Friday, September 30, 2005

Friday Hound Blogging

You're seeing things running through your head. Who can you call? An invisible man sleeping in your bed. Who you gonna call? Call the George Orwell Memorial Don't Look Over There Just Listen Photo Of The Day:

Well, it's not even the Christmas season yet, but the overlords, big hearted community minded group that they are, have decided to give all of us a gift. A new canine disease that closed Dairyland Greyhound Park in Kenosha for four weeks earlier this year will likely spread to domestic dogs and eventually infect wild canines such as coyotes and wolves, a top animal researcher predicted.

"Hey, come on," said an industry spokesperson. "You knew this was coming. I mean, what are we supposed to do? Sanitize the kennels? Do you know what that would cost?"

There is no evidence that the disease, first diagnosed last year at a Florida dog track, can be transmitted to humans. "We're working on that," said Billy Bob Dagerstom director of health and safety for the Greyhound Racing Association.

Ronald D. Schultz, a dean at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin called the disease an "emerging virus" that will sweep through the canine population as the Parvo virus did in the late 1970s, killing thousands of dogs with untreatable diarrhea.

"Well that's harsh," replied Dagerstom. "I suppose you're going to tell me this is all our fault for crowding the dogs so closely together and transporting them around the country when they're sick. Look, I'm just trying to make a buck here. I'd just as soon put a sick dog down and get another, but you liberal animal rights nuts out there make us take care of them even if they aren't earning money. What a crock that is."

Well, there certainly is a crock out there, but I'm not sure it's where Mr. Dagerstom thinks it is. I bet if we could ask this week's hound she'd tell us how happy she is to be out of danger...even if she's not. You can help improve her chances for a long healthy life though. Meet Kiowa Fort Aggi:

Aggi loves to play ostrich by burying her whole head in your arms or lap for some attention. She thinks if she covers her face that the rest of her body becomes don't let on that she can be seen or it will ruin her fun. She is a very outgoing and friendly greyhound. Aggi is happy and affectionate. She follows her foster family around the home. She pays lots of attention to her family; even if someone looks at her she gets up and wags her tail in hopes for some love. Don't under estimate her because she is a fast learner and will benefit from training classes. Aggi is a social butterfly looking for a family who will include her in activities. 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, September 29, 2005

We'll Take Your House. Oh, You Don't Have A House

Look! On the horizon. There's a cloud of dust and a hearty "Hi yo Silver away! It's the George Orwell Memorial Don't Look Over There Just Listen Photo Of The Day:

So, the federal government took a pretty big hit for fumbling the ball when it came to Katrina. Rita was better by some accounts, but there is no new storm on the horizon, so now you would think the government could go full bore into helping those refugees get their lives back right?


Four weeks after New Orleans flooded and tens of thousands of other residents of the Gulf Coast also lost their homes and livelihoods, a stricter new personal bankruptcy law scheduled to take effect Oct. 17 is likely to finish the Republican economic plan to whitify the Big Easy .

Representative James Sensenbrenner Jr. the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, rejected the notion of reopening the legislation, saying it already included provisions that would ensure that people left "down and out" by the storm would "be in a hole so deep they'd have to look up to see down."

Democrats who had long fought against the law and had lobbied for reopening the legislation were told to "get over it" by Sensenbrenner. "Those people look an awful lot like democrats to me," he said. "Dark ones at that. You tell them this is their reward for voting for Kerry."

When asked for the president's position on the bankruptcy law, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said, "The president believes in the ownership society. If you own something, OK, if not, no soup for you! Ha. Am I a card or what?"

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Don't Blame Me, I Just Work Here

Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's A plane! No, it's the George Orwell Memorial Don't Look Over There Just Listen Photo Of The Day:

When we were young and immature (as opposed to being older and immature) and we got in trouble we used to blame everything on our invisible friend, Sniggles. As you may imagine this strained our relationship with Sniggles and eventually we drifted apart.

While we haven't spoken in years we're hoping that if Sniggles is reading this blog, he will contact Michael Brown who blamed the Louisiana governor, the New Orleans mayor, the weather channel, the nineteenth amendment, porno sites on the internet and even the Bush White House that appointed him for the dismal response to Hurricane Katrina. "Look, George Tenet got a medal for a screw up that helped start a war and I'm getting nothing but grief because a lousy hurricane blew over a few houses, that's all I'm saying."

Brown testified before a special congressional committee set up by House Republican leaders to distract the public from the government's mishandling of one of the most powerful hurricanes to ever hit the Gulf Coast.

So I guess you want me to be the super hero, to step in there and take everyone out of New Orleans. Well, I'm not a super hero," Brown said, tears welling up. "I'm just a man. A man who likes ponies."

Brown said FEMA had gotten a bum rap because many people incorrectly believe it serves as something of a federal rapid-response force. "FEMA is a coordinating agency, we are not a law enforcement agency," he said. "I'm not sure what that has to do with this hearing, since we neither coordinated, nor enforced any laws during or after Katrina, but Karl Rove told me to say it."

"It is inherently impractical, totally impractical, for the federal government to respond to every disaster of whatever size in every community across the country," Brown said. "And quite frankly, a category five hurricane just doesn't make our radar screen."

White House spokesman Scott McClellan urged Congress to undertake "a thorough investigation of what went wrong and what went right and look at lessons learned." Democrats, want an independent investigation not under the control of majority Republicans. "Did I say 'thorough'?" McClellan responded. "What I meant was scattershot. How about preordained? That's good. Show? Show investigation. Yeah. Toothless? Really. We need that.
What's the forecast? Can we make it to the end of the term?"

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Malaise? Isn't That What I Brought Back From Hawaii?

But first a public service announcement from the good folks at the George Orwell Memorial Don't Look Over There Just Listen Photo Of The Day:

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President mean Bush called on the Americans to conserve energy by avoiding non-essential driving and "make sure at least one person on your Christmas list will get a nice wool sweater."

Dressed in his best Mr. Rogers cardigan, the president urged consumers to cut back to ease the pain of supply shortages on his friends who have yachts and private aircraft. He said federal employees should just stay home. "It's not like we're accomplishing a lot anyway," Bush said. "Why waste the resources?"

When asked if a ban on non-essential trips meant he would delay sending the next round of troops to Iraq and Afghanistan the president replied that the pentagon was "taking up a collection" among the troops to defray the cost of their transportation. "It's like when I went on road trips in college," Bush explained. "Everyone chipped in for gas."

The president also said the nation needed to relax regulations on the construction of new oil refineries. "What good is clean air and water if you can't put the top down and cruise, or drive to the beach?" the president argued. "Do you really want to get on a bicycle and wear one of those silly helmets? Cripe, half of you would probably have a heart attack in the first five minutes anyway...Hey...Where's my social security advisor? I've got an idea."

"We need additional refining capacity in order to meet the needs of the American people," Mr. Bush said. "I have a friend who is only able to drive his Hummer because he let his Mexican gardener go. He said even with the tax cut I gave him gas is just too darned expensive."

The President cautioned that as driving season gives way to fall and winter, consumers and businesses can expect heating bills "that'll make my bar tab look like a four year old's allowance."

The Energy Information Administration estimates the country will spend more on natural gas this winter than "ten Republicans at a golf outing combined," said an Energy Department official. "And if you're poor and live north of Florida...well...let's just say you'd better have a lot of wooden furniture, if you get my drift."

"I'm told by the experts we're running out of oil for our oil based economy," Bush said, "But I've made a career of not listening to people who actually know what they're talking about and you people keep reelecting me so I'm not going to start now. I just want to make it last at least until my administration is over, then I'm heading for Crawford and you're on your own. Want a tip? Buy a wood stove and a horse."

Monday, September 26, 2005

OK, So It's Demonstration With a Small D

Today we have decided to turn our entire post over to the George Orwell Memorial Don't Look Over There Just Listen Photo (in this case two) Of The Day.

And not because we're lazy and hung over either, but as a public service for those of you watching at home who may have heard about the anti and pro Iraq war demonstrations in Washington this weekend, but were too busy watching football to notice a slight discrepancy in the relative turnouts.

Pay attention because we're lazy and hung over and we don't want to have to repeat ourselves

This is an anti-war demonstration:

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This is some people waiting for the bus:

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Any Questions?

Friday, September 23, 2005

Friday Hound Blogging

But first, a word from the George Orwell Memorial Don't Look Over There, Just Listen Photo Of The Day:

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We've written several times about to say this politely...lack of revenue generated by the greyhound racing industry. Now, granted that can make for shortened nerves and heightened stress, but this seems a bit extreme.

Chris Condon, general manager of the Townsville Greyhound Track allegedly grabbed and held Lawrence Hogg during an argument over a disputed $2 annual club membership fee. Mr. Hogg said he had refused to pay a $2 charge to go into the show grounds just to deliver some papers to a dog owner. "Look, two bucks may not seem like much," Condon said, "But it's thirty percent of my daily take. I gotta eat you know. Oh, and the dogs. Gotta feed the dogs too."

Two dollars a year?

Oh, but it gets better. Apparently, Mr. Hogg is not one to take a slight. When Condon's attorney asked him if he'd tried to get an acquaintance to "fix up" Condon he denied it. Then they went to the tape:

In it, two male voices have a conversation, including a reference to getting Mr. Condon 'fixed up' and one man saying 'We want him gone ... we've been there since 1977/78 and never had any trouble until Chris took over the stand'.

My my. What has happened to good old family mean entertainment? It's truly a shame when a sport as well regarded and cleanly run as greyhound racing has to suffer because of the actions of a few bad apples.

Well, at least this week's hound got out before the riff raff took over. Meet MJ's Poison Ivy:

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Ivy is a very sweet girl. She loves people so much she would gladly shower you with doggie kisses. If you need a shadow to follow you around she would be the dog to do it. She shows her affection in many ways but loves to be near the human family members with her tail wagging. She is a very happy girl who likes to play but does like her quiet time also. Since she is just 2 years old she displays some puppy like traits. She would benefit from obedience classes. She would need a family who is willing to work with her and monitor her because she can get into things and on top of counters. Until she is adopted her foster family is working with her on these issues. Ivy loves to go for walks to explore her neighborhood but also likes to lounge in the house. She is happy to be with her family so a perfect home would be someone who is looking for a companion to spend time with. 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, September 22, 2005

You Want A Salary And Lunch Too?

And now for the George Orwell Memorial Don't Look Over There, Just Listen Photo Of The Day:

Well, it's been a while since we checked in on the Corporate Overlords at Walmart (Motto: What do you care what a 12 year old Asian girl is earning?) so let's all take a trip to Bentonville Arkansas, or, as the locals like to call it, Mordor.

Lawyers representing about 116,000 former and current Wal-Mart employees in California told a jury Monday that the world's largest retailer systematically and illegally denied workers lunch breaks. "Well, 'denied' is such a strong word," said one company attorney. "We think our workers are just light eaters, that's all."

The case concerns a 2001 state law, which states employees who work at least six hours must have a 30-minute, unpaid lunch break. If they do not get that, the law requires they are paid for an additional hour of pay. "Yeesh. Lunch breaks, days off, living wages. No wonder America is at a competitive disadvantage in the world, the way we coddle our workers," said Hee Wang, a company spokesperson.

"I will prove the reason they did this was for the God Almighty dollar," Attorney Fred Furth said in his opening statement. When asked if he could conceive of a reason other than money to explain why Walmart did anything Furth responded, "OK, so that won't be the toughest part of my case."

Wal-Mart declined to give an opening statement, reserving its right to give one later. "We need to make first," said one Walmart attorney. "Can I see the juror list again?

The company claims that workers did not demand penalty wages on a timely basis. "Funny story there," said one of the attorneys who asked not to be named. "When they first brought the complaint we told them by law they couldn't file because all the clerks were on lunch break. It was weeks before they figured that one out."

Wal-Mart said that it did pay some employees their penalty pay and, in 2003, most workers agreed to waive their meal periods as the law allows. "That was right after we told them we'd fire them if they didn't," said Wang. "Oh and we made the workers who got the extra pay return it too. Are we an efficient company or what?"

The lawsuit was brought in 2001 by a handful of San Francisco-area former Wal-Mart employees, and took four years of legal wrangling to get to trial. "We thought this whole thing was about being gay," said one company attorney. "Who knew straight people wanted lunch breaks too?"

During that time, Wal-Mart produced internal audits that plaintiffs' lawyers maintain showed the company knew it was not granting meal breaks on thousands of occasions. "Hey come on," said Wang. "Have you seen the size of some of our workers? Missing some lunch is part of our new employee health plan."

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Charity Begins At Home. Besides, I Don't Like Jazz

And now for the George Orwell Memorial Don't Look Over There, Just Listen Photo Of The Day:

One of the few good things to come out of the Katrina disaster is the tremendous outpouring of support from Americans all across the country. From can drives by middle schoolers to truck loads of food and supplies donated by corporations, citizens have rushed to the aide of those caught in the tragedy. Even politicians have joined in by agreeing to forego some of the pork they stuffed into the recently passed highway bill.

Well, most of them anyway.

"They can kiss!" Representative. Don Young, the Alaska Republican boomed when Sam Bishop, Washington correspondent for the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, asked him about the many pleas to redirect money for a bridge that will serve 50 people to the disaster victims.

"That is the most un-Christian thing I've ever heard," Young went on, noting that Louisiana did quite well in his highway bill. "They got a ton of money down there for projects." When it was pointed out to him that the money received for improvements was not nearly enough for total rebuilding of the infrastructure, Young said, "I had a golf outing for those lazy sons a...for those victims, and that's it! You know they're going to try and take advantage of the hurricane so they can all buy new Cadillacs or something. No. Not even Cadillacs. Mercedes Benzes or something, some foreign car. Why do poor people hate America?"

Representative Tom DeLay also expressed skepticism that most lawmakers would want to revisit the transportation bill, saying he would be reluctant to sacrifice the pork that he won for his district in the Houston area. "Look, we scored that money fair and square. OK, maybe not fair and square, but we got dibs first. Let them elect their own people who know what an earmark is."

President Bush seemed to agree. The nation will "have to cut unnecessary spending," he said. He added, "We should not raise taxes because that would inconvenience my base." When asked if Representative Young's $223 million bridge for 50 people could be classified as "unnecessary" Bush replied, "Not if it gets him reelected."

"Americans of every race and religion were touched by this storm, yet the greatest hardship fell upon citizens already facing lives of struggle -- the elderly, the vulnerable and the poor," Bush told those gathered at the National Cathedral in Washington. "And even though most of them are democrats, I'm going to have to do something about their plight, so I'm sending military recruiters to the area."

"As we clear away the debris of a hurricane, let us also clear away the manpower shortage in Iraq and Afghanistan." Bush said he would propose the creation of a Gulf Opportunity Zone. "Within this zone, we should provide immediate incentives for low pay, no benefit jobs, tax relief for people who aren't paying taxes now, and incentives to companies that take advantage of the suffering to increase their profits. This will be compassionate conservatism's finest hour."

"It is now clear that a challenge on this scale requires actual expertise" he said, "and a broader role for intelligent decision making -- the institution of our government most capable of massive logistical operations on a moment's notice has been completely decimated by my administration. I may have to fire someone...Heh Heh, just kidding. Gotcha!"

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

And By Their Deeds Ye Shall Know Them. Unless They Can Talk You Out Of It

As a public service we here at the Marbled Halls of IM Central have initiated the George Orwell Memorial Don't Look Over There, Just Listen Photo Of The Day. We feel it will be something soothing for you to gaze upon as your elected leaders go about telling you, don't worry, be happy. Today's edition:

Ever have one of those days when nothing goes right? First, you get up in the morning and find the dog has dumped a load in your shoe, then the car has a flat, you forget about a meeting, the boss is getting a demotion and blames it on you, aliens kidnap you for another round of anal probing.

You get the picture

It seems the president is having a whole term like that. First, the war in Iraq turns out to be a big disappointment, then the plan to give all the money in the government to his rich friends hits a snag, then social security refuses to die, then Katrina (talk about an anal probe), and now this.

A former General Services Administration (GSA) official was arrested on charges of making false statements and obstructing an investigation by the GSA's Office of Inspector General. For those of you taking notes, the GSA is the office that handles procurement policy for the White House's Office of Management and Budget. That's spending money for those of you watching in black and white.

The affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint alleges that from May 16, 2002 until January 10, 2004, David Safavian served as Chief of Staff at the GSA. During that time he allegedly aided a Washington D.C. lobbyist in the lobbyist's attempts to acquire GSA-controlled property in and around Washington, D.C.

The lobbyist in question would be Jack Abramoff.

Yes, that Jack Abramoff, who is, in turn connected to Tom DeLay.

Yes, that Tom Delay.

Seeing a pattern here? We need to point out that we don't have a problem with incompetence in politicians, heck we even expect it. After all, if they had any competencies they would have gotten real jobs, right? Say in the greyhound racing industry. But when incompetence is so bad it's illegal, well, that just gives stupid a bad name.

So, with that as a backdrop, can you guess how high our expectations are for this?

President Bush has named his homeland security adviser, Fran Townsend, to lead an internal inquiry into the much-criticized federal response to Hurricane Katrina, the White House said on Tuesday.

"The president said he wanted to hold people accoun...heh...accoun...hac...accoun...hahahahahahahahahaha...sorry, accountable. This is one of the many ways in which he will...spppff...he will...hehe...he wii...hahahahahahaha...oh, sorry again. He will do that," the spokesman said. "Man, I must be tired. I used to be able to say stuff like that with a straight face."

A memo from White House chief of staff Andrew Card directed government departments and agencies to designate one useless official to be the token to work with Townsend for their specific agency. "We're thinking this might be a good opportunity for that janitor, or mail room clerk who wants to move up," Card said.

Townsend will look at "what went right, ignore what went wrong and try not to learn lessons from the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, except the part where we blame everyone else," said spokesman Trent Duffy.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Friday Hound Blogging

OK, so when the overlords' units are no longer profitable at a particular track, they're packed up in a hauler and shipped out to another track to see if a few more bucks can be squeezed out of their skinny hides before they're dumped.

Now, transportation for greyhounds isn't exactly first class. We've written before about some of the "stock loss" that accompanies the overlords' attempts to keep from having to get a real jobs.

Of course, since the overlords care so much for their charges, any mishap, on the road or otherwise is cause for great consternation and distress. For example, take this recent incident.

It was a fiery death for nearly a dozen greyhound dogs after a trailer fire turned into a deadly trap. They'd been among 16 racing dogs in a trailer when, firefighters said, the air conditioning unit malfunctioned and caught fire. The flames spread to the shredded newspaper that lined the floor. Ten of dogs would not survive.

You can imagine the emotional devastation experienced by the overlord of these particular units. They're burned. They're bruised. They're abandoned. Veterinarian Patty Totilas said the owner wanted to put one down. "I guess they're money making animals to her. They're not her pets," Totilas said.


Well, we all show grief in different ways. Those of us who are fully human anyway. Luckily, this week's hound survived his overlord's frantic attempts to wring a few last cents from his bony frame and now he's ready to end his wandering days...on your couch. Meet Earl Ott aka Hobbs"

Earl a.k.a. Hobbs is confident, sweet, well mannered, outgoing and very affectionate. He seeks affection and enjoys being petted. He will bounce his head against you to get affection. He likes to play with stuffed animals. He does the puppy pounce and makes silly noises when he plays. He loves to walk and jog with his foster family daily. He loves to spend time outside. 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, September 15, 2005

Investigation? We Don't Need No Stinking Investigation

"I am not now, nor have I ever been an idiot," said Senator James Sensenbrenner in announcing the the senate would not establish an independent, bipartisan panel patterned after the 9/11 Commission to investigate the federal, state and local governments' FUBAR response to Hurricane Katrina.

"The last thing we need is some independent do gooder rooting around here trying to dig up dirt while we're trying to get the nation's business turned over to the private sector so we'll all have jobs if we don't get re-elected." He said.

When asked if republicans were resisting the calls for an independent panel for political reasons as they did with the 9/11 panel, Senator Trent Lott said, "That was different. Who knew that when the public found out the president had reason to believe an attack was imminent, and went on vacation they still wouldn't want him impeached. We don't want to go to that well too often if you get my drift. Besides, there are procedural problems with this bill."

When asked what those procedural problems were, Lott responded that the biggest problem is that "we'd have an investigation for crying out loud. How could it get worse than that?"

"We've put together a bipartisan committee to whitewash this latest Bush screw mean this naturally occurring meteorological phenomenon over which the federal government has no control, but the state and local governments screwed up royally," said House majority whip Tom DeLay. "And as soon as we can get a token democrat we've got some dirt on, we'll open hearings. Has Senator Lieberman cleared his schedule yet?"

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid rebuffed the bid by GOP leaders to create the committee. Reid has instead vowed that any bid by Republican leaders to establish a special bipartisan committee involving lawmakers from both House and Senate will go forward only if Democrats have equal representation. "Their first offer was to give us 3/5 of a vote." Reid said.

This was Congress' first step in investigating major gaps in the country's readiness and response systems that Katrina exposed. "Well, 'investigating' is such a strong word, when what we're really trying to do is avoid an investigation," said White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan. "How we doing so far?"

Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, the top democrat who is really a republican on the committee, said the response to Katrina "has shaken the public's confidence in the ability of government at all levels to protect them in a crisis, but since we never wanted to do that anyway, I'd say things are going just about according to plan."

Other bills to cut federal red tape and otherwise make it easier to get aid to Katrina victims have hit a slow patch as lawmakers wrestle over how to work their tee times in around hearing dates.

"We'll get to it, said Senator Lieberman. "And if we don't, well the free market solves all problems eventually, doesn't it? And by the way, if those people in New Orleans are so poor, how come they can afford pets? Maybe if they hadn't had to feed a dog, they could have afforded a bus ticket out. Oh wait, there were no buses were there. My bad."

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

And The Lord Sayeth: "Pay Attention People"

Sadly, we knew it was only a matter of time before this happened. God's press secretaries have come out to explain how hurricane Katrina was actually subtle message from the deity explaining to us in his own unique way that he doesn't like poor black people. Or something like that.

Explaining perhaps the most creative connection between the actions of the almighty and tropical low pressure systems, the right reverend Pat Robertson had this to say: "You know, it's just amazing, though, that people say the litmus test for Supreme Court nominee Roberts is whether or not he supports the wholesale slaughter of unborn children when it should be is he for the slaughter of Venezuelan Presidents."

And what does abortion and assassination have to do with hurricanes Reverend Rambo? "But have we found we are unable somehow to defend ourselves against some of the attacks that are coming against us, either by terrorists or now by natural disaster? Could they be connected in some way?" OK. Forget about looking for middle eastern types in flight school. We need to find out how many potential terrorists are studying meteorology.

That thought is echoed by another of God's own advance team: "One lesson I learned from Katrina is that we had better win the war on terror and resolve to prevent another 9-11. Katrina exposed how easy it would be to take a city out. God help us if the terrorists ever get their hands on a hurricane," said Charles Colson.

But the worst is yet to come: "It seems clear that the prophetic times I have been expecting for decades have finally arrived. According to the voices in my head, a revived Roman Empire in Europe is to rule the West, and then the world, so get used to bowing down to Emperor Renee'. Damn French," said Hal Lindsey.

OK, look. We don't usually do this, but as a public service we're going to take time out from hunting up half empty vodka bottles to settle this controversy once and for all. Pay attention.

It is true that God is punishing us. No mistake. Now, our connection to the master of the universe is somewhat static filled, so we can't say exactly what it is that has Jehovah's knickers in a twist, but twisted they are. That much is clear. And so he has sent a natural disaster that dwarfs Katrina like a hydrogen bomb dwarfs a fart in a windstorm in its ability to wreak havoc and lay waste to our world.

And make no mistake, this is a world wide disaster that, even as we write this continues to spread death, destruction, dislocation and malapropisms. What is the instrument of God's terrible swift sword? What is the nature of this terrible retribution? Where is this spawn of chaos, this precipitate of doom? Why, it's right here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

I'm A Multitasker, Not A Divider

Oh yeah. That's what we're talking about. Look out Katrina aftermath, the president is in da house. But don't think that just because he's down on the bayou making sure no photographer is disappointed that he isn't also taking care of his other presidenteristical duties.

"I can do more than one thing at one time," the president assured Monday. "One time I balanced a beer between my legs, lit up a dobie and drove home without spilling a drop or missing a toke. Wait, that probably isn't a good example."

"By the time I'm finished (being) president, I hope you'll realize that the government can screw up more than one thing at one time and individuals in the government can't find their butts with both hands," Bush told reporters Monday as he wrapped up photo ops in New Orleans and Gulfport, Mississippi. "If I'm focusing on the hurricane, I've got the capacity to focus on foreign policy and vice versa. So we're going to help all those Chinese citizens devastated by the storm while controlling cheap textile imports from Biloxi.""

As Bush was preparing to leave Tuesday for the United Nations, the White House announced that he will address the nation Thursday in his first prime-time obfuscation since the Hurricane Katrina disaster. "People need to know they are going to get service from the federal government," said White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan. "Sure it's just lip service, but you go with the president you have, not the president you wish you had."

For the first time since the terrorist attacks on the U.S. four years ago, a majority of Americans said it is more important for the president to focus on domestic policy than the war on terrorism. "Look, we understand how seeing thousands of your fellow countrymen become homeless, destitute abandoned refugees in their own country can be distracting," McClellan said. "But remember, terrorists hate the benefits of freedom whites enjoy...I mean we enjoy...we enjoy. Oh, crap. 9/11! 9/11!."

The president said he'll be in "constant touch" with hurricane recovery teams during his two-day trip to the United Nations. "Jenna got me one of those Blackberry things," Bush said. "I'll be checking it regularly as soon as I figure out where to put the batteries in."

Monday, September 12, 2005

You Mean I'm The President Of The Black People Too?

We think the vacationer in chief is taking a bad rap from those who are accusing him of being slow to respond to Katrina because most of the victims were black. After all, didn't he take his time responding to the September 11 attacks? Didn't he take his time getting around to meeting with families of soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan?

See, when it comes to someone else's tragedy our compassionate conservative is AWOL. (That works on so many different levels, no?) But, mess with his family and you'll have some Bush all up in your grill. Well, not Bush actually, but a lot of people he can order around will come to kick your butt. Well, not kick your butt really, but hang out in your country for a really long time and make it so you can't get reliable cable.

"The storm didn't discriminate and neither will the recovery effort," Bush said. "The rescue efforts were comprehensive. The recovery will be comprehensive. Well, not 'comprehensive' actually. Spotty maybe. Or inconsistent. Maybe haphazard. Yeah, that's it."

Bush made the remarks to reporters beneath a highway overpass that had recently been cleard of refugees by the 82nd Airborne. During a tour of the devistated area Bush had to duck to avoid low-hanging electrical wires and branches. "These people sure don't take very good care of their neighborhoods," the president was heard to remark. "Is that a body over there?"

In a sign that Bush is growing fearful of the accusations, he testily replied to a reporter who asked whether he felt let down by federal officials on the ground. "Look, there will be plenty of time to play the blame game," he said. "Particular after Karl changes the rules so we can win."

"We need to make sure that this country is knitted up as well as it can be in order to deal with significant problems and disasters that could happen to white people," Bush said. "Meantime, we've got to keep moving forward because I don't want anybody thinking too much about the recent past until Karl can rewrite it."

"I know there has been a lot of second-guessing. I can assure you I'm not interested in that. What I'm interested in is avoiding blame. And there'll be time to take a step back and to take a sober look at what went right, what didn't go right. And no, that doesn't mean I was drunk when the hurricane hit."

Bush also clarified his now-criticized remark that no one had anticipated the levees being breached. He said he was referring to that "sense of relaxation in a critical moment" when many people initially thought the storm had not inflicted heavy damage on the city. When told that no one but he had felt that way, Bush replied "Oh, you mean those levees. My bad."

Bush, on a two-day visit to hurricane-affected areas, started the day with a tour of the 844-foot USS Iwo Jima, a command center for military operations. "This is a big boat," the president said. Look at all those buttons and flashing lights."

Afterwards he was given a slide show presentation, which covered the latest relief and recovery efforts in three states, which was conducted solely with words of two syllables or less.

The trip came as the White House is eager to show the president displaying hands-on, empathetic leadership in the storm effort. "Well, not exactly 'hands on'" explained White House Press Secretary Scott McCllellan. "The president has made very clear that he wants to stay away form 'those dark folks because mom says they have cooties.'"

Friday, September 09, 2005

Friday Hound Blogging

Ouch. Poor overlords. It seems no one wants them anymore. At least no one in Iowa. The National Cattle Congress has failed in another attempt to reopen the Waterloo Greyhound Park. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission says the N.C.C. has no right to its old license.

"We couldn't figure out what cattle people would do with a greyhound track anyway," said Commission member Mike Mahaffey. "Maybe they were going to race cows or something. Now that would be a high steaks race. Get it? Steak. Stake. Ha. I'm a real card."

Yeah. Well, moooooving right along, it seems America isn't the only place the overlords have worn out their welcome. London may be about to kiss good-bye to greyhound racing as house builders George Wimpey are believed to have bought the Walthamstow track

George Wimpey? They were bought out by a guy named Wimpey? We're sure there's a joke in there someplace, but it's Friday and we don't feel like looking for it.

Besides, there's more news from overlord land. Financial woes will force the Geneva Lakes Greyhound Track in Wisconsin to close in November after more than 15 years of operation, the racetrack's general manager said. "For the first ten years when nobody showed up, we thought it was just that they were busy that night. But lately it's become clear that people just don't want to watch animals be exploited so we can make money."

Slow learners it seems. But all's well that ends well we assume. And speaking of ending well, this week's hound is looking to end up on someone's couch. Meet Laoise:

Laoise a.k.a. Sophie is very sweet and affectionate. She is confident, outgoing, playful and fairly energetic. She puts her head in your lap and nuzzles for attention. She likes to play with toys and will throw them in the air. She also likes to take the toys outside and to bed with her. She likes to “roo” when she is inquisitive. She also has a Mae West swing in her step. She is a fun loving girl. 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, September 08, 2005

Hey, Brown Rhymes With Drown, Right? Heh. Come On, I'm Just Trying To Lighten It Up A Little

We'd like to take a moment to speak in defense of Michael Brown, the beleaguered head of FEMA. Seems a lot of people believe he's not quite up to the job.

Well, duh. So what's your point?

See, people are getting way too hyper about this "qualification" thing. Look, his boss is a former drunk and drug addict who has failed at everything he's done up to this point. Does that sound like someone who is "qualified" to be president?

Right. So quit harping on "qualifications."

Now, let's hear from Mr. Brown. He has overseen responses to 164 presidential declared emergencies and disasters as FEMA counsel and general counsel. "I have been through a few disasters," he said. "Of course as the FEMA counsel I was just concerned about who might sue us for our screw ups. I wasn't in charge of the screw ups themselves."

When asked what he considered his biggest screw up Brown replied, "You mean after taking this job in the first place?" Brown then admitted that the federal government did not know that thousands of survivors without food or water had taken shelter at the city's convention center, despite a day of news reports. Brown also said people were "getting the help they need" and called New Orleans security "pretty darn good," contradicting reports and video from the scene. "Who has time to watch TV at a time like that?" he said.

Brown was the former head of the International Arabian Horse Association, when old friend and then FEMA Director Joe Allbaugh hired him in 2001. "He told me my horse experience was perfect for helping animals," Brown said. "I like animals. I had a pony when I was a kid. And dogs. I like dogs too."

When asked why he waited hours after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast before sending only 1,000 Homeland Security workers into the region to support rescuers Brown responded, "Well, I hear hurricanes are dangerous storms. I didn't want to risk my people until the danger was past."

Part of FEMA's mission, according to Brown was to "convey a positive image" about the government's response for victims. "When I was at the Arabian Horse Association we had this contest where everyone would dress in costumes. People really liked it, so I was hoping to develop a FEMA costume so people would like us," Brown said. "I even had a mock up of what I wanted."
Now because everyone is so hep up about this qualifications thing, Michael Chertoff, head of Homeland Security has appointed Vice Admiral Thad W. Allen, the Coast Guard's chief of staff, to be Brown's deputy and to take over operational control of the search-and-rescue and recovery efforts along the Gulf Coast.

"Mike is still going to be involved the decisions," Chertoff said. "He'll be ordering the donuts for the staff meeting. Admiral Allen will be in charge of actually getting something done."

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Wanted: Free Lance Writer. Must Be Scruple Free

OK, what we want to know is where do we sign up for this job? We all know about Armstrong Williams but it appears he was just one employee in the whole PR project and we want in on the action. We'd post our resume, but any government recruiters out there should already know we have the primary qualification: If you pay us enough money we'll say anything you want.

Federal investigators probing the Education Department's public relations contracts have found a pattern of deals in which ethics challenged organizations received money totaling nearly $4.7 million to promote the Bush administration's gut public education scheme, but didn't disclose that they received taxpayer funds, as required by law.

"Well, 'disclose,' that's a vague word," said White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan. "I mean, we all knew about it here, so that's a sort of disclosure, don't you think? Besides, this is all Paige's fault since he's not here, I mean since he was in charge then."

The report, said the department needs to do a better job monitoring how millions of dollars in grants are spent. More than $1.7 million, for example, went to outside public relations contracts that officials said resulted in no visible media products. "That's not true," McClellan argued. "Some of that money went to those thinking good thoughts about us. We're out to change the karma you know."

Inspector General John Higgins found that in 10 of 11 cases examined, groups didn't disclose — in print, on radio or in other media, such as brochures or handbooks that taxpayer funds were used. "We're on top of that," McClellan explained. "We're looking for that 11th case right now."

Higgins' report cites several examples of taxpayer-funded groups publishing opinion-page newspaper articles or other media without disclosing their federal grants. Among them: $1.3 million over three years to the Black Alliance for Educational Options. "The Alliance produced a 'multi layered media campaign,' or as we call it, a quarter page ad in the Weekly Advertiser," said Higgins

Also reported were two unsolicited grants, totaling $900,000, in 2003 and 2004, to the Hispanic Council for Reform and Education Options. "Funny story there," said McClellan. "When we first approached those people they told us to get lost. Said they didn't want to be involved with an administration that was callously using poor and minority children to further our plan to gut public schools. Then we doubled the offer and they saw the light. That's why the grant was 'unsolicited.' They insisted on that characterization. It was an ethics thing with them."

Another $1.6 million was given to to ZGS Communications, for which officials couldn't fully account. A spokesperson for ZGS said he was sure the money was "here somewhere. We just hired a new cleaning service and they moved everything around."

$2,650 was awarded to North American Precis Syndicate (NAPS), which produced what amounted to a 284-word infomercial. "Yeah but they were big words," said Cyndi DePalatrono, PR Vice President for the Syndicate.

Wow. $2,650 for 284 words. That's $9.34 a word. At that rate our blog entry would bring in $4819.44. Woo Hoo! No more off brand vodka.

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings' response, filed with the report, agreed with most of the investigators' findings. Yeah Yeah. Got caught. Do the right thing. Blah blah. Hey Margaret. Call us.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

What do You Want ME To Do? I'm Just The President

We think in times of national calamity such as the one that has befallen our fellow citizens along the Gulf Coast, we must put aside our differences and rally around those who are suffering. Americans have a long history of helping each other up off the mat after tragedies and closing ranks behind our forward looking leaders as we bring the full force of our can do spirit to bear on the problem.

Except that this time our forward looking leader is George W. Bush.

Looks like we're on our own folks.

Further complicating the the response to the hurricane, Bush visited the affected sites. But the visit was a photo op designed to fool those Americans who were too upset by the death, destruction and dislocation to pay much attention to the "disassembler" in chief.

First stop a briefing at a Coast Guard Hanger. Now, even though the leader of the free world was down in the trenches with the great unwashed acting like he had a clue what it might be like to lose your entire life's work in the blink of an eye and not have your daddy bail you out, how did the ungrateful press choose to report the story? Here's the headline: Bush Visit to New Orleans Halts Food Delivery.

Three tons of food ready for delivery by air to refugees in St. Bernard Parish and on Algiers Point sat on the Crescent City Connection bridge Friday afternoon as air traffic was halted because of President Bush’s visit to New Orleans.

"Look, those people hadn't eaten in days," an unnamed official said. "What's a couple of more hours? It's the president for crying out loud. How many times in their lives will they get to see him up close?"

Well, enough briefing, next it was off to one of the scenes of devastation in Biloxi. As Bush, Haley Barbour and others walked down a street, 2 women appeared. But it turns out that the two women didn't even live in Biloxi, and had just come down for the day to loot. "We were as surprised as anyone they were there," said Press Secretary Scott McClellan. "The area was supposed to have been cleared by the National Guard."

Fearful that the presidential party might encounter some actual survivors, the secret service whisked Bush away to his next stop, levee repairs in New Orleans. And what a sight that was. Safely removed from any chance he might actually come face to face with a resident, the president conferred his blessing on the relief effort. "Progress is flowing" Bush opined. When asked if he really said "flowing" while standing at the breech that lead to the greatest flood in New Orleans' history, McClellan responded that the president "was trying to inspire people. He got one of those Word-a-Day calendars and 'metaphor' was today's word."

Apparently Bush failed to inspire the crew working on the levee because when he left, they did too. Senator Mary Landrieu said "Flying over this critical spot again this morning, less than 24 hours later, it became apparent that yesterday we witnessed a hastily prepared stage set for a Presidential photo opportunity; and the desperately needed resources we saw were this morning reduced to a single, lonely piece of equipment."

Press Secretary McClellan blamed their non return on the fact that "they were a union crew. Probably had the day off or something."

And on his way out of town to make his tee time, the president sought to ease the fears of survivors about the reported unrest at the Convention Center...yes the Convention Center that FEMA Director Michael Brown had just discovered. Bush said, "I'm pleased to report, thanks to the good work of the adjutant general from Louisiana and the troops that have been called in that the convention center is secure."

"Did he say 'secure?'" Press Secretary McClellan was asked by a local reporter. "Well, that's such a vague word. I mean we locked them in there, so that's sort of secure, right?" McClellan said.

Meanwhile Bush made it back to Washington in time to play a round of golf with donors and watch his favorite show, American Idol. Plus there was chocolate milk at dinner. "Is this a great nation or what?" the president said just before his bedtime.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Friday Hound Blogging

Sharp eyed readers of this blog (yes we mean you mom!) will remember when we reported on the outbreak of "kennel cough" that raced through greyhound tracks in several states. We were told at the time that "kennel cough" was "just like a bad cold" and not a serious threat to the lives of the We were told that right before the overlords reported how many dogs had died that week. Curious, no?

Well, now comes this story about "canine influenza." The same deadly flu that ravaged greyhound Massachusetts racetracks is now taking deadly aim at pet dogs in Florida, new evidence shows.

Hmmm..."deadly flu?" But Mr. Reporter, the overlords assured us it was just the common "kennel cough," no more serious than a cold and that the dogs would be up and back to being exploited in no time. We're they being less than honest with us?

This spring, 18 Wonderland racetrack greyhounds died, with at least some of the deaths involving a strain of canine influenza, later tests showed.

What? The overlords knew this wasn't "kennel cough?" Surely you are mistaken. Why, the dogs are valuable athletes and represent years of investment and training. Surely if they thought their were in danger they would do all within their power to get them medical attention.

Officials at various Massachusetts regulatory agencies could not be reached for comment yesterday about the news from Florida.

Oh. Well, it is the holiday weekend after all. So, all you pet dog owners out there, here's something else for you to worry about brought to you by the wonderful world of greyhound racing.

And speaking of pet dogs, here's a fellow who managed to get out with his health and now seeks a second career as a companion animal. Requirements are home with couch. Meet Kiowa Chil Clark:

Chil Clark is a very sweet and friendly dog. He acts like a puppy at times and seems to be happy to be in a home environment. He loves people and is eager to please. You can see how happy he is because he wags his tail all the time. His way of getting attention is to make sure he follows his human family around the house and places himself close to them so he is the first to get attention. 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, September 01, 2005

What's The Hurry? All The White Folks Got Out

There is at least one measure of solace we can take in the face of the terrible tragedy that has befallen our fellow citizens along the Gulf Coast, and that is that our Federal Government under the leadership of our president, has marshaled all its forces in response.

Or maybe not.

Bush, who returned to the White House two days early from a month long Texas vacation to oversee disaster-relief efforts got a look at some of the damage earlier as Air Force One descended to less than 3,000 feet and slowed to 250 miles per hour over the hardest-hit area, particularly New Orleans.

"All the people look like ants, "Bush said. "Bring me another iced tea will you? Do you think they voted for me?" When asked why it took him so long to respond to the tragedy Bush replied that he was "jammin'" and hadn't watched the news.

"This recovery will take years," Bush said an address from the White House Rose Garden. "Especially since my administration is involved. We can screw up a hanging with a new rope. Heh heh. That's funny. Got to keep your sense of humor in times like this. Got to get on with your life. Cindy Sheehan wasn't down there was she? Dang."

In an interview on ABC's Good Morning America Bush said "I don't think anyone anticipated a breech in the levees." When asked to respond to the numerous articles and reports predicting just such an occurrence because of the withdrawal of Federal support for programs to strengthen flood control capability in the region, and to a quote by emergency management chief Walter Maestri in Jefferson Parish, who said, "It appears that the money has been moved in the president's budget to handle homeland security and the war in Iraq, and I suppose that's the price we pay." The president said, "Well, the people around Baghdad need flood control too. And the berms make handy hiding places for our troops. I'm a war president you know. 9/11! 9/11!"

President Bush plans to tour the flood ravaged area tomorrow because he "got back to Washington too late to get a good tee time." White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Bush will survey the Alabama and Mississippi coast by helicopter, then go on to New Orleans. "He probably won't stay long though," McClellan added. "The bars are all closed as I understand."

Bush has asked his father, former President George H.W. Bush, and former President Clinton to lead a private fund-raising campaign for victims, the White House said. "Dad's been ragging me about Iraq lately," Bush said. "This will keep him out of my hair for a while."

When asked if any international support would be coming to the region, Press Secretary Scott McClellan said there had been some response, but "There was a brown looking guy on that Canada team, so Homeland Security stopped them at the border."

Bush brushed off criticism that he did not return to Washington from his month long stay at his Texas ranch on Tuesday, in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane. Upon returning Wednesday, he held a meeting with top government officials guiding RNC fund raising and made remarks in the Rose Garden. "They told me this is all the homo's fault," Bush said. "So I didn't hurry because I didn't want Jesus to think I was a little light in the wrist if you get my drift."