POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE KNOW WHEN TO WALK AWAY. While the Texas Lottery Commission and Gtech, the company that operates the lottery, have lately been beset by allegations of misconduct, endorsements of statesponsored gambling arrive from other quarters. Seventy percent of Texans bought at least one lottery ticket last year, according to a Lottery Commission survey of lottery participation. Ticket sales added up to $3.4 billion for the year, netting $1.1 billion of profits for the lottery. “And look what we’ve reaped from it all,” writes San Antonio Express-News’ Carlos Guerra, in a recent column reflecting on the lottery’s first four years. “There are few areas anywhere in Texas where a scratch-off ticket isn’t available nearby, but little progress has been made to bring clean water and sewer lines to colonias.” On the same ballot as the lottery proposal, Guerra recalls, was a bond issue to finance such water and sewer systems. Sooner gambling ships than plumbing. Valley Gaming Inc., a Chicago-based company, intends to install a gaming vessel at Port Isabel, reports the Valley ,Morning Star. \(A former floating casino in the same port tended to toss too much in the rough Gulf waters, earning it the nickname “Bad dez, president of Valley Gaming, told the newspaper that the company is looking to install a high-tech “small water area twinhulled vessel, billed as a ‘motionless cruise,'” in place of the old ship. SUSPECT PRACTICE. Even though Dr. Robert A. Komer had his medical license re-: yoked in 1990 in Michigan for sexually abusing six patients, he practices medicine in Texas prisons. He and seven other doctors with discipline records were found to be working in the Texas prison system, according to a report in the Dallas Morning News. Koner, a psychiatrist, did not contest allega lions made in sworn affidavits that he drugged depressed patients and then fondled them. The doctors cited earn between $110,000 and $130,000 a year; they were hired by the Department of Criminal Justice and retained when managed care took over prison medical services. FREEPORT A WINNER. Archer Daishowa, Daiwa, Disney, Freeport-McMoRan, Gerber, Mitsubishi, Seagram’s, and Texaco are the Ten Worst Corporations of 1996, according to an article in the December 1996 issue of Multinational Monitor magazine. Multinational Monitor’s Ten Worst list, now in its ninth year, is designed to highlight the most egregious acts of corporate crime, violence and other wrongdoing. Reporter Russell Mokhiber calls attention to “an ugly realitycorporate crime and violence inflicts far more damage on society than all street crime combined.” Mokhiber points out that while the FBI reports burglary and robbery combined cost the nation about $4 billion in 1995, white-collar fraud, generally committed by educated people of means, costs at least fifty times as much$200 billion a year, according to very conservative estimates. Similarly, while the FBI puts the street homicide rate at about 24,000 a year, the Labor Department points out that more than twice that number–56,000 Americansdie every year on the job or from occupational diseases such as black lung, brown lung, asbestosis and various occupationally-induced cancers. Among the Ten Worst Corporations for 1996 are: ADM, for committing price-fixing crimes that cost consumers $500 million; Caterpillar, for anti-union practices; Daishowa Inc., for clearcutting Canadian timber areas, then suing a citizens group for protesting; Daiwa Bank Ltd., for financial crimes; Disney, for manufacturing garments in Third World sweatshops; Freeport-McMoRan, for polluting areas near its mine in Indonesia; Gerber, for pressuring Guatemala to exempt baby food products from the country’s tough infant formula law; Texaco, for mistreating minority employees and then trying to cover it up. \(Multinational Monitor is a monthly magazine that focuses on issues of multinaLIVING WAGE LIVES. Despite the recent setback in Houston, where voters rejected a city-wide minimum wage of $6.50 an hour, the nationwide living wage campaign continues to build momentum.: In Minnesota, eighteen months after the St. Paul Jobs Initiative was defeated \(after being outspent by corporate opposition ten proved a living wage resolution. It requires companies which receive economic development subsidies to create or retain jobs, to pay a living wage \(defined as 100 percent of the federal poverty level for a household sider a similar policy. The New Party, ACORN, and labor unions are involved in wage campaigns in Chicago, Boston, Milwaukee, and Madison. Last year, Oregon and California each increased the state wage above the federal minimum. Despite dire predictions by corporate economists, observers report jobs remain available in the affected regions. Some of them even pay enough to support a family. DUMP THAT METAPHOR. In the legislature’s opening days, lawmakers showered praise on fifty-year legislative employee Betty King, the Senate secretary. There were accolades, there were tributes, there were allusions to car commercials…. “She’s like a rock,” said Republican Senator Jerry Patterson. “Every time I see a Chevy pickup, I think of Betty King.” 32 THE TEXAS OBSERVER JANUARY 31, 1997
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