I began my Folk Festival Day at the St John’s Baptist Church soul food stand at the Dutton Street Dance Pavilion with a plate of barbecued ribs, rice and beans, green beans and corn bread which was excellent. The rest of the afternoon was spent wandering around, visiting the various stages, trying to get a sense of the crowd and the “atmospherics” of this year’s Festival. One thing that was unavoidable was the heat – while standing at the intersection of Merrimack and John at 1 pm watching the amazing Yo Yo People perform, I broke into a 3-mile run kind of sweat while just standing still. But between icy limeades, some strategic shade and some sun-shielding clouds, the day was more than tolerable. The overall crowd was good when compared to past years – not record setting but very respectable. It seemed like the many downtown businesses that exuded out onto adjacent sidewalks all seemed to be doing a good amount of business. Following is a slide show of pictures I took while wandering around today:
As the Massachusetts House and Senate conferees continue to negotiate the elements of the casino/gambling bill, stories continue to crop-up about casinos elsewhere. One of the most controversial is the attempt to license a casino only a half-mile from the national military park that commemorates the Civil War battle of Gettysburg. See our recent blog post about the controversy here. As often happens, there’s a local connection.
The Springfield Republican has a story today about Joseph A. Lashinger Jr. - a lead partner in a proposal to put a casino at Wyckoff Country Club in Holyoke – should the Massachusetts casino bill become law. It seems that Lashinger is a main partner in Mason-Dixon Resorts & Casino that wants to put that oh-so controversial casino with 600 slot machines and table games in the existing Eisenhower Hotel & Conference Center in Gettysburg.
Susan Star Paddock – a leading opponent of the casino at Gettysburg has words of caution for the folks in Holyoke:
If Lashinger can push for gambling houses to crowd one of America’s sacred battle fields, she said, Holyoke should guard its interests when he comes calling. “We’d suggest that your community look closely and ask plenty of questions of Joe Lashinger,” she said.
Lashinger – whose wife is from Ludlow – is a lawyer and former seven-term member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. He is well versed in the casino business and has held gaming licenses in Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Colorado, Louisiana, West Virginia and Ontario, Canada. In fact back in 1995 – he proposed a casino for Springfield.
For the whole story read Mike Plaisance’s article from the Springfield Republican here.
The Associated Press reported on President Obama’s comments about making progress on the national economic front, including the new financial regulations law. He also called on Congress to send him a bill that is intended to assist small businesses through tax credits. Looming over these steps forward, however, was the White House forecast for a federal budget deficit exceeding $1.4 trillion for the coming fiscal year. Read the AP article here, and the deficit story from the Washington Post here.
Last Friday, economist Paul Krugman wrote in the NYTimes about the comeback of “voodoo” economics, which the first President Bush tried to warn Americans about in 1980, when he was trying to stop Ronald Reagan from becoming the Republican Party’s nominee for president. And the rest is history, as they say. Read his column here, and consider subscribing to the NYT if you appreciate the writing.