UPDATE: Walter Einenkel
Here’s some fun. Justin Kanew over at The TN Holler has a nice addendum to the story. TN Holler contacted the superintendent of Franklin County schools, Mr. Stanley Bean, who explained that “There are no litter boxes in our schools. There are no students on leashes. I don’t know where Senator Bowling is coming up with this stuff.”
In fact, back when Ms. Bowling was saying these wild things in front of cameras in the state legislature, Bean contacted her to find out where she had come up with this “information.” After claiming that concerned parents had told her, Bean asked Bowling to set up a meeting with these mythical parents. Something that Ms. Bowling agreed to but never brought any parents to said meeting.
At this point Bean told her to retract the statement since she had no meaningful evidence to make it. “She said she would.” But she didn’t. She went on local radio and told the interviewer that she had put a stop to the kitty litter stuff by ordering Mr. Bean to make sure it stopped.
You can read about it all here.
During a Tennessee legislative committee hearing in September 2022, State Senator Janice Bowling, R-Tullahoma, stated that schools were “allowing children that identify as snakes, cats, whatever, they’re [schools] providing litter boxes for the cats.” This was an increasing problem, according to Ms. Bowling. You can watch a video of this falsehood below. At the time, this was the latest mythology promoted by right-wing, anti-children, anti-public education, anti-trans conservatives throughout the country—an even more grotesque and fantastical version of conservatives’ equating same-sex relationships to people marrying dogs.
It was quickly and roundly debunked, though, because there was never any evidence of this in a single school district. Anywhere on the planet Earth.
The real story, of course, is that back in 2017, it was reported that because of school shooter lockdowns, some school districts—specifically, the school district in Colorado where the Columbine shooting took place—had resourced kitty litter for emergency bathroom buckets. You know, if kids or teachers have to use the bathroom because they are locked down in their classrooms for fear of being murdered by guns. In fact, as the executive director of security and emergency management for the Jefferson County School District, John McDonald, told 9 News back in 2017, after one such four-hour lockdown at a school, "Students, teachers, used classroom closets, wastebaskets for bio breaks. At the end of the day, we had a biohazard cleanup that was required."
Guns are great, right?
The Tennessee Holler has video of someone cornering Ms. Bowling and asking her to apologize for lying. The well-earned public shaming is worth a watch.
RELATED STORY: Republicans insist leftists are making kids believe they're cats because the reality is much darker
In the video, intercut with reports of people like Joe Rogan apologizing for spreading the false rumor of kitty litter boxes in schools, the Holler reporter asks Bowling if she ever apologized for “perpetuating the furries myth.”
Bowling says she didn’t.
In fact, she still insists it is true. It is still not true. It has never been true. Kitty litter is for children huddling in classrooms, afraid they will be killed—not for furries.
The man confronting the state senator reminds her that what she said was “a lie.” Bowling says it was not, and her proof is that she says she “met with the principal, and I met with the superintendent” of a school. The Holler reporter asks her which school. Bowling says, “In Franklin County,” which is in Bowling’s district. But then Bowling changes her story, and says that these two people told her that they had students “that were allowed to use leashes.” This is also not a real thing; it’s just another thing she is lying about.
Here’s a related piece of information: About two weeks after Bowling’s statements in the Tennessee state senate, Franklin County High School Principal Dr. Roger Alsup told the Herald Chronicle that Bowling’s assertions were “absolutely not true.”
The Holler points out to Bowling that, beyond the fact that she’s full of shit, she is now changing her full-of-shit story into another load of bullshit. Bowling has the hubris to respond, “You know, there are a lot of things going on in the world today, and this is hardly important.” Wow, right?
The interviewer justifiably hounds Bowling as she waits for an elevator door, saying she really should apologize when she’s wrong about something like this: “It was a lie. Just apologize. Have some integrity.”
Bowling doubles down, because she clearly does not have even “some” integrity.
Here’s Janice Bowling and friends’ crappy statements of lies.
But just to show that I’m fair and balanced, Bowling has done one thing right: She’s tried and failed to promote municipal broadband legislation—which is a good thing.
Happy New Year! Daily Kos’ Joan McCarter is on the show today to talk about the wild garbage fire that was the Republican speaker of the House vote. Kerry and Markos also break down what this onionskin-thin conservative majority can and cannot do in the coming year, as well as what the Democratic representatives can do to make Kevin McCarthy’s life just that much tougher.