Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Still Standing

One year ago today, after recovering sufficiently from the build-up and day of the infamous town meeting from hell (and an evening of much needed camaraderie at Mark Belanger's house in it's aftermath) I picked myself up, dusted myself off and pushed the 'publish' button on a blog post called Gladys Rising.

In that post, I brought up Article 3 - that fact that the town voted that it didn't want a casino, despite approving an agreement, and pondered:

So, will Glenn Marshall go against the wishes of the host community? Could it be possible that in his long life he somehow missed the lesson that ‘No means No?’ Or does he actually plan on date-raping the town of Middleboro?
Less than a month later, it was revealed that Glenn Marshall was a convicted date rapist .

Hey, can I pick 'em out of a crowd or what?

Well, the sun has come up on another July 30th, and Gladys is still here, still rising, and still fighting. And she wants to know what keeps you here. What keeps you fighting?

Another year of challenges waits for us. How should we use it?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Why did the chicken cross the road?


JACK HEALEY:
It needed someplace to lie low for awhile.

GLENN MARSHALL:
Not only did the chicken cross the road, but on the way there, he saved two fellow chickens, a duck, and a badly injured guinea hen and was awarded the congressional medal of poultry for his efforts. And that's the truth.

ADAM BOND:
It's not a matter of whether the chicken crosses the road. It how fast we can get the chicken to get to the other side before anyone notices.

WAYNE PERKINS:
Who cares? Chickens been crossin' the damn road before the Pilgrims set foot in this country, and they'll be crossin' the same damn road when there's flyin' cars and colonies on Mars. That's my opinion, an' I been waitin' a long time to say it, that's for sure...

PAT ROGERS:
I support the chicken's endeavor to cross the road, but I see no reason why he can't slow down, put the brakes on, as it were. But since it does behoove the chicken to cross the road, I'm not sure why he won't let me join him in doing so. Certainly, I can offer the chicken a great deal of advice and expertise in crossing the road.

MARSHA BRUNELLE: STEVEN SPATARO:
Hey - if you don't like the chicken crossing the road - you can move!

MIMI DUPHILLY:
Um... whatever Marsha says...

BRIAN GIOVANNONI:
No, you're wrong. The chicken didn't cross the road. And I know that, because I'm a chicken engineer.

SEAN HENDRICKS:
I like chicken.

PROF: CLYDE BARROWS:
If you count all the feathers, you'll notice that the majority of chicken feathers are from Massachusetts, and that Massachusetts is losing the majority of it's chickens to Across the Road, where the revenue from Tyson and Perdue are, in fact, helping to balance State budgets, offset revenue deficiencies, fund educational incentives, cure world hunger, ensure universal health care and repair that State's crumbling road's and bridges.

DEVAL PATRICK:
I've studied this question long and hard. And from what I've learned, the chicken has been granted the right, by the Federal Government to cross that road and any road it wants. And since it's inevitable that the chicken is going to cross the road, shouldn't we intercept it, while we still can, and put three of our own chickens across the road to do everything Prof. Barrows said? I'm mean, I get it! it's chickens... and a road! It's entertainment!

SAL DIMASI:
If the chicken chooses to cross the road, that's certainly his perogative. But if he ever wants to crow in this town again, he may want to rethink that effort and the effect it will have on the rest of the coop.

FLYING MONKEY #1:
It's likely in this case that the chicken fears the difference in plumage between itself and a new chicken who he encounters on his own side of the road. In this case, the chicken need not fear, but instead embrace those differences. Unfortunatley, we see here that our chicken's lingering plumage prejudice is abundantly clear - as it chooses to flee from one side of the road to the other in an attempt to escape.

FLYING MONKEY #2:
More $$ across road. Who wood blaime him thaat chikn four wanting two mayke a goode lving? LOL! He's the smart one! Lots of money across road. Number #1 on google!

FLYING MONKEY #3:
Have you asked yourself why that chicken needs to cross the road? Is it hiding from something? From the other chickens it's no doubt harmed with it's so-called sad excuse for scratching and pecking. Clearly, this chicken is running from something. Perhaps old age? Look at it's breasts - dry, frumpy, overdone. Hardly what anyone of quality would consider an appropriate meal. If anyone ever put that chicken on my table, why I'd sue, that's what I'd do! Have you ever asked yourself why anyone would serve such a poor half baked excuse for a chicken? ...When? When will any of you listen and stop that chicken before it crosses that road for good!

RICH YOUNG:
What chicken? What road?

THE BELICOSE BUMPKIN:
Why can't we all just get along on this side of the road?

MIDDLEBORO REVIEW:
Obviously, the chicken took one look at his bobbleheaded cousins on the other side of the road, scratching at crumbs, flapping around in circles, and functioning without their heads - and felt an immediate kinship...

CARVERCHICK:
If a chicken, crossing the road at approximately 4 MPH, intercepts a vehicle at, oh say, roughly 50 MHP, which is the designated speed limit on Rte. 44, said chicken would not only suffer life threatening injuries but would also more than likely cause damage to the vehicle and even lead to an accident in which the occupants might suffer bodily harm, or even death. In fact, the chicken itself could become a projectile, potentially lodging itself onto the windshield of a vehicle in the opposite lane, and causing it to swerve into oncoming traffic. Furthermore, as you can see from the graphic below, a chicken faces a particularly difficult and unlikely path in it's efforts to cross the road:




And finally, according to the Center's for Disease Control,

"Avian influenza is an infection caused by avian (bird) influenza (flu) viruses. These influenza viruses occur naturally among birds. There are only three known A subtypes of influenza viruses (H1N1, H1N2, and H3N2) currently circulating among humans. It is likely that some genetic parts of current human influenza A viruses came from birds originally. Influenza A viruses are constantly changing, and they might adapt over time to infect and spread among humans. During an outbreak of avian influenza among poultry, there is a possible risk to people who have contact with infected birds or surfaces that have been contaminated with secretions or excretions from infected birds."

And so, I have just one question for any chicken who thinks he's going to cross the road into my neck of the woods: Original or exra crispy??

CARL:

C RAC

H elps

I ndian

C asinos

K ill

E verything

N ice


GLADYS KRAVITZ:


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Radio Free Gladys

As you may have heard, I was the guest on Ryan Adam's podcast yesterday! A truly great experience with two wonderful hosts and a lively hour of casino-related conversation.

You can hear it for yourself here at Left Ahead.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Selling People Dreams for Cash

For the past week I've been writing a blog post. After the second power outage, however, and watching all those words go down the digital drain (and yes, I do realize I should have hit the save button...) I decided I needed a break.

In the meantime, I submit the following very short clip from the magnificent film Casino - a movie which begins on a note of glamour and hope, and ends with about as much carnage as your average Shakespearean tragedy. But then, so many casino dreams have a way of turning into nightmares.

This clip, while short, says a lot about the gambling industry. And if you haven't seen the whole movie yet, I highly recommend it.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

...And don't let the door Salamancya on the way out.

In New York, a victory, and why it's an important story for us.

The Beginning:

1988 - The Federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) is passed requiring that non-reservation land acquired by Tribes after 1988 cannot be used for 'gaming' unless it meets at least one of several exceptions - one of which is that the property had been taken into trust as part of a land-claim settlement.

1990 - Congress passes The Seneca Nation Settlement Act. This act allowed non-Indians living on Indian land in Salamanca to remain there, while compensating the Tribe $35 million dollars for it's having been underpaid for the Indian land leased for decades to non-Indians.

2001 - NY Governor Pataki approved the building of three Seneca Nation casinos - one in Salamaca, and the other two in Niagara Falls and Bufflo. They were able to build the first casino without issue since it was on reservation land. In order to build casinos in the other two cities, however, the Tribe needed to purchase off-reservation land - which they did, subsequently requiring them to satisfy one of the exceptions to IGRA in order to provide 'gaming' on the land.

However, because the Niagara project wasn't challenged, it won Federal approval and the Seneca's built a casino on the site of the former Niagara Falls Convention Center.

The Challenge:

In Buffalo, things were different. A citizens coalition filed a law suit against Philip Hogen, in his official capacity as chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission, the Department of the Interior and the National Indian Gaming Commission itself.

The Citizens for a Better Buffalo coalition was comprised of various individuals and groups including a Pastor, an Assemblyman, a County legislator, the Network of Religious Communities, the Preservation Coalition of Erie County, the Campaign for Buffalo-History, Architecture and Culture, The National Coalition Against Gambling Expansion, The Coalition Against Gambling in New York, and the Citizens Against Casino Gambling in Erie County. Erie County itself had originally been a part of the coalition, but left following a change in the County Executive's office.

Still, the Seneca's went ahead and built a 'temporary casino' on the Buffalo site while making plans for a permanent one, claiming that the land in Buffalo didn't need to meet any exceptions for off-reservation 'gaming' because it had been purchased with money from the 1990 land settlement - not only making it 'Indian Country' - but also making it eligible for 'gaming' under one of the IGRA exceptions.

This week, US District Court Judge William M. Skretny, issued a 122-page decision in the case of CACGEC vs. Hagen.

The Verdict:

What's in a name? Well, apparently, a lot. It appears that the Senca's got the blessing to go ahead with a casino on the Buffalo site all because of a typo.

You see, the title of the Act, according the United States Code is “Seneca Nation (New York) Land Claims Settlement.”

But Judge Skretny pointed out to the Defendants that this title is provided by someone in the printing office. And that the actual title of the Act was provided by Congress and could be found in the Act itself.

Long title: "To provide for the renegotation of certain leases of the Seneca Nation, and for other purposes.”

Short title: "Seneca Nation Settlement Act of 1990."

As you can see, there is no mention of "land claim" anywhere in these titles.

Or even "land".

Or "claim".

Nada.

Which backed up what our friends the plaintiffs, those meddling kids, had argued. That there was no land claimed in Salamanca - the Seneca's had owned the same land before, and the same land after the Settlement act. And that the Act was simply a settlement of underpayment of leases for land they already owned - sort of like finally getting a big fat hunk of back rent - not compensation for land unfairly taken from them.

And... since the settlement act wasn't about a land claim, then it didn't meet the exception under IGRA to allow 'gaming' there.
The Seneca's are operating an illegal casino in Buffalo.

The Aftermath:

The Seneca's are in denial. They continue to allow illegal gambling on the premises of their Buffalo site and haven't yet rolled up blueprints on their new casino. Naturally, there will be an Appeal.

Still, according to the plaintiff's attorney, Richard Lippes "the Senecas have always said consistently they would follow the law...and we'll take them at their word that they're not going to act illegally." Judge Skretny did not issue an injunction to shut down the temporary casino, but the citizen's coalition has indicated that they may, if necessary, seek an order to shut it down.

The Lesson:

It makes me wonder if, back in the late 1990's, some guy in a suit stood in front of a group of some worried-looking folks from Erie County and told them point-blank that a Buffalo Indian casino 'was a done deal'.

I wonder how many times those people have heard the word 'inevitable' since then. And I can only imagine how many sneaky legal and political maneuvers, misinformation campaigns and inaccurate or misleading news reports they've survived along the way.

The threats, the intimidation, the ever never-ending crisis-du-jour and attempts at demoralization.

In the end, it amounted to nothing.

Because, as you can see, after all those battles, the folks from Erie County have, essentially, won the war.

Perseverance, truth, creativity, strength, intelligence, values, and effort took the day. And it will here, too.

Like my friend Carverchick says, "Be the change you want to see in the world".

Join CasinoFacts.org
Join CasinoFreeMass.org

It's not a done deal, unless you let it be.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Flamenco Dancing


Never mind.

Apparently, Spectrum Gaming Group, the consulting firm that our current one-term Governor hired earilier this year to conduct an in-depth financial analysis of his proposed three-casino plan has defaulted on their second deadline to produce said report.

(Incidently, in addition to conducting economic and feasibility studies, Spectrum also wins the trifecta of non-impartiality by providing services for casino operators and developers, Indian nations, and suppliers to the gaming industry.)

They probably even have a portrait of Clyde Barrows hanging in the conference room.

But according to Kofi Jones, spokeswoman for the Governor's Office of Casinos and Misinformation, the generous extension of Spectrum's orginial deadline was “to ensure that their analysis addresses comprehensively every question raised by legislators during the March casino hearing,"

Or... maybe they just couldn't find any good answers.



WEEKEND UPDATE

Jane Curtin: Weekend Update recognizes its obligation to present responsible opposing viewpoints to our editorials. Here to reply to a recent editorial, is Emily Litella.

Emily Litella: What's all this I keep hearing about bringing Flamenco Dancing to Massachusetts? Why, that's the best idea I've heard in quite some time. Can you imagine? All those clicking heels and fancy dresses. It's about time we brought back dancing to the Bay State. Can't you just imagine them on the beaches, or at Tanglewood...

Jane Curtin: Emily....

Emily Litella: Twisting and turning around like whirling dirvishes...

Jane Curtin: Emily...

Emily Litella: ...Why, we could make Charo's birthday a state holiday...

Jane Curtin: Emily...

Emily Litella: ...And people would come from miles and miles around just to watch and particpate in our Flamenco Dancing contests. I can't believe that anybody would want to stop Flamenco Dancing from coming to Massachusetts!

Jane Curtin: Emily!

Emily Litella: Yes?

Jane Curtin: It's not Flameco Dancing. It's Casino Gambling. The Governor wants to bring Casino Gambling to Massachusetts.

Emily Litella: Oh. Never mind.

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