Shame on ‘CBS This Morning’ RE: Robin Williams

August 12, 2014

By Karen

Thankfully, it’s not often I wake up to news so unexpected it leaves me stunned. My heart can’t take it. But it happened today when I learned that Robin Williams died at age 63 by apparent suicide.

When I turned on the TV, Matt Lauer was already into full sensational video obit mode on the Today Show, so I switched to CBS This Morning.

CBS happens to be the last network Robin Williams worked for. Just last season, he starred in The Crazy Ones, his first foray into TV sitcom since Mork and Mindy.

I watched every episode of The Crazy Ones because it starred — ROBIN WILLIAMS!

OK, it wasn’t the funniest, but Robin had good chemistry with his on-screen daughter, Sarah Michelle Gellar. From the outtakes closing every episode, it seemed they were leaving most of Williams’s improv skills on the cutting room floor.

My sense was that the rest of the much-younger cast kept pinching themselves over the chance to work with ROBIN WILLIAMS, and I believed the show would gel in its second season, after maybe some tweaks.

But CBS didn’t give Robin a chance to fix it. They pulled the plug on ROBIN WILLIAMS after one season, in a mind-blowing lack of faith that he would ever deliver.

After that, we read reports that Williams was depressed and checked himself into rehab. And now he’s dead.

And today Charlie Rose and Nora O’Donnell had the GALL to sit there, running clip after clip of Williams’ career — but not ONE from The Crazy Ones.

At one point late in the show, Nora mentioned The Crazy Ones, but Charlie quickly steered her away before she said too much.

Nora also said Williams was one of her favorite interviewees, and they showed a recent blip of him at the table — obviously there to plug The Crazy Ones — but they never mentioned that part.

NOBODY said a peep about the CBS cancellation, even though the sitcom’s “failure” undoubtedly weighed on Williams’ already-shaky confidence and self-esteem.

Way to go, CBS, you fucking cowards. Wail and moan over the loss of a great talent — whom you kicked to the curb like so much garbage just a few months ago. Go claim your spot in the journalistic sewer with the Today Show.

PS: Buried below a bunch of other stuff, I found that CBS did slip that last Williams CBS interview about The Crazy Ones on their website. Too little, too late.


Maureen McDonnell Learns Karma’s a Bitch

August 11, 2014

By Adele

If you smell toast burning, it’s former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen as their corruption trial begins its third week.

We’ve heard from Jonnie Williams, the businessman at the center of it, who lavished cash and expensive gifts on the whole McDonnell family to buy endorsements for his tobacco-based dietary supplement, Anatabloc. Now Jonnie feels cheap and used.

We’ve also seen a parade of staffers who still seem to like Bob, but have nary a kind word for Virginia’s first lady.

Maureen’s been called a “nutbag” and a “screamer” who sometimes got so out of control, the governor’s security guys would come running to make sure Maureen wasn’t battering anybody.

She’s been accused of “insane ranting” when denied Williams’ gifts.

In pushing untested and unproven Anatabloc, Maureen went so far as to suggest to Ann Romney during the last presidential campaign that Anatabloc might cure her multiple sclerosis.

And Maureen was furious when she wasn’t given a paid directorship on Star Scientific’s board. She saw no conflict of interest.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch has been on top of things, compiling a list of the evidence. Pictures of our Governor Gone Wild (some probably taken by Maureen) are worth checking out.

Many testifying who worked closely with the McDonnells say they had no idea to what extent Williams was being bled until they read it in the paper last year. Even the former chairman of Star was stunned when Williams finally ‘fessed up about how he’d been trying to buy off the governor.

Jon Stewart recently did an hilarious, spot-on segment, “The Giving Spree,” that explains it all. You may think it’s over the top, but it’s all true. You can’t make this stuff up.

And in the most bizarre twist yet, Maureen’s defense lies in proving she was totally enamored with Jonnie — who denies an affair, or even that he knew Maureen had the hots for him. They’re claiming Maureen hated her husband Bob SO MUCH, there’s no way she would have conspired with him to milk Jonnie for all he was worth.

She’s already destroyed Bob’s once-promising national political career. Why not throw him under the bus and run him over a few times now?

Bob’s only hope may be a sympathetic jury who recognizes the real criminal. If they’re unable to send Maureen to jail because she wasn’t an elected official, they may let Bob walk because he’s already got time served — as that monster’s husband.

Impossible as it may seem, the McDonnells have made Eric Cantor’s douchebaggery seem bush league when it comes to humiliating Virginia.


As the McDonnells Turn

July 31, 2014

By Adele

Cats Working smelled a rat when Virginia’s former governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen were indicted on 14 felony counts of corruption, primarily stemming from Maureen’s cozy relationship with Jonnie Williams, Sr., CEO of Star Scientific.

My prediction that skeletons would fall out of the closet has come to pass.

The trial began this week, and in his opening statement to jurors, Maureen’s lawyer said Maureen had a “crush” on Williams and considered him her favorite “playmate.”

It also came out that Maureen thought herself so neglected, she hated her husband, the governor.

During their indictment, the McDonnells held hands and put up a united front, but a judge has since refused to separate their trials. Now they come and go from court separately and sit apart with their own lawyers.

Maureen has refused to testify on Bob’s behalf, which isn’t surprising. Bitter, vindictive shrew seems the role she was born to play.

Jonnie Williams has been among the first witnesses, and he’s singing like a nightingale. He has broad immunity, apparently even from prosecution on unrelated financial crimes he may have committed.

In addition to landing her husband in the soup, Maureen helped Williams out of his job. Star asked him to step down as CEO, packed up and moved HQ from Virginia to Florida, and changed its name to Rock Creek Pharmaceuticals.

Williams is maintaining that he considered his relationship with the McDonnells purely business.

But before that, Williams’ former assistant, Jerri Fulkerson, testified, and the prosecution asked her point-blank if she suspected something more than business between Maureen and Williams. But the defense objected and Fulkerson didn’t have to answer.

That’s really the crux of the matter. Maureen’s reputation is already in shreds. She’s not an elected official. It was no crime for her to take a lover and expect him to lavish gifts on her and her family — if he was idiot enough to do it. Why pussy-foot around?

What may stick in Maureen’s craw now is Williams dispelling any doubt that he exploited her craving for attention to get to the governor.

What’s unclear is why anybody expects us to believe that Williams considered traveling to NYC and elsewhere with another man’s wife and dropping $20K on clothes and jewelry for her “business.” But he totally drew the line at performing a quick little act that would cost him nothing, yet cement their bond and probably make her feel obligated to help him get in good with the governor?

Did we all just fall off the turnip truck?

It appears that Bob McDonnell maxed out, and possibly overstepped, Virginia’s lax laws on accepting gifts, and turned a blind eye when his wife started acting like a cross between Lady Macbeth and a Desperate Housewife.

The sad fact is that Maureen may very well walk out of court a free woman, while Bob McDonnell gets dragged off to jail as the dupe for her execrable conduct.


Bourdain Chooses the Right Side of History

July 24, 2014

By Karen

Here I go again with a Bourdain post, but he just gave a great interview to Blogs of War and I have to say it: If there’s one thing about Anthony Bourdain I admire, it’s his willingness to stick his neck out for the underdog.

It’s never PC to even hint that anything Israel says or does is ever wrong, but Bourdain continues to make a strong case for changing the tragic reality of everyday Palestinians trapped in Gaza and the West Bank.

As I write this, Israel continues its bombing of Palestinian civilians in their homes, with virtually no hope of escape. Israel’s rationale is that every Palestinian boy playing on the beach, every patient lying helpless on a hospital operating table or in the ICU, could be a Hamas enabler and is, therefore, fair game.

Meanwhile, the world stands by, impotent in the face of such crazed blood-thirst.

By yesterday’s numbers, 695 Palestianians are dead (166 of them children, and probably more than 70% of them civilians, according to the UN).

Israel has 32 casualties. Of those, 3 were civilians, and 3 of the 29 soldiers killed were by friendly fire.

Sorry, Israel, but by NO definition on earth does such wholesale, one-sided slaughter qualify as self-defense.

We get it. Both sides’ leaders would love to wipe out each other’s people. Hamas can clearly never achieve it. But, Israel is proving that it can — and it will if someone doesn’t make it stop.

More of us need to follow Bourdain’s lead and speak up for the Palestinians who are allowed no voice. They’re dying for no good reason.

Israel, enough is enough.


Bourdain and ZPZ Finally Get Some Glory

July 15, 2014

By Karen

I seldom post about Anthony Bourdain anymore, but I’m still a fan. The man keeps his fingers in so many pies, it’s hard to keep up. I said a while ago that he’d hit critical mass and his success keeps snowballing, and there seems to be no stopping him now. We hardcore Cats Working Bourdainiacs can simply sigh and say, “We knew him when life was simple.”

Just off the top of my head, he’s got all this going in, in addition to Parts Unknown.

  • The Taste has been picked up by ABC for a third season and it’s casting now.
  • Mind of a Chef, which Tony writes for and narrates, starts its third season on PBS in September.
  • Parts Unknown has been renewed by CNN for THREE more seasons.
  • Bourdain’s planning to open a massive international street food emporium in NYC.
  • His Ecco imprint is publishing an eclectic variety of books.
  • Get Jiro! the graphic novel is getting a prequel (I’m waiting for that crime novel he’s been working on for years.)
  • Zero Point Zero is producing a new for John Walsh so he can continue to catch bad guys.
  • Tony has taken up MMA and trains at Ottavia’s studio.
  • Daughter Ariane turned 7 in April (seems like only yesterday he posed for a calendar holding her in one hand like a football).

Variety reported in May that Parts Unknown Season 3 initial ratings were down, but that didn’t prevent the recognitions from rolling in.

In May alone, Tony won a Voices of Courage and Conscience in media award by the Muslim Public Affairs Council for Parts Unknown Palestine. Here’s his acceptance speech.

Then Parts Unknown won a Peabody Award. Here’s a video of Tony talking about success.

This month, Tony and his ZPZ team got SEVEN Emmy nominations. Here are the categories and who he’s up against, in order by which I’m most eager to see him win…

Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming

  • Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
  • COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey
  • JFK (American Experience)
  • The World Wars
  • Years of Living Dangerously

Outstanding Informational Series or Special

  • Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
  • Inside the Actors Studio
  • The Writers’ Room
  • Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman
  • Vice

OK, this next one has me scratching my head, but Tony’s long overdue for personal Emmy recognition, so I hope he gets it…

Outstanding Host for a Reality or Reality-Competition Program

  • Anthony Bourdain, Host, The Taste
  • Betty White, Host, Off Their Rockers
  • Tom Bergeron, Host, Dancing With The Stars
  • Jane Lynch, Host, Hollywood Game Night
  • Heidi Klum & Tim Gunn, Co-Hosts, Project Runway
  • Cat Deeley, Host, So You Think You Can Dance

And the rest are for the ZPZ team…

Outstanding Cinematography for Nonfiction Programming

  • Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown Punjab
  • Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown Tokyo
  • COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey
  • The Square
  • Vice

Outstanding Picture Editing for Nonfiction Programming

  • Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown Tokyo
  • American Masters
  • COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey
  • The Sixties: The Assassination of President Kennedy
  • The Square

Outstanding Sound Editing for Nonfiction Programming (Single Camera)

  • Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown Punjab
  • COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey
  • The Amazing Race
  • The World Wars
  • Vice

Outstanding Sound Mixing for Nonfiction Programming

  • Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown Tokyo
  • American Masters
  • COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey
  • Deadliest Catch
  • The Amazing Race

BONUS: Here’s an interesting interview Tony did with Smithsonian Magazine in June (and you know I don’t say that unless it covers some new ground).

Cats Working gives Tony three tails up and has all paws crossed for an Emmy sweep this year. There are two ceremonies, August 16 for Creative Arts, and August 25 for Primetime, and I’m not sure which will be his (maybe both).

Good luck, Bourdain. You’ve earned it!


Let Hobby Lobby Hypocrisy Spell Bankruptcy

July 3, 2014

By Karen

The Supreme Court’s reliable misogynists stomped way over the line this time by giving national crafts chain Hobby Lobby the OK to impose its religious beliefs on its employees. No wait, not ALL its employees. Just the ones who don’t want to be pregnant every time they have sex.

It seems Hobby Lobby’s owners are good Christians and don’t believe in certain forms of contraception (morning-after pills and IUDs). However, they DO believe in profiting from these products by investing their employees’ retirement funds in the Big Pharma companies that make them.

Personally, I don’t think the Supreme Court went far enough. Once the 4 dissenting justices (Sotomayor, Kagan, Ginsberg, and Breyer) saw they couldn’t preserve women’s reproductive insurance coverage at Hobby Lobby, they should have argued for a fair ruling that extends to reproductive options for Hobby Lobby’s males — no more Viagra, Cialis, or vasectomy coverage.

The Supreme Court seems to take the founding principle that “all men are created equal” literally and not apply it to women. If we could somehow make that statement gender-neutral and these men knew their own rights would vanish every time they disenfranchised women, I bet men would suddenly have a lot fewer “deeply held religious beliefs.”

Companies are NOT churches, and when they’re allowed to act on Christian beliefs — or Jewish, Muslim, or other faiths — everybody but the males at the top ends up being inferior and undeserving of equal rights.

And that’s exactly the slippery slope the Supreme Court has left us on.

Hobby Lobby thinks it won this battle. But Cats Working stands squarely with actor George Takei and many others in calling for a boycott. Hobby Lobby must lose its war on women as a warning to corporate America, and our best ammunition is Chapter 7 bankruptcy.


Why We Can’t Fix Iraq

June 25, 2014

By Cole

ISIS is having a blast rampaging through Iraq, seizing buildings and oil fields, and showing everybody what badass al-Qaeda rejects they are.

But what will they do with Iraq once they’ve got it? When they realize how tedious running a country is, will they decide to stick with their strength and go off to conquer the next weakest link?

The Iraqi government would love for the U.S. to swoop in and kick ISIS’ butt so Iraq’s so-called leaders can keep their own skirts clean and their money in the bank. And why not? We’ve been willing before to pour limitless blood and money down that rat hole.

But this is the same government that wanted us completely OUT in 2011 and forced Bush to agree, leaving that clean-up job for Obama so Dick Cheney can now blame Obama for doing it.

Sadly, it’s the innocent Iraqi people who pay for our stupidity. Saddam Hussein understood Iraq better than that useless turd we left in the punchbowl, Nouri al-Maliki. We have only ourselves to blame for giving ISIS a reason to exist.

We abhor Koran-misquoting nuts who grasp at any flimsy reason to start “holy” wars, yet we tolerate our own Bible-misquoting nuts who can walk down almost any American street armed to the teeth, blow away innocent people on deluded pretenses, and then walk free to do it again.

“Gun rights” is our euphemism for terrorism in the U.S., and it’s legal. We’ll even defend people’s right to commit it on a mass scale. So what right have we to claim moral superiority over ISIS or any other terrorists?

Hell, we give national face time to blood-thirsty lunatics like Cheney, who scream the loudest for war every time people in the Middle East start killing each other over silly stuff, just like we do here, as if THEY’RE the only ones with a problem.

So, as a token, 300 of our soldiers are being sent back into harm’s way to play Dear Abby in combat boots, dispensing priceless “advice” to the American-trained Iraqi army, like…

“Keep your clothes on. No war was ever won by soldiers running away in their skivvies.”

“When ISIS attacks, instead of giving them your gun, aim it at them and pull the trigger.”

I say, Iran is much better situated and equipped to sort out the Iraq mess. We should leave it alone. America needs to gets its own house in order before it can preach peace to the Middle East. Our hypocrisy just makes things worse.


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