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They burned the Monte Carlo ... and may get away with it
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They burned the Monte Carlo ... and may get away with it
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Warning: The following blog post contains ridicule of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and a Republican senator with good hair. No actual copies of the R-J were harmed in the writing of this post.
There I was, thinking that I was living in a (mostly) booming metropolis -- albeit going through one of its periodic "down" cycles. It's a city that's grown too fast for the infrastructure to keep pace; ditto "quality of life" necessities like parks, libraries and schools, of which we never seem able to build quite enough.
But these are symptoms of growth, as we draw not only a vast number of international visitors but myriad new residents as well (some of them here illegally, it's true). I don't see as many casino-employee name tags anymore of the sort that informed you your check-in clerk was Corazon from Manila, for instance, and that's a pity. They were a tacit tribute to the "Las Vegas dream" that's lured so many here from faraway climes, yours truly included.
So I look out my office window at the third (and counting) tower of the Palms, then turn to the electronic version of the Dogpatch Daily and read that, no, we are not a burgeoning city with a massive resort industry but "a remote desert town built to indulge Americans' fantasies." (I guess overseas fantasists need not apply.) And this from the paper's tourism correspondent! "Remote desert town"? "Indulge ... fantasies"? Did they send him to report on Pahrump by mistake?
And then, as if the Average Joe hadn't figured this out already, we get the thunderingly obvious observation, "Every extra dollar would-be tourists cough up at their hometown gas stations and grocery stores is a buck that won't be shoved into a slot machine, slipped to a hotel desk clerk in hopes of a room upgrade or tucked into a dancer's G-string this weekend."
Really? Ya think? Just maybe? Did you omit any clichés there, perhaps? Oh, and if anybody believes an "extra dollar" will be sufficient to get themselves a room upgrade, then their Vegas really isn't showing.
Add Sen. John Ensign (R-Shadow Creek) to the list of Las Vegans who seemingly hate Las Vegas. According to the Las Vegas Sun (which, unlike the Dogpatch Daily, has the mentality of a big-city newspaper), the exquisitely coiffed young senator "isn’t convinced Nevada needs [Congressional] money to handle the hepatitis C crisis." Translation: If you're among the estimated 15,000 people who can't afford a $200 hepatitis test, drop dead.
Other items the Sun says Ensign found "offensive" were 13-week extensions of unemployment benefits and home-heating subsidies for poor people (during a recession, fer crissakes!). “I have always been very consistent about caring about our children and our grandchildren," crocodile-wept the well-heeled Circus Circus heir. Yeah, it's just their parents and grandparents -- some of whom probably used to work for your dad -- about whom you can't give a rat's ass.
Ensign's also against the Webb version of the GI Bill (as opposed to the competing McCain one) because its financial assistance to former servicemen and -women "would actually weaken our military because it encourages people to get out."
Ah, so that's how we keep our military strong: Not by incentivizing people to serve but by essentially throwing them from the train when they choose to leave. Brilliant! "Re-enlist or face poverty." Heckuva job, Brownie, er, John.
Although I'm not a Republican, the elephant party would have surely done better in '06 and would be more fearsome this year if they had more plain-spoken, principled representatives and candidates like New Jersey's Murray Sabrin. He and I would never agree on environmental issues or the Brady Bill, for instance, but I sure like the cut of his jib, as the saying goes. (His Iraq policy, which boils down to "We won; let's leave," would find a lot of takers, too.)
Check out the audio excerpts, in which Sabrin gets right to the point while opponent Dick Zimmer hems, haws and obfuscates like the Washington hack he is. Sabrin probably won't make it past the primary, which is too bad because he has the makings of a terrific candidate, and would have considerable appeal to Libertarians and proverbial "swing voters." But if you liked George W. Bush you'll love Dick Zimmer.