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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bloggers Getting Blue in the Face

- Thanks for all the comments on the last post, especially since you mostly agreed with me. I believe it to be an LATG record. In a little less than two days, I accumulated as many comments as Atrios gets in about two minutes. But I guess it's progress nonetheless.

Governor Paterson is in the hospital today; he checked himself in with a severe migraine this morning. He later received a diagnosis of acute glaucoma in his left eye. As you may know, Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno is next in line of succession, and I'm not being macabre in bringing that up. Bruno technically becomes the governor if Paterson became temporarily incapacitated, or even if he merely leaves the state. An article in the NY Sun last week reported that that's not merely a technicality.

"Essentially he would have the powers of the governor," the deputy director of the Rockefeller Institute, Robert Ward, said of Mr. Bruno's status should Mr. Paterson leave town. His powers would include issuing executive orders, hiring and firing staff, approving expenditures that have been appropriated but not yet spent, issuing pardons, and calling in the National Guard, among others. Mr. Bruno could even sign legislation the governor had planned to veto, were it to reach his desk.

"He could try to appoint judges and have them confirmed by the Senate," a former parks commissioner and director of New York Civic, Henry Stern, said of Mr. Bruno. "Paterson should definitely not visit Australia or New Zealand, let's put it that way."

While most of these moves would be reversible, some — such as a judicial appointment or the spending of state funds — would not.
I wonder if awarding the Aqueduct racino would be reversible; or if reversing NYRA's franchise would be! Bruno wished Paterson the best, and added: “The smart thing to do is to get checked out." I'll say!! I can only imagine what Bruno would have wished upon Spitzer if the ex-Gov had checked in for a bruised penis or something like that.

As you probably know, Paterson is legally blind, and, if a court ruling issued today holds up, he won't have a problem distinguishing between various denominations of paper money for too much longer. The Treasury Department has fought the case, claiming that blind people have adapted, pointing out, for example, that some relied on store clerks to help them. I wonder how that would work out if he asked a ticket seller at Belmont to help him out....

- I read this article in the Times today about John McCain's effort to put his money where his mouth is, and clear his staff of lobbyists.
Mr. McCain’s political identity has long been defined by his calls for reducing the influence of special interests in Washington. But as he heads toward the general election as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, he has increasingly confronted criticism that his campaign staff is stocked with people who have made their living as lobbyists or in similar jobs, leaving his credentials as a reformer open to attack.
And I can assure you with a fair amount of confidence that Senator McCain would not be undergoing this effort if not for the fuss raised by the liberal blogosphere, given the free pass that he regularly gets from the mainstream press.

Unfortunately, despite the proliferation of thoroughbred racing blogs, I can't say that us bloggers have nearly the same influence even in our relatively microscopic world. It still seems to me that the racing establishment, with exceptions of course, still just does not take bloggers seriously; and, in fact, still doesn't understand exactly what a blog is, as John so hilariously pointed out last week.

When I say "bloggers," I'm really talking about the independent ones that you'll find, say, in the TBA. Mainstream writers such as Moran have been whining for years and nobody has listened, so why should they now just because they're writing editorial columns disguised as blogs?

But they, the rest of us here, and you readers and commenters, have been ranting, raving, and bellyaching (sorry) for the last couple of weeks post-Eight Belles about what's wrong and what we think should be done. But do you really get a sense that there are serious steps being contemplated, and that all of our voices are being heard? A couple of roundtables on TV, a single blog post by Alex Waldrop, and some new task force doesn't quite do the job. I feel that we're still at least one more highly visible tragedy away from the industry going - 'Whoa' - calling a timeout, canceling all racing around the country for a couple of days to convene a serious meeting of the minds - seriously!! - and taking immediate steps, even if they're largely cosmetic like imposing strict rules on whipping, to show the public and its fans that it's really intent on change. Until then, there's far too much money involved for too many people to change their entrenched ways.

- One more note about the McCain article; it reports that one of McCain's lobbyist staff members helped set up a meeting in Switzerland in 2006 between the distinguished Senator from Arizona and a Russian businessman, who has been barred from entering this country, apparently because of accusations about past ties to organized crime in Russia. That businessman is none other than Oleg Deripaska, the 9th richest man in the world, and Frank Stronach's new dance partner in Magna International (the car company, the Magna that actually makes money.) What the hell was McCain doing meeting with this guy, I might ask? Maybe I should write Atrios about that; then the question could be posed by someone to whom people actually pay attention.


Anonymous said...

Alan, stick to racing

Patrick J Patten said...

haha, as I was halfway through reading this i was like, "uh-oh, no one like's their horse racing news mixed w/ Alan's politics (even though I do, and I'm sure 50% do), so to see the first ANONYMOUS comment, i LOL'd (really I'm not just initialing for fun, my boss is looking at me as there was nothing overtly funny to my office)

again Alan I 100% agree about the inertia (sp?) of horse racing. I think as a group (TBA) we've been dealing with it for 3 years and I must admit I'm getting tired of it. Not sure if I want to give up horse racing or blogging or both, but this sport really has a way of beating down their fans.

Truth is that the industry has no need to change. They make money. Gamblers gamble and the industry is the rake. There will be no change in this sport until economic hardtimes become so hard that the accountants stop hiding profits and start looking up ways to make them up.

A new business plan (which is desparately needed) won't be even be looked at as there is no proof that a change will mean more profit (it's just hope)

Speaking of Hope (if anyone is still reading) Go Obama!!!

Brett said...

Stick to racing and hockey Alan. I'm with anon.

El Angelo said...

Handride: Gamblers may keep gambling, but if the sport doesn't start behaving intelligently, they're going to have a problem 10-15 years from now when nobody under 50 cares about the track.

Patrick J Patten said...

start worrying for 10-15 years from now!!! When did this become a comedy blog. El Angelo, I agree with you, but there's no way these yutz's in charge can plan for 10-15 days from now. This is the same group that just said, "Fuck it, let's give the BC to SA 2 years in a row" not the sharpest tools int shed. ya know.

Who knew all these blog readers were right-wing nut jobs?

Anonymous said...

Don't listen to these guys, Alan, post all you want about politics. Hell, post all you want about gardening if it suits you - it's your blog.

I love these guys too who claim that commenters here do too much whining and belly-aching. And what tone do they take when putting their point across in this comment section? One that smacks of....(wait for it) whining and belly-aching.

Anonymous said...

The Belmont tellers do not care if you are blind. They try to short me all the time. Now that I can use my NYRA rewards account on track, I have cut those thieves out of the picture.

I just noticed I did not get any reward points for using my NYRA rewards account on track. I get points if I stay home and bet on the website but zilch for hauling ass to the track. Weird.

Anonymous said...

The NYRA tellers only go after my money when I am blind drunk.

Anonymous said...

Nothing will be done as long as the NTRA and Breeders Cup are run by the commercial breeders, and since THAT will never Change it follows there is no hope for true Change.

The times they might be changin' in politics, but not in racing.

Anonymous said...

If anyone but me bothered to watch the ESPN round table, the most disgusting part was the hired vet defending the use of drugs, including anabolic steroids, as necessary and therapeutic (there, think I spelled it right this time!).

NTRA hired hand then completely agreed, and also defended the Breeders, of course.

Randy Moss was the sole participant that seemed to truly be concerned, he should be commended.

Anonymous said...

My NY Governor's

One has a constant hard on.

The other can't find his dick!

bruno's the man!

Alan,Your politics suck.Every time I hear the word Liberal I have to check my wallet.

But.I do like your blog.

Anonymous said...

Still laughing after reading the last anon post. Another reason to read LATG, the laughs are usually pretty good. Alan, you can say whatever you want about anything you want, it's your post. Besides, your lefty take on things provides comic relief from the grim reality of the racing industry today. And unlike nearly every other lefty I've ever known, you still believe in free speech by tolerating right wing wackos like the Punter! The reason I wrote? All best wishes to the Gov for the best of health. I cannot fault this Gov so far, he seems to be doing the best he can with the bad hand he was dealt. /S/Green Mtn Punter

Anonymous said...

Hey Handride - did Obama vote for the farm bill ? If yes - is this the change he talks about ?

Bob From NJ

steve in nc said...

Thanks to the anon with the line about watching our wallets around liberals. LOL!

The estimated $22,000 or so each of our families has spent on the war in Iraq... not so funny.

Punter, I appreciate your spirit, thinking & your posts, even when I want to yell, "%$*(*^(*&%)(" at the screen. But how about some paragraph breaks before I go blind, OK?