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3 O'Clock High: A Nation Weeps

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In my America everyone would know the White Sox are +162 on the Money Line tonight.

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After hours of soul-searching, discussions with my family and meetings with my top-advisors, I have decided to neither seek nor accept the position of Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. While President Bush's nomination of Ben Bernanke weighed into the decision to pull my name from consideration, it was ultimately a life-style choice.

At this point in my professional life, I simply can't imagine having the patience to sit through the endless meetings and testimony. Not while dressed like an undertaker and not while I'd be making that kind of money. Not even for a small work-load and a nice level of job security. It's simply too high a price for me to pay given my young family and extremely finite attention span.

When coupled with our modern media obsession with playing "gotcha" and "the blame game", it's easy to foresee my tenure being weighed down by assertions like "the Fed Chair shouldn't do crossword puzzles, or even Jumble's (the scrambled word game!) during Humphrey/ Hawkins testimony". Bernanke is celebrated for understanding the history of the Fed but my Jumble-justifying observation that "nothing useful has ever been said in these things" would likely be cast in a harsh and unfair light (despite and indeed because of the obvious truth of the statement).

The world can't handle my straight shootin' brand of the truth. Until it can I shall, presuambly, be placed on the governmental bench and forced to focus on my private labors.

In an effort to ameliorate the impact of my decision on our economy, and with the hope of winning $100,000, I have agreed to share one element of my Secret Plan for National Wealth with Honor. There are many more, of course, but the world will have to wait to see the best of my would-have-been platform. For the time being, I just want the 100-large, now that it looks like my potential jobs in DC have been filled by others.

America: Welcome to Viceland!

In 75 years "the Numbers racket" has morphed from being an inner-city purview of the Mob to such legitimacy that an American Senator can win big money playing to the outrage of no one.

From an economic perspective, the lottery remains, just as it always has been, a regressive tax on the stupid. From an individual's perspective, spending $1 on an impossibly remote shot at half a billion just seems "kind of cool and harmless".

In that exact same spirit, item #1 on my Fed Chair to-do list would have been pushing for a governmental roll-up of Sports Betting, the sales of "gateway" drugs and web-sites selling pictures of celebrities naked.

Essentially, if it's something you (or your "friends") enjoy doing but don't feel comfortable talking about in front of your in-laws, it's going to be run by the government. While this may seem reckless at first glance, it is wholly consistent with our Founding Father's vision of freedom. Remember, Benjamin Franklin once funded the purchase of cannons to protect Philadelphia with the use of Lottery.

The man was the Big Daddy Moneybags among the Founders and he invented the idea of using our sins to pay for our freedoms. You can't convince me that Ben wouldn't have shared my vision of an America where sports commentators have the liberty to mention the score within the context of the betting line ("Sure the Vikings lost but did the meaningless field goal at the end of the game give them the backdoor cover? Find out on the FGN (Fed. Gambling Network").

Our Federal revenues soar, our deficit falls, crime is knee-capped in a way that actually makes us money and the behavior of our populous remains largely unchanged.

That's just good government, baby.

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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