Heads or Tails

Ms. Edwards wrote: "And, of course, there's that almighty economic impact on the broader community. It is likely that the hotel and casino will lure unimaginative conventioneers and pasty tourists and their dollars from Orlando and the Gulf beaches in a way that nothing else in Tampa has ever done. Maybe some of that money will benefit the community as politicians and business people are always promising they will. The casino and hotel will definitely create some jobs, though most are low-paying and tip-dependent service jobs."

That's just the half of it. Casinos are designed to draw people in and extract every last dime from their wallets, which is why there are almost never any positive spillover effects from a casino locating in a community.

Most tourist attractions have a secondary economic impact on the surrounding community (as restaurants, bars, hotels, etc., open in the immediate vicinity and hire locals). And while these too often provide only low-wage gigs for neighborhood folks, they don't usually succeed when a casino shows up — if they even materialize at all. That's because most casinos already offer the above-mentioned amenities and they have a centralization advantage that independent competitors often can't overcome.

And when you factor in the social costs involved with casino gambling, the positive economic impact is going to be far less than, say, another roller coaster park. Not that we need another one of those either. But casinos have a much greater potential to be economic drains on their communities than most people realize.

—Spencer Fleury

Tampa's first Vegas-style casino (the new Seminole casino) is another joyous jump toward freedom in Florida and worldwide. It will be a great source of tourism and growth. As libertarians say, "Vice is nice."

Vices have made Amsterdam into an international tourism destination. On a recent trip, I was invited to speak about local vice laws in the Hague to the Netherlands Libertarian Party. Holland has casino gambling, legalized prostitution and small-scale use of marijuana and hashish. I advocated repealing vice laws to make Tampa freer than Amsterdam.

As a local criminal defense attorney, I represent people charged with vices. I cannot advise clients how to commit crimes. However, I can tell them what a lot of their neighbors do: vacation in Amsterdam. Now, my clients can stay home and visit the Seminole casino.

Thank goodness for the "4-i's": Indians, international waters, international travel and the Internet. They expand freedom for Tampa residents.

And the Seminoles are doing it without taxes and in defiance of government. It is fortunate that our local socialists aren't taxing us to build government-owned casinos. Instead, local hypocrites subsidize competing recreation with tax money stolen for socialized stadiums for violent sports.

—Rex Curry

Refuge of Scoundrels

The individual hiding behind the name Forrest Gump is a true-blue, died in the cloth coward. He is not man enough to use his real name in an open forum of discussion, and even worse, makes accusations about the Planet lacking substantiated reporting when he offers none of his own. All he can come up with is the parroting of his plantation masters' ideologies, in a manner that would make the Soviets who believed Pravda proud of their legacy.

There is no such hopeless slave as one who believes that he is free, so before Mr. Gump decides to open his uneducated pie hole some more, there are a few things (besides the principles of the U.S. Constitution) that he should be aware of:

"To suggest that criticism of the President is unpatriotic is not only morally wrong, but treasonous to the American people." —Theodore Roosevelt, Republican President.

"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism." —Thomas Jefferson, Democratic-Republican President.

"It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority." —Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father and Patriot.

I dare you to call these faithful public servants unpatriotic. I also call into question the ideology of your masters, which I think was summarized rather nicely at the Nuremberg trials:

"Getting the people to do the government's bidding is easy; all you have to do is say the nation is under attack, and then denounce the pacifists for their lack of patriotism. It works the same way in every country." —Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Propaganda Minister.

While I respect Mr. Gump's right to repeat his master's opinions, I love this country too much to see it flushed down the toilet by his master's ilk. You can spout your ignorance all you want, but you will ruin this country over my dead body.

—Ali Sugerman

Question Solved

Do not even think about removing Merl Reagle's fine crossword puzzle from the Weekly Planet, unless, of course, you've decided to trim your readership. Your generally excellent articles may be a sufficient draw for many; but for myself and, most likely a number of others, the only component I anticipate enough to keep picking up the Planet every week is the crossword.

If Charles Jackson and his other linguistically challenged buddies cannot rise to the struggle, then they can simply skip it and stick to perusing the porno ads in the following section. No one is forcing them to attempt the puzzle.

—David Carroll
St. Petersburg

Editor's note: We received a number of letters like this one, including several that were accompanied by successfully completed puzzles — in ink, of course. And the office staff of a prominent attorney, who say they do the puzzle on their, ahem, lunch hours, wrote to catch Merl in an alleged spelling error. They were overruled, alas.

We're keeping the puzzle.

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