Friday, January 29, 2010

Selective Hearing

DeLeo said finding resources for job creation initiatives will be "difficult" and described himself as both opposed to new taxes in the budget and "open to every idea that could generate state revenue and jobs." Regarding expanding gambling legislation he plans to roll out in February or March, DeLeo said, "The debate over the destination gambling issue is not a philosophical one. It is about a fight for job creation. It is a fight to expand our tourist attractions which in turn help to drive our economy. It is a fight to get shovels planted in the ground. To win this fight, I will make sure that any gaming legislation will require the creation of permanent jobs." Gambling bills are under review by the Economic Development Committee, although DeLeo is taking the lead on crafting a single bill.

-- From Statehouse News Service Jan. 28, 2010

Didn't take long for House Speaker Robert DeLeo to hone right in on President Obama's mandate to spur job creation, twisting 'job creation' to imply that casinos would create 'permanent jobs', spur tourism, and get those darned 'shovels in the ground.'

Back away from the Kool-aid, Bob.

Ok, boys and girls, let's review:

To create 30,000 jobs casino developers would have to spend 16.7 billion in construction. The most expensive casino in the world cost $2.7 Billion to construct.

Casino Resort jobs pay less than half the Massachusetts Median Income.

83% of retailers went out of business within the first 7 years of legalized gambling in Cripple Creek Colorado.
"A study commissioned by the New York Governor concluded that 1,208 more jobs would be lost rather than gained with gambling expansion due to a change in residents spending habits."

Source: Jerry Zremski, -- Doubts Raised on Casino Job Gains” The buffalo News, 8/18/02
Primary customers of casinos live locally - they are NOT tourists - and they spend less of their money locally.
"Gamblers spend 10% less on food 25% less on clothing, and 35% less on savings."

--Professor John Kindt. University of Illinois. Diminishing Or Negating the Multiplier Effect: The Transfer of Consumer Dollars to Legalized Gambling: Should a Negative Socio-Economic "Crime Multiplier" Be Included in Gambling Cost/ Benefit Analyses? 2003 Mich. ST DCL L. Rev. 281-313

78% of Local Businesses have shut down in Atlantic City since the opening of the first Casino.

"The prosecutor in Ohio and Dearborn County also warns that the economic development that was promised with the casinos has never really happened in that community and very little money is generated outside of the casino. That seems to be a similar issue with prosecutors in other communities as well."

--Indiana State Prosecutor Karen Richards
In a letter to the Mayor of Fort Wayne
describing her conversations with prosecutors in casino communities

"The local money will be diverted from the normal business purchases to the casino for everything from restaurants, refrigerators, automobiles, mortgages, and even college educations."

--Nicholas Mullane
First selectman of the town of North Stonington, Connecticut before, during and after the building of Foxwoods Casino.

Because the areas could not support the low wage jobs the casino was looking to fill in Connecticut, it brought in workers that would work for minimum wage.

-- Source: “Mayor: Casino Costly”: Sun Journal. Lewiston ME 10.22.08. By Leslie Dixon

“We were very disappointed in the economic spin-off. It just hasn’t come…When you bring in a development like [Casinos] it’s all about the money.”

-Mayor Susie Mendenhall-Ledyard County CT

According to the National Compensation Survey, Casino Resort employees make a Median annual salary of only $13,179, less than half the Massachusetts median income.

“… People were looking for jobs that paid the type of wage they had been making in the past,… but they realized those were not the jobs at the casino.”

-Grace Horne former employee in hiring department at Mohegan Sun

And those are just a few of the non-philosophical reasons legislators should stop promoting casinos - for the good of our Commonwealth.

Let's face it, Bob, you're latching onto the 'job' bandwagon to advance your private agenda of expanding gambling in the Bay State because you represent a racetrack district.

So tell me, despite all the non-philosophical evidence to the contrary, have you learned nothing from the lesson of Scott Brown? Enough with the special interests. Listen to the people, Bob. The people.
33%:support resort casinos
3%:support slots at tracks
16%:no pref
38%:don't want expanded gambling in the state at all

-- Source: Boston Globe

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Art Imitates Blog

Thanks to the technological wizardry of the DVR, I was able to catch an episode of CSI: NY that I had inexplicably missed when it aired originally. Inexplicably because the entire episode revolved around an obscure but federally recognized East Coast Native American tribe, questionable Land into Trust acquisitions, and a little subject I just happened to bring to your attention two years ago on this very blog - sovereign nation internet gambling server farms.

Server farms, unlike mega resort casinos, I pointed out, can rake in millions of dollars in the space of a small warehouse. And, thanks to their tiny footprint and austere requirements, nary a tree needs to fall, nor an endangered species be pushed closer to oblivion in order to accommodate them.

Of course, the Mashpee Wampanoag tribal leadership inexplicably continues to pursue an edifice to greed, in a town they don't live in, despite an economic downturn, a Supreme Court decision, and common sense. No, they want the stained glass waterfall. They want to meet Bobby Flay and Emeril Lagasse and show up at conventions wearing expensive nouveau tribal haute couture, comparing casino sizes with the other tribes. "Ha Ha! Mine's bigger than yours!"

And they're not going to let a little addiction, crime and environmental devastation stand in their way.

But back to CSI: NY... upon discovering the server farm on a sliver of sovereign property, one member of the CIS team wonders out loud why their chairman, who "was all about preserving the integrity of his tribe" would engage in gambling operations.

The ensuing gag-inducing response, uttered by an actor playing an African American doctor no less, was as follows.
Yeah, but why not? Even if running gambling operations were hard for him to swallow at first, in this day and age, it can go a long way in promoting pride, especially prosperity, for all kinds of Native Americans.
Jeekers. I don't even know where to start with this.

Hard to swallow?
As in, 'yeah, so what, you have principles, now get over it, there's big money involved!'

In this day and age? Meaning, 'in this age of titanic ponzi schemes, wall street avarice and predatory mortgage lending, are values really all that important anymore?'

All kinds of Native Americans? What, like fat ones? Skinny ones? Real ones? Fake ones?

And, in light of the fact that some TV writer thought these words were best uttered by an African American, I'm trying to imagine what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would say, had the U.S. government said to him, "hey doc, instead of all this marching and peaceful demonstrating and content of your character stuff, why don't all you black folks move onto this big stretch of land, we'll call it a 'reservation' for lack of a better term, and that can be your country, and the rest of it will be our country, and you can have casinos to give you pride and prosperity, and that will make us all equal and we can pretend that whole slavery thing never happened. Whaddaya say??"

Hey, speaking of the U.S. government, here's something I bet you don't know. The United States once had a Native American vice president.

Yup, it's true. From 1929 to 1933, Charles Curtis served as vice president to Herbert Hoover. Curtis, who spent his childhood on a reservation, went on to serve several terms as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and also in the Senate, including terms as both Senate Majority Leader and Whip. Time magazine featured him on it's December 1926 cover. Curtis, who is noted for proposing the first version of the Equal Rights Amendment, left office just in time not only for the depths of the Great Depression, but also for the Indian Reorganization Act.

And there's never been another Native American VP since.

But then, why reach for the stars, when all that glitters, is gold?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The People's Seat

Congratulations to Massachusetts Senator-Elect Scott Brown, one of the few republicans I've ever voted for. In the coming years I hope he will stay true to his words and be the Independent voice of the people.

Even before the casino debacle I'd become increasingly disillusioned by political candidates of both parties. Despite the fact that our State and nation are becoming more moderate, politics continue to grow more partisan.

I'm pleased to note that my town of Bridgewater (a college town at that) voted for Brown 68% to 31%. Middleboro, 70% to 30%.

In fact, the same region of the State that was taken to hell in a hand basket by casino interests, intimidated by unions, gaveled to silence by their elected leaders, and mostly ignored by their their state and local reps went for Brown in a big way.

I hope that this message isn't lost on those leaders who put racetracks, casino lobbyists and other special interests ahead of the people they represent.

This tribe has spoken.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Long time readers of this blog know that I'm both a democrat and a feminist, and that I'd love nothing more than to help elect a democratic woman candidate as our next senator. But long time readers will also recall that I've sometimes voted my conscience rather than the ticket.

Yesterday, my husband told me that I was really an independent. "No." I replied. "I'm a democrat. I believe in what our party stands for... I just wish they'd send us better democrats."

Last year I had the long awaited pleasure of voting for a better democrat when I colored in the circle next to Alan Khazie's name. He was a candidate with what, to me, are values truer to what our party stands for. Khazie, it should be noted, is supporting Martha Coakley in the special election.

The truth is, I know some wonderful fellow democrats, holding signs on sidewalks for hours in the cold, making call after call after call to strangers, in support Martha Coakley, and I truly respect them for it - and hope they will likewise respect my decision not to.

From what I understand, I'm in good company. The fact that Ted Kennedy's seat (I mean 'the people's seat') might go to a republican has left many in shock. It shouldn't. Ted had a good run.

I'd been voting for Ted Kennedy as long as I can remember. But, in early 2007, upon learning that the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe along with a self-purposed cast of international billionaires, indian gaming lawyers, lobbyists, legislators and autocratic yokels were attempting to foist the world's biggest casino on my part of the world I wrote to both senators Kennedy and Kerry about my concerns.

Kennedy's office responded by thanking me for my interest in immigration reform. Kerry's office never responded at all.

Now, this wasn't some dog complaint or random rage against the machine that I'd penned. It was a legitimate, heartfelt letter from a long-time resident of Massachusetts, expressing my fears of a sovereign nation with a daily revolving population the size of Plymouth on 500 some-odd acres just a few minutes from my front door, and of being steamrolled by a system that had been conceived and constructed by the very political body to which they belonged.

I have no idea how either Martha Coakley or Scott Brown feel about expanded gambling in the Bay State - an issue I've come to use as my criteria in judging a candidate's intelligence, character and leadership potential because I am so intimately familiar with it - because despite being repeatedly asked, neither candidate felt the public needed to know where they stood on it.

But I'm supposed to vote for Martha because she will vote for Obama's health care bill. The thing is, I don't want to vote for Obama's health care bill. I want Obama's health care bill to go back to the drawing board. I want Obama's health care bill not to give the State of Nebraska almost as many rights as a federally recognized Indian tribe. And I don't want Obama's health care legislation to be pushed through faster than a tribal casino on an unsuspecting public.

I've heard that making legislation can be like making sausage. But from my experience, when legislation is rushed through, it comes out sort of like Swiss cheese - it has a lot of holes. Holes which will invariably be stumbled upon, then manipulated by, lawyers and various corporate interests whose main concern is decidedly not the better good of the American people.

I also realize that there's supposed to be 'a window' of time that Obama can realistically push through any health care plan, and that he's trying his best to do it, even if it means that the plan might not be the best effort. But I don't believe it. I believe that universal health care is here to stay and that refining and retooling it won't kill it for good. And I'm not alone.

And that's why the Kennedys and an onslaught of other big-name democratic paratroopers are currently falling out of the sky to remind Massachusetts voters how we're supposed to vote.

And it's worked. I'm reminded that I'm supposed to vote for a senator who will vote for legislation that is being rushed through and that when I, or someone I love is negatively effected by it, I can expect a letter thanking me for my interest in immigration reform. If I get one at all.

Listen, I'm not a Scott Brown fan. I think he's probably as big a doofus as Tim Cahill.

But I'm not a Martha Coakley fan either. Once again, a female democratic candidate has me wondering if we were even born on the same planet.

When I hear her tell us she 'stands up..' for people, I can't help but visualize a thought bubble above her head that says - ' least when it works for me.'

I'm also weary of democratic hypocrites who paint republicans as war mongers while they, themselves, proclaim victims of state-sponsored gambling addiction and their families as 'acceptable losses'.

I'm tired of democratic leadership like that of Therese "Ka-Ching" Murray who has stated that she doesn't even read anything predatory gambling opponents send her.

I'm tired of the Kennedy family mythos deciding elections for us every time things might not go the way they want it. Like Ted, they've all had a good long run in this State, not to mention this entire nation. And, while I appreciate the Kennedy family's unrivaled sacrifices and contributions to public service, frankly, their emotionally-tinged support for the current democratic place-holder, without regard for her record, just continues to perpetuate the unhelpful, out-dated fiction that the democratic party always support the 'little guy'.

And I really would prefer that Obama stay in DC to celebrate his wife's birthday and concentrate on helping Haiti and our troops in Iraq of Afghanistan instead of coming here to Massachusetts to tell us how to vote. I like President Obama but let's face it, he wouldn't actually care so much about how we voted in this election unless his health care plan weren't threatened. He doesn't want to have to send that plan through again.

But the President forgets - this vote isn't a national referendum on health care - it's about whose voice will define the future of Massachusetts. And, we already have one of the best state-run universal health plans in the nation. In fact, the president's current plan will cost us all extra in this state because of it. And way more than it will cost the state of Nebraska which, in the true spirit of equality, will pay nothing. But pay no attention to that feeling of disparity you're having, because the democratic party will take care of you.

Incessant television ads may paint Scott Brown as a health care blue meaney, but he's said he's not against universal health care. He just wants to bring it back to the table.

If elected, I believe that a Massachusetts republican Senator will be forced to stay on his toes, while a member of the tired and true democratic machine will continue to bask in the comfort of a complacent electorate and toe the party line.

In the absence of a political miracle, a republican shake up could be the best thing that could happen to my party. It might actually save it from it's own machinery, it's own assembly line, it's own unwittingly manufactured obsolescence.

And, of the two of candidates, Brown strikes me as more likely to listen to my concerns.

That ability to listen - that rare trait, the lack of which many in my party share with the American Auto and Lending Industries

And, as long as we keep voting for them, because we're supposed to, because they know what's best for us, they'll continue in that fine tradition. Just like the Auto and Lending Industries did. And, ultimately be will good for America. Right?

When it comes down to a race between two candidates you don't like, and neither of whom probably care about what's important to you, it's going to come down to making a statement. In the past, that statement, for me, has included voting for candidates with no possibility of winning. But, this time around, I find myself with an alternative.

Despite the arguments of my friends who are supporting Coakley, I don't necessarily think that a vote for her, because she is a democrat, is automatically superior to a vote for a republican. Especially since it offers us the opportunity, at last, to send the Massachusetts democratic party a message: Send better democrats.

If Martha is elected, she could screw up royally and still stay elected for life. If Scott screws up, he'll be a one-term senator and the Massachusetts democratic party might actually be forced to care about your next senatorial vote. Wouldn't that be something?

I mean, how long is our state going to be dismissed as an impenetrable blue blob on the map? Can't we protect a woman's right to choose and have better health care legislation?

The insiders suggest Coakley will squeak out a victory, which will no doubt then be touted as a victory for the democratic party - the party of the little guy.

Nevertheless, on Tuesday, this little guy will be voting for the candidate most likely not to push her to the sidewalk should she have the audacity to ask them a question they don't want to answer.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Thank You Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin

Yesterday, I wasn't feeling very good. So I took a sick day.

Now, when you're a mom, you can be sure that a sick day means that you still have to make breakfasts and lunches and dinners, do the dishes, pick up the kids from after-school activities and help with homework. But other than that, I took a 'sick day'.

Now, normally, when I take a 'sick day', I would be obsessing over all the work I wasn't getting done or should be doing or responding to my e-mails and making lists or coming up with storyboards or manipulating graphics , and wondering what was going on in the world. So, essentially this would still qualify as a 'work day', just with more guilt.

But yesterday was a little different. I refused to obsess. Instead, I rested. And, around 2:00 yesterday afternoon, the strangest feeling came over me. It was quite an unusual feeling and therefore took me awhile to identify.


I felt 'at peace'. It's true. And then I realized why I felt 'at peace'.

I felt 'at peace' because at that moment, I was 100% positive that there were other people out there, good, smart, hard-working people, the other members on my team, getting things done.

In other words, I felt 'at peace' because I wasn't 'needed'.

Now, I realize that the majority of the human race enjoys, to some extent, being 'needed', at home or at work or in the community at large. It's natural, I suppose, since being needed affirms one's relevance, one's importance in the world.

But, it's not like I'm in any danger of irrelevance. When your presence is apparently crucial in pointing out when the garbage smells, or when a head of hair needs washing, or that a project is due tomorrow, or that someone needs a hug or lunch or dinner or that we're out of toilet paper... you'd be hard pressed to not to feel pretty important.

But yesterday I was on Cinderella liberty from the war on slots. And it was OK. Because everything was getting done. And done well. Probably more than I could even imagine, too. I knew that, somewhere out there, calls were being made, meetings arranged, letters written, strategy formulated... things. Stuff. Out there, people were remaining motivated and immune to the forces of inevitability with absolutely no input from me.

And I can't tell you how good that felt. I haven't felt that way in a very long time. I've not only felt 'needed' every second of the day, I've felt 'overwhelmed' beyond the point of emotional exhaustion over this cause.

The work, the worry, the indignation - it never goes away. Not for a moment. It invades your sleep. It comes with you on vacation. It speaks to you when you're at the movies and or trying to read a book. And always, you feel like you should be doing something to make it go away.

Earlier this year I was out collecting signatures a few days before surgery. Before that it was an early morning direct action event. A couple of weeks later I was driving two hours each way and an hour in between for a traffic simulation. After that it was the Democratic convention. In between were other events, the ever present blog and my sad attempts to have a life. And I did it because I felt I had to. Someone had to. If someone doesn't do these things, they can't get done.

After the July 2007 Town Meeting From Hell, a lot of people who had been up to then, really, actively fighting did something that was referred to as 'stepping back'. No one could fault them, they'd done a tremendous amount of work in a very short time.

These weren't professional organizers but homeowners, parents, just your average concerned citizens. It was an emotionally wrenching time for many people - so naturally they needed some time to rest and regroup. But the thing is, most of those people never 'stepped back in'. Despite some bright bursts of activity here and there in the ensuing years, I've watched that original momentum, that incredible heartbeat, slow to faint pulse.

Until now. Now I could take an actual 'sick day' because I'm part of this great team - not a big team to be sure - but a great one. And that's the thing about being on a team. You're not out there by yourself, being chased by 300 lb. linebackers, just trying to get the ball to the other side of the field without being killed. You're playing to win. There's someone there to catch the ball when you pass it.

Because it really sucks when there isn't.

I met this guy last year at the CERA conference and was telling him how much I admired the work his organization was doing, and I'll never forget what he told me.

"When it started out, there were a lot of other people doing this with me," he said, "but one by one, they dropped out or didn't do anything, and after awhile it was just me. And that was just as well I guess..." Then he rolled his eyes.

And I finished his sentence, "...because you know you can count on you, right?"

"Yeah." he said, smiling. "Yeah."

This guy had become pretty much an anti-casino army of one in his part of the world. He'd almost single-handedly done what some think is the unthinkable - prevented a tribal casino from being built.

I've been luckier than him, though, because I've never been completely alone on the field. There have been a brave, passionate, stubborn few who who show up, who speak out, who volunteer, who are always doing things on their own, and trying mostly in vain to motivate others to do the same. I'd be lost without those few folks and I want them to know that.

And that's the thing about being an activist, I suppose. You're either on a football team or you're a long distance runner. And frankly, having worked the Boston Marathon and seen runners collapse at the finish line, I'd rather take my chances with the linebackers. At least you know your team is still playing as you're being taken off the field in a stretcher.

The other day I was at a party for some nice people I'd met way back in the beginning of the casino debacle. In fact, the house was filled with faces I remembered so fondly from those early days, though some I hadn't seen in years. Why hadn't I seen them? I wondered, not without a touch of resentment. Don't they want to stop casinos, too?

Later, I wondered if some of them hadn't once felt about some of my colleagues and I, as today I feel about USS-Mass.

"At peace".

At peace, and grateful, because because they knew someone was still there fighting, getting things done, and because they were exhausted and overwhelmed and sick and they just needed to 'step back'.

And if that's so, I want them to know that there's never been a better time to 'step back in'.

USS-Mass is a fantastic team, with inspired leadership, making real, viable, headway in this battle. And because right now there are people on Beacon Hill with maps and thumbtacks trying to figure out where to put casinos and how many. And because a conga line of lobbyists is making it's way through the State House at this very moment. Because State Senator Stan Rosenberg, the 'point-man' on casinos drinks Kool-aid and thinks a 6% addiction rate is a small price to pay. And because pro-casino-yet-anti-circumcision champion Michael Morrissey sits on the Economic Development and Emerging Technologies Committee. Because the current Speaker confuses Attleboro with Rhode Island, and because the Senate President has privately admitted that she doesn't read anything predatory-gambling opponents send her. And because the smell of slots will brings out the greed in some people and in some Indian tribes, too... And in investors and flying monkeys and Indian gaming attorneys and inept small town leadership, and we all know where that leads.

Like I've said, the work, the worry, the indignation - it never goes away. So write a letter to the editor today. Write or call your legislator tomorrow. Send a check. Volunteer. Show up. Hold a sign. Stick a bumper sticker on your car. There are so many ways to help and to be part of this team.

Will it be a winning team? I honestly don't know. But I do know that with you there, our chances just got better.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Stan Rosenberg Thinks of Nothing But Casinos All Day

After reading "Inside Man: An interview with Stan Rosenberg, the State House’s casino expert," I had to double check that the article was actually published in the Globe, and not in The Onion.

Among the lawmakers who will be deciding the issue, no one knows more about this side of gambling than state Senator Stan Rosenberg. For the past two years, the Democrat from Amherst has been the Senate’s gambling guru, traveling to casinos in Nevada, Louisiana, New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, Iowa, and Canada to study the industry from the inside.

He has spent time with casino developers and money changers, walking windowless rooms full of noisy slot machines in an effort to understand what casinos would mean to Massachusetts - and how the state should handle them.
Ok, so... Rosenberg's been to a lot of casinos and spent some quality time with gambling industry insiders. Oooookaaay... That's nice. But the article fails to mention whether Rosenberg has spent any time listening to predatory gambling opponents. Which I don't think he has, since I would have heard about it. And, in my book, you can't really go around considering yourself a casino 'expert' if you've only studied them from the inside.

That just reminds me of those folks who frequent comment forums or message boards insisting that they've never had any problems with gambling... they've never seen any increase in crime... they've been to casinos and everything is super dee duper... bring on the promised embarrassment of riches! Recapture our god-given gambling revenue!

And I'm a little concerned about Rosenberg's taste level.
There’s waterfalls and all kinds of things. It’s a really beautiful venue, and you don’t even realize that you’re in a casino.
Um... Ok. If Stan can't tell the difference between stained glass rock formations and the real thing, maybe he needs to take some time off from the casinos and do a week or two of Outward Bound or something.

But why should you concern yourself with Stan the Casino Man and his rose-colored one-way superficial view of the gambling industry?

Well, not only is it possible that Stan will be a decision maker in upcoming expanded gambling legislation here in Massachusetts, but based on the vast empirical data he's gathered in the field, Stan thinks he knows where resort destination casinos would be best. And that might be near you.
There may be places in the Commonwealth where you could build things in the style of a Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun that don’t look out of place because they’re off on their own.
Stan's somewhat less-the-scientific assessment doesn't exactly take into account traffic or water availability or property values or environmental impacts or infrastructure improvements, and he obviously sports a misconception of what "off on their own" means, seeing as how there's not even one single solitary Massachusetts casino plan on the table that's nestled in the middle of nowhere.

But that doesn't bother Stan, because a.) he doesn't gamble (sarcasm) and b.) he knows that he's safe in Amherst, where a casino will never see the windowless artificially generated light of day.

But my favorite part of the article is when he was asked what he saw as the difference is between the lottery and casinos.
There’s nothing classy about playing the lottery. You’re buying a ticket. You may scratch it on the counter, in the car, at home....You’re just scratching and then you throw it away. You go into these gaming venues and you may see a show, go to a nice restaurant, you may walk around the mall and do your holiday shopping, and you may spend the night.
If Stan is really of the belief that 'casinos' imply 'class', I know some New Jersey housewives who'd like to make his acquaintance.

Repeat after me, Stan: Casinos are to Class as Spam is to Cuisine,

The only cache casinos can actually boast are when they're the places you can experience a private bacchanal with no lingering repercussions. 'What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas' has been the pragmatic marketing strategy keeping that city marginally afloat during the worldwide economic meltdown.

Swinging off the exit to squander a few hours playing slots (which account for 70-80% of casino revenue) is not classy. It doesn't even come close to classy. It doesn't touch classy's hem. It's classy's silicon-enhanced leopard-stretch-pants wearing tattooed third cousin, twice removed.

Oh, and that money going into restaurants and shops, Stan, that's money not going into local restaurants and local shops (aka the local economy).

I'm not really sure why Stan Rosenberg is "The State House's casino expert" except perhaps that he (insert raised eyebrow) was 'hand picked' (like a ripe pear?) by Therese Murray (insert wink) to 'study' the wonder of it all (hmmmm), so she could avoid looking like a killjoy to her friends in the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, some of whom want to build the world's largest resort destination casino, not tucked away in the woods, but in the midst of homes, schools and businesses, and more importantly, in a town adjacent to her constituency.

But heck, you can't fault Stan for his humanity.
I have no doubt there will be more addiction, but I also am not one of those people who believes - I mean 94 percent of people can participate in slot machines without getting themselves in trouble. It’s hard for me to justify saying to 94 percent of people you can’t do what you want to do when 6 percent of the people can’t leave the machine when they’ve lost more than they should.
That's right Mr. Expert. It's that hard core six percent who support the industry. And we'll need them, won't we?
I’m not wild about gambling, but I don’t have this self-righteous attitude about gambling. My concern is that if we’re going to do it that it be a very strongly regulated system, that we address community mitigation, economic impacts, and the addiction.
Yeah, because the State does that so well now.

I don't know, folks... our man Stan may not be wild about gambling, but to hear him talk... it would appear that he does enjoy the drink.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

No Soup For You!

Remember how, back in the good old days, whenever some 'issue' surfaced amongst the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, paid spokesperson Scott Ferson would magically appear, perform the danse inévitable then slink back to his hidey hole?

Ah... good times, good times.

These days the Tribe is reduced to speaking for themselves, complete with threats and an utter denial of reality.

In yesterday's Boston Herald, Tribal Chairman Cedric Cromwell was quoted as saying,
If the governor refuses to deal with us and distributes licenses to other casino operators, we won’t give the state a cent when we build a gaming facility in Southeastern Massachusetts,”
The article failed to mention if Cromwell then put a hand on one hip, stamped his foot and stuck his chin in the air, but I suspect so.
“We know the governor is a busy man, but it’s very important for the administration to meet with us because we are a sovereign nation,” he said.
That's right, Ced, the Governor is a busy man. Just look at how long he took to meet with the expanded gambling opposition here in Massachusetts. Two and a half years.

, Ced.

And to accomplish that we had live through his three-casino agenda, witness the incarceration of one of your predecessors, survive a Supreme Court decision, experience an economic meltdown, extract a resolution from the Democratic party, form a new organization and wait for a shift in the political climate.

But of course he'll meet with you. Doesn't he always drop everything to talk casinos with you? He's probably met with your Tribe more often than he's met with his own staff. Frankly, I'm surprised you don't have him on speed-dial like Glenn and Sean did.

And, I mean, why wouldn't the Governor want to meet with a 1,500 member sovereign nation with a colorful reputation for corruption, political-infighting, violence, and whose members struggle, according to you Ced, with substance abuse, and whose apparent singular goal is to bring casino gambling, an industry well known for it's association with crime and addiction, to a large section of the State under the guise of economic development that even some members of your own tribe oppose.

Who wouldn't pass up an opportunity like that?

But hey, please keep threatening to leave the State out of your imaginary casino revenue as it certainly gives the Governor just one more reason not to pass slot legislation.

Oh, and don't forget, if by some unholy miracle your tribe did get a.) Carcieri fixed b.) land into trust for 'gaming' c.) a favorable EIS and d.) a quarter of a billion for infrastructure improvements, you would STILL have to negotiate a compact with the Governor. And I suspect it would not involve the State getting bupkiss for gambling revenue.

In that event, sure, I suppose you could work the court system for a few decades in an attempt to weasel out of a compact ...Which would just give this great country of ours more time to realize how truly out of control and 'inequitable' (your words, not mine) federal Indian policy is in this great big modern cultural melting pot. That works for me.

By the way, as an aside, Senator Byron Dorgan, who introduced the latest Carcieri 'fix' has just announced his intention to retire. As did Connecticut's Chris Dodd, one of the men who helped usher in the age of inevitability for tribal casinos here in New England. Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Chris.

And speaking of other 'fixes' that won't be forthcoming... The Brockton Enterprise (the same pro-casino daily which famously neglected to mention Article III from the July 2007 Middleboro Town Meeting from Hell) has gotten it wrong once again.
On the federal issue, Middleboro’s Richard Young, former president of the statewide anti-gambling group United to Stop Slots, said his group will lobby Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, a staunch opponent to tribal casinos.
For those who are unaware, Rich Young has never had any association with United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts, and should not be quoted by the media speaking for that organization.

Rich Young is the former president of and of the now-defunct CasinoFreeMass.

Kathleen Norbut is the president of United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts and has been president of this organization since it's inception.

Frank Dunphy is the current president of

Contact information for United to Stop Slots in Massachusetts is and has been clearly posted on it's web site for some time now.

USS-Mass, as many of you may know, is also the same organization which, in just the past several months has testified at the statehouse hearings on expanded gambling, met with the Mass. AG's top staff, as well as with the Mass. Secretary of Housing and Economic Development (twice), the Secretary of Health and Human Services (twice), Governor Deval Patrick, and held a large, well-publicized public Forum at Faneuil Hall featuring former governor and presidential candidate Michael Dukakis and his wife Kitty, Former AG Scott Harshbarger, Mass State Senator Sue Tucker, republican and former New Hampshire state senator Jim Rubens, and former democratic candidate for Ted Kennedy's senate seat, Alan Khazei.

And so, as you can see, it's perfectly understandable how the Enterprise reporter might have thought the group was too inactive and uninformed to be contacted.

But, for the record, I did personally alert the editor of Enterprise to the faux pas this morning (which remains uncorrected as I publish this post) but do continue to maintain complete faith that the paper will ignore the correction, repeat this and other glaring gambling-related errors, and continue to provide the public with similar exciting fiction in the future.

No Soup, one year!