Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Waking Up In Vegas

OK, so I made a little documentary based on my years of personal experience fighting casinos - which was not boring!  I hope to publish a book as well.  Please watch, learn and enjoy.  Some of you may even get a glimpse of yourselves!  (Oh and don't miss the credits.)

Waking Up In Vegas:  A true story of casinos in Massachusetts

Total time, about 35 minutes.  Each part is about 18 minutes long.

Part 1 - This part sets the stage. The local fight that became a statewide movement, and lesser known impacts and business methods of casinos that I learned along the way.

Part 2 - Follows the dark comedy that was the legalization process.

p.s. If you like what you see, please LIKE and/or SHARE it on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Region C Playlist: My comments to the Mass Gaming Commission set to music

To the Massachusetts Gaming Commission as to whether they should expand the deadline for casino proposals in Region C:

American Pie

The unthinkable has happened.

A casino has shut its doors in Mississippi. A struggling billion dollar casino in Atlantic City received millions in taxpayer incentives, only to go bankrupt earlier this month. Most of New Jersey's casinos have filed for bankruptcy. Delaware has proposed lowering taxes on and bailing out its casinos, and has added sports betting to prevent to prevent layoffs.

Pennsylvania has efficiently carpet bombed the Northeast with 11 casinos since 2006. Maryland legalized casinos in 2008, Massachusetts in 2011, and New York voted to expand gambling last year. All in all, 26 casinos have been built in the Northeast since 2004, with proposals for seemingly more every day.

The repercussions of this building boom are now being felt here in New England. Both Connecticut casinos have eliminated thousands of jobs in recent years, and Foxwoods recently closed one of it's gaming floors, ironically named “The Rainmaker Casino”. Rhode Island added table games at Twin River, and investors hope to upgrade Newport Grand with more slots and table games to better compete with Massachusetts.

Meanwhile, gambling revenues are down all over the country.

And the threat of Internet gambling looms on the horizon.

They say that Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. But it doesn't take a genius to understand that a pie can only be sliced so thin before it starts to fall apart.

The gambling market has become so saturated that the lucrative returns assumed and promised back when Massachusetts began debating legalized gambling are never going to be realized.

Turns out the gambling industry is not a golden goose. It has limitations like every other competitive industry.

I've heard both the Governor and MGC Chairman Crosby state that the gambling law doesn't necessarily require that Massachusetts build three casinos and a slots parlor. If so, then why does the MGC continue to push for that very number? And why in Region C - already so close to the Connecticut and Rhode Island casinos and Plainville slots parlor, with a tribal casino still on the table, and other proposals on the table in the not-very-far-off Boston area.

Especially troubling is that the MGC appears to be wooing developers to the region. Is that really the job of a regulator?

If developers aren't anxious to expand here, perhaps they have a good reason.

Forget You

Why does it appear that the Gambling Industry continually receives concessions from both lawmakers and regulators?

In 2007 Middleboro voted to approve an agreement for a tribal casino, but in a separate vote, voted that they didn't want a casino at all. But the board of selectmen happily signed the agreement anyway and within a month the tribe's chairman would be in jail.

The Governor repeatedly refused to meet with regional casino task forces that represented millions of Massachusetts citizens, but met frequently with the tribe and various casino lobbyists.

For years, Massachusetts citizens would sign in FIRST to speak at legislative hearings, only to be kept waiting for hours, all day or into the night to speak, well after the press had left. At one hearing where I had signed in first, I watched as gambling lobbyists were given the floor earlier and allowed unlimited time to speak, while I was gaveled to silence as soon as my three minutes were up.

Because of casinos, I have personally created web sites, written newsletters, traveled across the state, held signs, attended meetings, testified before committees, maintained databases, protested, maintained a blog, created videos, struggled with Federal Indian law, wrote to my elected officials, survived threats, educated voters, collected signatures and have repeatedly squared both politicians and the press. For over seven years.

There are no casino proponents, nobody clicking on a poll or answering a survey, no editorial board, anonymous commenter, casino owner, gambling lobbyist or gaming 'expert', who has maintained the passion and perseverance that I, and my colleagues around the state have demonstrated and continue to demonstrate on this issue.

And yet, we can't get a fair shake. Our voices aren't counted.  Everything is always done for the sake, and the ultimate benefit of the industry. And the powers that be shake their heads in wonder at why the general public has lost faith in them.

Stop Draggin' My Heart Around

Why is it important to me that you do not extend the deadline in region C?

In 2007 an old friend from Middleboro asked me to come to a meeting about a casino proposed near his home. He would become part of the opposition movement there, but soon had to step back. I was later told that the stress of the casino fight has sent him to the hospital on a couple of occasions.

And that's what it's like.

While I realize you hear differently from proponents and gambling industry insiders, for many of us, the thought of a casino near one's home or business, fighting billionaires, pleading with tone-deaf politicians and dealing those who believe a casino is their personal pot at the end of the rainbow can be an incredibly taxing, financially draining and emotionally devastating experience. And I know because since the casino scare in Middleboro near my home, my own town has seen it's own never-ending share of casino proposals, and proposal in towns nearby. I am surrounded.

When does it end?

For many of us who don't live in the affluent cities and towns that will never see a casino proposal, it is more than our property values at stake. It is the life we choose to live, the values we share, our quality of life and the place we raise our children.

Please stop giving the gambling industry more chances to divide our communities, turn neighbor against neighbor, feed into low expectations, and force surrounding towns to beg at the trough for handouts.

Stop expanding the deadline for region C.

UPDATE:  As once might expect, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, the regulatory and marketing arm and  of the gambling industry, approved extending the deadline for applicants in Region C.  Unanimously.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Ring of Fire - a repost in honor of Father's Day

Somehow, or maybe not, we are related. Distantly, if so. I don’t know her name. We just seem to show up at all the same wakes.

This time she’s got a baby with her. He’s very well behaved, with a full head of hair and a sweet smile. "He’s got your eyes," I tell her.

"No." She replies a little bit too firmly, "He’s got his father's eyes."

I look around for the boy’s father but he must be in the other room with the throng of friends and relatives. We chat some more about mostly nothing, just passing the time until we can leave. And that’s when she mentions that she’s a single mom.

Something connects, and I look closer at the little boy.

Ten or so minutes go by, and my sister and mother and I have managed to make it across the room to a quiet corner, and that’s when I whisper to my mother what I’ve wanted to ask, “Is she the one? The one you told me about with the husband who…” She nods before I can finish the sentence.

It was 2007, and my mother and I were enjoying a visit out on the screen porch when talk got around, as it always did that summer, as to the possibility of a casino in Middleboro. “Those places are no good,” my mother said. And then she told me a story.

It was the story of someone she knew – a grand-niece or a daughter of a friend, something like that – someone who wanted very much to have a baby. She and her husband had tried for years to get pregnant, finally, but successfully attempting IVF. The procedure had been expensive. They got behind financially. Way behind. The woman, now pregnant, gave her husband the cash to pay some bills one morning. But while she was at work, he drove to a Rhode Island casino, thinking that maybe he could take that bill money and turn it into more bill money – and in the process lost it all. When he returned home, he realized he couldn’t pay the bills – or face his wife – and took his own life. He was laid to rest in a Middleboro cemetery. His baby boy was born several months later.

"Those places are no good," my mother repeated.

It had been a year since I’d heard that story. Sometimes I wondered if it were even real. Still, I’d often think about that little boy whose face I’d never seen, whose name I didn’t know.

If casino gambling comes to Massachusetts, none of us will see the face or know the name of every child left without a parent, or neglected by one, or abused by one.

But they’ll be there. The ones that get left off the balance sheet. The collateral damage. The folks who form what we have politely and ambiguously come to call '‘social costs'.

Except that now they’ll live in other towns in Massachusetts, places further north and east and west of Middleboro where, as of now, it takes too long for most people to drive to a casino to lose the bill money in less than a day.

I’m reminded of the map, the one with a circle around each of the three proposed Massachusetts casinos. Every circle represents a radius of 50 miles, and all together they encompass 319 cities and towns. All three of them overlap. The circles illustrate the National Gambling Impact Study Commission’s suggestion that the number of problem and addicted gamblers doubles within 50 miles of a new casino. A ring of fire.

"I fell in to a burning ring of fire. I went down,down,down, and the flames went higher."
I remember a man, when the map was first published, ridiculing it loudly to everyone who’d listen, pointing out that Middleboro is less than 50 miles from any Rhode Island casino, and insisting that they’d had no impact here.

Not for him.

His son still has a dad to teach him how to tie his shoes, and ride a bike, and throw a baseball.

"It’s all about choice," they like to say. "It's my choice, if I want to gamble my money or not."

But where’s that baby’s choice? I think his choice would be to grow up with a dad.

I think his choice would be to grow up in a world that didn’t make it so easy for his Dad to lose hope. That didn’t use people’s weaknesses to balance budget shortfalls. But he doesn’t get a vote.

How many times have I heard it, "we already have gambling addiction here…"? I wonder if they said that when they built the first casino outside of Las Vegas. “We already have the problems, we might as well get the revenue.” That’s what they probably said.

And then someone looked over at that casino and said the same thing. And so another casino got built. And now, when people say that there’s already gambling addiction where they live, it’s because of that last casino that went up. The one not terribly far to drive to.

Because building a new casino never just ‘recaptures’ problem gamblers. It creates them.

With every new casino we light another another ring of fire.

In Iowa, before they built casinos, 1.7% of the population were problem gamblers. Three and a half years later, that figure had more than tripled to 5.4%. In New York, the percentage of people who reported having had a gambling problem increased from 4.2% to 7.3% in the first decade of gambling expansion. In Gulfport, Mississippi, suicides increased by 213 percent in the first two years after casinos were built, while in nearby Biloxi, suicide attempts jumped by 1,000 percent in the first year alone.

People will tell you it’s all about jobs, that with three casinos and a slot parlor there’s the potential to create anywhere from 8,000 to 16,000 jobs. But how does that truly compare with creating an additional 300,000 people in Massachusetts who’ll live along a state-sponsored spectrum that ranges from a broken home on one end to a funeral on the other?

In 2010 a state senator from Cape Cod stood during the casino debate and told the story about how, more than once, his father had abandoned him and his siblings on a local beach while he went to the track. This all probably happened more than forty years ago, but the memory of watching the sun go down and wondering how he was going to get home and what he was going to eat still caused the the senator’s voice to crack as he fought back tears. Like ripples on water, a single problem gambler can create a wake of financial hardship and emotional devastation that can last for decades, if not forever.

Had there been no casino in Rhode Island, that baby’s father might have driven to a Connecticut casino to find a reason to end his life. But he might not have. It’s a long round trip to take while your wife’s at work. But if there were no New England casinos, he’d be alive right now.

He wouldn’t be watching casino commercials every day on TV or listening to them on the radio. Commercials that make casinos seem as innocuous as Disneyland, and as brimming with possibilities as a golden ticket to Wonka World. He wouldn’t have had such an easy excuse to lose the bill money and to feel like he’d failed his family. He’d be here showing off his beautiful baby boy to all the relatives.

"All that money’s just going across the border," they tell us.

I look across the room at the baby and I think, you know what? Let it go…

My Aunt Ginny comes over to say hello, and says she can’t believe it’s really me. I only recognize her from old photographs but, according to family lore, she was the one who took care of me when I was very young and my mother had to work.

Aunt Ginny, whose gravity-defying hair would make any iconic country western singer proud, left Massachusetts for Oklahoma back in the 70's. I have no memory of her, but love her instantly. She is funny and cheerful and I’m grateful to have her sitting with us, taking our minds off the wake and the baby and casinos.

While we’re talking, a woman with a breathing tube in her throat stops by and says hello to my mother, who introduces us. She registers a flash of recognition, and an eyebrow is arched.

"So," she says, "You’re the daughter who’s against the casino."

She says this as if she actually means, "So, you’re the daughter who recently escaped from a mental institution."

Somehow, even at a wake, these people manage to find me.

Aunt Ginny laughs. “What’s the matter with casinos?” she asks, "I love the casino! I’ve got one right down the end of my street. I’ve won big a few times there, too."

My mother leans in and whispers in my ear, "Ask her how much she’s lost…"

But there’s no need. Aunt Ginny is obviously a woman of modest means.

I get up to leave. I have a board meeting to attend in Lakeville that evening. Probably another shouting match. I’m tired, I’d rather go home, or out to a restaurant with my mother and sister and Aunt Ginny.

Instead we gather in the hall for hugs and goodbyes, and agree that wouldn’t it be nicer to get together somewhere besides funerals and wakes.

Within the year my Aunt Ginny will be dead, unable to afford health insurance, and living right down the street from a casino.

But that evening her laughter was still with me as I lingered on the side street, decompressing in the quiet sanctuary of my car, safe for now. I allow the wake and the family and the lady with the breathing tube to wash away. All that’s left is the little boy, who’s real now. A little boy with a sweet smile, a full head of hair and his father’s eyes.

If only his father’s eyes could see them.

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
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.


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

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.


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!

"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


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