Trump v. Clinton Debate is Must-See

September 26, 2016

By Adele

Not because it will be so enthralling, but because it will stand alone in this election. Trump’s campaign has consisted mostly of playing “I’m Rubber, You’re Glue,” turning EVERY criticism about himself into a charge against Hillary, even when it’s patently absurd.

He’s gone so far as to say she should be jailed and could be assassinated. He’s coasted on name-calling, bullying, threats, and precious little substance.

Tonight Trump’s in the big leagues for the first time, against the most seasoned debater he’ll ever face. He’s probably over the moon about the anticipated viewership, but if he thinks his schoolyard bully schtick, free of any grasp of the issues, is a recipe for success, Hillary’s going to hand his ass to him.

And when she does, Trump will withdraw from the remaining two debates and whine until election day that the process was unfair and rigged.

Trump has already cautioned NBC moderator Lester Holt not to fact-check, an indication Trump’s strategy is to rely on the well-debunked, fact-free lies he keeps repeating. He’s dumped such an avalanche of ignorance on this country, it’s become too deep to detail.

To prepare for the debate, Hillary’s been learning facts and practicing with a Trump stand-in. Trump thinks he can do it off the cuff because nobody expects him to know what he’s talking about.

There’s some truth in that. Trump’s supporters, who choose to remain willfully ignorant, will declare him the winner if he manages not to lose control of his bowels on stage.

In the past week, both candidates met with foreign leaders visiting the UN. Well, Trump verifiably met one, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. To Fox News he claimed there were more to come, saying, “I don’t want to comment specifically on who, but a couple of people are coming over.”

But there have been no photo ops of any other fawning world leaders kissing his ring at Trump Tower. Maybe they asked to see his tax returns and he had his goons throw them out.

Clinton, in contrast, met also with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and knew what was going on with their countries, as witnesses and press reported.

Meeting with al-Sisi, Clinton called for release of a U.S. citizen held hostage since 2014 for operating a nonprofit in Egypt. Trump never mentioned that. Maybe he was unaware of the situation, or he thinks the hostage is a loser for getting captured and deserves no help.

Now it’s time for Trump to face the woman he’s been lying about and demonizing. I hope Hillary leaves Trump looking like a chewed-up Cheeto. And when she does, mark my words, Trump will never debate again. There’s nothing a bully hates worse than being confronted.


Bourdain Slurps Noodles with Obama

September 23, 2016

By Karen

Anthony Bourdain’s CNN series Parts Unknown is worth watching Sunday, September 25, 9 p.m. ET. He’s in Hanoi, Vietnam, and shares noodles and beer with President Obama in a small local joint.

Obama’s approval rating is at about 58%, so having a beer with a popular guy like Bourdain can only reflect well on Hillary. In fact, it’s a shame it’s not Hillary.

The intended contrast with Donald Trump is unmistakable. Not only would Trump never be caught dead in such humble surroundings, but you know he can’t use chopsticks and he’s incapable of small talk.

Luckily for Bourdain, Angelina Jolie’s divorce from Brad Pitt immediately eclipsed the Bourdain breakup announcement. The Bourdains can’t hope to have drama that remotely compares to allegations of Pitt being a substance- and child-abuser.

Today I read this Washington Post article where Tony mentions being in London during the Brexit vote (Parts Unknown to air Oct. 23) and did a double-take at the undated CNN photo of Nigella Lawson making Tony breakfast in her home.

Breakfast?!

As I’ve pondered Bourdain’s post-Ottavia life, the woman who sprang to mind as his next potential companion was Nigella. They’ve known each other for years, and he was there for her when her marriage fell apart while they were filming The Taste together.

I am absolutely NOT implying any illicit behavior, but if Tony does end up on his own, he could do a lot worse than Nigella. In fact, he DID do a lot worse before he met Ottavia.

On Parts Unknown last season, Bourdain wore no wedding ring. I should have mentioned months ago that it was his best ever, winning his 4th straight Outstanding Series Emmy. I’ve forgotten details, but every episode touched me in some way — tears, laughter, sheer wonder at the amazing cinematography.

Ottavia published an article in August on Lena Dunham’s site Lenny about how she got into MMA. Her byline included her maiden name and mentioned only her daughter, as if she’s a single mother.

So hints about the breakup were out there, even before the big announcement.

Bourdain has a new home-cooking book coming out on October 25 called Appetites. And he revealed in a recent interview with Uproxx that he’s about to start another book. I wonder what happened to the novel he’s been working on for years?

BONUS: Bourdain’s Russian sidekick Zamir Gotta has permanently defected to Buffalo, New York, to launch Zamir Vodka. And Trump’s worried about Mexicans.

DOUBLE BONUS: Here’s Bourdain’s latest episode of Raw Craft, a series he does for Balvenie Distillery featuring expert craftspeople. This one is in North Carolina with a pearl-wearing metalsmith named Elizabeth Brim.


Page Six Reports the Bourdains Have Separated

September 20, 2016

By Karen

Late yesterday afternoon I got one of those shocks that feels like an elevator going into a sudden plunge when I read this Page Six article announcing that Anthony Bourdain and his wife Ottavia have been separated for some time.

I’d noticed Ottavia seemed scarce on Twitter. And Tony didn’t wear his wedding ring through most of Parts Unknown last season, but I told myself it was all jiu-jitsu-related.

Today, their separation is all over the media. MSN, E! Online, Us Weekly, even the Daily Mail in the UK. But they all just repeat Page Six without additional detail.

Thinking back, I don’t know the exact date I first discovered Anthony Bourdain, but I stumbled upon an early No Reservations on Travel Channel one night and was instantly charmed by his looks and wit.

I had no clue he was a writer until I found A Cook’s Tour at a remaindered book sale. On its cover I learned Kitchen Confidential had been a bestseller. I’ve been in hot pursuit of every book he’s published and have read them all to date. And seen every episode of his four travel series (A Cook’s Tour, No Reservations, The Layover, Parts Unknown). And his lamentable cooking competition, The Taste.

My first dedicated post in Cats Working on him was about his 2007 No Res Christmas special. It’s apparent I knew quite a bit by then, and Ottavia was intriguing me. I finally found her in February 2008. Thus began my regular chronicle of the Bourdains, which led to several personal encounters, most recently when he came to Richmond in 2013.

But sites like Eater and Grub Street began stealing my thunder and getting all the best scoop straight from Bourdain himself, so I stepped back. But I never lost interest.

I will declare with no reservations that Cats Working pioneered coverage of Anthony Bourdain before anyone else was paying much attention. If you search the archives, you’ll find a ton of his history, professional and personal.

I will try to learn more on this unfortunate development, but this post will give any Cats Working die-hard Bourdainiacs a place to comment. Tony has written about being at loose ends before he met Ottavia. This split, real or not, is no picnic for them, so please be kind.

Tony did appear to be alone on the red carpet at the recent Creative Arts Emmy Awards, where Parts Unknown won its fourth consecutive Emmy for Outstanding Informational Series or Special.

bourdain-creativeartsemmys

The show was also nominated for Cinematography (Cuba), Sound Editing (Okinawa), and Sound Mixing (Ethiopia).

Bourdain was nominated once again for Outstanding Writing for a Nonfiction Program (Borneo), but lost to a Netflix show, Making a Murderer.


Hillary is Her Own Worst Enemy

September 12, 2016

By Adele

Hillary will probably never explain why she blew her big chance to connect with voters on a human level by announcing she has pneumonia.

She was a bit raspy at the Intrepid forum last week, and she’s been coughing, but she blamed seasonal allergies. Then on Friday she learned the truth.

Nobody could blame her for catching pneumonia. She’s been courting jet lag zipping across time zones, shaking thousands of strangers’ hands, and basically running herself ragged.

All she had to do on Friday was call a press conference and announce she was canceling all public events for a few days to rest and recover. Perfectly reasonable and understandable.

But did she? No. She tried to soldier through it until she made it an issue by nearly collapsing at a 9/11 memorial service on Sunday.

And even then she didn’t come clean, but instead fed the press some BS about being overheated and dehydrated.

Why, Hillary, why? People want to like you. Trump’s a maniac. Why do you keep going shady and making it so hard?

Amazingly, Trump didn’t pounce, calling her Frail, Crooked Hillary, too weak to be president. Instead, he and his babbling she-devil, Kellyanne Conway, focused on Hillary’s secrecy.

Apparently, Conway made Trump understand it would look bad to kick Hillary while she’s down. But as soon as she’s back on her feet, you can bet your last treat Trump will be playing the health card until election day.

Trump is supposed to release results of his own recent health exam on Dr. Oz Thursday, Sept. 15. Trump consults only quacks in seemingly irrelevant specialties. First it was Harold Bornstein, the goofy gastroenterologist who released a ridiculous letter. Now it’s Oz, a cardiologist who had to answer to Congress for dispensing reams of bogus health advice on TV.

Makes me think Trump’s hiding something big. For starters, why does he look like a Cheeto on legs? Who would do that unless they couldn’t help it? He’s also clearly out of shape and overweight.

Stupidly, Hillary has leveled the playing field with Trump on hoarding personal information that voters have a right to know. The stakes for her in the debates are now that much higher.

They both make Libertarian Gary Johnson look more appealing, even if he does think Aleppo is an exotic cat.


No Jail for Bob and Maureen McDonnell

September 9, 2016

By Adele

Here’s what we woke up to this morning…

mcdonnell-vindicatedIn reality, not quite.

The Supreme Court unanimously threw out all corruption charges against Virginia’s former governor, Bob McDonnell (and his wife Maureen by implication, I suppose, although she caused the whole mess), and now they have been dropped. Neither one will ever serve a moment of their jail sentences, and they can put this sordid business behind them.

I’ve got nothing against Bob McDonnell. He seems basically decent, although he suffers from the mental paradox of Republicanism, being misogynistic and discriminatory while professing to be a devout Christian.

Bob’s sin was to look away while his wife emotionally attached herself to a sugar daddy named Jonnie Williams and sucked more than $177,000 out of him. It caught up with Bob when he directly benefited in the form of a Rolex watch, golf outings (with a pro shop shopping spree), vacations, and large contributions toward his side real estate business and his two daughters’ weddings.

The highest court in our justice system deemed that the McDonnells did nothing wrong by taking all this because they swore they provided essentially nothing in return. Anyone else caught making such a heist would probably be charged with stealing, but the McDonnell case has established that politicians are incapable of theft under any circumstances. Private interests may shovel unlimited amounts of cash and goodies their way in hopes that some pol will slip and show some gratitude – and not get caught.

The McDonnells may be technically finished with their legal ordeal, but they’ve got a long road ahead to redeem themselves as human beings.

Bob has been doing some charitable work and talks about doing more. He should now help the down-and-out people he would have assuredly crushed under his heel had he continued to rise in Republican politics.

There’s been no word, but I’m guessing Maureen hasn’t changed much. You know what they say: “Once a greedy bitch…”

But with Bob going around in sackcloth and ashes, she’s lost her bait to catch rich guys who need favors, so she may be forced to live within her means. Like the rest of us.


Trump and Clinton Almost Face Off

September 8, 2016

By Karen

Trump and Clinton were like two ships passing in the night – on the aircraft carrier Intrepid. A weird setting for sparring with NBC Today Show host Matt Lauer, now known as Mr. Fluffmeister.

The candidates appeared consecutively to answer veterans’ questions on foreign policy and being commander-in-chief.

Hillary was first, and Lauer leaped for her throat, forcing her to explain her email misuse for the umpteenth time.

OK, we get it. Using her own server was dumb. But how many years has it been with no repercussions from anything that might have leaked, and no evidence she was ever seriously hacked? It wasn’t illegal at the time and there’s nothing to prosecute.

Hillary routinely gets crucified on many things that, if bungled by a man, would get a shrug and a, “Boys will be boys!”

Let’s face it. Hillary doesn’t have an open, sunny disposition. When cornered, she resorts to slippery lawyer-speak. Her detractors act like she’s the only politician in history to do that.

Thanks to Lauer’s pointless email questions, Hillary was hard-pressed to address foreign policy, and then Matt kept telling her to be brief.

But Hillary somehow managed to display great familiarity with geography, foreign affairs, and the challenges the next president faces.

And then came Trump. The bar for his performance was so low, all he had to do was not drool or poop his pants. His verbal vomit was presidential poetry to Lauer, who didn’t challenge any lie or boast. Nor did he push Trump onto the ropes to answer for anything.

With his customary disregard for the military audience, Trump dissed our generals as being “reduced to rubble” and hinted he’d fire many, yet make them submit within 30 days a plan for defeating ISIS. Not that Trump already doesn’t have his own secret plan. He just wants to see if his generals have another one.

Trump, you idiot. You’re not starring in The King & I.

Remember when Yul Brynner, the king of Siam, is stewing over how to prove to England’s Queen Victoria that he’s not a barbarian? When Anna, the English governess, asks what he intends to do, the king commands, “You guess!”

Trump wants to play “You Guess!” with the generals, thinking he’ll trick lowly beings with no right to advise a king president into giving him a plan. Which they’d do, and he’d follow because he has no clue.

Trump’s appearance was notable for its lack of specifics, admiration for Putin, and inability to resist insulting Obama and Hillary, which both candidates were asked not to do, and Hillary mostly complied with.

Trump sat slouched and didn’t even turn his head much to respond to any veteran’s question. Hillary spent most of her time on her feet, facing her questioners.

For all his attacks on Hillary’s physical fitness, Trump looked like an out-of-shape, low-energy, unhealthy couch potato.

Considering the double standard, I thought Hillary showed presidential-caliber comportment and intelligence. Trump, as usual, was a clown show.

Can’t wait for the September 26 real debate when Trump finally has to face Hillary.


How Mexico Totally Blew It with Trump

September 1, 2016

By Karen

Lest anyone has forgotten, USA Today published a good run-down of the many ways Donald Trump has disrespected Mexico before he paid a visit there yesterday to piss all over the shoes of President Enrique Pena Nieto.

Nieto’s approval rating in Mexico stands at about 23%, even lower than Trump’s here. The Mexican people hate Trump so much, beating the crap out of him as a pinata has become a popular party game.

So Nieto meets Trump and says later that he told Trump Mexico wouldn’t pay for a wall.

Trump, not hearing what he wanted, claims the wall never came up in the conversation.

It raises questions about Trump’s ability to follow through on any of his boasts about how he’s going to make all the world’s leaders bend to his will. There he was, in a face-off with the guy who’d write the check for his wall, and Trump never even mentioned it?

Then they did a joint news conference, and instead of interrupting Trump and boldly stating, “Hell, no, we’ll never buy you a wall, and we’re not criminals, rapists, and drug-dealers!” before cameras and reporters, Nieto inexplicably stood silent and let Trump run the show.

Remember in the movie, Love, Actually, when Hugh Grant as the British prime minister puts the lecherous, suspiciously Bush-like U.S. president in his place at a press conference? This could have been that moment. Here it is (ignore the subtitles, the audio is in English)…

If Nieto had stood up to Trump, his approval ratings would have instantly soared, and he’d have earned the world’s gratitude. He’d have sent Trump back with his tail between his legs to make his epic foreign policy rant in Arizona that night, with every threat against Mexico thoroughly repudiated and recorded for posterity.

With video testimony from Mexico’s president, if Trump had persisted in his nonsense about getting a free wall on Mexico’s tab and deporting Mexicans along with everyone else, no one could ignore the fact that he’s a racist, raving lunatic.

Nieto could have achieved all that. But he did none of it.

Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny made Trump blink before a planned visit by saying he would tell Trump in person how racist and dangerous his comments are.

Trump canceled that stop in Ireland because there’s nothing a chicken-shit bully hates worse than being confronted.

Nieto, you had your chance, and you blew it big-time.


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