Tagged: smart

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...

In Praise of Lewis Lapham

The venerable editor of Harper’s magazine, Lewis Lapham, recently announced his semi-retirement. The most alarming consequence of this decision is that he plans on writing his monthly “Notebook” essay only six times a year. This is like saying you will henceforth be limited to every other breath of air. Lapham’s essays aren’t merely good reading....

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...

End Times

Despite God’s omniscience, He, apparently, can always use some help in orchestrating His master plan for His earthly kingdom and the wretched sinners that inhabit it. This is why more than a few — tens of thousands — fervent souls are working to bring about the apocalypse sooner than later. As with almost every page...

The Foul-Mouthed Umpire Redeemed

Yesterday’s paper carried a column by the sportswriter Bill Plaschke about Bruce Froemming, an MLB umpire closing in on the all-time record for most games officiated. Plaschke’s gimmick is to write one sentence paragraphs, as though he were being paid by the inch. Not the word. He’s also well known for essaying sentimental stories that...

A Fine Mess at the FCC

Last week President Bush signed legislation that will increase the fines broadcasters pay when their programming exceeds “the bounds of decency.” For language or imagery the Federal Communications Commission doesn’t like, the over-the-air media faces penalties as high as $325,000 per incident — a 1000% increase beyond the former maximum. This legislation is the climax...

South American Travel Notes, Part Four

To those who haven’t experienced the beast outside of its natural habitat of strip malls and gated communities, the Ugly American seems an outlandish caricature, a literary device employed to make a point about modern capitalism. Unlike Nessie or Sasquatch, however, this monster really exists. You can see him every summer in Europe, and at...

South American Travel Notes, Part Three

After more than a week in the deep wilderness, in the Amazonian basin, where Boliva meets Peru and there are more waterways than roads, three native people asked me where I am from, since it was clear to them from my visage and my language that I’m not indigenous. Not a soul asked, “What do...

South American Travel Notes, Part Two

The butterfly lives on average for three weeks. Although it enjoys many months as a larva and caterpillar, its winged existence is intensely beautiful and unimaginably brief. In the few days it has before it expires, the butterfly must find a mate and leave behind the next generation. Its brilliantly gaudy wings help attract a...