According to stories from today's Boston Globe and Boston Herald, the usual suspects are putting together a new casino bill.
Well, what do you expect? Fowoods has laid off 700 of it's staff while Mohegan Sun does it's darndest not to, while all over the country foreclosures are on the rise, jobs are being lost, credit is drying up and the American taxpayer is bailing out corporate greed and government mismanagement to the tune of several trillion dollars. But it's all good in Casinoland - where they can turn that frown upside down in 2 seconds flat by uttering that simple phrase, "It will be different here!"
Undeterred by the economy and last year's casino shellacking, it appears that some of Massachusetts' legislative visionaries (insert sarcasm emoticon here) are back for more.
Michael Morrisey, (D - Quincy) who demonstrated his utter cluelessness regarding the Mashpee Wampanoag casino issue at a recent debate in New Bedford, has stated that one reason he's drafting the bill now is because "we have to have something filed, at least to give us some bargaining power should the (Wampanoag project) ever get off the ground.”
But please don't be too alarmed, folks. Morrissey also once sponsored a bill to ban male circumcision which, right or wrong, probably won't get very far either.
Another of the bill's supporter is Joan Menard who, ironically, counts domestic violence as one the issues 'paramount' to her in her role as state senator. Ironic because domestic violence is a predictable impact of casino gambling. But hey, what's a few broken bones scattered across the State if we can create some dead-end casino jobs?
Interestingly Menard was also a President - President, God lover her - of the Greater Fall River League of Women Voters from 1974 to 1977. Well, that's OK - she stepped down before they took their decades-long stance on casinos. Maybe Joan could catch up on current events by reading what last year's president had to say about the issue.
And hey look, she's a former teacher! Then surely she must realize the lesson adults teach our children when they promote gambling.
Oh golly, Brian Wallace's name is there too. I remember him from the Statehouse roll call vote last year confidently proclaiming his vast and certain knowledge of everything Wampanoag - while completely mispronouncing their name.
And let's not forget Martin Walsh - you can bet on him. I know I won't forget his impassioned and utterly uninformed defense of casinos at last year's role call any time soon. It's truly amazing to watch how some folks can froth at the mouth about the supposedly superfluous benefits of casinos - seemingly unconscious or uncaring about their social, environmental and economic costs. But then, I suspect Walsh sings the Foxwoods jingle in the shower.
Yup - the brain trust is at it again. Can it only be a matter of time before we start seeing Dave Flynn's (D - Slots) name in the news again?
Because it takes some real high rollers to place their bets on casino gambling in this economy. Or perhaps they're just oblivious to the obvious - that it's the house that always wins.
Take New Jersey's governor who, with the revenue from 43,000 slots at his state's disposal (almost three times the amount Governor Patrick was hoping for) recently went looking for a federal bailout of his own.
So let's blame it all on the turnpike. With pressure mounting to rid our State of that menace - legislators struggle with the problem of where the money's going to come from if it disappears. Heck, who knows? I suppose responsible spending's off the table. Twenty-first century economic development, maybe?
Nah... Too cerebral.
So, by all means, lets build another type of turnpike - one that picks one, two or three of the commonwealth's pockets while stuffing the proceeds into others - then anchor it with an expensive and impermeable bureaucratic 'gaming' authority - which can then conveniently step in for the expensive and impermeable bureaucracy we've lived with for decades under the Mass Turnpike Authority - so that we can all watch with awe and indignation as our State manages to out-spend up to any increased revenue.
But hey -we can always open more casinos, right? And then... when that stops cutting it - we can raise taxes. Because that seems to be the plan in States with legalized gambling.
Which just goes to show you - real leaders quietly invest in the future, while poor leaders loudly drop quarters into slot machines.