The Vegas Disasters

From Richard Abowitz’s Gold Plated Door:

The economy has brought a lot of hardship on Vegas. But hiding with that excuse are those things that were clearly disasters from the outset. Sure blame the economy now, but even in boom times these were bad ideas:

1. Lake Las Vegas: An artificial lake built for rich people 20 miles from Las Vegas. The “lake” is bankrupt. The Ritz-Carlton is closing and so is the casino. Ponder for a moment why no one was laughed off the idea of expending hundreds of millions to build a lake to cater to people who what to live in a desert.

2. The Las Vegas Monorail: I have been going on about how the monorail was destined to fail since almost the day it opened. But Steve Wynn also must have had an inkling as his then being built casino chose not to linkup with a station of its own. Rider expectations that were laughable and officials who were arrogant and quick to respond to criticism with a blizzard of irrelevant facts, but never quite got around to giving me an interview to answer the unanswerable questions about financing. This fiasco is still unraveling.

His post names a few other things on the list. What kills me about the Las Vegas Monorail is how damn expensive it is. Five dollars for a one way ride? If you’re traveling with a friend it’s cheaper and more convenient just to take a cab. (Which is what we did most of the time last week) It’s a hike to get to the Monorail as it is. A cab will take you directly to where you’re going.

Welcoming the Year of the Tiger

From The Big Picture:

Last Sunday, February 14th was the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year. It is also the beginning of the Chinese Spring Festival, with celebrations and observations by ethnic Chinese and others around the world, welcoming in the Year of the Tiger. Conservationists are hoping to capitalize on the Year of the Tiger by calling attention to the plight of the endangered big cats. The number of wild tigers is thought to have dropped from 100,000 at the beginning of the 20th century to fewer than 3,000 today. In September, the World Bank and Russia will hold a summit on tiger conservation in Vladivostok, encouraging countries that are host to wild tigers to reach agreements to further protect and expand their habitat.

Today in TSA Dumbfuckery

Student Handcuffed for English-Arabic Flashcards:

Nicholas George was just trying to get to college for his senior year. It was August 29, 2009, and he was attempting to fly from Philadelphia to Southern California to start up his senior year at Pomona College.

While he was going through the security line at Philadelphia International Airport, TSA agents put him through extra screening, according to his lawsuit, filed by the ACLU.

They asked him to empty his pockets, and he had some English-Arabic flashcards in them, as he’d been learning Arabic for three years and was a Middle-Eastern Studies major. After discovering the flashcards, the TSA agents kept him in the screening area for a half hour.

Then a TSA supervisor arrived and “immediately began questioning Mr. George in a hostile and aggressive manner.”

She asked about how he felt about 9/11.