These are glum times in Las Vegas. Convention attendance and gaming revenues are down; bankruptcies and foreclosures are up. As one bankruptcy attorney remarked to the Las Vegas Business Press: “Elvis has left the building.” The city has not lost its ability to generate bizarre news, though. Here is Hubert Blackman, a student from New York City, age unspecified, who visited Las Vegas last December. Mr. Blackman hired a stripper to come to his room and do what such girls do. Alas, he was drunk, and the lady left before the agreed-upon time had elapsed. Mr. Blackman called the police, as anyone might. The officers, however, only reminded him that prostitution is illegal in Las Vegas (who knew?) and advised him to register a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Back home in New York, Mr. Blackman filed a lawsuit, claiming that he needs treatment for mental distress arising from the incident. This case cries out for Obamacare coverage.
Daniel Bell described himself as “a socialist in economics, a liberal in politics, and a conservative in culture,” and it’s no surprise that he chose the most upbeat option, if not always the best, in each case. The son of Lower East Side garment workers originally named Bolotsky, Bell was an anti-Stalin Trotskyist in the feverish political ferment of late-1930s CCNY, and throughout his life, he stayed where the intellectual action was — leftist journalism in the 1940s; sociology in the 1950s and 1960s, when that spuriously scientific field seemed destined to run the world; in 1965, founding with Irving Kristol, a fellow CCNY lunchroom debater, the Great Society–skeptic quarterly The Public Interest (which he left in 1973 after differing with Kristol over its direction); and in the 1970s, writing influential works on post-industrial society (he coined that now-common term) and the problems of capitalism. He argued stoutly but made few enemies, and while he was hardly a full-fledged man of the Right (in later years he disavowed any association with neoconservatism), his scrupulous attention to research, accuracy, and original thinking, combined with genuine respect for others’ views, made him an inspiration to believers in all those timeless virtues. Dead at 91. R.I.P.