Saturday, March 1, 2014

Not Penn Nationals First Rodeo

Fun Fact: Did you know that Penn National once spent $38M to defeat a ballot initiative in Ohio that would have forced it to compete with another casino company? 


Is that what we really want here in Massachusetts?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Year Seven

Day 1:

Casinos are inevitable.  A done deal.  The fix is in.

Day 2,396: 

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Thank you
to
everyone who made
this possible.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

With Slots Vote, Town of Raynham Joins Impressive List...


... of things that once were good...

...and then went horribly, horribly wrong.




Sunday, April 21, 2013

Cedric at the Bat



Things looked pretty bright for the Mashpee Tribe that day.
A mega casino seemed inevitable and only eighteen months away.
Then their luck ran out with Salazar, and Hawaii did the same,
But Cedric claimed a fix would put his Tribe back in the game.

And while the smart money waited for it's ultimate demise,
The casino got less mega till it shrunk to third it's size.
Payments to the town got lost, straining tenuous goodwill.
Enter crazy local drama, then things really went downhill.

So Cedric started scouting out new sites in Southeast Mass.
Pissing off Pocassets, and other folks, en masse.
He demanded that the Governor give his blessing and consent
Or he'd build his slice of Vegas and give the State not one red cent.

Finally, in Fall River, Cupid's arrow hit it's mark
There Cedric's dream of slot machines would replace a Biopark.
Five short months and a lawsuit later, the love affair grew cold
Saddling the city with a future, instead of an industry of old.

Still, the Tribe had a friend in Boston, good old Stanley Rosenberg.
The Senate's go-to man on gambling swallowed Cedric's every word.
He made certain that a Tribe would get first dibs on Region C
Igniting, thereupon, a frenzied reservation shopping spree.

But a deadline loomed ahead, for the land must be taken into trust
Or his sovereign gambling empire would almost certainly combust.
So he promptly settled on a city where he quickly bought the vote,
Two badly negotiated compacts later, and Cedric's heart filled up with hope.

But as supporters got impatient, and as the doubts of critics grew,
The gambling commission felt the heat, and wondered what to do.
So Cedric borrowed a couple million, and made a brilliant TV ad,
To drum up sympathy over pilgrims, and make the MGC look bad.

Now somewhere in East Taunton the sun is shining bright,
A band plays in Middleboro, and in Fall River hearts are light.
And somewhere there are activists who never had a doubt.
Oh... but there is no joy in Mashpee... Cedric Cromwell has struck out.


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Mashpee Tribe officially pisses off Commission charged with it's future as result of angry Sunday morning media blitz



Dear Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe,

Maybe you should have left the sarcasm and accusations to us bloggers:


Welcome to Persona Non Grataville.

Love,
Gladys


Friday, March 1, 2013

Race Colored Glasses

In his book, “Racism in Indian Country,” Chavers rails a case presented by CERA for doing away with tribal sovereignty, writing that CERA members include third- and fourth-generation descendants of people who profited from acquiring Indian lands in the past and “can’t stand the idea that Indians would get some land back, no matter how it happens.”


Funny how different people can see things so differently, isn't it?

Because I don't see CERA as being racist at all.

But I do remember when a member of the group CERA (Citizens Equal Rights Alliance) came to Middleboro to speak at the infamous Glenn Marshall forum, and later to concerned locals at meetings of the grassroots organization CasinoFacts.org.

And a then-sitting selectman, who shall remain nameless unless you want to click on this link, warned the group's leadership that CERA was a racist organization.

The town's Indian Gaming Laywer also tried to paint CERA as racist at a big public forum.

And the message was crystal clear:  CERA was a hate group.  And any group or individual taking advice from CERA was dangerously canoodling with a despicable racist organization, and for all intents might be considered racist too.

We would be well-advised, therefore, should we want to avoid, wink wink, any bad publicity, nudge nudge, against associating ourselves with the likes of CERA.

...Oh, and did we mention inevitability, again?

And so, in a decision I disagreed with, our group kept it's formal distance from CERA.

Here's the thing, though.  That selectman, and the Indian-gaming lawyer - they weren't exactly impartial, either.  And they didn't always tell the truth - especially when it mattered.

But they did teach me something - why some people in positions of power or influence lie.

They do it because they think you're stupid.  They think you're afraid and weak and you won't bother to question the facts or find answers to the questions yourself.  And heck, a lot of people fall right in line.

CERA, on the other hand, and much to their credit, believed we were smarter than we actually were.

They just kept laying out the reasons why things weren't as inevitable as we might think, then waited for us to figure it out on our own.

In fact, in light of being outspent and out-lobbied and out-lied for over twenty years, CERA consistently offers only the facts, the laws, the reality and the unbelievable yet sickeningly true stories you sure as hell weren't going to hear anywhere else.

Together they formed a nation-wide network of self-educated activists.

And back when we we were swimming in a sea of sharks, CERA offered us a life jacket of truth.

I've never witnessed a racist moment in their presence.

Instead I found wickedly smart, quietly brave, hard-working, passionate people.  I found people moved, not by the petty greed that fuels so many in this pathetic morass, but by the outrage that should spark a fire in any American who watches their laws and Constitution, the public trust and the fabric of their everyday life twisted like some damp dishrag to wring out the last cent of profit for private gain.

I found an honest, dignified group of people who, rather than perseverate on the same pack of lies as their opponents, were willing, despite great personal hardships and every possible obstacle in their path, to pursue the truth all the way to the Supreme Court.

And so sure, I can see why some people might just hate that.

So you just keep calling CERA racist if you want, Mr. Chavers.  I have no doubt that someone out there is willing to listen.


Massachusetts News Serves New Hampshire Well

"the regulatory and social costs of expanded gambling could very well cancel out the benefits of increased state revenue."
I saw this same story on Channel 5 WCVB this morning - complete with requisite stock footage of slot machines and flashing lights.

Anyway, good for New Hampshire!

It would appear that the effluence from their own casino cesspool has finally seeped across the border and into the muddy consciousness of the crack news team at WCVB, Boston.

Though, I'm not quite sure where they were when Massachusetts studies were attempting to point out the EXACT same thing - time and time and time again.

Oh that's right... squirrel on the waterski.  Thanks, I'd forgot.

Not to worry, the local mainstream media seems to have fixed this minor glitch in their sump pump, and in the few short hours after it aired, I was unable to find the story anywhere on their site.

But hey, at least the people of Massachusetts looking down the barrel of a mega resort casino or slot parlor in their back yards can otherwise rest well informed knowing that Giuliana Rancic puts marriage before motherhood.

Yay.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Force

I've been taking a break from blogging, but have wanted to update my previous post on anti-casino advocate, Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse and his unfortunate decision to go over to the dark side on casinos.  This was the picture I included in the post.  I'm pretty sure it was e-mailed to him a few dozen times.


A few weeks later, however, Mayor Morse reversed his reversal by posting this statement on his Facebook page.

Back on Track: Statement from Mayor Morse on Casino Development
by Alex Morse on Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 3:19pm

Late last month, I announced a change in my strategy to address the reality of a casino coming to our region. Since that announcement, I have come to recognize the flaws of such strategy. It has become increasingly clear that pursuing this conversation will only be a distraction from my administration’s broader economic goals, and I regret not realizing this fact sooner.

Today, I am halting all consideration of a casino development in the City of Holyoke, and the City will be returning the grants provided by both gaming proponents to review their projects. I have decided not to pursue a host agreement for a project of this type in the City of Holyoke. A casino may be coming to our area, but it will not be coming here.

I admit that the potential benefits such as prime recreational opportunities available on and around Mt. Tom and the possibility of revenue to be gained from a casino to be invested downtown piqued my interest – as did the reality that a casino down the road would have negative effects on Holyoke and other surrounding communities. But over the past weeks I have done a lot of listening: I have heard from colleagues; I have heard from friends; I have heard from leaders from other cities that faced similar circumstances; and, above all, I have heard from the citizens I serve. And I now realize that the allure of these short-term economic benefits are not worth a protracted exercise that would divert us and cause me to lose sight of the values that got me elected.

Our City cannot afford to be diverted by this conversation. At a time when our community needs unity of purpose, a yearlong debate over locating a casino within our borders will only sow division and discord. In retrospect, I should have foreseen this sort of division, and I apologize for introducing it. Initiating this process was a mistake and I accept that responsibility.

My election last year signaled the direction in which the people of Holyoke wanted our City to move – and that was toward an economy based on creativity, innovation, and technology. I remain committed to continuing along that path. If the unanimous City Council vote on our City’s new Urban Renewal Plan is indicative, then there are tremendous successes our City can achieve by seeking and finding common ground. Moving forward, the question of how to best address the negative impacts of a casino in surrounding communities like ours will remain on my agenda. I plan to continue speaking with neighboring mayors, and listen for further input from Holyoke’s citizens. At the state level, we will pursue a “surrounding community” designation, which will enhance our mitigation efforts.  I will do all I can to secure both revenue and jobs for Holyoke throughout this process.

Now, more than ever, I recognize how complicated the work of good governance can be. I have learned from this experience. Ultimately, I hope to build on this humbling moment and to become a better mayor as a result. We still have much work before us, and I am grateful that by listening, and with your support, I am now back on track.

Perhaps the Mayor realized his mistake, as he indicates, upon deep introspection after listening to a diverse group of citizens, or perhaps he came to it after being heckled by former supporters at his own casino press conference.

Either way, it's clear that Alex Morse was able to do what most politicians twice his age, and presumably, wisdom, have never been able to do.  That is, to recover from a case of casino rabies after being infected with the disease.

The Force is strong with this one.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

And these, Thy gifts


For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends, 
For everything Thy goodness sends.

                                                                               -Ralph Waldo Emerson


The Grinch who taxed Christmas... And gave us casinos...

... And another reason to shop early...


Mass. prods Amazon to collect sales taxes
Even if Amazon and the state do come to terms on tax collections, Patrick said, “I’m just not sure that we’re going to have an agreement in place in time for the holidays.”
Yeah, that'd be an epic tragedy.

Hey, I get that the state perpetually needs more money, but the Internet has been around for a couple decades, and the recession is limping into it's fifth year.

 So yeah, the timing could be better.
Every Who
Down in Who-ville
Liked Christmas a lot...

But the Grinch,
Who lived just North of Who-ville,
Did NOT!

The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season!
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be that his head wasn't screwed on quite right.
It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.
But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.
I'm going with Patrick's 'head wasn't screwed on quite right.'

But look, apparently Steve Grossman's head's not screwed on quite right, either.
“This is not simply a revenue issue . . . it is a matter of fairness and equity to Main Street businesses,” Massachusetts Treasurer Steven Grossman wrote in a letter to US Senator Max Baucus, head of the Senate’s Finance Committee, pushing for online tax legislation.

“Local retailers and other merchants should not have to compete with online sales giants that do not have to collect state and local sales taxes,” he said. “It is simply contrary to sound public policy to penalize companies that actually invest in a brick-and-mortar presence in a community.”
According to Steve, it is a supreme injustice of the highest order that Massachusetts local businesses are required to compete with a massive national competitor that is inexplicably allowed to receive unfair economic advantages.

Unlike all-inclusive mega-casinos plunked down in the middle of small, often struggling New England towns, which can offer free drinks, unlimited comps and indoor smoking.

Or Tribal casinos which receive certain Federal tax breaks based on Sovereign status.

Steve's pretty OK with all that.
Then he got an idea!
An awful idea!
THE GRINCH
GOT A WONDERFUL, AWFUL IDEA!

"I know just what to do!" The Grinch Laughed in his throat.
And he made a quick Santy Claus hat and a coat.
And he chuckled, and clucked, "What a great Grinchy trick!
"With this coat and this hat, I'll look just like Saint Nick!"
Oh wait.  I forgot.  Casinos are good!  Slot parlors are good!  They're just presents under the Commonwealth's tree!

A winning scratch ticket snuggled in our Christmas stocking!  A golden wishbone hidden inside our holiday turkey!

But then, why doesn't it feel that way to the folks down in Whoville?

And why do casino interests have to outspend casino opponents 300 to 1, or wait for an economic downturn to turn up the pressure on legislators to create jobs, or spend millions on lobbyists to buy votes, or build shell offices in target towns and cities too look like they're inevitable, or use predatory devices and business practices for the bulk of their profits?

And why did Deval Patrick seemingly listen only to gambling interests?  Why did he make stuff up to win this fight - instead of looking at the facts, or listening to the experts, or relying on the advice of the same progressive supporters who worked to get into office in the first place?
Then the Grinch said, "Giddyap!"
And the sleigh started down
Toward the homes where the Whos
Lay a-snooze in their town.

All their windows were dark. Quiet snow filled the air.
All the Whos were all dreaming sweet dreams without care
When he came to the first house in the square.
"This is stop number one," The old Grinchy Claus hissed
And he climbed to the roof, empty bags in his fist.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Irony and the Ecstasy

“Unfortunately, Mr. Lynch has gained a reputation throughout the country as a hired gun who will come up with reasons to deny Indian tribes their sovereign right to land as long as the price is right,” Cedric Cromwell, the Mashpee Wampanoag chairman, said in a statement.

“Throughout our quest for federal recognition, and now an initial reservation, those with a financial motivation to deny us our rights have paid so-called experts to refute our history and our identity as Mashpee Wampanoag people.”

Conn. researcher can swing fates of tribes:
-- James Lynch debunks historical claims of Indians, sometimes testifying in disputes over casino proposals
Ah, the delicious irony.

A Tribe that once used billionaire casino investor money to hire an expensive lobbyist with 'questionable credentials' to influence the federal recognition process, then used more billionaire casino investor money to outspend a small community 300-1 in order to influence a casino vote that would benefit them financially, is suddenly calling the guy working on behalf for a rival tribe - for free - a 'hired gun'.

Oh so delicious.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Phew!

In case you hadn't heard
The final tally shows Brunelle beating fellow Middleboro Democrat Adam Bond by just 12 votes, 818 to 806. In the unofficial count, Brunelle led Bond 818-804.

One small step for a democrat. One giant Hail Mary Pass for democracy.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Taunton Casino Theme Song

An update to my 2007 classic, Middleboro Casino Theme Song, sung to the lyrics of For the Wonder of It All.


Mashpee Tribe
Knows what they're doing
Don't care about
Supreme Court's ruling.
After all
That's what money's for...
Be the King
Not the Goat.
Make things up
And buy the vote.
Gentle stewards
Of the slot machine,
Yeah!
Let's lie...
For the plunder of it all!


Paradise,
Is A Governor
Who buys the hype,
And the wonder
And a press
That couldn't care less for the truth...
Keep the public
In the dark.
Talk about
That water park.
Who wouldn't want a casino
Next to their kids' school???
Yeah!
Let’s live...
For the blunder of it all.


Gambling bill
Just a game of Keno
At Beacon Hill
Resort casino
Where Legislators
Can be bought and sold...
Jobs and horses,
Used as bait,
Plus a quarter
For the State.
Pass the bill!
And save some billionaires...
Yeah, let's vote!
To knuckle under for it all!


Cut a deal,
Let’s get going
Break the ground
Before it’s snowing
Spin the truth,
Around and 'round it goes…
Drain the swamps
Steal the stars
Get you drunk
Jump in your cars
Take the wheel, and head down 24….
Because we live...
For the plunder of it all!



Wednesday, July 18, 2012

And the stupidity award goes to...

New Bedford Rep. Robert Koczera is concerned about a Southeast Mass. casino, and is willing to put up his dukes over it - for all the wrong reasons.

Apparently, Koczera attempted to add a firm deadline to the Governor's compact with the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, currently awaiting a vote of approval from the State legislature, because:
“It’s in my area that the jobs are going to be in limbo and purgatory pending the land in trust issue. That’s the only reason I’m raising these issues. If I didn’t fight, I don’t know who will,” Koczera said, adding that he did not have a “high comfort level” that the Patrick administration held any sway with the U.S. Department of Interior to move the land-in-trust application in a “reasonable amount of time.”
As a result, Koczera came under fire from the Tribe, which, as always, views the majority of commonly accepted business practices as an affront to it's sovereignty.

But Koczera's not getting the supidity award today.

In fact, if you're under the impression, despite all the evidence (which you probably haven't bothered to look at) that a casino will actually help the local  economy, Kocera's deadline is actually kind of smart.

So no, instead today's Stupidity Award goes to perpetual casino proponent State Senator Gail Candaras, (D - Wilbraham), who asserted that adding a deadline amendment to the compact would be it's "death knell", yet still came to Koczera's defense by gently reminding the Tribe that:
“He just wants you to save the economy of southeast Massachusetts the way you saved the pilgrims,”
Groan...

And so, Senator Candaras, for reasons you are obviously beyond all hope of understanding, you are today's well-deserving recipient  of  the Stupidity Award (or, as it's known by Cedric Cromwell, an army of casino lobbyists and the gods of inevitability - the There's-One-Born-Every-Minute Award.)

Congratulations!


Monday, July 16, 2012

Smithers... Release the Hounds


I think it is inevitable that at least some of the public officials who were direct beneficiaries of the hiring and promotion system within probation will be charged.
--Lawmakers targeted in inquiry
Boston Globe, July 15, 2012
Ah... How refreshing.

To see that word... "inevitable"  used to describe the fate of many of the same lawmakers who once used it to explain why some of us had to accept tribal casinos and legalized gambling in our corners of the state.

It would seem that the predator has becomes the prey...

Exxxxcellent...

Friday, June 29, 2012

Five

I remember a startling photograph from the mid-80's - an Atlantic City triple-decker encircled on three sides and from above by the girders of a skyscraper under construction.

The girders belonged to Penthouse publisher and sleeze magnate Bob Guccione who, following the legalization of gambling in Atlantic City, was attempting to erect a towering smut-themed mega casino of his own, only to be foiled by one Vera Coking, a local woman who refused to sell her home, a boarding house which just happened to sit, infuriatingly, in the path of Guccione's unbridled avarice.

Eventually Guccione went bankrupt, the girders came down (but not before a few smoldering cinder blocks fell through the roof), and the sun was allowed to shine on Vera's house once more. But then Coking had to contend with another casino tycoon, The Donald, who wanted to turn her house into a parking lot for his casino.

Over the decades Coking has been offered millions for her house, and was even forced into a lengthy court battle with the city over eminent domain. But she never budged. In fact, she was still living in that house a couple of years ago, and might still be there for all I know.

When I saw that photograph and read Vera's story the first time, I remember thinking that this woman must have been either a little crazy, or a real cool cat. And probably a lot of both. But what I could never have imagined, in a million years, was that someday I'd be standing – sort of - in Vera's shoes.

Five years ago I started this blog thinking, oh I dunno, that I'd be at it maybe a month or two – however long it took for the world to right itself on it's axis and for the notion of the world's biggest casino down the street in Middleboro to vanish mercifully into the vapid void of very bad ideas.

But it didn't. And over the years, the longer I stayed and the more I watched, the worse the nightmare became.

And the world around me was becoming a nightmare too. There were massive bailouts and unemployment and foreclosures and political polarization on a dizzying scale. People took to the streets in protest. (I was one of them.) The law of the land declared that corporations were people - and my inbox began to fill with desperate pleas for contributions to help defend against that monster unleashed.

On any given day Americans could access hundreds of TV channels - yet all of them were obsessed with Lindsey Lohan, and the Kardashian sisters and the Jersey Shore – our daily dose of Aldous Huxley's soma, except that we weren't living in a Brave New World, we were living in a weird scary upside down Donald Trump world where noxious reality show stars are cultural icons, Howard Stern serves as an arbiter of American talent, journalists hack cell phones, banks are the robbers, and casino gambling has become economic policy.

Yesterday a morning show host, a woman who, for 20 years had traveled into combat zones, jumped out of planes, raised money and awareness about heart disease, and could score interviews with people as diverse as Syrian president Bashar Assad, George Clooney and the Dali Lama was fired from her TV “family” - all because she lacked the marketable conviviality of a Rachel Ray.

I mean, when did the world get so freaking shallow?

When I was young I could turn the dial on any radio and find a station playing classical music. I didn't always want to listen to that kind of music – mostly I didn't - but I knew it was there. As I got older I tuned in to those stations more and more, I went to a concerts, visited Tanglewood and purchased scores of classical CDs. And I was the better for it. Even though I had been a little girl growing up poor in a small town I was aware that classical music was valued, that it was an art form and could be beautiful and moving. The TV show 60 Minutes once answered critics who complained that the show did too many interviews with opera signers by replying that they were going to continue doing them anyway.

And that's how it worked. You knew the bad things were there, they always will be, but you knew the finer things were there too.

But now the bad things are no longer a plane ticket away. They come in the mail, run endless commercials on prime time and are enthusiastically supported by a Governor who claims to be a champion of social justice.

Last year my middle schooler told me that a teacher had brought in a deck of cards to help demonstrate some math concepts. The cards, however, were branded with the logo of a popular casino, leading the majority of middle school boys (whose mothers weren't anti-casino activists) into a spirited discussion of how they couldn't wait to go to a casino themselves. When I asked the principal if he'd replace the cards with something more neutral - even offering to buy the new cards myself from a local store - he didn't seem to understand the problem.

And that, my friends, is the problem.

When I was a kid, gambling was the most no-brainer of all of life's potential pitfalls.  It didn't need it's own PSA's.  To kids, smoking could be cool, booze was social and drugs equaled rebellion, but gambling - that was just stupid.  Everyone grew up with cautionary tales about those who lost the inheritance or the house or the family fortune to the chase. The corruption and crime that ran with the industry were well known, even to children. We all understood that there was no faster way to ruin not only your life, but that of your whole family than to place a bet.  That's why you had to go out in to the middle of the desert to do it. Las Vegas was christened 'Sin City' for good reason, and even the word “casino” had an appropriately negative connotation.

Then suddenly there was Atlantic City.  It was still pretty far away. People only went there 'for the shows', but still ended up gambling. Casinos began to swallow up more lives. I never had any reason to think that, decades later, they would swallow my life, too. No one should. Five years ago I could never have imagined a casino would come to my front door. Neither did Foxboro or Brimfield or Taunton. Who'll be next?

Gambling has nothing to do with jobs or economic development or individual liberty.  It has everything to do with channeling limited discretionary income away from the local economy and into the pockets of billionaires and state budgets. Politicians who should know better still think slot machines are a legal way to print money. But c'mon. Casinos aren't charities. Everything comes with a cost.

Newflash: We're the cost.

Somehow, in the past few decades the casino industry managed to win the marketing trifecta - by making gambling seem cool, social and rebellious - all at the same time.

Today's rule of thumb - as long as you can get enough people to tune in, you can become a de facto cultural icon or arbiter of talent or champion of social justice - or whatever you keep saying you are and have the money to promote.  It's the sick reality of the Reality Show Era that reality is essentially irrelevant.

And now it doesn't matter where you live, because there's probably a casino near it.   It doesn't matter if you're responsible and only bring a limited amount of money with you because there'll be ATMs available to spit out more. When the casino runs some software and discovers that you have money invested in your car or house or savings account, they'll even offer you credit, along with a free drink for good measure. If you should win, they might comp you until you lose. If you try to quit for good, they'll send you a coupon for free slot play in the mail. If you're sad or lonely, they'll mail you a birthday card. Because they're your friend. The friend who'll be happy take your house or your money for meds or your kids college fund.

And the people we elect to make our lives better, or at least not screw our lives up more, are in bed with them.

We grow up believing that the bad guys wear black hats, that they command dark armies, travel in Death Stars, and can mobilize flying monkeys at the snap of a bony finger.

But in reality, the bad guys are billionaire octogenarians with bad toupees, spray-on tans and an uncanny ability to dazzle decision makers.

When I went to that first meeting in Middleboro, more than five years ago, there were people in that room who, honestly, acted like they thought “casino” was synonymous with 'Disney World”.

I mean, is that all it takes? A little marketing and a stained glass waterfall?  Really?

We also grow up thinking that the good guys wear white hats, that they wield magic wands and light sabers and big buckets of water.

But the good guys work in cubicles and drive mini-vans and swing hammers and volunteer at the library. They hold signs and wield high expectations. They don't sell out, or give up or 'fight' for mitigation.

For the good guys, there's no price tag for the place they call home.

Good guys might not always have the right stuff, but they do try to do the right thing.

These were the things going through my mind when my daughter broke the silence.

“It's too bad about the Great Dane.”

“What?”

“You know...” my daughter, the future veterinarian was saying, “how the Great Dane only lives for five years. Kind of sad.”

“Oh I don't know,” I replied, trying to offer the adult perspective. “you can fill a lot into five years.”

This blog, and my life, for the last five years have been a sort of microcosm of what's been happening in the rest of the world. The good, the bad, and the awful. I've often used The Wizard of Oz as an analogy for my experiences, but I can assure you, Dorothy Gale's wild, weird and wicked journey has nothing on mine.

Here's a story.  Back in 2009, with the Carcieri decision was announced, I bought a couple of bottles of champagne, and a friend and I popped a cork on one of them out at the Middleboro ex-casino site. I was so relieved - because I thought that that whole part of this fight was over. A month earlier Adam Bond had ended his infamous political career like the heroine in a Puccini opera - so that was another thing I figured was over and done. The flying monkeys were getting tired too, so that was good. Now, I knew, I could focus on the future. I told everyone I was going to 'retire' in June. I was going to write a book.

That June would have marked this blog's second birthday.

But instead I got an 11th hour call from Bob Massie asking me to help create another web site, another anti-casino organization that was going to try to prevent the passage of gambling legislation at the State level through education and political action. And I tried, I did, to say 'no'. But it was no good. And somehow, another three years went by. Bob wrote his own book. And I'm still waiting for this damn story to end.

Will it ever?  Or does it just come around full circle again. This year I've watched other communities around the State forced to go through what we went through. My own community was targeted momentarily for a casino by the Mashpee Tribe - making the choice to build in another location the by far the smartest thing Cedric Cromwell ever did. A certain Limo driver was back briefly enough to cause trouble, and even perpetual ringworm Adam Bond returned to the stage for a fourth act.

I started to hear names I hadn't heard in years. Someone who'd tried to discredit me and my fellow casino opponents 4 years earlier suddenly wanted to 'friend' me on Facebook. Middleboro, where my children where once verbally assaulted by adults during a 2007 demonstration, instituted a swearing ban. The Plainville Board of Selectmen are Middleboro's Dogstock era redeux. But mostly, folks seemed reinvigorated. Ready to fight. Once more into the breach.

But not me.

People don't visit web sites or read lengthy blog posts anymore, they don't want to hear about testimony or sign-waving or petition signings or traffic simulations - or any of the triumphs and travails of protests past.  Instead they want two short paragraphs on why the Mashpee can't get land in trust.  Preferably with a funny graphic.  They want links to articles written by some journalist they never heard of but which prove a point they've been trying to make. They want some hack lawyer to tell them what they want to hear. Pro bono.

Has it meant anything? All this work, all this time?  Maybe not.

Or maybe that question is still on the table.

And what table would be complete without a good bottle of wine? Fortunately I held on to that other bottle of champagne - and it's a good one - just waiting for some momentous occasion to use it.

My fifth birthday as a blogger seems appropriate, and so tonight I'll raise a glass and offer a toast.

To all the good guys and cool cats who've walked this yellow brick road before me, to those of you who've just joined, and most dearly, to those of you who've traveled it alongside me for so long, like Vera Coking and her little house - we may have been overshadowed by casinos, betrayed by our own government, and forced to dodge more than a few smoldering cinder blocks, but, also like her, we've stood firm in our convictions, remained stubborn, unyielding, and vigilant. We have striven, against all odds and in our own ways, to set the world back on it's axis. The better, finer world we should expect. And we can be proud of that, even if a lot of people think we're just crazy.

It's true, you really can fill a lot into five years.

So what's a few months... or five years... or as long as it takes.

Because, after all, there's no place like home.


ShareThis