Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday Hound Blogging

OK, we're going to get right to the point. How stupid is Florida? More specifically, how stupid is the Florida Legislature? More specifically still, how stupid is state senator Jack Latvala? Apparently, more stupid than Iowa, but not as stupid as Christopher Grieb. We mean 20,000? Come on Griebster man, nobody says that. Use your Google dude. Check it:
Thousands of dogs are killed every year when they are no longer profitable Thousands of greyhounds are still killed every year. Because several states do not keep adequate public records, there are no verifiable statistics on the number of dogs killed nationally. Estimates range from 3,000  to 8,567.  In 2011, the National Greyhound Association acknowledged that there are “no cumulative annual records” available regarding the ultimate fate of racing greyhounds.
That's what Grey2K says. And the reason they say that is because the National Greyhound Association, which was founded in 1987 "to ensure the welfare of racing greyhounds on the farm, at the track and upon retirement" doesn't really know what happens to greyhounds after their careers as profit centers are over. Of course, as authors of a blog whose connection with reality is tenuous on a good day we understand that making stuff up is a lot more fun than actually dealing with the facts. Our excuse is Stoli though. What's yours?

But back to our story.

Florida had a chance to get out from under greyhound racing which pretty much everyone in the state thought was a no brainer. Well, everyone except that Latvala guy.
Suddenly, Latvala — a Clearwater Republican — called for a point of order. He told chair Joe Negron, R-Stuart, that the amendment wasn’t germane to the bill and that it violated a “single-subject” requirement. Negron turned to Rules chair John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, who agreed with the call. Based on Thrasher’s ruling, Negron then struck the amendment from consideration.
 "Hey, don't blame me" Latvala told reporters after the session. "I just learned about points of order and I was trying it out. My son got me a copy of Robert's Rules for Christmas. Did you know meetings have rules? Crazy huh?"

Yeah, well we're all for education here in the marbled halls of IM Central there Mr. Latvala, but in this case we're thinking you might have been better off if you'd stayed stupid because now, instead of giving the state a chance to get out from under the heartless exploitation of innocent living creatures for (no) profit, by leaving in the injury reporting part, you made it so even more people will learn how cruel, callous and barbaric the "sport" is. Don't expect a Christmas card from the overlords this year bud.

See, you should have taken your cue from Iowa.
A bill that would end greyhound racing in Council Bluffs but allow dog owners to continue operating a track in Dubuque was placed on the legislative fast-track Thursday.
"Fast track." Did you catch that part? Iowa is all like, we're gonna drop racing like a hot rock, like a bad habit, like third period French. You're going down like a blind roofer, like a fat kid on a seesaw, like a one legged man in a butt kicking contest, get the picture. Everyone gets the picture. Um...almost everyone.
The other $36 million will be used to help the Iowa Greyhound Association lease the dog racing track in Dubuque and attempt to keep greyhound racing alive in Iowa. The current racing arrangement with the Dubuque casino would end in October. The greyhound association would then negotiate a five-year lease for the track and begin running it; the group would have an optional five-year extension.
 "Optional five year extension." HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Greyhound racing without subsidies? Without tax breaks? Without customers? Oh wait, you don't have any customers now. Our advice? Forget the lease and just pay week to week. That way you won't be so far behind when you close down in June, right Shotgun?

I was quiet at first but not timid or shy. Now I am getting curious of everything and just love being in a home for the very first time. I am very friendly with everyone I meet. I love to give my foster mom kisses. I am very social. I love dogs of any size and I love kitties too. I am housebroken. I don’t mind being in my crate if need be. I can go up and down the stairs. I am trying to learn to play with toys but I don’t quite understand yet what to do with them so I just pick them up and then put them back down. I love to be in the company of either my foster mom or one of my foster four-leggers. 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, April 18, 2014

Friday Hound Blogging

Frequent reader(s) of this blog know the secret to happiness is lowered expectations...erm...we mean know that we have often taken the overlords to task for their dysfunctional relationship with the maths  so when we ran across their latest expectoration and noticed that they had graduated from an inability to figure percentages to trying their hand at the expurgation of statistical data we were intrigued.

The first thing we noticed is that the little overlord missive is published by an organization called PRWeb which apparently is a site that, for a fee, will post your press release. Sort of like a blog, except you have to pay them (note to self: find people who are desperate enough to send us money to post things on our blog). We also noticed that of the four people shown in the pair of photos on the PRWeb site, two appear in both, which leads us to believe that the PRWeb enterprise is located in someone's basement, but leave that be, it doesn't matter right now.

In an effort to be fair--or maybe just to find another reason to laugh at the overlords' attempt at refutation--we thought we'd do a search to see if any media outlets had picked up the press release. After all, thinks us, greyhounds are big in the news right now, especially in Florida and  just because the overlords paid to get someone to listen to them, doesn't mean they don't have something of value to say yes it does we're just fooling with you. Anyway, our search turned up two responses: zip and nada.  No newspapers. No tee vee. No radio. No leaflets put under the windshield wipers of the cars in the local Walmart. Nothing. Bupkus. Well, unless you count the postings on the overlords' own sites then yeah, it's all over the web, but really folks, that's sort of informational masturbation don't you think? Little icky.

So what could be the problem? The topic is certainly newsworthy as it's been all over the papers and local tee vee stations. We decided to take a closer look.
Live attendance and wagering at Florida’s greyhound race tracks are experiencing steady growth, according to the Florida Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering reports that live betting (handle) was up 11.4% state wide in November, with a handful of tracks performing well above the state average.
 OK, not to be picky or anything but when you say "steady" that means, well, steady, as in over time. So if the November handle was "up," what was it up compared to? October? The previous November? Since you threw a buck fifty in the till? Not very enlightening, but what else you got?
The state’s Gambling Impact Study reports that the Florida greyhound industry produces an estimated $ 200 million dollars in tax revenue.
Oh overlords! You're so cute when you try to be rational. We believe that when the heartless exploitation of innocent living creatures for (no) profit finally goes the way of New Coke and the AMC Gremlin there will be a career for you picking cherries. It's true the report said what you quoted, but it also said:

Greyhound racing is a “dying sport” that has been hemorrhaging revenue for years, according to a study of commissioned by the Florida Legislature.
More specifically:
The first 307-page report, released last week, gave an overview of all aspects of the state’s gaming industry, but painted a particularly bleak picture for facilities that offer greyhound racing. “Handle,” or the total amount wagered, has plummeted over the past two decades. “Total handle for the 13 facilities that ran greyhound racing fell from $933.8 million in [fiscal year] 1990 to $265.4 million in [fiscal year] 2012, a decline of 67 percent,” the report read.
 See the difference here overlords? Your "up" isn't connected to anything, but the report's down is connected to years. Twenty. Two. Years. Now there's a steady for you Bucko. Twenty-two years and nothing but drop. Don't get much steadier than that. We'll give you one more chance though. What's your big finish?
Reports of greyhound racing’s declining profitability are often one sided and purposely do not take into account that a number of tracks have closed in the past twenty years. In 1993, there were 18 greyhound tracks operating in Florida. Today, there are 13. The smaller industry pool in 2013 versus 1993 naturally shows a decline.
 Well sure, if by "decline" you mean the number of tracks, but we're talking dollars here dude. So if you have less tracks chasing the same, or greater, amount of bucks, shouldn't each track's take have been increasing rather than decreasing over the years? You know, the less people that want a piece of the pie, the bigger each person's piece is. Sorry to lay the heavy duty statistical vocab on you there Mr. Overlord sir, but it looks like your statistical analysis skills could use...some...well...statistical analysis skills, right Valentino?

Handsome young beefcake new in town looking for love. Not set in my ways yet, I am very flexible! Nothing but time on my paws since I officially have no plans to be gainfully employed. Looking for that comfy couch and someone to snuggle. Call 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.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Hound Blogging

We're coming to you today from the Empire Strikes Out Department here in the marbled halls of IM Central. The ESOD is a division of the I Know You Are But What Am I Company, a member of the Rubber Glue Consortium.

It seems the overlords who infest the corridors at the Arizona Department of Racing have had enough of it being pointed out that when it comes to doing their job of overseeing the heartless exploitation of innocent living creatures for (no) profit, they have had about as much impact as a republican at a NOW convention.

Well, no more. You tree hugging, Birkenstock wearing, vegan, animal rights wackos have ragged on the hapless morons at ADOR one time too many, and now they're fighting back.
The Department of Racing asserts that while it has made sure to keep its authority in regulating dog racing to maintain consistency at the track, that does not mean that dogs are being treated with steroids.
OK, admittedly, we don't sprechen ze overlord very well, but it sounds to us like you're saying just because we're doing our job doesn't mean we're not doing our job. Which seems to us to be the linguistic equivalent of looking in the mirror and watching yourself pick your nose. We would ask you to clarify, but we're afraid you would, and bedsides, given that you never actually did your job anyway, this seems to us to be a welcome change in your regulatory philosophy, so please do continue.
A letter from the department earlier this week in response to a previous story said that allowing Tucson Greyhound Park to inject dogs with steroids would be in violation of a 2008 South Tucson initiative that bans steroid use.
Ah. Logic. So what you're saying is, it's your job to enforce regulations, and the City of South Tucson has this regulation therefore, ipso facto, Carpe Diem, and caveat emptor, enforcement. Right?
A written response from the department information officer said that it has invested thousands of dollars to test for all drugs in the dogs, which includes steroids. Part of the letter states: "As a result of our testing procedures, we are confident that currently there are no dogs running at Tucson Greyhound Park that are using steroids or other performance enhancing drugs."
 Bam! There you go then. Using geometric logic and obfuscatory skimble-scamble, the overlords have conclusively shown that if you ask them if they are doing their jobs, their response can somehow be construed as yes. Who can argue with that?
This would be a change from correspondence from the department under previous directors, according to greyhound advocate Susan Via, who drafted the 2008 South Tucson initiative. "They said it was common practice.  In one report, they said that all the trainers admitted giving it to their female dogs at Tucson Greyhound Park after the ordinance banned it and yet they refuse to find any violation or do anything about that obvious violation of law," Via said.
OK we think we see the source of your confusion here, Ms. Via. Apparently when you hear the overlords responding to queries about doing their jobs, you expect the truth. You seem to have forgotten who you are dealing with. These are overlords, Ms. Via, the same people who tell us what a wonderful life the greyhounds have in the kennels; how they are elite athletes whose safety and well being is the top priority; and how they are so well regarded they are practically members of the family. It's a common enough mistake because overlords look like people; they sound like people; and they act like people. Which just goes to show that soulless zombies do walk among us, right Hoss?

I am a very smart boy and eager to learn. I love to go for walks and do very well on my leash. I love to play and enjoy being with my foster pack. I am housebroken and do well in my crate. I am learning to go up and down the stairs. I am friendly with everyone I meet. I have even done well with the older children I have met. I get along well with dogs of all sizes. 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, April 04, 2014

Friday Hound Blogging

You know, we've been thinking about last week's post...erm...excuse us, last week's hard hitting documentary exposing myths, facts and lies in greyhound racing, and not just because we're trying to figure out how Mr. Mason goes around with a dead chipmunk on his face. No, we've been mulling over something he said early on in the documentary--if by documentary you mean my wife gave me a video camera for Christmas, but she made me promise no sex tapes, so let's make a video about greyhounds.

Early on in the video Mr. Mason mentioned that the real problem with the drop in attendance at  greyhound racing tracks wasn't the public's growing revulsion at the injuring and killing of innocent living creatures, or the fact that the whole industry was based on the commodification of greyhounds who were unceremoniously dumped on the public when they were no longer profitable--if they were lucky. No, the problem with greyhound racing was that the track owners had abandoned it for more lucrative shores, namely slots and poker.

Well, if that's true, that's pretty unfair thinks us. We mean, here the track owners invite the overlords to come and set up shop, they provide housing, material assistance and certain amenities. It's almost like the track owners are welcoming the overlords into the family, then, as soon as the they quit making money they're unceremoniously dumped and the owners are off in search of another profit center without as much as a fine howdy do.

How heartless is that? How cruel, to treat the overlords as if they were nothing more than an means to an end. Outrageous. There must be some protection for the overlords, some redress of their grievances. You can't just throw them out on the street and expect someone else to clean up the mess, track owners, you have certain...obligations. We know. Since gambling is regulated by the state this is a perfect time for the legislature to step up and offer some protections for the overlords, right Florida state senators Eleanor Sobel, and Sen. Maria Sachs?
In a rare concession, the Florida Senate Gaming chairman on Thursday acknowledged that it is unlikely lawmakers can reach agreement on a sweeping gaming bill this legislative session but they will pursue a bill to begin the end of greyhound racing in Florida.
Ha! See there owners? You can't just pretend that you care about the overlords then toss them off without even a fare thee well when they stop making money for you. Now you'll have to deal with the potential end of greyhound racing all together. You'll have to...wait, what?
“Even if comprehensive reform is not in the cards for this session, we need to keep trying to find a graceful transition away from greyhound racing,'' Florida Senate Gaming chairman Garrett Richter said. "Industry representatives concede today that it’s a dying sport" and a gaming report commissioned by the House and Senate called the sport "loss leaders."
 OK this isn't going the way we thought it would. If the government won't help, the overlords will have to turn to the fourth estate. Is there a crusading journalist out there with a highly developed sense of right and wrong and the courage to speak truth to power? What about you, Tom Rohwer of the Daily Nonpareil?
Iowa lawmakers have their own plans to end dog racing in the state, but would prefer the key players involved reach their own agreement.
Booya! See there owners? If you can't work out a way to end greyhound racing, the legislature is prepared to step in and end it for you! OK, now that we think about it, that may not be the solution the overlords are looking for.  Well, maybe this topic is too hot for a local journalist. Maybe the overlords need the national media to step in and right this wrong before it's too late. What about you, NPR reporter Greg Allen, can you bring the reach and resources of National Public Radio to bear on the overlords' plight?
On a weekday afternoon at the Mardi Gras Casino near Fort Lauderdale, Fla., most guests are inside at the relatively new card tables and slot machines. Outside, at the 5 p.m. post time, only about a dozen people are in the grandstand. Greyhound racing, a sport in decline, is still hanging on, mostly in Florida. But a bill gathering steam in the Legislature may hasten its demise.
Hasten its demise? Holy crap, it's worse than we thought. There's only one thing left. We need to start an adoption program for overlords. If we work hard at it we can get 95% of overlords adopted when their track closes. What do you say Linda? You got room on your couch for an overlord?

I am a very happy, goofy and silly girl. My foster family had to work very hard to get this photo of me because every time someone wants to take my picture all I want to do is give them kisses. I love to give kisses. I wag my tail all the time because I am such a happy girl. I have been very friendly with everyone I have met. I learned to go up and down the stairs on my first try. I love to play with my toys. I get along great with my foster mom’s Greyhound. I have not met any small dogs or cats yet so I am not sure how I am with them. I have not had any accidents in the house. I love to go for walks but I need to work on my leash skills. I do very well when I’m in my 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 and here.