Nobody calls for a special session of the Connecticut General Assembly when some financial scandal breaks in state government, as when, the other day, the state auditors reported that the state Department of Economic and Community Development, which gives tens of millions of dollars away every year, has never learned how to count money or jobs.
But last week, when the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the federal law that prohibited states from authorizing sports betting, Gov. Dannel Malloy and state legislators quickly announced their interest in a special session to get state government into the sports betting business. The governor and legislators imagine annual sports betting tax revenue of as much as $80 million.
Just as Connecticut's authorization of Indian casinos 30 years ago pushed most of the rest of the country into casino gambling, the Supreme Court decision will push most states into sports betting, and much faster, since the Internet instantly will carry any state's sports betting nationwide. Connecticut and other states will either undertake their own sports betting or forfeit the sports betting of their residents to other states.
The sports betting issue facing Connecticut is simply whether state government will accept the claim of its two reconstituted Indian tribes that their casino duopoly arrangement with the state gives them exclusivity on sports betting as well. The claim hinges on whether sports betting is to be considered just as much a casino game as slot machines and blackjack.
So this is the moment for state government to assert its sovereignty, to reject the tribes' claims and start subjecting their casino exclusivity rights to regular auction. Those rights well may be worth more than what the tribes long have been paying -- 25 percent of their slot-machine revenue.
Connecticut doesn't need Indians to run its gambling. Anybody else might do it.
ARROGANCE AND CONCEIT AT YALE: Of course admission to Yale University is competitive, but even so the school seems to have more than its share of arrogant and conceited students.
Two of them made national news the other day when one, a white woman, discovered another, a black woman, napping in a dormitory lounge at night. Apparently assuming that the black woman was a hobo or something worse, the white woman told her she couldn't sleep there.
The black woman, who had been writing a paper, replied that she was a student. The white woman said she was calling the police anyway. The black woman told her to go ahead and recorded the exchange on her cellphone. The police came and determined nothing was wrong.
But the black woman couldn't leave it at that. She vented on the police her resentment of the white woman's presumption, telling the cops that her ancestors had built the university, apparently because its early benefactor, Elihu Yale, who in 1718 donated what today would be about $185,000, had been a slave trader -- as if in the three centuries since then no one else has built the university, too.
The university said it had admonished the white student. Then it sank into its usual squishy political correctness, declaring that it would commence "conversations" about "inclusiveness." Yale should have just told its students to take the chips off their snotty shoulders.
Chris Powell is a columnist for the Journal Inquirer, in Manchester, Conn.