Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thoughts on the “Thinking Stage”

Welcome back, Iggy!Went out for dinner Tuesday at that new restaurant right around the corner. Proprietor a friendly Irish woman who comes around to tell you the specials, occasionally referring to this or that dish as “luvly.” On this night I sat outside enjoying the balmy weather and a tasty filet mignon done medium rare. Probably inspired by the host’s accent, I’d ordered a pint of Guinness, and as I raised the glass a thought crossed my mind I know others have shared here recently . . . “Welcome back, Iggy!”

Lots happening on the poker front these days, including the return of Ignatious J. to his former digs at Guinness and Poker. His site is a great way to track the scuttlebutt -- if you aren’t a regular reader, get over there dammit! I find lately my web crawl usually begins with Iggy and other “breaking news” sites like Pokerati, Dr. Pauly, Bill Rini’s, Kick Ass Poker, and a few more. Then I’ll wind through other places where I can additionally find smart commentaries on the news -- places like Calistri’s Corner, the Poker Shrink, Up for Poker, Mean Gene, Haley’s Bl-AAUGH, et al. Then come the forums and other stops where I can parse through reactions, refutations, and rumors.

That’s when I’m looking for news, mind you. Got my other regular reads as well (see below, right column). Anyone with other recommended sites -- for news or other poker-related fun -- do send ’em on.

Earlier this week, Iggy fired off a brand new workplace-productivity-demolishing uberpost. He also yesterday published one of those occasional short posts -- what should we call it, a Lillipuber? -- relating that report from the Financial Times that Barney Frank, the Democratic congressman from Massachusetts who has spoken out before against the UIGEA, is now “working on legislation to repeal” the UIGEA.

Lots of folks pointing to this article, especially those moments where Frank refers to the law as “preposterous” and one of the “stupidest” ever passed. Many seem to be echoing Iggy’s description of it as representing a “glimmer of hope.” I, too, am generally encouraged by the news. Let us not get too excited, though. Not yet.

I especially like hearing Frank say he’s “looking for ways, maybe we can make some money off of” the internet gambling industry. Being able to present Congress with specific, convincing evidence that the industry (1) can be regulated and (2) will generate revenue via tax dollars is (to my way of thinking) the single most direct route toward achieving any sort of repeal or even alteration of the existing law.

Other strategies might be enticing, but all are less constructive. Dubbing the situation a variety of “Prohibition” only gets us so far. Doing so does provide a touch of pathos to one’s position, but (to me) such a tactic has little practical value. (See “The Frank Approach.”) Likewise do arguments about how the UIGEA encroaches on our civil liberties -- as valid as those arguments are -- appear to hold less potential as a method to instigate real action here. Frank has spoken of the UIGEA in those terms in the past. Last May (on the Pocket Fives podcast), Frank noted how “There isn’t a human activity I’m aware of that some people don’t do in excess. Some people drive their cars too fast. Some people drink too much . . . . If that’s a reason to ban [something], [the United States] would be a very boring place.” He’s right, of course. But no matter how well-reasoned such an approach may be, for many it continues to sound “pro-gambling” rather than “anti-civil liberties.”

The more Frank and others -- including the Poker Players Alliance and its newest lobbyist Al D’Amato -- can clearly communicate the message that there’s serious green to be had, then maybe, just maybe, they might one day find themselves in a position to influence those who could vote down or change this here legislation.

A lot of work has to be done before we even get to that point, however. Frank’s spokesperson is quoted in the article saying how those contemplating legislative action are still in the “thinking stage.” And they probably will remain in that stage for quite some time, I’d imagine.

So we have to sit tight, I think. Lots else to occupy us, anyway. When it comes to poker news, that Financial Times story was just one of several worth attending to this week. Got me so distracted I forgot to fill out my NCAA bracket this morning.

Just as well. I’m not a gambler, really. Probably why I know I’ll be ordering that steak and a Guinness again next time I dine around the corner. Luvly, it is.



Blogger microlimitdonkey said...

Guiness and a nice steak. Yummy yummy.

Of course to sample real guiness you have to go to the emerald isle. If you would have had a pint of Irish Guiness you would not of had room for the steak :) They tell me a pint of guiness in Ireland is like having a meal.

Good luck!

3/16/2007 6:58 AM  

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