Cats Saved by Illinois Governor
April 23, 2010

Stevenson Spared Illinois Scenes Like This

Adlai E. Stevenson

On this date in History:  Adlai Stevenson is well known as a two time presidential candidate nominee who lost on both occasions.  He was also the Ambassador to the United Nations during the Kennedy Administration.  Stevenson rose to prominence as the Governor of Illinois and was known for his wit as well as his legislative initiatives in the Land of Lincoln including improving education.   But, Stevenson’s greatest bit of executive prowess may have come with his opposition to Illinois Senate Bill number 93.

Bill Tips His Hat to Adlai

Officially, Senate Bill No. 93 had the title of  “An Act to Provide Protection to Insectivorous Birds by Restraining Cats.”  It became known unofficially as “the cat bill.”  Perhaps this is where Berkely Breathed got the inspiration to name one of his characters, “Bill the Cat.”  The bill called for fines on owners who let thier kitties wander free off their property.  It also allowed for anyone to capture or “imprison” any cats at large and one could call the cops to pick up the fugitive feline.  All across the state, anyone could set traps with the purpose of catching wandering kitties.   The bill had been argued in the legislature several times in the post war years but it eventually passed both houses of the Illinois General Assembly and was presented to the Governor.

Illinois Cats Roared with Approval

Well, Stevenson was an adept politician and he knew that cats could not vote.  But, he knew that catowners certainly had the right to vote.  And the birds in question generally were of the free variety, not any owned by voters.  So, Stevenson determined that it would not be prudent public policy to deem a cat crossing a highway or walking across someone’s property line as a public nuisance.  Stevenson seemed to have a good grasp on the behaviour of cats because he noted that it was the nature of cats to roam unescorted.  He did allow for the fact that many cats resided in the residence of some people but he did not think it was appropriate for the occasional feline foray into the great outdoors to prompt “a small game hunt by zealous citizens — with traps or otherwise.”

Cat Shows It's Enthusiasm

Stevenson also took a pragmatic view as he noted that the legislation would no doubt lead to unrest in the form of recrimanation and enmity as well as the unbridled discord that would surely erupt should a citizen turn a neighbor’s pet over to the cops.  He also added:

“If we attempt to resolve [this problem] by legislation, who knows but what we may be called upon to take sides as well in the age-old problems of dog versus cat, bird versus bird, even bird versus worm. In my opinion, the state of Illinois and its local governing bodies already have enough to do without trying to control feline delinquency.”

Rats No Longer Supported Stevenson

Nowwhere did Stevenson speak of the number of cat-loving, cat-owning members of the electorate but I’m sure he was quite aware that a threat to a citizen’s cat could mean a threat to a potential vote in an future election.  So, on this date in 1949, Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson vetoed the bill that was designed to protect birds from cats.  It did not help him at the presidential polls against President Eisenhower in 1952 and 1956.  Perhaps his loss was a direct result of his veto of the bill adversely affected a certain population that far outnumbered the number of cats in the state and across the nation.  Rats, mice and other rodents were certainly turned-off by Stevenson’s actions.

SPC Moderate Risk Sat AM to Sun AM W. KY

Weather Bottom Line:  I warned a few days about about the severe potential in our area for this weekend.  The Storms Prediction Center has been expanding its outlook each day for the past 3 days and have now expanded the moderate risk for severe weather to include a good chunk of Western Kentucky.  The idea here is that a number of super cellular storms develop along the Texas-Louisiana border.  These storms then would track northeast with more developing with the heat of the day.    My guess is that the extent of the moderate risk area to the northeast has to do with the increasing dynamics associated with a large scale event and the potential of the super cells be relatively long lived, thus being able to make their way into Western Kentucky.  As for Louisville itself, the sun going down before the storms get here is the reason why the Louisville Metro area is under a slight risk and that area is more expansive east than west. 

SPC 30%-45% risk for Severe Weather Sat AM to Sun AM

Tornadoes would be most likely in the Southwestern part of the state and with the loss of afternoon heating, that threat will diminish as the true dynamics will be situated farther south.  However, what happens when you get a big storm falling apart, they tend to simply collapse and when that happens, there is an enormous, short lived down draft which can cause significant damage.  I would speculate that, while tornadoes are possible in the Louisville Metro Area, the greatest risk will be from strong winds and hail.   This system will lurk and so rain chances will carry into Sunday, though I think the risk for severe weather will have shifted south and east.

Mississippi River Flood Forecast; The Fastest Cat On Wheels! (not Toonces)
June 24, 2008

My kitty cats are sisters…they were born on President Lincoln’s birthday in Cajun country in South Louisiana. They both are black and white and have very pretty markings with little black beards. So, one got named Mary Todd because she was clearly the nut-case of the two. Even at age 12 she still chases her tail. The more serene, and now fat one, is Abee. Couldn’t name her Abe. They both have different personalities and now have other names. Most notably, Nit and Wit. I also called them Fat and Cat, Fatso and kitty cat, Barfette and Poopalot and other names that etiquette prevents me from presenting. They are good watch cats as they growl at any disturbance out of the ordinary and they are good weather cats as whenever the weather gets bad, they come and curl up around Snow White’s feet like house slippers. When it’s really bad, they go to their shelters in the interior of the house. I once found Mary Todd(Nit) in the small closet in the bathroom and Abee (Wit) was behind the toilet. They may be smart, but I don’t think that they can perform as well as a certain cat on this date in 1928.

The above graphic shows the flood outlook for the week of the 23rd. Not suprisingly, the reds are along the mid Mississippi River Valley. If you look at the yellows though in the region, there is concern that rain this week may be sufficient to cause river flooding problems in other parts of the basin. The flooding that is going on is generally not comparable to 1993. For some it is, but not most places. However, in 1993 there was an extended period of rain in the plains and, if this pattern doesn’t change, then its not totally out of the question that this story isn’t over yet.

As far as we are concerned, we are in the midst of a shift. The big upper low around the Great Lakes is shifting Northeast as a high comes over the top of us. That started on Monday which is why the rain chances shifted east as the day progresses with parts of the eastern portion of the viewing area getting rain and t’storms…South and East early…East and northeast in the afternoon. Tuesday will be great. Look for Snow White and I in the sculls on the river. Heat and humidity return with a warm front early Wednesday. Highs in the low 90’s, overnight lows in the low 70’s. A shortwave that was progged to come through on Wednesday night has now shifted north of the area and there is consensus with this. We are on the tail end of the vorticity axis but its probably not enough to produce anything but maybe some storms north toward Indy. There may be convective stuff on Thursday. Friday perhaps something more scattered with a little upper disturbance and then Saturday a front comes in that will produce t’storms. That is the beginning of a shift back to a nice pattern similar to what we’ve had. In short, the hot and humid conditions do not look like that they will last more than about 4 days. Then we get a ridge in the west and trof in the east type long wave pattern.

On This Date in History: Rocket technology has some roots in America with Robert Goddard and in Germany with Werner Von Braun. Those names are relatively well known. But also in Germany, Fritz Von Opel was into rockets. He did quite a few tests in 1928 but he was more into cars and transportation than such fanciful things that Goddard and Von Braun were into, namely getting into space. The Opel RAK 1 was a rocket powered car driven by Kurt C Volkhart to a speed of 75 mph. He later drove the RAK two, featuring two rocket boosters, to 143 mph. Opel then bought a sail plane, put a rocket on it created the first rocket plane. It exploded on the second test flight before Opel himself could pilot it. No word on who the lucky pilot was. But, Opel bought another plane and flew it successfully in September 1930. But, he wasn’t done with rocket cars…on this date in 1928, he tested the RAK 3.

It was a rocket powered car on a railroad track. Opel didn’t drive it though…he left that to a cat! The cat passenger rocketed to a new record 157 mph! He was the fastest cat alive. But the second half of the statement soon was left untrue. Opel again put the cat behind the wheel but this time, the rocket rail car malfunctioned and all of the rockets fired at once sending the feline flying down the track until the vehicle crashed. The cat did not survive. In spite of the pictures above…never let the cat get behind the wheel. Good thing for Opel PETA wasn’t around. I’m not sure why Opel volunteered a cat to be the brave driver, but at least he could have put him in the promotional photo.

Tweety’s All Fired Up!
April 23, 2008

Forecast is still right in line.  Enjoy the weather.  The little upper low on Thursday night still may bring a late shower or two and clouds early Friday.  Shouldn’t be a big deal.  Friday still looks warm and breezy. Front Friday night is looking rather pedestrian and should be out of the area for most Saturday events. If the front gets pokey though…there may still be some showers early Saturday but we aren’t playing that game.  In short, the forecast is in line.

On This Date In History:  On this date 1949 Alfred Hitchcock would not have been proud.  Illinois Gov. Adlai Stevenson was not for the birds.  Passed by the Illinois legislature was a bill that would protect birds from cats.  It sat on his desk until he vetoed it.  In referencing his denial of legal cover for our feathered friends, he said “We may be called upon to take sides as well in the age old problems of dogs versus cats…even bird versus worm.  [We] already have enough to do without trying to contol feline delinquency.”  No word on weather or not Tweety Bird made an appeal. 

Now…we all know that Louisiana has had some trouble following Katrina.  Of course, Mississippi was the one that really got hit by the hurricane and suffered great devastation.  You don’t hear as much about Mississippi and its continuing rebound.  Perhaps this little gem may give you some reason to figure out why….and it’s similar to the story concerning Mr. Stevenson.  While there are still many problems and issues to deal with in Louisiana on a yearly basis, the efforts to deal with reconstruction of damaged areas and institute changes to make sure that mistakes of the past will not be repeated one would think would be the primary focus of the lawmakers.  Alas, the Louisiana legislature has some how found it worthwhile, necessary and important to deal with the issue found on the link below.

Please note that the tv station that posted it on the web found it to be of newsworthy importance and makes me wonder why we don’t cover such hard-hitting stories that can only shine one type of light on journalism as a whole.

 Important Louisiana Legislation!

On more important matters, on this date 3 years ago, Snow White and I tied the knot.  It was the best thing I’ve done although I’ve had to fight off the army of psychiatrists who are eager to examine her. I’ve been accused of extortion or perhaps holding her family hostage or some such skullduggery as many find it hard to comprehend how Snow White could opt for Dopey…who sometimes morphs into Grumpy.   I definitely married up and my reputation has been well enhanced.  I shudder to think of what has become of hers.