Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Stupid Girls Pt. II

Funny how some things never seem to change! Stupid Girl Lindsay Lohan had barely gotten out of rehab when she was arrested again for DUI and felony cocaine possession. According to reports she had a BAC of .12 was booked on two counts of DUI, driving on a suspended license (where have we heard that one before?), as well as possession of cocaine and transportation of a narcotic into a custody facility. She was released after posting a $25,000 bond. Needless to say she's in deep trouble this time. If she thought 23 days in jail was bad for po' Paris, wait until she gets the book thrown at her for this exercise in stupidity. This goes back to the point I made in my earlier post that having wealth and power can't save you from your own stupid decisions.

Stupid Girls indeed.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Vacation and more by Vegas Art Guy

So, I'll be on vacation all next week, returning to the desert on the 29th. I do have a couple of thoughts to leave you with.

The first is the dogfighting ring that Mike Vick was indicted for running out of one of his homes and travelled across state lines to fights. How stupid can people be? One, race has nothing to do with it, this is about the cruel and inhumane treatment of dogs, you know, man's best friend?

He's in deep trouble over this because they are federal charges and not state ones. The feds don't mess around and most sane people have a visceral dislike to dogfighting these days. If he gets convicted of these charges and the IRS ones that are likely to follow (think he reported his winnings as 'income'?) his career is over. Nike has already delayed the launch of his new shoe until the dust settles on this.

The second is the betting scandal that involves an NBA referee. I'll be honest, I don't think this would have happened in Las Vegas because of all the internal and external policing that goes on here. Even though the sports books are in competition with each other, they will not hesitate to contact other books when any whiff of suspicious activity goes on. Bets, betting trends, and who's laying them are all analyzed for suspicious behavior. Things go sideways when the mob gets involved, once they get their hooks in you, you're dead meat.

The NBA is really going to have it's hands full with this one. David Stern needs to be very transparent with this issue and not try to hide anything even things that make the NBA look bad because a little pain now is preferable to lots of pain later. The refs themselves are also going to have to open their closets to make sure this is an isolated incident and do everything they can to avoid this in the future.

I'll see every one in a week, try to stay cool and avoid the truthberry punch kool aid!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Flashback by Vegas Art Guy

I was watching a History Channel Special on the Doomsday clock. This clock measured how close we were to doomsday and started shortly after WWII. It's gone from 15 minutes to midnight to about 5 minutes to midnight and back again depending on events like the cold war, SALT talks etc.

While this was interesting what made me remember this was one small scene that is still seared in my memory. That of airplanes slamming into the WTC on 9/11. I had not really thought about that terrible day in quite a while. And while the pictures of the buildings, ground zero and all that reminded me of that attack, the reaction wasn't the same. But when that airplane slammed into the tower I was brought back almost 6 years, and when the buildings fell I had tears in my eyes and a heavy feeling in my heart as those people ran for their lives among the death and destruction brought about by Al-Queda.

I hope that nobody ever forgets 9/11 and why we were attacked. If you ever get the chance watch the documentary that was filmed that day by a pair of French Filmmakers who were following around some of NYC's bravest. It shows both the best and worst humanity has to offer and is a stark reminder of the evil that faces us.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Why we hearken back by Vegas Art Guy

So why do many hearken back to the Reagan presidency anyway? Was the world that much simpler? Are we simply viewing those 8 years through rose colored glasses? Too much red state kool-aid? What is it about his administration that makes us all warm and fuzzy?

It's a few things actually. First and foremost, Reagan understood something that many in the GOP have forgotten. In most cases government is the problem, not the solution! He understood that in order to make our country as successful as possible that government needed to get out of the way and allow her citizens to do what we do best. He cut taxes, instructed his cabinet to go on a diet, cut red tape and then we did the rest.

Secondly he was not afraid to call evil, evil. He understood that you can't appease dictators and that the USSR was an 'Evil Empire' that needed to be defeated. In order to do this he did a couple of things. He supported anti communist forces like the contras. He increased military spending and development, trusting that we could not just increase the size of our military to match the USSR but that we could and did develop better tanks, aircraft and naval craft. You can't leave out SDI either. "Star Wars" as the press decried it was the final piece of the puzzle. It rendered MAD obsolete because we could shoot down their missiles and they could do nothing in return. It worried the USSR so much that they tried to get Reagan to cancel it during the 1986 talks in Iceland. Reagan not only denied this request but simply walked out of the meetings. What we didn't know at the time is that the Soviet economy was on the brink of collapse because Reagan simply out spent the Russians, knowing that their economic system was a corrupt as their political system. In addition he was not afraid to take military action either. After shooting down two Libyan MiGs, the Libyans bombed a nightclub in Germany killing some servicemen and innocent civilians alike. Once we knew that Libya was responsible, Reagan slapped them around, bombing military and economic targets alike. The result? We didn't hear much from them again until they gave up their WMD programs a few years ago. (The MSM really covered that story as well didn't they?) He knew that if this challenge went unanswered, that the terror would only increase. He did the right thing despite the howling from the democrats and the far left.

Finally, he came into office with a clear set of goals that he wanted to accomplish and then picked good people to put them into place. As long as the methods fell under his general guidelines his subordinates could come up with the best solution for the problem. This meant that from day 1 his administration could get to work and in addition it allowed them to drive policy and kept the press from controlling things because they were constantly reacting to the administration and not the other way around. As I remarked earlier, this was his one weakness and led to the Iran-Contra scandal because John Poindexter and Ollie North took advantage of their relative freedom and went down a path that Reagan didn't see coming and didn't want to go down.

Because the GOP had forgotten the Reagan model and his beliefs, they got their butt's kicked in 2006. If the GOP wants to retain the White House and regain control of congress and the senate, they're going to have to go back to the Reagan model. If it's not broke, don't fix it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

%*@#$ computer! By Vegas Art Guy

Sums it up doesn't? Tuesday for unknown reasons (no it's not Bush's fault!) my computer no longer powers up. After taking it to the local CompUSA where I bought it (no surprise it worked fine for the tech) I had to call tech support to have someone come out and look at it. Thank goodness I paid extra to have the extended warranty on that high tech piece of...

Anyway, the part the tech needs should show up in a couple of days, then I get to call the tech line back to arrange for the tech to replace either the power supply or the mother(effen) board. Meanwhile I have to access my personal email at the library and blog from elsewhere.

The good news is that I'll have more time to finish some reading and my latest art project. Wish me luck that I get my computer back up and soon.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Ronnie by The Vegas Art Guy

Now that school is out, I was able to start some serious reading. I just finished a book by Peter Wallison that talked about how Reagan governed in DC and why this style was both his greatest strength and his weakness.

Unlike many Presidents, Reagan came into office with not only a clear plan of what he wanted to do, but he also knew how he wanted to do it. He focused on a few clear goals, reducing the size of government, lowering taxes, defeating the USSR and allowing people to reach their full potential here in the USA.

He would then articulate those ideas to the members of his cabinet, who would then implement his ideas. As long as the end was accomplished, he allowed the people under him to come up with the best way to implement what he wanted done. By delegating his authority to the experts (something that good business managers do all the time) Reagan was able to focus his attention on the big picture. This worked very well for the first six years of his administration. Because Reagan had a set plan from day one, his administration were able to keep the press's attention on what he wanted to accomplish and why, in effect the press was not driving the activity of the administration like they had with many others.

This policy also hamstrung him with Iran/Contra. Because he did not involve himself in the day to day dealings of everything that went on (and realistically, he couldn't) and because he was not cynical by nature, it allowed the possibility of this scandal to occur.

Reagan gave conflicting testimony because he was unaware of what Poindexter and North were doing and why they were doing it. Now before you start sputtering and saying something along the lines of "Well he should have known!" ask yourself this. Would Anne M. Mulcahy be expected to know what's going on at every Xerox account in N. America? Of course not! That's the job of the Field and District Managers, her job is to keep the big picture in mind and to keep Xerox growing and thriving. You can't expect her to know what's going on in Las Vegas any more than we should expect the President to know what every person in their administration is doing at any one time.

Once Reagan got the full picture of what happened (not easy because North and Poindexter covered everything up) he was able to dismiss them, apologize and get his administration back on track.

Reagan was truly a great president, but he like all great leaders was not perfect and had his failures and shortcomings.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Stupid Girls by The Vegas Art Guy

Stupid Girls

“You pretend you're high
Pretend you're bored
Pretend you're anything
Just to be adored
And what you need
Is what you get

Don't believe in fear
Don't believe in faith
Don't believe in anything
That you can't break

You stupid girl
You stupid girl
All you had you wasted
All you had you wasted”

Those are the lyrics to the song “Stupid Girl” by the band Garbage. I picked those lyrics because they embody the attitude of characters in two stories that I am going to talk about, and how their stories relate to today’s pop culture and a couple of infamous pop tarts.

The first story that I am going to discuss is “Daisy Miller: A Study” by Henry James. In this story a young rich American girl named Daisy Miller travels through Europe breaking every social taboo she can get her hands on. The rules and social mores that guided how European society operated were to be bent, used and ignored depending on how she felt at the moment. It’s also worth mentioning that she was an American and the rules in the United States were different than those in Europe. However, she had been in Europe long enough to know right from wrong in social settings, and she enjoyed upsetting the social structure simply because she could. She’s a master at getting her own way and has a crowd of male admirers orbiting around her like the moon orbits the earth. Her father is nowhere to be found, her mother can’t control her little brother, much less Daisy, and she comes and goes as she pleases. One of these men, named Randolph Winterborne, who starts out totally captivated by Daisy and ends up distancing himself from her at the end.

In her world everything and everyone is hers to use at her pleasure. She doesn’t help rein in her little brother because if her mother is too tired to keep tabs on what she is doing and whom she’s doing it with Daisy can then come and go as she pleases. All the men in her life are there to take her places usually without any sort of chaperone, which was a huge deal those days because ‘good’ girls don’t do things like that in Europe. She, like many people of wealth and privilege likes to think the rules don’t apply to her. Daisy continues to push the envelope and eventually ends up dead as result of her poor decisions.

In the short story “Winter Dreams”, written by F. Scott Fiztgerald, Dexter Green becomes addicted to Judy Jones, a young rich hussy who flits from sexual partner to sexual partner, never wondering or caring about the cost of her lifestyle. Dexter meets her at a party she is holding while her parents are on vacation and he instantly falls under her spell. Even though Dexter and many of her other lovers know about each other, they have all fallen under her spell, and when she beckons, they come running. Dexter is no different, even ruining his marriage in order to have one last fling with Judy. Finally he moves far away from her and just when he thinks he’s heard the last of Judy Jones he finds out that not only did she get married but that her husband is militantly unfaithful to her. Although Dexter gets little satisfaction out of this information, most readers certainly do.

Finally we have the real life examples of Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton. Both of these young ladies have made the headlines with their poor decisions, fondness for alcohol, and a penchant for breaking social taboos as they see fit.

Paris Hilton just finished up a 23-day stint for a probation violation stemming from an earlier drunk-driving incident in which she pledged not to drive until her license was reinstated. Now since she swims in hundred dollar bills, it’s not like she couldn’t afford to hire a driver to take her from place to place, she just figured that the laws of the land didn’t apply to her. Her story has gotten so much attention that recently Mika Brzezinski refused to lead the news on MSNBC with the latest in the Paris saga and literally tried to burn the story on air. This follows incidents where photographs of intimate body parts were taken as she exited vehicles and partied at local hot spots. In addition, one of her ex lovers had video taped them while they were having some private time and then turned that private time into an adult movie ala Pamela and Tommy Lee. Needless to say she’s managed to combine the worst traits of both Judy and Daisy Miller into one blonde mug shot. Yea, that’s “Hot” alright.

Although Lindsay Lohan hasn’t yet starred in any adult films, she is facing the same legal problem stemming from a crash in late May where she tested at double the legal limit for alcohol. Keep in mind that she’s not yet 21 years old so you can add that to her legal troubles. Lindsay is also in rehab for her alcohol problems, something that she has in common with her father. Now that the Paris saga is over, expect Lindsay to push important things like the war on terror off the front pages and lead stories of newspapers and broadcasts.

As the four ladies have found out to their detriment and even early death, money and prestige cannot save you from your own poor decisions. They all thought that they were either bullet proof or made of Teflon due to their wealth, prestige or social standing. Instead they all learned the hard way that in the end, what you do will eventually catch up with you. Stupid girls indeed.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

All Slaughters are not equal... by The Vegas Art Guy

Michael Yon, who is currently covering the real war in Iraq has reported on the true face of the enemy in Iraq. Be warned, the photos are brutal to look at, so if you have a tender stomach scroll past them. Long story short, AQI is not above depopulating villages that don't subscribe to their brand of Islam. Recently US and Iraqi soldiers happened across what was the village of al Hamira. The village was abandoned with the exception of booby trapped roads, animals and houses. The question on every one's mind "Where are the villagers?" was answered soon enough in a nearby palm grove where the smell of dead bodies were overwhelming.

At last report the total body count in the palm grove was 14. What has made many online very angry is the lack of reporting on this story by the MSM. While every coalition soldier's death is reported along with every mistake, abuse and other blunder by the MSM with huge headlines and lead story status, the silence regarding the barbarity of Al Queda and their ilk is staggering, but not surprising. Why would the media, who hate Bush with a passion, do anything to help him out? Why would they reverse themselves on their mantra of "Iraq is a failure", "Cut & Run", or any other idiocy? Because that would mean admitting they were wrong about many things. The nature of the enemy in Iraq, the real story about Iraq, President Bush and a great many things regarding the war on terror.

Their failure to report on stories like this is why more and more people are using the new media to get their news, the old guard is to interesting in pushing politics to accurately report on what's really happening in Iraq and around the world to be trusted, and their declining circulation and viewership is a direct result of this poor journalism.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Gridlock in DC by The Vegas Art Guy


The very name conjures up images of huge traffic jams where tempers flare and time stands still. In Washington it's used to show how the system is broken and in need of repair... or is it?

Would it surprise you to learn that gridlock is built into how we make laws? Separation of powers, a bicameral legislature and an independent judiciary are all designed to make sure that it's very difficult to pass legislation in Washington DC.

Our founding fathers wanted to make sure that power was not usurped into the hands of a few, so they dispersed power into three branches and then allowed all the competing interests fight with each other knowing that change would come at a snails pace when no crisis was facing the country and that in times of war the country would come together out of self preservation, much like the Greek City States did in ancient times.

The result is that many times legislation does not get passed unless it's either very routine or in response to a true crisis. The minority party has enough power most times to scuttle legislation it does not like. That's why the filibuster in the Senate and procedural rules in the house are in place, not to irritate the average citizen but to protect them and us, from the government.

So the next time you hear or read about gridlock in DC, don't be alarmed, it means the system is working.