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.


A Cat’s Picks for the 2014 Kentucky Derby

May 1, 2014

By Adele

Ahhhh… can you smell the fresh hay? Triple Crown season is my favorite time of the year. Why does a cat like me have this thing for horses? Could I have a case of hoof envy? I wouldn’t mind having a set, if they had claws.

The Kentucky Derby is this Saturday, May 3 (beginning at 4 p.m. on NBC), and I’ve been poring over the contenders, searching for the next Triple Crown winner.

Unfortunately, Hopportunity has already been scratched because he just turned up with a sore left front leg, but if it heals he could turn up later to try for 2 out of 3 at the Preakness.

Wicked Strong is one of the human favorites, running in post position 19 with 6-1 odds. He was originally named Moyne Spun, but his owners started calling him Wicked Strong in 2012 after the Boston Marathon bombings. Of whatever he wins during Triple Crown season, 5% will be donated to a fund for the Marathon victims.

Personally, I think this is all too much pressure to lay on a horse, and Wicked has shown it by running a few disappointing races already this year, so I’m not betting my treats on him, but I wish him luck.

The odds-on human favorite is California Chrome, in post position 5 at 5-2, but he’s not my pick either.

To place or show, I’ll be rooting for Ride On Curlin, who will have the wily Calvin Borel in his saddle. This is sentimental, because Ride On is the son of Curlin, and he has Storm Cat in his family tree on his mom’s side. He’s finished no less than 3rd in 8 of his 9 previous races. He’ll be in post position 18 with odds of 15-1, but if 3-time Derby winner Borel can steer him to the rail, Ride On Curlin could make it.

My pick to win is Wildcat Red. He’ll be in pp 10 with jockey Luis Saez. Wildcat has won 4 of his 7 lifetime races, and has never finished farther back than 2nd. His odds are also 15-1.

One other horse I’ll be cheering with all paws crossed to place or show is Medal Count in pp 13 at 20-1 odds. He’s a distant cousin of the amazing Barbaro, who never recovered from his tragic freak accident in the 2006 Preakness, as well as Eight Belles (the filly ran 2nd to Big Brown in the 2008 Kentucky Derby, only to fracture both front ankles and get put to sleep right on the track, I still have nightmares.)

May all the horses and jockeys cross the finish line safely.


Putin, Nobody Likes a Bully

April 25, 2014

By Cole

Acting on his long-held belief that Obama is a pussy, and before we get a next president who may not be, Vladimir Putin is indulging in this gluttonous land grab in Ukraine that brings to mind the run-up to World War II.

In fact, Ukraine’s prime minister has already said Russia wants to start WWIII.

On the other hand, it’s not hard to see where Putin is coming from. Why not do some conquering while you know the world will do nothing but whine about it?

So Putin seizes Crimea, and the U.S. imposes economic sanctions that amount to sending Putin and his best friends to bed without supper.

Putin masses tens of thousands of troops on the eastern Ukraine border, and the U.S. says it’s grounding Putin for the weekend.

Putin’s troops enter Ukraine and start occupying government buildings (while he lies and denies it), and the U.S. threatens to take away his car keys for a week.

Now Ukraine has responded to the imminent threat by sending its own troops into the fray and people are getting killed, and what does Obama say?

That the U.S. has “teed up” even more sanctions.

Now what? Taking away Putin’s video games?

Putin is steadily devouring a country that THOUGHT it had friends in the west, and Obama’s response is a golf reference.

It’s like when George Bush initially called the fanatics who carried out 9/11 “folks.”

One can only laugh at Putin’s excuse that he’s protecting Russians within Ukraine’s borders because that government is picking on them. The fact is, he’s just butt-hurt that Kiev likes the EU and U.S. more than it does him.

Bottom line is that Putin is behaving like a bully, thumbing his nose at the world and daring the U.S. or EU to stop him. He’s obviously forgotten Hitler and Saddam Hussein, who both made the fatal mistake of underestimating how much the world hates a bully.

Putin may think he’s being slick now, “reclaiming” the Russian empire and restoring it to its “former glory,” but he’s just teeing himself up to become someone who needs killing.

Since Obama apparently thinks a putter to the shin will do the job, Europe will probably have to step up this time. In the ultimate face-off with Putin, this kitty’s money is on Angela Merkel.


Buh-Bye, Sebelius

April 11, 2014

By Karen

Sometimes wishes do come true. Kathleen Sebelius, who personified ineptness in implementing the Affordable Care Act, is out. Obama actually had the nerve to lament that he’ll miss her “advice.”

And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called Sebelius a “forceful, effective, and essential” secretary.

Have they both been in a coma?

It’s regrettable that Sebelius was allowed to resign rather than get the boot to the backside she so richly deserved. But Obama seems eager to forget that on her watch, Healthcare.gov not only ran over budget by hundreds of millions of dollars, but the result was such a pathetic mess that it almost sank the whole initiative, it brought disgrace on the White House, and gave Republicans reason to dance with delight.

But, whatever. Good riddance. She’s gone.

Then Obama immediately taps Sylvia Burwell, his budget person, to replace Sebelius, calling her a “proven manager,” whatever the hell that means.

Burwell’s background shows no indication she’ll have any more ability than Sebelius to deal with what’s looming next for Obamacare — that people are going to find out they’re paying for insurance AND a lot of the medical bills they thought it would cover, and that it’s probably going to cost them a lot more next year.

According to the AP, when she wasn’t a budget bureaucrat, Burwell “served as president of Wal-Mart’s charitable arm and led the global development program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.”

She may know something about nonprofits and worldwide health issues, but that doesn’t sound like squat when it comes to outsmarting greedy American insurance companies, which is what the administration has so far failed to do, except for eliminating lifetime caps and pre-existing condition exclusions.

I’d be willing to bet Burwell won’t have a good grasp on how the IT infrastructure that supports Healthcare.gov is supposed to work, either.

Like most CEOs, Obama’s probably thinks the agency’s head honcho doesn’t need to know the nitty-gritty. Like Sebelius, she’ll rely on “people” to handle the details.

Because that worked so well before.

Obama seems to be hanging his hat on the fact Burwell’s unanimous Senate approval for her current job now qualifies her to take on ANY position he cares to toss her in to.

And once again, he shows us he STILL doesn’t get the seriousness of this situation and the lives it has the power to ruin — financially and medically.

The hasty appointing of Burwell to steer us through the looming insurance quagmire Obama’s created reminds me of his feckless selection of big campaign donors to be ambassadors to countries they’ve never visited and know nothing about.

The insurance companies must be thrilled with this development.


ACA’s Unintended Consequence for Individuals

April 7, 2014

By Karen

Remember that Anthem individual health insurance policy I was afraid to give up for Obamacare? Good thing I kept it, because I couldn’t buy anything like it today.

The ACA doesn’t prohibit insurers from selling individual policies year-round, but its coverage requirements are causing insurers to stop selling ANY policies outside the government’s “open enrollment” window, which is closed from March 31 – November 15.

Because they are now prohibited from excluding pre-existing conditions, insurers fear that uninsured people who get sick will buy a policy to pay claims through the crisis, then drop it once they recover.

In essence, if an insurer can’t sell you a policy that won’t pay a penny on whatever you need the policy for, it doesn’t want you as a customer.

You may still be able to find a temporary policy that excludes pre-existing conditions, but under the ACA, you’d still be considered “uninsured” and subject to paying the tax penalty. So you’re screwed on all fronts.

From my perspective as a person self-employed for 12 years, if I were to lose my current insurance for any reason, the only way I could get new coverage would be to throw in the towel and go work for a company that offers health benefits.

And I’m pushing 60 in a job market that’s still tight as a tick (no matter what rosy stats DC spews about “job recovery”), so rotsa ruck with that.

This is yet ANOTHER reason why giving insurance companies an integral role in reforming healthcare was a colossal blunder — and the law has only made their behavior worse.

Now, people who could afford to pay a fortune for individual insurance outside the exchange can’t even buy it.

That’s why Obama’s screwball insurance mandate needs to be replaced by a single-payer system that covers everybody, every day.


Obama’s “Mission Accomplished” Moment

April 2, 2014

By Karen

After how it haunted George W. Bush, you’d think President Obama would be wary of claiming a premature victory, but no. Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

In spite of myriad obstacles his breathtakingly incompetent administration created (WHY, after the website debacle, does Kathleen Sebelius still have a job?), 7.1 million Americans managed to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

If nothing else, their patience speaks volumes about the dire state of medical care in this country.

And Obama and Biden are gloating. Watch them, if you haven’t just eaten.

Anecdotal evidence is that, in some states, people are getting much-needed medical care with government-subsidized health insurance, and that’s fantastic. But for those of us in states where Republicans worked overtime to sink this law, and who earn just enough to qualify as middle class, there’s no joy in Mudville.

My premiums have gone up, my deductible is still high, and my coverage is no better, except I think the lifetime cap may be gone. But who cares? If I ever get sick enough to test that, I’ll be half-dead anyway.

It’s a matter of time before the horror stories start — and some already have — from people who discover they’ve been duped. They can’t keep their doctor because their policy’s super-narrow network excludes him.

They can’t get medications they need because the policy excludes them.

And they can’t get leading-edge treatments at the facility that offers them because it’s out of network.

Obama gave insurers 4 years to exploit every loophole to their advantage, and they did.

And it’s only a matter of time before we start reading that insurer profits are breaking all previous records. They’ve just been handed 7.1 million more victims customers and a steady stream of government subsidies.

Watching Obama crow about insurance is stomach-turning. He’s thrown us all under the bus to enrich insurers who were already raking in billions in profit that doesn’t buy a penny’s worth of medical care, and he’s delighted.

I can’t tell you how much I hate siding with Republicans on this, but Obama’s “mission” on healthcare is hardly “accomplished,” and he’s going to find out soon enough — unfortunately, at our, and probably the Democrats’, expense.

Universal healthcare, with its economies of scale, is the ONLY way to ensure that the max of what we invest in healthcare actually buys medical care. The system (it’s called Medicare) is already in place. Just expand it to let the rest of us in. If all the premiums we’re squandering on sustaining insurance companies were channeled into it, it would thrive. Exclusions and network constraints would disappear. Employers could end the expense and hassle of insuring workers. Workers wouldn’t be stuck in jobs they hate because of health insurance.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders agrees that access to medical care should be a right of all Americans, and he’s introduced the American Health Security Act of 2013 to get us there, which the Affordable Care Act never will.

It deserves a serious look.


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