Monday, July 1, 2013

Hire More English Majors

"The law is the last refuge of a scoundrel."

--Samuel Johnson

The following article from WFTV.com will illustrate how important it is to pay attention in English class.

When you grow up and become, for example, a state representative fighting on the side of the good you may find that if you make a poorly articulated or poorly thought out law that curtails "evil" activities, the evildoers may demand you apply that same law (because of how it's worded) to activities you approve of as fun, nice, innocent, harmless, positive, and such.

In other words, if they can't pass out their bitter, you can't pass out your sweet. You can't play an innocent game of marbles if they are not allowed knock out your eyes with them.

Let's just put both of our candies and marbles back in our pockets and go home.

Brush back your tears as they stick out their tongues, make farting sounds, and sing, "Nah, nah'na, naaah, naaaaah."

The solution, you ask? Go rewrite the law .. . but that takes a lotto time and a lotto, lotto money.

And when you finish writing it, millions and millions of dollars later, they'll point out another way that their bad deeds are similar in the minutiae of wording to your good deeds.

And so it goes, on and on forever, or until you get the wording right or you give up and make a compromise that allows you to act in ways that are favorable to the public and they to act in ways that are unfavorable, but now legal.

Brrrrrrrrr. Wag your finger and chastise, "Naughty, naughty, poo-poo. Shame on you."

And shame on you for letting the bad guys get all the English and philosophy majors because they pay better.

Shame on you, goodhearted, noble, you--for not paying attention in class.

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If you want an idea of how powerful, crafty, and downright (dare we say) "evil" Legalized Gambling and its support system (with its better English majors) are, read this.

WFTV.Com 9

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SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. —

The statewide gambling scandal that led to more than 50 arrests and the resignation of the lieutenant governor is now being blamed for what some call a "bad law," 9 Investigates learned.

Reacting to the Allied Veterans of the World racketeering case, lawmakers passed swift and far-reaching legislation aimed at shutting down internet gambling centers.

WFTV investigative reporter Christopher Heath discovered the law is having unanticipated consequences, and sending nonprofits out of the state for fear of prosecution.

Earlier this year, the state raided the Allied Veterans of the World gaming center in Seminole County, setting off a chain of events that would end with millions of dollars seized, dozens of arrests across the county and state, and the resignation of Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll.

In addition, both political parties were forced to hand back thousands of dollars in campaign cash.

With many of the suspects still waiting to bond out of jail, the legislature sprang into action, crafting two bills designed to shut down internet casinos and stop illegal gambling.

Now, those same bills, which have become law, are preventing people like Linda Sacks from entering a nation-wide AARP sweepstakes contest.

"I think somebody needs to pay better attention to the bills being passed," said Sacks, an Ormond Beach resident.

Sacks, a national child-welfare advocate, wanted to enter the AARP's "New Face of 50" contest.

Upon reading the fine print, she discovered Florida is the only state where the contest is not being held.

"This cannot be possible. What did Florida do to be excluded?" Sacks asked.

Heath asked AARP why it is excluding Florida, and the organization responded in a statement that the new anti-gambling law prohibits its contest because the prize includes $5,000 and a photo-shoot. The statement added that the group "was surprised by the consequences of this new law."

Heath visited a former internet casino location in central Florida, noting that the gaming center is shut down and even missing the handle to its front door.

The same law that shut the operation down is now getting challenged in court with operators saying it isn't just poorly written, it may also be unconstitutional.

The lawsuits, filed in Broward County, have yet to go before a judge.

Sacks hopes the state will reexamine the unintended consequences of some of the laws it passes.

"To be excluded is just not fair," Sacks said.

Heath spoke with state Sen. John Thrasher, the sponsor of the bill in the Florida Senate. Thrasher said the AARP case was the first he had heard of a non-profit being excluded as a result of the new law. He added that excluding legitimate nonprofits was not the intent of the law.

The state won't be able to fix the problem until state legislature meets again in 2014.

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Editorial Reviews of All or Nothing

New York Times--". . . a cartographer of autodegradation . . . Like Dostoyevsky, Allen colorfully evokes the gambling milieu — the chained (mis)fortunes of the players, their vanities and grotesqueries, their quasi-philosophical ruminations on chance. Like Burroughs, he is a dispassionate chronicler of the addict’s daily ritual, neither glorifying nor vilifying the matter at hand."

Florida Book Review--". . . Allen examines the flaming abyss compulsive gambling burns in its victims’ guts, self-esteem and bank accounts, the desperate, myopic immediacy it incites, the self-destructive need it feeds on, the families and relationships it destroys. For with gamblers, it really is all or nothing. Usually nothing. Take it from a reviewer who’s been there. Allen is right on the money here."

Foreword Magazine--"Not shame, not assault, not even murder is enough reason to stop. Allen’s second novel, All or Nothing, is funny, relentless, haunting, and highly readable. P’s inner dialogues illuminate the grubby tragedy of addiction, and his actions speak for the train wreck that is gambling."

Library Journal--"Told without preaching or moralizing, the facts of P's life express volumes on the destructive power of gambling. This is strongly recommended and deserves a wide audience; an excellent choice for book discussion groups."—Lisa Rohrbaugh, East Palestine Memorial P.L., OH

LEXIS-NEXIS--"By day, P drives a school bus in Miami. But his vocation? He's a gambler who craves every opportunity to steal a few hours to play the numbers, the lottery, at the Indian casinos. Allen has a narrative voice as compelling as feeding the slots is to P." Betsy Willeford is a Miami-based freelance book reviewer. November 4, 2007

Publisher’s Weekly--"Allen’s dark and insightful novel depicts narrator P’s sobering descent into his gambling addiction . . . The well-written novel takes the reader on a chaotic ride as P chases, finds and loses fast, easy money. Allen (Churchboys and Other Sinners) reveals how addiction annihilates its victims and shows that winning isn’t always so different from losing."

Kirkus Review--"We gamble to gamble. We play to play. We don't play to win." Right there, P, desperado narrator of this crash-'n'-burn novella, sums up the madness. A black man in Miami, P has graduated from youthful nonchalance (a '79 Buick Electra 225) to married-with-a-kid pseudo-stability, driving a school bus in the shadow of the Biltmore. He lives large enough to afford two wide-screen TVs, but the wife wants more. Or so he rationalizes, as he hits the open-all-night Indian casinos, "controlling" his jones with a daily ATM maximum of $1,000. Low enough to rob the family piggy bank for slot-machine fodder, he sinks yet further, praying that his allergic 11-year-old eat forbidden strawberries—which will send him into a coma, from which he'll emerge with the winning formula for Cash 3 (the kid's supposedly psychic when he's sick). All street smarts and inside skinny, the book gives readers a contact high that zooms to full rush when P scores $160,000 on one lucky machine ("God is the God of Ping-ping," he exults, as the coins flood out). The loot's enough to make the small-timer turn pro, as he heads, flush, to Vegas to cash in. But in Sin City, karmic payback awaits. Swanky hookers, underworld "professors" deeply schooled in sure-fire systems to beat the house, manic trips to the CashMyCheck store for funds to fuel the ferocious need—Allen's brilliant at conveying the hothouse atmosphere of hell-bent gaming. Fun time in the Inferno.

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Bio


Preston L. Allen is the recipient of a State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship in Literature and the Sonja H. Stone Prize in Fiction for his short story collection Churchboys and Other Sinners (Carolina Wren Press 2003). His works have appeared in numerous publications including The Seattle Review, The Crab Orchard Review, Asili, Drum Voices, and Gulfstream Magazine; and he has been anthologized in Here We Are: An Anthology of South Florida Writers, Brown Sugar: A Collection of Erotic Black Fiction, Miami Noir, and the forthcoming Las Vegas Noir. His fourth novel, All Or Nothing, chronicles the life of a small-time gambler who finally hits it big. Preston Allen teaches English and Creative Writing in Miami, Florida.