Muzings From The Edge: Bingo

This is a special Muzings for all my friends who have been closely following things such as the health care reform or health care insurance reform discussions for the last year in Washington, D. C. I know, this has been great fun for those who really like to watch a real heavy weight struggle. It is sort of like watching to grossly overweight, prize fighters who are just happy they are still breathing at the end of the first round. Every round is the same. They walk to the center of the ring, lean on each other and every once in a while slap the other guy on the shoulder. Other great analogies are watching grass grow, or watching molasses flow uphill in the dead of winter. In other words, Einstein never had to worry about the speed of congress when he was calculating the Theory of Relativity. The excitement generated by the day to day inactivity of the Senate not passing any legislation was not going to cause many heart attacks due to over excitement. Well fear not my friends for I have found the place of action to keep you focused. It is better than South Carolina’s Governor going for a walk on the Appalachian Trail and ending up in Argentina with his soul mate. It is even better than Nevada’s Governor going to a governor’s conference in, where else; Washington, D.C., with his girl friend who didn’t go with him but was magically at his side at the conference. He even had his photo taken with her and, of all people, Governor Sanford, of South Carolina. The Nevada Governor then flew back from D.C. alone although his girl friend just happened to be on the same plane. Yep, what I have for you folks is even better than that. It moves faster, and has more twists and turns than a “Murder She Wrote” mystery. I am going to take you a little trip over the next few issues of the “the Muze” because it is bit too complicated for a single rant.

The place: The State of Alabama. The players; Governor Bob Riley and Attorney General Troy King. The Issue; Bingo. Yes bingo. Now it doesn’t seem like this simple little game that little blue hair ladies play on Wednesday nights with paper cards and butterbeans to cover the numbers would raise much of a ruckus. Well, they don’t because bingo has gone high tech and big time and stirred up a major hornets’ nest in the state. It currently has the two most powerful Republicans in the state at each others’ throats and has almost brought several law enforcement agencies into gun battles with each other. Are we having fun yet? See Alabama is stuck in the middle of four states that have legalized gambling of some type and Alabama has none, zilch, nothing even close. Well, it did have a couple of dog tracks that lasted a couple of years, and a horse track that lasted a year but that was it. Other than that, Alabama has been free, free I tell you of the sin of gambling! Hallelujah! Alabama also has perhaps the most regressive tax system in the country with the lowest property tax. Unemployment is well above the national average, and, well the state is basically going broke fast. Several years ago when the dog tracks began to fail the track owners began to slip in a few electronic “bingo” machines to make up for their losses. No one said much since there were only three locations in the state at the time and they employed a lot of people. During that period of time Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee started lotteries. The State of Mississippi authorized casino gambling with a lot of the casinos located close to the state lines with other states. Suddenly a lot of Alabamians were trotting across state lines to try their luck at the various gaming activities in the surrounding states. That meant lost revenue to a number of Alabama resorts and border cities. Of course many of the fine folk of Alabama had said they didn’t want the sin of gambling in their state. But based on one the strangest state constitutions in this country counties were allowed to hold referendums to pass county level constitution amendments to open electronic Bingo Halls in their counties as long as a major part of the proceeds went to county services such as education. So, a number of them passed such resolutions and opened their own bingo halls which provided a large number of jobs.

Now the fun begins because generally speaking, gambling with slot machines, electronic or otherwise is illegal by state law. When Bob Riley ran for his second term as governor he swore he would shut down these evil dens of sin because they were not electronic bingo games they were electronic gambling machines and they violated state law. Word had it, and it still persists very strongly, that a lot of Riley’s campaign money was funneled to Riley from the Mississippi Band of the Choctaw Indians who own a number of casinos close to the Alabama state line. There is also the issue of Native American establishments which operate electronic gambling devices on their land within the State of Alabama who would like to see the competition go away also. So now the stage is set for the Alabama Smack Down. What trumps what? Constitutional amendments passed by counties to apply only to that specific county, or the state law. And, who has the authority and responsibility to enforce whichever of these is deemed to be superior.

Eighteen months ago Riley ordered Attorney General Troy King to shut down all of the county run bingo halls. Attorney General King refused to do so saying that because the bingo establishments were legal because they were approved by constitutional amendment. Additionally, it was the job of the counties’ District Attorneys to determine if the state law was being broken. Riley then ordered King to order the District Attorneys to enforce the state law. King then said that District Attorneys were elected officials and he could not intervene unless there was evidence of wrong doing on their part. Riley then decides to take matters into his own hands and appoints a former District Attorney named David Barbour as a Special Prosecutor who answers only to the Governor to enforce the state law. King, the attorney General files suit against the Governor and the Special Prosecutor contending that they do not have jurisdiction to enforce the law because the Attorney General is the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the State. Are you confused yet? Well, stay tuned for the next installment when the governor’s next move takes him to the up the steps of the Alabama Supreme Court. You remember that place where Chief Justice Roy Moore had the big rock with Ten Commandments on it. The one that got him kicked off the court. Well, he is not there anymore, but it is still fun to watch the fun in this state.

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Posted by on March 8, 2010. Filed under Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
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15 Responses to Muzings From The Edge: Bingo

  1. MadMike Reply

    March 8, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    This is typical of the Bible Bangin’ Jesus Jumpers Bill. It is the same here in Georgia. The Deep South is America’s Third World.

    • Lazersedge Reply

      March 9, 2010 at 5:37 am

      Mike, this goes even further than just the bible bangers. Check the update next week.

  2. Beekeepers Apprentice Reply

    March 8, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    Oh, hell, they may as well let the American Indians have casinos, and be done with it. And the Bingo Halls can stay, too. That is the Bee’s Decree.

    Make it so.


    • Lazersedge Reply

      March 9, 2010 at 5:38 am

      I will pass on your decree Ms Bee.

  3. fourdinners Reply

    March 8, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    I think I left a comment already…must have been when the comments where fucked up. Sorry. Not my fault.

    “Two fat ladies clickety click”


    • Lazersedge Reply

      March 9, 2010 at 5:39 am

      Most likely it was 4D. Glad to have your input. Check the update next week.

  4. Infidel753 Reply

    March 8, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    How about implementing a state lottery, like we have here in Oregon? People who want to gamble can do so, and the proceeds flow to the state treasury. Everybody wins!

    Of course, the state lottery is sometimes called the “stupidity tax” (you pay income tax in proportion to your income, and the state lottery is like a tax you pay in proportion to your…..well, you get the idea). In Alabama a lottery might well drain off quite a few dollars from people who would otherwise donate them to televangelists or the Republican party, to be spent instead for more constructive purposes.

    If I understand you correctly, three neighboring states already have something similar, so there’s a precedent…..

    • Lazersedge Reply

      March 9, 2010 at 5:41 am

      That would be doing things the easy way Infidel. That is one thing Alabama has never been accused of along with being smart. It gets even better. Check the update next week.

  5. MadMike Reply

    March 8, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    Georgia and Florida both have lotteries, and have for years. There are more Jesus Jumpers buying tickets than any other group.

  6. osori Reply

    March 9, 2010 at 12:20 am

    They used to bus Mormons over the state line into Twin Falls, Idaho to buy their lottery tickets. Guess it was ok with whatever Magic Underwear Postum god those people worship long as it wasn’t in Utah.

    • Lazersedge Reply

      March 9, 2010 at 5:48 am

      Most likely their God could not see over their state line Oso.

  7. Holte Ender Reply

    March 9, 2010 at 1:55 am

    Imposing laws to suit personal beliefs is dictatorial and dripping with political and religious hypocrisy. So much for freedom of choice. Here in southeast Georgia, my county was dry until 1990s, it is still impossible to buy liquor, so a drive to the County Line Package Storage, or even further, becomes a ritual. You can drink stuff you bought in Savannah, but you can’t buy it here?

    • Lazersedge Reply

      March 9, 2010 at 5:46 am

      Alabama is still like that Holte. There are still wet and dry counties, and even wet cities within dry counties. It borders on stupidity; no, actually it is stupid, and you can not fix that.

  8. Lazersedge Reply

    March 9, 2010 at 5:34 am

    My apologies for my late response but I have been on the road and in meetings all day and half the night gang.

  9. MadMike Reply

    March 9, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    One of the many things you said that stuck with me Bill, on that first day of class, so long ago at UofA was when you told us:

    “Hey guys. Let’s face it. You can’t fix stupid!”

    I am forever grateful my dear friend.

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