Republican Convention: The Betting Man's Pundit

There were two reasons Max Nevis, like most other Americans who live beyond the Beltway, could not bring himself to watch much of the Republican wingding staged in his very own South Philadelphia neighborhood last week. No. 1, he cares too much about serious political discourse to waste time on scripted promises and flying brickbats. No. 2, he was busy handicapping the campaign for the bookmaking operation he runs out of his modest little row house.

Being a bookie is no more uncommon in South Philadelphia than being, say, a pizza-pie maker. Sure, it's illegal. But Max (whose real name is...

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