Friday, November 30, 2012

Friday Hound Blogging

We're coming to you today from the Department Of Logical Extensions here in the marbled halls of IM Central. the DOLE is a division of the One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other Corporation, a wholly owned subsidy of Any Port In A Storm, Inc.

Recently, the overlords were confronted, yet again with the fact that leeching their despicable existence off the backs of innocent living creatures means that sometimes, said creatures are injured or killed.
Greyhounds sustained a total of 175 injuries while racing at Iowa’s tracks between January 2011 and July 2012, says a national greyhound protection organization. Twenty-four greyhounds were euthanized, the organization reported.
Now, usually when someone points out that the dogs have nothing to gain and everything to lose as they strive to make the overlords' trailer payments, the more articulate members of the industry rush to point out that commodifying living creatures for profit is a "sport," and as with many sports sometimes the participants sustain injuries.

OK, accepting the "sport" premise for a moment, the overlords have a point. Why just last week Harry Douglas, a wide receiver for the Atlanta Hawks injured his ankle and may not be able to play this weekend. We say may not be able to play because Mr. Douglas is being tended to by the team trainers, receiving rehabilitative therapies, whirlpools and massages to help his ankle heal.

Of course greyhounds have trainers too, one of whom is named Lee Haynes and whenever one of his units..erm...dogs goes down this trainer springs into action as was the case recently when Pat C Rasputin broke his leg in a race.
"The trainer requested euthanasia since it was a male dog. This was declined as not medically necessary."
 Now in Mr. Haynes defense, we can't say for certain that Mr. Douglas's trainers didn't discuss euthanasia when he hurt his ankle, so while the response to injuries in the NFL and in greyhound racing seems pretty different on the surface, who knows what really goes on in the coach's office when a player is hurt.

Besides, you can't condemn a whole "sport" because of a few injuries. Think of the fans. The average Monday night football game draws an audience  a little over 14 million viewers, not counting the people in the stands. The average greyhound race only has the people in the stands because no one would put it on television and that crowd amounts to about 3.2 million. Umm...that's 3.2 million for the whole year. For all the races. Combined. Total. The whole enchilada.

Hey, you know, something just occurred to us. You go to the average NFL stadium and it's a freakin' palace man, but the average greyhound track? Sort of reminds us of post apocalyptic devastation in a run down sort of way. Maybe if the facilities were upgraded a bit more people might show up. Gonna need some help for that though. What do you say Council Bluffs State Representative Mark Brandenburg, help a brother out? 
A Council Bluffs lawmaker said he would support closing the city’s greyhound racetrack because it’s no longer a viable business. “There was a time they had people there, but there is no real demand for it anymore,” Rep. Mark Brandenburg said. “It’s not a viable venture anymore.”
Well that's not helpful.  The industry is suffering right now Mr. Brandenberg, like Pat C Rasputin. What are you trying to do, euthanize it? You have any suggestions Amy?

Amy is three years old. She raced 79 times, all in Alabama. She won eight times, the last being July of this year, racing once after that and placing second. It is unusual for a dog to be pulled so suddenly when they are finishing in the money, but as near as we can tell, it's not because of an injury. 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.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

If There Were A Nobel For Stupid, Alfred Himself Would Come Back From The Dead To Give It To You

Ladies and gentlemen, after exhaustive research, painstaking analysis and many nights of existential angst, we are proud to announce that your stalwart investigators here in the marbled halls of IM Central have found the stupidest place in America.

Now you might think that given the glare of the media spotlight sweeping across this country during the recently concluded quadrennial seventh grade popularity contest and journalistic giggle fest which we call electing a  president that naming the stupidest place in America would be an easy feat, as each particular node of imbecility had the opportunity to step forward and make their case.

But you would be wrong dear reader, because the stupidest place in America isn't about flash in the pan jackassery, no sir. It's about stupidity as a tradition, a cultural value. It's about being consistently, reliably, dependably dumb. It's a place where there are signs on the street reminding the citizens not to look up when it rains, or if they do to keep their mouths closed so they don't drown. It's a place where the residents can be counted on to push the door when the sign says pull; a place where the ability to tie your own shoes without written directions means you're an intellectual; a place where public ordinance requires that you be seated while chewing gum.

And where is such a place you ask? Where is this nadir of nincompoops; this pit of pinheads; this locale of losers? Is it anywhere within three miles of Bill O'Reilly? No. Is it a convention of republican pollsters? No. Is it Mitt Romney eating cheesy grits at a NASCAR race while wearing a poncho? No.

Folks, through the use of advanced investigative techniques, geometric logic, and no where near enough Stolichnaya we have determined that the stupidest place in America is--drum roll please...

And how did we arrive at this singular honor? How does one in fact determine the hard rock of stupidity when there are so many free floating islands of idiocy in the sea of  Doofus? Well, it's no easy feat as we have said, but in this case there was a determining factor. A situation so egregiously stupid, so immensely lacking in even the faintest whisper of sense, so unencumbered by the remotest quiver of rationality that when we discovered it the other candidates vanished in a dull of wittedness. The circumstance of which we speak is that the people of the first Congressional District of Texas have, since 2003, repeatedly, unflinchingly and unembarrassedly elected Louis Gohmert to Congress, the dumbest man in Washington (since Joe Barton left).

Louis Gohmert is a man so mind numbingly stupid that to merely call him stupid damns with faint praise. We first met Mr. Gohmert in 2009 when he went to the chamber well to opine on DADT. Next, during the BP debacle in the Gulf he once again stood at the podium used by people like Henry Clay, Sam Rayburn and Tip O'Neill to compare Obama to Hitler for forcing BP to commit funds to clean up their mess. Mr. Gohmert next came to our attention for his work as a Caribou advocate. Most recently, Mr. Gohmert left his house (always an activity fraught with danger) to venture to a local radio show where he discoursed on Libya:
What was all the rage a year and a half ago? It was the Arab Spring and how wonderful it was! This administration really embraced blowing out Mubarak – yes, do it up by all means – getting rid of Qaddafi, it wasn’t enough to send verbal accolades, this administration sent planes and bombs and support to oust Qaddafi so that al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood could take over Libya.
 So, for inflicting Louis Gohmert on the rest of us, we award you, the good people of the First Congressional District of Texas the designation of the Stupidest Place In America. Thank you, and particularly thanks to the 181 plus thousand of you who voted for this walking psychotic stew, you are living proof that in America paranoia is not a deal breaker.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

There's A Reason They Call It The "Consumer Model"

OK so now that Michigan governor Rick (I'd rather be called a nerd than a republican) Snyder has fixed the economic problems in the state (the poverty rate has risen from 13.5% in 2009 to 16.8% in 2010; we have the ninth largest homeless population of all 50 states and DC; our infant mortality rate is almost 9% higher than the rest of the country; and the unemployment rate is 1.5% higher than the national average) he's ready to turn his attention to our schools.

We don't find that to be a comforting development, and it seems we are not alone.
Michigan Board of Education President John Austin calls it a “nuclear bomb.”
National education reformer Diane Ravitch proclaims “Michigan is on its way to ending public education.” Michigan Future Inc. President Lou Glazer warns that local school districts won’t survive.
Well sure, it sounds bad when you say it like that, but let's hear what the supporters have to say:
Richard McLellan, the Lansing attorney at the center of legislation, says critics should focus more on improving education than their debating points: “I think it will potentially drive real change for better learning. So, in that respect, if you believe schools are not doing a very good job today and you believe they do a better job afterward, then yes, it could be disruptive for some people’s careers.” He wishes, “People spent as much time analyzing the reforms as they spend with rhetoric.”
Are we the only ones who find it a tad odd that educational reform in Michigan is being driven by an attorney? Especially an attorney who heads up an organization called the Oxford Foundation, whose motto is to “lessen the burdens of government.” Public education, a burden on government. Who knew? Oh, and Mr. McLellan? While you're waiting for people to analyze your reforms, you might want to analyze your sentence structure. That second sentence there? You are saying the point of your reforms is to disrupt people's careers. Not sure that's the angle you want to go with. Just saying.

So what exactly are these reforms of which you speak sir?
A coordinated series of draft and introduced bills could reshape public education in Michigan, giving students more options and re-routing taxpayer money.
OK, other than reversing the order of those two adverbial phrases at the end there so they better reflect your priorities we don't see the the problem. After all, when we go to buy a toaster, we want a lot of options. If we are having a heart attack, we want to know what our options for physicians are before we call 911. Choice is always good. Hey, it works for dating services, why not education?
House Bill 6004 and Senate Bill 1358 expand the powers of the Educational Achievement Authority, which was established to run low-performing schools. The EAA is state-operated school district that this year is running 15 Detroit schools, with plans to expand next year to schools across the state scoring in the bottom 5 percent of all schools.
Now we're getting somewhere. See, this is the governor's genius. He created the EAA, then brought in John Covington who had been the superintendent of Kansas City Schools to run it. This Covington guy has a proven track record:
While his teachers and other staff labor on the front lines trying to make a success of Superintendent John Covington’s far-reaching plans for the Kansas City School District, Covington has been entertaining at least one job offer. He’s a candidate to run a collection of low-performing schools in Michigan. In this light, his sudden and mysterious resignation Wednesday makes more sense. He knew there’s a good chance he’ll be leaving, and I guess he decided to take down his adversary, school board President Airick Leonard West, on his way out, by leveling meddling accusations.
Superintendent John Covington owes the Kansas City School District and the city an apology. In an abrupt resignation Wednesday that shocked the community and his own board, the Kansas City superintendent offered no reason for breaking his contract. But now it appears he resigned to take another job as chancellor of Michigan’s Education Achievement System in Michigan. As a result, it’s abundantly clear that Covington has misled his board and the public about his intentions.
Roy Roberts and the Education Achievement Authority/System may have thought they were getting the proverbial Superman when they hired John Covington away from Kansas City with a four-year, $1.5 million contract as EAS superintendent. It appears—with Kansas City schools losing state accreditation—what Michigan really got was a lesser Kent from back in Smallville.
Former Kansas City Schools Superintendent John Covington rewrote his top administrators' contracts to sweeten their severance before resigning and taking three of them with him to lead a new agency overseeing Michigan's poorest-performing schools, according to correspondence obtained The Kansas City Star.
Umm...yeah. On this reading that doesn't seem as impressive as it did before, but surely Mr. Covington must have some supporters.
Michigan School Superintendent Mike Flanagan is in favor of reform, but thinks the state should slow down until we know how current reforms, such as lifting the cap on charters and increasing online education options, work.
Well said, Mr. Flanagan, except we already know how charters work.
Research on charter schools paints a mixed picture. A number of recent national studies have reached the same conclusion: charter schools do not, on average, show greater levels of student achievement, typically measured by standardized test scores, than public schools, and may even perform worse.
Oh, and online schools too.
Students attending Colorado’s full-time online education programs have typically lagged their peers on virtually every academic indicator, from state test scores to student growth measures to high school graduation rates.
Of course, student achievement isn't the only concern these professional educators, who only have the students' best interests at heart care about, right Dan Quisenberry, president of the Michigan Association of Public School Academies?
Quisenberry said this new chapter in school reform is “asking some important questions” that will potentially provide “a richer experience for students.” However, he said, the administrative infrastructure required to allow funding to follow student activities, perhaps over multiple districts, could prove to be a challenge.
Ha! Not so great now that you're in the same boat as the public schools is it Mr. Quisenberry? Back when charters were taking money from the public schools you were all like For the children! and  Choice is the answer! Karma's a bitch innit?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday Hound Blogging

Frequent reader(s) of this blog have probably made peace with that look exchanged by their parents when they come home for the holiday and are once again forced to explain their life choices...erm...we mean may remember Wednesday's entry in which we highlighted the overlords' ongoing struggles to stay out of the labor pool.

Sure no one wants to come to watch greyhounds risk injury and death at two bucks a shot, but is that any reason to throw a whole class of leeches out in the street?  Of course not. What the overlords need is just a helping hand through this current difficulty. Come on, you did it for GM and the big banks, why can't you do it for an industry that contributes nothing to social welfare, abuses innocent living creatures for profit and is a net drain on whatever residential neighborhoods have the misfortune of being located nearby.

Now take the folks at Oxford Greyhound Stadium for example. Here's a facility that's "been a top entertainment venue for greyhound racing and speedway since 1939." Sure it's fallen on hard times lately, but have the people given up on it like it was a slow greyhound? Have they abandoned it like it was an injured greyhound? Or have they banded together like good neighbors to help in the struggle and bring the Stadium back to it's former glory?
Oxford Greyhound Stadium is to shut, it has been confirmed tonight. The stadium in Blackbird Leys has had a question mark over its future for months, with building housing on the site being put forward as a potential plan. The Oxford Mail has just learnt the last meeting will be held on December 29.
There. See what a small group of committed individuals can do...wait, what?
Racing manager Gary Baiden, who has been at the track since 1986 said:" We are all shell shocked. We were under the impression that even if the building plans were approved we would have at least another 18 months here at least.
 Oh we hear you Mr. Baiden. Why 18 months would have given you time to complete that correspondence course in Valet Parking.
Oxord East MP Andrew Smith has tonight labelled the decision "an absolute tragedy".
Well Mr. Smith it would actually be more accurate to describe this as the end of an absolute tragedy, but we understand this is an emotional time for you so we won't quibble.
"It's very sad, the end of an era. I feel sorry for the owners, trainers and staff. The trainers could be offered posts at the other GRA tracks, but what a headache for the trainers and nearly 400 greyhounds to contend with, said Baiden."
 Truly a calamity Mr. Baiden. We mean, what could be worse than having all those living, breathing, sentient, innocent animals relying on you for their care, their very survival and you with no way to make money off of them.
"Everybody affected here will have to find new jobs, it's a sad, sad day. we said before, Mr. Baiden, we really don't want to quibble at this unfortunate time for you, but we really feel it would be more accurate to say everybody affected here will have to find jobs. You know, no offense or anything and with all due respect, but the greyhounds were the only ones working, right W W?

I am a little bit of a shy boy but I am learning how to live in a home environment. I was not sure how to handle touching and affection at first but now I wag my tail when I’m being petted. I am learning a lot from the other dogs in my foster home. I already know how to go up and down the stairs all by myself. I love to throw my squeaky toys up in the air and then catch them. I like kids that are a little older and calm so they don’t make me nervous. I am housebroken and I don’t mind being in my crate. I love to go for walks and do really well on my leash. I have heard my foster mom describe me as an “angel.” I would do well in a home with a single owner or a family with older well-behaved kids. I am really attached to the foster dogs in the home with me and I don’t really think I would do well as an only dog. I don’t like cats so no kitties in the home please.
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.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hounds Home For The Holiday

Once again it's time for that annual tradition we occasionally remember called Hounds Home For The Holiday in which we take advantage of the seasonal celebration to see if we can squeeze out a couple of extra forever couches for some homeless needle noses. Look at it this way, if your furniture is full of greyhounds, there will be no place for your crazy tea baggger brother in law to sit, so he'll go home before explaining to anyone who can't get out of the room fast enough why the "black states" threw the election for B. Hussein. Win win, right?

But what mention of the skinny dogs would be complete without a shout out to that loving gang of overlords who so carefully watch over the units...erm...dogs, when they're not killing them, abandoning them, or dumping them on people who suffer from congenital empathy.

Now, as we've written before, the overlords don't seem to be what you might call the shiniest ornaments on the tree, so when faced with year after year of revenue decline, tracks closing, people crossing the street to avoid them, neighbors moving away and sudden, uncomfortable silences whenever they enter a restaurant or a store, you might think they'd begin to get the idea that they are about as welcome in polite society as a dump truck load of rattlesnakes left on your lawn.

Well, if you thought that, it just goes to show you don't know overlords because what they really do when faced with the reality of their dying industry is try and find someone to prop them up because Walmart Greeter School is very selective.
 Texas Senate Joint Resolution 6. This measure was filed by Texas State Senator Rodney Ellis, and would prop up the cruelty of dog racing. Specifically, it would legalize slot machines at racetracks and require that this new form of gambling be used to subsidize greyhound races.
According to the bill: "The general law must ... provide sufficient revenue to the horse and greyhound breed registries and the horsemen's organization to facilitate a nationally competitive horse and greyhound racing industry in this state because god knows there aren't enough people in this state stupid enough to support industrialized cruelty by losing the rent money to a gang of losers and a washouts like we have in the overlords. Plus, no marketable skills, so it's either this or they go on welfare."

Point taken, Mr. Ellis, but what about jobs? What about the huge contribution killing and maiming greyhounds makes to the local economy?
Every elected official in Macon County was in Shorter Tuesday morning where a press conference was held to announced their demands that the Victoryland gaming center be re-opened.Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford says that if an economic engine like Victoryland were to re-open, it could help put more than 2,000 people back to work.
Yay! Low wage, part time, no benefit jobs because freedom!  Look, we've got nothing against people working for a living, sort of wish the overlords had chosen that career path, but really Mayor Ford, you want your people working in the only industry left that makes employment at Walmart seem like a cushy gig? Come on man, the only thing worse than working at a greyhound track is being a greyhound at a greyhound track, right Bones?

Luyendyke Bones is a very sweet, friendly and outgoing boy. He gets along very well with the other Greyhounds in the foster home. Bones is learning to go up and down the stairs. He loves to play with toys. Bones is not cat safe so no kitties in the home please. He has not been around small dogs yet, nor has he met any children, but he would probably be OK with well mannered ones. Bones would do well in a home with a single owner or a family. He would be fine as the only dog in the household. 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.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Reason 4,237 Schools Are Not Businesses

It’s the vision thing. Business primarily concerns itself with the near term. Once a product is sold and the money received it loses its value to the business and the next product to be sold comes to the head of the line. Of course the wise CEO looks down the road trying to spot trends, opportunities and threats, but the bulk of his or her attention is focused around quarterly, or yearly sales goals, inventory and labor costs and the  Profit and Loss Statement. At the end of the year everything is wrapped up and the process starts all over again with the previous year being but a fading memory or touch point to use in evaluating the new year.

Schools are just the opposite. Naturally they are concerned with short term goals like teaching the alphabet or the multiplication tables, but the bulk of their attention is focused on placing these accomplishments into a developing pattern of achievement. The alphabet and multiplication tables are not products to be consumed, but talents to be developed and their value comes from their scalability because contained in the student’s recitation of the alphabet or multiplication tables is the potential to write great literature, or successfully send a probe to Mars, whereas a Chevy Impala, once it is assembled, will forever remain a Chevy Impala.

Businesses like standardization because it reduces costs and makes things more predictable. Once an efficient and cost effective production process is in place it essentially needs to be monitored and supported until changes in the market or technology make it no longer efficient or cost effective. The assembly line model, for example, brought to the production of automobiles by Henry Ford in 1913 has remained fundamentally the same since then, being updated over the years through technology and automation.

Schools have to be careful about standardization because what a particular student’s potential is, or can be is not necessarily known at any given point along the way, making surprise and unpredictability important indicators that not only need to have attention paid to them, but may in fact need to be nurtured if a student’s true capabilities are to be discovered and developed. Mike Rose, author the award winning book Lives on the Boundary in a chapter called I Just Want To Be Average writes about being incorrectly placed in the Voc-Ed stream. The mistake was discovered and he was able to move to a place more appropriate, but many students are not so lucky.

 This is not to say that a school isn’t like a business, in certain respects it is. Schools take in money, pay bills, salaries, buy products and a host of other activities similar to those engaged in by the business community. However, when you look around schools today and you see Common Core this, and standardized that, you see districts encouraged to buy “Systems” and “Packages” and whole curriculums it’s obvious that business practices, particularly manufacturing business practices, have leaked out of areas where they could be beneficial and into areas where they are often detrimental.

 To return to our car metaphor, the Cadillac assembly line produces only Cadillacs, and if you want to make a Chevy you have to use the Chevy assembly line, but in schools Cadillacs, Chevys, Lamborghinis, Fords and a host of other “models” are all produced simultaneously in classrooms and individual teachers often don’t know which “model” they are dealing with at the time they work with it. To complicate matters even further, a “model” that starts the process as a Honda Civic may end up as a Corvette.
 The bottom line—to use a business phrase—is that business starts with a known quantity, raw materials for example, which are put it through a process that is designed to produce one known result: create the product which was originally intended. Nothing is new, nothing is discovered.

 Schools are all about the new, and discovery is at the core of their mission. Each student who walks through the door is a unique mix of potentials, talents and opportunities waiting to be discovered. The process that they are put through needs to be flexible, responsive and adaptable because the result is not known at the beginning. Even to refer to the ultimate end of education as a “result” can be misleading because students can continue to grow and develop years after they’ve left the school house behind, unlike say a new car which, as the saying goes, loses 20% of its value the minute you drive it off the lot. Depreciation in other words, which is OK for cars, not so great for students.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Friday Hound Blogging

Generally we don't like to draw parallels. In the first place, drawing parallels requires a steady hand and by the time we make it to the electronic computer machine to inflict another blog post on the unsuspecting interwebs, our hands have been directly involved in reducing the world's supply of Stolichnaya for a not inconsiderable period of time, if you take our point and we think you do. Выпьем за то, чтобы у нас всегда был повод для праздника! (Google it. We're busy here)

How. Ever. The conclusion of the recent quadrennial American folly called electing a president and the current edition of FHB presented us with  two situations having the same direction, course, nature, or tendency; corresponding; similar; analogous and extending in the same direction, equidistant at all points, and never converging or diverging that regardless of, or perhaps in spite of our best efforts to create a shortage of  the world's most original vodka, enjoyed by the world's most original people, we were presented with a parallel so big you could drive a truck through it.

OK that didn't make a whole lot of sense even to us, but you know, hands, Stoli, питье! Anyway, the point is we have discovered republicans and the overlords have the same problem. No, not that they're both heartless, self centered, greed machines with less empathy than a wounded scorpion...although now that you mention it...well, be that as it may, the particular issue we want to focus on is that both the republicans and the overlords have a constituency problem.

As we pointed out in a previous post and as senator Lindsey Graham so eloquently put it, using overfed, undereducated, aging white guys with penis issues as foundational to your growth model is not a strategy likely to result in legislative dominance.

It seems the overlords are passengers on the same ship of fools.
The Memphis Bus Riders Union met on Sunday to discuss the video one of their members shot of MATA riders getting dropped off on the side of an Interstate 40 exit. It's MATA's new drop off for the Greenline route on the way to Southland Park Gaming and Racing. "There was a guy in a wheelchair, he couldn't even ride his wheelchair on the gravel part so he had to go in the street," says union member Shelia Williams. Southland Park is approximately a half a mile walk around the corner from where the bus is dropping them off.
A half mile? Man. What would Ayn Rand say? The rubes don't have to go Galt to get to the track and lose the rent money, they have to go through Galt and come out on the other side. This cannot stand. You can't treat makers this way, even if they are the makers of the overlords' trailer payments. What's the problem here anyway?
"We've been reaching out to MATA, we've been reaching out to city government in West Memphis, reached out to Southland but we haven't been able to get any clear answer on why was MATA banned from the property," says union member Brad Watkins.
Let's see if we have this straight. You take the primary source of transportation for the bulk of your clientele and you make it stop around the corner and down the street from the track. Who's your Director of Strategic Planning, Todd Akin? Who does your PR, Rush Limbaugh?
"If this is just a squabble between them (MATA and Southland), I think it's very unfortunate that the bus riders are caught in the middle of this," Union member Paul Garner said.
Oh, we get it. Now that makes a little more sense. After all, the bus is public transportation and we all know who rides public transportation, right? Losers, leeches and 47%'ers, but here's the thing, those are the overlords' people, right Sera?

Sera is still in the playful puppy stage and really enjoys a good romp in the yard followed by a nap. She's a little shy at first in new situations and with new people, but once she warms up she'll ask for pets by poking you with her nose. Sera would do well in a home with older well mannered children as an only dog if her family is home more often to play with her, or with other dogs her own size. She doesn't mind going in her crate, but does have a lot of puppy energy so would need a yard she can run in, or someone to play with her. 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.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Florida! Motto: Jim Crow 2016

When our old daddy became exasperated with the ill conceived shenanigans of someone he would often declaim to all within earshot--which was generally the entire neighborhood--"That (colorful Anglo-Saxon expletive) could screw up a hanging with a new rope!" 

As maturing Ironicii we were not always sure what the literal import of that description was, however even then we were certain that it was not a positive assessment. We tell you this because the phrase echoed back through our memory as we read about the recent attempt Florida made to actually conduct an election in a way that was not reminiscent of that classic silent era film The KeyStone Cops Meet Abbot And Costello On 2 4 1 Margarita Night.

Gov. Rick Scott of Florida on Saturday said he requested a review of his state's voting processes with a particular emphasis on areas where voters waited four hours or longer to cast their ballots. "Apparently four hours wasn't long enough," Scott said. "'Cuz that dagum Kenyan got hisself reelected."

"We are glad that so many voters made their voices heard in this election, but they were the wrong voices, so as we go forward we must see improvements in our election process or this trend will continue," Scott said in a statement. "I have asked Secretary of State Ken Detzner to review this general election and report on ways we can improve the process after all the races are certified. And by 'races' I don't mean the ones with votes. I mean you others out there, especially the Hispaniards.”

More than 8.5 million votes were cast this year, Scott said, an increase from the approximately 8.3 million Florida ballots cast in 2008.  "How the heck is that possible?" Scott asked. "I mean, we cut early voting almost in half, from two weeks to eight days, and for as little as six hours for each of those days; we tried to throw almost everybody I don't know personally off the voting rolls, and we closed polls on a whim and towed the cars of voters still waiting in line. What more could we have done?"

"We need to make improvements for Florida voters who vote correctly, while screwing it up as best we can for everybody else and it is important to look at processes on the state and the county level. We will carefully review suggestions for whitening the voting process in our state." Detzner said. "One of my favorite suggestions? Using trailers as polling stations in minority neighborhoods. That way we can move them around during the day and make them harder to find."

Yeah, good luck with that. Look Florida, maybe it's time to face facts. You've been trying to screw up elections for 12 years now, and even when you did mess it up in 2000 you needed the Supreme Court to cover you when the vote began to turn. Obama won in 2008 and he won again this time even though you did everything but threaten to turn dogs loose on any voter whose sun screen was less that SPF 50. Truth is, you're just not very good at this, so maybe you ought to give it up and go back to what you do best, running an efficient and responsive state government.

Monday, November 12, 2012

If You Take A Maker And Make Him A Taker Does That Make You A Taker Maker?

OK, so it looks like the results of the last election mean reality has finally broken through the border and run amok in the republican state of denial, forcing the less heavily medicated residents to apply for refugee status in our world by facing up to the reality that the bulk of the American people just aren't that into their policies. As is always the case with republicans though, it seems a fair number of the rank and file abandoned their castles in the air, but only made it as far as East Delusion.
Yes, it's apparent that the takers won while the makers -- the working man -- lost in this farce of an election.
Now, if you're an overweight, diabetic white guy in Alabama, say, who's on disability and just got his Hoveround covered by Medicare, and you voted for Romney, it's hard for us to see how you're a maker. In fact, if you look at the states where Romney did the best you'll see they are the biggest drain on the federal budget.

The other thing that confuses us is that the republicans were backing a guy who's whole business model was to swoop into a town, buy up a business, loot it, then beat feet leaving the makers who used to work at the business in full take mode.

Republicans? We don't think making and taking means what you think it means.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Friday Hound Blogging

You know, sometimes we think we're a little hard on the overlords, soulless bags of wasted protein that they are. Oops. See what we mean?  After all, it is possible that there's an overlord somewhere who actually cares about the dogs as self aware, living creatures who have a right not to be exploited, who have a right to their own existence and the freedom to live out their lives as nature sees fit, not as tools for the short term enrichment of  others.

Or not. Anyway, the point is the overlords are celebrating a major milestone this week and we here in the marbled halls of IM Central are declaring an overlord amnesty day so they can enjoy their accomplishment.
When it opened 20 years ago Saturday, Gulf Greyhound Park drew 8,000 customers who wagered $870,000. A few days later, what was then the largest greyhound track in the world had a record-setting 11,653 customers, and a month later, customers wagered about $1 million in one day. By the end of 1993, its first full year of operation, average attendance at the track was 4,190 people a day. Visitors wagered $268.38 million that year, and more than 1,100 people worked at the track.
Now, anyone outside of the Romney campaign and Karl Rove who's remotely connected to real math will tell you that's a chunk of change, and since the overlords measure success by the number of trailer payments they can make in a row, we have to give this one to them. Heck, probably even put glass in the trailer windows too.
Twenty years later?
Well, twenty years is plenty of time to create a tradition, to establish a track record (and not a rack record for injured and killed dogs either--although come to think of it...oops, did it again). Anyway, with a start like that, in twenty years the overlords must have grown into well respected, contributing members of the community, offering entertainment, economic benefits and career opportunities
On average, fewer than 500 people come to the track each day, and the wagers on live and simulcast racing were about $35.4 million in 2011, according to Texas Racing Commission statistics. There are now about 195 — mostly part-time — employees.
Or the track could become an eye sore, magnet for crime and drugs and a drain on the local and state economies, that's also a possibility.
As the track prepares to celebrate its 20th anniversary this weekend, officials said they are committed to keeping the doors open as the track looks to a new future — possibly with casino-style gambling.
Another possibility? 24 hour laundromat. Most of the customers bet with quarters now anyway so synergy!
“For us to have a restaurant that seated more than 1,800 people, it was just unbelievable,” Gulf Greyhound Park Manager Sally Briggs said. Briggs is among the 37 employees who have been with the track since the start. She started as the administrative assistant for then manager Butch Hughes, worked her way up through the ranks and in 2003 was named general manager.
 Well, in all honesty she was the only one left who could spell general manager so, you know, you soak the rubes with the team you have, not the team you wish you had.
“Even though we are not what we used to be, we’re still holding our own,” Briggs said. “We had a great spring and summer. (Wagering) was up, and attendance was good.” Simulcast racing — satellite feeds from horse and dog tracks from across the country — now accounts for most of the wagering and draws most of the crowd, Briggs said.
There you go then. It's the 21st century business model: base your business on people you don't know in places you've never been to. It's like a license to print money, except someone else's name is on the license, and they have the printing press, but other than that, profit!
After years of attendance and wagering declines, the track is aggressively working to bring more customers into the facility, Briggs said. Gulf Greyhound recently formed a partnership with the new Tanger Outlets to promote the facility. The track loaned its parking lot when the outlet center opened its doors to handle overflow parking and shuttle service, something Briggs said they’ll do again Thanksgiving weekend.
That's the spirit Ms. Briggs! We can just see the slogan now" "Want an exciting time? Come to Gulf Greyhound Track and we'll give you a ride to Tanger Outlet! Fun for the whole family! That's what 20 years of experience in the business will do for you.
The track is advertising more, too, she said.
Well of course you are. You've really hit on something here Ms. Brigss. You could probably give people rides all over the city. The state even! Think of the opportunities! Oh, one thing though. Greyhound Bus? Already taken.
Assisted-living centers from the Houston-area bus residents to the track each Wednesday afternoon for a matinee race program and an inexpensive buffet.
OK, we like the cheap buffet, but making the old people race for it seems a bit harsh, besides, doesn't the track sand gum up the wheels of their Hoverounds?
There’s also a weekly Snowman Poker tournament in which players play for points to enter tournaments elsewhere.
Right, bring people on to the track by telling them it will provide them with an opportunity to go somewhere else. Sort of a reverse bait and switch, huh Super C?

Super C is a very sweet, patient and gentle boy. He wants to be close to you and loves attention. He is housebroken. He will go in his crate but does not like it. He is not cat safe and shows a bit too much attention to small dogs. He is a big goofy boy who runs into things and trips on rugs. Super C would do well in a working home. He would do well with older well-behaved children due to his clumsiness. He may accidentally knock small children down. He would do well as an only dog or in a home with dogs his own size. 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.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Karl Rove Said If Obama Carries Ohio It Will Be A Miracle

Well, that settles it. God is a Democrat. Sorry graduates of Larry's School of Bible Learning, mascaraeding  as front men for The Way The Truth and The Life, you apparently haven't been reading your memos because it's pretty obvious to the rest of us that The Big Homey don't play that. Want more proof? You think he sent Sandy up the east coast to punish the liberal elites? Nope. Sent it there to flood out a movie about The Flood.
Via, a slight silver lining to all the bad news coming out of Hurricane Sandy. It seems Darren Aronofsky’s current project, Noah, has suffered from delays and set damage owing to all the flooding in Oyster Bay, New York.
 Now that is ironicus at its maximus right there. Of course it could just mean that Yahweh got sick of the whole thing like most of the rest of us and took off for a little R&R, leaving Loki in charge, but whatever, results is results, you know? One tiny suggestion though G man, really need an upgrade on your targeting software. Just saying.

In related news, Mormonism is back to being a cult again.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Friday Hound Blogging

We're coming to you today from the If Wishes Were Horses Beggars Would Ride Department here in the marbled halls of IM Central. IWWHBWR is a division of the When You Wish Upon A Star Company, a wholly owned subsidy of  A Fool And His Money Go To A Greyhound Track, Inc.

First a little back story. There was this greyhound injury and death facility in London called Walthamstow. Like most places where living creatures like greyhounds are treated as commodities and daily placed in danger of their lives, it had been losing money for years. In the face of a tsunami of red ink the owners promised in December of 2007 not to sell it but to bring it back stronger than ever.(Editor's note: That should have been a clue as to what was going to happen next) So they closed it in 2008 and shortly after it was bought by housing association London and Quadrant (L&Q) who said, hey, let's build some houses on the land. You know, do something worthwhile with it.

Well, as you might imagine this upset the overlords no end as it was obvious to them turning the land into homes and shops would deny everyone years of watching the slow degradation of the area, the loss of jobs and rise in crime, not to mention the spectacle of dead greyhounds being carted off day after day after day.

So they appealed to the Mayor of London. "Mayor," they said. "How can you let this happen? You have a chance here to prop up a dying industry, to perpetuate heartless cruelty and to keep us from having to work for a living, and instead you want to provide housing for people? Where are your priorities?"

The mayor, though moved by their eloquence and cognizant of their lack of any marketable skill with which to get a job, nevertheless responded, "Nah. I think I'll go with helping people rather than killing greyhounds, but thanks for your input and here are some nice brochures on Walmart Greeter School. If you can tell me how old you are without counting on your fingers I might be able to get you a scholarship."

And you would think that would be the end of it, but if you did, you don't know how desperate the overlords were to stay out of the job market, and how little they cared how many greyhounds had to die to make it so. They needed a hero. Someone to take up their cause; someone who could feel their pain. Someone not too bright.

Fast forward to the present and meet just such a person:

Iain Duncan Smith, MP for Chingford delivered a stinging rebuke to Boris Johnson’s Conservative leadership aspirations after the London Mayor approved a scheme to turn the Walthamstow dog track in east London into flats.A furious Duncan Smith asked “What’s the point of Boris?” and accused the Mayor of failing to show leadership following the decision to demolish the famous stadium. "That track could have sat there for years, sucking the life out of the neighborhood," Smith told reporters. "Instead our Mayor decides he'd rather provide low cost homes, shops, playgrounds and who knows what other social and economic benefits to the residents of London. Again I say, what’s the point of Boris?”

Mr Duncan Smith, the MP for Chingford, said he was “absolutely furious” at the decision made by his Tory “friend”. He told BBC London 94.9: “This is a bad decision and I have constituents of mine saying ‘What’s the point of Boris?’ See, we're saying what's the point of Boris rather than what's the point of his decision because even we aren't stupid enough to miss the fact that this is really going to help a lot of people.”

In an extraordinary attack aimed at a fellow senior Conservative, the Cabinet minister went on to question Mr Johnson’s leadership pretensions. Mr Duncan Smith said: “I’ve been secretary of state for a while. You take tough decisions. OK, the track has been closed for four years and was dying years before that, so this wasn't such a tough decision, but Boris could have made it tough if only he'd picked stupid over right.”

Rick Holloway, of the Save Our Stow campaign, questioned L&Q’s pledge to create 250 new jobs and build affordable homes. “The world’s number one dog racing track until it went bankrupt and which used to have 5,000 people going to it every week until no one came to it is now going to be a fortress housing estate,” he said. "People living here! Shopping, working, raising families! What about the losers who used to come and bet on the dogs? Who's watching out for them?"

Hmmm...he might have a point. Looks like Mayor Boris just lost the idiot vote, huh Caroline?

Katjam Caroline is a very sweet and friendly girl. She loves everyone she meets. She loves to go for walks and play in the yard. She is very good on the leash. She is learning how to do stairs. She has not learned how to play with toys yet but she loves chewing on her rawhides. She does good in her crate; however, she does sometimes bark when her foster parents first come home so they leave her in the crate until she quiets down, which does not take long. She has had no accidents in the house or her crate. She lets her foster parents know when she has to go out. She is not cat or small dog safe. She has had some experience with children and has done well. She would be fine in a home with older well-behaved children. She gets along great with men and women. 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.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

BREAKING: Both Sides Claim To Be Winning. Could One Be Wrong? How Would We Know?

We have discovered the perfect metaphor for the state of professional journalistic journalism here in these United States of America and his name is Jon Karl who is the walking, talking, salary collecting, Senior Political Correspondent, who also  won the 2011 Joan Shorenstein Barone Award for excellence in Washington-based reporting and an Emmy Award for his coverage of the 2009 Inauguration of President Barack Obama. In 2001 he won the National Press Foundation’s Everett McKinley Dirksen Award, the highest honor for Congressional reporting.

In other words, the dude knows his craft, both the science and the art of professional journalistic journalism practiced by highly trained, talented and committed professional journalistic journalists. Recently, when asked to apply his expertise in the art and science of political reporting to the current presidential tussle, Mr Karl--did we mention he won the 2011 Joan Shorenstein Barone Award for excellence in Washington-based reporting? Mr. Karl responded thusly:
“I think more than any other race I’ve covered this is one where both sides genuinely seem to believe they’re going to win. That’s different,” ABC News correspondent Jon Karl said. “Given that, it’s hard for somebody covering the race to make a call. I’m completely confused. I have no idea who’s going to win. And I usually have a sense of who’s going to win.”
Dang. The Romney camp says they're going to win. The Obama camp says they're going to win. Whataya gonna do? We mean, they both say it. And they say it so convincingly. A true conundrum Mr. Karl, a true conundrum. And if a professional journalistic journalist such as yourself with your years of training and experience, with your talent, and obvious adeptness can't figure it out, what hope is there for the rest of us?

Oh if only there were some way to tell. If only there were some way to ferret out the truth from the thicket of competing claims, both of which have merit because both sides genuinely seem to believe what they are saying.

Well, there's nothing for it but to cast our fate before the gods of random chance and prepare for the first time in our history where there will be two presidents. What are the odds of that, huh? Wonder if Nate Silver could tell us.