Opened off-Broadway last night upstairs from Old Jews Telling Jokes On Stage. I remember liking the book in high school — vaguely — but the play is extraordinary. Powerful, brilliant, and brilliantly acted. Lincoln is also powerful, brilliant, and brilliantly acted — and just twelve bucks and you don’t have to fly to New York to see it. But if you can, see both.
Well, but theirs is expected to weigh three times as much — 600 pounds is not a trivial amount on an aircraft — and seems to be about two years further from fruition. But, yes: you never know.
I MAY HAVE WON $550 MILLION LAST NIGHT
A friend put up the money and let me pick the numbers — RED: 188.8.131.52.35, WHITE: 6. I’m not sure where they post the results. Would one of you please check and let me know if I won?
BUT THERE’S A LOT NOT TO LIKE ABOUT THE LOTTERY
For one thing, that’s $550 million pre-tax.
(Someone named William Wolfrum tweets drily: “I see no reason to even bother with Powerball if the top tax rate goes up 3%.”)
But there’s more.
As my friend Zac Bissonnette writes:
It’s only a couple dollars and it’s fun to dream, blah blah blah blah blah. But here’s what you’re supporting when you buy a lottery ticket: You’re supporting a system in which the government uses extremely aggressive mass marketing targeted at society’s most vulnerable citizens to extract money they can’t afford in exchange for false hope. According to a study from the University of Georgia:
- “An individual without a high school degree or GED is more than four times as likely to be an active lottery player as an individual who has an education above the high school level.”
- “Black males are more than 10 times as likely as white females with the same levels of education to be active lottery players. This effect is especially pronounced for less-educated black males. The model predicts that the incidence of active lottery play for that group is nearly 43 percent, which is more than 30 times the rate of play among nonblack females who have an education above the high school level.”
The fact that states are financing education with something as slimy as this — a get-rich-quick scheme targeted almost exclusively at disadvantaged minorities — is truly government at its most irresponsible.
When you buy a lottery ticket, you’re voting for that. I really, really wish the Christian right would get off the gay marriage issue and start to educate people about the evil that is the state lottery. Kids should be able to do their homework without the knowledge that their textbooks were purchased with funds raised by exploiting low-income minorities who’ve been deprived of access to education. Shameful and unconscionable.
And speaking of unconscionable, what if I won the $550 million and put it all into trying to buy elections?
ET TU, CITIZENS UNITED?
James Musters: “I think you will enjoy this historical perspective from Slate: ’How Political Campaign Spending Brought Down the Roman Republic.’”
. . . The authors of the Federalist Papers cited the [Roman] republic as an influence on the American Constitution 14 separate times. In early America, Rome before Caesar served as the quintessential republic of virtue; its collapse was the ultimate cautionary tale of political corruption. . . .