Attack of the 50 foot Egos

This quote - "we should not preclude the best and the brightest from being eligible" - is truly amazing. 'Nuff said. :D - promoted by david


This year’s recipient of the Stan Rosenberg Award for Unwarrented Hubris in a Legislative Role is none other than Joseph Wagner (D-Chicopee)!

Wagner, who sits on the six-member gambling bill conference committee believes that a one-year ban on government officials from working in the gambling industry – which originally started as a five year ban – is still way too harsh, because:

“It’s my sense that this matter is so important that we should not preclude the best and the brightest from being eligible even if those people would be in government presently,”

Following this statement, the Committee once again quickly scurried to safety behind closed doors.

Not surprisingly, Stan Rosenberg, (D- Amherst) the senator for whom the Unwarrented Hubris award’s was created, also serves on the committee, a prerequisite for which would appear to be narcissistic personality disorder.

Earlier this fall, during the Senate ‘debate’ on the gambling bill, an ammendment to create a five year ban on legislators from working in the industry compelled Rosenberg to notoriously argue that:

“passing such a no-revolving-door amendment would actually contribute to public cynicism about lawmakers by creating the impression that such a restriction was necessary to protect the public trust and ensure integrity.”

After convening that discussion behind closed doors, the Senate decided to drop the ban from five years to one.

It remains to be seen as to whether, following the current closed door session, the Conference Committee will, in the best interests of the industry, reduce the one-year ban even further and mandate legislators a guaranteed full year of casino employment upon leaving office, to include a lifetime pension and an automatic MacArthur Genius Fellowship.



10 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Is there not already a ban...

    …on legislators immediately working for industries with business before the government? If there is the same rules should apply for this as for other industries, and if not there should be. I also assume former legislators would be getting executive or lobbying gigs, not jobs as card dealers, right?

    • No Christopher,

      what our esteemed representative of the people is asking for is for legislators to be able to vote on casino regulations one day with the promise that they will collect money from the casinos the next day.
      Your suggestion that they might be employed as executives or lobbyists that would work on influencing how the legislation they voted on is implemented is even worse!
      Is that not the very definition of bribery?
      This is a multi-billion dollar industry that has a long history of corruption, and organized crime. The legislators would be paid off through their constituents loses.
      How many legislators will we see step up and protect their constituents from suffering billions in losses?

    • There is a One Year Ban on Lobbying

      The conflict of interest law bars a state senator or rep from lobbying the legislature for one year after leaving office.

  2. More preliminary evidence

    of the goldrush mentality already busting at the seams on Beacon Hill. When it comes to casinos, the allure is so strong that public officials (whether it be legislators, lobbyists or executive branch types like Greg Bialecki) don’t even bother with the pretense of ethical conduct anymore in the mad scramble to get aboard the gambling train before it leaves the station.

    As an aside, the lack of continued, massive outrage on BMG over the casino issue (with the exception of a few devoted contributors) has been very discouraging. If anywhere near the time, effort and intellectual energy was put into chronicling the corrosive effects of expanded gambling as is being directed at a U.S. Senate race that’s still a full year away, Massachusetts might yet avoid the looming catastrophe that will change our state forever. And when you get right down to it, the coming of full-fledged casino gambling here in the Bay State is going to affect our culture, our towns, our families and our lives (for the worse) in a far more immediate and direct way than the re-election or defeat of Scott Brown.

    Not to say the Senate race isn’t important. But at this point it time, exposing the greed, corruption and powerlust driving casinos should be the highest priority for any committed progressive – whether you live in Middleboro or not.

    • If I could give your comment a thumbs up

      I would. I wish more people on BMG would be outraged over this issue that will effect all of us. We should be putting up a fight.

      I realize that people get discouraged because, unlike with many other issues, this one comes complete with a myth of inevitability – that there is nothing you or I or anyone on BMG can do about it. And after awhile, even when it doesn’t come true, it wears you down.

      Despite all the setbacks, I’ve tried, I really have, for years to maintain optimism that legislators will eventually do the right thing on this issue. But when these folks seem convinced (despite numerous examples to the contrary) not only of their own moral infallibility, but also of their own intellectual superiority… where does that leave us?

      And what has the Governor learned after all this time? I’ve heard him make simplistic rationalizations and repeat patently untrue ‘facts’ that I would expected to have heard in Middleboro four years ago. And he’s still clinging to a five year old 3-casino manifesto (with the addition of one slot parlor!!) from Clyde Barrows, now revealed to be working for the gambling industry, that was formulated prior to the economic downturn.

      Still, there is real truth to that saying, “Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world, indeed it is the only thing that ever has.” People across the country have battled against failed federal policy – and the myth of inevitability – that has populated the nation with off-reservation tribal casinos, and won.

      Back in 2007, the comments accompanying news articles were all ‘yay bring on the casino!’ But in the last year I’ve watched the tide changing. Now I notice actual facts in those comment sections – facts that people like me and my anti-casino colleagues have worked hard to bring to light despite a near media black-out. And I see anger growing towards Beacon Hill, where leadership remains clueless to their own actions, indulging special interests, repeating utter fabrications about tribal casinos, and paving the way for a race to the bottom.

      But hey, if you can educate the people in the comment sections, the geniuses on Beacon Hill can’t be that far behind.

      Truth is, some grassroots movements, especially those that are outspent by millions, take time to grown. More voices could certainly help.

  3. Where's the outrage on BMG?!

    You’re kidding, right? We have a couple who talk about absolutely nothing else it seems (gladys-kravitz and middlebororeview) and other regulars (sue kennedy, ryepower12, amberpaw, lynne come to mind) who are very much opposed and have said so numerous times. From what I can tell there’s plenty of outrage.

    • Not I'm not kidding

      Maybe it just doesn’t appear that way to you.

      I decided long ago to focus my energies on this issue. I have a lot of political opinions, but my personal blog and posts here are devoted to this issue. I do what I can to educate people about it through my blog posts, testimony, presentations, newsletters, social media, web sites that I’ve designed and direct action when possible. Currently I’m writing a book about the experience that I hope to publish next year. I’ve quit working my job and know others who’ve done the same just so that they devote their time and energy to it. These are people who’ve give up so much, who’ve done their best just so other people can blow them off as meaningless. And yet I still hear things, from you, from legislators, from the Governor that curl my hair. Still, I always feel like… if I just work harder, I’ll make a difference. Who knows, maybe I have, maybe I haven’t.

      But I totally agree with undercenter that

      If anywhere near the time, effort and intellectual energy was put into chronicling the corrosive effects of expanded gambling as is being directed at a U.S. Senate race that’s still a full year away, Massachusetts might yet avoid the looming catastrophe that will change our state forever.

      You just never know when something someone does or says can change the game. I’ve seen it happen.

      • Great work Gladys -- I plead guilty to assuming

        you and your allies are strong enough to stop/delay/screw up the process to set up casinos without the vocal and strong support from other social justice advocates who might have other immediate priorities.
        And I promise to do more than post comments on BMG.

  4. a simple question

    What is your suggestion re: what concerned readers should do now? Last week I sent a personal message about this to the governor; I personally urged my rep to vote against it, to no avail.

    Yes, I’ll pass the message to my friends.

    Anything else?

    • Well that's a good question, but I'm not sure it's that simple

      First, thank you for your personal message to the Governor and rep.

      Sadly, Deval isn’t listening to his base on this. He’s not even really listening to the guy he says he is in his book, for that matter. So my guess is that he has another agenda.

      As for what to do… I’m always looking for suggestions myself. Today I marched with Occupy Boston holding a sign that said ‘Let Them Eat Slots’.

      In the short term, I’d suggest that you and everyone else on BMG who opposes the expansion of gambling write a post and publish it on BMG. Or, publish a letter you’ve already written to the editor or your reps or the Governor.


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