The Spectacle Blog

Re: The Stupidest Law

By on 10.13.06 | 4:52PM

Interestingly enough, the two biggest online poker rooms interpret the law differently. PartyPoker says it makes it "practically impossible" to fund US players' accounts. But PokerStars says the law doesn't apply to poker. Poker is a game of chance in the short run but a game of skill in the long run, and the "is poker gambling?" question is a staple of poker forums. The question now is how the feds will answer it.

Democrats: The Small Government Party

By on 10.13.06 | 4:16PM

Bill Clinton says:

"This is an election unlike any other I have ever participated in. For six years this country has been totally dominated - not by the Republican Party, this is not fair to the Republican Party - by a narrow sliver of the Republican Party, its more right-wing and its most ideological element. When the chips are down, this country has been jammed to the right, jammed into an ideological corner, alienated from its allies, and we're in a lot of trouble ... The Democratic Party has become the liberal and conservative party in America. If you want to be fiscally conservative, you've got to be for us. If you want to conserve natural resources, you've got to be for us," he said. "If you want a change of course in Iraq/>/>/>/> ... you've got to be for us."

South Koreans Want Nukes

By on 10.13.06 | 1:36PM

My friend Mingi Hyun has some interesting details from Korean language news sources. A new poll shows 65 percent of South Koreans want their country to be nuclear-armed, and nearly as many believe that South Korea's dovish "sunshine" policy toward North Korea has failed.


South Korea's 17 former defense ministers have apparently advocated the return of American nuclear weapons to South Korea as a deterrent against North Korea, according to the Donga Ilbo.

Re: The Stupidest Law

By on 10.13.06 | 1:10PM

Dave, just to add to your post the obvious point about personal liberty: What business is it of government whether law-abiding adults play poker online in the privacy of their own homes? While I disagree with them, people who argue against the expansion of actual casino gambling at least attempt to justify their position on the basis of the "community effects" of casino gambling. But that clearly isn't an issue with online poker.

Full disclosure: My father has worked in the casino industry for over 20 years, though not for any online gaming sites.

The Stupidest Law?

By on 10.13.06 | 12:34PM

While Sarbanes-Oxley probably takes the prize for most destructive law passed under the Bush Administration, today's signing into law of the "Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act" is in the running for the stupidest law. Slipped into the homeland security appropriations bill because it couldn't pass on its own merits, I predict that that enforcing this law will quickly become an exercise in futility, not to mention a waste of law enforcement resources. Of course, it's not like law enforcement has anything better to do.

First, some "full disclosure." I play poker online at home, and will continue to do so. Congress will get the mouse out of my hand when they pry it from my cold dead fingers. Yet I take my poker seriously, have learned how to win, and have built up some funds in my account at the site I play at. Thus, since I won't have to transfer any funds (unless I have a terrible run of cards) I doubt this will effect me all that much.

Gay Republican Outing

By on 10.13.06 | 11:44AM

I've been to the website where Mike Rogers is "outing" gay Republicans. The whole thing makes me laugh.

As the resident evangelical Christian apologist here at the AmSpecBlog, I find it more than amusing that these Democrats actually think we "Christianist" types will curl up in horror and say, "Well, I won't be voting for those Republicans! They have sodomites in their ranks!"

The folks running this scam claim to be "the reality-based community." I'm more and more getting the sense they don't get out much. They certainly must not know many evangelicals.

Here's the primer. Listen up:

We understand that there are such things as homosexuals.

We further understand that they are capable of different political and spiritual viewpoints than the ones you think they should espouse.

We actually know some gay people! Yes, it's true!

Some of us are friends with gay people! Crazy, I know!

Re: Libertarian Voters

By on 10.13.06 | 11:06AM

John, you make a good point regarding the "gridlock vote."

As for the treatment that Boaz and Kirby give to national security, they say that libertarians may move away from the Republican Party "If terrorism is not as critical a decision point in upcoming elections, or if support for Bush's handling of terrorism declines." However, it should be pretty clear that terrorism will be the dominant issue for the foreseeable future, and even if support for Bush declines, libertarian hawks will still gravitate toward the candidate who would be the best on national security, so the economic/social libertarian swing voter won't really be "in play" anyway. Or, more accurately, less votes will be "in play" than Boaz and Kirby suggest.

Armey v. Dobson

By on 10.13.06 | 10:47AM

Dick Armey describes why economic conservatives and social conservatives share a common interest in small government. A taste:

We must avoid the temptation to use the power of government to perfect our society and its citizens. That is the same urge that drives the Left and the socialists, and I can assure you that every program or power we give government today in the name of our values can be turned against us when the day comes where a majority of Congress is hostile to us.

The whole thing is well worth a read.

Hat tip: Ryan Sager.

Does The Left ‘Do’ Free Speech?

By on 10.13.06 | 8:56AM

Peggy Noonan is on fire this morning. A sample:

What is most missing from the left in America is an element of grace--of civic grace, democratic grace, the kind that assumes disagreements are part of the fabric, but we can make the fabric hold together. The Democratic Party hasn't had enough of this kind of thing since Bobby Kennedy died. What also seems missing is the courage to ask a question. Conservatives these days are asking themselves very many questions, but I wonder if the left could tolerate asking itself even a few. Such as: Why are we producing so many adherents who defy the old liberal virtues of free and open inquiry, free and open speech? Why are we producing so many bullies? And dim dullard ones, at that.

Read it all.

Dude, Where’s My Humvee?

By on 10.13.06 | 8:35AM

Canadian troops fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan have come across quite an obstacle: "Almost impenetrable forests of marijuana plants 10 feet tall," Reuters reports. The soldiers tried to torch them to get at hiding Taliban fighters, said General Rick Hillier.

"A couple of brown plants on the edges of some of those [forests] did catch on fire. But a section of soldiers that was downwind from that had some ill effects and decided that was probably not the right course of action," Hillier said dryly.

One soldier told him later: "Sir, three years ago before I joined the army, I never thought I'd say 'That damn marijuana'."