- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 7, 2000

Family Vegas?

"I've never been to Las Vegas before. But here I am, bound for 'Sin City' on business … and my flight is filled with eager travelers, many of them clutching copies of the National Enquirer and the Weekly World News.

"I can't help but imagine all the city's attractions: prostitution and poker, topless showgirls and organized crime. Yet perhaps I'm mistaken. If the travel brochures are to be believed, the plane I'm aboard is headed for America's hottest new family destination, right alongside Orlando and Anaheim, with roller coasters and video arcades, wholesome entertainment and fun, fun, fun for kids of all ages… .

"The Las Vegas phone book, which services more than 1.2 million people, lists less than half a page of baby-sitting services. This apparent shortcoming is offset by 12 pages of check-cashing services, 14 pages of plastic surgeons, 22 pages of pawn and loan shops, 26 pages of quickie wedding chapels and 135 pages of attorneys. Churches garner eight pages; mental health services, one."

Greg Hartman, writing on "Heads you lose, tails you lose," in the May issue of Citizen

Home Depot education

"If you own a house and look after it yourself, you can probably give directions to your nearest Home Depot… . It is my favorite store … a treasure cave of tools, lumber, roofing, shelving, siding, wiring, screws, nails, hooks, paint, glue, pipes, bulbs, soffits, grommets and grout.

"Then there are the ancillary pleasures of shopping in an establishment as big as the Palace of Versailles: the puzzle-solver's joy at tracking down the item you came in for along those endless aisles, the awe with which you contemplate the number of other things they persuaded you to buy along the way, the satisfaction of knowing that you are doing something that Al Gore and his legions of anti-'sprawl' busybodies do not want you to do… .

"Home Depot performs at least one other social function: It has taken up the slack on craft education, now being rapidly abandoned by the public schools. The high school shop teacher is becoming an endangered species, a victim of the creeping intellectualization of our culture.

"From its origin as a nation of traders, farmers and artisans, America seems to have swung around to the point of view hammered into the heads of Chinese kids for 2,000 years: … 'Everything else is low grade, only book learning counts.'

"The coming generation will learn how to cut wood, join pipes or tile walls by attending Home Depot classes."

John Derbyshire in "Store of Stores" in the June 19 issue of National Review

'Incomparable' Rosie

"They call her the 'Queen of Nice,' but she didn't ask for the title, and she refuses to wear the crown. 'I am not the Queen of Nice,' she says emphatically, indeed, angrily… .

"In fact, Rosie O'Donnell has become the celebrity who most inflames the Right. She has surpassed Barbra Streisand, the Baldwin brothers, and even Jane Fonda, who has apparently found religion… .

"Shortly after her show began in 1996, Rosie revealed herself as a Democrat… . Rosie has a certain tic about Republicans and money. Recently, she opined that her neighbors in Greenwich, Conn., 'have too much money.' …

"For Hillary, her affection is unbounded. She told her friend Nora Ephron, in an interview for Redbook, 'I wish that she were running for Senate as a divorcee, but I will support her' in any case. The first lady has been on the 'Rosie' show at least five times.

"At last fall's 'Broadway for Hillary' fund-raiser, Rosie spilled acid on Mayor [Rudolph W.] Giuliani… . She said that if he wrote a book, it would be called 'It Takes a Village Idiot.' …

"Worse, in a joke about a mainly black Broadway cast, she implied that Giuliani was a racist. Hillary expressed her thanks by calling Rosie 'absolutely incomparable.' "

Jay Nordlinger, writing on "Rosie O'Donnell, Political Activist," in the June 19 issue of National Review

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