The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Standing in the school house door

One hundred and three students will be denied their scholarships as a result of Governor Bob Riley's raid on Greentrack earlier this month.

This information comes from The Tuscaloosa News.

The scholarships provided between $500 and $900 each semester to the students.

“This governor, in 2010, is standing in the schoolhouse door,” Rev. John Kennard said. “He is standing in the schoolhouse door to prevent 103 of our children from furthering their education, and we’re not going to take it.”

Kennard is vice president of the group, Clergy Who Care.

Several students attended a rally organized by Kennard. They seem determined, in spite of the governor's action.

Governor Riley's office issued a statement yesterday about the VictoryLand profits that actually reflect his beliefs about bingo in general, thus, also about this issue in Green County.

“The casinos mislead people into believing they’re helping charities. But the reality is, the only people who actually benefit from it are the casino bosses and their cronies.”

So, the governor does not consider these students as "people," I guess.

Governor Wallace stood in the schoolhouse door on June 11, 1963. He thought he was big stuff, but that attempt to preserve his way of life looks pretty foolish now, doesn't it.

And remember, Republican candidate for Governor Dr. Robert Bentley wants to do away with electronic Bingo too. So he would leave these students out in the cold as well.

This is not about looking for other sources of funds for each student to continue his or her education. The students are doing that, and let's hope they are successful.

No, it's about stripping away a source of college education funds that the students already had secured and on which they were depending.

It's about making things more difficult for students of color.

It plays right along with this undercurrent of racism that has swollen into a torrent over the last two days following the release of an edited video by a right wing blogger meant to further divide our nation and remind white people that they are supposed to be afraid of black people.

Rachel Maddow tells how white voters are being targeted to be afraid of black people.

Part 1, where she talks about George Wallace, and shows a comic book he used during a campaign to promote his views, and the "southern strategy" for winning political races by making white people be afraid of black people. Wallace used it in the 60's, and it is still being used today.

Here's part 2 of Rachel's segment.

How long will the real racists, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Andrew Breitbart, Fox News, who are among us be allowed to control the news in this way? How long will we (the big we...the media, the White House, the bloggers) continue to be fooled in this way?


Madison said...

Asserting that Bob Riley's campaign against illegal gambling (and it is illegal--tell me with a straight face that any of those machines are playing bingo) is motivated by racism or bigotry is absolutely ludicrous. It MAY--may--be motivated in part by whatever donations Riley got from gambling interests in Mississippi, but regardless of that he's right on the legal issues, as the Alabama Supreme Court has affirmed numerous times. But saying that Riley's anti-gambling task force is "about making things more difficult for students of color" is totally irresponsible, unsupported by anything but wild speculation, and shameful.

And no, I'm not some anti-gambling whackjob. I don't care if people gamble, as long as it's done legally in a system with some semblance of order, control and accountability. I think you'd be hard pressed to say that exists in Alabama today (or 9 months ago).

Joe said...

Well Riley certainly didn't show much care for the teenage black recipients of gambling charity when he made his comment.

Carol said...

You know what I think they (the gambling folks)should do is put paper bingo all over the place and then see what that does for the education. People are going to gamble no matter what, so in that way it will be legal. I find it just as much fun.

Anonymous said...

Riley's crusade, whatever one may think about it, is SO not about race. The ones who made it about race were the gambling interests who chose these communities in the first place when deciding where to plant these facilities. When a community has little else going for it, of course it is going to sign on for anything that looks beneficial.

If Green County wants to keep gambling then it needs to do it right in accordance with its own constitutional amendment. True charity gambling -- not the 99% private profit amalgamation that was McGregor's Greentrack casino.

If the gambling has as its primary purpose the betterment of the county and its residents, then the county and the residents will reap far more than the lousy 1% handout they have been getting.

Oh, and that photo of Wallace -- the second officer to his right was the father of an ex-boyfriend. Man, did he have stories to tell.

Madison said...


I would just note that IF McGregor has an interest in Greenetrack, and I don't think he does, it's not much of one. He owns Victoryland and the Birmingham Race Course, but Greenetrack is owned by Greene County. It is operated by a third party (which, I believe, is not allowed under their constitutional amendment, but nonetheless) that I don't think McGregor has a stake in.

Just a couple of other f*cked up things about Greenetrack, as noted by this liberal Democrat from the neighboring Sumter County:

1) The sole regulator of gaming in Greene County is the Sheriff, who is elected and has something of a conflict of interest--if the games at Greenetrack aren't bingo he can a) choose to enforce the law, shutting down Greenetrack and killing the jobs of his constituents OR b) ignore illegalities and get to control the purse strings for Greenetrack's charity money, and get re-elected.

Of course, all that became moot when Greene County's last sheriff died, allowing Riley to appoint one who was friendlier to Riley's interests.

2) No one knows how much money Greenetrack makes. No one knows what percentage of their revenues they are donating to charity. Those students may have deserved $1000 scholarships every semester, who knows. And the money from Greenetrack doesn't go into some community pot where it's doled out according to need by a non-partisan (traditional sense, not meaning D or R) group of rational Greene County residents. It's doled out by Greenetrack. To who Greenetrack wants it to go to. That's not a healthy system.

Maybe the folks who run Greenetrack are giving 10 or 20% of their revenue to the county. Maybe they're not using the power of their purse to manipulate folks. Maybe they are the most genuinely kind folks in the world. I have no idea. But there are so many points at which corruption could arise that it's hard to view that place without suspicion.

Anonymous said...

Madison -
Thanks. I am getting Greentrack and Victoryland mixed up. But in any event -- operate it within the confines of your own law, and you'll be fine.