Sam Spade and The Las Vegas Train to Nowhere

If The Complete Las Vegan could mandate devotees to read one thing this weekend (besides his phenomenal column, of course, which you can find here after 3 a.m. PST on Sunday) it would be this David Brooks piece headlined "Sam Spade at Starbucks."

Brooks takes us on a delightful editorial journey in which he suggests that the do-gooders who seek to change the world through things such as "microloans and sustainable agriculture" would do well to read Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler to complete their education. Like Sam Spade in "The Maltese Falcon," a better sense of hardheadedness, it's helpful to know the reality that venality exists in even our heroes

Brooks concludes: "It would focus attention on the core issues: order and rule of law. And it would be necessary. Contemporary Washington, not to mention parts of the developing world, may be less seedy than the cities in the noir stories, but they are equally laced with self-deception and self-dealing."

The first thing that popped into my head after reading that line was the vision of Harry Reid switching his long standing opposition to the so-called "Slow-speed train to Victorville" and suddenly supporting it with its interesting cast of characters just before the fight of his re-election life in 2010. You know there's a story in there somewhere, sweetheart.

Bogie, you out there?