The Government We Deserve

Tuesday, July 11th, 2006, 6:57 pm

The House of Representatives sucks.

In yet another example of how We the People need to have our hand held, that we can’t be trusted to make decisions about our lives, how we lead them, and how we spend our money, the House of Representatives passed the Goodlatte-Leach bill by a score of 317-93. Amazing that a time when our nation is at war in Iraq, when Afghanistan is far from secure, when Iran and North Korea thumb their nose at us and pursue nuclear weapons, when record budget deficits pile up year after year and median income stays flat, that our elected officials have time to pursue such pressing issues as:

  • An amendment banning gay marriage
  • An amendment banning flag burning
  • A law banning online gambling.

Well, some gambling. Horse racing is still OK. So are state lotteries. Why betting on the ponies and buying scratch-off tickets are fine while poker is bad is something no one in Congress seems anxious to answer. I think it has to do with “money”, specifically money that comes into their districts (and their campaign coffers) from one source and not from others.

My own representative, the always obediant Melissa Hart, voted Yea. I haven’t been able to determine what Hart’s opinion is on the slots casinos that are about to spring up all over Pennsylvania (well, at the glacial rate the process is moving it’s not fair to say they’ll be “springing”) but I’d wager that she’s against those too. Wait, am I still allowed to say “wager”?

I’ve no problem with people opposing slots casinos. Or any other casinos. There are reasonable arguments against building casinos, and I can appreciate them. But online gambling doesn’t have the same impact on those who don’t participate that a brick-and-mortar casino does. And those who want to gamble online should be allowed to pursue that avenue of happiness.

I have tremendous sympathy for people with gambling problems. I don’t pretend that there aren’t consequences. But the idea that there are vast hordes of zombies out there transfering their life savings to PartyPoker is just hysteria. Some people have gambling problems. Some people have drinking problems. Some people have trouble with sex, with love, with adrenaline, with fast food. I’d like everyone to be happy and not have these issues. But banning an activity that most people enjoy with no deleterious effects because a small percentage can’t handle it isn’t the way to go. Though it’s hypocritical in the extreme to argue that this bill is concerned wtih potential gambling addicts, as it only bans certain kinds of gambling while leaving loopholes big enough to drive an Brinks truck through. Someone with a problem will still be able to gamble if this bill passes.

It’s your basic election-year manuevering, and hopefully the wise and sage counsel of the Senate will kill this law in it’s infancy. Oh, right. The Senate. Where Bill Frist and Rick Santorum and other noble souls serve. It’s quite possible that we’re all fucked. Well, we’ve known that for the last six years or so. How is it, I ask, that our nation, America, this land filled with brilliant, hard-working, compassionate people, elected this President, these Representatives, and these Senators. I shouldn’t tar them all with the same brush, there are those in Washington who serve our nation well. That being said…it’s quite possible that we’re all fucked.

November isn’t too far away. Vote, boys and girls. You might not have much to choose between, but VOTE.

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4 Responses to “The Government We Deserve”

  1. BG Says:

    Putting horse racing and the lotteries in the conversation drives me nuts… The fundamental difference is that the states have already decided on both those counts. As a resident of PA, I can use YouBet.com to bet on horses, but were I to move to Utah I’d be shut out. I can play the Powerball here, but I can’t buy tickets in (um, sorry Mormons) Utah.

    If the states were able to decide independently to set up online casinos, regulate and restrict access as necessary, this legislation wouldn’t have even come up. It’s the offshore stuff – which horse racing is not – that is the regulatory nightmare.

  2. Ken Says:

    It is election year and pols are focus group and poll oriented. The online gambling bill was very bi-partisan. We are protected from ourself at every turn. And I’m sure you’ll even agree with some. I smoke which makes me sub-human in many eyes. Seems everybody has some agenda these days.

    I had a friend with a gambling problem. Here we went from race betting rooms to casinos. He’s hit big and he’s blown a whole paycheck and come by to borrow gas money. It finally ruined the friendship. Sad but there isn’t a lawmaker out there that will ever stop him. Before it all he used a bookie. People with the gambling gene are going to gamble, period.

    20-20 had a story on the polarization of America–Red & Blue. Here the Dem always wins. I’ve been a Dem and a Rep and now vote Libertarian as a protest. It would scare the hell out of me if they got a majority–fat chance. But, it is a counterpoint to the stupidity both parties display

  3. Drizztdj Says:

    Poker is legal in several states, just like horse racing and the lottery… INCLUDING WASHINGTON STATE, but they can’t play online?

    Some people, like myself, cannot just pick up and go to the track/card club/casino for a multitude of reasons (I don’t have a driver’s licence for health reasons).

    Online is the only option I have.

  4. OY Says:

    Foreign online gambling sites do not wet the beak of the government..they circumvent taxes. The local pony tracks, state run lotteries and any local approved gambling all pay tax. Simple as that. Its not about what’s good for we the people, its about what is good for the govt. And the overseas online stuff currently is impossible to regulate from those who are domestic. So banno.

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