted Klaudt, Ted Haggard, David Vitter - don't make us go on, OK? These guys are whoremongers, rapists, pedophiles, and sluts. And it's because they belong to communities that criminalize healthy natural loving sex and sexuality, not because they're all such fucking saints and just "happened" to trip and fall and land on some other guy's dick. Sheesh!

Anyway. On to your latest and greatest scandal. Ex-aide to Willard "Mittens" Romney and outstanding young Iowa college Republican Matthew Joseph Elliot, who actually had the gall to run for a seat in the Iowa state legislature, has been arrested for sexually exploiting a minor.
West Des Moines police arrested Elliott while they were investigating the death of 7-month-old Alexis Gilbert, according to KCCI8-TV, found dead in her family's home where Elliott was staying. Elliott has been questioned, but not charged in relation to her death, which has been ruled a homicide. Gilbert's mother, Kristina, is 16 years of age, and her family has refused to explain Elliott's relationship to the family, according to the Des Moines Register.
Charming. The Iowa Sex Offender Registry, which lists Mr. Elliot among its featured members of the community, states that the age and gender of his victim are "unknown." Let's hope it was the mother or grandmother of the dead child, and not the child, with whom Mr. Elliot was involved.

Sheesh, these people make us ill.

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Animal Stories: Voytek The Hero

Photo of Voytek the Bear from the Imperial War Museum

Auntie Beeb has a story up today about Voytek, a bear who fought in WWII.

Voytek, who was found wandering in the hills of Iran by Polish soldiers in 1943, was adopted by them, first as a mascot. When they were deployed to Europe, the only way to take the bear with them was to "enlist" him. So they gave him a name, rank, and serial number, and he, in turn, helped them to carry ammunition at the Battle of Monte Cassino.

After the war, Voytek was taken to the Edinburgh Zoo, where he lived out his last days until his death in 1963.

Mr Karolewski, who served with Voytek, went to see him on a couple of occasions and found he still responded to the Polish language.

"And as soon as I mentioned his name he would sit on his backside and shake his head wanting a cigarette.

One of Voytek's fans, Garry Paulin, is now writing a new book about the bear, while another, Aileen Orr, is campaigning to have a memorial created at Holyrood to the bear she says was part of both the community and the area's history.

We at Casa de Los Gatos are unabashed pacifists, but can't help feeling that Voytek was probably better off being adopted by people who cared for him rather than being abandoned in the hills of Iran where, due to his friendly nature, he might well have been bearnapped and forced to perform circus tricks for his keep. What a remarkable story!

And in an aside, we hope to hear someday that all War Museums have been renamed Peace Museums.

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Update: Alexis Goggins, Hero

The Detroit News is reporting that some $30K was donated to help little Alexis Goggins, who was shot while defending her mother.

That's encouraging. We could wish it had been more, but Alexis is undoubtedly grateful that so many kind people opened up their hearts and wallets for and to her. Alexis continues to receive medical care at Children's Hospital, where she has been since she was shot. She is expected to have a lengthy stay there. So far, she's had five surgeries.

One thing that bothers us, here at Casa de Los Gatos: most of the money will be used to reimburse the hospital for her medical care, not for Alexis herself. This is when we wish most fervently that we had UniversalMedicalCare, which would be free to Alexis. After all, the child is guilty of nothing but bravery, love, and heroism. Qualities we, as a society, would do well to inculcate in all our children.

Another thing, relating to these quotes from the article:
Wayne County Probate Judge Freddie G. Burton Jr. on Tuesday ordered the creation of the Alexis Goggins Hero Fund, a special needs trust account for the girl.

If anything happens to Alexis, money donated to the fund will go to charity, not the girl's parents as proposed by a lawyer for the girl's mother, Burton ruled.
There seems to be an undue emphasis on how the court and lawyers are working to ensure that the parents not receive a penny from the trust fund. While we do not think parents should profit from their children's deaths, the degree of emphasis placed on this issue suggests something else at work.

We noted it when the story was first reported in the media. Many people who commented on the story were more interested in blaming Alexis' mother, Selietha Parker, for her poor choice of partner (it was the mother's ex-boyfriend who shot the little girl), for her single status, for her single motherhood, for her weight, and for her failure to be killed instead of having her child injured.

The overall tone was that she was a fat, black, single mother who was poor due to her own bad choices and she should have protected her little girl, even dying if necessary, rather than allowing her child to come to harm, which only showed what a useless, fat, lazy, slut of a single mother she was.

All of which detracted from the facts of the story: Alexis is a child with many impairments, but her heart, her courage, and her love are unimpaired. She threw herself in the gunman's way. Her mother may be a saint or she may be a whore, but that is beside the point. We really do not know what Ms. Parker's story is. But we are sick and tired of hearing women blamed for the violence of men. Of hearing single mothers blamed for their singlehood. Of hearing the subtext, whenever a black woman is spoken of, that she is somehow an irresponsible lazy welfare slut if she happens to have a child and be single. After all, Dick Cheney's daughter is a single mother - horrors! she's a LESBIAN single mother - and we don't hear anyone getting their knickers in a knot about THAT.

We find the tone of the commenters, the lawyers, and the court unpalatable. We are left with the distinct sense that they are all more interested in blaming the child's mother than recognizing that this little child possessed more courage in her tiny body than most adults. Certainly more than the bunch of lying crooks, cowards, and shills who, never having served in the line of fire, continue to throw other people's children into the meatgrinder called the Iraq War.

So lay off Ms. Parker already. We get the message. She's not getting a penny of the money. Do you really think it would make her happy to get $30 million if she had to lose her daughter to get that money?

If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?

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