Monday, June 9, 2008

Outraged Nation

Sorry folks to have gone missing from the blogosphere for so long! Miss me?

Well, I've been working on another blog, but last night I followed a link someone had e-mailed me to a local news site’s comment forum. The extraordinary thing about this site was that, in only three days, 280 comments were posted – most of which were apparently written by the same few people.

If you haven’t visited this site yet, I really wish you would. It’s pretty interesting. No, not for what it says, but mostly because of the fact that, over the course of a steamy summer weekend, several people sat in front of their computers making the world a more blistering place to be by fanning the flames of conflict - some of whom are the same people who blame me for doing this all the time!

It seems that the comment sections of those on-line news sites are quickly evolving into the hottest new place to to cry foul, spew venom or grind your axe. Which is unfortunate, because comment sections are a wonderful new resource to hear what your fellow readers are thinking.

But as far as the Middleboro casino issue goes, what with local forums cracking down on flame wars, you can almost count on these comment sections becoming the combat zones du jour. And even becoming quite the place for um... "creative expression"... like when some people cleverly pretend to be our fellow anti-casino comrades simply brimming with outrage over our "innappropriate", anti-community, down-with-people blogs. While other folks clearly enjoy the challenge of coming up with new and ironic screen names. And, not so long ago I discovered that some of these gentle joksters had even been posting their comments under my name and that of some of my friends. Wow, pretty classy stuff, I'm sure you'll agree...

And in that venue, it all seems less like a debate over casinos, their impacts and the people behind them - and more like a perverse form of self-entertainment or bunch of creepy personal vendettas against the people who talk about casinos, their impacts and the people behind them.

So I thought I’d mention that, just in the past weeks, a couple of good blog posts have been written about this phenomenon over at Media Nation and Ryan’s Take, not to mention by my wise friend Carverchick.

Recently, I spoke with the on-line editor over at the Enterprise who assured me (after removing comments by me that were not actually written... by me) that his publication will soon be transitioning to a format which will require posters to register - and which should, at the very least, make it somewhat more time consuming for those people with IPs in Middleboro and West Bridgewater to amuse themselves by coming up with new screen names.

So, I suppose that’s a step in the right direction.

But the thing I mostly want to talk about today is a manufactured controversy over a place called “Clark, CT” which has been eviscerated six ways to Sunday in the aforementioned on-line forum.

Evidently somewhere, someone who is anti-casino once wrote that a casino caused a need for 100+ ESL teachers in a place called Clark, CT. And apparently, there is no such town. And therefore all anti-casino people, and all anti-casinio blogs - especially those associated in any way with CasinoFacts.org, are evil.

Well, obviously.

So, anyway... I hadn’t heard of Clark, either, but I had, at the beginning of my research into casinos, read about some really high second-language teacher requirements as a result of a sudden influx of immigrant casino workers and their families. And so, I spoke with another blogger who also remembers seeing this high number somewhere in the course of their own research.

Now, like I said, I don’t know about Clark CT – it doesn’t ring a bell – but I do know about Norwich, CT thanks to this article from the Cape Cod Times:

Though Norwich does not host either of the two Indian-owned casinos, the city of 37,000 has experienced an enormous impact from them.

More than 20,000 people work at the casinos, many on wages that can pay for housing only in the "affordable" range. Of the five towns surrounding the casinos, Norwich rents are the least expensive.

Even at that, "hot-bunking" has been an issue, as several tenants squeeze into crowded homes to save money.

Thousands of immigrants were lured to the area to work in the casinos.
And...

In the past six years, the number of non-English-speaking students in public schools has quadrupled, from 100 to 400.
Now, if you read the whole article, you will see that Norwich managed to turn this frown upside down. The city had been suffering, since the early 90’s, when cuts in defense industry spending, caused all the good-paying jobs local jobs to dry up. When casino workers looked for the only housing their paychecks could buy them – they went to Norwich. Small business sprouted up as a result. “And in the schools, resources were shifted to deal with the mushrooming number of non-English-speaking children of casino workers.”

Which is lovely. But what concerns me personally is that, what with gas prices racing toward $5.00 a gallon, places like Bridgewater, Middleboro, Lakeville and other area small towns would provide the most affordable commuter distances for low-wage earners. And our towns are not the once economically depressed city of Norwich. We are predominantly bedroom communities blessed with high employment. But we don’t have a lot of affordable housing, nor are we financially equipped to handle dramatic increases in teaching staff. As for Bridgewater, with it’s library currently open only a handful of hours a week, and constantly struggling with prop. 2 ½ overrides, we are hardly rich in resources to shift.

Additionally, though I don’t specifically remember a mention of Clark, CT – I do remember reading about “The Foxwoods Experience” on another anti-casino web site:

Speaking some 32 different languages at home, these immigrants have created a burden for the schools required to provide English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL)courses, remedial work, tutors, free lunches, nursing, and other special education services, while receiving no additional property taxes to offset the costs. The influx of this cheap labor has also affected the school district's ability to qualify for federal funding, which is now tied to test results under the federal No Child Left Behind legislation.

So what of Clark, CT? I mean… could it be possible that someone made a mistake about the name of the town? Heavens to Murgatroid! Call the gendarmes!

Because we know that all pro-casino people are perfect. Not one of them has ever erred in his or her lifetime. Not one typo, not one blunder, poor choice or single oversight. I’ll bet not even one of them ever forgot to use the Blind Carbon Copy feature on a private e-mail. Nope. Not a chance. How awesome it must be to be so perfect.

So, you’ll have to excuse me and my less then perfect memory if we can’t summon a line item regarding a place called Clark, CT and it's number of ESL teachers.

However, I do remember that a few weeks ago, at least one of those people claiming outrage over Clark, CT signed his name to a letter to editor of the Middleboro Gazette, ever so not-so-subtlety insinuating I was a racist for questioning issues of immigration that arise as a result of a mega resort casino on my town’s border. Issues which, as you can see from the Norwich experience, are quite real.

I also remember how another member of Outraged Nation once called me a liar at a public hearing for quoting, on my blog, from a well-known and widely read independent study on casinos and crime. And a month or so later, posted on the front page of his website that I wanted him killed.

And so, as I read those 280 comments, many from those self-same morally-superior, high-minded, value-laden, indignant souls who walk among us without so much as a blemish, it wasn’t the mystery of Clark, CT, that had me scratching my head.

No, it was wondering if, on sunny summer weekends in the Middleboro area, (especially after such a long dreary winter) there are no lakes or rivers teaming with fish or boating opportunities? Are there no paperback best-sellers waiting on store shelves clamoring to be read? Are there no beaches where one can dig one’s toes in the sand? Is there nothing showing at the theatres? No ball games? No old friends to visit? No children to toss the old ball around with? Weeds to pull? Dogs to walk? Perhaps even an actual blog to write under one's own name?

If not, then I give up. Because, in their case, perhaps sitting like a mindless drone in front of a slot machine truly is a more productive pursuit – at least when you compare it to participating in a cyberspace schoolyard spitting contest where a person can, time and time again, reveal how outraged and utterly perfect they are – as a perfect ass.

But then, where better on a sunny summer day, to stick one's outraged perfect head.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gladys,

Great to have you back :-)

All I have to say is - YOU GO GIRL!!

Cheers,
Kristen

Anonymous said...

Gladys, Where you been?

I read a few pages of the 280 comments. ?????????????????????

Someoue is obviousley having SERIOUS problems.

They ought to seek some professional help.

I think egging this person on is a mistake.



S in Middleborough

Anonymous said...

Way to go, Gladys!

betty

Bella said...

The level of spitefulness on that site is appalling. Obviously, the angry mob has been waiting for an excuse to persecute and victimize a woman for calling them on the very tactics they are now accusing her of. What is most disappointing is that one of the relentless ringleaders has for so long claimed to be opposed to the casino. With friends like him who needs enemies?

Angie said...

Whoa!! And I thought we were living on scorched earth before this weekend. Objectivity and mercy seem to be qualities posters on that forum sorely lack. I can't imagine that any intelligent reader could do anything but be suspect of the motivation behind this effort. I am ashamed for them.

Michael from Middleboro said...

Those calling so loudly for accountability need to realize that they will be held to the same standards. What goes around truly does come around.

Thank you for bringing this site to our attention. It is a good example of the dark side of the human condition.

cdplakeville said...

They will probably be the first to gaze into the lights and be mused by the sounds of the slots (which will not be coming). They seem to have nothing better to do. And some have claimed I don't have a life? I really do hope that they start doing something constructive with their time, maybe then the casino would at least look like it would have a fighting chance.

Former HS Teacher said...

Now up to 348 and still counting. The rule of the mob. Is anyone there capable of thinking for him/herself? Anyone? What's scary is that one of them is a former teacher! I would have expected more critical thinking on his part before joining the collective herd rant.

No person should be subjected to such cruelty.

Anonymous said...

OMG!

There are a few people with nothing to do!

deb

jan said...

Normally, topix is such trash, I don't have the time to indulge, but what is particularly interesting is how striking it is that only several people are posting those comments and trying to create the impression of numerous people. It's the funniest thing I've ever seen and they wasted their entire weekend doing it. I can't stop laughing.

david said...

I understand there's medication for obsessive behavior now.

After reading that, I understand the need.

Jacquie said...

What's the best way to deal with a faceless, immature, temper tantrum throwing child?

IGNORE THEM...it really drives them nuts.

Abilify Vendor said...

If the outraged only realized how ignorant they prove themselves to be. So PERFECTLY ignorant. And so PERFECTLY dysfunctional.

penny from plympton said...

Gladys,

Those few folks in Middleborough sure have lots of time to waste.

Are they all town employees, or what?

I can't stop laughing because you're right, it's only a few people. It's just hysterical.

carverchick said...

Gladys,

Yet again, you have addressed the childish and insulting behavior of so called adults in a mature, calm and rational way. What I find to be truly amazing is the absolute need on their part to create drama in their lives, to see us bloggers silenced and to see CFO fall.

United we stand. The blogfathers persevere in the face of childish aversary.

Rock on my friends.

carverchick

Anonymous said...

Gladys, One of the saddest things is that a man who claimed to be a teacher used this venue to wallow in the gutter in this fashion.

Maybe we can excuse the uneducated who make up a large number of the posts, but him? There's no excuse for his methods.

denise

Bellicose Bumpkin said...

What's the best way to deal with a faceless, immature, temper tantrum throwing child?

IGNORE THEM...it really drives them nuts.


I couldn't agree more Jacquie - if that is your real name.

Gladys - this was a great post. You handled a very awkward topic very deftly.

danielle said...

I'm seeing a bunch of sore loosers because the casino isn't coming.

Devalue needs to check that little state constitution thingey. He can't do it alone.

Looks like a temper tantrum to me.

Whaaaaaa!

Casinos destroy communities and the Middleboro deal is one of the worst around.

Are they trying to distract you from a bad deal or are you not supposed to notice it isn't coming?

Anonymous said...

There are a couple of things I always TRY to keep in mind when I am involved in a conflict at work and in my personal life. The first is when the outcome isn't life shattering and if it comes down to being right or kind, choose kind. The second I try to practice, would I say in an email the same thing I would say to a person's face. Would my kids be proud of what I am doing, would I be proud of what I am doing if many others were to see or read my emails/ notes/ letters. The last comment I would make to these posters would be how would you feel if these attacks were happening to your children, your parents, your wife / husband all over a simple mistake.

I am not sure when this conflict began with JP but I am appalled at the extent someone would go to hurt someone else so much. There is so much hate in those comments it scares me. The people scare me. I share my community with individuals who say some very horrible stuff behind false names and feel oerfectly ok because they feel they are "right".

Some say that Bogo is a nice man in person. Now I can assume that most of us do not know the man behind Bogo and I really wouldn't want someone so hateful in my life as a friend or neighbor. I am very content in my life not to know many of those faceless mean spirited posters.

As always, I think you are above the people posting on that site. I am thankful that you do not go there even when pushed because you were actually the focus of such hate not too long ago. It takes a brave person to do battle with people who have minimal self control and no manners or respect for their fellow human beings. We are not all going to agree on everything but my goodness there are certainly better ways to disagree.

Thanks for listening. I sit here in sadness because this small column is so indicative of our society, the negative aspect for sure. I am scared for the children and their role models.

Shelly

millie said...

Sadly, maturity doesn't necessarily come with age. Rather than dealing with their disagreements with cool heads and some dignity, the rabble rousers seem stuck on junior high antics. Well, they are defining themselves by their words and actions.

Bud said...

More sour grapes, just louder. Shame really when people can't learn to handle their anger more constructively.

fiferstone said...

I think I may know where "Clark" got into this mess, although it was linked up with CT in error:

Hermann, Craig Hamilton. Language in Las Vegas: ESL training programs in Las Vegas casino hotels. UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA, LAS VEGAS, 2003. PhD.

Here's the link to the abstract of this doctoral dissertation:

[URL]http://proquest.umi.com/pqdlink?did=764950011&Fmt=7&clientId =79356&RQT=309&VName=PQD[/URL]

Guess what, Oh vernal wolf-children of Outraged Nation, Las Vegas is located in (drum roll please) CLARK COUNTY, NV!

I hope people now give this a well-deserved rest.

Fife

Hannah Torvis said...

Shame on Topix for allowing such a deliberately inflamatory thread to stand.

Anonymous said...

Even if you found Clark, CT and personally drove these posters to it, it wouldn't stop the vendetta. For some reason, the victims of the current round of taunts, have become scapegoats for venting any and all frustrations. Irrational and mean-spirited behavior rules the day. A pack of wolves on a bloodlust.

sherry said...

It's good that those people are distracted and don't notice what's going on elsewhere.

Move on and keep doing your thing. They won't notice.

Anonymous said...

Obviousley fueled by the realization that the casino is NEVER going to happen, the pro-casino side is imploding. I feel badly fo them. That they based their hopes and dreams on such a moraly corrupt endeavor is a pitty.

Anonymous said...

What's heartbreaking to me is the fact that someone actually said:"I just got laid off, I need a job", Bring on the casino! Nothing like high standards. Very sad.

bratbird said...

I see my name being taken in vain. How interesting ...an attempt to blame me for the failings of Jessie Powell. Take a look at the history. Jessie had seven weeks to correct her "error" and refused to do so. For some the only issue is that Jessie is against various common enemies and so, like the Bloods and the Crips, you must cover you "friends" back right or wrong. Convoluted logic like that does neither a pro or an anti any good. What I did was on a forum ask Jessie to provide some type of proof for her statement. She refused. Hounded her? You bet!

I had no problem hanging out "The Raven" nor would I with any who attempted to defend him - hello! Vegas Val! Likewise, what goes around comes around. If you mess with the data and you support that “messing” then it is a reflection on everyone involved. CFO should have issued a small statement regarding this issue when the firestorm broke. They did not. That’s called a screw up. I know as I have made enough of them.

I have posted several times that Jessie is a very bright, creative (no pun intended) and brilliant individual who could offer much to Middleboro. Unfortunately the downside is she is abrasive, petty and, to use one of her terms - snarky. I tended to ignore those qualities and just drift away and keep my mouth shut. That is what I did until Jessie refused to acknowledge and avoided the entire issue that is now so public.

Topix may not exactly be as five star venue but based on the accuracy of the blogs and the vindictive nature of some on those blogs I do not see much different. I feel comfortable in either cesspool.

You want the blame game? Look at MR.

Gladys Kravitz said...

Dear Bratbird,

Please get over yourself.

When confronted with the mystery of Clark CT you could have done what I did - figured out it was a mistake.

Instead, you had a big fat seven-week-long foot-stomping hissy fit that resulted in an almost 400 comment flame-war which managed to drag me into it.

And many of these comments were made by an actual person who made an actual threat against me and who the actual police had to go and tell to get a grip.

So excuse me if I my first reaction isn't to genuflect in your general direction.

Sometimes people make mistakes. Jessie, however didn't lie to Congress, or go to jail, or force feed an agreement down the throat of an entire town. She got a name wrong. Holy witchhunt, Bratbird!

Again, sometimes people make mistakes. Sometimes people don't do what you want them to do. Sometimes you don't get the answer you want. That is life.

But how you choose to deal with those things says a lot about you.

Gladys

Anonymous said...

Firestorm? Is that what you call it when someone takes a single post on a members only site and goes into attack dog mode on a person?

Ah yes, very controversial. Antis must respond to bratbird's demand that they address every post and comment on every site on the Internet.

Get real.

bogofree said...

Nice try. Place the blame where it belongs - Jessie Powell. She had the opportunity and ignored it. Evasive from beginning to end. Why oh why didn't she post a simple message of error? Her antics ant Nemasket showed that. Instead she resorted to some type of tong war with me and others over this issue. I hope that a few of you had the common sense or the politcal aptitude to mention to her to correct this issue ASAP. If so, congrads. If not? I guess any lie is an accepatbale lie if it meets the goals of the "cause."

It appears that several bloggers are now more intent on obscuring the truth rather than finding it. This may just be a trend? Don't know? Could be? Deflection from the core issue? Certainly.

As you say the way you choose to deal with things....

Is it a mistake? Here is my take. It was not. It was not just Clark. What it was is letting non facts get in the way of a position. You can subscribe to that all you want. I choose not to do so. I cannot justify or excuse PROVEN fradulent information.

Let the vultures on Topix feast on this issue. I gave up somewhere around 400 or so.

bogofree said...

Gladys.

Thanks for printing my posts ...I appreciate that. IMO this issue is going nowhere at this time. I have stated my postion in many forums and in many shapes and feel no need to go over it again and again and again. Anyone wants to discuss it further just give me a call. Get my name from Mark if you don't know it or Jessie. I have no problem with that. I'm not an "anonymous."

As far as I know I remain on the CFO mailing list so I won't repeat what Groucho said. I will not sit by and give a free pass to Adam, "The Raven", Jessie, Hal, VV or anyone else. Especially myself.

Thanks for letting me post my opinion. Feast on it if you wish.

Rick

Gladys Kravitz said...

Bogofree,

Let it go.

Have you maybe ever thought that maybe Nemasket is just a small ittle universe unto itself? And that maybe most of us in the rest of the casino-fighting world aren't a part of it. And that perhaps Jessie just didn't think you and your tantrum worth her time?

Because, I speak from experience, when you've blogged as long as Jessie and I have, at some point you have to start ignoring the critics and try to keep focused on the goal, or you'll get nothing done.

As far as obscuring the truth is concerned Bogo, (sigh) spare me.
For over a year my entire life and that of my family has been diverted in an attempt to bring truth and transparency to this very issue.

My fellow bloggers and I have done the research, we've taken the time, we've done the footwork. And we've made more effort at de-obscuring the truth than you'll ever understand sitting behind a computer getting angry at being ignored. But take solice, we and the truth continue to be ignored by professionals - including the Governor and the media.

You are a talented writer, Bogo, and I've appreciated, on more than one occassion, your deft handling of one Flying Monkey after another.

And no, I don't always agree with my fellow bloggers on every issue, But I do completely respect them for what they've done and what they've been able to accomplish.

For example, I have been with Jessie on at least two occasions when she stood, her faithful clipboard at the ready, and after being on her feet all day, registering new voters - many of whom were pro-casino.

And so, if I choose to defend her and her level of committment to fairplay in this issue, and ignore certain petty personal dramas that got their start on the insular world of a private forum, you'll have to excuse me.

Because, for me, her actions speak louder than words. Even yours.

Gladys

Gladys Kravitz said...

Bogo, I posted my last comment before seeing yours (so please take no offense).

Also, I saw no problem publishing your comments as long as they didn't start a flame war.

Bogo, take care, be well and stay involved,
Gladys

Anonymous said...

Weren't these the same folks who were blogging about cyber-stalking? A quick scan of that link indicates the same people were posting over and over and over because they have nothing better to do.

My advice is to look around at REAL people who are doing constructive and interesting things with their time instead of spreading misinformation and nonsense.

bev

ShareThis