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All Bets Are Off

Feds indict Internet betting operators. Also: Howard Dean as a national treasure. Senate logicians. Soccer punched. Baylor update. Plus more.

7.20.06

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TRUE BEN
Re: Ben Stein's Eretz Israel:

The article by Ben Stein published 7/14/06 "Eretz Israel" couldn't be more true. I appreciate him exposing Hezbollah for the murderers they are and his support for our President. Bush has made mistakes but he is sincere and I am thankful that he is my President.
-- Gail Peterson
Beaumont, Texas

FEDS RAISE THE ANTE
Re: Lisa Fabrizio's Mary Poppins Gone Mad:

Three cheers for Ms. Fabrizio for her timely insight and candor. She is simply stating what many of us unwashed lost in the outback are beginning to actually understand, but it goes far beyond the issue of the nanny state. Many of us truly believe the federal government now exists only for two reasons -- first to make everything against the law and then to use those laws to take everything we have.

Lest one wants to automatically label me a whack job for believing this, I give you as an example of this the recent U.S. Supreme Court rule giving local governments the right to take by eminent domain any property they wished for any reason.

The credit card law is just another step in the process to outlaw something else we like, and choose of our own free will, to do -- and that is to gamble on line, with our own money, on our own time and from the friendly confines of our home.

But the credit card ban is only a small part of the ends to which the federal government will go to stop us from betting. The next chapter in this story was written at the Dallas airport on Monday when the FBI grabbed a citizen of the United Kingdom as he was changing planes on his way from London to San Jose, Costa Rica.

I am not a lawyer but neither am I stupid and my limited knowledge of the world is ruled by my personal understanding of right and wrong -- and both do exist, contrary to the political correct view that everything floats around in an area colored gray. And something is dreadfully wrong when the federal government can grab the citizen of another company as he changes planes and lock him up on charges related to offshore bookmaking.

On Monday David Carruthers, the chief executive officer of the off-shore sports book, BetOnSports, and his wife were detained by the FBI. Carruthers was then arrested on an indictment handed down by a group of well-intentioned, but air-headed and mislead hillbillies serving on a grand jury in Missouri.

Carruthers was given a 10-minute hearing in Fort Worth before a federal magistrate who ordered him held in jail until Friday when a detention hearing will be held.

BetOnSports is based in England and is traded there on the stock exchange. This is a legitimate company, and its financial report for the fiscal year ending February 5 showed it handled $1.77 billion in bets for the last year and had a profit of $20.1 million.

The indictment of Carruthers and ten others connected to the firm were brought on the grounds that BetOnSports accepted wagers from bettors in the United States, which this grand jury was told is against the law. Oh, yes, BetOnSports also claimed to be "legal and licensed," also labeled a crime.

But there is far more to this story.

The federal government brought this case for only one reason -- because it could and that's it. The guy who said any D.A. worth his salt could get a ham sandwich indicted knew about what he spoke.

There are so many legal issues involved here that one hardly knows where to begin, and the most important of them is that of jurisdiction, i.e. what jurisdiction does the United States government have over a legal and licensed English firm operating out of Costa Rica?

Then, there is the shaky position of the federal government, which contends that all on-line wagering is a violation of the so-called Wire Act that went on the books back in the 1950s. The Wire Act, which prohibits gambling activities across state lines, was written for one basic purpose -- to stop organized crime layoff betting. It was never intended to address any other issue.

Off-shore sports books, casinos, and poker sites are armed with a 2002 Federal Appellate Court ruling from New Orleans that the Wire Act has nothing to do with on-line gambling. The rule said non-sports events did not fall under the rule and gaming lawyers have since concluded the ruling also means sporting events.

But there is more.

There is the on-going battle in the World Court over the federal government's attempt to force the legal, licensed sports books of Antigua to stop taking bets from the United States. The World Court has ruled in favor of the government of Antigua on this issue, noting the attempt is a classic example of restraint of trade, but the feds are still swatting windmills.

While I do not wish to even pretend I speak for the millions of people who bet sports, I believe they have had it up to their eyeballs with the federal government's anti-sports betting stance -- something fueled and driven by Bible belt snake-handlers anointed by The Holy Ghost, and by the professional sports leagues.

The hypocrisy of it all would make a buzzard puke.

The U.S. House of Representatives and the United States Senate carry water for this small minority of religious zealots and for the National Football League, the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball.

In the meantime, the American public is permitted to bet on state-run lotteries, which are the biggest swindles in the history of gambling. Think about it -- you have an even money chance to win a football bet but buck odds of up to 127 million-to-1 to win the lottery.

The NFL is the biggest hypocrite in sports. It opposes all sports betting in the United States but is working night and day to make a go of NFL Europe, where sports betting is legal and conducted in every single country where it fields a team. Yes, folks, a bookmaker on every European corner -- and the NFL does not object.

The NBA owes its life to those who bet on it, but in the United States the league says, no to it all. Yet, in Europe, where it hopes to expand, sports betting is legal.

As for Major League Baseball, it too opposes sports betting but is too busy right now trying to confiscate the gallons of steroids being pumped into its playgrounds.

Yes, the nanny state, and much more.
-- Kelso Sturgeon, A Sports Bettor
Henderson, Nevada

Obviously protecting American citizens from on-line gambling is a prime example of our nanny-state gone mad. But what about our drug prohibition policies? Isn't this an example of our nanny-state gone mad?

If American citizens cannot decide for themselves what substances they can put into their own bodies -- even in the privacy of their own homes or churches, then the words freedom and liberty are just
empty words.

Today our government tells us which recreational drugs we may or may not consume. (Note that Viagra is OK, but marijuana is not). Note that tobacco is OK, but marijuana is not.

Tomorrow our nanny-state government will tell us which foods we may or may not eat. For our own good and protection, of course.

And of course, they will do it for the protection of the children or some other noble cause.
-- Kirk Muse
Mesa, Arizona

This article hit the nail directly on the head! The first commandment of the Nanny State is:

We know better than you what is good for you! However, we need more and more of your money to finance our hare-brained nefarious schemes to make the world safe for those of us who know best.

Nearly every state lottery was voted into existence by the people of the state. In almost every case, the elected legislators promised the money would be funneled into education of the children.

Sadly, even though most of the money raised does indeed go into education, those same legislators reduced the amount of money coming from other sources, thereby giving them more money for other, worthwhile(?) schemes they needed to fund...

Oh, what a tangled web...
-- R. Goodson
Vero Beach, Florida

HOWLIN' HOWIE
Re: Brandon Crocker's The Moral High Ground:

Frustrated, angry, depressed, disgusted would be how I describe my feelings about the quality of integrity displayed by many of our politicians. The opportunity for voters to change things is limited by the availability of honest and committed candidates working for the betterment and preservation of the country rather than deceiving voters and pandering to special interest groups so that they can have a long fat career for themselves. Two words...TERM LIMITS!

Howard Dean...off the charts! This babbling idiot should be scaring every honest and decent Democrat out there. What has become the ultra-liberal anti-American party empowered by the "me" crowd (who can see no farther than their own short-term gratification), they are taking the country (with the Republican Party in tow) into the abyss.
-- John Nelson
Hebron, Connecticut

Brandon Crocker's latest musings on Howard Dean left me chucking throughout the entire piece. It has now reached a point where I eagerly await the good Mr. Dean's latest pronouncements. You simply can't find stuff this good on TV, even on cable! If the brilliant chairman of the DNC ever loses that position, perhaps Leno or Letterman will give him work as a writer. Maybe Comedy Central would be interested.

I got a particular kick out of Mr. Crocker's highlighting Dean's recent comment on how "We've lost the moral high ground everywhere in the world. We want to be respected in the world again." It led me to think about a T-shirt I had years ago (and wish I still had). On the shirt was a caveman brandishing a very large club, walking between several erupting volcanoes, with various dinosaurs running away from him. The caption, using a take on a Biblical passage, stated, "Yea, though I walk through the Valley of Death, I fear no evil...because I'm the MEANEST S.O.B. in the Valley." In considering what we face with the threat of Islamofascism (and quite possibly with our "friends" in China), I think I would very much prefer to be feared by the Evil in the world. As it stands, Howlin' Howie is totally oblivious to the whole problem and completely out of touch with reality, which is fine. The more he opens his mouth, the more damage he does to the Dummycrats and their causes. Bravo!
-- Jim Bjaloncik
Stow, Ohio

TORTURED LOGIC
Re: Quin Hillyer's Haynes Wears Well:

"Gangster" Senators like Lindsey Graham, George Voinovich and especially Arlen Specter's politics are based not on some internally formed ideal but driven rather by what everyone else tells them. These "gangsters" are governed by POP culture's premise of the facts rather than the facts themselves.

Graham is "concerned" about the "Memo" that Haynes is alleged to have "lied" about in judiciary hearings...according to the mainstream press and our political enemies. But did Graham review the testimony? The same goes for Voinovich's acceptance of POP culture's premise regarding the temperament UN Ambassador John Bolton. Many remember the tortured logic as to why Voinovich listened to Democrats rather than review Bolton's own words and the many witnesses brought to the committee.

And finally Arlen Specter, so similar to John McCain, he is another Clintonian prototype. "What sounds good today," will get him through tomorrow when all of POP culture has forgotten all he said yesterday because of his "moral" stance on "reproductive rights." Specter too is guilty of breathing life back into Democrats on many occasions just to satisfy some self-serving sense of "fair-play." Yeah Arlen, when you're down and out, you know that Kennedy, Schumer, and Leahy will be there extending an open hand to give you that second chance too...Arlen? Arlen...Are you there...?

No wonder that the aforementioned Senators haven't any hair left, they've split practically all they had.
-- P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan

YOU'VE GOT A FRIEND
Re: Robert T. McLean's A Deal Down Under:

In regards to Robert T. McLean's article about the likely transition of PM Howard to Peter Costello, it should be noted that while two-party preferred opinion polls has Howard's conservative Liberal/National coalition behind, the Howard government is in a very strong position. Incumbency is a particular strength of any government going to an election in Australia. Domestic politics may indeed play a leading role in the 2007 election, but Americans should understand that the likely two combatants, Howard (Liberal Party) and Beazley (Labor Party), are both unwavering supporters of the USA and the US/Australia alliance.

Aside to this, the Iraq war and George Bush belligerence does not play well domestically in Australia, and that may be the reason for former Ambassador to Australia Tom Schieffer's extraordinary intrusion into the 2004 election with allegations of Labor anti-Americanism. Understand this, though, America: Many left-wingers and moderates hate the god-bothering, flag-waving, scorched-earth domestic politics of America, but Australians hold true to their friends, and in Australia, there is no greater ally and friend (other than the mother-country, Britain) than the USA. Any future Australian Prime Minister will always defend the USA and stand beside her in her times of need.
-- Nathan Maskiell
Melbourne, Australia

SILLY SUGGESTIONS
Re: William Tucker's I Don't Know Much About Soccer, But... and Mike Spencer's letter (under "Honor Thy Culture") in Reader Mail's Head Cases:

I enjoy The American Spectator but this article is just silly. Outside the U.S., everywhere else in the lovely, messy world -- that's ninety plus percent of people on this earth -- football is what was played in the World Cup. That the only place on the planet that is not viscerally attached to the game should suggest law changes to attract the small portion of the population that isn't, is, to put it mildly, crazy. It would be as obtuse as me suggesting changes to American football because it seems an overly static game with little broken field play -- and why do they have to wear all that body armor to play rugby?
-- David

Bravo, Mike Spencer. You said it very well. All athletes should have the self-restraint to ignore taunts on the field. But why are we so sure that Materazzi said what Zidane says he did? Materazzi says he did not. Why should we believe only Zidane? I'm not sure we can trust what "lip readers" say. Depends who hired them! Maybe he just said we're going to kick your butt, or nothing!

Anyway, I think it wasn't a response to a remark at all, but a game strategy. Materazzi had scored before in the game and the French were desperate to win. Zidane simply wanted to take out a possible scorer. He did it when the referee was at the other end of the field so he wouldn't see it. Instead it backfired on him and he was sent off. Strategy didn't work. He might have scored had he stayed in.

Nobody seems to think Zidane could be lying? Why?
-- Donna Stadler
San Jose, California

GETTING ** RIGHT
Re: Jay D. Homnick's Buttressing Our Mideast Role:

So, here we are, in those ol' dog days, and the yard's a mess. The work really "piles" up, doesn't **? Not only in the Mideast, but at Treasury and State, the ****'s *** the fan! And, ** isn't any better on our southern border, either. The Prez should be telling their new Prez to stop this ****, and let the political "chips" fall where they may.

Yep, the Prez really stepped in **. He just doesn't get **. Come November, though, he better have his **** together!

Homnick rules!
-- Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

BAYLOR UPDATE
Re: Graduate Student "X"'s Tenure Denial as Revenge:

A response to the March 27 post by the Graduate student:

The graduate student states that this story deserves to have legs, and I agree. An Internet search reflects that almost nothing has been said on the issue since mid-April. So, an update on Baylor:

Everyone was a little hasty with this issue in seeing this decision as the end of any hope for Baylor. The tenure decision was appealed, and a person primarily responsible for it has apparently left Baylor and moved to a little college down Route 35 (the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor; see here). Read into that what you like.

I am a parent of an incoming student from New Jersey, and am cautiously optimistic as to the direction of Baylor. Under the initiatives of Mr. Sloan, the physical plant has been greatly improved, Carnegie has upgraded the school to a research university with high activity (and shock of all shocks, the WacoTrib actually attributed this to Sloan's initiatives; see here), applications went from 15,600 in 2005 to 22,000+ this year, and the percent of students admitted has gone from 80 percent in 1998 to 44 percent today. The Honor’s College and the living and learning centers have been very well received.

As to the tenure decision, upon every standard by which a tenure decision is made, Professor Beckwith is eminently qualified. His publications speak for themselves (see here), and he has won teaching awards everywhere he has been. The current ISI Guide, Choosing the Right College 2006, lists him as one of Baylor’s best professors.

Let's hope that they do the right thing and reverse the tenure decision for a very well-respected and worthy professor. A positive step would be a concert of prayer to this end.
-- Brian E. Lee

COMPLIMENTARY
Re: Diane Smith's letter (under "Stingers") in Reader Mail's Head Cases:

Compliments humbly accepted, Diane, and returned with interest for your humor. So, I guess it is now fair to say that we complement each other. Sorry, couldn't resist.

My philosophy is that the fox's mind is naught for chickens when the hounds are close behind.

Woof!
-- Mike Showalter
Austin, Texas

Please warn Diane Smith that her e-mails are being covertly monitored by dangerous leftists. If things get out of hand, they may recruit hordes of blue-state reinforcements from the blogosphere for an all-out e-assault. But maybe she really meant that I'm one of the sweet ingredients in mincemeat: I can almost feel the love!

I agree that Mensa isn't a significant organization. The members are smart, but so are lots of other people who never join, and the turnover rate is high. Those who are qualified and don't join may have professional or academic credentials that they consider more important. So there is an overrepresentation in Mensa of wannabes of various ilks. I found the creationists particularly annoying.
-- Paul Dorell
Highland Park, Illinois

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