The blog of Frederick Clarkson

Archive for November, 2007

Rudy Giuliani’s Casino Gambling Sugar Daddy

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The Daily News reports:

Rudy Giuliani is jetting around the country wooing Bible-thumping conservatives, but his plane is often provided by a king of Sin City.

The Republican presidential hopeful anted up more than $122,000 last summer alone for jets traceable to casino kingpin Sheldon Adelson, whose Las Vegas Sands empire has made him the third-richest American, a Daily News review of campaign records shows.

Last quarter, The Sands’ innocuously named Interface Operations LLC was the top provider of corporate jets to the frequently flying Giuliani, who was whisked around the country on the casino’s plush Gulfstream G-IV in late August and early September, records show.

“You have to follow the money and ask, ‘Why is Sheldon Adelson partnering with Rudy Giuliani?'” asked Stacey Cargill, an anti-gambling and Republican Party activist in Iowa, where the nation’s first presidential caucus is set for Jan. 3.

Cargill, who views even legal gambling as a magnet for crime and vice, said, “If Rudy Giuliani wants to be the crimefighting candidate, why is he partnering with a large and growing gambling empire?”

But airplane rides around the country are not the only thing Giuliani has recieved from the casino kingpin:

Last month, Adelson… held a Giuliani fund-raiser at his Venetian casino in Las Vegas.

High-rollers who agreed to raise $25,000 for Giuliani’s presidential bid got a special treat – cigars with the former mayor.

Written by fred

November 18th, 2007 at 8:58 pm

Catholic Bishops Too "Cash Strapped" to do a Mailing

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The U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops is too poor, according to The Boston Globe, to send to its local parishes, its traditional instructional mailing on how to approach politics and public policy. The Globe did not explain why the Bishops are broke and buried the point in the last paragraph of the story — but we can guess that it probably has something to do with the massive payouts the church has made to settle lawsuits related to the priest pedophilia scandal.

Traditionally, the document has been mailed to all parishes in the United States; this year, to save money, the cash-strapped bishops’ conference will e-mail the document to parishes and post it on a website.

However, the Globe headlined the story, O’Malley draws line with Democrats: Backing abortion rights candidates ‘borders on scandal’.

The Globe reported:

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston, saying the Democratic Party has been persistently hostile to opponents of abortion rights, asserted yesterday that the support of many Catholics for Democratic candidates “borders on scandal.”

In his sharpest comments about the political landscape since he was installed as archbishop of Boston four years ago, O’Malley made clear that, despite his differences with the Republican Party over immigration policy, capital punishment, economic issues, and the war in Iraq, he views abortion as the most important moral issue facing policymakers.

“I think the Democratic Party, which has been in many parts of the country traditionally the party which Catholics have supported, has been extremely insensitive to the church’s position, on the gospel of life in particular, and on other moral issues,” O’Malley said.

The Globe continued:

O’Malley’s predecessors as archbishop of Boston were also staunchly antiabortion. Cardinal Bernard F. Law called a news conference to criticize a Republican governor, William F. Weld, for his support for abortion rights, and Law had the lieutenant governor at the time, Paul Cellucci, also a Republican, disinvited from a Catholic high school for the same reason; Law also blasted Geraldine A. Ferraro, the Democratic candidate for vice president in 1984, for her support of abortion rights. Law’s predecessor, Cardinal Humberto S. Medeiros, in 1980 tried unsuccessfully to persuade Catholics to vote against two Democratic congressional candidates, Barney Frank and Jim Shannon, because of their support for abortion rights.

Interesting, but I don’t recall — and the Globe does not mention — any Catholic official ever having blasted any Massachusetts Republicans in recent years for their positions on abortion — suchas the formerly prochoice Gov. Mitt Romney or continuously prochoice Lt. Gov and later gubernatorial candidate Kerry Healey — although I suppose I could have missed something.

It is interesting too, to see the Cardinal attack the Democratic Party as a whole, as if it had a lot of say, or should have a lot of say over who the membership picks as its candidates, and who the voters ultimately choose as its representatives.

[See the expanded version of this post at Talk to Action.]

Written by fred

November 16th, 2007 at 10:15 pm

The Massachusetts Primary

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As now seems likely, Massachusetts may reschedule its primaries from March to February 5th. The Boston Globe reports:

“February 5 has become a de facto national primary day,” [Secretary of State William] Galvin said. “This gives Massachusetts voters the first chance in years to participate in some significant way in the selection process for nominees in both parties.”

Most analysts agree that the results of Feb. 5 primaries could well mark the end of the presidential nominating races in both parties. There will be as many as 21 primaries that day, including votes in delegate-rich states of New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and California… The new date for a Massachusetts primary could create a political problem for Mitt Romney. The former governor, who is not as popular among Bay State Republicans as he once was, may be forced to compete here in an effort to avoid an embarrassing loss in his home state.

Indeed. The Republicans have a winner take all primary, and Romney is not nearly as popular among Bay State Republicans as outsiders might think.

On the Democractic side, my raw speculation would be that this gives an advantage to Obama since Governor Patrick is mobilizing supporters on Obama’s behalf and no one else seems to have much of a presence in the state, having assumed that the primary, if it mattered at all, would be in March.

At the same time, Galvin says that one of the reasons for doing this is to simultaneously schedule five party primaries for vacant state legislative seats. And there is at least one blogger running. Lori Erlich is running in the Dem primary for State Rep from Marblehead. She is a environental activist, a CPA and based on the profile of the field in The Marblehead Reporter, she sounds like the progressive choice — and of course, being a fellow blogger gets her a mention here.

Written by fred

November 10th, 2007 at 10:01 pm

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Ex-Hooker Tells All About the Senator Who Campaigned Against "Massachusetts Values"

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The current issue of Hustler magazine has an interview with the woman who says she was Republican Sen. David Vitter’s hooker — as well as a “naked pictorial” — according to The Advocate newspaper of Baton Rouge.

But first, let’s underscore that the man who campaigned against “Massachusetts values” has made his career grandstanding on the sanctity of marriage — apparently while breaking laws as well as his marriage vows. Here is what he had to say when running for the U.S. Senate:

    Vitter Statement on Protecting the Sanctity of Marriage

We need a U.S. Senator who will stand up for Louisiana values, not Massachusetts’s values.  I am the only Senate Candidate to coauthor the Federal Marriage Amendment; the only one fighting for its passage… stated David Vitter.

Much more.

Written by fred

November 10th, 2007 at 1:28 pm

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More MA Casino News

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Is the governor’s proposal to expand gambling addiction in the state in trouble? The evidence suggests so.

The Massachusetts Council of Churches has a footnoted list of Economic Arguments Against Casino Gambling. Here is one compelling point that we won’t hear the Governor’s spokespersons even try to rebut:

Gambling addiction to slot machines is all about speed…the faster you play, the more likely you will play out-of-control and be more reckless with your money as you lose it in the machine. Today’s slots are meticulously designed computers, generating precise profits, deliberately creating a false sense of “near wins” and regular small payoffs that create an illusion of sporting chance. They are the most addictive form of gambling ever devised.[7]

Anyone comforted by the idea that casino gambling is voluntary should spend a day with the casino staffs that target people based on how fast they play a slot machine and track prospects’ and players’ observed worth, define their predicted value, and systematically maximize individual “share of wallet” through targeted and customized promotional messages, limited-time cash offers, and carefully tracked time-to-response and spending analysis. This predatory marketing explains why for people who live within 50 miles of a casino, at least 1 out of every 20 people becomes a gambling addict.[8] But while these problem gamblers are very lucrative for the industry, their addiction leads to crime, distressed families, suicide and bankruptcy.[9] Non-gamblers are left paying the tab for these costs through higher taxes.

And the new statewide coalition, Casino Free Mass, has a useful set of talking points.

Written by fred

November 8th, 2007 at 1:43 pm

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Reporters Please Take Note

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Written by fred

November 8th, 2007 at 1:02 pm

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Play the Sweepstakes!

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Just one question: Who said this?

“Taxing the poor through casinos is cynical and cowardly”

A: The Massachusetts Council of Churches

B: The Amherst Democratic Town Committee

C: The Boston Business Journal

D: Some Lefty Blogger (like me.)

Correct answer at the bottom of this post!

If you guessed the correct answer — you are the winner in the Sweepstakes! And unlike Governor Deval Patrick’s casino gambling proposal, what you get is nothing but satisfaction. The Sweepstakes has no history of causing addictive behaviors; bankrupsies; divorses — and has no known ties to organized crime!

The Boston Business Journal argues that we should all be responsible for fixing our roads and bridges rather than trying to scam the poor and the vulnerable. But beyond the social costs, the Journal also thinks it’s bad business — and bad for business.

As a matter of economic policy, expanded gambling is a non-starter. The commonwealth stands to skim $600 million off the top in licensing fees, one-time revenue that quickly becomes lost when it gets absorbed into $26.8 billion budget. Then it expects $400 million per year in additional tax revenue. But has anyone counted the taxes it won’t take in when $1.5 billion — the amount gamblers will need to spend in the state annually to raise the tax expected tax revenues — is sucked out of the local economy?

One of the fundamental fallacies of the casino revenue scheme is that casinos generate new money that falls out of the sky. No, most of this money simply won’t be spent elsewhere in Massachusetts. Perhaps $500 million will be redirected from Connecticut casinos. The rest is money Massachusetts residents will plunk into the pockets of casino operators and won’t spend on other things: meals, clothes, vacations, toys. Lawmakers should ask for a reasonable estimate of what the impact of squeezing more from Massachusetts gamblers will have on the income and sales tax figures.

The correct answer is “C”.

Written by fred

November 1st, 2007 at 7:09 pm

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