Gambling boom in 2021 sets new record after pandemic slump — New York Times

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2021/12/31/gambling-record-pandemic/

“The commercial gambling industry made over $44 billion in 2021”

“All told, gambling revenue for 2021 has already surpassed $44 billion ― an all-time high ― with many states yet to report November and December figures, an AGA [ American Gaming Association] spokesperson said in an email.” — New York Times

$44,000,000,000 in one year alone. Imagine if Americans had invested that money, or spent it on education, clothes, food, housing. People complain that they don’t have enough money saved for retirement, or a first home, or their kids’ college, or training for a new career —- but they have money for gaming! I’m not against gambling, as long as it’s responsible gambling.

January 10, 2022: Bodhi Day

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhi_Day

Today commemorates the day Buddha gained Enlightenment.

“Traditions vary on what happened. Some say Siddhartha made a great vow to Nirvana and Earth to find the root of suffering, or die trying. In other traditions, while meditating he was harassed and tempted by the god Mara (literally, “Destroyer” in Sanskrit), demon of illusion. Other traditions simply state that he entered deeper and deeper states of meditation, confronting the nature of the self.”

The Ahmaud Arbery Case

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/three-men-convicted-murdering-ahmaud-arbery-sentenced-life-prison-rcna10901

“The three white men convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery were sentenced Friday [January 7, 2022] to life in prison, with a judge denying any chance of parole for the father and son who armed themselves and initiated the deadly pursuit of the Black man in February 2020.”

The three men were convicted of murdering Arbery, an innocent man who was “guilty” only of going for a jog on February 23, 2020. Gregory McMichael, his son Travis McMichael, and their friend William “Roddie” Bryan were rightly sentenced to life in prison, the former two without the possibility of parole. Roddie Bryan is eligible after serving 30 years.

The trio initiated the pursuit of Arbery, continued the chase, confronted him, and either shot or participated in the shooting of the young man! At any point the McMichaels and Bryan could have come to their senses, broken off the attack, gone home, and be free men today! Instead, they chose the low road and now bear the consequences of their actions. And they now face federal hate crime charges!

Others allegedly assisted in covering up what the three had done. I hope they will also face a court of justice.

Remember: live and let live, give and forgive, bear and forbear. Forswear all violence in the name of prejudice.

“Millennials lead shift away from organized religion as pandemic tests Americans’ faith”

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/12/29/millennials-lead-shift-away-from-organized-religion-as-pandemic-tests-faith.html

“A Pew Research Center survey found 29% of U.S. adults said they had no religious affiliation, an increase of 6 percentage points from 2016.”

“’The secularizing shifts evident in American society so far in the 21st century show no signs of slowing,’ said Gregory Smith, associate director of research at Pew Research Center.”

Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.” Thomas Jefferson

I do not feel obliged to believe that same God who endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect had intended for us to forgo their use.” Galileo

No.

Will it be the end of the world if you say no? What would happen if every once in a while, you refuse a request, or decline an invitation to an event you really don’t want to attend?

Season’s Greetings!

Merry Christmas and happy new year
Embrace your loved ones and draw them near
And tell them all your tales of cheer
And so escape the winter drear.
Merry Christmas and happy new year!