Alabama Scene

Stupid is as stupid does



What does this line from the Forrest Gump movie mean? One answer I found is that it suggests that an intelligent person who does stupid things is still stupid. In other words, “You are what you do.”

Another meaning I found is that you cannot expect anything except stupidity from a stupid person. Gump’s “Stupid is as stupid does” is a rejoinder, and a rather intelligent one. It means that calling a person stupid doesn’t make him stupid, but that we know a person by his actions.

So this seems to indicate that there is a lot of stupidity prevalent in Alabama political circles. Let me count the ways. Our political leaders bemoan the lack of tax revenue that is causing the education of our children to suffer; prisons are 200 percent over capacity which creates excessive danger for those who must guard them; our old and infirm have to get by on less health care than is required; and there are fewer law enforcement officers to protect us from criminals.

The cuts are upon us. The governor last week proposed a General Fund budget with a reduction of almost 11 percent but refuses to propose any revenue increase to protect the state’s essential services. In fact most all services the state provides will be reduced. The same goes for most local governmental budgets.

The governor and all state leaders should take off their blinders and look beyond their noses. They would see a “pot of gold” available to them with virtually no political backlash. Riley cost the state millions in revenue

Our former governor Bob Riley, instead of coming to the aid of his Mississippi Choctaw friends by helping them get approval to move some of their casino operations to Alabama, targeted legal non-Indian gaming operations here which were producing millions in tax revenue, and shut them down. He then brought in the FBI, which illegally helped defeat legislation that would have brought in additional millions in taxes for schools.

I have been told that Riley is planning to seek re-election as governor in 2014 with AG Luther Strange as his running mate for lieutenant governor. Strange, I am told, has been ordered by Riley to continue to put white individuals operating legal electronic bingo operations in Alabama out of business in order to protect his Native American friends in Mississippi and the state’s former Gov. Haley Barbour. Florida has the right idea

A few weeks back the Alabama Poarch Creek Tribe, which operates electronic bingo casinos at Atmore, Wetumpka, and Montgomery, made a gift of $1 million each to the school systems in Elmore and Montgomery Counties. The thought immediately came to mind about why our Creek friends had become so generous.

The obvious answer is that they are making millions of dollars a day so why not appear to be great givers to the public good since they pay no taxes.

But the real reason goes deeper.

You see, the politicians down in Florida, obviously much smarter than ours, require the Seminole casinos there to pony up a substantial part of their profits to the state.

In 2010, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist signed a new gaming compact with the Seminoles which provides for revenue sharing with the state as a part of the deal.

The revised compact gives the state a minimum annual payment of $150 million for 20 years, and up to 25 percent of gaming revenues. That’s expected to be some $6.8 billion going to state coffers. The payments to the state would be earmarked largely for public education.

The compact was approved by the United States Department of the Interior, which regulates Indian gaming affairs. McGregor working to reopen VictoryLand

As electronic bingo casinos operate freely in Lowndes and Greene Counties, Milton McGregor is working day-and-night to get VictoryLand reopened in Macon County.

And it appears from a Birmingham News poll that the public is on his side. Sevenththree percent of those polled say electronic bingo should be returned to VictoryLand while 27 percent disagree.

McGregor told me Sunday he was moving “full-speed-ahead” to get his facility up-andrunning. He points out that for the Poarch Creek Indians to operate these machines in our state, the federal government must determine that the same bingo machines used in their three casinos must be legal in Alabama. Bob Martin is editor and publisher of

The Montgomery Independent.

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