Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Hound Blogging

You know, we spend quite a lot of time on this blog pointing out that the overlords are, as a group, oh, how to say this politely...fecal matter? No that's not it. Fecal matter can be used as fertilizer and so has a purpose.

Well, no matter. The point is that we have painted the overlords with a broad brush and may have contributed to an overall impression amongst our reader(s) that these people are somewhat less that fully functioning sentient beings who lack even the rudiments of those characteristics which we like to refer to as part of what it takes to be a human being.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Anyway, this week we thought we'd change the focus a little and present for your edification the Ironicus Maximus Spotlight in which we zero in on one particular overlord so that you can see for yourself that, once you get to know individual overlords, your opinion of them...erm...doesn't change at all.

This week, Eb Neter because...well he expects us to believe his name is really Eb Neter.

Now, according to Eb's bio he's been handicapping greyhounds for thirty years from Florida to New Hampshire because you have to move around a lot when you owe that many people that much money.   In that time Eb has written 508 articles on greyhound racing which have attracted  almost 38,000 views comment. That's almost 8,000 views per article comment.

OK in Eb's defense we have to say that it's a well known fact that people dumb enough to bet on greyhounds have what can best be described as a love hate relationship with that whole reading and writing thing, and if it hadn't been for Eb clicking on his own articles 80 times a day only his mom and that guy who thinks greyhounds are actually aliens from Proxima Centauri sent here to observe us prior to the invasion would have found the articles anyway.

Still, Eb thinks he has something important to say and the fact that he is saying to to people who have the cumulative IQ of tree bark hasn't stopped him from penning such classics as Why Did Bac's Xtreme Beat Yahoo Omar in the He's My Man Classic at Palm Beach Kennel Club? Answer: Because he got to the finish line first. Or how about Greyhound Handicapping - When to Bet Wide Runners. When? When they're faster than the other dogs. And who can forget How to Win on Dogs - Are You Serious? Answer: I have to have my address pinned to my shirt so I can get home, what do you think? And our personal favorite Why Don't We Just Cut The Crap And You Just Send Me Your Money.

It's like Eb says, "Empty your wallet of credit and debit cards and anything more than a twenty-dollar bill and a couple bucks for a snack or a drink. For some people, it’s best if they go to the track, put down their bets and leave. In fact, why don't you save yourself the bus fare out there? Just take the twenty and throw it in the street. You've got about the same chance of winning."

Where else are you going to get straight up advice like that? You just can't teach that kind of insight. It's got to be the result of long years of experience and not a small amount of closed head trauma.  We mean, this is the guy who wrote, "Very few dogs actually fade. What happens is that the dogs behind them close on them and pass them."

Wow. Just wow. Do you realize the implications of that? When you're driving in your car, you're not getting closer to your destination, you're getting farther from your starting point! It's relativity man, right there in front of us all the time and we didn't see it! It took Einstein years to figure that out.

Hey Kowboy. Did you know that when you were running your speed relative to the other dogs was the same as that observed by the toothless idiots in the stands? Eb figured that out.

Kowboy is young and puppy-like. He is very affectionate and wants to be right near you and in your face. He is really outgoing, social, happy and friendly and his tail wags often. He will rest his head on your lap for pets. He is energetic and playful; he likes toys and is starting to fetch. His ears stand straight up like a deer. TV fascinates him. He follows his foster mom around the home. He likes to collect things: toys, socks, etc. Kowboy would do well in a working family home with well-mannered children, 8 and up – since he is young and bouncy. He is good with other dogs and would probably be fine as an only dog. He is really smart and he would do well with someone who has some dog experience. 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.

Lazlo Update: Lazlo wants to be in your lap when you are driving, but is getting better. He walks okay on lead. He is interested in squirrels. He greets visitors to the home for pets. He likes playing with toys and especially likes squeaky toys and will pull the squeaker out.

Monday, February 22, 2010

New School Policy: All Students Must Dress With The Lights On (Now With Update)

OK so we've been sort of following this story because when we first heard about it we were all like, no way. Now, we've know our fair share of school administrators throughout the years and while as a class they aren't exactly what you'd call MENSA material, we figured even when you consider principals are stupid enough to think they can suspend a kid for making a Facebook page they don't like they're still smart enough to figure out electronically walking into a kid's bedroom whenever you felt like it would more than likely be...uh...problematic.

Well, now the FBI is involved and we're going to have to re-evaluate just how abysmally idiotic you have to be to qualify for an administrator's license.
Pennsylvania parents are suing their son's school, alleging it watched him through his laptop's webcam while he was at home and unaware he was being observed. The suit said that on November 11, an assistant principal at Harriton High School told the plaintiffs' son that he was caught engaging in "improper behavior" in his home and it was captured in an image via the webcam.
OK what's more stupid, thinking you can get away with peeping in on the kids, or catching one spanking the monkey, printing out the picture and sending it to the parents with a note expressing your concern that their son might be about to make himself blind?

Families were not informed of the possibility the webcams might be activated in their homes without their permission in the paperwork students sign when they get the computers, district spokesman Doug Young a spokesman for the Lower Merion School District said."It's clear what was in place was insufficient, and that's unacceptable," Young said.
Really? "Insufficient?" What was your first clue, the lawsuit, or the visit from the Special Agent?

Young said the district would only remotely access a laptop if it were reported to be lost, stolen or missing, or there was a chance that little hottie Becky Whitmore was nekked.

Young added that mistakes might be made when combining technology and education in a cutting-edge way, then let perverts and boneheads run the program.

The district has suspended the practice amid the lawsuit and the accompanying uproar from students, the community and privacy advocates. District officials hired outside counsel to review the past webcam activations and advise the district on related issues, Young said.  "We're very responsive to the needs of the community," he said. "Especially after they catch us."

The Pennsylvania case shows how even well-intentioned plans can go awry if officials have the IQ of a stale Krispy Kreme, privacy experts said. Compromising images from inside a student's bedroom could fall into the hands of rogue school staff or otherwise be spread across the Internet, they said.

"This is an age where kids explore their sexuality, so there's a lot of that going on in the room," said Witold Walczak, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, which is not involved in the Robbins case. "This is fodder for child porn."

Hey, just hang on there a minute Bucko. We all know that when teenagers send sexy pictures of themselves back and forth to one another, that's child porn, but when adults to it, that's sound educational policy in action.

Update: Yes, mom and dad, while you are at working trying to earn a living, these people are in charge of  your kids.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Hound Blogging

Frequent reader(s) of this blog know that good times are just a tease to get you to let your guard mean know that one of the most plaintive arguments the overlords make when faced with the prospect of having to go out and get real jobs is, well, that they will lose their jobs if people with souls force them to quit sucking their meager existence off the backs of innocent animals.

Close the track, the overlords say, and the land will become haunted by zombies picking over the remains of the two dollar rubes who missed the last bus home. Don't believe it? Just look what the good people of Massachusetts have done to themselves by putting the kibosh on animal exploitation.
Attorney Michael Morizio, representing park owner George Carney, said the $200 million renovation project includes removing the entire right side of the main building, where simulcast betting now takes place, and enlarging the building to accommodate slot machines, if they are approved by the state.
Well, it's not like you weren't warned people of Massachusetts. We mean Mr.  Carney told you again and again if you threw his low wage no benefit workers out of a job you would devastate the economy of the entire east coast, so you have no one to blame for his $200 million renovation but yourselves.
And five acres of the 100-acre property could be the site for a train station if the South Coast Rail line from Stoughton to Fall River and New Bedford is built.
Ouch. Mass transit bringing people right into the community to shop, visit and gamble. Bet you're rethinking that yes on Prop 3 vote now, huh?

Morizio said new jobs created by that project would more than top the number of jobs lost at the track as a result of the statewide ban on dog racing. “We’ll be working with unions and labor. And it should create about 1,500 permanent jobs and 500 construction jobs,” he said. “The new building is also being designed to be very elegant and functional.”
Well, there you have it. More jobs than before the track closed. Hope all you animal rights do gooders are happy now. Wonder if they have trouble sleeping at night. What do you think Senna?

Senna is approachable, gentle, and calm. He is loving and affectionate. He gives nuzzles and little kisses. He is more animated than a typical greyhound. He will run and do “wind sprints” in the hallway when he is playing with his foster dad. He will sometimes bark at the “other dog” in the mirror. He is curious and likes to put his nose on everything. Senna would do well in a working family home with well-mannered children, 5 and up. He is good with other dogs of all sizes and is also fine as an only dog. He would probably do better in a single family home, since he will whine a bit when he is in the crate. For more information about this dog, and other rescued racing greyhounds looking for homes, go here. If you don't know about the plight of racing greyhounds go here.

Lazlo Update: Lazlo sleeps on the floor in the master bedroom. He likes to sleep near the family grey. The second night in the foster home, she stepped on him and he snapped at her – no injuries. He is not generally protective of his sleeping space.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

We Just Need To Play Our Game, Have Fun And Stay Off Our Medications

OK you thought the Superbowl was a couple of weeks ago, right? You thought it was all about the metaphorical return of the City of New Orleans made real by the victory of their professional football team, right? You thought it was about one of those moments when art, or at least sports imitates life, right?

Silly person(s).

Your friends here at Ironicus Maximus Central are here to tell you that superbowl you thought was the superbowl was nada. Zip, zilch, the big goose egg, the front room of Mr. Zee Ro's house in null city. We got the real superbowl going on now, babies and it ain't about no football. It's about standing right up in front of god and everybody and throwing off the blinders of reason, casting out the evil of rationality, exiling the temptress of thought.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Race for the Retards, welcome to the Incomprehensible 500, welcome to the Stanley Chump all rolled into one. Welcome to TEH SOOPERBOLE O' STOOPID!!!

The contestants:

The Utah Legislature, otherwise known as the Utes, as in Ute think people who wear sacred underwear wouldn't want to draw attention to themselves.
Utah's House of Representatives has adopted a resolution condemning "climate alarmists", and disputing any scientific basis for global warming.The measure passed by 56-17.
"We're actually kind of looking forward to Provo becoming a port city," said one legislator who voted for the resolution.
The original version of the bill dismissed climate science as a "well organised and ongoing effort to manipulate and incorporate "tricks" related to global temperature data in order to produce a global warming outcome."

When  asked what "tricks" scientists employed, one legislator responded, "Well, you know, all that mathematical mumbo jumbo. I never did trust algebra. Thought it was some kind of code dreamed up by the catholics."
In the heat of the debate, the representative Mike Noel said environmentalists were part of a vast conspiracy to destroy the American way of life and control world population through forced sterilisation and abortion. "First they come for the glaciers, then the white babies," he said.
Odds makers say Utah has an outside chance due to their ability to spout off the wall crazy stuff without prompting, but they don't do well on the road. Next up: Texas:

Texas became the first state to challenge the Environmental Protection Agency's finding that gases blamed for global warming threaten public health.
"Just 'cause people might die from it, don't mean it's bad," said governor Rick Perry. "People die everyday from all sorts of things. We gonna outlaw guns and liquor too? OK bad example."
Gov. Rick Perry and other Texas officials said the federal finding is based on flawed science and would harm the state's economy.
"Them pencil necks is a saying people got to breathe clean air and drink clean water, but I'm saying if a bubba cain't jump in the pick up and drive down to the quickie mart for a six a long necks and a carton a Marlboros, we've lost what it means to be an American," Perry said. "'Sides, most a our crap blows into Arizona anyway."

Handicappers say Texas has a real shot as their stupid goes beyond just the legislature into most areas of the government. But they also point to Virginia who has joined Texas in the lawsuit as a dark-horse with an outside chance. "We're too stupid to come up with stupid ideas on our own," said Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli. "That ought to count for something."

All observers agree though, that the odds on favorite has to be South Carolina.

South Carolina will no longer recognize U.S. currency as legal tender, if State Rep. Mike Pitts has his way. Pitts, a fourth-term Republican  introduced legislation  that would ban what he calls “the unconstitutional substitution of Federal Reserve Notes for silver and gold coin” in South Carolina. If the bill were to become law, South Carolina would no longer accept or use anything other than silver and gold coins as a form of payment for any debt, meaning paper money would be out in the Palmetto State.
 "Shoot, denying facts and ignoring math and science and stuff? That's little league,"Pitts said. "This is South Carolina man. I'm talking about going back to the gold standard. I'm talking about stuff so crazy people haven't even thought about it in years!"

Experts point out that should South Carolina make it through the competition without having to institutionalize Mr. Pitts, they will have a substantial advantage.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Second Amendment Versus The Sixth Commandment

We have more than a passing interest in the recent tragedy in Alabama, having spent many a long hour in a room with over stressed faculty members. Now it seems in addition to worrying that the College of Arts and Letters guy will launch into one of his interminable disquisitions only marginally connected to the matter at hand, we have to wonder which of our colleagues is armed.

It seems we can’t pick up a paper, or watch the news for more than a few days without hearing about someone shooting someone else, usually a family member or co-worker. Sometimes both.

Each time yet another person or group of people are wounded or die because of gun violence the pro Second Amendment types fall out of the woodwork to announce that if there had only been more guns the massacre would have been averted, or at least minimized.


Are we supposed to believe that if all six of her colleagues had been armed at Amy Bishop’s tenure hearing the results would have been less tragic? Less bloody?

Of course not, yet we are forced to watch the NRA's little paranoid Kabuki over and over because the one group of people who could do something about it—politicians—have a vested interest in the status quo. Well, perhaps that’s too harsh. There may actually be politicians who understand that there is at least a correlation between the ease with which guns can be obtained in this country and the fact that America loses more of its citizens to gun violence each year than any other industrialized nation on the planet.

The problem is, like the rest of us, politicians have a gun to their heads, except theirs is a metaphorical gun held by the NRA which doesn’t shoot bullets, it shoots money. So while the rest of us are practicing duck and cover, or wondering if that guy down in accounting who got fired last week is going to come back guns a blazing, politicians paint the biggest target they can on their backs and give speeches making it seem like the Second Amendment came down from Jesus himself.

And you know the most ironic thing? When James Madison originally proposed the amendment, the anti-Federalists—proto NRA types—were against it, lead by none other than Patrick Henry, the give me liberty or give me death guy!

Today however if an elected official even gives the slightest indication that he or she might be thinking about possibly perhaps opening just a discussion around only the feasibility of perhaps accepting the premise—just for argument’s sake—that  guns might be a tad too easy for some unbalanced people to get their hands on some of the time the battle cry goes out: “You will pry my nine millimeter Viagra from my limp and flaccid hands.”

And so innocent people continue to die, their families and friends continue to suffer and politicians continue to sit down when the time comes to stand up.

One of the things even Madison and Henry would have agreed on is the first duty of government is to protect its citizens, even if that means protect them from each other.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Hound Blogging

You know, if you're an overlord, you've got to learn to look on the bright side of things. We mean, come on, it's not like life even let you out of the gate with much of an advantage. There's the third grade drop out problem, most likely because the buzzing in your head kept you from understanding people who were trying to tell you your shoes were untied which lead to the constant battering your head took when you tripped over your laces and fell down. Once or twice you can get away with stuff like that, but when it happens year after year--even after you go to Velcro instead of laces--people begin to have their doubts.

Then there's the total lack of character. Of course, in your defense we have to say that it's hard to develop any kind of moral compass when your daily living skills are such that you have to keep notes to remind yourself not to eat soup with a fork. Just ask Ursula O'Donnell.

See, when most people get arrested and charged with a crime, that's a strong indication to them that they should stop doing the things that got them arrested. Not Ursula. In true overlord tradition, she looks on the bright side: "Hey, I'm not in jail am I? Why stop now?"

She's a glass half full kind of girl.

And the same can be said for the overlords in Iowa who were recently told, Bag it. We don't want you around here anymore. Their response? "Hey,at least they aren't going to shoot us like we do to the dogs, just make us get real jobs."

Got to love that optimism, but what kind of a demand is there for no talent substance abusers with poor people skills and mental health issues? Sure, the Tea Party, but they are mostly unpaid volunteers. Sort of like the greyhounds were back when they raced for trailer payments. Except the dogs weren't volunteers. Plus the dogs have another advantage the overlords don't: marketable skills.

And even when the overlords can convince people that the exploitation of innocent animals isn't such a bad thing, by the time those people get home, they've changed their minds and they're all like "You do what with those dogs when they can't run? Let me back in that voting booth."

Well, the point is, when you're a heartless, soulless, scruple free, no talent leaky bag of barely literate protoplasmic slime who sucks a meager existence off the backs of innocent animals, life isn't exactly a bed of roses, so all you've got is your sunny outlook, right Dr. Lori Bohenko?

A state veterinarian who developed a database to track greyhound injuries six years ago said late Friday the group misconstrued her data. "There are some days I just sit here and watch races and do not touch a dog," she said.
Right. Because when a dog is killed outright we get someone else to carry it away so she doesn't have to touch it, or when it's injured so badly we know it's going to be euthanized, someone else holds it down while she gives it a lethal injection. See? No problem.

Well unless you happen to be the injured greyhound, right Joanna?

Joanna is very active and curious. She is very happy, playful and friendly. She likes affection and will approach and nuzzle you for attention. She likes to be close to you. She sometimes gives kisses. She enjoys watching TV, and she especially likes watching hockey. Joanna would do well in a working family home with well-mannered children, 5 and up. She is playful and can be a bit bouncy. She is good with other average to larger size dogs and would probably be fine as an only dog in a family that would exercise regularly.  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.

Lazlo Update He has not had any accidents in the home. He relieves himself in a fenced yard and he will also relieve on lead. He will whine and whimper or will paw you when he needs to go outside.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

And Now for Something Completely Different

We’re going to take a bit of a time out from our usual fare around here and write about something that’s been chewing at us since Sunday.

Yesterday we were over to Pandagon reading about the sexist Superbowl commercials—which by the way are pretty sexist, even by advertising standards—and at first we just chalked the whole thing up to the need for people who create thirty second spots to rely on cultural stereotypes to do their work for them since exposition really isn’t an option. That and the fact that ads aren’t great literature to begin with, so the bar is already pretty low when it comes to aspects of quality, propriety and good taste.

Then we heard a commentator from Salon on the evening news talk about the anger against women in the spots and how that was something new and to her at least, surprising and more than a little unsettling.

So we went back and looked at the ads again and, sure enough, there it was. The Dodge commercial is the most blatant, right down to the slogan “Man’s Last Stand,” against women apparently. But the Flo TV ads were openly aggressive as well, blaming women for the loss of men’s spines. Additionally the Dockers ads implied it was time for men to put their pants back on, literally by donning a pair of Dockers, but metaphorically by reasserting their dominance over women.

Apologists point to the fact that commercials are not meant to be taken seriously, must fight for the viewer’s attention in an environment saturated with distractions and therefore often attempt to provoke and shock and it’s all in good fun anyway so lighten up.

All that is true, but there’s something different about these ads. First of all, there were so many of them. Was there some sort of meeting amongst the different agencies somewhere at which it was decided that the theme for this Superbowl would be misogyny? We doubt it. Yet, commercials don’t sell products anymore, they sell lifestyles, and as such advertising tries to latch onto the cultural zeitgeist and use it to ride to the customer’s pocket book.

And what about the argument that commercials are just harmless fun? Well, yeah, we suppose there is still a mild chuckle in the Flo TV ad that threw a bra over the guy’s shoulder in the shopping mall, the classic fish out of water stereotype. But when you take the whole ad on balance, you don’t have to peel very much humor away before you find anger. Believe us, we know about hiding anger under humor.

Amanda Marcorte, who wrote the post over at Pandagon sees this as just more of the same anti-woman blather put out by men who are intimidated. She writes, “In general, the theme of this year is that that masculinity is barely surviving a vagified assault, and the modern man needs a bunch of products in order to revolt and/or survive the hellish matriarchy…”

We agree, but we think it’s even bigger than that. Take a step back for a moment and look at the general interplay between groups in our culture. When it becomes acceptable to call the President of the United States a traitor—and not just down at the corner bar, but on national TV and in main stream media outlets—and then be invited back to those same outlets to do it again; when it becomes acceptable to carry guns to a political rally; when arguments are carried through volume, threat and intimidation rather than deliberation; when racists, homophobes and religious extremists are given the same deference as the dwindling voices of inclusion, those who don’t see sexual preference as a trump card for every other human characteristic and skill, and of course people who actually know something of what they are talking about, it shouldn’t surprise us that the nature of the discourse shifts from a debate to a power grab.

And that means that not just women, but every other vulnerable group in our society gets a bull's eye painted on their collective backs. Immigrant? Expect only obstacles. Gay? Soon to be illegal. Child? See yesterday’s post. Minority? Welcome to the 1950’s.

The general coarsening of our discourse follows a coarsening of our attitudes. Perhaps this is an unavoidable result of a country at war as some studies suggest, and we’ve been at war off and on (mostly on) for almost 70 years now. Perhaps it’s an outgrowth of the fear our politicians have fed us because that is so much easier to do than actually lead. Perhaps it’s economic in nature, after all, policies that pit one group against another for limited resources generally don’t tend to promote cooperation and altruism. Perhaps it’s all three, or something else all together.

We don’t have answers. There may very well be no answers to begin with, only ways to mitigate the level of destruction we do to ourselves, our planet and out future. We do know that a democracy is like holding water in your hand, the tighter you try to squeeze it, the more it slips away.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Get Caught Running In The Halls, Spend A Night In The Box

You know, back in our days as denizens of the neighborhood educorporate training facility, our educational technicians would occasionally reprimand us for...erm...unsanctioned instances of youthful exuberance. These were mostly harmless excursions off the beaten path of appropriate behavior. Sure there was the squirt gun incident, but that was totally not our fault. If Dale hadn't taken the pistol away from us and squirted Natalie McMahon with it--who screamed like a well, girl, Sister Arnulfa would have never come running into the coat room just as he gave it back.

Just so you know, we could have ratted Dale out...OK we tried to rat Dale out but nobody was buying it so the Family Maximus had to make another trip to the Rectory for a conference with the The Priest which ended with a plethora blackboards to clean and hail Marys and Our Fathers to say (which were recited in our room that weekend as we were restricted to base, as they say) , plus the ritual burning of the offending weapon.

Seriously. Right there in the good Father's wastebasket. At Saint Mary's Elementary School and Bingo Hall they don't play that.

Still, we thank our lucky stars to have been under the benevolent, if somewhat pyromaniacal tutelage of the Order of Perpetual Detention because if  we tried something like that today we'd probably get taken out by a sniper.

A 12-year-old Queens girl was hauled out of school in handcuffs for an artless offense - doodling her name on her desk in erasable marker. She said. "I love my friends Abby and Faith," adding the phrases "Lex was here. 2/1/10" and a smiley face. "We were concerned it was some sort of coded message," said the principal. "Could have been about drugs or terrorism or something. She is brown you know. Can't be too careful."

Instead of simply cleaning off the doodles after class, Alexa  was led out of school in cuffs and walked to the precinct across the street, where she was detained for several hours. "Well come on," said a spokesperson for the district. "Middle school kids writing on desks? Doesn't that strike you as just a bit odd?"

Alexa, who had a stellar attendance record, hasn't been back to school since, adding, "I just thought I'd get a detention. I thought maybe I would have to clean [the desk]."

"Right. And if you rob a bank you think you're just going to get detention," said the principal. "These kids need to learn there are consequences for their actions. Did I mention she's brown?"

City officials acknowledged Alexa's arrest was a mistake. "We're looking at the facts," said City Education Department spokesman David Cantor. "Based on what we've seen so far, this shouldn't have happened. The girl probably should have been Tased instead."

"Even when we're asked to make an arrest, common sense should prevail, and discretion used in deciding whether an arrest or handcuffs are really necessary," said police spokesman Paul Browne. "Well, that and we've got to stop sending officers who are drunk out on patrol."

Alexa is still suspended from her school, her mother said. She and her mom went to family court  where Alexa was assigned eight hours of community service, a book report and an essay on what she learned from the experience.

Book report huh? Hey Lex, we got a suggestion for you. 


Friday, February 05, 2010

Friday Hound Blogging

OK here's a little analogy. Let's say you're renting an apartment in an apartment building. Let's say you've lived there for a while and have gotten to know your neighbors pretty well. Now, let's say you come home one day and find the landlord in your living room. Said landlord tells you that your neighbors have all gotten together and promised to pay him twice what your rent is if he will just make you move away.

What would you think?

Well, that's just what has happened to the overlords.

Citing a study that shows waning public interest and the expensive cost for casinos to "subsidize greyhound racing", reports indicate that casino giant Harrah's is willing to pay the state of Iowa $70 million to free them from an agreement that requires a set number of annual race dates. "This greyhound stuff is giving gambling a bad name," said one Harrah's representative.

"It's an industry that does not have a lot of following," Representative Mary Mascher, D-Iowa City said.

How very tactful of you Representative Mascher. Do you agree Jim Carney, a lobbyist for Harrah's?

"Dog racing is fading nationally," Carney said. Consumer interest in betting on dogs has drastically dwindled as literacy rates rise and it's expensive for the casinos to subsidize the drunks, drug addicts and all around losers that are left in greyhound racing. The two dog tracks together suck about $12 million a year in profits from slots and other gaming to supplement the prize money, or purses, that dog owners and kennels win. Weekdays, few sober people are in the stands to watch dog racing, but crowds tend to be larger on the weekends because some of the people coming during the week passed out and never went home, said officials from both the greyhound and casino industries.

Ouch. Not exactly a ringing endorsement. 

State legislators now face a decision: Should they accept cash from the two casinos to let them off the hook for their obligation to subsidize dog racing? Or keep racing going for the sake of the economic boost from the small but thriving dog-breeding industry?

Decisions, decisions, decision. Truly a dilemma, but we're a little confused. You say the breeding industry is "thriving." Has that assessment already changed two paragraphs later in the same article when you write: "About a third of Iowa counties are home to registered greyhound farms, but the number of dog breeders is declining, according to the "Iowa Greyhound Study."

And earlier you say,  "Dog tracks have shut down in the past two years in several states, including Kansas, Wisconsin, Colorado, Arizona and New Hampshire."

So, tracks shutting down and dog breeders declining equals thriving? We can see why you're having trouble making this decision.

"It's unfair to yank the rug out from beneath the dog breeders without their input and agreement," Representative Rick Olson, D-Des Moines, said. "There needs to be some type of golden parachute for them at a minimum."
Golden parachute? More like a golden shower, huh  Sunshine?

Sunshine is easygoing and very mellow. She is very affectionate and will lean against you and cuddle. She is very sweet and lovable. She really loves her squeaky toys. She loves to play with them, especially when you are not looking. She also loves to run outside, but is very quiet inside. Sunshine would do well in a working family home with well-mannered children. She 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.

Lazlo Update:  Lazlo wants attention from everyone who enters the home. He did okay with a visiting 8 year old child when they were outside.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Pope! Motto: I'm No Theologian, But I Know What I Like

Rats. Old Phil saw his shadow and that means six more weeks of winter, and here in the Water Winter Wonderland that means six more weeks of not seeing the sun, not seeing the ground, and not seeing any reason not to move to Arizona.

Oh. John McCain. Never mind.

We could use a little cheering up. Hey, we know...let's go see what the pope is up to. He's the good news guy after all what with offering the way to salvation, everlasting life and free cookies. How about laying a little of that good news gospel on us us Mr. pope sir?

The Pope has faced a backlash after urging Catholic bishops in England and Wales to fight the UK's Equality Bill with the "missionary position."

Oops. Make that zeal. Missionary zeal. Our bad.

The Pope told the Catholic bishops of England and Wales gathered in Rome: "Your country is well-known for its firm commitment to equality of opportunity for all members of society which we don't hold against you. Nobody's perfect. Yet, as you have rightly pointed out, the effect of some of the legislation designed to achieve this goal has been to force religious communities out of the 3rd century, and not to allow us to act in accordance with our beliefs, namely hating on the homos."

Jonathan Finney, from gay rights group Stonewall, said: "People should not be denied access to services and employment purely because they are gay. Does the pope deny pedophiles the right to become priests? All I'm saying is at least I know when to keep it in my pants."

He added: "What you can't start doing is saying that religious people have hard-won freedoms, we'll now restrict those, we won't give them to gay people, we won't give them to women."

"Wait. Women have rights too? asked Archbishop Vincent Nichols, head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. "When did that happen?"

The Archbishop said: "He's [the Pope] not getting engaged in party politics... but he wants his reasoned voice - formed by the treasures of the Christian heritage which is deeply embedded in our culture - to be heard."

"Treasures?" The pope has a PAC?

Religious leaders have voiced concern that the Equality Bill could force churches to employ sexually active gay people and transsexuals when hiring staff other than priests or ministers. "Oh, great, more perverts. Like we don't have enough already," said one priest who asked not to be named. "What do you think this is, Ireland?"

Catholic MP Ann Widdecombe said: "If a faith teaches, as major faiths do, that something is wrong, then quite clearly you cannot have somebody who believes that it's right actually occupying a very senior position.

Hey, when did we start talking about George Bush?

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

On The Bright Side, All That Time They Would Have Been Reading Can Now Be Spent Watching Reruns Of The L Word

You know, back in our days as inmates of our local educorporate training facility, the educational technicians knew that the best way to get us to read anything was to tell us it was banned. We probably owe a good portion of our present career to the fellow who read the real version of the Miller's Tale to us one day. As soon as "kissed her naked arse full savorly" left his lips that constant mumble of pubescent voices that seemed to accompany us wherever we gathered stopped as if someone threw a switch. Our attention was so strongly focused on the front of the room that the paint behind the instructor began to peel. Naked arses right here in English! Plus, that Miller guy? He was drunk! Top that football coach teaching Health Class!

So we've always used book banning as a sort of reverse barometer of what the kids were reading and in most instances we've been pleased that students would rather read Tropic of Cancer than A Rose for Emily if only because there aren't any study guides for Henry Miller like there are for Faulkner. Good literature should be a little risky and dangerous. For everybody. Which is why this concerns us a little.
Culpeper County public school officials have decided to stop assigning a version of Anne Frank's diary, one of the most enduring symbols of the atrocities of the Nazi regime.
Seriously? Anne Frank? The little 13 year old girl who wrote up in her hidden room until the Germans found her? The little girl who wrote, "Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart " a couple of years before she died of Typhoid in a Concentration Camp. This is the author you're afraid will corrupt the youth of Culpeper County?

Come on people. This here is no Naked Lunch. What's your beef?
A parent complained that the book includes sexually explicit material and homosexual themes.
Uh...yeah. You must be talking about when she wrote, "If I read a book that impresses me, I have to take myself firmly by the hand, before I mix with other people; otherwise they would think my mind rather queer."

Heh heh. She said "queer."
"The Diary of a Young Girl: the Definitive Edition," which was published on the 50th anniversary of Frank's death in a concentration camp, will not be used in the future, said James Allen, director of instruction for the 7,600-student system.
OK, here's our question. If this guy is the director of instruction in a district that can't even handle Anne Frank, why do they need a director of instruction? Seems like someone from the substitute bus driver's pool could handle the job. Save the district some money too. Just trying to help.
Culpeper's policy on "public complaints about learning resources" calls for complaints to be submitted in writing and for a review committee to research the materials and deliberate, Allen said. In this case, the policy was not followed. Allen said the parent registered the complaint orally, no review committee was created and a decision was made quickly by at least one school administrator.
We understand a newspaper reporter had tried to interview the administrator about the decision, but there had been a thunderstorm that morning and the administrator was still hiding under the bed.
The American Library Association has documented only six challenges to "The Diary of Anne Frank" since it began monitoring formal written complaints to remove or restrict books in 1990.
Six times in 20 years? Man, can you imagine what the guy who read us The Miller's
Tale could do in a district like this?
One record dating to 1983 from an Alabama textbook committee said the book was "a real downer" and called for its rejection from schools.
Yeah. Them Nazis sure knew how to take the fun out of a war.

Monday, February 01, 2010

If You Weren't Poor You Wouldn't Have Gotten Sick In The First Place

We're coming to you today from the Odd Headline Department here in the marbled halls of IM Central. OHD is a division of the Excuse Me? Corporation, a wholly owned subsidy of WTF!?!! Inc.

So, we're on our way to the comics section this morning to get us in the mood for reading the news. Dilbert stokes our existential dread long enough to get through the rest of the paper without resorting to adult beverages. Anyway, before we could even get to the Wizard of Id we run across this:

States seeking to ban mandatory health insurance

Hmm...thinks us, that's rather unusual. Even given the intellectual acumen of most state legislators today, it has been our impression that doing outright harm to the residents is, in most cases, a bug not a feature. Our curiosity piqued, we read on:

Although President Barack Obama's push for a health care overhaul has stalled, conservative lawmakers in about half the states are forging ahead with constitutional amendments to ban government health insurance mandates. "There's over 40 million people in this country without health insurance," said one state legislator. "You know what will happen to the republican party if they all get healthy enough to vote?"

The proposals would assert a state-based right for people to pay medical bills from their own pocketbooks and prohibit penalties against those who refuse to carry health insurance. Additionally, people who can't pay, or lack insurance altogether will be required to go someplace out of sight to die.

The moves reflect the continued political potency of the issue for conservatives, who have used it extensively for fundraising and attracting new supporters. "Hey, doctors make money off sick people, why can't we," said a Virginia legislator.

Legislative committees in Idaho and Virginia endorsed their measures this past week. Supporters held a rally at the Pennsylvania Capitol. And hearings on the proposed constitutional amendments were held in Georgia and Missouri. The Missouri hearing drew overflow crowds. "There's a reason Missouri's the 7th fattest state in the union and 38th when it comes to overall health," said Clint Bolick, the constitutional litigation director at the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix. "I don't think they want Washington meddling to jeopardize their rankings."

"These amendments are a way to manifest grass roots opposition" to federal health insurance mandates, Bolick said. "And they're especially popular among republican supporters who are used to voting against their own best interests."

Separate bills passed by the U.S. House and Senate would impose a penalty on people who don't have health insurance except in cases of financial hardship. Subsidies would be provided to low-income and middle-income households. The intent of the mandate is to expand the pool of people who are insured and paying premiums and thus offset the increased costs of insuring those with preexisting conditions or other risks.

"Poor people getting help with their insurance bills leading to better medical care. Is that the kind of America you want to live in?" asked a state legislator.

"We need to move ahead no matter what kind of maneuvering continues in Washington, D.C.," said Missouri Sen. Jane Cunningham, a Republican from suburban St. Louis. "If we don't we're liable to wake up some morning and find out everybody's covered. How we going to beat Mississippi for most unhealthy state then huh?"

"They are merely symbolic gestures," said Michael Dorf, a constitutional law professor at Cornell University. "If this Congress were to pass an individual mandate, and if it is constitutional — which I believe it is — the express rule under the supremacy clause (of the U.S. Constitution) is that the federal law prevails. The states will just have to find some other way to keep poor people from getting good health care. I suggest all sorts of eligibility requirements like they do with abortion. That should keep them out of the system long enough that it will be too late to do anything for them once they have filled out all the forms."