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In Gambling Treatment Court Help Is Stressed Over Penalties


The New York Times
1 May 2007

by Ken Belson


The docket in front of Justice Mark G. Farrell one recent Tuesday afternoon looked like a routine roster of small-time crime: petty larceny, attempted burglary, check forgery. But the offenders shared a single motivation: money to gamble.

Such is the criminal parade in the country's first and only gambling treatment court. Following the model of about 2000 "therapy courts" devoted to drugs and spousal abuse that have opened nationwide in the last two decades, the setup here allows defendants to avoid jail time if they follow a court-supervised program that includes counseling sessions, credit checks and twice-monthly meetings with Justice Farrell.…



The Human Touch

by Michael Frayn

Metropolitan Books 2006


We seem to know two mutually contradictory things to be true. This paradox is something that I have been puzzling about for most of my adult life. So have many other people, in many generations before me. It's the world's oldest mystery, and it has taken many different forms. Are the qualities (physical, moral, aesthetic) that distinguish one thing from another objective realities, or are they our subjective imposition upon things? Can we have real acquaintance with things outside ourselves at all, or does the knowable world consist purely of our experiences? Is the world in one way or another out there, or is it in here? Succeeding schools of philosophers have reached for one horn of the dilemma or the other , but it's impossible to seize both horns equally securely at the same time. This is one of the reasons why philosphy has never culminated in any generally accepted body of doctrine, or even seemed to be on the road towards it, as science is thought to be by many scientists.


A Virtuoso Ignored

by Gene Weingarten


The Week
4 May 2007

He emerged from the Washington, D.C. Metro at the L'Enfant Plaza station and positioned himself against a wall beside a trash basket. By most measures, he was nondescript: a youngish white man in jeans, a long-sleeved T-shirt and a Washington Nationals baseball cap. From a small case, he removed a violin. Placing the open case at his feet, he shrewdly threw in a few dollars and pocket change as seed money, swiveled it to face pedestrian traffic and began to play.…

No one knew it, but the fiddler standing against a bare wall outside the Metro in an indoor arcade at the top of the escalators was 39-year-old Joshua Bell, one of the finest classical musicians in the world, playing some of the most elegant music ever written on a $3.5 million Stradivarius. His performance was arranged by "The Washington Post" as an experiment in context, perception, and priorities—as well as an unblinking assessment of public taste: In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?…

Originally published in "The Washington Post."


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