Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Hound Blogging

A while back we told you about overlord Eb. Eb is one of the shinier apples in the overlord bushel because he's figured out that betting on the dogs is not the golden path to riches many believe it is, but betting on the stupidity of those who bet on the dogs may be.

As a result Eb has put together a sure fire way to win at the track. Well, sure fire for him anyway because he wants to charge people who believe that enough two dollar bets will secure a pleasant retirement for themselves $35 bucks to tap wisdom like this:
Would you handicap your five year old’s Pee Wee League baseball game the same way you handicap The World Series? Of course you wouldn’t. So why do you handicap all the races on a greyhound program the same way? It doesn’t make sense, does it, yet that’s what most people do. It doesn’t work. They don’t make money. Yet there they are at the next day’s program, doing the same thing. That’s just insane!
Well of course it is. What parent would bet on a five year old? Once they get to high school, now that's where the money is.
Do you think that you can’t make money on A races because favorites win and don’t pay anything? Do you believe the old myth that you can’t make money on lower grade races because the dogs are so bad that it’s pure chance who wins? How about M races? Would you agree that the puppies are just too inconsistent and erratic to handicap?
Wait. They even bet on the puppies? OK, maybe they would bet on a five year old.
If you want to keep hanging out with your friends at the track, but you also want to make money at the track, you’ll have to rein in your spending on food, drink and anything else that isn’t essential to handicapping.
Right. Things like rent, utilities, doctor visits for that five year old if he gets hurt trying to steal second because you told him what the spread was and made him promise to beat it, all that stuff has got to go. And while we're at it, what are you doing with friends anyway?
Be honest with yourself. If you know that you’re not going to be able to keep your mind on your handicapping because you’re too involved with other people, then admit it and protect yourself and your wallet.
Truer words were never spoken because we all know, if you have friends at a dog track, they're just as broke as you are and are probably looking for a hand out. Eb's got your back though, he's your friend, and to show it:
These are tough financial times for all of us. That’s why I’ve reduced the prices of my Winning Greyhound Handicapping Systems. For as little as $20, you can win at the dog track today.
That Eb. He's a saint, right Jim?

Jim is extremely warm and loving. He loves to lean into you for attention. He loves attention but is not pushy. He is easygoing and mellow, but has a playful side. He goes and gets a toy and plays with it. Then he takes it to his bed. He also collects laundry. He is a happy dog that smiles and has a helicopter tail. He is a bit klutzy. When he shakes, his legs spread out. Jim would do well in a working family home with well-mannered children, 8 and up. He is good with other dogs and would probably be fine 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.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Republicans! Motto: After We Kill The Economy, You Can Work On Our Plantations

As denizens of the Water Winter Wonderland we have become quite convinced that the media's three favorite words are "Bankrupt," Foreclose" and "Layoff." Of course part of that is the result of Michigan's leadership position vis-a-vis the depression. We saw it first, we claimed it and we've been camped out in the slowly crumbling ruins for a couple of years now while the rest of you have gone about your over leveraged lives.

Chickens, welcome home to the roost, except we burned it for heat a couple of months ago.

Anyway, all this is by way of introducing our interest in the "Stimulus" bill that finally made its way to the House floor yesterday. You may have heard of it. It's the symbol of the new bipartisanship, the dawning of the age of Obama, of the rebirth of enlightenment, serious deliberation, consensus and compromise, of citizen statesmen imbued with the promise of democracy and determined to remake this country so that it truly is the shining city on the hill.

Of course, we could be mistaken.

After a sharply partisan debate, House of Representatives passed an $819 billion economic stimulus package designed to create millions of jobs quickly and give consumers more money to spend. The vote was 244 to 188. None of the House's 178 Republican members voted yes, despite a fresh plea for cooperation from President Barack Obama.

"The bill is extremely expensive for what you get out of it," said Rep. Michael Castle , R- Del. "Jobs, economic stability and growth, much needed improvements in long neglected but crucial elements of American infrastructure with forward looking investments that will not only pay off now, but may make the whole planet better in the future. I ask you, where's the upside of that?"

The White House tried hard to soften the partisan edges. Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel met privately with a small group of GOP moderates, but the effort was futile. "He tried to make it seem like we needed to come together for the sake of the entire country," said Rep. Mike Pence , R- Ind. "Yeah. Right. Like that's going to motivate the republican party."

The measure, which now goes to the Senate has $544 billion in spending and $275 billion in tax cuts. Highlights include a $79 billion State Fiscal Stabilization Fund , which would help state governments with education and other expenses, while $30 billion more would be targeted for highway and bridge construction projects. "See? That's just what I'm talking about," said Castle. "Where's the constitutional amendment against gay marriage? Where's the repeal of Roe v Wade? Where does it protect our borders against illegal immigrants who would take our jobs if there were any left? This country has serious problems and they're just not being addressed by this administration."

The bill also gives most taxpayers breaks of $500 each on their payroll taxes and increases tax breaks for college tuition, first-time homebuyers and child care. ""Five hundred bucks? I spend more than that on lunch," said Pence. "Five hundred bucks won't even make the boat payment. This administration is out of touch with the American people."

Republicans cited CBO estimates that the stimulus would cause the federal deficit, already estimated to reach $1.2 trillion this year, to be at $170 billion more this year and $819 billion more through 2019. "Now it's true that wouldn't be an issue if we hadn't totally bankrupted the country these last eight years," Pence said. "But that doesn't change the fact that Obama is being fiscally irresponsible trying to pull this country out of the crapper we put it in. Wait, that didn't come out right."

Some of the spending will be "wasteful," said House Minority Leader John Boehner , R- Ohio . A plan to provide funds to help consumers convert to digital television "looks like a slush fund to me," he said. "Why don't they just go out and get new TV's," he added. "You can pick up a good flat screen for a thousand or two. Heck I just bought another one for my bathroom yesterday. This is just another example of how out of touch the Obama administration is."

"I know that some are skeptical about the size and scale of this recovery plan," President Obama said. "I understand that skepticism, which is why this recovery plan will include unprecedented measures that will allow the American people to hold my administration accountable."

"And that's another problem," Boehner said. "He's taking responsibility for this. What's up with that? We're not about to get caught in the accountability trap."

"We welcome the criticism of our Republican friends," said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer , D- Md. "But let's put that criticism in some context. Republicans have been consistently wrong on economics."

"Oh, since when has knowing what you're talking about been a necessary criterion to be a republican," Castle asked. "This is more democrats changing the subject so they don't have to face the real issue, the myth of global warming."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Republicans! Motto: It Hurts When We Pee

Well, it looks lie Obama is going to be a one term president. We say that becuase we've just been informed that the republicans have come up with a sure fire way to win back Congress and the White House.

The NRCC is banging the good old culture wars drum today, sending out a raft of press releases asking if rookie Dems from conservative districts back the inclusion of anti-sexually transmitted disease programs. The title of the release: Do Freshmen Dems Support $335 Million for STD Prevention in "Stimulus"?

Yes, that's right, the republicans are enlarging their base by reaching out to the pro-STD crowd.

We don't need to take up anymore of your time with this do we? Didn't think so.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

They Get To Look At Pictures Of Kids Having Fun In Their Textbooks

Frequent readers of this blog know that life is full of joy like crocodiles are full of yogurt...erm...we mean know that we have regaled reader(s) many times with tales of our adventures in the educorporate training facility in our neighborhood.

One of the highlights of our day back then was when our harried educational technicians would high themselves off to the teachers' lounge for vodka and cigarettes while turning us loose on the cement playground, bordered with a six foot chain link fence topped with three strands of barbed wire (tilted in towards us). Like the budding young learners we were, we immediately began to test the physical laws of angular momentum, inertia and gravity on the tubular steel monkey bars and swing sets with iron chains. Not to mention the teeter totters that provided our first experience in catapulting, or the merry go round which provided innumerable experiments into the nature of centrifugal force. Or maybe it was centripetal force. We tended to get our terms confused while sliding across the asphalt on our face.

This was called recess and it was meant to improve our physical health, coordination, reaction time and social skills. At least for those of us who weren't taken away by paramedics.

Apparently, responsibility for this phase of childhood development has been passed from the schools to the video game industry.

Today many children get less free time and fewer physical outlets at school "because many school districts responded to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 by reducing time committed to recess, the creative arts, and even physical education in an effort to focus on reading and mathematics," the research team said in a study published in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. "Hey, learning to play kickball isn't going to get you a job in the service sector," said one representative of the Department of Education who asked not to be identified.

Researchers reported that a growing trend of curbing free time at school may lead to unruly classrooms and rob youngsters of needed exercise and an important chance to socialize, Dr. Romina Barros and colleagues at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York reported. "Plus kids who get head injuries on the playground tend to be quieter in the afternoon.

The researchers also found that children not getting recess were more likely to be black, from poor families and attending public schools in large cities. "We have to be careful how much physical activity these kids get," said one school principal. "We don't want them to be in better shape than the cops who are eventually going to have to chase them for stealing some old lady's purse or something, you know?"

One earlier study found that free time has shrunk for U.S. children in and out of school since the 1970s, the report said. At the same time most elementary schools in Asia provide a 10-minute break after every 40 to 50 minutes of instruction, it added.," he added. "Hey, you think these kids are going to get a ten minute break every hour at Burger King, or TGI Friday's? We're just trying to get them ready for the real world, that's all."

Monday, January 26, 2009

Bankers! Motto: We Take Other People's Money, Lose It, Then Make Them Give Us More

Truth be told, economics sort of scares us. Several times the invisible hand of the market has come upside our heads due to hyperbolic discounting, which we have to say was not our fault, but rather because of a model having compiled an empirical record of parameter instability particularly in the face of breaks in the stochastic behavior of the exogenous variables and disturbances.

Getting fired probably didn't help either, although in our defense the Principal was an idiot. We were just pointing out the obvious.

The point is, we've stayed out of this whole give-the-banks-money-because-if-we-don't-they- won't-have-any-because-the-people-who-run-them-are-dumber-than-moss-on-a-stump-and- lost-it-all controversy, preferring to leave these decisions to our betters. What little we have been able to figure out though is that the idea was to give the banks money so they could get back to doing what banks do, which is lending money to people so they could buy things and make things and start businesses and stuff so the economy would get going strong and we could finally invade Iran.

So how's that working out?

Congress approved the $700 billion rescue plan with the idea that banks would help struggling borrowers and increase lending to stimulate the economy. But many banks that have received bailout money so far are reluctant to lend, worrying that if new loans go bad, they will be in worse shape if the economy deteriorates. "See, the government gave us money to put back into the economy and stimulate growth," said John C. Hope III, the chairman of Whitney National Bank in New Orleans. "But the economy's is so unstimulated right now, it's not growing at all, so we're hanging on to the money until times get better."


"It's high level econometrical stuff," Hope said. "You wouldn't understand."

OK, so what are you doing with the money?

An overwhelming majority saw the bailout program as a no-strings-attached windfall that could be used to pay down debt, acquire other businesses or invest for the future. Oh, also redecorating offices, and paying each other bonuses too."

Oh, come on. Congress wouldn't just give you billions and billions of dollars without asking for some accountability, would they?

Individually, banks that received some of the first $350 billion from the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, have offered few public details about how they plan to spend the money, and they are not required to disclose what they do with it. "It's the banking version of Don't Ask Don't Tell," said one Congressional aide who asked not to be identified because he didn't want his family to know he had anything to do with giving all that money to people who had already demonstrated they didn't have the sense god gave a cheese omelet. "They think I'm in greyhound racing," he said.

Walter M. Pressey, president of Boston Private Wealth Management, a healthy bank with a mostly affluent clientele, said there were no immediate plans to do much with the $154 million it received from the Treasury.“With that capital in hand, not only do we feel comfortable that we can ride out the recession,” he said, “but we also feel that we’ll be in a position to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves once this recession is sorted out. As for you folks about to lose your job or your house, hey, should have gone into banking, know what I mean?”

A Congressional oversight panel reported on Jan. 9 that it found no evidence the bailout program had been used to prevent foreclosures. The report concluded that the Treasury’s top priority seemed to be to “stabilize financial markets” by simply giving healthy banks more money and letting them decide how best to use it. "They've done such a good job so far," said one Treasury spokesperson. "We figured why fix it if it ain't broke. Get it? Broke? Like most of the banks are. I made a joke."

OK, you're a regular walking talking Comedy Central Special, but can you tell us why you're giving money to healthy banks? Isn't that like giving Big Mac Coupons to the Hamburglar?

"It's high level econometrical stuff," Hope said. "You wouldn't understand."

“For the banking industry, this isn’t a sprint, this is a marathon,” Mark Fitzgibbon, research director at Sandler O’Neill & Partners said. “I think over time there will be pressure to lend that capital out and get a return for their shareholders. But they’re not going to rush out and lend all that money tomorrow. If they did, they could lose it.”

You mean like you did when you got yourself in this mess in the first place?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Hound Blogging

A few weeks ago we listened in as the residents of Raynham Taunton bemoaned the fact that, due to the passage of the law ending greyhound racing in Massachusetts in 2010, their fine upstanding community was about to descend into post apocalyptic chaos that would make Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome look like Beverly Hills on a Sunday afternoon.

See, this is what happens when you take away the no skills, no benefits, minimum wage jobs that accompany animal exploitation. The very fabric of civilization is ripped, neighborliness devolves into an every man for himself anarchy that results in roving bands of criminals preying on the weak in a lawless, pitiless land of heartless cruelty in which the only dream is escape and the only hope a quick death.

Or maybe not.

Raynham-Taunton Greyhound Park owner George Carney met with representatives of South Coast Rail to discuss the possibility of a train station and commercial and residential development at the park. "You can actually use land for activities that benefit the surrounding community," Carney said. "Who knew?"

Noting the town will lose $400,000 in annual revenue when the park shuts down, Carney said rezoning and developing the site to resemble a small village with a train station could mean “bringing $600,000 to $700,000 to the town in revenue within eight to 10 years.”

What? Greyhound exploitation is ended and things get better? How can this be Danby?

Danby is truly the stickiest Velcro dog that the foster home has ever met. He is very affectionate and cuddly. He stands next to his foster mom all the time and wants to be touching her all the time. His fur is like velvet. He is very energetic and playful. He loves squeaky toys. He lays on this back and wiggles and thrashes the blanket / bed to mess it up – becoming twisted in the blanket. Danby would do well in a working family home with well-mannered children, 6 and up. He is good with other dogs and would probably be fine 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.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

¡ Hasta La Victoria Siempre Perros!

OK, so Americans finally realized that voting against their own self interests wasn't exactly the most enlightened approach to creating overall prosperity, world peace, universal brotherhood and the freedom to wear hats that came from a Helen Kaminski nightmare. What kind of hat was that anyway? A pillbox with Dumbo's syndrome?

We digress. The point is that even though we stand on the threshold of a new age of reason, a rebirth of enlightenment, a re-engagement with reality, a there is still a monkey wrench in America's collective gears, a dark and festering mold upon which the bright light of rationality has yet to shine, a death cab in which cutie is still a passenger.

To wit:

The Labrador Retriever is the most popular pure-bred dog in the United States for the 18th consecutive year, according to the American Kennel Club.

To which we reply, as the Founders themselves replied when faced with the tyranny that was the English English: Nuh Uh.

Further, in keeping with our thrall to the new socialist masters, we offer for your edification and illumination this reminder of the proper demeanor, vis-vis our canine companions.

Take heed people. There can be re-education camps. Just saying.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

And Now For Something Completely Different

Wow. What a day. It was almost worth staying sober for so we could remember it.


Anyway, that's what we have the inter toobz for. And we've been cruising back through those glorious hours, replaying the highlights and reliving the sun speckled, frost tinged clarity that has spread through our nation's capital like a clearing breeze chasing a heavy overcast. A breeze that drives the gloom of obstinacy, obfuscation, pettiness and selfishness before it. Listen:
Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

...[A] nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

Our founding fathers ... our founding fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths.
And our personal favorite:
On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics. We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things.
Ah, the great ship of state runs once again before the breeze and our Captain lays out the course before us, both bold and true. How do you record this moment, journalists? You who are, in fact, the first historians.

"Well, again, we're wondering here whether or not Barack Obama in fact is the president of the United States," Chris Wallace told Fox News viewers, well over an hour after Obama had taken the oath of office today.

Fox News replayed the swearing-in moment when President Obama and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. each bobbled the words to the constitutional oath. "They had a kind of garbled oath," Wallace said.

"It's just conceivable that this will end up going to the courts," Wallace speculated.

Oh. Holy. Crap.

Mr. President, do we have to bring these guys along too?

Monday, January 19, 2009

You Know You're In Trouble When Fox News Doesn't Return Your Phone Calls

We're coming to you today from the What Goes Around Comes Around Department here in the marbled halls of IM Central. WGACA is a subsidiary of the Reap What you Sow Company in partnership with Karma's an Unforgiving Harpy With A Shrill Voice And An Unpleasant Outlook, Inc.

It seems that after eight years of starting wars, wrecking the environment, ignoring the needs of people devastated by natural disasters, shredding the Constitution, oh, and wrecking the economy too, people who worked in the Bush administration are having trouble getting jobs now that their gravy train of perks, payola and privilege has finally pulled into the station.

Now, generally we take a forgiving view here at IM Central, and we seldom wish harm to come to any of our fellow creatures. However, given what this load of toadies, ideologues, cretins and outright crooks have put this country through in the last eight years, we feel the best we can do in this circumstance is: Poor babies.

"For Republicans, the inn is full," lamented veteran GOP operative Ron Kaufman, a close White House adviser to former president George H.W. Bush and an executive at Dutko Worldwide. "Look, when we ran the government having no expertise in the area you were hired for wasn't a deal breaker. Now, it's just not a fun time because you have to actually have a skill to get hired."

Well, to be fair, even in the best of times job hunting is difficult when you list your top skill as the ability to make a bad situation worse, and you list Jesus as a reference.

"It's a bear market out there, no question, for Republicans leaving the Hill or the administration," said Tom C. Korologos, a longtime Republican adviser and so far unindicted lobbyist who served as Bush's ambassador to Belgium from 2004 to 2007 because that's how long it took him to find it on a map. "You're a caretaker for a while, and all of a sudden there's nothing left to take care of. That's when you know you've done your job."

And these people do have a lot of experience taking care of things. They took care of the peace; they took care of the Constitution; they took care America's reputation in the world; they took care of the federal budget surplus; and they took care of millions of peoples' futures. On the bright side, they did do a lot for the growth of the prosthetic limb industry.

Mostly though, they just took care of themselves.

In the current political climate, ties to an unpopular president could hurt candidates. "I think there are people whose connection to the Bush administration will be a kind of taint if they try to stay in Washington," said Calvin Mackenzie, a professor of government at Colby College. "Actually, on second thought, I think that kind of taint will stay on them if they remain on the planet. Maybe even in the solar system."

"I think the reports of their unmarketability are exaggerated," unindicted lobbyist Tony Podesta said. "If you're an economist and you're smart and skillful, I don't think the fact that Bush was president and Democrats found him to be unpopular will kill anyone's chances of finding a good job, because if you were smart or skillful you weren't in the Bush administration in the first place."

"The cream always rises to the top," added Nels Olson, of the executive recruiting firm Korn/Ferry International. "Which is another reason things look so bleak for people coming out of the Bush administration."

Still, one day last week, Michael Castine, also of Korn/Ferry, said he had received calls from half a dozen senior White House aides "who don't have anything in the hopper yet " he said, "They are dead end losers who stayed the course and are not sure what they're going to do. Turns out being a sycophant is not a marketable skill. Who knew?"

We have an idea. After all, they were responsible for creating the demand.

A host of Republican heavyweights have been inundated with pleading, crying and gnashing of teeth from Bush appointees seeking jobs. In the toughest spot are those leaving junior staff positions in the White House, Congress or federal agencies who were mostly responsible for anointing door jams and interfering with people who actually knew how to do their jobs. During the boom years, they could land comfortable jobs in the RNC but Andrew H. Card Jr., Bush's former chief of staff, said he has "suggested that they broaden their horizons beyond the Beltway. I've been looking at the people Obama is bringing in and opportunities for people who don't know their elbow from a hole in the ground is going to get awfully slim here in a short while."

Kaufman, a close friend of the Bush family, helped many loyalists land appointments at the beginning of the Bush presidency. Now, he said, "I'm telling most of these folks, 'Go home. Take the expertise you've learned here, go back home and apply it to a trade back home.' You know, something related like safe cracking, or stealing widows' inheritances."

Some Bush officials have succeeded in their job searches. Jim Wilkinson, a former top aide to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and most recently chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., is moving to San Francisco, where he will become a gay street vendor.

Rice, meanwhile, will return to Stanford University, where she had been provost before joining the Bush administration. "We're pretty sure we can find her a place in the Physical Plant Department," said a university spokesperson. "We've had some retirements in groundskeeping."

White House press secretary Dana Perino plans to travel with her husband to volunteer in South Africa at the Living Hope Community Center, a beneficiary of Bush's anti-AIDS initiative. "I didn't want to sit around the house thinking about what I want to do next," Perino said. "I wanted to do something that would help others. It's sort of payback for spending the last few years spinning, dissembling, obfuscating and outright lying to everyone who came in front of my face."

Perino said many White House employees have been too busy in the final months of the Bush presidency to look for new jobs, but acknowledged the difficulty. "Certainly it's not the roaring days of the dot-com boom or the 52 months of growth we saw during this administration," Perino said, getting a plug in for her boss's economic record.

We're sorry. What? Guess when you've been unable or unwilling to tell the truth as long as Ms. Perino has, it's sort of hard to just stop.

Maybe they should apply at Disneyland.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Hound Blogging

A couple of weeks ago we told you about the outpouring of concern by the overlords at the Dairyland track in Wisconsin because of the alleged safety issues with the alleged track surface which had been alleged by the alleged track veterinarian. We say alleged because with no money coming in it's hard to tell who's doing what over there what with people leaving for jobs that raise their salary up to minimum wage and all. In their defense though, the situation of negative profit is fairly recent, so we're sure part of the problem is just learning to cope with unexpected levels of revenue.

Anyway, the problem has now been taken out of their hands, because the state of Wisconsin Division of Gaming has stepped in to provide expertise, guidance, and 10% off coupons good in the lounge Monday through Thursday.

Dan Subach, chief steward of the state Division of Gaming, said the division employee who is stationed at Dairyland full time is taking a thorough look at how winter weather is affecting the track surface and what methods the track is using to negate it. “I think we may be going deeper as we go into it,” Subach said. "Get it? 'Deeper?' 'Cause see, the coils are under the surface of the track so we'll have to dig down into the surface. I used to do stand up in Oconomowoc before I got this job."

“We would not put greyhounds on an unsafe racetrack,” said Bill Apgar, Dairyland general manager. “Our racetrack has been safe. It has been safe and it is safe. The fact that we keep shutting it down should in no way be construed to mean it's unsafe. It's just Bill the starter keeps getting drunk and passing out in his car and no one else knows how to turn on the electricity to the lure.”

Regarding the heating system, Subach said it is operating, though the division is looking to learn more about it. "We believe the system is working,” he said. "Of course we also believe that Elvis isn't dead, Bigfoot is real and Bush was a good president."

Yeah. That all fits with the profile, Mr. Subach. We especially like a comment on this story by alert reader Tax Me More:
A taxpayer paid state gaming employee is stationed at the dog track, while another taxpayer paid state veterinarian reports problems. Then and only then does the dog track stationed employee "begin" to take a look at the problems track officials deny exist!
Well, in their defense Mr. More, you don't become an employee of the dog exploitation industry because you're killing time until a seat opens at Harvard Med, right Kori?

She was a little timid at first but now is more and more outgoing everyday. She loves having lots of people and dogs around, and wants to get to know you when she’s ready—then she’s a real love. She follows her family’s male greyhound around the house everywhere he goes, and is a very quick learner when he shows her what to do. Kori is also very playful and is learning what fun dog toys can be now that she has some to play with. Even though she’s just getting used to living in her foster home, she is a pro on the stairs and is polite, clean and quiet in the house. Ideally, she would love a house with another dog, but would do well in a quiet home with plenty of time spent with people too. She would be good in a working family home with well-mannered children, 10 and up. 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 14, 2009

If The Screen Actors Guild Goes On Strike, There Goes Our Foreign Policy

We're coming to you today from the Department of Redundancy Department here in the marbled halls of IM Central. The DoRD is a subsidiary of the Get A Clue Corporation in partnership with Haven't You Been Paying Attention The Last Eight Years, Inc.

It seems our good friends on the right side of the political spectrum have lost their way again and wandered off the path we like to call "Reality," and now are unable to find their way to the city we like to call "Sanity."

Beck and the Fox & Friends hosts also invoked 24 as a justification for the use of torture. Referring to the show's recent season premiere, in which protagonist Jack Bauer, a former member of the fictional "Counter Terrorist Unit," defends his use of torture during a hearing before Congress, Beck said: "[I]t's going to take somebody who sits in front of Congress who is not afraid of them anymore and does what Jack Bauer did. And that is, 'Yes, I did torture, and I'm proud of it.'


We've had this talk before.

And before that.

Look folks, put these fevered dreams of projected masculinity aside and GET A GRIP! There is no Jack Bauer. He is played by an ACTOR named Kiefer Sutherland--emphasis on PLAYED. And this ACTOR also PLAYED Athos in the three Musketeers. Yes, that's right, he PLAYED a swishy Frenchman who went around brandishing his "sword."

And before that he PLAYED a character named The Nutcracker Prince.

See a pattern here?

See, Kiefer Sutherland gets money for pretending he is someone else, sort of like you folks, who get money for pretending to be smarter than a wet fart.

Now, turn the teevee off and don't make us come down there with a carload of Clozapine.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Some Helpful Advice For Our Friends In The Republican Party

Truth be told we haven't paid much attention to the campaign for the new republican national chairman--yes, chair man. They're republicans, so don't give them any of that new age, touchy feely, PC, let's not insult the wimmins crap. Certainly we understand that as a political party the republicans are poised to become as effective as the pope on Viagra. We also understand that since they're the party that god likes best, coming to this sad state of affairs has got to give the elders pause for thought. How could this have happened? Where does the fault lie? Who is responsible. Well, folks, these are republicans, so there has to be one and only one answer to the foregoing interrogatives:

It's the homos.

Which is why we suggest they elect Ken Blackwell because he knows what to do about homos.

Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, a leading candidate for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee (RNC), is coming under fire for making remarks this summer that gays and lesbians suffer from a "compulsion" that can be "restrained."

Right. Imagine if he had been available to talk with Larry Craig, or Mark Foley, or or Bob Allen, or Glenn Murphy Jr., or Patrick McHenry, or Ralph Gonzalez, or, OK we're getting tired of typing names. The point is, if these people could have been counselled by Mr. Blackwell (who is not gay by the way, just ask him) perhaps we'd be seven days away from the inauguration of President John McCain (who also is not gay).

Heck, if they'd of let Blackwell have Ted Haggard for a week he'd have been back preaching at the New Life Church and Bingo Parlor instead of selling insurance. Come to think of it, why do christians need insurance anyway? Isn't god their insurance?

Monday, January 12, 2009

He Coulda Been A Contender

Wait. That guy is still president? Oh. Come. On.

In a fact free final news conference, President George W. Bush spun his record vigorously and at times lied outright — and admitted mistakes, too, including his optimistic Iraq speech before a giant "Mission Accomplished" banner in 2003. "Clearly, putting `Mission Accomplished' on an aircraft carrier was a mistake," Bush said. "But that's what my administration was all about. Accomplishing missions I mean, not making mistakes. Really. No seriously. I'm not kidding."

After starting what he called "the ultimate exit interview" with a lengthy and personalized thank-you to the reporters in the room who have given him a free ride over the eight years of his presidency, Bush showed anger at times when presented with some of the main criticisms of his time in office. "Oh, now you begin asking the hard questions" the president said. "What do you want from me, barbecue?"

He particularly became indignant when asked about America's bruised image overseas. "I disagree with this assessment that, you know, that people view America in a dim light," he said. "Course I also disagree with evolution, global warming and progressive sex education so what do I know."

He said that "not finding weapons of mass destruction was a significant disappointment." The accusation that Saddam had and was pursuing weapons of mass destruction was Bush's main initial fabrication for going to war. "Yeah, and you guys bought it and printed it over and over and over," Bush said. "Who's the idiot now?"

On another issue destined to figure prominently in his legacy, Bush said he disagrees with those who say the federal response to Hurricane Katrina was slow. "Don't tell me the federal response was slow when there were 30,000 people pulled off roofs right after the storm passed. See, they were outside and easy to see. Now, is it our fault that those 20,000 people holed up in the Convention Center that we didn't know about until Brownie saw it on TV were inside where the choppers couldn't see them? I don't think so."

He called President-elect Barack Obama "a smart, engaging person" and said he wishes his successor all the best. "There'll be a moment when the responsibility of the president lands squarely on his shoulders," Bush said. "Looking back, I kind of wonder what that would have been like if it had happened to me."

He gave his view of the most urgent priority facing the incoming president: an attack on the United States. He chose that risk over the dire economic problems now facing the nation. "I'm a Jack Bauer kind of guy," the president said. "I don't get those economicals."

The last time the president had taken questions from reporters in a public setting was Dec. 14 in Baghdad, a session that hurtled to the top of the news when Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi threw his shoes at Bush during a question-and-answer session with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Before this news conference Secret Service Agents made reporters take off their shoes and socks. Women had to leave their purses outside and men had to empty their pockets.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Friday Hound Blogging

So, you're probably thinking where did Bernie Madoff get his mad ponzi building skillz? It's not just anybody who can bilk hundreds of people out of their life savings. You've got to have a certain character, a certain outlook on life, a certain sociopathological bent to your personality. Sort of like an overlord.

The head of the state's Racing and Charitable Gaming Commission is asking the state Attorney General's office to determine whether Hinsdale Greyhound Park broke state laws when it declared bankruptcy last month without alerting bettors with accounts at the track. "If they're stupid enough to leave the money with us, then they get what they deserve," said track president Joseph Sullivan II. "Besides, how are we supposed to pay our bills? From the track income? Please."

The wagering accounts held between $400,000 and $500,000 and some of the money was used to pay off employees, according to the corporation's attorney, John Sullivan of PretiFlaherty. "Hey, most of our employees have crimminal records, anger issues or substance abuse problems. You want to tell them they aren't getting a check this week? Be my guest," Sullivan told reporters.

Chair of the former Pari-mutuel Commission Timothy "Ted" Connors said, "In the past they have verbally said they would cover whatever was in the account, but when they filed for bankruptcy, they didn't. I'm inquiring if anything illegal was done here." The commission's Jan. 13 agenda includes the request to the attorney general.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. We said a lot of things," track president Sullivan responded. "And you believed us. So who's the idiot now?"

Well, he does have a point there, right Joe?

Joe is a pretty calm dog. He loves to approach/meet people on our walks -- enjoys attention/pets, but is fairly independent. He usually wants to be in the same room with his foster family, lying nearby. He's curious about everything that's new. He seems to be an "alpha male" around other dogs. He loves squeaky toys -- he "stole" the lamb toy from Dapper Dog Wash, which his family ended up purchasing. Joe would do well in family with someone home more often, as he tends to get stressed when left alone, although he may do better with another average to larger size dog in the home. He would do well with well-mannered children, 10 and up. 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.

Mulberry Sam update: Sam is adopted! Yay Sam!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Well, It's Not Like There's Going To Be Jobs When They Graduate Anyway

Here in the marbled halls of IM Central we often find our thoughts turning to the children when we read about countries deep in poverty, or steeped in violence. Perhaps it's because we make money for dog food and Stoli by toiling in the vineyards of education ourselves that we are a bit more sensitive to these issues, but we like to think it's because education represents the future of any society, and until those in power everywhere truly realize that young people are any civilization's most important natural resource, whether they live in the poorest of the poor countries, or the modern industrialized first world we are all doomed to be stuck in this constant loop of ignorance, destruction and eventual decline. Take these poor children for instance.
A Detroit elementary school is asking for donations of toilet paper and light bulbs to continue functioning.The principal of the Academy of Americas sent a letter to staff, parents and partners asking for donations of items "that are of the utmost importance for proper school functioning and most importantly for student health and safety."
It is truly a sad state of affairs when children who are just unlucky enough to be born in the wrong spot on the globe have to look forward...wait a minute. Where's that school?
Detroit Public Schools is grappling with a more than $400 million budget deficit and is on the verge of being assigned an emergency financial manager by the state.
Detroit? As in Michigan? Not Somalia, or Bangladesh, or Ecuador?
"We realize that the economic situation is stressful for our entire community, but we are asking for your collaboration," wrote Khalil. "We thank you for your cooperation and we hope that as a school community we can pull together to guarantee the best possible educational environment for our children."
Lady, if you can't even afford for kids to wipe their butts, your "educational environment" went south long ago.
A spokeswoman for the district said the school is not running out of supplies but instead is asking for them to ensure they have sufficient supplies to what they already have. "We'll have plenty of supplies to last the rest of the school year if we don't use them," she said. "It's just that kids, you know, use stuff."
Right. We have often said teaching would be a great job if it weren't for students.

Want to know what's really wrong with the schools? What's really keeping them from being "World Class" and turning out students who can "compete"? The adults.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

In Their Defense, The Bible Does Say Go Forth And Multiply

OK, here's something we don't understand: Take those people down there in what's popularly called the bible belt, you know the ones who are always saying they're the god fearing "values voters" and the rest of us are heathen scum? Anyway, to hear them tell it, they're the salt of the earth; the last great bastion of moral fiber in this country; the only thing standing between America as a christian nation the way the forefathers intended and a socialist, communist Babylon of sin and depravity.

Well, everybody needs a hobby, thinks us, theirs is just walking around with their noses in the air because they have a stick up their butts. The we read something like this:

Mississippi now has the nation's highest teen pregnancy rate, displacing Texas and New Mexico for that lamentable title, according to a new federal report. Mississippi's rate was more than 60 percent higher than the national average in 2006, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The teen pregnancy rate in Texas and New Mexico was more than 50 percent higher.

Then a little further on we read this:

The lowest teen birth rates continue to be in New England, where three states have teen birth rates at just half the national average.

New England. Isn't that where all the godless liberal elites live?

Maybe the folks down in the Jesusland should, like, teach their kids to read and stuff. You know, give them something else to do.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Will He Still Have Cable?

Hmm...seems plans for Mr. Bush's post presidential residence have hit a snag.

A jail in northern Texas has been closed and its nearly 60 inmates transferred as authorities investigate what they call dangerous conditions for jailers and those behind bars — including cells that locked from the inside or contained recliners. "Hey, come on," said Jack McGaughey, district attorney for Montague, Clay and Archer counties. "This guy was the leader of the free world for eight years. Even if he did make it less free, he deserves a little comfort. They weren't even top of the line recliners, just some stuff we got on sale at Walmart."

McGaughey said some surveillance cameras' cords had been disconnected; recliners were in cells; some bathrooms and cells could be locked from the inside; and inmates had made partitions out of paper towels to block jailers' views inside their cells. "I know, I know," he added. "People tell me he's been taking away our privacy ever since before 9/11 so why should he have any, but I say, the past is past. Well, except for all those people killed and wounded. And their families. And the people who lost their livelihoods. And their houses. And the people without health care. And folks along the gulf coast. And the economy. OK maybe he doesn't deserve any perks."

The jail in Montague County, about 65 miles northwest of Fort Worth, has had problems in the past. In early 2002, four inmates broke out after overpowering a guard with a homemade knife. The two convicted killers and two murder suspects drove off in the guard's SUV but were caught 10 days later hunting with vice president Cheney.

A spokesperson for Mr. Bush said talk of incarceration was "premature" as there hadn't even been a charges made yet, "and then we'll have the whole trial thing to get through, and the appeals, not to mention that the whole thing is moot because the president is going to forward pardon himself and everyone he's come in contact with in the last eight years."

The U.S. attorney's office also is working with the FBI and may bring federal charges, McGaughey said. The FBI in Dallas did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Oops. Better get the pardon pen out Mr. Bush, and this time try not to screw it up.

Monday, January 05, 2009

You have to answer for Shea, Carlo. You fingered Reilly and McBride for the Barzini people.

Frequent readers of this blog will note that life is a series of constantly lowered mean will note that we have admitted on several occasions spending our formative years in the benevolent--if somewhat inebriated--care of the Christian Brothers and, in a supporting role as the humorous if somewhat dimwitted sidekick, the Sisters of The Perpetual Ruler Smack which we feel makes us uniquely qualified to comment on this. And our comment is Meh. About time.

Hey, the outfit is headquartered in Italy. Hello? Is any of this getting through?

A New London lawyer has brought what is believed to be the first racketeering case against the Catholic Church in Connecticut, alleging that the Norwich Diocese engaged in a conspiracy to cover up sexual abuse of children by priests. The lawsuit says the Norwich Diocese, its former bishop, Daniel (Danny the Boot) Reilly, and its current vicar general, the Rev. Thomas (Tommy Bull) McBride, should be held accountable under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act — more commonly known as RICO — for conspiring to cover up the criminal conduct of abusive priests.

"Dis is all bogus," Reverend McBride told reporters. "It's harassment 'cause I'm a catlic, and the prosecutor, he got it in for us." When asked to speak specifically about the charges bishop Reilly responded, "I got nuttin to say to youse. Talk to my lawyer."

The complaint was brought by a Connecticut woman, identified only as "Jane Doe," because she is in the Federal Witness Protection Program. Doe alleges that she was molested by the Rev. Thomas W. (Socks) Shea, who was found strangled with rosary beads in his confessional in 1976.

According to published reports and the current lawsuit, Shea was transferred numerous times from the time of the first complaints, in the 1950s, until he was placed on leave by Reilly in 1983. Reilly, who retired as bishop of the Worcester, Mass., diocese in 2004, was bishop of the Norwich Diocese from 1975 to 1994. "He, what can I tell you?" Reilly said. "Socks, he liked the girls. I don't see what the big deal is about. He ain't no fag or anything. You wanna see some fags, check out those Episcopalians. That whole church is a little light in the wrist if you know what I mean."

In addition to citing the details of Shea's history, the lawsuit gives examples of five other cases involving priests who have been the subject of abuse accusations, including the Revs. Bruno (The Bug) Primavera, Robert (Big Tuna) Marcantonio, Peter (Petey Boxcars) Inzerillo, Richard (Richie the Boot) Buongirno and Bernard(The Barber) Bissonnette. In all of the cases cited, according to the lawsuit, the priests were transferred to new parishes after sexual abuse complaints were made against them, at which point they abused again. "Hey, my guys, they work hard," Reilly said. "Sometimes they like to blow off a little steam, you know? Where's the harm in that?"

Under RICO, a person who is a member of a criminal organization, or an "enterprise," that has committed any two of 35 crimes within a 10-year period can be charged with racketeering. Those found guilty of racketeering can be fined as much as $25,000 and/or sentenced to 20 years in prison per racketeering count. "Now, we're not saying the whole catholic church is a criminal enterprise," said attorney Robert Reardon, who is representing Jane Doe. "We only have evidence for the part here in Connecticut."

The lawsuit accuses the defendants of "intentionally, recklessly and/or negligently" concealing the criminal conduct of certain priests, failing to report criminal conduct, obstructing justice, evading criminal investigation, prosecution and liability, bribing victims to keep criminal conduct secret and engaging in mail and/or wire fraud, among other things. "Hey come on, we're priests over here," Reilly said. "Next you'll be accusing us of running a gambling house or something."

Michael (Mikey Scars) Strammiello, a spokesman for the Norwich Diocese, issued a written response a request for commenta. "We cannot comment on active litigation and risk jeopardizing the proceedings," Strammiello wrote. "So Fugedaboudit."

When contacted about the suit by bishop Reilly, pope Paul responded, "I understand. You found paradise in America. You had a good trade, made a good living, the police protected you and there were courts of law and you didn't need a friend like me. But, now you come to me and you say "Your Holiness, give me justice." But you don't ask with respect. You don't offer friendship. You don't even think to call me The Mighty Pontiffinator."

Hmm..."Jane Doe" huh? Wonder how you say sleeps with the fishes in Latin.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Friday Hound Blogging

Well, here we are at the beginning of a new year and while some things change--a president who knows his elbow from a hole in the ground for instance--some things will stay the same, namely the overlords' commitment to their investments, ie: the Yes many is the time the overlords have taken time out of their busy schedules to explain to us the inherent illogic of our belief that just because dogs were getting injured, dying and going missing it meant the overlords weren't taking care of them. It just showed how little we understood the deep and lasting bond between the overlords and the, right Dr. Barker?

The state veterinarian on duty at Dairyland Greyhound Track in Kenosha is calling for improvements to the track after several greyhounds have been injured. Veterinarian Jenifer Barker told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel she believes something has put the track out of whack this winter, causing significant injuries to several dogs. "I fell down twice myself just walking out there," she told reporters. "Of course I tend to drink a little. Kind of goes with the job." (Eds. Note: Dr. Barker. Get it? Hahahaha! Those overlords. What cards!)

Right. See this is just the kind of tree hugging, Birkenstock wearing, animal rights wackiness that the overlords have to continually fight against. Well, fight against when they aren't collecting cans to make the trailer payment. Anyway, there's nothing wrong with that track. If there were the overlords would surely know about it and do something because no one wants to risk the great amount of time and money invested in the Right Mr. Apgar?

A matinee scheduled Wednesday afternoon at Dairyland Greyhound Track was canceled because a portion of the racetrack was in poor condition, according to the track's manager. "Generally we don't let a little ice on the track bother us because, heck we aren't the ones running," Apgar said.

Apgar and other track officials have vehemently denied that any greyhounds have been put in jeopardy because of the condition of the track. The track has a heating system in which coils underneath the surface keep the track soft in winter. That system was turned on Tuesday night and was left on during the day Wednesday. "Funny thing about those coils," Apgar said. "Nobody's ever actually seen them. There's just this switch in the office that says 'Coils' and we turn it on from time to time."

Through November, 56 dogs have broken their hocks on the track this year. That is considered to be the most serious kind of injury. Overall, the number of injuries at the track appears to be down somewhat, compared with 2007. At least 15 greyhounds have died from a variety of injuries this year. "Hey, cars crash at NASCAR tracks too," Apgar said. "Course they have all sorts of safety equipment and stuff. OK Horses. What about them? They get injured and killed all the time. Wait, that's not a good example is it?"

Not really, but it's probably the best you can do right, Brandon?

Brandon is very sweet and loving. He will come up for affection, and lean on you and put his head on you. He loves to play with toys and the other dogs in the home. Yet, will settle down and nap with the best of them. He always wants to be near and touching you all the time. He sleeps through the night on his bed next to the other dogs. His ears stand straight up and will touch each other most of the time, but sometimes, one ear flops toward his head. He will initiate play on his own; he will grab a toy and chew the daylights out of it. Instead of taking the toys out of the basket, he will drag the whole basket around. He also likes to carry his empty food bowl around. Brandon is energetic, curious, and playful; he doesn’t mind at all being crated with a peanut butter stuffed Kong but really would not need to be in his forever home. He doesn’t chew on anything but his toys and has never gone potty in the house. Brandon would do well in a working family home with other average to larger size dogs in the home or as an only dog in a family that has someone home more often. He has a lot of energy, so he needs a family that will play with him regularly. He is good with well-mannered older children, 8 and up. 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.

Mulberry Sam update: Sam passed his medical with flying colors and is now in a foster home in the Detroit area where he has another greyhound and a Lab to play with.