An industry wrecked: Thanks for the informative article about the federal crackdown on online poker ("Straight Flushed," Chris Parker and Tim Elfrink, March 1). An entire industry was destroyed last year when the federal government shut down the biggest online poker sites and froze U.S. players' assets. This is the first article that really illustrates the situation. We need federal legislation that licenses and regulates online poker in the U.S. and brings back an industry.
No coincidence: It would seem that shortly after the feds shut down online poker, the world went bankrupt. Think about that!
Not a game of chance: Poker is a game of skill. For the feds or anyone else who thinks it's just dumb luck like casino games or horse racing, sit down at a poker table with an accomplished player and play for a few hours. Let's see if you can get lucky. You won't. Oh, you may win a hand or two. You might even come out ahead after an hour or two. But play long enough and skill will take all of your money. Bank on it. Truth be told, that is why the current administration hates the game. They want government to control you from the time you wake up until you go to sleep. To have something that they can't control, or even understand, is intolerable to them.
Gary R. Reed
Easy prey for prosecutors: The feds are seizing assets. They get to keep the cash they take from these companies. That makes them look great to the other bureaucrats who promote them into better-paying jobs. The prosecutors, meanwhile, are attacking online poker firms because it's easy to get convictions because these guys aren't hardened criminals. Anytime Congress or Obama wants to stop this they can, but it is in their narrow interests to continue. So they will.
Crime doesn't pay: The column about Bosco Henriquez, the young snitch who helped police take down Latin gangs only to get deported to Nicaragua ("Snitch and Suffer," Chuck Strouse, March 1) shows again that payback is a bitch. The problems Henriquez now faces began because he elected to be part of a gang. His police file indicates plenty of crimes they know he committed, but does not include all the ones the police do not know about. He helped the police in ending some gang violence, and his reward was not going to prison. His punishment is instead to get beaten, raped, and deported. Sorry, there are no tears here except for his victims. What goes around, comes around. Crime has a price.
Blame his parents: It sounds like Bosco's parents let him down at an early age. Something else had to have let him down aside from the "educators and law enforcement" you mention in the column if a 13-year-old kid thinks it's a good idea to join a gang. Thirteen is old enough to have right and wrong instilled in you.
Police problems: I grew up with Bosco. Screw the police! They made him snitch and then left him for the wolves.
Bayless Is a Bigot
Totally ignorant: Uncle Luke is right that Skip Bayless is the perfect example of what is wrong with sports media ("Luke's Gospel: ESPN's Skip Bayless Manipulates Race and Ethnicity in Professional Sports to Get Rich," Luther Campbell, March 1). Since when does being an opinionated writer with no playing or coaching background make you an authority on sports or race in sports? A college degree does not equal real-world knowledge or experience. Bayless has made his living off of being a negative presence on the airwaves. He knows nothing about the process of what it takes to become a professional athlete or to maintain that. He knows nothing of the pressures or preparation of coaching. Hopefully the day will come when I can debate him with the cameras on. Until then, I will listen to only those that look at things from both sides and who have some knowledge of what they see — not just a negative opinion.
Luke is the real race-baiter: Skip is a good dude. It's funny how those weak, worthless examples you managed to dig up from his 30 to 40 years in the business are so benign they basically serve to disprove your theory that he is this king of race-baiting, as if it is a crime for black or white people to feel some pride in NBA star Blake Griffen. Dude, you are stretching for straws and straining at gnats and it's fairly obvious you are doing it to try to get some free publicity. It's sad you are what you wrongly accuse others of being.