Having grown up on a tribal, government-infected reservation, I am allergic to socialism because it rewards mediocrity. But I am also a reluctant capitalist because it celebrates mendacity. The United States is currently in an economic crisis largely because unregulated hedge-fund managers lied about the credit ratings of their funds. And rather than being criminally punished for lying, those managers are given millions of dollars in severance packages.

In China, those same types of white-collar sociopaths have been convicted of crimes against the state and put to death. I don't believe in capital punishment, but I am a little jealous that China isn't afraid to put felonious millionaires in front of firing squads. Do you think American CEOs would behave differently if one of them were put to death for looting a pension fund?

Last week, when the wealthy owners of NBA teams voted to allow Clay Bennett to take the Sonics to Oklahoma City, they weren't doing anything other than protecting their right to lie to fans, players, government officials, and one another. Now, I'm not a Marxist by any measure, but I'd love to shoot a few hoops with Karl's ghost and have a long talk about the soulless billionaires who love to reap where they've never sowed. recommended