Monthly Archives: January 2016

6 posts

Powerball: Play a Little, Not a Lot

Picture 3
No one has won the Powerball lottery in a while, raising the stakes to $1.5 billion this week.

Here we go again. Another mega Powerball lottery week, only this time the jackpot has jumped to $1.5 billion, an all-time record.

Go ahead and play – I plunked down the princely sum of $2, plus $7 the week before. But understand that it’s highly, highly, highly unlikely you’re going to win. That’s right: three highlys in there just to make the point that the odds are nearly 300 million to one.

Not for nothing that lotteries are known as a poor man’s tax, pumped up by pipe dreams of an instant change in financial circumstances. Many economists consider lotteries to be a regressive tax, meaning the poor are hit harder because they spend a higher percentage of their income on tickets than do more affluent players.

We’ve all seen it. Somebody’s holding up the customer service line at Publix or Winn Dixie, buying $100 worth of lottery tickets. Or this scenario: Somebody has brought in a bucket load of tickets to check their winnings. One by one the tickets are stamped “Not a Winner.”

Nearly every state plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have government-sponsored lotteries, and they have come to depend on the beaucoup money. Lotteries generated $78 billion, according to the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries – and that was in 2012, the latest year I could find.

The tax comes with a gloss of “do goodism,” since in Florida at least the money is dedicated to education funding. Except that there was a little trickery involved because the Legislature then decreased the budget allocation to education, shifting the onus to the Lotto, which has raised $29 billion in the Sunshine State, according to the Florida Lottery.

But it’s hard to disguise how greedy we are to get our grubby little fingers on lottery dough. One Twitter post stated, “I bet another 84-year old is going to win it again,” referring to the 84-year old Floridian who in 2013 walked away with a $590.5 million Powerball purse. As if grannies shouldn’t gamble their Social Security.

For the record, I’m OK with a senior winning the $1.5 billion jackpot this week – as long as it’s my mommy.

˜˜ Maria T. Padilla, Editor

Watch Out for Hispandering in 2016

hillary abuela
This meme made the rounds of the Internet to illustrate Hillary Clinton’s Hispandering.

The watchword in 2016 is going to be Hispandering, a mix of two words, Hispanic and pandering, that some research shows dates to 2002. What an irresistibly delicious term!

In this heavy-duty year of presidential politics, some candidates will try to make a connection with Latinos, but many will stumble – as Hillary Clinton already has – by presuming too much and thus Hispandering.

Clinton’s recent outreach to Hispanics fell flat when she tried to become our abuela. Twas right before Christmas, and about the time when daughter Chelsea announced she was expecting a second child, when the Clinton campaign posted a tweet (with a photo of Puerto Rican crooner Marc Anthony, a big supporter) stating she was just like our abuela because she worries about children, emphasizes respect for women (she used the word respeto) and she supports Dreamers, who were brought to this country illegally as minors by their parents.


Counter hashtag “#notmyabuela” immediately popped up – I suspect egged on by Republicans and Democratic rival Bernie Sanders – creating a wave of ridicule.

“Hillary Clinton no es mi abuela,” said one tweet.

“She doesn’t remind me of any abuela I’ve met in Miami,” said another.

“Rich white women never had to share a few eggs between 15 children,” stated yet another.

And these were the kinder, gentler 142 characters. The Clinton campaign quickly edited the tweet and then it disappeared altogether.

The Democratic presidential frontrunner was attempting to click with the country’s 50 million-plus Hispanics, an ever-increasing proportion of the electorate. But the campaign tried too hard. Don’t knock off abuela, the bedrock of Latino families, to crown yourself or make your point.

Here are some rules for candidates, even though I know many  won’t be able to resist Hispandering this year.

  1. It’s OK to speak English – Just because we may speak Spanish to our abuelas doesn’t mean we don’t speak English at all. In fact, the majority of Latinos speak English.
  2. We were born here – The overwhelming majority of Hispanics in the U.S. were born in the 50 states.
  3. Don’t get too chummy-chummy – Latinos hug and kiss each other when we meet and greet, but that’s between us. You’re not part of the family.
  4. Be yourself – Don’t try to be Latino. Please.
  5. Tell us about your plans – Don’t talk down to us. Address us as you would any other group. And don’t just focus on immigration. Latinos have many concerns and lean in many directions.