Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo have agreed to pay a settlement of $31.5 million for running ads for online gambling sites.

Putting aside the absurdity of the government — here in the person of US Attorney Catherine Hanaway — continuing to crackdown on what Americans do with their own money in their own leisure time, have these tech companies really been punished harshly? After all, in the time it took me to type this blog entry, each of them has earned more than enough to pay their portion of the fine. Sergei Brin and Larry Page, the men behind Google, probably carry that much in pocket change.

In the meantime, your government wants to remind you that gambling is bad for you. Now go out and buy more state-issued lottery tickets.