Monday, January 12, 2009

Destroying the dollar receives bipartisan support

The AP is reporting on a bipartisan effort to destroy the dollar:

A request for the remaining $350 billion in financial industry bailout funds could come as early as Monday as the Bush administration and President-elect Barack Obama tag-team uneasy lawmakers for the money.

Thanks President Bush!

The article continues:

But to prevail, Obama and his team must soothe senators who feel burned by the way the Bush administration has used the TARP.

But after eight years of this:Is this all that shocking?

And topping off the Bush / Obama headlong rush to destroy the dollar is The Chief Architect of the 450-page bailout, Senator Chris Dodd.

"The (incoming) administration ... is going to fundamentally alter how this is being managed," Dodd said. "The concept is still very sound and solid and it is needed. But it's not going to pass around here unless there's a strong commitment to foreclosure mitigation."

Fundamentally alter? Ummm... Senator Dodd... what happened to your 447 pages of safeguards?

Tim White

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wonder what this museum, which is slated to be included in the Obama stimulus plan, will stimulate?


The Movable Buffet: Dispatches from Las Vegas by Richard Abowitz

The 'mob museum' kerfuffle
08:04 AM PT, Jan 12 2009

The proposed $50-million Las Vegas "mob museum" has wound up at the center of a minor storm in the national debate over President-elect Barack Obama's proposed economic stimulus package. Local journalist Steve Friess got Mayor Oscar Goodman to offer this defense of his pet project:

"I’m saying to myself, although my mother was a great artist, nobody’s going to come to downtown Las Vegas to look at paintings, they’re not going to look at watercolors, they're not going to look at porcelain, they’re not going to look at miniature trains. What will they look at? They’ll look at something that’s really embedded in history, that makes us unique and distinctive from any other city, that has a historical nexus, a keystone because of the Kefauver hearings, and I said, 'A mob museum!' And I think it’s a natural."

In response, the president-elect commented on ABC's "This Week": "We don't want is this thing to be a Christmas tree loaded up with a whole bunch of pet projects that people have for their local communities."

To give some history: The proposed building for the mob museum is where Sen. Estes Kefauver in 1950 parachuted into Vegas for a hearing on the mob's control of Vegas. That hearing on organized crime in Vegas lasted less than a day, heard from only a handful of witnesses, adjourned for a visit to Hoover Dam and never returned or followed up on Vegas.

Like so many before and after, Kefauver came to Vegas acting like a man chasing publicity. More important, an attitude that he was the first to talk about organized crime in Vegas resulted in alienating instead of assisting locals who had actually been trying to get the mob out of town for years, at great personal risk. In short, the Kefauver hearings were a farce of pretend government action. Kefauver went on to peddle his celebrity with a game show appearance. Of course, in a way, this makes the mob museum totally fitting as the proper backdrop of a government pork project more than 50 years later.

I will go on the record that I think the mob museum is a horrible idea. In 2009, Vegas has reinvented itself in so many ways and so many times that a mob museum already sounds quaint and dated. Maybe the last time this may have been a good idea was back when "The Sopranos" was a hit television show. Otherwise, if you care about the mob in Vegas, rent the movie "Casino."

The bigger issue is that no matter who is paying, museums are not the sort of new attractions Vegas needs right now to recover. This idea totally misses the mark of why people come to Vegas, and what makes Vegas so special. It is not our history but our lack of history that draws people. It is not the education you can gain about the history of the town when you visit Vegas, but what you can do in Vegas while visiting that brings the tourists.

As I have noted before, Vegas sells experience: entertainments that can't be pirated, downloaded or bought online. Therefore concerts, production shows, dining, gambling, nightclubs and attractions with interactions are going to continue to bring people here. To assist that process, Vegas has to return not to the days of the mob or invoking those memories, but to actually delivering the unbelievable bargains of 30 years ago. We need to allow regular, hardworking people to afford to come to Vegas and leave with memories that are worth their money.

In this way, Vegas is closer to a movie or compact disc than it is to most other tourists destinations. In many ways, one goes to Paris or New York to be steeped in their culture, visit museums and see landmarks. You experience those places hoping to gain something of the legendary location's special traditions and history.

That is not Las Vegas. Las Vegas is a gaudy blank slate of unlimited potential in which you create your own custom experiences during a visit. One does not come to Vegas for the history of Vegas -- mob or otherwise -- but for the ever-changing now of Las Vegas, with its malleable ways to take a walk on the wild side. What makes people come to Vegas is not what they can see here, but what they can do here. And, in that sense, money aside, the mob museum sort of misses the point: Vegas tourists want the now of this place, the torrent of possibilities of today's Vegas, not the then of this town's history. A Vegas trying to sell its past is a Vegas without a future.