Sunday, March 07, 2010

7 MAR 10: Back to the Action

Only in Alabama could it happen. Only in Alabama could an anti-gambling governor lose the "moral high ground" when it comes to casinos -- when open casinos for gambling are endorsed by a minister such as Jesse Jackson.

Victoryland in Macon County is open again this weekend, after a one-month standoff between Alabama Governor Bob Riley and owner Milton McGregor. It came after Jesse Jackson of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition contacted the governor to intervene -- which apparently indicates President Obama doesn't need his help in Afghanistan or the Middle East these days.

Jesse Jackson repeated the position of State Senate candidate Johnny Ford [2 Feb] -- that a state police raid of Victoryland would resurrect bad images of Alabama. I've read some people online already make complaints along this line. Except they're upset when any news report about Sarah Palin includes clips of Tina Fey....

(Are you county sheriffs across Alabama paying attention to this? Next time you raid a suspected methamphetamine house, let's try a three-deputy limit.)

Victoryland reopened after both the Macon County Sheriff and District Attorney inspected Quincy's 777 casino. Both declared the electronic bingo games are legal. Anti-gambling task force commander John Tyson remains skeptical -- but for the moment, he's allowing this bingo a "free space."

But Victoryland owner Milton McGregor blinked a little, before reopening the complex. He gave up his liquor license -- so visitors now have two words to spell: B-I-N-G-O and B-Y-O-B.

Milton McGregor told reporters the standoff at Victoryland seems un-American. He said it's something he thought might happen "60 years ago in Nazi Germany...." This is why the Georgia Lottery is marginally better. It's an "education lottery," while McGregor may not realize the Nazis had been defeated for years by 1950.

Yet we must remember Milton McGregor forced this standoff in the first place. He shut down greyhound racing and the Oasis Hotel, when the state only wanted to investigate his electronic bingo games. A large number of people was laid off unnecessarily - as if McGregor wanted state unemployment checks to bankrupt the overtime budget for Alabama state troopers.

Victoryland has yet to return to full operations. Greyhound racing will not resume until 19 March. And the Quincy's 777 web site still offered Valentine's Day specials Saturday night -- which apparently means we've found one place where Internet work is NOT outsourced to Asia.

(The web site shows someone from Phenix City named David W. recently won more than $74,000. If this man kindly would identify himself, the Phenix City Council might present him a resolution of commendation.)

So really achieved victory, in this one-month Victoryland staredown? It appears Milton McGregor did, since his casino remains open with little changed. But then again, a lack of alcohol might help players figure out the machines better to win jackpots.

Another hidden winner in all this is Johnny Ford. He's exploited used the Victoryland debate to promote his State Senate campaign. It's just as well incumbent Myron Penn is leaving office. He's been as quiet on this issue as someone FROM Penn - as in Pennsylvania.

Victoryland was one of several topics we brought up during a stand-up routine Saturday night, during a church "fun show." We did it in the style of a newscast, as the late Paul Harvey might have presented it. And yes, we included a commercial for Wal-Mart....

-> Our other blog starts with poker, then goes in directions you might not expect. People around the world visit "On the Flop!" <-

THE BIG BLOG QUESTION on the Georgia state bird closed Saturday night - and it was a triumph for tradition. Six of the seven voters in our tragically non-scientific survey wanted to keep the current brown thrasher. Only one liked our idea of the Aflac duck. And none supported changing to a chicken - so some birds are simply too tasty to make official.

Let's see what else is happening, on a weekend when spring finally seems to be arriving....

+ Richard Hyatt's web site reported Skip Henderson has decided NOT to run for Columbus Mayor. Supporters who were ready to print "Skip - This One" campaign signs still can do it, but with a small adjustment.

+ Alabama gubernatorial candidate Tim James talked to a government class at Opelika High School. And then they point fingers at President Obama for indoctrinating school children?! Mr. Obama's next appearance on a ballot will come in two years, not three months.

+ The country music group Rascal Flatts filled the Columbus Civic Center for a concert. The opening act was Darius Rucker - who had to be surprised by how many more people can attend concerts in Columbus when they're not on Sundays.

+ AirTran Airways announced it will begin flights to and from Huntsville in May. Aw, c'mon - what does Huntsville have that Columbus doesn't? Other than a U.S. Senator who can threaten to hold up all sorts of projects?

+ Roundball Saturday Night (tm) saw LaGrange High School advance both its teams to the state semifinals, with wins at the Lumpkin Center. The LaGrange girls could clash with Kendrick in the finals - yet so far, the school superintendents are NOT demanding that game be played at Callaway Gardens to save money.

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