Category: Business

Gambling on the Future

The state where I live, California, needs money to pay for massive infrastructure improvements, a sprawling penal system whose budget is larger than most sovereign nations’, and the salaries and pensions of a bloated bureaucracy. Our movie star governor, Arnold Schwarzennegger, has a plan. Rather than issue more municipal bonds, the interest on which must...

The Myth of Democracy

The past five years seem at first blush to be the Age of Democracy — well, at least in every sector of our society except the federal ballot box, where shenanigans and chicanery continue to infect our putatively free and fair elections. We the People decide who and what succeeds, and what doesn’t. Our popular...

The Power of Power

Of all the abstract notions that motivate human beings to behave as they do, power, it seems, is the most compelling. Truth and beauty, fame and wealth — they’re nice. But power (and the mad pursuit of it) makes people betray the basic tenets of decency that allegedly govern our interactions. Power is like a...

The Shame

Mark Foley, the Florida congressman who abruptly resigned his seat in the House of Representatives on Friday after sexually suggestive e-mail and instant messages with a 16-year-old male former congressional page became public, has — predictably — entered an alcohol treatment facility and has said how sorry he is for the harm he has caused....

In Anticipation of Labor Day

Thank you to the Dads and Moms, toiling at home or in an office, on a truck or in a field. Thanks also to the Thais and Turks and Filipinos and Sri Lankans, the Malaysians and the Indonesians, the Bangladeshis and the Vietnamese, andĀ of course the Chinese, who make our clothes and shoes and socks....

The Charity Enigma

I saw a beggar (and his dog) on Sunset Boulevard the other day. They — well, the human — were soliciting cash donations for “food” from pedestrians. A well-meaning but foolish fellow threw a few bucks at the doleful couple, thereby cleansing himself of whatever sins he had committed in the name of acquiring his...

An Inconvenient Truth

Global warming is not a speculative theory. It’s a proven syndrome, despite what so-called “skeptics” (read: those with financial interests in carbon dioxide producing industries) claim. Former vice-president of the United States, and possibly the rightfully elected president in 2000, Al Gore, has toured the world for years giving a power-point slide show that cogently...

Unlawful Internet Gaming Act

Yesterday, after nearly four hours of sanctimonious, self-congratulatory debate among our elected protectors of the national morality, the House passed the “Unlawful Internet Gaming Act” by a vote of 317-93. As with any piece of legislation that deals with personal vices, the proposed law is riddled with hypocrisy, illogic, and ulterior motives. Card Player magazine,...

The Sadness of Zidane

In the waning moments of the final overtime period of the World Cup Final, a sporting event that is said to be watched by 1 billion people around our planet, Zenidine Zidane ended his illustrious football career. Earlier in the game, he scored a penalty kick goal for France, the team he captains. Now, with...

Burn, Baby Burn: GM’s Fuel Protection Scheme

General Motors, the moribund American auto maker that’s been bleeding money (and slashing jobs) for several years, has a new sales promotion for California residents, who endure some of the highest gasoline prices in the nation. The company, which makes brands like Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick, and Hummer, is offering a special deal: Buy or lease...