Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

I'm Here Live. I'm Not A Cat.

Abby Zimet

 by Common Dreams

Improbable, we know - especially for those of us who are meh on cats - but cat videos offered a welcome break from sedition on the first day of Trump's impeachment trial when a Texas lawyer accidentally left a kitten filter on during a virtual court hearing. Attorney Rod Ponton riotously morphed into a googly-eyed kitten during a Zoom hearing on a civil forfeiture action in the 394th District Court and then, trapped by his feline persona, offered his nervous assurance to the court that he was nonetheless "prepared to go forward" with the case. "I'm here live," he declared. "I'm not a cat." To which a deadpan Judge Roy Ferguson replied, "I can see that" - though, really, he couldn't. With calm dignity, the judge suggested Ponton had a filter on in his Zoom settings and tried to walk him through its removal; the cat, worriedly peering side-to-side, eventually did. He later explained he'd been using his secretary's computer at a remote office, and "shit happens."

Despite laws typically forbidding publicizing court hearings, the good judge later released the man/cat exchange "for educational purposes," warning, “If a child used your computer before you join a virtual hearing check the ‘Zoom video options’ to be sure filters are off.” He added, “These fun moments are a byproduct of the legal profession’s dedication to ensuring that the justice system continues to function in these tough times...True professionalism all around!” Twitter was on it, relishing the rare laugh it offered the 12 or 357 times they watched it. People wondered if Jeffrey Toobin wished he'd just had a cat filter. They suggested, "I have a dog I am certain would out-litigate many of the lawyers I go against." And they argued, given Trump attorney Bruce Castor's garbled "defense -  so bad Newsmax cut it off so Alan Dershowitz could trash it - "The cat lawyer did a much better job than the former president’s lawyers today." "Maybe if they used the cat filter," they added, "their arguments would make more sense." Actually, nope.


Abby Zimet

Abby Zimet

Abby Zimet has written CD's Further column since 2008. A longtime, award-winning journalist, she moved to the Maine woods in the early 70s, where she spent a dozen years building a house, hauling water and writing before moving to Portland. Having come of political age during the Vietnam War, she has long been involved in women's, labor, anti-war, social justice and refugee rights issues. Email: azimet18@gmail.com

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'What Happens When You Warm a Planet': Massive Flooding Kills At Least 8 in Seoul

"Two months' worth of rain in half a day. We are in a climate emergency," wrote meteorologist Eric Holthaus.

Jake Johnson ·


Trump Says Mar-a-Lago 'Under Siege, Raided, and Occupied' by FBI

"The accountability our democracy desperately needs for its survival might, just might, be a real possibility," said the head of a watchdog group.

Common Dreams staff ·


New Ad Against Herschel Walker Features Ex-Wife's Domestic Violence Accusations

A leader at the anti-Trump group behind the advertisement targeting the U.S. Senate candidate said that "our campaign is built around the voices of Georgia Republicans who know that he's unfit for office."

Jessica Corbett ·


Michigan AG Urges Probe of Alleged GOP-Led Effort to Break Into Voting Machines

"We must denounce the Big Lie and those who refuse to uphold the will of the people in our elections," said one democracy defender.

Brett Wilkins ·


Hopes Rise for Return to Iran Nuclear Deal Destroyed by Trump

"We stand five minutes or five seconds from the finish line," said one negotiator, who added that "three or four issues" that are "sensitive for Iranians and Americans" remain to be resolved.

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo