Category: Business

Gambling on Healthcare

Almost every month, the call goes out to those of us in, or on the fringes of, the so-called “jazz community”: So-and-so was in a bad car accident. He has medical bills of $44,000 and NO INSURANCE! We’re organizing a benefit concert to raise money to help pay for his care. Please contribute what you can… ...

The Stigma of Prostitution

The fall of the (former) Governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, was a glorious windfall for comedians, political pundits, and connoisseurs of schadenfreude. But lost amid the jeering laughter (and disappointed tears), the competing tendentious agendas, and the grave scholastic commentary was an opportunity for us to collectively ask: what’s wrong with us?  Perhaps we...

Numbers That Ought to Make Us Pause and Ponder

The vast majority of Americans, seduced, distracted, and effectively lobotomized by a national ethos of conspicuous consumption, are more concerned about the cost of filling their Range Rovers and Tahoes with cheap gasoline than examining why that fuel will soon cost $4 a gallon, and why our treasury is rapidly being bankrupted by the “limited...

Taking Responsibility for the Mortgage Mess

From trustworthy publications like the august New Yorker to the journalistically sound Los Angeles Times, and from just about every other mouthpiece on the respectability spectrum, we’re learning that the Big Mess in our economy is largely the fault of Wall Street fat cats who helped bundle terrible housing loans into decent-looking packages that are...

Notes on Taking the Bus

I generally prefer to walk or ride my bicycle to get around the neighborhood, but sometimes distance or time requires that I use the car. And when that’s not possible — in the interest of consuming less oil (and everything else) we only have one automobile in our family now –I avail myself of public...

Our American System: A Logic Problem

Given: In a capitalist economic system, profiting at the expense of others is permissible and encouraged.  Given: The surest way to business success is to eliminate competition. Given: Government is an institutionalized system of redistributing wealth. Given: American politicians are avowed capitalists, motivated by the same self-interested desires as other devout capitalists. Given: Many laws...

How the Media Feeds Us Our Cultural Rations

If you aren’t one of the few members of the Media Club, which regurgitates “stories” dreamed up by public relations professionals, you may be blissfully unaware that the popular culture you consume is driven largely by a system of payola that the practitioners prefer to call “news.” The Sunday Calendar section — or Arts, or...

ESPN, America’s Gambling Network

ESPN, the cable TV empire, covers all things sports-related. Except sports betting.  Apparently the wry, hip, knowing, ironic, slick, and authoritative on-air broadcasters may discuss anything and everything about the sports and athletes they cover provided there’s no mention of the pointspread line or the underlying odds that swirl around virtually every event that ESPN...

Sexism and Women’s Athletics

With apologies to the approximately 250,000 people on average who watch women’s basketball on ESPN2, if you’re reading this you’re probably among the rest of the world who remain blissfully unaware that the WNBA had its All-Star game this weekend. The spectacle, conducted in a Washington arena, was the 11th such affair, cementing the NBA’s...

The New Pigs

When Ralph Nader ran for President as an independent, many members of the chattering class expressed outrage (and profound disappointment, and all sorts of other unpleasant emotions) that the lifelong consumer advocate and muckraker would “betray” his fellow liberals by usurping votes that would have otherwise gone to Al Gore. Whatever his motives — hubris,...