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Thursday, May 22, 2003
The Sports Book of Virtues

By Jim Caple
Page 2 columnist

Through sources very highly placed in the secretive book publishing industry, Page 2 has managed to obtain a look at a couple of key passages from William Bennett's soon-to-be-published "The Sports Book of Virtues," which, like his previous attempts to tell Americans how best to behave, is surely headed for the bestseller lists ... at least, in Las Vegas.

My "Moral and Gambling Compass" for May/June:

Vegas strip
If there's one place that represents American values -- it's the strip.
N.Y. Mets at Atlanta Braves, Game 1
The liberal elite is fond of labeling marijuana use as a "victimless crime," but I don't know what they mean by this. Do they mean the teenage addicts who drop out of school and never earn a decent living aren't victims? Do they mean the people who are mugged to feed someone's habit aren't victims? Do they mean the children who become hooked on a life of drugs thanks to this "harmless" hallucinogen are not victims?

And most importantly, do they mean the Mets fans who have seen their favorite team ravaged by overpaid, underachieving potheads aren't victims?

The simple fact is there is no victimless crime, no matter what the shameless Clinton administration would have you believe. What you do in your own home does hurt others, even if you don't inhale. And the Mets' awful record the past two seasons is ample evidence.

Put a nickle down on Atlanta.

The Colonial
The lasting legacy of the failed welfare society is the single-parent family. Thanks to the well-meaning but misguided policy of the liberal elite, an entire generation of children grew up without the necessary support of a loving mother and father. Nearly as bad are the many families where both parents are working, leaving no one to nurture -- or at least monitor -- their children during the crucial afterschool hours.

While Hillary Clinton insists women truly can enjoy it all -- a loving family and a thriving career -- that is a utopian, unrealistic world. Without tuition credits, we can't all afford live-in nannies. Someone has to stay home. Someone has to care for the children.

That's why Annika Sorenstam should be back in Sweden raising a family, instead of raising controversy on the golf course. Vijay Singh is correct -- she doesn't belong in the Colonial Open. She did not earn her spot on the tour, benefiting instead from an affirmative action exemption.

Put 15 large on her to miss the cut and a nickle on Davis Love III to win.

San Antonio vs. Dallas
The liberal elite of the '60s generation proudly shouted, "If it feels good, do it," never addressing the problems this attitude produces the morning after. Or more specifically, nine months after. While we may want to shake our fist at the unwed mothers applying for welfare, we should mostly feel compassion for them. After all, how can we can blame today's youth after the shockingly permissive example set in the very Oval Office of the shameless Clinton administration?

The NBA is filled with examples of this same promiscuity, with players fathering countless children out of wedlock. Fortunately, there is one man who stands tall against this tide of immorality -- San Antonio's David Robinson. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a devout Christian and the one basketball player our children may truly look upon as a role model.

Mr. Robinson knows the answer to this problem is not further sex education or the distribution of condoms in our high schools. He knows these policies only promote sex outside marriage. He knows what we must teach our children is not sex, but abstinence.

William Bennett
"I believe in a strong family unit and doubling down on 11."
Go with the Admiral and bet the house on the Spurs in six.

Belmont Stakes
I love playing the ponies -- it's a nice, relaxing hobby for me -- but what disturbs me is looking down at all the poor, desperate and alcoholic railbirds who are misleading themselves into thinking their "system" will lead to easy wealth. It's sad. Someone like me, who earns $50,000 per speaking appearance, can easily afford a bad Pick Six bet now and then without sacrificing the children's milk money, but these loafers, thanks to the Clinton administration, cannot. The liberal elite is wrong. The solution isn't extending unemployment benefits another month so the loafers can continue betting foolish $20 trifectas, it's forcing them to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and get a job.

That's why I support the president's full tax cut to provide relief to millions of Americans and stimulate the economy. The way to give hope and incentive to the unemployed is to eliminate the tax on dividends now.

Meanwhile, I suggest laying down that $20 on a Funny Cide/Empire Maker exacta in the Belmont.

New Jersey at Ottawa, Game 7
Abraham Lincoln called our Declaration of Independence a stumbling block to tyranny and oppression. No matter what the Clinton administration and the liberal elite would have you believe, that is our role in the world. That is our responsibility. And that is our honor.

Our supposed "allies" can choose not to join us in this duty, but repercussions come with that decision. Nuts to Canada. Keep the Cup in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Put 10 large on the Devils to move on to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com.