Seems our friends at Columbia Sussex, owners of our gauche red, white and blue riverboat in Amelia, continue to blaze a path of newsworthy events.

After having their license pulled in New Jersey for "a lack of business ability, a lack of financial responsibility and lack of good character, honesty and integrity," a labor dispute in Las Vegas has the company in the headlines again.

"Already faced with meat-ax cuts to staff and operational budgets that have destroyed morale and come close to turning the property into a dump, workers are now facing even more indignities at the hands of the Kentucky-based half-wits who run the Trop(icana)," wrote Jeff Simpson in the Las Vegas Sun.

Workers claim they were handed out paychecks and told not to cash them for two days. Some were mysteriously underpaid. A strike by the culinary union is in negotiations right now, but things are getting nowhere fast.

Not over yet!

The Casino Aztar in Evansville, Ind., is up for sale by – you guessed it – Columbia Sussex.

Reports are that similar situations that resulted in the New Jersey action happened in Indiana:

"The (New Jersey) Tropicana license was pulled after Columbia Sussex had encountered labor and service issues, beginning with massive layoffs and followed by numerous complaints about cleanliness and standards of service. Similar practices at Casino Aztar led to an investigation by the Indiana Gaming Commission, which has since been temporarily suspended. The Commission has hopes the sale of Casino Aztar will take place sometime this spring, rendering the investigation moot," according to Online Casino Advisory.

Just keeping you updated on who your parish government chooses to hang its hat with.

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The somewhat-new parish council took office in January. We are hoping for better times ahead, but already the deck is looking rather stacked.

It seems there are four members of 11 actually residing in the western part of St. Mary Parish: Councilmen Craig Matthews, Charles Middleton, David Hanagriff and Albert Foulcard.

Foulcard is the at-large member for District 9, at-large District 10 is Steve Bierhorst of Patterson, and at-large District 11 is Gary Duhon of Morgan City.

At-large parish council members are elected by the entire parish, as is the parish president. Theoretically, then, they are responsible for representing the entire parish.

I am hopeful that there will be improved equity in regard to sharing of funds and project-building from Amelia to Four Corners.

By all true rights – and any sense of honor – residents west of the Calumet Cut should be represented by six councilmen and one parish president, to make sure integrity, equity and fairness are the rule.

Cross your fingers.

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Here’s a hoot if I ever heard one:

"On Tuesday, the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee said it plans to hold a hearing later this year on the online advertising market and other issues related to Microsoft’s bid to buy Yahoo. That makes three congressional panels planning hearings on Microsoft Corp.’s $41 billion unsolicited offer, which Yahoo Inc. hasn’t yet accepted.

"The House Judiciary Committee said last week it would hold a hearing on the deal, while the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel also said it would examine the transaction if it proceeds."

Three panels investigating poor ol’ Bill Gates’ bid for Yahoo’s search engine and expanded web presence.

Reminds me of when they drug big oil up to the Hill to explain skyrocketing gasoline prices. What was that, three, four years ago?

Execs gave them their sad boo-hoo po-po-pitiful-me stories and Congress patted them on the heads and told ‘em to run off and play like good boys and girls. Gas was only about two bucks a gallon then. Now it’s close to three bucks, and ExxonMobil, Chevron and the like continue to post record profits.

Three panels investigating Microsoft’s purchase of Yahoo? We’re as a nation collectively pouring hundreds of times more wealth into big oil’s pockets every time we go to the pump; the economy is crashing around us and the Fed is playing around with interest rates and tax breaks, when it’s clear what’s causing the recession: fuel prices, gasoline, natural gas, heating oil, et al.

They blame it on inventory, they blame it on China. But OPEC refused to create more output last week, even though they could. An administration in Washington brimming over with oilmen are doing nothing whatsoever to help you and me or the economy by controlling fuel prices.

They thought it was right to break up AT&T, but AT&T is coming around to where it used to be. They thought it was right to get involved with Enron and the savings and loan fiasco. They want to stick their crude-stained noses into Microsoft and Yahoo’s deal.

So…who’s running the country, after all?