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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 16, 2009 26 Menachem-Av 5769

A New Deal Worth Fostering

By George Will



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Howard Lederer, a.k.a. "the Professor," is a professional poker player, not a gambler. If Congress will acknowledge this distinction, it will rectify one of its recent mistakes.


In 2006, Congress, cloaking cunning with moralizing, effectively outlawed Internet gambling by making it illegal for banks or credit-card companies to process payments to online gambling operations. This was more than moral pork for social conservatives. It also blocked online competitors from poaching gamblers from the nation's most aggressive promoters of gambling — state governments. They are increasingly addicted to revenue raised by lotteries — the 42 states that have lotteries spent $520 million in 2007 promoting them — and from taxation of other legal gambling. The law exempted Internet state lotteries and two powerful and vocal interests — online betting on horse racing and some fantasy sports betting online.


Having turned gambling, which once was treated as a sin, into a social policy, government looks unusually silly criminalizing online forms of it. Granted, some people gamble excessively (although not nearly as many people as eat excessively). Granted, gambling becomes addictive to a small minority (although it is not nearly as addictive as smoking and drinking). Granted, gambling is morally dubious when it is only the unproductive pursuit of wealth without work (although gambling is productive of pleasure for tens of millions of Americans for whom it is a frequent pastime). But never mind whether government should try to tightly circumscribe a ubiquitous human activity that generally harms nobody.


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That is beside the point that Lederer and the Poker Players Alliance are toiling to make, which is that by sweeping online poker into its proscription of online gambling, Congress committed a category mistake. Congress, Lederer thinks, should revisit the work of John von Neumann (1903-57), the Hungarian-born mathematician who, after working for the Manhattan Project on implosion design for the atomic bomb, became a defense intellectual specializing in the relevance of game theory to strategic thinking. Chess involves logic; roulette involves probability theory. Poker involves logic, probability and something pertinent to military and diplomatic strategy — bluffing.


Von Neumann's "Theory of Parlor Games" (1928) and, with Oskar Morgenstern, "Theory of Games and Economic Behavior" (1944) established the field of game theory. Another of today's leading professional poker players, Chris Ferguson, is the son of a mother who is a mathematician and a father who teaches game theory at UCLA.


When you play chess, Lederer says, there is symmetry of information: Both players have all the information provided by the location of the pieces on the board, and both are equally ignorant of the opponent's intentions. A computer can be programmed to "play" a powerful game of chess, but not of poker, wherein your opponents' cards are concealed.


Lederer is confident that a brain scan of someone playing poker would reveal a lit-up frontal lobe but the lobe of someone watching television would show up cool blue. A poker player — unlike someone playing roulette, a lottery or "video poker" (which Lederer says is a misnomer; it is a game of chance governed by a machine) — is trying to apply skill, acquired by experience, to increase the probability of winning each hand.


The son of an English teacher at St. Paul's School in New Hampshire, Lederer decided to spend a year studying chess before matriculating at Columbia University. Instead, he discovered poker. He started at Columbia but left, reasoning that he had found his vocation. He has won about $5 million.


But what is his stake in decriminalizing online poker? After all, he plays much more on green felt-covered tables than online. His interest is threefold. First, his libertarian temperament — he lives in Las Vegas, where almost anything goes — is offended by mother-hen government. Second, he wants as many people as possible to have access to poker's delights. Third, the more poker players there are, the larger will be the ranks of competitors, and the television audiences, for professional poker competitions. Hence the larger will be the potential winnings. This year, Lederer says, there were 6,494 competitors in the World Series of Poker Main Event, down about 1,000 from 2006, largely because more players used to win their $10,000 entry fee in online tournaments.


It is a poker skill to know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. Congress probably should fold its interference with Internet gambling and certainly should get its 10 thumbs off Americans' freedom to exercise their poker skills online.


Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

George Will's latest book is "With a Happy Eye but: America and the World, 1997-2002" to purchase a copy, click here. Comment on this column by clicking here.

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