Why We Can’t Fix Iraq

June 25, 2014

By Cole

ISIS is having a blast rampaging through Iraq, seizing buildings and oil fields, and showing everybody what badass al-Qaeda rejects they are.

But what will they do with Iraq once they’ve got it? When they realize how tedious running a country is, will they decide to stick with their strength and go off to conquer the next weakest link?

The Iraqi government would love for the U.S. to swoop in and kick ISIS’ butt so Iraq’s so-called leaders can keep their own skirts clean and their money in the bank. And why not? We’ve been willing before to pour limitless blood and money down that rat hole.

But this is the same government that wanted us completely OUT in 2011 and forced Bush to agree, leaving that clean-up job for Obama so Dick Cheney can now blame Obama for doing it.

Sadly, it’s the innocent Iraqi people who pay for our stupidity. Saddam Hussein understood Iraq better than that useless turd we left in the punchbowl, Nouri al-Maliki. We have only ourselves to blame for giving ISIS a reason to exist.

We abhor Koran-misquoting nuts who grasp at any flimsy reason to start “holy” wars, yet we tolerate our own Bible-misquoting nuts who can walk down almost any American street armed to the teeth, blow away innocent people on deluded pretenses, and then walk free to do it again.

“Gun rights” is our euphemism for terrorism in the U.S., and it’s legal. We’ll even defend people’s right to commit it on a mass scale. So what right have we to claim moral superiority over ISIS or any other terrorists?

Hell, we give national face time to blood-thirsty lunatics like Cheney, who scream the loudest for war every time people in the Middle East start killing each other over silly stuff, just like we do here, as if THEY’RE the only ones with a problem.

So, as a token, 300 of our soldiers are being sent back into harm’s way to play Dear Abby in combat boots, dispensing priceless “advice” to the American-trained Iraqi army, like…

“Keep your clothes on. No war was ever won by soldiers running away in their skivvies.”

“When ISIS attacks, instead of giving them your gun, aim it at them and pull the trigger.”

I say, Iran is much better situated and equipped to sort out the Iraq mess. We should leave it alone. America needs to gets its own house in order before it can preach peace to the Middle East. Our hypocrisy just makes things worse.


Cantor’s Pride Leads to His Fall

June 11, 2014

By Karen

It’s a joyous day in Virginia. After 14 years in office, our 7th District Republican congressman and House majority leader Eric Cantor LOST the primary to a tea party elected-office newbie named David Brat — by 11 points.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch headline screamed: CANTOR OUT.

In my county, Cantor lost by about 22 points (5,924 to 7,226). My vote was one of them.

OK, I confess. I pulled a cross-over. Yesterday I boldly walked through the valley of the gun-loving bigots (who were all jovial and friendly, I might add) to vote for Brat in the hope our Democratic contender could easily defeat him.

In Virginia you don’t have to claim a party affiliation. Democrats have no primary this year because our candidate was sort of drafted because nobody wanted to run against Cantor, so why not mess with the Republicans?

Contrary to the simplistic rationales TV talking heads are spouting for this “shocking” and “historic” upset, there were probably 3 main factors in play…

1. Cantor’s constituents shared his conceit that he was invincible, and didn’t bother to vote.

2. Democrats like me got strategic and voted for a Republican we may beat.

3. The 7th District just made a sharp right turn toward BatShitCrazyville.

Cantor has only himself to blame for his downfall. For years he’s presided over a sprawling, spotty district with an almost hand-picked conservative majority. He’s played gerrymandering to the hilt.

But this made Cantor cocky. Too cocky.

Leading up to the primary, Cantor refused to lower himself to debate Brat. His campaign spent a bundle on TV and print to spew the lie that Brat’s a liberal.

It became an unseemly display of a lavishly-funded Washington fat-cat squashing the underdog like a bug, with utter disregard for the truth. Possibly, it disgusted even diehard Cantor supporters. That, coupled with Cantor’s inability to do anything in DC except waste taxpayer dollars on umpteen futile votes to repeal Obamacare and find creative ways to feather his own nest and nurture his political ambitions, spelled defeat.

Cantor himself was so blinded by hubris, I don’t think he saw it coming until the numbers rolled in last night.

Brat will run against Jack Trammell. They’re both new to elected office, both professors at Randolph-Macon College, Brat in economics, Trammell in sociology.

Brat’s running on an anti-immigration reform and anti-Obamacare platform. Bottom line: he staunchly stands on the wrong side of history, which plays well in BatShitCrazyville.

But I think Trammell has a fair shot at winning and joining Virginia’s two Democratic senators in DC.

So, Virginia is losing a high-profile position in Congress, but Eric Cantor was a disgrace in it and it’s good riddance. We’re better off starting over.


Is Bergdahl Worth It?

June 5, 2014

By Cole

Most people love movies where the hero looks doomed until the U.S. cavalry charges over the hill and saves him. Such relief was the first reaction to hearing Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was being rescued from 5 years as a Taliban POW in Afghanistan…

…Until we learned we were swapping 5 terrorists at Guantánamo for him and Congress wasn’t told. Of course, we all know how that would have played out. Congress would rather let a million Bergdahls rot in Afghanistan than cooperate with Obama.

But then circumstances of Bergdahl’s capture began trickling out from soldiers who were there, like former Army captain Nathan Bethea, who believes Bergdahl deserted, and claims the rest of the troops were ordered not to talk about it.

And we heard that Bergdahl first shipped his personal belongings home, then wrote a note before he disappeared stating he was off “to start a new life” and left behind all his Army-issued protective gear. And he wasn’t lost on a night patrol, but deliberately left the base and made himself easy pickings for the Taliban.

And it’s possible that a bunch of soldiers doing their jobs were killed directly or indirectly as a result of Bergdahl’s actions and the subsequent search, but that’s yet to be confirmed.

And, bizarrely, Bergdahl got promoted to sergeant while he was missing, even though his superiors knew the fishiness of his disappearance. That was government bureaucracy at its finest.

On one paw, I’m proud of our commitment to bring home all American troops, even the crazies and the cowards. If they were bad soldiers, we can take comfort in the fact that the VA will treat them like dirt for the rest of their lives, or even let them die for want of medical care. What goes around…

On the other paw, I fear Bergdahl will become Obama’s good deed that doesn’t go unpunished when the freed terrorists shortly resume their quest to wipe out Americans — now with a REAL axe to grind against us.

Bergdahl remains in Germany being treated like a delicate flower, too physically and emotionally fragile to answer any questions about how or why the hell he got himself captured. It’s the American way to give him plenty of time to concoct a great story for the talk show rounds — you know they’re coming.

The cynical part of me wonders about the White House’s timing. Was Bergdahl meant to “Wag the Dog” and deflect attention from the VA mess?

Or was Obama’s intent to create another “We Got bin Laden!” moment by rescuing a hero? But like most everything Obama touches these days, it backfired because his minions didn’t do their homework and left Obama wiping egg off his face — yet again.

And this cat questions the wisdom of humans who, in the face of someone’s feckless disregard for their own safety — be it a troop or a tourist — decide to unmake the bed these fools have chosen to lie in and go to extraordinary means and expense to rescue them.

Is it worth it? I have no answer.


Progressive Insurance Responds on Snapshot

June 2, 2014

By Karen

In March, I told you about driving around with Progressive Insurance’s Snapshot® device in my car, being monitored for 30 days, only to qualify for no discount on car insurance.

I snail-mailed the link to that post to Progressive’s president and CEO, Glenn Renwick. As you might expect, my letter was kicked to the bottom of the org chart to a “consumer relations specialist” I’ll call Susan.

Susan filled a page with boilerplate babble that didn’t address my concerns, which were:

1. Why does Progressive collect information they claim not to need?

2. What does it take to qualify for a discount if driving only about 50 non-rush-hour daylight miles total, a few days a week, doesn’t?

Susan opened with…

I’m writing on behalf of Glenn Renwick… Thank you for your letter and for taking the time to share your concerns.

Off to a great start, addressing my “concerns” with the usual empty corporate yada yada yada.

She went on to non-explain…

When you sign up to test drive our Snapshot® program, we display rapid acceleration in the overview of your driving habits, but it isn’t used in the calculation of your discount. We also don’t factor turns into our calculation.

She utterly failed to address WHY Progressive collects information it doesn’t need.

Finally, she got personal…

Snapshot® considers overall driving habits including miles driven, time of day, and the overall number of hard braking events. We define a hard brake as a decrease in speed of 7 mph/second. You had 25 hard breaking events within the 215 miles you drove during your 30 day trial. Your results didn’t yield a discount in our Snapshot® program. While we encourage our customers and potential customers to try the Snapshot® program, we don’t guarantee a discount.

She failed to acknowledge how seldom and little I drove, and that my braking behavior resulted in my not hitting anything. With Progressive, stopping for ANY reason must constitute bad driving.

She closed with…

I’m sorry for any frustration you’ve experienced… and gave her phone number in case I “have questions.”

“ANY frustration?” Didn’t my letter to the CEO give them a HINT?

This pathetic non-response didn’t resolve anything, and I stand by my belief that Progressive’s discount program is a sham, and anyone would do well to avoid it, if only to dodge the incessant online advertising it generates.


A Cat Picks the 2014 Preakness

May 16, 2014

By Adele

Only the most heartless brute would want to dash the hopes of a horse with a shot at winning the Triple Crown, so I’m betting my treats on Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome, the odds-on favorite at 3-5 in the 10-horse field, to win the Preakness Stakes May 17 at Pimlico (4:30 p.m. ET on NBC).

But as always with horse-racing, there’s a bit of drama going on in the barn. “Chromie,” as they call him, has a blister in his throat that makes him cough. His trainer said it was there for the Derby and didn’t get him down, so let’s keep our paws crossed.

Also, it’s been raining, uh, cats and dogs in these parts, and the track may be muddy. Chromie has never run in mud, but he’s never been finicky about the surface, so I hope he’s good with getting his hooves dirty.

He drew the 3rd post position in a field of just 10 horses.

I’ve got a couple of other favorites. A filly named Ria Antonia is the only girl in the race, running from pp 6 with Calvin Borel on her back. They say she’s no Rachel Alexandra (who beat the boys back in 2009) and she has the worst odds at 30-1, but if Chromie can’t pull it off, I hope Ria does.

My pick to show is Ride on Curlin (odds 10-1), although he not only drew the widest post position (10), but he’s in for a rude surprise when he’s mounted this time by Joel Rosario and sees his Derby jockey, Calvin Borel, on Ria Antonia’s back.

Another horse to watch is Pablo Del Monte in pp 9 (odds 20-1). He had earned a last-minute spot in the Derby when Hopportunity got scratched, but took a pass. More rested between his races, he’ll be fresher than Chromie, but does he have what it takes to win a Triple Crown race?

May the best horse win, and all cross the finish line safely.


Boy’s Best Friend is His Cat

May 15, 2014

By Max

Cats Working salutes Tara Triantafilo, a gray 6-year-old tabby and former stray in Bakersfield, CA. Tara went all “Big Cat” on a vicious dog larger than her to single-pawedly save her 4-year-old human, Jeremy.

Jeremy was minding his own biz playing in his front yard when a neighbor’s 8-month-old Lab-chow mix decided to drag Jeremy away by the leg. It was all caught on security cameras.

Jeremy was toast until Tara sprang seemingly out of nowhere and launched herself at the dog, chasing him off her property. Watch it…

Jeremy’s wounds needed 10 stitches. Tara only got her tail in a fluff. News reports say Jeremy’s mother Erica also got bitten on the leg, but it’s impossible to see how, since she didn’t show up until Tara had the dog on the run.

The dog is now sitting in quarantine at animal control, serving out a 10-day sentence until his execution. His owners gave him up willingly, which makes me wonder if this wasn’t his first offense.

When the Triantafilos took Tara in as a young stray, they probably never dreamed she’d repay the favor. In addition to Jeremy, she also lives with 2-year-old twin boys and a 4-year-old Husky mix named Maya.

So far, Maya has had no comment on the incident, nor do we know her whereabouts while the attack was going down.

Erica says the kids treat Tara pretty rough, but she puts up with it. Sure, after living on the street, she figures a little tail- and ear-pulling and occasionally getting sat on are small prices to pay in exchange for a forever home.

Tara’s video went viral; I saw it on CBS. It was pretty insulting to see how the talking heads found it so TOTALLY INCREDIBLE that a cat could do anything selfless.

The Bakersfield Californian had the most complete story (with pictures), but you have to answer a few questions to read the whole thing.


Karl Rove Knows Brain Damage

May 13, 2014

By Cole

Even though nobody knows yet if Hillary Clinton will run for president, Karl Rove’s not wasting any opportunity to get his digs in.

Back in December 2012, when she was secretary of state, Hillary spent 3 days in the hospital having a blood clot dissolved after she sustained a concussion. She left the hospital wearing dark glasses (standard protocol), and continued working.

On May 8, before an audience in Los Angeles, Rove implied that Hillary had suffered a “traumatic brain injury,” which is the clinical term for “brain damage,” although Rove now cravenly denies he was going there.

Hillary has shown no diminished ability to count, as Rove has when he claimed her 3 days in the hospital was 30.

Hillary’s shown no physical impairment, which is more than anyone can say for Rove’s former idol, Dick Cheney, who’s essentially been one of the walking dead, kept alive by artificial means, for years.

By Rove’s standards, the absence of a healthy functioning heart should have disqualified Cheney from office for both terms.

The only one showing signs of mental impairment here is Karl Rove, which White House spokesman Jay Carney aptly pointed out, recalling Rove’s inability to grasp that Obama won in 2012.

Every time Rove opens his mouth, he just reinforces his own irrelevance. If you stood him alone in a forest spouting lies, nobody would hear him.


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