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Opinion
Column: 'Absurd' debate on off-reservation casinos


"You know you've crossed into a parallel universe when Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick starts lecturing you on respect for the law.

Kilpatrick is a five-term Democratic congresswoman from Detroit and chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, but she's perhaps best known as Kwame's Mommy. It seems quite possible she taught her son, Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, everything he knows about obeying the law.

Given the absurdity of the House debate, it seems somehow fitting it occurred with the nation in mourning for comedian George Carlin, a man who knew absurd when it kicked him in the teeth.

If it wasn't Kilpatrick offering oratory on respect for law, it was Detroit's other Democratic congressional representative, John Conyers, giving a sermon on morality.

The Hill, which covers Congress, published a story about the casino bill last week and said Conyers "opposes gambling on principle."

That's interesting, but juxtapose it with an April item in Roll Call, another Capitol Hill news source. It reported Conyers had been "seen sporting a bright-red Coca-Cola T-shirt and silver suspenders aboard a Southwest flight from Vegas to Dulles."

He made the trip a day or two after the House Judiciary Committee, which he leads, voted unanimously to oppose the Port Huron casino bill.

MGM Mirage, the gambling giant owned by Vegas billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, operates a casino-hotel in Detroit and spent freely to crush the Port Huron bill. Roll Call did not indicate whether MGM played host to Conyers on his holiday, but the newspaper did suggest he had a grand time.

"Though he's called gambling a 'social evil,' Conyers, who was surrounded by handlers, looked like he was recovering from a 'very hearty party,'" the newspaper reported."

Get the Story:
Mike Connell: Casino vote turns into theater of the absurd (The Port Huron Times Herald 6/29)