Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Cat's Eye View - Special Thanksgiving Edition

Baxter here. I have to tell you, I am Rather Grouchy today. I had a Difficult Night's Sleep. Last night That Dog was already on the Bed, and as usual I snuck up on the Bed without her noticing and ensconced Myself in the comfy hollow between my two Humans' pillows. I was Sleeping Nicely when Something woke Me up. Yes, a Jingle. The sound of That Dog's dog tags rattling. This usually means that she is about to Wake Up and start Bothering Me. So, logically, what would I do, but let out a good Growl to let her know I know she's Awake and she should Watch Her Step?

Unfortunately it had a Different Result than I'd hoped. It attracted her Attention. But by this time I couldn't stop myself and kept Growling Fiercely. Finally That Dog could stand it no longer and Pounced on Me! The Humans both woke up and Fended her off. I wouldn't Budge. I was Hunkered Down and not going Anywhere.

This went on for awhile, Dog watching Me, Me growling, until finally the Humans were Wide Awake and fed up with the Situation. So, what happened next? You'd think they'd kick That Dog off the Bed, wouldn't you? Well, no. That isn't what happened. They held onto her and pushed ME off the Bed. Me! Of all the Nerve!

At this point everyone was Awake and the Humans went into the next room and got on that Computer thing and paid some bill on line. I jumped up to help and sat in front of the Screen so they'd be sure to see how much I Helped. That Dog settled down on the Couch and went back to sleep.

Finally the Humans went back to Bed, and I joined them in my cozy spot. I punished them for kicking Me off the Bed by having myself a good Wash. This Annoyed them but they Deserved It. Then That Dog came BACK! Sigh. No Rest for the Weary. I had to Growl again but finally we all Settled Down for the rest of the Night. I spent ALL DAY on the Bed in My Spot after everyone got up, just to Prove a Point. The Nerve, kicking ME off the Bed.

Well, enough of All That. I suppose you are expecting one of my Excellent News Reviews. I'm afraid I don't have a Lot to Impart. It is a Holiday Week and things are just Too Annoying lately to deal with.

The Senate Democrats managed to get their Health Care Bill to be debated on the Floor but now I hear things are being Gutted out of it. It doesn't sound All That Promising. On the Other Hand, the Dems can't give the Republicans the Satisfaction of NOT having something pass. 'Tis a tangled web indeed. Gail Collins and David Brooks have some Thoughts about it on their New York Times blog site. Basically Gail Collins comments that David Brooks is the kind of Republican it would have been Nice to try to be Bipartisan with - if any of the Republican politicians had been willing to be Bipartisan. Which they're Not.

Speaking of the New York Times, Maureen Dowd had some Less Than Positive stuff to say over at Her Place. She has a few things to say about a Certain Lack of Loyalty. She is also thinking Obama doesn't have that Up Close and Personal Charisma that Bill Clinton managed to project on a one-on-one Basis. She says:

"Bill Clinton may not have cared any more about contributors than Obama does, but he was such a talented politician that he made them feel as though they were in “a warm bath,” as one put it.

Obama is more like a cold shower."

As a Cat, I can sympathize with President Obama. He is very Catlike in his way of doing Things, and I can't really Complain about that. Bill Clinton is more like a Big Friendly Dog, maybe a Golden Retriever. The Kind you just can't say No to, you just have to throw the Ball for them when they Ask.

But if Obama can't Charm people into being Happy with him, he'd better get on the Stick, as Humans say, and make sure he makes his Constituency happy by keeping his Campaign Promises. We need to see DODT and DOMA repealed, we need to see Gitmo closed, and we need to see him Live Up to some of his other Promises as well. Let's get this Show on the Road!

So let's see, what Else is going on? Here's a Story that the Dog Lovers among you (shudder) will Appreciate. Apparently a Bassett Hound ate a Whole Box of Nails and survived. This is not the First Time I have heard about a Bassett Hound eating some Strange Things. Apparently it is something they do Often. So if the Dog in your House is a Bassett Hound, I'd suggest not leaving Anything Around for him or her to Eat. In Fact, in our Own Household, That Dog managed to Mangle the Mi Fi Thingie that the Humans use to access the Internet at the Cabin. The Humans had to go buy a new one! Dogs are really Annoying if you ask Me. But no one does.

Moving on. Since this is Thanksgiving Eve, I thought it would be Appropriate to post something about Cholesterol. Yes, that's right, even Cats worry about Cholesterol at Thanksgiving. In fact, so should Dogs. I remember one year when the Previous Dog lived here (who was a lot less Annoying than the present one), she got into the pan that had the Grease from the Goose in it. Boy, was that a Big Mistake. She kept the Humans up all Night as a Result. I won't go into any Gory Details, but they ended up changing TWO sets of Sheets.

Anyway, about the Cholesterol. Here is an Informative Article about it. Some interesting Tidbits: Cholesterol can actually be TOO Low (either as a cause or effect of Certain Conditions). And despite the So-Called Obesity Epidemic, national Cholesterol Levels are actually going DOWN. So all news is not Bad News.

With that, I shall close out this Thanksgiving Eve post with Best Wishes to All of You out there. Have a Wonderful Thankgiving, and be sure to save the Cat or Cats in your life, some Turkey Tidbits. I will end with a List of things I am Grateful For:

A Warm Bed (despite it being Shared with That Dog)
My Food (always plentiful)
Having a Box Indoors (That Dog has to go out in the Cold to do Her Business! I do have Some Advantages!)
My Health (and Humans who take me to the Vet as Needed)
and of course....

Best wishes to All of You and have A Wonderful Day tomorrow!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Opinions on a Lot of Stuff

You may think that because I haven't posted anything here this week that I have no opinions on the various things that have been happening. Oh no, that isn't true. It's just that whenever an opinion struck me about some topic, it was not the right time to be blogging. And by the time I had time to blog, the will to blog had become weak.

So I thought I'd spend today catching up with the various things that I've wanted to post about all week.

Let's go backwards in time starting with the most recent news first.

In regard to the decision to try the 9/11 masterminds in civil court in Manhattan:

I'm totally in favor of this decision. It shows that the our country will stand up for its principles of justice and try these men fairly in a court of law. Of course, not everyone is in favor of this decision. According to the NY Times, opponents included members of Congress, some 9/11 victim's families, and neighbors near the courthouse.

"They argued that Qaeda suspects did not deserve the protections afforded by the American criminal justice system, that bringing them into the United States would heighten the risk of another terrorist attack, that civilian trials increase the risk of disclosing classified information, and that if the detainees were acquitted they could be released into the population."

TomCat over at Politics Plus has a good post about this. As he says,

"While it is true that these terrorists do not deserve the protections afforded by the US criminal justice system, look at the statement that giving them these protections anyway makes about the US before the world. Dispensing justice in full transparency can go a long way toward undoing some of the damage that eight years of torture and abuse of prisoners under Bush and the GOP did to our world prestige."

He also points out how the GOP, represented by Boehner, is once again showing no support for the American principles of justice. Sure, these people aren't citizens. But their crimes were committed on our soil and they should face our type of justice.

And if anyone is worried they may just get off and be released into the United States? Think about it - if you let them go in downtown Manhattan, how far do you really think they'd get? No worries there. (Yes, I know that is not a nice way to think about it. But I can't help it).

Onward to the health care debate.

I am glad the health care bill passed in the House. I know there are many progressives who feel as if this is a Pyrrhic victory, given Nancy Pelosi was forced to allow the Stupak Amendment that will effectively eliminate the possibility of coverage for abortion for a large number of women.

I understand and agree with the disappointment and outrage on the part of progressives and women. But I am practical, and believe that "the best is the enemy of the good." Sometimes it's better to get part of what you want even if it's not perfect. Opposing the bill and refusing to pass it is probably not the right answer.

First of all, this is not the final bill. The Senate needs to pass their version, and then the two versions have to be made into one. A lot can happen during that process.

Secondly, even if the final version includes these abortion restrictions, providing all Americans with health care will still do more for the greater good than if the abortion amendment were left out, but the legislation didn't pass. Having health care coverage will save money for poor or currently uninsured families if someone in the family became ill and incurred large medical bills. Ongoing well care will also ultimately help them stay in better health overall.

Third, whatever passes is not set in stone. When Medicare originally passed, it wasn't the same program as we have today. Later legislation can amend the terms if we have the will to force this to happen.

That said, I have grave concerns about the way the right wing and religious groups are slowly but surely chipping away at a woman's right to choose. Please, go over to Utah Savage's place and read what she has to say on the subject. She has forcefully reminded me of what it was like in those dark days before Roe v. Wade and also made an impassioned plea to the current generation to take up the cause and not take women's rights for granted. Please, read her most recent three posts (starting with the one entitled "My Abortion in 1968"), as she tells it better than I ever could.

The last issue I'd like to talk about today is the defeat of gay marriage in Maine on Election Day. Naturally, I was very disappointed that the voters of Maine voted for this miscarriage of justice. To me, it is ridiculous that basic human rights for our citizens are being put to a majority vote. If this had been done in the past, there would still be a number of states that would have had miscegenation laws on the books - and be enforcing them. Heck, there might even still be slavery!

Why should the majority get to rule on the rights of a minority? It doesn't even make sense. This is a constitutional issue and rightly should be decided by the courts. This is not activist judges at work - this is exactly what the courts are meant for - to enforce civil rights even when it's not something the majority may want.

Of course, the real solution would be for the government to get out of the marriage business altogether. Civil unions for all - let your religion dictate whether it's called marriage. That way religious groups that didn't want to marry gay couples wouldn't have to, and those that do, could. Either way, you could be married, whether you were gay or straight.

This evenhandedness should extend to benefit designations as well. If a person has medical or other coverage from their company or organization, they should be allowed to designate anyone as their beneficiary: spouse, domestic partner (male or female), relative, even friend. We pay extra to add spouses/families to our benefits anyway - why should the company care who you designate? It's all ridiculous to keep basing everything on whether someone is married or not, in this day and age when there are so many different types of households. It is time to move past this antiquated way of judging everything.

That said, the interesting thing is that we are even having these conversations today about gay marriage. A decade ago the idea of domestic partnerships or civil unions was what was setting off the right wing nutjobs. Now even they are hedging and saying that civil unions are OK, but marriage is another story. Change is happening - too slowly, yes - but happening nevertheless.

So, I think I'm all caught up on being opinionated. Baxter will be back next with his own thoughts on the latest news. In the meantime, I'll start trying to catch up with all the blogs I'm behind on reading!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

A Cat's Eye View - Special Election Edition

Baxter here. So, it's the Day After Election Day and already the pundits will be having a Ball claiming that the Losses in the governors' races in Virginia and New Jersey are a referendum on the human President Obama, especially since he campaigned heavily for Governor Corzine in New Jersey. GOP Chair Michael Steele says the Victories mean the GOP is a transcendent party.

Well, as a New Jersey Cat I can't speak for Virginia, but I can Certainly talk about New Jersey.

Corzine lost last night, but it wasn't because of Obama and it certainly didn't mean New Jersey is suddenly a Red State - since the Legislature remains Firmly Democratic.

Columnist Tom Moran of the New Jersey Star Ledger, says that the Governor's Loss was really a rebuke of Corzine himself.

"He scored some modest successes on education and health care. He won concessions from state workers. He signed a paid family leave bill and abolished the death penalty.

But he was never able to put together a good streak, to build a working coalition even within his own party that was equal to the gigantic challenges he faced.

He promised to ease the burden of property taxes and failed. He promised to use his Wall Street savvy to fix the state’s ever-broken finances, and he failed again.

He promised a clean and honorable government, then shoveled barrels of money to some of the shadiest characters in his party, many of whom are now in jail. A corruption sweep in July reminded voters of his dramatic failure on that front."

Paul Mulshine, a Ledger columnist who tends to be quite Conservative, pointed out that Christie has no Mandate.

"The winner last night, Republican Chris Christie, managed to get through the entire campaign without taking a single principled stand on a single issue. He was against waste, fraud and abuse. He was against corruption. He was in favor of tax cuts. And that was about it.

As a result, Christie can’t claim a mandate. That’s not just because he won by such a small margin in what should have been a runaway. It’s also because you can’t win a mandate to do nothing — which is what he promised to do."

So basically, Christie won because he's Not Jon Corzine.

Looking at exit polls, most New Jerseyans cited the Economy, Property Taxes and Other Concerns as their reasons for their Votes. Only 19% on each side said their Vote was a Vote to Support or a Vote Against President Obama. Sixty Percent said their Votes didn't have a Darn Thing to Do with Obama.

So, that's That. Here we are in New Jersey, stuck with a Republican Conservative Governor for the Next Four Years because Corzine was Too Egotistical to Drop Out of the Race when he saw he was Far Behind.

My Humans were Disgusted with Corzine, and probably had Similar Feelings to those of a Lot of New Jersey Democrats. They voted for him, but they didn't want to. So some of those Democrats stayed home and Didn't Vote at All.

My Male Human in particular still held it against Corzine that he Stopped being a U.S. Senator in 2005 in order to run for New Jersey Governor. As a result, the Dems almost lost the New Jersey Senate seat in the 2006 Senate Election; luckily Senator Menendez (appointed by Corzine in 2006 to take his Seat) squeaked by.

Then Mr. Big Ego Corzine had to stay in the race This Year despite the high Unpopularity ratings he had. He should have Stepped Aside and let Someone Else, like State Senate leader Dick Codey, run. He would have Won in a Landslide.

Oh Well. It is What It Is, as my Female Human would say.

Over Across the River in New York City, Mayor Mike Bloomberg won a Third Term, but not by as Much as he and his Supporters had expected. Turns out the Voters, although they think he's doing a Good Job, were Mad that he overturned the Term Limits and Spent a Fortune in order to get Elected to a Third Term.

One Bright Spot for the Democrats last night: The 23rd Congressional District, a Closely Watched Election in Upstate New York, went to the Democrats after the Republican dropped out at the Last Minute and Endorsed the Democrat over the remaining Conservative candidate. The really Good Thing here was that Sarah Palin and other Right Wingers had supported the Conservative guy. So this was a Blow to them and a Plus for President Obama.

So That's the Latest from Me here in New Jersey. I will Close with a quick LOL (Can't call it a LOLCat since it's not a Cat, but it is Very Appropriate) for your Amusement and Hope to be Back with some Less Serious News Items very Soon. New Jersey Cats, you'd better Stock up on Catnip; it's going to be a Long Four Years with Mr. Christie.

barack obama
see more Political Pictures

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Awards and Excuses

I have been missing in action for over a week and I'm not sure what my excuse is despite the title of this post. Time is slipping by at a much faster rate than usual and our trips to the cabin seem to take me away from blogging. It used to be on weekends I'd sit for hours reading and writing blog posts, but now we arrive late Friday evening at our cabin and then my weekend days are taken up with walking in the woods with the dog, pondering different leaf shapes and wondering what type of tree they come from, and gazing at babbling brooks. I know that it is a good thing to be appreciating nature, but I also miss visiting all the blogs I enjoy and interacting with everyone.

The Yankees being in the World Series doesn't help either. Although as many already know, I was brought up as a Red Sox fan by my Massachusetts-born mother, I went over to the Dark Side in 1986 when the Sox blew the Series and lost to the Mets. I'd had it. I was tired of rooting for a losing team, and my husband was already a Yankees fan so I decided to join him. It was a gratifying change, although eventually the Red Sox did manage to win a couple of World Series, to my mother's satisfaction. At any rate, for the past couple of weeks a lot of evenings have been taken up by listening or watching the Yankees in the playoffs and World Series.

And of course, I do have one other excuse: Facebook. Yes, Facebook is a time-sucker and is very addictive. And a lot of the bloggers I read are also Facebook friends and are posting links of interest and political viewpoints over there, so the conversation is spreading. If you're on Facebook and want to be FB friends please e-mail me and let me know how to find you!

Once it's too cold and snowy to go up to the Adirondacks I'm sure I'll be back here much more regularly!

In the meantime I would like to thank JadedJ from Banquet of Consequences for a lovely award, the Best Blog Award. I am honored to be chosen and to be among some good company - go check out the other blogs that got awards as well as Banquet of Consequences, if you haven't already discovered it on my blogroll.

As always, awards are meant to be passed on. It's going to be hard to pick blogs from such a plethora of excellent choices, so I'll try to pick some that are newer additions to my blogroll.

First on the list is Robert Rouse's new blog, Freeze-Dried Gray Matter. He addresses all kinds of subjects, from politics to sports and more. He even does video commentary! Check him out if you haven't already.

Next, Mr. Macrum from the great state of Maine, over at Lost in the Bozone. Start reading and you'll be sucked in for sure. He covers a lot of ground and it's all interesting stuff!

Fran over at Ramblings. She's definitely not a newcomer to my blogroll but I wanted to send you over there in case you hadn't gone yet. She covers all kinds of political subjects, health care, and more, as well as posting some great cartoons and other tidbits. And of course many of you know her from her excellent, well thought-out comments on your own blogs.

MnMom at Happy to be From Iowa shares her life with her readers as well as her progressive viewpoint. Check her out, you'll feel as if you've met an old friend!

So those are four of the many blogs I enjoy. If you've been awarded please do pass it on if so inclined - it's alway fun to share links and find new bloggers. Of course at some point I'll never have enough time in the world to read them all. But that doesn't stop me from trying!

I'll send Baxter next time to do some more serious commentary. Isn't it kind of sad that my cat has more political interests than I do lately? Something is wrong. But I am finding it hard to concentrate on politics lately. However, I will be interested to see what happens in New Jersey's governor's race, which is neck and neck between Corzine and Christie, with a fairly popular 3rd party candidate in the mix. I'm sure Baxter will have something to say about those results after tomorrow's election!