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When Lone Wolves Become a Pack: The Wacko Militants of the American Political Right

Posted by on Oct 25, 2018 in Blog, Essays, Politics, What's Left | 3 comments

 

 

“My supporters are very passionate.”

                        — President Donald J. Trump

 

We don’t know yet who mailed several packages containing deadly bombs that were sent to Democratic leaders, liberal activists, and news organizations — all of which are outspoken critics of President Trump and his policies.

From the list of carefully selected targets — ranging from former CIA Director John Brennan to actor Robert DeNiro — a far-Right extremist does appear to be the most logical suspect.  But we don’t know anything yet for sure about a possible suspect.  Hence, unlike so many others out there fabricating their own version of the “news,” ignoring a mountain of inciteful hate speech, disregarding the long history of political violence in this country, and spreading wacko conspiracy theories with no basis in fact whatsoever, I’ll reserve my judgment about these deplorable acts and who committed them until more evidence is gathered.

What we do know for certain is the far-Right in this country has become militant and dangerous.  They’re openly marching in the streets.  They’re running for public office.  Hell, they’ve even been elected.

No doubt, the far-Right poses a deadly threat.  Sure, the extreme Right has always been around and been dangerous to the lives and freedoms of millions, certainly since the end of the Civil War.  But until Barack Obama was elected a decade ago, extremism had largely gone underground and went unnoticed.

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Weera Thai [Restaurant Review]

Posted by on Oct 24, 2018 in Blog, Essays, Las Vegas, Restaurant Reviews | 0 comments

 

 

Weera Thai is anchored in a nondescript strip mall on West Sahara, about two miles off Las Vegas Blvd.  From the outside, there’s nothing at all appealing about this place.  It’s the kind of restaurant you’ve probably driven past 100 times and never given it much thought.  Why go here when there are so many other established Thai restaurants that are sure to please?

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ESPN’s “30 for 30” Podcast [Remembering the 2003 World Series of Poker]

Posted by on Oct 24, 2018 in Blog, Essays, General Poker, Las Vegas | 0 comments

 

 

Chris Moneymaker’s stunning storybook victory in the 2003 World Series of Poker is rightly remembered as the seminal event when poker went from smoke-filled backrooms to boardrooms and living rooms.  It the moment when poker grew up.  It’s the dividing line between the good old days and the modern era.  It ignited what became known as “the poker boom.”

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NFL Week #7

Posted by on Oct 20, 2018 in Blog, Essays | 2 comments

 

 

Personal Note:  I was out of town all of last week visiting family in Dallas and therefore couldn’t dedicate enough time to handicapping the games to make my usual weekly post.  No one died.  I ate well.  The season-to-date record has been updated with results from the previous week and now we’re on to NFL Week #7 with a vengence.

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Should Las Vegas Be Funding New Sports Stadiums?

Posted by on Oct 19, 2018 in Blog, Essays, Las Vegas | 1 comment

 

 

Earlier this week, there was a rumor floating around LasVegas that the Rio casino property might be purchased by an investor, demolished, and replaced by a new Major League Baseball stadium.  Some locals even speculated the Anaheim Angels could be headed across the Cal-Nev border and might “play ball” here as early as 2021.

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NFL Week #5

Posted by on Oct 6, 2018 in Blog, Essays | 5 comments

 

 

I’ve been an NFL handicapper for 24 years, posting my picks publicly.  Periodically, I’ve felt compelled to make adjustments to my handicapping methodology.  If something’s not working, then try something else.

The NFL changes over time.  New rules and the renewed emphasis on existing rules can severely impact the outcome of games.  Virtually all rules changes now favor offenses, which means higher scoring games, and increased variance (i.e., games are less predictable).  Moreover, climate controlled domes and rubber grass clearly favor offenses (perfect conditions for passing).

There are other factors which increase variance.  Calling upon the judgment of referees makes outcomes tougher to predict.  The quality of coaching and quarterbacking also changes, making results less foreseeable.  Running backs were once the most important players on any team.  Now, running backs are far less consequential than quarterbacks, receivers, and even key offensive linemen.

More passes per game and yards-per-completion have also helped to spike variance.  This makes statistics- and trend-based handicapping somewhat obsolete.  Higher variance reduces the value of key numbers and diminishes the effectiveness of teasers.  Then, there’s the longer extra point, creating more misses — which also deducts the impact of key numbers.  In short, even though we’re only a month into the schedule, this regular season has become a clear illustration of wildly unpredictable results, calling for some adjustments to handicapping and perhaps even a shifting focus on the types of bets we make.

None of this is accidental.  Higher-scoring, less predictable games are more fun to watch (I hate high-scoring games).  High-scoring, less predictable games are good for fantasy football.  With the NFL going through some trouble of its own, with CTE image problems and a slip in television ratings, I believe the league has made a clear decision to create higher-scoring, less predictable games which will attract viewers.  So, this is the landscape we must adjust to now.

Hence, I’ve incorporated several adjustments and shifted my focus on the types of bets I’ve made and recommend this week.

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