Monday, July 17, 2006


Last week the US House of Representatives passed HR 4411 otherwise known as the Internet Gambling Prohibition and Enforcement Act. This is part of the "Family Values Agenda" being pushed by the GOP to firm up their base for the midterm elections. I have three problems with the bill...

1. I can play poker at my local casino but not on the internet. If the House is going to try to save me from myself, brick and mortar casinos should be closed too. Or how about this? Instead of going after gambling go after big tobacco. I can see how the House in its infinite wisdom looks to save my bank account before my health though.

2. The bill is hypocritical. Horse racing and lotteries are except in this bill. Playing the ponies good? Playing cards bad?

3. Prohibition of gambling doesn't work. Just like prohibition of alcohol didn't work. US government needs to stop playing babysitter and let adults make adult choices.

The following videos feature Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, and finally Jon Stewart for a little humor mixed with truth.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Great Game With a Weird Moment

Yesterday the Italians capped off their fourth World Cup title and probably the greatest string of defensive performances the tournament has ever seen. Sure they are divers and injury fakers, but Italy played extremely solid defense game after game and always seemed to find that timely execution for goals.

I guess soccer fans will remember the Germany Italy semi-final as the better game, but the final definitely had the oddest moment. Zinedine Zidane, the Golden Ball winner (MVP) of the 2006 World Cup, completely lost his mind in the second over time. I think this picture really says it all.

So the greatest sporting event in the world ends and the four-year wait begins. This really was a great world cup with tons of memories. The only problems I had were the refs taking over games with fouls and cards and many players treating the soccer pitch like a swimming pool. Just because a player falls doesn't make it a foul. Hopefully FIFA refs will let only the players decide who wins in South Africa (yes S. Africa. And you thought Japan/South Korea was a stupid host choice).

Congratulations to the Italian team and their fans.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Have you ever read the first two paragraphs of the declaration of independence? I would hope most Americans have. I would hope most have read the whole thing really, but the first two paragraphs are gold. If you have never read the document or haven't in awhile, you should give it a look.

Sometimes I wonder, because I'm a bit of a history nerd, what Jefferson thought as he wrote, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." Could he imagine the spark that these words and that document as a whole struck would set off the explosion of not only revolution and independence for those 13 small colonies but also the start of revolutions across all of Europe? Could he imagine that those self-governing 13 colonies would become a nation that would one day save the British and rest of Europe from fascism and make the very country it once sought to be separated from safe for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

In a time of ballooning national debt, a long and costly war, a shrinking middle class, and an immigration crisis which still is left without permanent solutions, I find a nice escape in thinking of 18th century America. I also can not help but compare today's leaders with the ones during this nation's infancy. Where are the Jeffersons, Washingtons, Madisons, Hamiltons, and Marshalls?

We are a nation that faces real problems without leaders with real answers. 2,500 brave men and women and thousands more innocent civilians have died in a war with no clear objective or end. Our national debt continues to grow and no one in Washington seems concerned. Thousands of illegal immigrants continue to flood across our border and Congress continues to move at a snails pace on the issue. Who is rising up to meet these challenges?

More then ever we need leaders who are forward thinking and it is our responsibility as "the governed" to hold our leaders accountable for their acceptance of the status quo. On this day of celebration of the United States' past, be mindful of the future. Think toward the fall elections and begin to examine the candidates. In this time as much as any in recent history we need leaders with vision.