Flotsam & Jetsam



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Science in action Sure he's been in Florida lo these many years - pretty much since the election of 2002, when he picked up all his toys and scrammed after losing in the Senate GOP primary to John E. Sununu. But Big Bob Smith still manages to show the stupefying ability to attract attention - the kind of attention the overweight guy wearing a Speedo gets, but it's attention nonetheless.According to a piece that appeared Feb. 24 on The Lobby website, Smith apparently penned a piece for Accuracy in Media - he's a special contributor to the right-wing media "watchdog" - in which he infers Washington conspiracy, Chinese attack and all sorts of other things from a "mystery missile" launch aired on L.A. TV screens last November.Wrote a self-restrained Smith - self-restrained in the use of exclamation marks at least:"President Obama, who promised us an ‘open and transparent' government, has again, refused to tell us anything and the media could care less about challenging him on this matter! Could the Chinese have slipped a submarine into our territorial waters and fired off a missile at the very moment President Obama was touring Asia? Did the President cover up the truth about this embarrassing and devastating compromise of our national security?"Do not insult my intelligence, Mr. President. I demand to know what the hell happened on that day last November in Los Angeles."Scary stuff from a three-term congressman and two-term senator - and don't forget, the man who still wants the U.S. to have a "Space Force" military branch.Scary, until you learn that the "mystery missile" was proven to have been a jet contrail glowing with the light of the setting sun - an optical illusion that appeared in the video to be a missile going up, not a plane going west.At least one scientist put the whole thing in perspective - Phil Plaitt, an astronomer known for his Bad Astronomy blog.Referring to Smith's background - a boldface sentence in larger type on the piece reads, "I was the Chairman of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee for two years in the late 1990's" - Plaitt observed that "credentials mean nothing when out of context."He added that Smith's service on the Armed Services Committee "is meaningless when it comes to image analysis, for example - and not to belabor the obvious, but politicians are not always the best source of information on a topic."Wizards of oddsSure, Lou D'Alessandro has thrown in the towel this year on his expanded gambling quest, but it's obvious he'll be ready and willing as soon as next year to revive it yet again.But supporters of expanded gambling in New Hampshire may want to keep in mind the plight of Atlantic City, which once was Donald Trump and other casino operators' license to print money.A.C. first took a hit after the opening of casinos in Connecticut, but Connecticut's still pretty far away in New Jersey miles. Not so Pennsylvania, which has had legalized gambling since 2006. Turns out, that while Pennsylvania casinos have seen revenue grow almost every month (this past January was the first time revenue didn't grow, mostly because of weather-related problems) - A.C.'s revenues have fallen markedly since Pennsylvania casinos opened.The 11 A.C. hotels reported $255 million in revenue for January, 13 percent less than a year earlier, and the 29th consecutive month of revenue declines.That's going back to August 2008, when Pennsylvania casinos began hitting their stride.The moral: There's just so much sucker money to go around.F&J TOTE BOARDTerie Norelli:The House Democratic leader is elected as vice president of the National Conference of State Legislatures.Paul Hodes:The former Democratic congressman joins with his former chief of staff to form Northern Connection, a consulting firm that aims to connect northern New England clients to Washington, D.C. by providing "strategic advice and counseling."Ovide Lamontagne: The former GOP U.S. Senate hopeful - and potential 2012 gubernatorial candidate - is tapped by Senate President Peter Bragdon help craft an education funding amendment that will win the backing of both House Speaker William O'Brien and Gov. John Lynch.Rand Paul:The junior Republican senator from Kentucky is announced as the keynoter for the Cheshire County Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner fund-raiser in April.Tim Pawlenty:The ex-Minnesota governor and potential Republican presidential candidate declines to criticize Florida's decision to hold a presidential primary on Jan. 31 - a violation of RNC rules that state only New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada and South Carolina can hold contests before March 1.Dave Carney:The GOP consultant from Hancock is recruited to help Newt Gingrich during his visit to New Hampshire.It's been making the rounds...• What are the odds that Speaker O'Brien would have taken that call from "David Koch"?• When it's House Legal Counsel Ed Mosca who's reining in the more, er, assertive right-wing state reps, it's a sign the wheels might actually fall off when everything really hits the fan.• For proof: Consider that nine committee chairs defied the speaker and voted for a gun rights bill that O'Brien opposed - and he had to cast a vote to force a tie, and kill the bill.• Charlie Bass' investment of time in helping Jennifer Horn retire her 2nd C.D. primary debt is paying off, in the form of Horn's We The People: First in the Nation Forum. 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