How About Passing a Budget First?

Headline:  “Sen. Durbin Calls for NFL Bounty Hearings”

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The Epitome of Gall

Oh, this is all we need:

Two international delegations will be in New Orleans today to observe the state’s election process as voters head to the polls for presidential preference primaries and a special electon to fill an at-large City Council seat. Orleans Parish Clerk of Criminal Court Arthur Morrell will host the groups from the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program.

The first delegation will focus on human rights and human rights violations and includes officials from the United Nation’s Economic Commission for Africa. Delegation members represent the countries of Benin, the Congo, Gabon, Mauritania, Nigeria, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbawe.

The second delegation includes twelve officials from Central and South America whose primary focus is minority participation in the election process. They represent government and media from Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela and Uruguay.

Great, that’s what we need:  busybodies from countries many of whose experience with democracy is non-existent, laughable or, at best, exceedingly recent and/or tenuous here to make sure we’re playing fair.  Who invited them and why are we tolerating them?

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A Keen Pair

Dutch (left) and Ilya at the 2012 Borzoi Club of America National Specialty.

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A Spot of Bother

Looks like John Corzine, former Democratic (let’s get that straight right off) senator from New Jersey and governor of the same, is bidding fair to become, sooner or later, a guest of the US government due to 1) breaking someone else’s piggy bank and 2) fibbing about it to the wrong people:

Jon S. Corzine, MF Global Holding Ltd.’s chief executive officer, gave “direct instructions” to transfer $200 million from a customer fund account to meet an overdraft in one of the brokerage’s JPMorgan Chase & Co. accounts in London, according to an e-mail sent by a firm executive.

Edith O’Brien, a treasurer for the firm, said in an e-mail sent the afternoon of Oct. 28, three days before the company collapsed, that the transfer of the funds was “Per JC’s direct instructions,” according to a copy of a memo drafted by congressional investigators and obtained by Bloomberg News.

I mean, how can you answer this?  The only defense I can think of is to claim that he’s not the “JC” referred to.  “Your honor, Ms. O’Brien was listening to a supernatural power.”

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A Government Monopoly

Dear me, the feds must be furious:

Eight people are to be questioned on counterfeiting charges on Monday after they were found with $100 million in fake U.S. treasury bonds in their possession, Polish authorities say.

The Central Anti-Corruption Bureau, a state agency, said the suspects — three Poles, two Italians, two Ukrainians, and a Moldovan woman — were arrested on Sunday afternoon in regions around Krakow and Lublin, in southern and eastern Poland.

A spokesman for the bureau, Jacek Dobrzynski, said the suspects were taken by surprise in Sunday’s raid. He said the value of the fake bonds was a record seizure for the bureau.

Selling worthless bonds with no backing?  That’s the US Treasury’s job!

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And in Other Show News…

If that wasn’t enough, we were also showing three dogs this weekend.  This aspect was much more successful.  On Saturday, Ilya was Winners Dog for a major and Best of Winners under Carole Beyerle and the Beeg Boy was Best of Breed.  In the Hound group, for which I had to step out of my role as ring steward, Joan Anselm gave him a Group 2.

On Sunday Mrs. Anselm again gave Dutch Best of Breed and his sister Carmen Best of Opposite.  Carmencita would have had a major for her grand championship but fell one entry short when the judge excused a puppy who had to be dragged around the ring on two legs screaming.

After judging I took everyone home and returned to the show.  After Best in Show, we helped clean up the site and pack up and load all the club’s equipment, then all our own.  The show site was dusty and windy and both Madame and I were hot, tired and covered in grit.  This in no way prevented us from going out to dinner immediately afterwards, walking into the restaurant in a Pig-Pen-like cloud of dust and no doubt causing discomfort to the elderly couple who sat next to us (“Hiram, those people smell!”).  Then home and total collapse.

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When Helpers Fail and Comforts Flee

An old Army saying is “Never volunteer for anything.”  Since I never 1) served in the Army nor 2) have been accused of having good sense, I agreed for a second year to be the chief ring steward for the Houston Kennel Club show held last Saturday.

For the very few readers of mine who also don’t know about dog shows, a ring steward is an unheralded but important part of a dog show.  A steward is a kind of assistant to the judge, handing out the right armbands to the exhibitors, calling classes into the ring, laying out the right ribbons for the judge to present, moving the examination table in or out of the ring among other chores.  A good steward can be a great help to the judge and exhibitors and a bad one can slow everything down, to the ire of all affected.  Usually throughout these United States, one steward suffices for each ring.  In a few places – including, unfortunately, Texas – two stewards are used for each ring, an inside one to help the judge and an outside one to help the exhibitors.

The job of the chief ring steward is to make sure that there are enough stewards for each ring, to provide for reliefs if one has to step out for a minute or needs time to show a dog, to arrange their schedules so that if someone is showing a dog they are not a steward for a judge doing their breed, group or best in show, and to serve as the ring steward during Group competition and Best in Show.  There are professional stewarding associations that can be hired but most clubs, including Houston at its Spring show, rely on volunteers to help out, most frequently from among club members.

Despite numerous appeals and pleading from early February, last Wednesday I had some 20 volunteers, barely enough to cover all the rings for the day.  In this business, barely sometimes has to be good enough.  I sent out e-mails to everyone involved with their ring assignment and when they should be there.  On Thursday and Friday, six (6) of them replied by fluking out on me, the last at 3:30 on Friday afternoon.  At least two of these people were desperately needed to open the show as the inside steward for that ring.

To say I was deeply concerned is an understatement but at least I could console myself about the two possible outcomes.  Outcome 1:  I would find some people at the last minute, in which case the show could go on.  Outcome 2:  I wouldn’t, in which case there would be a catastrophe with judges having to call people into the ring themselves and exhibitors having to pick up their own armbands, the reputation of the club suffering and so on.  In neither case could I be blamed.

Friday evening I wrote to some of my remaining volunteers, explaining the situation and asking if they could take on some extra time, be willing to move around to different rings during the day and/or work a ring by themselves.  All graciously consented.  Madame, who already had duties with judges hospitality, agreed to do an hour and a half early.  Saturday morning I arrived at the show site an hour before judging was scheduled to begin and explained the problem to the show chairman.  Between us we got just enough people to get through the day, which went off with only a few hiccups.

So just when you’re ready to damn everyone to hell enough good folks step up and pitch in.  I made some major withdraws from the Favor Bank this weekend but it was worth it.

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Starting the New Year Right

The Dallas Cowboys plunge to ignominious defeat 31-14 at the hands of the New York Giants and are eliminated from playoff competition.  Folks, it doesn’t get any better than this.

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Just Delightful

A Grand, Grand Overture for orchestra, organ, three vacuum cleaners, electric floor polisher and four rifles by Malcolm Arnold, as performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by David Robertson.

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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from me, Madame and all the Hounds of Soyara:

  • Diva (BISS Ch. Soyara’s Beautiful Dreamer)
  • Alan (Ch. Soyara’s Singer of Songs)
  • Belle (Ch. Soyara’s Southern Belle)
  • Sarge (Ch. Soyara’s Ace of Spades)
  • Stanley (Soyara’s Gandalf of Dana Dan)
  • Smudge (Ch. Soyara’s Smoke and Mirrors)
  • Tess (Ch. Soyara’s Cunning Little Vixen)
  • Ali (Ch. Soyara’s The Force of Destiny)
  • Chance (Soyara’s Against All Odds)
  • Dutch (BISS GCh. Soyara’s The Flying Dutchman)
  • Ilya (Soyara’s Ilya Murometz)
  • Carmen (Ch. Soyara’s Carmen Fantasy)
  • Aida (Ch. Soyara’s Celeste Aida)

Plus Talker the Whippet and Fluffy (God, what a name!) the cat.

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Rarer than a Photo of Bigfoot

A picture of 1) me, 2) winning at a dog show.  Little Aida goes Winners Bitch at the Cen-Tex KC show in Alvarado, TX.  The judge is Tim Robbins.

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A Grooming Tip

When showing dogs, please remember to dress appropriately.

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By their fruits ye shall know them

In the later novels of his “Advise and Consent” series, Allen Drury introduced the character Edward M. “Ted” Jason, an ambitious but shallow Governor of California, lauded to the skies by a fawning and uncritical news media, who is elected President.  A frightening démarche by the Soviets after his inauguration reveals Jason to be a man adrift, devoid of ideas how to deal with it, the few he has being catastrophic to the country.

Our present-day fawning and uncritical news media lauded our current President to the skies based on his reputation for being the smartest guy in the room.  But what’s this reputation based on?  In the words of Victor Davis Hanson:

I am searching for a shred of evidence to substantiate this image of singular intellectual power and known erudition… At Chicago, did lecturer Obama write a path-breaking legal article or a book on jurisprudence that warranted the rare tenure offer to a part-time lecturer? (Has that offer ever been extended to others of like stature?) In the Illinois legislature or U.S. Senate, was Obama known as a deeply learned man of the Patrick Moynihan variety? Whether as an undergraduate, law student, lawyer, professor, legislator or senator, Obama was given numerous opportunities to reveal his intellectual weight. Did he ever really? On what basis did Harvard Law Dean Elena Kagan regret that Obama could not be lured to a top billet at Harvard?

The President is a man who rose without trace, going from a do-nothing stint as Harvard Law Review editor to a do-nothing stint as a lecturer at the University of Chicago to a do-nothing state senatorship to a do-nothing term as junior senator from Illinois.  In all that time he never produced anything that would earn him a reputation as a man of ideas or vision.  All he did was get his ticket punched in the right spots.

Even in the highest office in the nation he’s produced little but bad ideas transformed into bad law by Congressional spoilsmen.  He’s never said anything notable or quotable.  Ultimately he’s an empty suit, a Ted Jason made flesh.  Let’s hope that his term isn’t ultimately as damaging.

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Good Riddance

So, Christopher Hitchens is dead at 62.  Much blubbering from the sinistrosphere about this stout ally of the United States against Islamofascist terror.

Well, as Sam Goldwyn said, include me out from all these breathless encomia.  I had no use whatever for Hitchens in life and refuse to have anything nice to say now that his biochemical processes have ceased and now he’s a decomposing (or incinerated) mass of protoplasm.  For me he was little more than an unrepentant apologist for the USSR, a left-wing Jew-baiter and an anti-religious bigot.  His support of the invasion of Iraq is likely more a consequence of his hating a religion that would refuse him a drink more than any affection for the Anglo-Saxon political order.

I for one won’t miss him in the least.

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News from the Show Scene

Well, now that I’ve woken up let me regale you with a few items from the show scene.

Little Aida finished her championship by going Winners Bitch at the Trinity Valley KC show in Dallas under Rita Bell.  She now may be styled Ch. Soyara’s Celeste Aida.  Aida is the third of her litter to finish and is the second one this year after her sister Carmen.

As for her brother Ilya, at the Sunday Conroe KC show Madame’s pain medication was affecting her balance.  As Ilya was entered in Bred-By I was the only other person who could show him.  I did and – a sign of the coming End Times – won the class over competition.  I then handed him to Rudy Ayala for Winners, which Ilya also won.  Rudy was to handle Carmen in Best of Breed, so Ilya was given to Rudy’s wife, Brooke Young, to be shown in Breed.  And at the end, we had a picture taken of Ilya’s Winners Dog win, with Madame holding him.  So in the end Ilya was handled by four different people in the space of about five minutes.

We put entries for Dutch and Carmen for the 2012 Westminster KC show without much confidence that either would get in.  Because of renovations to Madison Square Garden the entry for 2012 has been cut from 2500 to 2000.  To our surprise and delight, both entries were accepted.  This means a solid two months of my taking them out for roadwork and conditioning.

And finally, Madame was elected Region 3 Governor for the Borzoi Club of America.  This is Madame’s second stint of the Board: she previously served as Governor for Region 6 when we lived in Ohio.

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