Wednesday, January 30, 2013

BREAKING NEWS! Must credit...Um...OK Not Us--Now With Update!

Frequent readers of this blog know attainment is the sum of all fears...erm...we mean know that Fridays are generally the days we take a slightly askew look at that band of merry pranksters we call the overlords as they engage in the heartless exploitation of innocent animals for profit. Sometimes though, things happen in the overlord world that are so dramatic, so astounding, so mind boggling as to require a special edition. This is one of those times.

Rory Goree, oft times visitor to these pages has penned an essay in which he admits that the overlords are knowingly putting the in danger and further, when the public finds out about it, they may begin to doubt the overlords' veracity when they say the dogs are like family and their needs come first.

Shocking, right? If you're like us your first reaction is Whoa! Rory Goree can write? Who knew? Well, on the other hand voice recognition software has come a long way in the last few years, but the point is here we have not just any overlord but one of the inner circle of overlords saying right out there in front of god and everybody, look guys, we suck.

OK, so maybe it wasn't supposed to be said right out there in front of god and everybody, but thanks to some detective work by well known animal rights whacko Carey Theil the, umm, excrement has impacted the air circulation device. Of course, even though the piece may contain lucid moments such as this:
"The public will be told that despite their arguments to the contrary, those who participate in racing are deliberately exposing their greyhounds to inevitable catastrophic injury by conducting competitions on venues that are grievously flawed in their basic design ... The problem facing greyhound racing with that particular argument and defeating it, is that it will not be perceived as 'extreme' by the public. And that's because it's not extreme, as any keen student of the breed knows in their heart and mind ... "
These are the overlords we're talking about here, so you're going to get the occasional:
Since their plan is to use injury statistics taken out of context and without comparison to other unique populations of canines, has failed to produced the desired result of scandalizing the spot into oblivion anywhere excpet (sic) Massachusetts they are taking a slightly different tack.
Anywhere except Massachusetts? Dude! New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Oregon and Colorado are all places greyhound racing has been scandalized into oblivion in the last few years. And what about Guam, man? No scandal down there since 2010. OK, on second thought we'll give you Guam. Geography probably isn't your strong suit since you usually don't get into those classes until about 6th grade or so.

Now, to overlord Goree's credit he does recommend some changes which he feels will make greyhound racing safer for the dogs, changes he mostly borrows from greyhound racing in Ireland which he says is in "far better shape than it is in the US."

Fair enough Mr. Goree thinks us, so we jumped on our digital Concorde, hopped over the pond and here's what we found:
This month we gladly announce a decline in Greyhound Racing. Straight from the pages of the infamous online forum ‘Greyhound nuts’ an urgent appeal has gone out for entries to fill races. There were calls for help last week from both Curraheen Park and Limerick Track as the respective Racing Offices bid to fill the following weekend’s competitions.
Guess it depends on what your definition of "better" is, huh? Here's ours: A world in which greyhound racing has been scandalized into oblivion.

Update: Overlord RosieO informs us that the above mentioned essay was in fact not authored by Rory Goree, but merely forwarded (We're sure no copyright laws were harmed in the process). This makes a lot more sense, because we've been exposed to Mr. Goree and English prose before, and quite frankly we had our doubts. Of course who the particular author was doesn't change the content of the essay at all and we're still gratified to know that some overlord somewhere believes
The problem facing greyhound racing with that particular argument and defeating it, is that it will not be perceived as 'extreme' by the public. And that's because it's not extreme, as any keen student of the breed knows in their heart and mind ... "
Personally we would suspect overlord McKeon, but there aren't enough Malaprops, so we're at a loss.

Monday, January 28, 2013

No Underage Children Were Harmed In The Making Of This Post

Question of the day: Could church catholic be getting out of the god business, or is this pope Ratzi's way of honoring those who came before, namely Mussolini.
Behind a disguised offshore company structure, the church's international portfolio has been built up over the years, using cash originally handed over by Mussolini in return for papal recognition of the Italian fascist regime in 1929.
"When he said 'recognition' we thought he just meant a shout out at the Knights of Columbus luncheon," said papal nuncio, archbishop Antonio Mennini. "By the time we figured it out, we'd already thrown in with Adolf so the pope figured what the heck, one fascist is as good as another."
The surprising aspect for some will be the lengths to which the Vatican has gone to preserve secrecy about the Mussolini millions. The St James's Square office block was bought by a company called British Grolux Investments Ltd, which also holds the other UK properties. Published registers at Companies House do not disclose the company's true ownership, nor make any mention of the Vatican.
"Well that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with Mussolini,"  archbishop Mennini told reporters. "It's just that we plan on having several special collections throughout the year for charity stuff and if the general congregation realized we're sitting on enough dough to buy up high end properties all over the world, it could affect their commitment to the poor if you get my drift."
Companies House files disclose that British Grolux Investments inherited its entire property portfolio after a reorganisation in 1999 from two predecessor companies called British Grolux Ltd and Cheylesmore Estates. The shares of those firms were in turn held by a company based at the address of the JP Morgan bank in New York. Ultimate control is recorded as being exercised by a Swiss company, Profima SA.British wartime records from the National Archives in Kew complete the picture. They confirm Profima SA as the Vatican's own holding company.
"OK, you got us there,"  archbishop Mennini said. "Look, given the current pope's background, he really didn't have an issue taking money from fascists but when he found out we were in bed with JP Morgan, now that really upset him."

Sure, sure padre. Next you'll be telling us that it was them that got you into drugs.
Monsignor Kevin Wallin was arrested on federal drug charges this month for allegedly having methamphetamine mailed to him from co-conspirators in California and making more than $300,000 in drugs sales out of his apartment in Waterbury, Connecticut in the second half of last year.
We're not up on the latest policies and procedures in the drug business, but we're thinking having methamphetamine mailed to your house probably isn't in the manual. On the plus side, we'd bet it made those weekend retreats with the Marriage Encounter couples a lot more interesting.
Along the way, authorities said, he bought a small adult video and sex toy shop in the nearby town of North Haven named "Land of Oz & Dorothy's Place," apparently to launder all the money he was making.
Well, at least he earned his money for real estate, and didn't take it off some fascist dictator. Also too, he never used JP Morgan, proving even meth guys have some scruples.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Hound Blogging

Hey you know what? We haven't been down to visit friend of the blog Tom Taylor for a while. For those of you just joining us, Tom Taylor is the head overlord at the only dog racing track left in Arizona, or as we like to call it, Tucson Death Camp for Greyhounds.

Now, to say that 2012 was not kind to old Tom is like saying Paul Ryan just missed qualifying for humanitarian of the year. First the Arizona legislature cut him loose from using them as an excuse to race more dogs; then there was to say this politely...Needles Robinson incident that drew attention to the fact that "putting the dogs' welfare first" meant trucking all them over the state trying to find a place to pull over and shoot them full of steroids. And while all this was going on there were the occasional investigations and the ongoing questions about the number of injured greyhounds, as well as the fact that someone in the Pima County Animal Control office suddenly realized there were dogs at the dog racing track, and none of them were properly licensed. They were shocked we tell you SHOCKED!

So yeah, not the kind of year you want to put in your scrapbook, but through it all Tom took the hits like a real trooper, until finally he put his foot down and said, enough! If the public was going to be deprived of watching innocent living creatures risk their lives so the local overlords wouldn't be forced to jump into the labor pool swamping it with a bunch of no skill losers with substance abuse problems and anger management issues, it wasn't going to be on Tom's watch.

So how is our noble defender of heartless animal exploitation faring against the slings and arrows of outrageous animal rights wackos?  Eh. Not so good.
Saying restrictive new laws are hurting business, Tucson Greyhound Park will reduce its racing schedule from six days a week to four. There aren't enough dogs to run six days a week anymore, said park CEO Tom Taylor. Dog owners have told him "it's not worth doing business in Tucson" because of new bans on giving anabolic steroids to female dogs to prevent them from going into heat.
Hey Tommy. Got something for you:

What's that you said Jax? You'd give him the finger but you don't have fingers? Here, borrow one of ours.

Jax Ireland is a very sweet and affectionate girl. She loves to be around and meet new people. Jax prefers dogs her own size. She is interested in cats but would be okay living with them and could learn not to play with them. Jax would do well in a home with a working family or with someone who is home with her. She  would do well with older, well-behaved children.  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, January 24, 2013

Today In Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Frequent readers of this blog know the siren call of ambition flounders and eventually succumbs on the jagged, heartless  rocks of  dissipated hope...erm...we mean know we spent part of our formative years in the benevolent, if somewhat boozy care of the church catholic, or more particularly, as inmates of the local educorporate training facility run by the christian brothers and the sisters of perpetual detention.

Kyrie eleison Mofo's! Well, the point is, after reaching the age of reason, which was when we got old enough to convince our sainted mother we were going to walk to mass by ourselves, we abandoned the cult of Mary and became what holy mother church officialdom refers to as "nonpracticing." Now, those of you out there not in Peter's posse may ask, how much practice do you really need to mispronounce Latin phrases when you have no idea what they mean, but let us draw your attention to the audience participation factor  in a mass. If you've ever seen one, you know it looks like synchronized swimming except without the water. You think all that coordinated standing, sitting, kneeling and chanting just happens?

But back to our story. We've discoursed several times before on the specific elements that led to our personal fall from grace, but today the intertoobz splurted out a story that makes us glad we were summarily dismissed from training to be a server at mass, even though at the time we were falsely accused of participating in that little incident with the left over wine in the sacristy.
In malpractice case, Catholic hospital argues fetuses aren’t people.
Yes, that's right. For those of you keeping score at home, the church that willingly let a woman die rather than abort the baby that was killing her, still believes that unborn life must be protected at all costs...unless there are, you know, costs.
But when it came to mounting a defense in the Stodghill case, Catholic Health’s lawyers effectively turned the Church directives on their head. Catholic organizations have for decades fought to change federal and state laws that fail to protect “unborn persons,” and Catholic Health’s lawyers in this case had the chance to set precedent bolstering anti-abortion legal arguments. Instead, they are arguing state law protects doctors from liability concerning unborn fetuses on grounds that those fetuses are not persons with legal rights.
Now, before you go calling the church a bunch of misogynists, perverts and hypocritical losers, in their defense all those child sexual abuse lawsuits are costing a pretty penny, and paying out for dead fetuses is just not in the budget right now, OK? We mean come on, there are only so many scandals a church can handle at one time, you know? It's not like the bishop can ask for a special collection to be taken up every Sunday. People might start to get suspicious.
At press time, Catholic Health did not return messages seeking comment.
Somewhere in Rome a German guy is going "Somebody get the RNC on the phone. We got to dial this fetus thing back before it costs us some serious coin."

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Hound Blogging

Hey overlords! How about some good news? No, they're not going to put the Racing Form on Talking Books because most of the rubes can't read, even better. Now, first let us say that we know if you're coming to this blog on Friday you've probably given up on most of your life goals...erm...we mean you're probably expecting us to insult, degrade, abuse and just generally disrespect those individuals who make their living exploiting innocent living creatures by putting them in harm's way.

OK, probably could have said that in a less insulting, degrading, abusive and disrespectful way, but we're new at this, so cut us some slack will ya? Anyway, on to the good news:
Much as any return of live greyhound racing to the Sky Sports screens would be very welcome, the real benefit should come by revitalizing the open-race scene which is in a typically quiet early-season slumber but one which is set to last much deeper into the year than is normally the case.
You hear that man? Greyhound racing gonna be ON THE TEE VEE!!11!!l eleventy seven!! Let that sink in a minute:

Think of it man. All those people out there who usually just drive by the tracks because they don't want to get mugged, or be carjacked can now become greyhound racing fans from the relative safety of their homes. And it's not just about increasing the rube count is it? You got your ad revenues, you got your licensing deals, you got your spin offs, you got your supermarket appearances and talk shows. Kelly and that big black guy we're lookin' at you! Goin' Down. Town. now man! Get ESPN on the phone. We need to talk syndication and send the boy to get us a latte. Sky's the limit when you're on the tube, no?
The future does not look very bright for the UK greyhound racing industry, considering the high number of race tracks that have shut down in the past few years, and continue to shut down.
 Oh sing it sister. We can see it now, Race day the stores will be empty, the streets deserted because everyone will be home watching, just like Superbowl Sunday, just like...wait what?
In the past 65 years alone, the number of greyhound racing stadiums has dropped from 80 at their peak to a mere 25 today, showing clearly that the future of UK greyhound racing is bleak
Dude. You are so harshing our mellow. There's no need to be a hater because overlords get on the tee vee and you don't. Just the way it is, you know? Cream rises to the top and all that. Got to give the people what they want. Look, you obviously have some sort of problem with the big ol' dump success just took on the overlords' heads. Give us the straight poop Indy Almroth-Wright, professional writer for the BBC:
The closure of Oxford's circuit last month was the final nail in the coffin for the sport in central southern England with all of its four tracks now shut. Many others are struggling to keep going, as the number of stadiums has dropped from around 80 to 25 in England over the past 65 years. The tracks at Portsmouth, Reading, Milton Keynes and Oxford have all closed following falling profits and attendances.
See that hater? From 80 to 25. You can't argue with...wait a minute. That's the wrong way isn't it? OK, OK, let's not panic. Maybe this is about quality over quantity. Sure, see whenever you have an incredibly exciting and attractive sport like greyhound racing, you're always going to attract the poseurs, the quick buck artists and the con-men, but because greyhound racing fans are such a knowledgeable and savvy class of folk it doesn't take long before they separate the wheat from the chaff, and what you have left are the real McCoy's of the sport. So what if two thirds of the tracks have closed. The ones that are left are top of the line, and now that the riff raff has been gotten rid of, we can get on with racing us some greyhounds. W00t!
"There is no doubt that greyhound racing is facing many challenges and, sadly, more track closures are probably inevitable," Racing Post's Jonathan Kay said.
Work with us here, dude.
The GBGB said greyhound racing had dropped from third to Britain's fourth most attended spectator sport after football, horse racing and rugby.
Rugby? Rugby? You mean the public would rather watch a bunch of  musclebound drunks hopped up on steroids crashing into one another than watch a bunch of elegant and swift greyhounds hopped up on steroids crashing into one another? Who'd a thunk it, huh Mac?

Mac loves to play with squeaky toys. He likes to sleep a lot but will get up when somebody approaches him because he wants to play. Mac loves to give kisses. He is a very fast leaner and loves to please. He is  a friend to everyone that he meets. Mac whines when he needs to go outside. He gets along well with the other Greyhounds, but I doesn’t really care for small dogs or cats.  Mac will go in his crate by doesn’t really care for it much. He would do well in a home with a single owner or a couple. Mac could live in a home as the only dog or with other dogs that are his 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, January 16, 2013

Wall Street Journal! Motto: Speaking For Those Who Can Speak For Themselves Since 1889

We're coming to you today from the Department of Don't Get Out Much here in the marbled halls of IM Central. The DODGOM is a division of the Other Side Of The Tracks Company, a wholly owned subsidy of Flyover Country, Inc.

So we're perusing a purloined copy of the Wall Street Journal because we like to keep up on how much more enjoyable working folks have been able to make life for their betters by taking on all the tax burdens, fighting the wars and making sure that the old, the sick and the poor stay quietly out of sight when one of them rolls by in the Limo on the way to look at yachts, when what should to our wandering eye should appear, but this graphic:

Ostensibly, the article was an analysis of the effects of the Kenyan Usurper's tax plan of the yeoman class here in the World's Beacon of Freedom and Justice. Now, by way of background here, let us point out that for a time we were the unfortunate residents of a single parent household during which our sainted mother, a trained laboratory technician, traded her time for money with The Man so yours truly wouldn't have to attend the local educorporate training facility naked and hungry.

We tell you that because even though the aforementioned sainted mother was a college trained professional, her wages did not come anywhere close to those of the single parent example given by the professional journalistic journalists at the Wall Street Journal. (And you know they have to be good, because they've got "Journal" right there in the name) Further, since the boss is on vacation today and there's no one to watch us, we did a little Googling in between surfing the Scarlett Johansson bikini sites and found out that the average single parent household income is $25, 172, or about 1/10 of what the fortunate lady in the Wall Street Journal graphic makes.

The other thing that caught our eye was the retired couple, and not because they appear to be the token minority, but because their income for not working is substantially higher then the combined incomes of all gainfully employed residents of IM Central, whom we might add toil in professional careers for which several years of college training were required.

And, as we are part of a married couple, don't even get us started on what those folks are pulling down except to ask, is the sale of any controlled substance involved?

And finally, let us say that were we not part of a married couple filing jointly, we would certainly be interested in making the acquaintance of the "single person," as her income pretty much makes her a denizen of the 1% club which we've determined we're never going to get into except maybe as the guest of a member.

Now, on a personal note we'd like to admit to a certain amount of sadness as we look at this snapshot of Mainstream Americans and do not see our faces anywhere in it. All these years we've been percolating along thinking that we were part of the great American family, part of the muscle powering the body economic that brings us things like double bacon cheeseburgers and Thursday night football, and now it turns out we are just fat cells to those who make up the backbone of this great nation, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Of course the other possibility is that Wall Street Journal writers are so out of touch with the country they are writing about they might as well have their offices on the moon.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

And This Is One Of The More Rational Responses

OK republicans, look we get it. You don't like President Obama. He's black, he's smart, he's black, sharp dresser, good at sports, he's black, articulate and can read. Did we mention he's black? But sweet Jebus on a cornstalk Stockman, give it a rest will you?
The White House’s recent announcement they will use executive orders and executive actions to infringe on our constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms is an unconstitutional and unconscionable attack on the very founding principles of this republic. I will seek to thwart this action by any means necessary, including but not limited to eliminating funding for implementation, defunding the White House, and even filing articles of impeachment.
You forgot to include stuffing beans up your nose and holding your breath until you pass out. First of all, President Obama hasn't issued any executive orders yet so shouldn't you sort of wait until you read them--assuming they even come--before you decide if they're unconstitutional or not? Just a thought. And what the heck is  "defunding the White House" anyway? Are you going to refuse to pay the electric bill or something? Cut off the president's cable? And impeachment? Seriously? You really think the president is worried that some cracker peckerwood  from the backwoods of Texas is going to be able to make a case for impeachment? Here's a clue friend: Just because you can type communist, socialist, Marxist, Muslim in all caps does not necessarily mean you have a strong argument.
The President’s actions are an existential threat to this nation.
Yeah, umm...maybe we can help you out here. See, an existential threat is a threat to all human kind, like an asteroid, or a super volcano, so unless you're saying that cutting back on the number of guns a bunch of overfed, undereducated Bubbas with penis issues can have will end civilization, then...ah...not so much.
The right of the people to keep and bear arms is what has kept this nation free and secure for over 200 years.
Sadly, no. The military has been what's kept us free for over 200 years, or at least been a big part of it, and guess what, when you join, they give you a gun, so no need to bring your own. See how this works?
The very purpose of the Second Amendment is to stop the government from disallowing people the means to defend themselves against tyranny.
Apparently you have the Tinfoil Hat Club's version of the Constitution there, Stockman old buddy. Our version reads "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."  See, the Founders were not big fans of having a standing army when there wasn't a war going on, so they thought the Militia idea was the way to go. Plus back then everybody already had guns anyway since Kroger hadn't been invented yet, so people had to go out in the woods to find dinner. You may have noticed that today we have both a standing army and a Kroger. Any of this getting through?
Under no circumstances whatsoever may the government take any action that disarms any peaceable person.
 Try telling that to the TSA guy on your way to board a plane.
The President’s actions are not just an attack on the Constitution and a violation of his sworn oath of office – they are a direct attack on Americans that place all of us in danger.
Hey, we're Americans and we have to tell you, we'd actually feel a little safer if people who have the tendency to fly off the handle and over react to every perceived slight didn't have as easy of a time getting their hands on a gun as they do now. By the way Mr. Stockman, you don't have a gun, do you? 

Oh, and speaking of overreacting, no Don Dwyer, the fact that there are gays in the world did not force you to get drunk and crash your boat into a five year old.

Monday, January 14, 2013

From The Department Of Paradoxicals

OK, here's a headline we really don't understand:

Gay Republicans Take Out Ad Criticizing Hagel

Not because Gay Republicans don't like Hagel, but because there is a group of people who identify themselves as gay republicans. Given the fact that it is the official position of the republican party to do everything they can t make a gay person's life a living hell, we just can't understand why anyone would identify themselves as a gay and a republican?

Isn't that sort of like being a Quaker SEAL?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Hound Blogging

We're coming to you today from the Cry Me A River Department here in the marbled halls of IM Central. CMAR is a division of the World's Smallest Violin Company, a wholly owned subsidy of Your Momma Says She Loves You But She Could Be Lying Too, LLC.

It seems overlord Ricky Holloway is feeling a tad peevish and unappreciated.
Trainers and kennel hands deserve respect for the hard work and long hours we all do.
OK, we'll accept for the moment that feeding the dogs 4D meat, putting them in cages for up to 20 hours a day, giving them substandard Vet care when they're injured and taking them out behind the kennel to have an "accident" when they're no longer competitive is hard work, but look at the bright side Ricky. At the end of the day you get to go home. A lot of your charges aren't so lucky.
Certain promoters take us for granted with low prize money and drastic cutbacks at tracks with even kennel hands of local trainers meals stopped at certain tracks.
OK Ricky, we're going to assume you're too stupid to see the irony here, but welcome to the world of a racing greyhound. Feeling a little abused are you? Look at it this way, if the promoters decided to put a bullet in your head, it would probably cost them more than $10 bucks, so at least you don't have to worry about that.
This certainly cannot continue much longer with over 100 trainers not renewing licences and business crashing to an all time low. Greyhounds registered are also at an all time low with hardly any new owners joining the ranks of our industry.
Yeah, right. We're sure it's all about the fact that mean old promoters are keeping all those mounds of cash to themselves and the fact that NO ONE COMES TO THE F@%&#!* TRACK ANYMORE has nothing to do with it.
If we do not all unite and support the tariff, trainers will be better off giving up the keys to their kennels, such will be the debt that will follow. Eventually the sport will just die on its feet.

Well, that's only fitting Ricky boy. After all it's the same thing that happened to Birthday Toy and Jawa Spock. Dying on their feet we mean.

Enough is enough. We are running at Romford for £10 less runner up money than ten years ago!! Have petrol, biscuit, meat and wages decreased ? No. Well we are even running on RPTV for nothing extra. We are supplying the product for peanuts and being treated disgracefully into the bargain.
Ah, Ricky, Ricky, Ricky. Your lack of self awareness is exceeded only by your capacity for tolerating hellacious levels of cognitive dissonance.
We must stop this attitude and bad treatment of out trainers otherwise we will have nothing.
Dude. You're an overlord. Having nothing would be an improvement for you, right Serenade?

Sera is still in the playful puppy stage and really enjoys a good romp in the yard followed by a nap. She's 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. Sera will need an experienced family to help her overcome her shyness. 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.

TK Update: TK found a home!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Educational Reform: Now With Twice The Whitewashing Power!

Now comes before us Michelle Rhee, former chancellor of Washington D.C. schools and current CEO of StudentsFirst, a rather Orwellian name for an organization designed to make Michelle Rhee rich by playing off the experience of Michelle Rhee.

Ms. Rhee is one of those rather rare educational reformers who actually have some experience as an educator.  Even though her degrees are in government and public policy, she entered the classroom through the Teach for America program, eventually earning a teacher certification. After receiving her certification Rhee returned to teaching and oversaw a significant drop in her students’ test scores, but by the time she left the classroom she boasted of raising scores to the 90th percentile. Later analysis showed those numbers to be somewhat overblown, but by then Rhee had stopped being a teacher and had become an educational entrepreneur, starting The New Teacher Project which, picking up on the Teach for America vibe, recruited teachers for urban schools.

Because of The New Teacher Project’s involvement in Washington D.C. schools, then Mayor Adrian Fenty offered Rhee the Chancellorship of the whole system. This was a new position created when the elected school board was stripped of its power. Even though she had no experience in any educational administrative position, Rhee took the job and a mayoral carte blanche to do pretty much whatever she wanted.

And pretty much whatever she wanted was what she did, firing the principal of a high performing school and replacing her with a friend who was later the target of a federal investigation regarding discrimination against minority children, closing schools without community input and failing to completely report budget figures.

In spite of her stormy tenure though, test scores in the district rose, sometimes dramatically and even though there were rumblings that all wasn’t right, no real investigation was done until recently . Now it seems that the improvement of scores in the DC schools may be more the result of test tampering than improved curriculum. As Professor Emeritus Thomas Haladyna, a Statistician familiar with the investigation said, "the odds are better for winning the Powerball grand prize than having that many erasures by chance."

As for Rhee, repeating her earlier experience when she was a teacher, she left DC schools in 2010 to start StudentsFirst, blaming the reports of cheating and score manipulation on “enemies.” Now, before you get the idea that we’re just out to bash Michelle Rhee, let us set the record straight, we are not (well, maybe just a little). What we’d like to suggest is that Rhee represents the new face of school reform.

When education became a commodity it changed the whole dynamic between teachers and students, schools and their communities. Education was no longer about relationships, nurturing growth, or dealing with human complexities, it was about inputs, end results, the products that get us there and the way they are marketed.

When you buy a toaster, you don’t take it apart first, examine how the connections are soldered, how strong the filaments are. You don’t talk to the people who built it. You take it home and try it out. If it works to your satisfaction you keep it, if not you take it back and get another.

It’s the same with education. We assume the process works if the results are satisfactory, so we create a class of reformers who attempt to sell us on the idea that their particular product will produce the results we are looking for. We try one out, if it doesn’t work we move on to the next one. A market is created.

It should be no surprise that the Michelle Rhees, the Jeb Bushes, the people who brought us DIBELS, the whole new class of educational entrepreneurs created when schools became profit centers and children became input units play fast and loose with the facts in an attempt to create buzz around their products because the relationship between educational reformers and education has become a commercial one, a relationship about things rather than people, about profit and loss. So the Michelle Rhees of the world profit, but the loss belongs to the children.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Friday Hound Blogging

You know, we kid the overlords a lot about their lack to say this politely...the brains god gave a ping pong ball, but occasionally we run across some overlord effluvia that gives us pause and necessitates a reconsideration of our position vis a vis their neuronal output capacity. Take this article by Bruce Teague for example, in which Mr. Teague sets out on an analytical exegesis relative to the changing face of the rube population.
It’s hard to find out if any racing code actually knows who its customers are. There is certainly no evidence that Greyhound Racing does. None published anyway. The upshot is that if we don’t know who our customers are we will not know how they are changing as time goes on. And they have changed, for sure.
Of course this begs the question as to whether anyone would actually want to know a person who thinks losing the rent money two dollars at a time while innocent living creatures are injured and die in front of him or her is an activity someone claiming to be sentient would engage in, but let's leave that aside for the moment and see what Mr. Teague has discovered.
First and foremost, since there has been a radical decline in racecourse attendances, it follows that there must be a comparable decline in the average customer’s knowledge of racing. From personal observation, that same customer is less able, or less willing, to read a formguide – even the ones pinned up on the wall near him. sales of proper formguides are down anyway. Online formguides, all offered by state authorities except for subscribers to National Tabform, may well get lots of hits but whether they are used, and how, is a mystery.
Now, admittedly overlord logic escapes us most of the time, so we're not quite sure of the analytical basis Mr. Teague is using to connect the decline of greyhound racing with an increase in literacy. Perhaps he is implying that as the rubes learn to read, they read about instances like this, or this, or this, or heck maybe even this and decide they could probably get a better return on their gambling dollar out behind the parking garage lagging for quarters, with the added benefit that no innocent lives would be lost in the process.
Over the last 20 years, betting trends in all codes have moved away from Win to the exotics where seemingly more attractive rewards are available. This might be termed the “Lottery” influence. TABs have progressively introduced and pushed auto-bet options such as Mystery bets where the customer does not have to think. Effectively, he is playing a four-legged poker machine.
OK we think we can see where you're going with this Mr. Teague. As the rubes become more literate they ask themselves, "why should I be content with a 'lottery influence' when I can walk across the street and play a real lottery?" Or, "why should I play a 'four legged poker machine' when they have real ones right upstairs? Also too, if the real poker machines don't pay out, they aren't killed like the four legged ones. Win win, right?
Tipsters abound amongst the media and some authorities, all rarely successful, offering lots of Boxed Bets where you are destined to lose before you start – as is true of Mysteries. Anyone with basic arithmetic ability would be able to work this out – but, obviously, they don’t.
A ha! Gotcha. So the rubes are learning to read and add and subtract and that's upsetting the whole apple cart. Seems what the industry needs is more idiots, right? Anything else?
The majority of TAB betting pools are too small to offer any integrity or to absorb decent bets. There has been relatively little attention paid to improving track layouts, with the result that interference levels remain high and are a deterrent to the introduction of fresh big-spending punters. They will not be interested in events where the house effectively wipes 10% or so off the top before you start. the only people left who are dumb enough to bet on greyhound racing can't produce enough cash to make the money pool attractive to anyone who actually has enough skill to enable them to earn an income, and even if it were, the fact that the whole racing enterprise is one big scam set up to feed the greed of the overlords makes it unlikely the rubes would get much of a payout if there were more money to go around.

Thank you for your analysis Mr. Teague. This is truly a dilemma you've presented here, but to follow your line of reasoning on out, if the decline of institutionalized animal cruelty called greyhound racing is truly a function of the public's growing awareness of what a rip off it is, both economically and from a humanitarian standpoint, it seems your only recourse is to find some way to counteract the rising intelligence levels of the general public, or to...well...perhaps we should let the greyhounds have this one:

Anything to add Venus?

Venus Von Bones is a sweet, affectionate girl that craves attention. She loves to go for walks, but pulls a little bit on the leash although she is getting better. Venus can’t live with kitty cats. She doesn't mind going in her crate. She loves everyone she meets. Venus would do well in a home with a working family or if someone is home all day. She would do well with older, well-behaved children. She would do best as an only dog. 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.

TK Update: He would be fine in a home with a single person or a family with older well-behaved children, or as an only dog or in a home with dogs his own size but no small dogs or cats please.