Time to End the Schmooze of the Union

January 29, 2014

By Cole

Last night, Obama delivered his latest laundry list of the same old problems that need fixing yet never get fixed — education, jobs, war, poverty, immigration, equal rights.

Why do we perpetuate this preposterous gathering of pompous phonies? At the very least, coverage should begin after the nauseating glad-handing and air-kissing, as all those well-dressed crooks pretend they haven’t seen each other in years.

As usual, Eric Cantor entered right behind Obama, like Woody Allen’s Zelig. When future historians study all the major events of our time, they’ll see Cantor, with his perpetually curled lip, hovering behind the real center of attention. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.

They should also ban the practice of clapping every 5 freaking words. It’s stomach-turning to watch them applaud, oblivious to their own shameful failure to DO whatever they’re clapping about and move the country forward.

If I had a nickel for every time a politician has talked about ending incentives for businesses to outsource and lowering their taxes, and then doing nothing, I could buy Purina — the company.

As always, Obama’s speech was another spin on “Yes we can,” when we all know by now that no, he can’t.

Republicans were the most interesting part, particularly John “You Can Never Be Too Orange” Boehner. He sat behind Obama, looking painfully constipated, withholding his applause when Obama mentioned extending unemployment benefits.

Screw you, lazy bums.

When Obama brought up “equal pay and opportunity for women,” Biden jumped to his feet for a standing O, while Boehner stayed seated.

Screw you, too, ladies.

When Obama said, “No one who works full-time should ever raise a family in poverty.” Boehner gave a few limp claps. Why should he agree? Boehner’s doing great in DC and has plenty of time for golf.

When Obama said that the ACA makes pre-existing conditions irrelevant and ends women being overcharged, Boehner and many Republicans kept their hands in their pants laps. So Obama told them to come up with something better and stop wasting time on 40 repeal attempts.

Obama sprinkled his speech with stories of “little people” he had planted in the audience, and saved the “best” for last, about a disfigured man sitting in the balcony next to Michelle. No doubt the man’s struggle has been heroic, but hearing about it from Obama made it sound contrived.

I want to support a fellow black cat, but Obama’s soaring rhetoric feels empty now. He got in to the White House on the promise of change, but the resentment and racism has been so ferocious that his opponents would rather see the country die than agree with him on anything.

Obama said he’s going to go it alone and do what he can with executive orders if Congress won’t cooperate. That had Rand Paul on CBS This Morning today whining about Obama’s lack of “conciliatory tone” and the loss of “checks and balances.”

The CBS team did a good job tag-teaming him on his baloney. In defending his recent dredging up of Clinton-Lewinsky, he said, “People don’t like hypocrisy.”

Gee, Rand, ya think?

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Rand Paul Can’t Tell a Predator from a Paramour

January 27, 2014

By Adele

That pinging sound you hear is Rand Paul’s loose screws hitting the floor. Yesterday on NBC’s Meet the Press, Paul told David Gregory he thinks that Republicans’ chronic misogyny is being overstated because Bill Clinton had a “predatory” affair with Monica Lewinsky back in 1995-97 when she was only 20.

Maybe it was an honest mistake that Paul tried to paint Monica as barely past jail bait, when she was actually 22. But we know that’s what Republicans do with easily provable facts — ignore them.

Paul went on to say that although it wasn’t Hillary’s fault, Bill’s affair should be OK to use against her if she runs for president in 2016.

In Paul’s telling, the Clinton-Lewinsky encounter was a one-off where Bill pounced on her like a total perv in — gasp! — “his office”!! Paul repeats the location several times. Watch him spout this nonsense with your own eyes.

By Monica’s account, it was an ongoing, consensual relationship. Oops, there’s another pesky fact to ignore.

If Bill Clinton had a problem with women, it was that he liked them TOO MUCH, and he was too eager to get hands-on with it. Clinton’s administration didn’t make a hobby of cooking up ways to disenfranchise women.

Bill may have liked to see women strip off their clothes, but he wasn’t into stripping them of their rights.

On the other hand, too many male Republican politicians like to sit in their offices and dream about all the pregnant women seeking abortions they’d like to see first being penetrated during medically needless transvaginal ultrasound procedures.

Or being raped and forced to bear their attacker’s baby if they get pregnant. Or spending their reproductive years popping out a baby every 9 months because they have no access to birth control.

Who sounds pervier now?

If you’ve been reading Cats Working, you may remember I was for Hillary Clinton before I was against her, and I defected because of her response to Bill’s infidelity.

But Rand Paul has catapulted me back onto Hillary’s bandwagon, if only because she’d never go on national TV and pull fake history out of her ass to make nonsensical points to justify indefensible positions.

If Hillary does decide to run, one can only hope Rand Paul is her opponent. It would be such a joy to watch her eviscerate him in a debate — which she undoubtedly could.

Only a walking brain-dead woman (I’m looking at you, Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter) could listen to male Republican trash talk about women and believe they don’t see women as a threat, and are actively scheming to send women back to the Dark Ages at the first opportunity.

 


Maureen McDonnell Sinks Men Like a Female “Titanic”

January 22, 2014

By Adele

After it made national news last night, this morning’s Richmond Times-Dispatch print edition ran a 3-page story with this one-word headline in 2-inch type…

INDICTED

Virginia’s newly-defunct Republican governor, Bob McDonnell, and his wife, Maureen, are facing 14 felony counts of corruption, possibly 7-figure fines, and perhaps the rest of their lives in jail. They solicited a jaw-dropping array of cash and goods from a businessman named Jonnie Williams, whom they used to call a “family friend,” and whom they helped to make the former CEO of Star Scientific, thanks to their “friendship.”

But NOBODY in the media, nor anyone else in high places who’s expressed an opinion on this case has addressed the elephant in the room. So let this cat be the first to say it…

Maureen McDonnell’s personal relationship with Jonnie Williams doesn’t pass the smell test.

Their acquaintance seemed to begin well before McDonnell became governor back in 2009, because when she needed an inaugural gown, Maureen asked Jonnie to buy it. Only after a state staffer insisted it wasn’t a good idea did Maureen back down and not accept the dress.

But that didn’t stop Maureen from asking Jonnie to fund a $15,000 NYC shopping spree he accompanied her on, where she bought Oscar de la Renta, Louis Vuitton, Armani, and other designer clothes, shoes, and accessories.

Or to ask Jonnie to buy husband Bob a $6,500 Rolex.

Or to ask Jonnie to let Bob borrow Jonnie’s Ferrari while the McDonnell family was staying at Jonnie’s getaway at Smith Mountain Lake resort.

Or to ask Jonnie for $50,000 to help with expenses.

Or to ask Jonnie to pay sums totaling $25,000 to help pay for her 2 daughters’ weddings.

Or to go on numerous out-of-state trips alone with Jonnie, ostensibly to raise the profile of his company’s diet supplement, Anatabloc.

In fact, it seems every time Maureen needed anything substantial, she didn’t ask her husband, but called Jonnie Williams.

You must see where I’m going with this. Does it sound like the behavior of a faithful wife, or something else?

While Maureen lied to investigators about all this and earned herself an obstruction charge, Bob McDonnell has consistently professed innocence, and insisted he didn’t break any laws (like Mitt Romney paid “every penny” of taxes he owed, after loopholes).

It’s true Bob wasn’t the one always asking for stuff. But he does appear to be a totally willing dupe, accepting whatever perks Maureen got Jonnie to send his way, possibly in exchange for granting her quality time with Jonnie.

Those perks included $7,500 in golf outings at various country clubs (without Jonnie), where Bob and his 2 sons put 3 golf bags, 2 sets of clubs, 2 pairs of shoes, and 6 golf shirts on Jonnie’s tab in the pro shop.

Bob accepted the Rolex. He drove Jonnie’s Ferrari. He took a $70,000 “loan” from Jonnie to bail out a failing real estate venture he had with his sister, and didn’t pay back a penny until it came out in the press.

While governor, Bob McDonnell let another man pay a huge chunk of 2 family weddings.

Does that sound like the behavior of a responsible husband and father? Bob McDonnell let Jonnie Williams be his sugar daddy.

Virginia law is extremely lax on what gifts politicians have to report, and it’s easily circumvented. For that gaping loophole, Virginia taxpayers are footing about $750,000 in legal fees McDonnell ran up for defense in this while he was governor. He had to get pricey outside counsel because his own attorney general, Ken “Cuckoo” Cuccinelli, had to recuse himself because he’d also been on the take from Jonnie Williams, but to a much lesser degree.

The only person we haven’t heard the first peep from is Jonnie Williams’ wife. How were she and Jonnie’s kids doing while he was lavishing gifts on Maureen McDonnell? Or when he had to step down as Star Scientific CEO in September 2013 because he was in so deep with the whole McDonnell family? What about his own family?

Not a peep.

The McDonnells are supposed to be arraigned Jan. 31. Remember that you read it first at Cats Working when Maureen’s skeletons start falling out of the closet and her true her relationship with Jonnie comes out.


Do I Smell Bait, or is that Chris Christie?

January 20, 2014

By Cole

We cats have a saying… The fish rots from the head.

Every time the news replays New Jersey governor Chris Christie professing how “blindsided” and “humiliated” he is now that the 4-day closing of the George Washington Bridge in September was revealed to be senseless and politically motivated, what I see is a big stinking halibut on a man’s shoulders, making fish noises.

I’m not really hearing any human making this point, so let a cat state the obvious…

There’s NO WAY Bridget Anne Kelly, Christie’s deputy chief of staff, woke up one morning and decided on a whim that it’s “Time for traffic problems in Fort Lee.”

Her marching orders came from someone higher up the food chain, someone who wanted, perhaps, to make an example of Fort Lee’s mayor to demonstrate what happens to those who fail to show proper respect.

And when David Wildstein at the Port Authority answered Kelly’s email with a simple, “Got it,” any idiot can see that the plan of attack was already determined and just needed word from Christie’s office to be set in motion.

Does anyone really believe Christie’s so oblivious in his own office that his closest, hand-picked aides could scurry around right under his nose, committing acts of vindictive retaliation left and right without his knowledge?

I’m sorry, but all paws point to Christie being the instigator. Why he didn’t get subpoenaed is beyond me.

I suspect Christie has two ironclad rules for his staff:

1. My revenge directives are always verbal, NEVER in writing, and
2. When you carry them out, NEVER mention my name.

And there’s probably a PS about violators sleeping with the fishes.

But when fired and thrown under the media bus, what do vindictive little shits well-trained in passive-aggressive behavior do? Well, Wildstein has already offered to sing like a nightingale in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

Let’s pretend for a moment we’re from another planet and believe Christie’s protestations of innocence. Is any politician who even unwittingly inspires his immediate circle to be so spiteful and underhanded, someone we really want in the White House, with the IRS, NSA, and TSA on tap to carry out future retaliations?

Christie’s clueless act may help him survive BridgeGate, but Republicans will have hit a new low if Christie turns out to be the best candidate they can nominate for president in 2016.


UnFoodie Bakes Beans

January 15, 2014

By Karen

I think it’s a New England thing to eat pork and beans with eggs for breakfast, and my father likes to do that. Beans are a great source of fiber, which I worry my parents don’t get enough of because my mother seems unaware of how important it is and doesn’t like or prepare many dishes that contain it (like beans).

So instead of letting Dad eat mushy canned beans, I make him some from “scratch” — dried Great Northern beans soaked in water overnight. But you can use any type of bean.

Beans1

For this batch, I used 1 1/2 bags (24 oz.) because I wanted to keep some for myself.

After soaking the beans in cold water at least 12 hours, they more than double in volume, but they’re still hard. You have to cook them before you can do anything with them. Trust me on this, I once tried making this dish in a crockpot without precooking the beans, thinking they’d surely soften in 8 hours, but I was dead wrong.

Before cooking, replace the soaking water with fresh cold water that submerses the beans an inch or two. Then boil those suckers for 30-45 minutes, until they’re soft. You can add salt to the water, but I don’t usually because I’m trying to keep them healthy. The pot can be covered or uncovered; if the water gets low, add more. Here they are cooked and drained…

Beans2

While the beans were boiling, I microwaved and broke up 8 slices of cooked bacon from Costco. It gives the beans porky flavor without so much fat.

Beans4

I also diced and sautéed a large onion with 2 cloves of garlic until they were soft. And preheated the oven to 325°.

Beans3

Now it’s time to throw the bacon, onions, and garlic onto the beans.

Next, I added molasses, mustard, ketchup, and BBQ sauce. These were the brands I had on hand…

Beans5

As for quantities, I usually eyeball it, but ballpark would be 1/4 cup each of molasses and mustard, and 1 cup each of ketchup and BBQ (although you can go heavier on one of these last 2 if you prefer either one’s taste. I added more of both after I snapped this picture).

Beans6

Mix it all together gently to coat all the beans, but try not to moosh them. At this point, I transferred them to my soup pot for baking.

Beans7

Cover the pot and bake for an hour to give all the ingredients a chance to “get happy,” as Emeril would put it.

A 1/2 cup serving of plain beans has only 70 calories, yet 13 grams of fiber (that’s 2 Weight Watchers® Plus Points) and is very hearty. I’d guess everything else in them adds maybe 30 calories per serving, tops.

These beans freeze well and can be reheated in the microwave. I ate mine as a healthy, almost fat-free, guilt-free side dish with dinner every night for a week.


Trying to Acquire “The Taste” Again

January 9, 2014

By Karen

An opportunity for a preview of Downton Abbey on January 2 trumped the premier of Anthony Bourdain’s cooking competition, The Taste. Unfortunately, I hadn’t programmed The Taste on my DVR, and then ABC took its sweet time making it available On Demand, so I’m a week late to this party. But last night I caught up on the first 2 hours not because I loved the first season, but because… well, how should I say this?… my name is Karen and I’m a Bourdainiac and I couldn’t NOT.

Let’s start with the positives…

Was it me, or did selection seem a bit less cruel this season? I even enjoyed seeing the 2 most arrogant douchebag hopefuls (one of which spent 6 whole minutes preparing raw tuna) get rejected.

New judge Marcus Samuelsson is a vast improvement over the personality-free Brian Malarkey. I don’t know anything about Samuelsson except that he has 6 James Beard awards, but he’s lively and a good foil for the other three.

Bourdain seems to be going more after Ludo Lefebvre and his chronic dickishness (which Ludo calls “passion”). And is Ludo laying the French accent on quite a bit thicker this year? Half the time, I could barely understand him. He’s making Eric Ripert sound like a Midwesterner.

Now…

That circle jerk of an introduction to the judges, with Nigella gushing that Bourdain is “the Mick Jagger of food.”

That metaphor would make a little sense only if Mick Jagger were renowned as the world’s foremost LISTENER to music.

I don’t hold Bourdain accountable for such silly hyperbole, although I hope it still makes him wince. He’s riding the wave, hanging out and having fun with accomplished working chefs and being allowed to coast on 13-year-old laurels, which he readily admits where never in the same league.

I didn’t pay much attention to who got picked because there’s no sense in forming attachments before the herd-thinning gets serious. Tony’s team includes some dysfunctional misfits he personally identified with and hopes to whip into a juggernaut. Some of the other judges’ picks seemed capricious, and I suspect more for dramatic potential than love of their food.

And somebody claimed one androgynous cook strongly reminiscent of the first season’s winner.

The actual competition begins tonight. Now it’s on my DVR because if ABC continues its relentless bombardment of No!No!, UNICEF, and ASPCA commercials, which I was unable to skip on On Demand, I’ll definitely end up hairless, with a child and a puppy.

But I don’t know if I’ll ever get past the show’s basically ridiculous premise — a taste.

Who the f**k sits down to a meal and decides whether it’s good or bad by jamming every freaking thing on the plate onto one forkful and cramming it in their mouth?

I think what The Taste ultimately accomplishes with its little white spoon gimmick is to diss each component of all the cook’s efforts and to honor none.

THIS JUST IN…

Bourdain is apparently in the process of opening some sort of international food market in New York City.


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