* The new panhandling controversy in Baltimore

City considers crackdown on panhandling near businesses, parking meters
Baltimore has another fit of panhandler anxiety

For years, I had the mantra: “Most panhandlers aren’t homeless, and most homeless people don’t panhandle.”

Now I have many acquaintances who do one or the other.

Given recent instability in my support system, I myself may soon become one who does both.

My experience is much informed by what I’ve seen at the McDonald’s I frequent at Baltimore and Light Streets, where some people seem to panhandle outside all day long.
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A crap shoot in Maryland, part 3

As anticipated in “A crap shoot in Maryland, part 1,” opposing casino owners are waging the war of TV ads, only via surrogates with misleading names.  MGM Resorts calls itself “Maryland Jobs and Schools,” whereas Penn National Gaming calls itself “Get the Facts – Vote No on Issue 7.”

Casino Interests Open Checkbook in Maryland Gambling Referendum

A crap shoot in Maryland, part 2

Maybe what I have taken for my opposition to gambling is no more than a personal dislike of the activity.  That is, gambling is just something I don’t myself enjoy.  But that doesn’t adequately explain my feelings, either.  I don’t like asparagus, either, but I don’t object to expansion of legalized asparagus production.

Maybe this is part of it:  Most gambling I have personally observed has been on the part of people whose lives are going nowhere and who really need to find something better to do.

I can respect games like stud poker and blackjack, that can involve some degree of skill.  Ditto playing the horses.  But games of sheer chance, like draw poker, craps, roulette and slots, strike me as just plain stupid.  Even if I were good at it, even if I were a “winner,” why would I want to take away my neighbor’s money?  I don’t see the point.

Somehow I can’t get excited about the prospect of winning money.  Instead, I always wind up feeling bad about the money I lost, and wondering if I couldn’t have spent it on something better.

I would much rather create something.

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A crap shoot in Maryland, part 1

This post probably will not appear until after the conclusion of a special session of the Maryland General Assembly called to deal with proposals about casinos.

The worst-case scenario, which at this writing seems likely to occur, is that the legislature will put on the November ballot for the voters to decide, a proposed amendment to the Maryland state constitution to allow a new casino to be built at National Harbor, wherever that is.

This will be the second constitutional amendment dealing with casinos in recent years, and I hope voters will consider what a momentous change that is.

Strange contestants have emerged in the pro-and-con battle of TV advertising on this issue.  People like me, who oppose any expansion of legalized gambling whatsoever, aren’t taking part in the conversation.  As I will note again later on, it’s not clear to me that it’s a moral question.  Rather, I still need to track down and link from here to the national study done some years ago that found that, far from being the economic boon proponents always claim, a casino almost always (emphasize almost) degrades the quality of life in a community.[*]

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“Argentina convicts 2 dictators of stealing babies,” and other stories: News roundup – 07/24/12

Argentina convicts 2 dictators of stealing babies
Egyptians pelt Clinton motorcade with tomatoes
Egyptian kidnapper threatens to kill two American hostages
Idaho man charged with soliciting wife’s rape using Craigslist
Maryland Dream Act supporters launch campaign to uphold law
Biology Leaves Gay Men Highly Vulnerable to HIV: Study
Missing Iowa cousins: One set of parents hires an attorney

Argentina convicts 2 dictators of stealing babies

A much more balanced account of the whole situation in South America at the time, than we usually get in the American press.

Egyptians pelt Clinton motorcade with tomatoes

Exactly who these people were, and their motives, is unclear.  Some Egyptians blame the U.S. for the political ascendancy of the Muslim Brotherhood — of all things.

Egyptian kidnapper threatens to kill two American hostages

“Jirmy Abu-Masuh, 32, of the Tarbeen tribe, said in an interview that the Americans … won’t be released until his uncle, who is in an Egyptian prison, is released as well. His uncle was taken into custody for refusing to pay 100 dollars in a bribe to police officers at a checkpoint.”

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* Oh, what a tangled web we weave …

… when first we practice to deceive.

Closing arguments in Julius Henson election fraud trial

I have had direct contact with trials involving Edward Smith, Jr. in the past, such that his antics here come to me as no surprise.

The question I ask is whether it’s worth it to tell the truth, and what happens when we don’t.

[To be continued …]

(Reposted 01/01/14.)

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