Las Vegas Strip was a holiday let-down

To the editor:

I found the article "By gosh, by golly where's the holly?" in the Dec. 23 Business section quite timely. After the roughest year of my life, I am doing everything I can to embrace the festive spirit this year and talked a friend into joining me.

We visited the Strip on Dec. 21, my first holiday excursion in 19 years as a resident, and were sorely disappointed.

The Bellagio Conservatory was indeed spectacular and a great way to start our excursion. Beyond that, it went quickly downhill. We walked from Bellagio to The Venetian (based on all the promotion of "Winter in Venice,") and the only seasonal décor along the way was some garland and ornaments outside Caesars lobby.

The Venetian itself was a tremendous let-down. Amidst all the usual adornments of the Strip, the seasonal items were barely noticeable. The ice rink didn't look at all festive, given that it was dominated by a mirror ball that would have put Studio 54 to shame - not my idea of "holiday decor." I couldn't help but compare the absence with the significant displays put on for the Chinese New Year (for example.)

With the city still reeling from the effects of the "economic downturn," it would be nice to have a central place where locals could enjoy a stroll through a "winter wonderland." It might just help build a greater sense of community pride and appreciation, even if it didn't contribute to tourism.

Given that the community provides much to the casino companies, could they not offer something in return to our residents? It really gave me the sense that the Strip does not feel "part of" the community, given that most towns small or large throughout the country are much more festive and welcoming at this time of year.

Maybe there's hope for a "community holiday central" in the future of the Downtown Project?



It's not about hunting

To the editor:

When we consider that most American gun-owners are only concerned with rifles for hunting, or handguns for self-defense, and these are the core constituency of the National Rifle Association, some may wonder why the organization is rushing to defend the right to own military style weapons.

The reason is simple: Military style weapons are the key to all Second Amendment rights. Whenever an assault weapons ban survives a judicial test before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Second Amendment right of all Americans to keep and bear any type of firearms will cease to exist.

These rights have nothing to do with the right to hunt with firearms or the right to use them for personal self-defense; those rights exist only by extension. Gut the core and everything else is up for grabs.

Without the right to have an assault rifle, these rights simply do not exist. Consider the words of the Second Amendment itself: "A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, will not be infringed."

The arms covered are those that can be used for warfare, and the idea is that familiarity and practice with such weapons in peacetime is the key to providing a pool of skilled manpower for employment in the military. In fact it was exactly to further this purpose that the National Rifle Association was originally founded, with the blessing, and for many years with the support, of the government, since in those days shooters were considered a resource and not a danger to the state.

The lawyers among the anti-gun community are well aware of these facts, and members of the anti-gun movement, men such as the mayor of New York, are trying to use the natural repulsion that all Americans feel against the terrible massacre of innocent lives to split the firearms using community and - once the President has appointed a couple of new Supreme Court Judges - to obtain judicial nullification of the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

For this reason, anti-gun advocates keep talking about why this won't cost anyone even a day's hunting, and that military weapons are useless for hunting, as if the Second Amendment were about hunting rights.

Declaring any area a gun-free zone without providing armed guards is just as useless as a judicial restraining order against a violent spouse abuser. It takes too long for help to reach the citizens who are threatened. The press also feeds the desires of insane people by giving each of them his five minutes of fame after every mass shooting.



Left and right

To the editor:

The past few weeks I have read with amusement the complaints about the conservative/anti-Obama editorial content of the comic strip Mallard Fillmore. I've also noted that there have been only a couple of responses pointing out how the extreme leftist/anti-Republican strip, Doonesbury, has been running for years in the comics section and that Fillmore now provides a balance.

I am writing because of the Dec. 25 editions. The Fillmore strip had a wonderful Christian message appropriate for the season. Doonesbury continued its week-long mockery of the so-called War on Christmas, which is trying to remove all traces of Christianity from the holiday in the name of political correctness.

Our nation was founded on basic Christian principles, from which we have turned away over the past 50 years. Until we get back to those principles, we will continue our downward spiral. I say keep both strips, read the one you like, and don't hate the other one. Maybe apply that attitude to society as well.



Two-way street

To the editor:

So it now looks like teachers will soon be evaluated based on students' test scores, if the district gets its way. Everything is armed, loaded and ready to fire at those that are doing, not trying, their best to work with students that may not want to be there. Accountability is fine. What about the parents' accountability?

Should parents' welfare checks be dramatically cut if the student is a behavior problem in class and refuses to allow education to take place? Or, should those not receiving benefits have their taxes increased and that money channeled into educational resources? How about parents who never read a book to their child? Or those who think the TV was created for the purpose of baby-sitting? What about the students who only show up to school once every two weeks so the parents can continue collecting benefits?

I have personally known of situations where administrators have changed a student's semester grade, even against the protest of the teacher, so that the student is able to "move on to the next grade." The student does not possess the skills necessary for the next grade, but somehow this is the teacher's fault?

Are there solutions? Yes.

1) If a child does not possess the skills to move on to the next grade, they don't move on. Start in kindergarten.

2) If you don't want to be a part of your child's life, don't have them. If you can't afford them, don't have them.

3) If a parent is on public assistance, don't reward them with extra funding for continuing to have children they can't take care of.

4) Allow discipline to take place in the classroom without telling us the students aren't responsible for their behavior.

5) Change the meal program. It is high in carbs and in sugar. Why is the meal program allowed to give them french toast sticks for lunch? They had a cinnamon roll for breakfast, provided by the district, then they're given sweets again at lunch. Afterwards, they are expected to sit still, stay awake, and learn because the teachers' evaluations will be based on their performance.

6) If a student doesn't want to be there and is disruptive, even if based on their "disability," remove them from the class and allow everyone else the chance to get the education they deserve and that taxpayers are funding.