Category: Politics

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,...

Let Freedom Ring

On this holiday, our national Independence Day, we who cherish the principles and the accomplishments of the world’s freest republic must face the horrible truth: The United States of America, beacon of hope and example to all who would rid the world of oppression and injustice, has lost its standing as the planet’s shining exemplar...

South American Travel Notes, Part One

Is there a connection, real or imagined, between Costa Rica’s comparative dearth of governmental corruption and the apparent dearth of popular unhappiness? Does an official stance of neutrality and a more equitable division of natural resources produce a generally more cheerful populace that in the region’s kleptocracies? Like every other Central American country, Costa Rica...

Pay to Play in the USA

In a rare show of bipartisan outrage, this week both of our nation’s interchangeable political machines expressed their mutual displeasure at the recent FBI searches of a Democratic lawmaker’s Capitol Hill office. Representative William J. Jefferson, of Louisiana, was videotaped accepting a $100,000 bribe; most of the marked money turned up in his freezer; and...

Dealing With the Energy Crisis by Driving Trucks

A gallon of self-serve unleaded regular gasoline in Los Angeles costs an average of $3.20. In a weird, painful way, the high cost is a blessing, because (theoretically) it reduces demand, and when we drive our automobiles less we pollute our environment less. Our new Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, declared last month in his State of...

A Modest Proposal to Solve Our Oil Problem

This morning the DJ on the local jazz station delivered a comic lament on the trauma of paying $3 for a gallon of gasoline. He recalled that a few months ago the price had fallen to nearly $2 per gallon, but in recent weeks it had eclipsed the psychologically troubling threshold of three, and he...

Street Cleaning

Based on a several weeks of highly unscientific observation, we’ve come to the dismaying conclusion that motorized street cleaning in Los Angeles doesn’t work. This, we know, isn’t exactly shocking news. But if what we’re concluding is indeed true — and the more unscientific observing we do, the more certain we become — our city is wasting millions...

An Open Letter to Councilman Tom LaBonge

Mr. Tom LaBonge, Councilman COUNCIL DISTRICT 4 200 N. Spring Street Room 480 Los Angeles, CA 90012 March 17, 2006 Dear Mr. LaBonge, Although I admit to a healthy skepticism toward elected officials whose stated motivation is “public service,” you’ve made a positive impression on me since you took office. As a recent profile of...

Arab Madness

The recent fuss over Dubai Ports World, a well-known shipping company based in the United Arab Emirates, illustrates once again that the facts never get in the way of a good story. Or, depending on your outlook, a bad one. Sadly, our news media, increasingly rabid for the ratings that drive corporate profits, seems more...

Keeping the World Safe with the Patriot Act?

Your elected representatives voted yesterday to renew the so-called Patriot Act, the noxious piece of legislation originally penned in the weeks following the September, 2001 terrorist attacks. The new version, we are assured by our senators, is a vast improvement over the old version, which granted the federal authorities unprecedented powers to seize and imprison...