If you’re not checking out the local blogs on reviewjournal.com, here’s just a sample of what you’ve been missing:


Limited Engagement: The ‘Coasters’?

Kathy Hardcastle, then chief judge of District Court, looked the other way last year while Judge Lee Gates sat on the bench for only 21 days but still drew full pay.

"Then, as 2008 wound down and Judge Hardcastle was due to cycle off the chief judge position, I am told, she re-jiggered the court calendars down at District Court so that she only had to work about 30 percent of the number of cases of the other judges. She wants to coast into retirement, just as she allowed Judge Gates to do.

"Thankfully, the new chief judge saw the inequity and added to her work load early this month. She threw a fit. But she’s still getting a deal. The average judge at District Court is scheduled to handle 1,500 to 2,000 cases in 2009. Meanwhile, lazy Judge Hardcastle, unless something changes, will be lucky to handle 1,000 cases."

Go to www.lvrj.com/blogs/sherm/.


Go ahead, make my lunch!

"Looking for a safe place to lunch in downtown Las Vegas? May I recommend Jason’s Deli at the Molasky building next to the IRS building? Half the dining room was filled Wednesday with law enforcement people packing guns. It gives one a sense of security to know that there’s serious firepower sitting next to you."

Go to www.lvrj.com/blogs/morrison/.


More taste, less fill-ups

Patriotism never lowers the bar — ever– even when it comes to the American auto industry. Behavioral health consultant Steven Kalas reveals the details of his 20-plus year love affair with all things Honda and says he can’t find the logic in the proposed auto-industry bailout. The message, he says, is best described by the headlines of a biting, fake advertisement for an American-made minivan, which he received from a friend:

"You wouldn’t buy our $*!t#y cars … so we’re taking your money anyway."

Go to www.lvrj.com/blogs/kalas/.


CHURCH OF TWAIN: When the mob ran the town

So, how much has Las Vegas changed since the mob days of cheap meals and freer comps?

Yes, there are fewer bodies buried in the desert or "… neon soaked images of dark suits and sequined gowns, of Rat Pack soundtracks and guys with colorful nicknames who talked out of the sides of their mouths … "

They have been replaced by corporate MBAs and lawyers. And just how has that turned out?

"Look no further than the details of the story of high roller ‘Omar’ Siddiqui, now indicted for bilking Fry’s Electronics vendors out of $65 million and laundering it in Las Vegas to pay his gambling debts, for clues about the ruthless and relentless credit activities at some casinos."

The lesson?

" … while the styles have changed, the character of man has not. There are many ways to act like a racketeer these days. It can be argued that the titans of gaming’s modern era are as ruthless as their forefathers ever dreamed of being."

For more of John L. Smith’s thoughts on this and some wisdom from Mark Twain, go to go to www.lvrj.com/blogs/smith/.


Rebels brewin’ Bruin battle

UCLA has played in the Las Vegas Bowl three times since 2002. Now it appears UNLV may be heading to the Rose Bowl — to play the Bruins.

The schools, which have never played, are talking about a home-and-home deal if they can agree on dates.

UNLV also is in talks for a home-and-home with Iowa State, which has become a frequent opponent. The teams agreed in October to play a home-and-home in 2020 and 2021, but this other pair of meetings would be sooner if dates can be worked out. UNLV beat the Cyclones 34-31 in overtime in September.

Go to www.lvrj.com/blogs/unlvsports/.

And finally … a story laid to rest


Was Sen. Harry Reid’s great-great uncle Remus Reid hanged as a horse thief and train robber in Montana in 1889? That was the rumor circulating on the Web recently, along with a photo.

Turns out, the photo was of the hanging of a member of the old Hole in the Wall Gang, Thomas "Black Jack" Ketchum. According to Wikipedia, he was hanged in 1901 in Clayton, N.M., for attempted train robbery. The rope was too long, and nobody in Clayton had ever hanged anyone, so Ketchum was decapitated when he dropped through the trap door.

His last words: "I’ll be in hell before you start breakfast, boys! Let her rip!"

His head was sewn back onto the body for viewing.

Go to www.lvrj.com/blogs/mitchell/.

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