- The Washington Times - Monday, May 8, 2006

High stakes

“Golfer John Daly sees his ruin from afar. In a candid admission in his autobiography, Mr. Daly says he lost between $50 million and $60 million to a gambling habit that spun out of control over a dozen years. He says he’s not over his gambling addiction, either. …

“Mr. Daly isn’t the only athlete to be caught up in gambling. Baseball’s two biggest scandals (until steroids) revolved around sports betting: the Black Sox scandal and the Pete Rose affair. Basketball star Michael Jordan is also famous for his appetite for endurance at Las Vegas tables and for high-stakes golf matches. …

“Mr. Daly says he has a plan to control his gambling habit. He says he’ll start with $25 slots only. ‘If I make a little bit, then maybe I move up to the $100 slots or the $500 slots, or maybe I take it to the blackjack table,’ he wrote. ‘It’s their money. Why not give it a shot, try to double it? And if I make a lot, I can …’ Could it work? Wanna bet?”

— John Dawson, writing on “Know when to walk away,” in the May 13 issue of World

‘Death spiral’

“In the late 20th century, some environmental extremists confidently predicted that, as the world ran out of various things … humanity would be crushed beneath rampant ‘overpopulation.’ At the beginning of the 21st century, the world is still chock-full of natural resources. Europe, however, is running out of the most crucial resource — people.

“The overall picture is sobering enough. Not a single [European Union] member has a replacement-level fertility rate, i.e., the 2.1 children per woman needed to maintain a stable population. Moreover, 11 EU countries — including Germany, Austria, Italy, Hungary, and all three Baltic states — display ‘negative natural increase’ (i.e., more annual deaths than births), a clear step down into a demographic death-spiral. …

“Over the next quarter-century, the number of workers in Europe will decline by 7 percent while the number of over-65s will increase by 50 percent, trends that will create intolerable fiscal difficulties for the welfare state across the continent. … Demography is destiny, and Europe’s demographics of decline — which are unparalleled in human history, absent wars, plagues, and natural catastrophes — are creating enormous and unavoidable problems.”

— George Weigel, writing on “Europe’s Two Culture Wars,” in the May issue of Commentary

Rosie’s back

“It’s been musical chairs at the networks for the last couple weeks, and now it turns out that Rosie’s back — Rosie O’Donnell, that is. She’s back on daytime TV as the replacement for Meredith Vieira on ‘The View.’ Meredith is leaving to replace Katie Couric on ‘Today.’ And, as I’m sure you know by now, Katie is skedaddling to CBS to be the anchor on the ‘Evening News’ and to perk up ‘60 Minutes.’

“But the return of Rosie is, in a way, the most unexpected of the changes. ‘The View,’ which is produced by Barbara Walters, is a daily all-girls gabfest. The co-hosts, who include Star Jones, Joy Behar, Elizabeth Hasselbeck, and, much of the time, Walters herself, chat with each other about the news of the day and then interview celebrities.

“Rosie will be taking on the role that Vieira had as the group’s moderator, which might not be such an easy fit. These days, Rosie is not shy about giving her opinion. Last year, she told Geraldo Rivera that George Bush ‘is basically a war criminal. He should be tried at The Hague.’ Not very moderate.”

— Myrna Blyth, writing on “A Different View,” Thursday in National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

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