Trying something new here on this Friday. Rather than two posts in a day, I present to you the 53's first (I think) double-headed post! Been trying a lot of new stuff lately. Frankly, I'd like to try more. But I'm on the verge of seriously digressing and this blog losing it's strong PG-13 rating, so on to the zesty topicality!
And the two subjects of the topicality are kinda related. First comes word that Lance Armstrong is coming to the HFC, to compete in the Ulman Cancer Fund's half full triathlon on October 7. Lance is going to do a casual 0.9 mile swim, 56-mile bike ride and 13.1-mile run. Just another day at the office for Lance. Must be nice to be able to do a triathlon at the drop of a hat.
So this brings controversy because as we all know, Armstrong has been banned from all sanctioned competition by the US Anti Doping Agency. (BTW, USADA, I'm still waiting for you to clear the wreckage of my past). So the Ulman triathlon has had to lose its official sanctioning. Which is a bummer for some (in fact more than a few) triathletes. You can read much more about it here.
So the other part of this double-headed monster is this. Lance Armstrong recorded robocalls for Ken Ulman in the last election. And of course, the half full triathlon is sponsored by The Ulman Cancer Fund, which is run by Ken Ulman's brother Doug. So that brings us to this article by Lindsey McPherson, in which Ken Ulman, along with Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and Prince Georges County Executive Rushern Baker, have come out publicly in support of this fall's Ballot Question 7. Question 7 would expand house gambling in Maryland, to include a sixth statewide casino at the National Harbor area in PG County, and would allow for table games at all six casino locations.
This development is not really surprising. What I will say about this, today, is that everyone on both sides of the issue (mostly the proponents though) need to stop saying that this proposal is about education or anything else.
Gambling is about raising revenue for the state's coffers. So I will buy the argument about competing with neighboring states that offer more gambling options, and I might even buy the argument about creating a gaming industry in Maryland that creates jobs. But let's just stop saying that expanding casino gambling in Maryland is about funding education.
What I think it's about is about having to continue to kick the can of tough fiscal choices down the road. No politician wants to stand up and tell Marylanders that either taxes need to be raised dramatically, services may need to be cut back sharply, or both. So I am going to consider any comment that casino gambling is good for education in Maryland, 100% unmitigated bullshit. Let's just call it for what it is. And leaders like Ulman, Baker and Leggett should present the unvarnished truth on this issue.