On The Street Where You Give

"...If economist Joseph Schumpeter was correct in theorizing that "creative destruction is the essential fact about capitalism," then capitalism as practiced in Las Vegas is the purest strain. The erection of the Vegas mega-resorts was not only heralded by the televised dynamiting of their predecessors but also accompanied by the concurrent collapse of much of the rest of America's urban, industrial and employment infrastructure. Isn't it logical or at least fitting that Las Vegas, the City of the Eternal Now, the town that every few years seems to slather yet one more layer of pavement and glitz over its own scant history, tradition and roots, would expand just as long-entrenched communities from Southeast Los Angeles to Lima, Ohio, evaporated into the deindustrialized dust of globalization?... "
"Las Vegas as America, America as Las Vegas. It's like what came first? The chicken or the egg?" says Vegas historian Michael Green. "Fresno, California, doesn't have a row of casinos, but you can be sure it has some part of town where you can go for vice even though it's supposed to be illegal. Here it's not necessarily vice in the first place, but it's certainly not illegal. We have the same sort of stuff and more. Except that unlike in most places, here it's just out in the open." What extraordinary prescience social critic Neil Postman displayed when he wrote in his 1985 book Amusing Ourselves to Death that Las Vegas--where Wall Street corporations had replaced mafias and mobs--should be considered the "symbolic capital" of America. "At different times in our history," Postman wrote, "different cities have been the focal point of a radiating American spirit." In the era of the Revolutionary War, Boston embodied the ideals of freedom; in the mid-nineteenth century, "New York became the symbol of a melting-pot America." In the early twentieth century, the brawn and inventiveness of American industry and culture were captured in the energy of Chicago. "Today," Postman concluded, "we must look to the city of Las Vegas, Nevada, as a metaphor of our national character and aspiration, its symbol a thirty-foot-high cardboard picture of a slot machine and a chorus girl. For Las Vegas is a city entirely devoted to the idea of entertainment, and as such proclaims the spirit of a culture in which all public discourse increasingly takes the form of entertainment. Our politics, our religion, news, athletics, education and commerce have been transformed into congenial adjuncts of show business, largely without protest or even much popular notice."

Read more of America's Last Honest City at the Nation

"The terrible, cold, cruel part is Wall Street. Rivers of gold flow there from all over the earth, and death comes with it. There, as nowhere else, you feel a total absence of the spirit: herds of men who cannot count past three, herds more who cannot get past six, scorn for pure science and demoniacal respect for the present. And the terrible thing is that the crowd that fills the street believes that the world will always be the same and that it is their duty to keep that huge machine running, day and night, forever. This is what comes of a Protestant morality, that I, as a (thank God) typical Spaniard, found unnerving.”

Federico Garcia Lorca


PETA Airlines

"The requirement of having planes return to the gates within a three-hour window or face significant fines is inconsistent with our goal of completing as many flights as possible. Lengthy tarmac delays benefit no one."

James May
Air Transport Association chief

Just in time for the holiday travel season and a round of record setting blizzards, the Obama administration announced the airlines will be fined for keeping passengers sitting on airport tarmacs for more than three hours. The airlines say they will comply with the rules...but they are not happy.

Apparently, it conflicts with their goal of completing as many flights as possible. Evidently, passenger comfort and reassurance are not high on the list of goals. If you've ever been stuck on the tarmac for extended periods of time, you will cheer this decision.

Once I flew back to the Twin Cities from Washington DC, after being stuck on the Dulles Airport tarmac for a couple hours. Once airborne, the plane intercom announced that the toilet was inoperable and could not be used. A few minutes later, the same intercom announced that complimentary drinks would be served. I almost peed my pants...and it wasn't from laughing.


Crap and Tirade...

"Can't you take her at her word? She's going to be a force in the Republican Party for a long time and the hysterical attacks on her from the left continue to validate that."

Republican Senator John McCain


There's No "GOP" in "Progressive"

"Instead of joining us on the right side of history, all the Republicans can come up with is, 'Slow down, stop everything, let's start over.' If you think you've heard these same excuses before, you're right. When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said, 'Slow down, it's too early, things aren't bad enough.'"

Senator Harry Reid

"If I were still a United States senator, I would not only vote yes on the current health care reform bill, I would do so with the sure knowledge that I was casting one of the most historic votes of my 36 years in the Senate. I would vote yes knowing that the bill represents the culmination of a struggle begun by Theodore Roosevelt nearly a century ago to make health care reform a reality. And while it does not contain every measure President Obama and I wanted, I would vote yes for this bill certain that it includes the fundamental, essential change that opponents of reform have resisted for generations...."

Vice President Joe Biden
Read Why the Senate Should Vote Yes on Health Care in the New York Times