Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hounds Home For The Holiday

Frequent reader(s) of this blog learned long ago that ambition was a ticket to despair...erm...we mean know that we have a tradition around the marbled halls of IM Central (if by tradition you mean something that we've purposely done more than once) of making a special effort around the holidays to find a couch for one of the homeless needle noses recently rescued from the benevolent care of the overlords.

And speaking of the overlords, we thought that this being a special edition of hound helping, instead of seeking out an example of overlords finding new ways to deal with cognitive dissonance, we'd return to the city fathers of South Tucson featured last week and see how they have resolved their dilemma.
Two weeks after the city of South Tucson decided to back off on a ban to shoot up greyhounds with steroids, the city manager is speaking up to defend their decision.
"You can't really expect us to act on the things the voters want," said City Manager Luis Gonzales. "I mean, vote for me sure, but voting to do things that improve the business climate, the reputation of the city and animal welfare? What do you think this is, majority rules or something?"
The big controversy is enforcement while the people of South Tucson voted in favor of banning steroid use for the dogs at the park. The city manager is telling us that vote had nothing to do with enforcement.
"See when the people voted to ban the use of steroids to interfere with the natural cycle of female greyhounds so they could continue to be profit centers, I was told the enforcement fairies would make sure the track complied with the law." Gonzales said. "Apparently I was misinformed."

Race track officials say they have not been administering steroids that they have been administering. "Look, you can pass all the laws you want," said a track representative who asked not to be identified because his neighbors think he is a used car salesman and he doesn't want to have to move again. "We're going to keep doing what we're doing. What are you gonna do? Close us down? Have you been out to that place recently? It's a morgue man. We'll be lucky to make it to Easter anyway."

Gonzales said the city does care about the welfare of the greyhounds, "but not really enough to do anything about it. Man, if only those enforcement fairies had been real..."

Darn straight Mr. Gonzales sir. Don't you just hate it when people ask you to actually do your job? Hey Shayna, too bad Mr. Gonzales can't find some competency fairies huh? 

I am a real Velcro dog. I am very sweet and want to do everything possible to please. I want to do everything you want me to do. I am not afraid of anything or timid. I would do well with another dog in the home unless you are able to be home a good part of the day with me because I love to be with people. I am not a barker. I can sit on command, I am learning to shake and I can do the stairs. I love to throw my toys up in the air and catch them.With work, I may be able to live with cats or small dogs. Right now I am very interested in my Chihuahua friend that is in the home with me. 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 and here.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Frank Bruni! Motto: Reasons Is Hard

Full disclosure: Even though we may be liberal communist hippie progressive socialist, godless heathens hellbent on making everyone gay marry a box turtle in a giant ceremony at the Abortoplex, we don't actually read the New York Times all that much. The paper kind of reminds us of the guy--you know the one--in the office down the hall who found an accounting error on a balance sheet and saved the company a million dollars ten years ago and has been coasting ever since. Plus, Ross Douthat. Seriously? OK, Paul Krugman too, but given the rest of the ingredients in this journalistic batter, he's the hair in the biscuit don't you think?

Well, all this is by way of saying we ran across the musings of NYT word chef Frank Bruni recently and since he chose to opine on matters educational, we thought we'd give him a go.
At a middle school near Boston not long ago, teachers and administrators noticed that children would frequently return from a classmate’s weekend bar mitzvah with commemorative T-shirts, swag that advertised a party to which many fellow students hadn’t been invited. So administrators moved to ban the clothing. They explained, in a letter to parents, that “while the students wearing the labeled clothing are all chatting excitedly,” the students without it “tend to walk by, trying not to take notice.”
 Hey what do you know? Of the 98,817 public schools in America, at least one has adults who may be overreacting, but we really don't know because all Mr Bruni tells us is the decision part, not what lead up to it like, knowing middle school kids, maybe teasing, classroom disruptions or fights?

Well, no matter that's not the cogent piece of analysis Mr. Bruni wants to impart to us anyway.
I occasionally flash on that anecdote as I behold the pushback against more rigorous education standards in general and the new Common Core curriculum in particular.
You'll have to excuse us a moment Mr. Bruni. We think we threw our back out making that leap from an isolated incident involving one school's dress code to national educational policy impacting every student, every teacher and every school in the country.
And it came to mind when Education Secretary Arne Duncan recently got himself into a big mess. Duncan, defending the Common Core at an education conference, identified some of its most impassioned opponents as “white suburban moms” who were suddenly learning that “their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good.”
Whoa! Can you spot the unstated premises in that piece of Duncanse? The Secretary is now the sole arbiter of what makes a kid intelligent and what makes a school rigorous. Also, Mr. Duncan? Not to nitpick an educational expert such as yourself, especially one who knows what makes a kid smart and a school good, but you should have said  “their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought he or she was, and their school isn’t quite as good.”As the person who determines intelligence, we just thought you'd want to know.

Ah yes, Mr. Bruni. You were saying?
It was an impolitic bit of profiling. Gratuitous, too.
No argument there. Actually we even see this as a sign of progress because when poor parents and minority parents were saying some of the same things, they just got ignored because you know, poor and minority, but when the white folks go getting all uppity, well that just will not do. We're glad you saw that Mr. Bruni.
Oh, we should have known there was a but coming.
But if you follow the fevered lamentations over the Common Core, look hard at some of the complaints from parents and teachers, and factor in the modern cult of self-esteem, you can guess what set Duncan off: a concern, wholly justified, that tougher instruction not be rejected simply because it makes children feel inadequate, and that the impulse to coddle kids not eclipse the imperative to challenge them.
OK in Mr. Bruni's defense he does say look hard at some of the complaints, implying that there may be other  reasons for resisting the Common Core. Unfortunately he does not enlighten us us as to what those reasons are, choosing instead to focus on the one easiest to dismiss. Hey Mr. Bruni? Did you take your straw man to lunch after you finished writing this?
The Common Core, a laudable set of guidelines that emphasize analytical thinking over rote memorization, has been adopted in more than 40 states.
Whoa again! Looks like there was a special on unstated premises down at the lazy argument store this week.  "Guidelines that emphasize analytical thinking over rote memorization?" Really Mr. Bruni? Got some folks over here that would like to talk to you about that. And as for the 40 states thing, as our sainted momma used to say, if all your friends jumped off the George Washington bridge, would you jump too?
What’s not warranted is the welling hysteria from right-wing alarmists, who hallucinate a federal takeover of education and the indoctrination of a next generation of government-loving liberals...
Hey, come on now Mr. Bruni. It's not nice to pick on people with special needs. Easy, but not nice.
...from left-wing paranoiacs, who imagine some conspiracy to ultimately privatize education and create a new frontier of profits for money-mad plutocrats.
Wait. You don't think this is about money?  Hey Diane Ravitch, author of "Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools" can you come over here a minute? You too Diann Woodard President, American Federation of School Administrators. And how about you too Stephanie Simon? Oh and how about you guys from the United Church of Christ, why don't you come over too? Maybe a higher power is needed here.

By the way, Mr. Bruni, we saw what you did with that whole "right-wing alarmists" and "left-wing paranoiacs" thing. Way to move the argument from the issue to the people making it. We see you called Secretary Duncan's white suburban moms and raised him to alarmists and paranoids. Way to keep the argument on a level you can deal with.
Then there’s the outcry, equally reflective of the times, from adults who assert that kids aren’t enjoying school as much; feel a level of stress that they shouldn’t have to; are being judged too narrowly; and doubt their own mettle. Aren’t aspects of school supposed to be relatively mirthless?
Umm...we're going to go with no. See Mr. Bruni, when a teacher creates a lesson they can make it challenging without being painful (See Dewey, John) or they can make it mind numbingly irrelevant, repetitive and soul crushing (See Prep, Test).
Isn’t stress an acceptable byproduct of reaching higher and digging deeper?
Well, yes Mr. Bruni, but you see there are two kids of stress. There's the stress created by excitement and anticipation, like the stress associated with discovery, and there's the stress associated with If You Kids Don't Do Well On This Test WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!! Hope this helps.
If children are unraveling to this extent, it’s a grave problem. But before we beat a hasty retreat from potentially crucial education reforms, we need to ask ourselves how much panic is trickling down to kids from their parents and whether we’re paying the price of having insulated kids from blows to their egos and from the realization that not everyone’s a winner in every activity on every day.
Yes because there's really no other reason to criticize "potentially crucial education reforms" is there Mr. Bruni? Not sure? Why don't you ask your straw man buddy.
Some high schools have 10, 20 or 30 valedictorians, along with bloated honor rolls and a surfeit of graduation prizes. Many kids at all grade levels are Bubble-Wrapped in a culture that praises effort nearly as much as it does accomplishment.
Yeah. And some schools don't "have 10, 20 or 30 valedictorians, along with bloated honor rolls and a surfeit of graduation prizes" and many kids are not "Bubble-Wrapped" so what's your point Mr. Bruni? Oh sorry we interrupted you. Please continue.
“Our students have an inflated sense of their academic prowess,” wrote Marc Tucker, the president of the National Center on Education and the Economy, in Education Week. “They don’t expect to spend much time studying, but they confidently expect good grades and marketable degrees.”
Yeah, sort of like your inflated sense of academic prowess about what you can accomplish with a set of static standards largely created by non educators and applied externally to the complex, dynamic that is modern education in America.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday Hound Blogging

We're coming to you today from the Philosophy Department here in the marbled halls of IM Central. The Philosophy they're the ones who figured out there is something rather than nothing and that means part of the something is sucky blogs, so deal with it OK? We mean, consider the alternative. If there was nothing instead of something then that nothing would be something, so nothing and something are just two variations on a theme, one particular version of which comes with the reality of glasses into which Stoli can be poured. Take your victories where you find them people.

Where were we? Oh yeah, Friday Hound Blogging.

 It seems the city fathers in South Tucson have been presented with an existential dilemma. To wit: If you abandon a law you never enforced in the first place, was there ever really a law? Frequent reader(s) of this blog are aware the truth is out there, and with any luck it will stay out...erm...we mean may recall a while back the local residents--apparently delirious and in the throes of a massive outbreak of empathy--passed an ordinance outlawing the injection of steroids which were used by the overlords to interrupt the natural cycles of female greyhounds so they could keep racing because best treatment and finest care is the overlord code of ethics.

Well, to say the overlords were a bit honked off by this blatant attempt of outsiders to interfere with their efforts to maintain the highest standards of heedful attention and deep regard for the racing units, which is born out of devotion to their furry business partners, is an understatement on the order of believing you could solve Molyneux's problem by flicking the lights on and off. As Tucson Weekly reporter Tim Vanderpool told us:
But even in its twilight, Tucson's track still raises a ruckus. Much of this turmoil dates from a 2008 ordinance passed by voters in the city of South Tucson. Ever since those laws were enacted, the track has relentlessly mocked them.
 Now, as you might imagine, "relentlessly mocking" the duly constituted legal authority in the area did not sit well with the aforementioned authorities, so immediate action was called for:
South Tucson no longer will enforce a ban on administering steroids to greyhounds.
And hence the philosophical dilemma alluded to earlier. How does one attempt to resolve a conundrum of such complexity and intricacy? Perhaps it's time to appeal to a higher power.
The decision came after the city received a letter from Bill Walsh, director of the Arizona Department of Racing, notifying it that state law on racing regulation pre-empts the city from enforcing a ban on steroids.
 Bill Walsh huh? OK not the first name that would come to mind when contemplating a being that engages not in feeling, but thinking, and he himself is the object of his contemplation and is thus unaffected by the world in any way, but we'll hold that thought in abeyance right now and give you the benefit of the doubt. How has the apparently spiritually inspiring Walsh communicated his wishes to you?
In an email statement to the Arizona Daily Star, Walsh said: “The law itself was poorly written and failed to make clear who is responsible for enforcing the ban. To have a ban of this sort, some agency must have both the authority and the ability to run the testing program, which carries with it a considerable cost, if it is to be effective.”
We see. And of course the Walsh has the resources to effectively enforce the ban even though it "carries with it a considerable cost," correct? Especially now that the Walsh has been kicked off the state budget and forced to rely the kindness of those the Walsh "regulates." Maybe the Walsh can do a loaves and fishes thing with the budget. We'll have faith.

What's that you say Jenks? Faith can never be a matter of objective certainty; it involves no reckoning of probabilities, it is not an intellectual acceptance of a doctrine at all. Faith involves a submission of the intellect. It is not only hostile to but also completely beyond the grasp of reason? Oh. Well, guess the means it's an objective certainty the female greyhounds at TGP will still be injected.

I am a wonderful boy. I can be a bit rambunctious as I am very young, but I have calmed down since I have been in my foster home. I love to be wherever my foster Mom is. I love to go for walks and I do very well on the leash. I have toys but I haven’t learned how to play with them yet. I sleep through the night. I am completely housebroken. I love the other Greyhound that is in my foster home, but I don’t do well with small dogs or cats so I won’t be able to live with either. 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 and here.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday Hound Blogging

Frequent reader(s) of this blog know hope is the bullet train to the city of disillusionment...erm...we mean know over the years we've used a lot of pithy Anglo Saxon expletives to describe the overlords. Heartless bags of wasted protein has always been one of our favorites. Semi-sentient black holes of cruelty. We liked that one too. And who could forget soulless ticks, sucking profit from the lives of innocent creatures. But there's one adjective that we've never applied to our noun phrase modifications and that is optimist. Perhaps cockeyed optimist, more likely delusional optimist.
Though scores of greyhound tracks across the country have closed in recent years – including venues at Canterbury, Ramsgate, Rochester and Maidstone in Kent alone – there is a view the bad times that have dogged the sport in the past could finally be at an end.
 "Bad times that have dogged the sport."  HAHAHAHAHA! See what he did there? Pretty funny Mr. Writer sir. Hey, you know what else is funny about greyhound racing? Dogs being bled to death when they aren't fast enough to win anymore.

But back to our story.
Keith Hougham is acting stadium manager at Sittingbourne. He is no stranger to the sport, having been involved for more than 40 years and once owned racing dogs. “Greyhound racing is certainly not at its peak,” he admits. “The amount of greyhound stadiums that have closed throughout the country in the last few years is shocking.“We only have one stadium in London now, which is at Wimbledon, and there are lots of adverse comments about its future too.“At one point you probably had more than 10 in London. But a chequered past involving animal cruelty cases, and constant claims of corruption, have led large sections of the public to turn their back on the sport.
Well Keith, when you put it like that it's hard to see how racing became unpopular in the first place. So what's your plan to put the heartless exploitation of living creatures for profit back on everyone's to do list?
The Swale Borough Council-leased stadium are determined to bring “a night at the dogs” into the 21st century with a clean cut, wholesome and transparent approach. This starts with enticing a new clientele.
Um...Keith? You sure that's a good idea? We mean, unless the new clientele you're planning to entice are sociopaths, psychotics and serial killers the less people know about greyhound racing the better. Particularly that transparent thing. Mass graves have a way of really harshing people's mellow.
Mr Hougham said: “From a spectacle point of view, it is still one of the most exciting sports you can go and see. It generates a lot of enthusiasm from both young and old and you haven’t got to spend a lot of money to come racing. “But it is not based just around betting; it’s a social occasion, a night out where you can have different things going on, family parties, stag nights, hen parties and corporate evenings.”
OK we're going to have to stop you right there Mr. Hougham. If you're going to entice a 21st century clientele to come out to the track by telling them they can have stag and hen parties, you really need to get out a little more often. See, it's not that you aren't a real swinging hep cat or anything, it's just the the Lawrence Welk teevee show went off the air about thirty years ago and the rest of us have kind of moved on, you know?  Hey Applejack, can you help this guy get on Facebook?

Big bag of bacon-flavored dog treats: $9.00 Routine squeaky chew toy: $12.00 Love from our happy, playful, people-pleasing, well-mannered, house rules-following, loyal, obedient, and just ridiculously sweet "cinnamon toasty" Applejacks: PRICELESS! 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 and here.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Friday Hound Blogging

We're coming to you today from the Oh No You Din Nit Department here in the marbled halls of IM Central.ONYDN is a division of the Furnish The Butt For A Beatin' Corporation, a wholly owned subsidy of 'Bout To Come Upside Yo Head, NA.

It seems that people in Florida who happened to be burdened by souls passed the Greyhound Welfare Act a while back which basically says to the overlords, "Hey, you know how you're always telling us you treat the dogs like members of the family because they represent such a large investment of time and money? How you make sure they get the best care at the track and are adopted into loving homes when they retire? How about doing that FOR REALS!"

Well, as you will no doubt be unsurprised to find out, when the overlords were confronted with doing what they say they do and business as usual they chose...guess what? Business as usual.
Greyhound racing resumes today with the Sarasota Kennel Club appealing to state regulators for a waiver to save its season. In May, Florida's Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering passed new rules ordering all racetrack operators to house their dogs in metal cages instead of wood. On Oct. 25, SKC alerted the Department of Business and Professional Regulation — which oversees Florida's pari-mutuels — to its inability to comply.
When asked what caused this "inability" when the track management knew for years this was coming a spokesperson for the track who declined to give his name due to outstanding warrants said, "Perhaps 'inability' isn't the right word. Apathy might be better. Indifference. Lack of concern. You know, stuff like that. Oh, and don't forget greed. Those metal cages aren't cheap."

Gotcha Mr. Overlord sir. And we might throw in stupid too because wooden crates absorb urine and are bacteria farms. Plus they attract ticks and since greyhounds represent such an enormous investment of time and money and since it just doesn't make sense to put them in situations which may result in them not being able to perform at their best, if you've got wooden're dumb.

You're also dumb for waiting until the season started to ask for your waiver. This is a state agency, dude. What are you thinking? It's going to take them weeks if not months to decide what to do with you. Meantime you're sitting on your hands waiting and all those people who don't come to the track anyway coming. So dumb and lack foresight, right Florida Division of Parimutuel Wagering Committee Chairman Rep. Robert Schenck?
Florida's regulation of dog racing is so lax that a Sarasota greyhound track was allowed to start its racing season last week in defiance of a state rule that bans the use of unsanitary and dangerous wooden crates.
 Well there you have it Mr. Overlord. This is what happens when you ignore state agencies whose sole purpose is to keep things on the up and up in the industry. This is Florida taxpayers' dollars at work right here. You've got no one to blame but yourself so you might as well...wait what?
"In all our years of covering regulatory agencies, I can’t quite fathom a regulatory agency allowing this to occur,''said Michael Diamond of Spectrum Gaming, a consulting company hired by Florida lawmakers to complete a report on gambling in Florida.
Oh now that's a little harsh, don't you think Mr. Diamond? After all, we're just talking about putting a few dogs at risk here, something that's done at greyhound race tracks all the time. Let's not make this a bigger problem than it is, OK?
The failure to regulate costs taxpayers money. Although the division is supposed to be self-sufficient, making up in fines and fees what it spends in oversight, lawyers and investigations, Spectrum found that the net cost to taxpayers to regulate dogs is $4 million. Diamond said he spent six months looking at the agency and concluded the regulation is “inadequate” in part because of the way the state laws are structured and in part because of the agency’s reluctance to enforce the laws. Horse and dog tracks consistently understate their revenues from simulcasts, resulting in millions in unaccounted for and unregulated wagering. Gulfstream Racetrack in Hallandale Beach, for example, reported $102 million in simulcast and intertrack wagering in 2012 but failed to report another $605 million, the report said.
Wow! That's some serious change that's floating away there Mr. Diamond. We bet you got the Committee's attention now, huh Representative Schenck?
But if the lax oversight by the governor’s agency was news to legislators, it didn’t seem to matter. The reaction from the committee to Diamond’s report was silence.
Umm...could that be stunned silence Mr. Schenck?
When pressed after the meeting by a reporter, Committee Chairman Rep. Robert Schenck, R-Spring Hill, said the examples are evidence “why we’re taking a look at it comprehensively and why we’re talking about regulatory structure.”
Oh. Uh, talking. Ok, erm...Let's see. Ah. Take that Sarasota. You want to defy state regulation? Hey Gulfstream Racetrack. You want to disappear $605 million while the people of Florida pay $4million to watch you do it? Well, you go right ahead because we're going to talk about it. Yes sir and you can be sure we'll talk about it a lot.

Sometimes you just have to come down hard on people, right Peter?

Introducing Peter, a 9 year old brindle love bug. He is currently living with both large and small doggies, and cats in his foster home and is also good with kids. He seems to prefer the small doggies in his foster home over the big ones but gets along well with everyone. He loves having a fenced yard so he can walk around and sniff and mark every blade of grass. He likes to ride in the car, seems to be somewhat particular with his food. Sleeps on his back w four feet in the air (Roaching) and is an all around relaxed, good boy. 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.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Friday Hound Blogging

Well it looks like the animal rights wackos have their organically grown, all natural no GMO panties in a bunch because the overlords have gotten together at their semi-annual mutual admiration society meeting in Abilene and while they were there engaged in a little old fashioned horse trading. Um, actually it was greyhound trading, and there's really nothing old fashioned about it because they do it every year.

But the thing that really put the frost on the wacko's pumpkin was
Greyhound breeders claim that they love their dogs. However, reading through this year's official Fall Auction Program, it seems that the dogs are nothing more than products.
"Hey, what else are you going to call a highly trained athlete you've invested a lot of  love and care into and who is practically a member of the family," said one overlord in attendance who declined to give her name because her family thought she was at a used car sales convention and she didn't want them to find out what she really did.

Darn straight anonymous overlord. Why, earlier this year we commented to a friend that if the Detroit Lions were to improve this year they would need some better products on defense. But don't get us wrong, current defensive players can stay. We're not suggesting selling any of them for medical research. Besides, as one other overlord was heard to comment, "These are working dogs. What should they be called? It's not like they're members of the family or anything."
For example, the entry for a three-year-old female greyhound named WW's Fly Away indicates that she is being sold as part of an "overstock reduction sale."
Hey, what a coincidence. The Detroit Tigers are having an overstock sale too. Jhonny Peralta anyone? Take your time. It's not like we're going to shoot him if there's no interest.
One of the greyhounds being auctioned off for breeding was nine years old, and at least seven other dogs were eight years old.
Yeah. So what's your point? Nine years old in dog years is only about 61 in people years. That dog couldn't even get Social Security. Well, if they had Social Security for greyhounds that is, or any retirement plan for her short of being used until she dies. But hey, that solves the problem of what to do with her when she got too slow to race anymore, right?
Another entry, for eight-year-old Flying Brookside, states that she "offers the opportunity to own a Kiowa Sweet Trey daughter" and adds that two of her sisters have "been excellent producers."
That gives us an idea. Anyway the Lions could get an option on Peyton Manning's kids? But only if it looks like they've inherited Dad's arm. If not they can stay at home. We wouldn't suggest culling them or anything just because they can't play football. Maybe they could be sportswriters, or if they lack even that much talent, color commentators.  Hey Walt. How many choices for a career did you get?

Walt is a 9 year old Brindle boy who is a very content doggie. He gets along very well with his foster brother and sister and is very calm, cool and collected as any cool dude should be! Adopting a senior is such a rewarding experience--why not give it a try. Walt is dark brindle in color and has a distinguished white face. We don't think kitties are his style but he really loves his walks and chasing his greyhound sister in the yard for fun. Walt is up to date on all shots and is looking for his forever home--hope you'll give Walt some consideration because he's got a lot of good livin' to do! 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.