Monday, January 11, 2016

1589 Orphan States

1589 Orphan States

Nevada, Utah, Mississippi, Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii. The states that don’t participate in Powerball.

Alaska and Hawaii are orphan states because they are nowhere near the rest of the country.  

Nevada?  If they allowed the almost-national lottery, the casinos would suffer.  If the casinos suffer, the whole state suffers.  And given the water problems and the presence first of Howard Hughes and now Sheldon Addlebrain, Nevada suffers enough.  At least Hughes kept to himself.

Plus how would you like to see all those showgirls, washed up club acts and hookers panhandling on the streets of cities in adjacent states?  Can you imagine Wayne Newton sitting on a streetcorner in Arizona holding a sign that says “Will Croon for Food?”

Mississippi, Alabama and Utah?  Well… that’s Mississippi, Alabama and Utah.  

Easy enough to cross state lines to buy tickets.  Louisiana, Georgia, Tennessee, Arizona, Colorado, California, Oregon and Idaho don’t send cops around taking down numbers from out of state license plates.

So the country’s first lottery billionaire could come from anywhere.

Americans need to go nuts about something.  How American is it to get nuts about money!  Especially about really really big money.

Many states, even though they allow the game realize that lotteries are a de facto tax on the poor.  Not as bad as a flat income tax would be, though bad enough.

But it’s not the Bill Gateses that buy the tickets.  Well, we don’t know for sure what Gates or anyone else on the Forbes 400 List buys, but no one has ever spotted a Koch brother on line at a 7-11.

Who buys these tickets?  Poor and what’s left of the middle class.  How much do they cost?  Two bucks. But people who buy Powerball also buy state lottery tickets and play the slots, the horses, fantasy football, and on and on.  None of these games cost much if you play once or twice.  But as more people play, your chances of winning diminish.

This is not a diatribe against gambling.  Some of us have played a horse or two and even won a few bucks, maybe lunch money. But never enough to cover the month’s rent.

Old saw: Patience is a virtue.

Not always so. When you’re on the line that leads to the lottery machine, patience is a vice.  The real winners are those of us who don’t have the patience to wait our turn and leave.

Shrapnel (On a Cruz edition):

--Where are the birthers? If Cruz is a “natural born American citizen” because his mother was, what about Obama? Even if he had been born in Kenya -- which he wasn’t -- his mother was an American citizen and what was all the fuss about.

--Cruz’s mother was born in Delaware, Obama’s in Kansas.  Cruz’s father wasn’t a citizen at the time and neither was Obama’s. You can’t have it both ways so parental citizenship either is or isn’t the standard and birth in a state either is or isn’t, but not both.

--Somewhere along the line the constitutional definition of “natural born citizen” has to be determined.  No one wants to give it to the current Supreme Court. The apoplectic responses would probably kill all the justices… an act of cruelty or an act of kindness depending on your view of them… but not both.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com

© WJR 2016

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