In local news, the state legislature of Maryland has put the legalization of slots up for popular vote next week. This is the culmination of a pro-slots lobbying effort that has been pushing hard since the early 1990’s. Time and again they have been thwarted by the Democratically controlled state house. For many years Governor Paris Glendenning wielded the veto pen. When he retired in 2002 and was replaced by Bob “the Hair” Ehrlich, a Republican who campaigned on a pro-slots platform, it seemed that the one-armed bandits would return to Maryland. However, the Hair didn’t have enough grease, and for four straight years the bill never made it out of the legislature. (As I recall, crafty Dems structured the bill such that the betting parlors would be placed in Republican counties, and the rich folks weren’t having any of that).
So now golden boy Martin O’Malley is governor, and in truly gutless fashion, he’s contrived with the legislature to put a slots referendum on the ballot. “Let the people decide!” they cry, diving for political cover. They argue that the funds generated off the backs of society’s most desperate are sorely needed for poor schools and public safety, not to mention Maryland’s “troubled” horse racing industry. [Note to the Maryland equestrian community: years of inbreeding have not served you well… and I don’t mean the horses.]
Look, I’m all for letting people piss their lives away one quarter at time in hopes of that magical $100 payoff. Anyone who has experienced the soul-crushing wonder of Atlantic City will tell you, there’s nothing quite as much fun as watching a junkie shoot smack on a sidewalk in broad daylight. But consider the balls of this slots proponent:
Taxpayers aren’t getting anything out of [widespread illegal gambling]. It’s all an underground economy because we don’t want to face up to the reality.
Thank you, former House speaker Casper Taylor Jr! You are truly as wise as you are hypocritical. I trust that your colleagues will soon be applying the same logic to bring whores and reefer out of the shadows as well. I look forward to voting for the reeferendum in the next election!