Monday, September 08, 2014

What's Wrong With America in a Nutshell


For several days there's been an ad at the bottom of each email edition of Sayfie Review: "How Washington Opened the Floodgates to Online Poker, Dealing Parents a Bad Hand." It links to an article in Newsweek. Three quick quotes:

"This is just the beginning," predicts Jason Chaffetz, a Republican representative from Utah, the only state other than Hawaii that prohibits all forms of gambling, even the lottery. "I am afraid that if we don’t move quickly and get some decent regulations in place, which we really don't have right now, it will be too late to stop [online gambling] from reaching all the states."

In March, Chaffetz signed on as lead sponsor of bipartisan legislation introduced in the House of Representatives that is challenging the spread of online gambling, the Restoration of America's Wire Act. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, introduced a similar bill in the Senate. In a statement, Graham, who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, observed that his state outlawed video poker machines back in 1999, ultimately removing more than 33,000 units from use. "Now, because of the Obama administration's decision, virtually any cellphone or computer can again become a video poker machine," he said. "It's simply not right."

Without strong rules in place, Chaffetz fears young people will be able to log on and start placing bets without much trouble.

What bothers me is not so much that Chaffetz and Graham believe online gambling is any of their business. The world in general and Washington in particular is full of sociopaths who believe you (and your wallet -- especially your wallet) -- belong to them.

The troubling part isn't the existence of these chuckleheads. The troubling part is that "news" media takes them seriously and portrays their obsessions as "issues" and "concerns."

Gambling as an "issue" is really quite simple: If you don't like it, don't do it. If you don't like other people doing it, well, tough. Other people are not your property. And the "news" media shouldn't humor your delusion that they are.

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