Sucked Into The Tunnels Beneath Las Vegas

From NPR:

Matt O’Brien, a Las Vegas writer, has been exploring this underworld for several years. On one particular evening, he’s outfitted sort of like a commando, with heavy boots, backpack and an industrial-sized flashlight that could double as a weapon.

“I’ve been exploring these storm drains for more than five years,” he says sloshing through muck and gravel that blanket the tunnel floor. “I think I know these storm drains better than anyone who doesn’t actually live in them. And I know the storm drain system probably — and this is nothing to brag about — better than anyone else.”

No reason to doubt him. In 2007, O’Brien published a book, Beneath the Neon, about the 300 miles of underground tunnels that crisscross beneath the city.

“So, yeah, now we’re moving underneath Caesar’s Palace. Walking underneath kind of the main property there. This is one of the creepier areas of the storm drain system. Very remote, wet … extremely dark.”

It’s after 9 p.m. on a weekday night. The Vegas Strip is bustling above. The stage shows are under way. In the tunnels, there is stale air and utter darkness.

At one point, the tunnel widens to form a chamber. Above is a metal grate and, somewhere beyond that, the sky. The plump, almost illegible cursive of graffiti lettering covers the walls — beautiful colors and designs — that can be seen by flashlight.

“This is one of the underground art galleries that I discovered down in the storm drains. Basically, you walk in about a half-mile in pitch dark, and you have artwork going down the walls that goes down for about a half-mile,” O’Brien says.

Ahead, the tunnel devours the flashlight beam. Noises make him stop and shine the light back in the other direction.

Fitzmas

From the AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) — For Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, it’s too bad prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald ever came home.

While holding down the job of U.S. attorney in Chicago, Fitzgerald commuted to the nation’s capital, investigating the disclosure of the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame all the way to the office of Vice President Dick Cheney.

“We’re all going back to our day jobs,” Fitzgerald said last year at the U.S. courthouse in Washington after winning a conviction against Cheney’s former chief of staff.

Since then, Fitzgerald’s “day job” in Chicago has been incredibly busy.

On Tuesday, Fitzgerald shook the Illinois political world with the arrest of Blagojevich, a Democrat, for allegedly conspiring to sell the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by President-elect Barack Obama.

It’s unusual for a federal prosecutor to have on his resume two such politically sensitive investigations in different parts of the country. And that’s not all. In an extraordinarily productive seven-year tenure, Fitzgerald also won the conviction of the previous Illinois governor, Republican George Ryan, who is in prison for racketeering.

Daily Dose of Ingersoll

The ages of muscle and miracle — of fists and faith — are passing away. Minerva occupies at last a higher niche than Hercules. Now a word is stronger than a blow. At last we see women who depend upon themselves — who stand, self poised, the shocks of this sad world, without leaning for support against a church — who do not go to the literature of barbarism for consolation, or use the falsehoods and mistakes of the past for the foundation of their hope — women brave enough and tender enough to meet and bear the facts and fortunes of this world.

The men who declare that woman is the intellectual inferior of man, do not, and cannot, by offering themselves in evidence, substantiate their declaration.

Robert Green Ingersoll – “Men, Women, And God” (1885)