Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Hound Blogging

Frequent reader(s) of this blog know the secret to happiness is lowered expectations...erm...we mean know that we have often taken the overlords to task for their dysfunctional relationship with the maths  so when we ran across their latest expectoration and noticed that they had graduated from an inability to figure percentages to trying their hand at the expurgation of statistical data we were intrigued.

The first thing we noticed is that the little overlord missive is published by an organization called PRWeb which apparently is a site that, for a fee, will post your press release. Sort of like a blog, except you have to pay them (note to self: find people who are desperate enough to send us money to post things on our blog). We also noticed that of the four people shown in the pair of photos on the PRWeb site, two appear in both, which leads us to believe that the PRWeb enterprise is located in someone's basement, but leave that be, it doesn't matter right now.

In an effort to be fair--or maybe just to find another reason to laugh at the overlords' attempt at refutation--we thought we'd do a search to see if any media outlets had picked up the press release. After all, thinks us, greyhounds are big in the news right now, especially in Florida and  just because the overlords paid to get someone to listen to them, doesn't mean they don't have something of value to say yes it does we're just fooling with you. Anyway, our search turned up two responses: zip and nada.  No newspapers. No tee vee. No radio. No leaflets put under the windshield wipers of the cars in the local Walmart. Nothing. Bupkus. Well, unless you count the postings on the overlords' own sites then yeah, it's all over the web, but really folks, that's sort of informational masturbation don't you think? Little icky.

So what could be the problem? The topic is certainly newsworthy as it's been all over the papers and local tee vee stations. We decided to take a closer look.
Live attendance and wagering at Florida’s greyhound race tracks are experiencing steady growth, according to the Florida Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering reports that live betting (handle) was up 11.4% state wide in November, with a handful of tracks performing well above the state average.
 OK, not to be picky or anything but when you say "steady" that means, well, steady, as in over time. So if the November handle was "up," what was it up compared to? October? The previous November? Since you threw a buck fifty in the till? Not very enlightening, but what else you got?
The state’s Gambling Impact Study reports that the Florida greyhound industry produces an estimated $ 200 million dollars in tax revenue.
Oh overlords! You're so cute when you try to be rational. We believe that when the heartless exploitation of innocent living creatures for (no) profit finally goes the way of New Coke and the AMC Gremlin there will be a career for you picking cherries. It's true the report said what you quoted, but it also said:

Greyhound racing is a “dying sport” that has been hemorrhaging revenue for years, according to a study of commissioned by the Florida Legislature.
More specifically:
The first 307-page report, released last week, gave an overview of all aspects of the state’s gaming industry, but painted a particularly bleak picture for facilities that offer greyhound racing. “Handle,” or the total amount wagered, has plummeted over the past two decades. “Total handle for the 13 facilities that ran greyhound racing fell from $933.8 million in [fiscal year] 1990 to $265.4 million in [fiscal year] 2012, a decline of 67 percent,” the report read.
 See the difference here overlords? Your "up" isn't connected to anything, but the report's down is connected to years. Twenty. Two. Years. Now there's a steady for you Bucko. Twenty-two years and nothing but drop. Don't get much steadier than that. We'll give you one more chance though. What's your big finish?
Reports of greyhound racing’s declining profitability are often one sided and purposely do not take into account that a number of tracks have closed in the past twenty years. In 1993, there were 18 greyhound tracks operating in Florida. Today, there are 13. The smaller industry pool in 2013 versus 1993 naturally shows a decline.
 Well sure, if by "decline" you mean the number of tracks, but we're talking dollars here dude. So if you have less tracks chasing the same, or greater, amount of bucks, shouldn't each track's take have been increasing rather than decreasing over the years? You know, the less people that want a piece of the pie, the bigger each person's piece is. Sorry to lay the heavy duty statistical vocab on you there Mr. Overlord sir, but it looks like your statistical analysis skills could use...some...well...statistical analysis skills, right Valentino?

Handsome young beefcake new in town looking for love. Not set in my ways yet, I am very flexible! Nothing but time on my paws since I officially have no plans to be gainfully employed. Looking for that comfy couch and someone to snuggle. Call me! For more information about this dog, and other rescued racing greyhounds looking for homes, go here. If you don't know about the plight of racing greyhounds go here and here.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Hound Blogging

We're coming to you today from the Empire Strikes Out Department here in the marbled halls of IM Central. The ESOD is a division of the I Know You Are But What Am I Company, a member of the Rubber Glue Consortium.

It seems the overlords who infest the corridors at the Arizona Department of Racing have had enough of it being pointed out that when it comes to doing their job of overseeing the heartless exploitation of innocent living creatures for (no) profit, they have had about as much impact as a republican at a NOW convention.

Well, no more. You tree hugging, Birkenstock wearing, vegan, animal rights wackos have ragged on the hapless morons at ADOR one time too many, and now they're fighting back.
The Department of Racing asserts that while it has made sure to keep its authority in regulating dog racing to maintain consistency at the track, that does not mean that dogs are being treated with steroids.
OK, admittedly, we don't sprechen ze overlord very well, but it sounds to us like you're saying just because we're doing our job doesn't mean we're not doing our job. Which seems to us to be the linguistic equivalent of looking in the mirror and watching yourself pick your nose. We would ask you to clarify, but we're afraid you would, and bedsides, given that you never actually did your job anyway, this seems to us to be a welcome change in your regulatory philosophy, so please do continue.
A letter from the department earlier this week in response to a previous story said that allowing Tucson Greyhound Park to inject dogs with steroids would be in violation of a 2008 South Tucson initiative that bans steroid use.
Ah. Logic. So what you're saying is, it's your job to enforce regulations, and the City of South Tucson has this regulation therefore, ipso facto, Carpe Diem, and caveat emptor, enforcement. Right?
A written response from the department information officer said that it has invested thousands of dollars to test for all drugs in the dogs, which includes steroids. Part of the letter states: "As a result of our testing procedures, we are confident that currently there are no dogs running at Tucson Greyhound Park that are using steroids or other performance enhancing drugs."
 Bam! There you go then. Using geometric logic and obfuscatory skimble-scamble, the overlords have conclusively shown that if you ask them if they are doing their jobs, their response can somehow be construed as yes. Who can argue with that?
This would be a change from correspondence from the department under previous directors, according to greyhound advocate Susan Via, who drafted the 2008 South Tucson initiative. "They said it was common practice.  In one report, they said that all the trainers admitted giving it to their female dogs at Tucson Greyhound Park after the ordinance banned it and yet they refuse to find any violation or do anything about that obvious violation of law," Via said.
OK we think we see the source of your confusion here, Ms. Via. Apparently when you hear the overlords responding to queries about doing their jobs, you expect the truth. You seem to have forgotten who you are dealing with. These are overlords, Ms. Via, the same people who tell us what a wonderful life the greyhounds have in the kennels; how they are elite athletes whose safety and well being is the top priority; and how they are so well regarded they are practically members of the family. It's a common enough mistake because overlords look like people; they sound like people; and they act like people. Which just goes to show that soulless zombies do walk among us, right Hoss?

I am a very smart boy and eager to learn. I love to go for walks and do very well on my leash. I love to play and enjoy being with my foster pack. I am housebroken and do well in my crate. I am learning to go up and down the stairs. I am friendly with everyone I meet. I have even done well with the older children I have met. I get along well with dogs of all sizes. For more information about this dog, and other rescued racing greyhounds looking for homes, go here. If you don't know about the plight of racing greyhounds go here and here.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Friday Hound Blogging

You know, we've been thinking about last week's post...erm...excuse us, last week's hard hitting documentary exposing myths, facts and lies in greyhound racing, and not just because we're trying to figure out how Mr. Mason goes around with a dead chipmunk on his face. No, we've been mulling over something he said early on in the documentary--if by documentary you mean my wife gave me a video camera for Christmas, but she made me promise no sex tapes, so let's make a video about greyhounds.

Early on in the video Mr. Mason mentioned that the real problem with the drop in attendance at  greyhound racing tracks wasn't the public's growing revulsion at the injuring and killing of innocent living creatures, or the fact that the whole industry was based on the commodification of greyhounds who were unceremoniously dumped on the public when they were no longer profitable--if they were lucky. No, the problem with greyhound racing was that the track owners had abandoned it for more lucrative shores, namely slots and poker.

Well, if that's true, that's pretty unfair thinks us. We mean, here the track owners invite the overlords to come and set up shop, they provide housing, material assistance and certain amenities. It's almost like the track owners are welcoming the overlords into the family, then, as soon as the they quit making money they're unceremoniously dumped and the owners are off in search of another profit center without as much as a fine howdy do.

How heartless is that? How cruel, to treat the overlords as if they were nothing more than an means to an end. Outrageous. There must be some protection for the overlords, some redress of their grievances. You can't just throw them out on the street and expect someone else to clean up the mess, track owners, you have certain...obligations. We know. Since gambling is regulated by the state this is a perfect time for the legislature to step up and offer some protections for the overlords, right Florida state senators Eleanor Sobel, and Sen. Maria Sachs?
In a rare concession, the Florida Senate Gaming chairman on Thursday acknowledged that it is unlikely lawmakers can reach agreement on a sweeping gaming bill this legislative session but they will pursue a bill to begin the end of greyhound racing in Florida.
Ha! See there owners? You can't just pretend that you care about the overlords then toss them off without even a fare thee well when they stop making money for you. Now you'll have to deal with the potential end of greyhound racing all together. You'll have to...wait, what?
“Even if comprehensive reform is not in the cards for this session, we need to keep trying to find a graceful transition away from greyhound racing,'' Florida Senate Gaming chairman Garrett Richter said. "Industry representatives concede today that it’s a dying sport" and a gaming report commissioned by the House and Senate called the sport "loss leaders."
 OK this isn't going the way we thought it would. If the government won't help, the overlords will have to turn to the fourth estate. Is there a crusading journalist out there with a highly developed sense of right and wrong and the courage to speak truth to power? What about you, Tom Rohwer of the Daily Nonpareil?
Iowa lawmakers have their own plans to end dog racing in the state, but would prefer the key players involved reach their own agreement.
Booya! See there owners? If you can't work out a way to end greyhound racing, the legislature is prepared to step in and end it for you! OK, now that we think about it, that may not be the solution the overlords are looking for.  Well, maybe this topic is too hot for a local journalist. Maybe the overlords need the national media to step in and right this wrong before it's too late. What about you, NPR reporter Greg Allen, can you bring the reach and resources of National Public Radio to bear on the overlords' plight?
On a weekday afternoon at the Mardi Gras Casino near Fort Lauderdale, Fla., most guests are inside at the relatively new card tables and slot machines. Outside, at the 5 p.m. post time, only about a dozen people are in the grandstand. Greyhound racing, a sport in decline, is still hanging on, mostly in Florida. But a bill gathering steam in the Legislature may hasten its demise.
Hasten its demise? Holy crap, it's worse than we thought. There's only one thing left. We need to start an adoption program for overlords. If we work hard at it we can get 95% of overlords adopted when their track closes. What do you say Linda? You got room on your couch for an overlord?

I am a very happy, goofy and silly girl. My foster family had to work very hard to get this photo of me because every time someone wants to take my picture all I want to do is give them kisses. I love to give kisses. I wag my tail all the time because I am such a happy girl. I have been very friendly with everyone I have met. I learned to go up and down the stairs on my first try. I love to play with my toys. I get along great with my foster mom’s Greyhound. I have not met any small dogs or cats yet so I am not sure how I am with them. I have not had any accidents in the house. I love to go for walks but I need to work on my leash skills. I do very well when I’m in my crate.  For more information about this dog, and other rescued racing greyhounds looking for homes, go here. If you don't know about the plight of racing greyhounds go here and here.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Hound Blogging UPDATE: Fat White Guy EXPOSED*

We're coming to you today from the Stephen Spielberg wing here in the marbled halls of IM Central. The Stephen Spielberg wing is part of the Ed Wood School of Film and Media Studies and is located next to the  Plan Nine From Outer Space Museum and Gift Shop.

It seems the overlords have taken a cue from MTV 30 years ago and made a video, or as they explain:
This documentary explores the claims that greyhound racing isn't safe, that it is an heartless enterprise for the greyhounds and that it is unprofitable. We cover everything from distortions to outright lies. Take 15 minutes and learn about how Greyhound racing stacks up against more 'respected' animal organizations. We think you will be surprised.
Well, if by "documentary" you mean a fat white guy in an ill fitting shirt and something on his face trying to be a bead talking for 15 minutes while exhibiting the body language of someone who just witnessed a cow explode, but let's not quibble over production values. The title of the video is Greyhound Racing: The Facts, Myths and Grey2k Lies EXPOSED.

Now, we don't claim to be Hollywood directors, or independent filmmakers or anything, but that title is a little odd. We mean, sure lies need to be exposed, but myths are usually just explained, and facts...well...are facts and that's about it, so we're not quite sure where you are going with this dude, but whatever. So we popped up some popcorn, refilled the Stoli and settled in to see what the fat white guy (he never gives his name) had to say.

Right away FWG gives it to us straight. Greyhound racing isn't dying because it's unpopular, it's dying because track owners would rather use slots because the profits are higher and costs are lower, and since people are too stupid to realize what a great time betting on greyhound racing is, they'd rather play slots. Also too, lazy. Interesting opening gambit, thinks us. Insult the landlord and the people who you want to attract back to the track all in the first 48 seconds.

Next up, the obligatory swipe at Grey2K. Did you know that Grey2K doesn't spend all its money on adopting greyhounds after they've been used up by the industry? No way. Instead they spend their money on bringing an end to the industrialized commodification of innocent living creatures. Where are their priorities FWG wants to know. Instead of focusing on the symptom, they're going after the disease. OK, we're not sure here, but we think FWG just exposed a fact.

 And what attack on Grey2K would be complete without mention of the ever evil Christine Dorchak. FWG tells us that Ms. Dorchack (who is evil by the way) clams that not all greyhounds are adopted after their period of exploitation has ended, and some are, in fact, retired with extreme prejudice. Nothing could be further from the truth and to backup that claim FWG cites statistics from the NGA. Now, we appreciate that the overlords have at least learned to respond to claims against their industry by attempting rationality, but using the NGA as a source is like Governor Christie hiring a law firm to "investigate" his role in Bridgegate. In addition, as we have pointed out previously, the overlords' relationship with math to say this politely...dysfunctional on a good day.

Then we move on to a long section we like to call "Can we change the subject please" in which we learn that stray and abandoned animals also suffer and die. Looks like FWG exposed another fact. The implication here seems to be since more stray and abandoned animals die than greyhounds, you should leave racing alone. We're not quite sure you can quantify cruelty to your advantage dude, and anyway, sad as it is, those abandoned and stray animals are victims of circumstance, whereas greyhounds are victims of design, having been born and bred for exploitation.

Finally, we are treated to some myths about greyhound racing, or as they are more popularly known: industry talking points. The video fails to address the biggest myth of all though, and that is more than 95% of greyhounds are adopted after their racing career is finished. What do you think Tiffany? You seeing 95% of your old racing buddies at the dog park?

Our Tiffany was named after the famous Tiffany diamond. Having moved into a foster home, our sweet girl is being molded and refined. How beautiful the end result? That will be determined by the family she chooses. This sweet girl loves to play with her kitty housemate, her heart open to the possibilities of other species...even people! OK, really- she was already clued into people but is finding life in a home suits her. Tiffany told us she is getting a little bit of a late start so will need lots and lots of love and petting. She is looking to settle down in just the right place. Are you the right home for this lovely jewel? For more information about this dog, and other rescued racing greyhounds looking for homes, go here. If you don't know about the plight of racing greyhounds go here and here.

*UPDATE: We found out that FWG is really Brett Mason who says his friends call him "puppy chow for obvious reasons." OK that's not obvious to us, unless it has something to do with the chow part. Dude, back away from the buffet a little sooner, will you? You're scaring the children.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Hound Blogging

You know, much as the overlords complain about it, we think government over site of is a good thing. We mean, with all the tens of dollars changing hands daily the temptation to focus on the money instead of the care of the units...uh...dogs must be great. The overlords are only human according to the rumor going around so an outside entity watching over them is a good way to keep them true to the real reason they got into the industrialized commodification of innocent living creatures for profit: Love for the greyhounds. And that's why when we saw this story concerning the regulatory response to the recent statistical anomaly that resulted in the retirement with extreme prejudice of the unit designated LNB Night Mare we were intrigued to discover how the Arizona Department of Racing was going to, first of all, help the overlords through their grieving process and then help them get back to the business of loving the greyhound breed.

The death of a dog during a race at Tucson Greyhound Park about a week ago prompted requests from Tucson News Now to the Arizona Department of Racing for copies of kennel disposition logs and the track roster.  Such requests could show when dogs are injured, adopted, or put down.  But the department said that it doesn't maintain those records. "You think we want to know what's going on out there?" asked Bill Walsh, director of the Arizona Department of Racing. Are you nuts? The place is a hell hole," he continued. "As long as they keep signing my paycheck I have no reason to have anything to do with them."

OK, not the response we were looking for, but perhaps there is some technical regulatory reason for all this that we as mere citizens don't understand because we don't have the years of training and experience it takes to be on the ADOR Board. Can you explain for us Susan Via, a greyhound welfare advocate?
"They deliberately do not inquire so they don't have to give the information out to the public."
 Oh come on now Ms. Via. Surely it's more complicated than that. Why, these people are entrusted with the welfare of highly trained athletes in whom a lot of money and time has been invested. Surely it is in everyone's best interest to make sure that investment has the best conditions, the best food and the best care available, is it not?
She said that a bill that has passed the state Senate and is headed to the state House of Representatives would make that pre-emption of local authority official and make the track off-limits to city or county authorities such as Pima Animal Care."There's nothing South Tucson, or the county, or even PAC could do, as a county agency, to go in and investigate any complaints of dogs being left without veterinary care, dogs without water, dogs that are sick, dogs that are injured, dogs that are dead."
 "Right," said ADOR director Walsh. "That's our job. Well, it's supposed to be our job, but like I said, I'm not going anywhere near that dump. It's too depressing what with all the drunks and losers hanging around. And then there are the people that bet on the dogs."

Well, that is a point Mr. Walsh and we certainly don't envy your responsibilities in this matter, but maybe you should have thought of that before you dropped out of  Walmart Greeter School. Surely there must be someone out there with the insight to solve this dilemma.
Representative Ethan Orr said that he thinks that he can remove not only the increase in authority that the bill gives the department, but also increase the department's accountability. "Anytime you get information out, you're not only making the racing more viable but you're protecting the dogs and frankly, the people that work at the dog track"
 Excellent idea Mr. Orr. A partnership among the local governing units and the ADOR all of which leads to a better, safer life for the greyhounds who have been conscripted to earn money for the otherwise unemployable. Who could argue with that?

The director of the Department of Racing said that the department cannot take a position on proposed legislation that might require him to do his job until the state employment compensation board rules on his claim that lack of moral fiber is an identifiable disability.  Tucson Greyhound Park general manager Dale Popp could not be reached for comment. His office stated that he is A) out of town through the end of the week,  B) in a meeting, or C) kidnapped by aliens.

Boy, we're thinking if that legislation goes through old Popp is going to wish C was the correct answer huh  Charlie Brown?

Sweet and lovable Charlie Brown is affectionately called "Chuck" at his foster home. Chuck is a bit shy at first meetings. Fortunately he does not take after the unlucky Peanuts character he is named after, no Lucy yanking the football! And Good Grief! This fellow has been a huge success with house rules! For more information about this dog, and other rescued racing greyhounds looking for homes, go here. If you don't know about the plight of racing greyhounds go here and here.