Watercooler Stories

Jan. 9, 2013 at 6:30 AM
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Voters prefer cockroaches to Congress

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- With approval ratings for Congress languishing in the single digits, a new poll suggests calling a lawmaker subhuman might be an insult -- to cockroaches.

Public Policy Polling asked Americans a series of either-or questions between Congress and some traditionally unpleasant alternatives. As it turns out, Congress lost out to root canals, the rock band Nickelback, colonoscopies, traffic jams, Donald Trump, France, the warlord Genghis Kahn and cockroaches.

On the plus-side, Congress was preferred to the Kardashians, North Korea, the ebola virus, Lindsay Lohan, Fidel Castro, meth labs, communism and gonorrhea.

The overall approval rating for Congress stands at 9 percent, with 85 percent saying they disapprove of lawmakers' job performance.

"We all know Congress is unpopular," said Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling. "But the fact that voters like it even less than cockroaches, lice, and Genghis Khan really shows how far its esteem has fallen with the American public over the last few weeks."

PPP surveyed 830 voters Jan. 3-6. The margin of error is 3.4 percentage points.

'Cat lady' fights eviction notice in Rome

ROME, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- A woman who helps care for 200 cats among Rome's ancient ruins says she will fight plans to evict the cats from Largo di Torre Argentina square.

Silvia Viviani, 73, a co-founder of Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary, has been helping care for cats for 19 years in the place where Julius Caesar was assassinated more than 2,000 years ago. The sanctuary is one of several cat colonies that exist among Rome's tourist attractions but Italian officials have concluded the felines at Torre Argentina are squatters, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

Viviani's organization converted a subterranean makeshift storage shed, formerly used by archaeologists, into a facility where volunteers operate computers, provide medical care for cats and greet tourists.

After the sanctuary requested it be connected to Rome's sewage system, Italian government officials, along with some city administration officials, said the sanctuary had no business operating in such a historically significant location, the newspaper said.

Viviani ridiculed the notion that the cat sanctuary might damage Italy's heritage any more than foreign invaders did when they sacked the Roman Empire.

"What the barbarians have done, I don't think the cats could do," she said. "I don't think the cats can scratch the ruins more than a fire, more than an earthquake or something like that."

Lone mute swan rescued in Italy

MILAN, Italy, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- The Italian National Association for the Protection of Animals said it has taken custody of a mute swan that may have gotten lost during migration.

The association said Tuesday the swan, which may have gotten lost during migration or may have been living in a reservoir, was discovered walking down a Milan city sidewalk in a busy neighborhood and captured by police, ANSA reported Tuesday.

The group said police fed the swan, which did not appear to be injured, lettuce and water until animal rescuers arrived.

Woman accused in 2nd Walgreens theft spree

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla., Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Police in Florida say a woman accused of taking $1,210 worth of items from a Walgreens store had been busted for a similar incident earlier the same day.

The Charlotte County Sheriff's Office said Janet Nicole Klotzbier, 31, was arrested Dec. 8 after allegedly taking $539 worth of merchandise from a Walgreens store in Murdock and deputies also discovered prescription Xanax and Nuucyntha pills in her purse.

Klotzbier was charged with grand theft and two counts of possession of a controlled substance, and released after posting $10,000 bond.

The sheriff's office said Klotzbier was arrested again Sunday when she was recognized from security camera footage as having stolen $1,210 worth of goods from a Walgreens store in Port Charlotte earlier in the day Dec. 8.

Klotzbier was leased after posting another $2,500 in bond.

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