Sunday, June 10, 2007

Canada Cal Checking In on the Controversies

Canada Cal here, checking in for Haley for a bit. Seems she's a whole lot swamped and a bit under the weather, and a bit behind, or so she says. So I'll be pitching in a bit of the ol' back bacon on her behalf, not that we eat as much of that up here as you think. (And Haley surfed by and said to make sure that you all understood that that was not a Captain Tom/Brandi Hawbaker/huggling reference.) Haley also says there's not much wrong with that a few days of bedrest or a bullet won't cure, and she doesn't care which.

How do I know her, you ask? Well, I used to work down there in the land of the Bushies, back in the days when she was writing useless stuff in a different sort of recreational field. Sports cards and collectibles and stuff like that. I bet you all didn't know that Haley even had a hand in some of the early fantasy-sports publications, back before it was the BIG THING it is today. Or that she once wrote the 'bible' for a crappy, short-lived comic book called Scorpion Corps?

Yeah, I got her now. That last was on a dare, you see. But I'm here to fill you in on some developments in poker this week, and since it's been a week full of legislative goodies, she told me to start there.

Friday was the big day for Barney Frank's pro-poker bill in his Finance committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. Now, you might ask what all we Canucks care about the U.S. laws, and the answer is, a whole lot. Because it's like them Bushies say --- "Those Canada geese will do what we tell them to. I mean what are they gonna do, poop on our lawns and golf courses?" It ain't quite true, but it's close, because the U.S. fucks with Canadian companies on a pretty regular basis. Or maybe the word 'NETeller' doesn't mean anything to you.

Yeah, well, Frank we wouldn't let in otherwise unless he was an extra in a Monty Python "Lumberjack" sketch, if you get my drift. Or his. We were still kinda hoping that Frank would show some stiffness, ayuh, but no, it all now seems to have been as much show as Frank at a Liberty U. conference. Not that that's happened --- I'm just saying.

Because Frank held his meeting, and everybody seems to think it went well. There were several key, pro-gambling witnesses there to give testimony, including people from research and social organizations to testify that the scare tactics and language used by the right were pretty much that --- scare tactics, devoid of real evidence or value, and in fact the opposite of what the truth about the matter really is. The pro-gambling forces even snuck in a couple of tech experts from European gambling concerns to testify directly about the b.s. about underage and problem gambling, testifying that the measures were there, could be put into effect, and would make the online gambling world a hell of a lot safer than it is today.

The other side, those Bushies, they toted in that pastor Greg Hogan from Pennsylvania, a state of yours with city names so weird it makes "Banff" seem pretty damn logical. Hogan's the proud papa of that Greg Hogan Jr. who robbed a bank to pay for his gambling losses. Which I guess goes to show ya, it's okay to be the son of a hellfire-and-brimstone Baptist preacher, and it's okay to really suck at poker, but it's not okay to do both at the same time.

But of course, there's that damn fool preacher who probably fucked with his kid's head in the first place, making his son too scared to do the right thing, and that's get help for a real problem. Too bad for the kid; meanwhile, Daddy Preacher gets to wail about the evils of society. Up here we send folks like that preacher to St. John's, and I don't mean the big one.

But, wait, this was about the hearing, not some durn fool preacher. I guess everyone gave their little speeches and asked and answered questions, and after the hearing Frank polled the committee members (if I'm reading the tea leaves right), and discovered that not much had changed. There were just enough Bible-pumpers... I mean thumpers... to ensure that the Frank bill wouldn't get over some over roadblocks that were just waiting to be set up. And I did notice a piece in one of your online newspapers --- outta Cleveland, by the way, that says that Frank is now gonna pull back that ol' sockdoliger of a bill just because he knows he doesn't have the votes to push it all the way.

This came after a Representative from your West Coast (volcano country, no doubt) introduced a bill which was going to be an amendment to the Frank bill. Jim McDermott was the guy's name, and part of his bill was the requirement that all citizens pay a 2% deposit on transactions made into online sites --- which of course is kinda smart but also kinda stupid, because it would tax the honest folks (fine on that part) but not touch those dishonest and largely imaginary money launderers... who would probably be happy to pay a 2% fee to move some money around, if you asked and if they existed.

But with the Frank bill now pulled off the board, it left this here McDermott guy sucking on something rotten, because there's nothing left for his bill to be attached to. One hopes he's not sucking on something attached to Frank, at least in public company.

Yeah, the comedy clubs up here are tough, lemme tell ya.

But wait, Haley said to not forgot the Wexler thing. Seems you've got another Congressman down there who actually came up with a logical bill, this to attach a 'skill games' carveout (for things such as poker, mah-jongg and backgammon) to the UIGEA. This actually makes sense, of course, because it would preserve the intent of that Wire Act that you guys passed decades ago but punishes us, too, and let your pols keep sucking money in from your pro sports leagues while cutting poker free. Too bad for the sites that wanna do the poker/casino/sportsbook thing all at once, were this law to somehow pass.

But too bad for this proposed law, too, because it's like the Frank thing, meaning there's no way it's gonna get through your Congress when you've got weirdos like that Sam Brownback clogging up the works. See what those longer summers does for you, down there? You grow a bigger and deeper crop o' nuts.

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