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Friday, January 30, 2004

Well, if you don't like slavery, then just don't buy a slave!!!


I just saw this news article about a line of clothes for young girls that have cartoon quotes printed on them that read "The Stupid Factory - Where Boys are Made" and "Boys have Cooties." This is all well and good, and just a continuation of the traditional boys vs. girls feud that has gone on since they no longer had to worry about dying from Small Pox. However, some of the shirts go a bit beyond that: "Boys are stupid - Throw rocks at them" and "Boys are smelly - Throw Trash Cans at Them". I think that most reasonable people would agree that this is going a little overboard, and that clothing items like this deserved to be boycotted and banned from public schools for encouraging imminent violence.

That's not the part of the article that pissed me off, though. That part came when the clothing designer, Todd Goldman (fucking traitor!), stated "If a few people don't them, they don't have to buy them." I always want to smack people who say stupid shit like that. "If you don't like rap music don't buy it!" "If you don't like sexually explicit shows being aired at 3 PM, then don't watch them!" And, my favorite, "If you don't like abortions, then don't have one!"

A society has the right to decide what sort of behavior is and is not acceptable. If society determines that something is detrimental to their community and that thing is not constitutionally protected (unpopular speech, right to bear arms, freedom of press, etc.) then the society has not just a right, but an obligation to outlaw such behavior. The idea that they should sit blithely by and allow a corrosive element to go unhindered is ludicrous. In fact, the quote should be turned around on the speaker - "If you don't like our community's standards, then go to another fucking town."

"But, Ranja," you ask, "How are we to stop all the stupid people from passing laws against the things that I like to do!?!?!" Well, for starters you have not one, but TWO constitutions to help you out - both Federal and State. Many towns also have charters that set guidelines for what types of laws can be enforced. Within these limits, you should do everything in your power to make sure that the laws protect your way of life. For instance, while there is (or would be if our government wasn't evil) a consitutional right to grow and smoke your own marijuana (through either the judicially-constructed Right to Privacy, or the consitutional Right to Privacy that exists in states such as Alaska), there is no constitutional right to purchase marijuana. Therefore, you should work to make it so that such purchases are legal. If the community that you live in disagrees by a majority, then such purchases should remain illegal. Of course, this scenario is moot because our Federal Government has interpreted the Commerce Clause as a means of banning marijuana - but you get the idea.

Bottom line - it's a democracy. If we don't want it in our town, then not only will we not participate in it, but we'll prohibit it, as well. If you don't like it, then move to the next town.

All right, that took way too much of my time. Now we really are shutting down. Unless more mutants pop up.
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Thursday, January 29, 2004

It's finally happening

Real life is catching up with comic books. Let's hope that there are more like her to come. I'll be hoping that my kid gets a healing factor. You can have your teleportation and your sonic scream and your laser eyes - but all it takes is one good sniper shot, and you're just another rotting piece of meat. With a healing factor, you could not only survive that, but you could also survive the weathering of age. You'd be in your mid-to-late 30s forever. Invulnerability wouldn't give you that benefit.

If nature doesn't do it, then the science of genetics will. My granddaughter will have wings. I shit you not. These are exciting times.
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Sunday, January 25, 2004

One more example of why you should not ride your bike with the flow of traffic

A University of Georgia genetics professor was killed when her bike was hit from behind by a pick-up truck. This is, of course, a horrible thing, and it's made even worse by how easily it could have been avoided. This woman was clearly an exceptionally intelligent woman, and yet she did not seem to have the intelligence required to disobey a law that obliges you to not pay attention to several tons of metal and glass that are hurtling your direction. If she had been riding against the flow of traffic - or better yet, on the sidewalk - then she would have seen this negligent driver and been able to get out of his way. When you are on your bike, you must be aware of everything that is going on around you. It is absurd to intentionally block from your eyesight the most important information available to you - the car that is driving right by you.

And, while visiting the old Red & Black, I also found that a bunch of braindead young women were joyfully celebrating the 31st anniversary of when the Supreme Court seized control of our nation and gave women the right to kill their children. Susan B. Anthony would be so proud! Oh wait, no, Susan B. Anthony detested abortion. I keep forgetting that.

And closing on an upbeat note, I won the caption contest! It won't be announced until Monday, but trust me. Hey, what I can say. People love jokes about child molestation!

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Friday, January 23, 2004

A new dimension in blogging has revealed itself

They thought it had all gone wrong when Koppelman and all his Michigan friends began their blogs. But then things got even worse when Brett Willis stepped into the battle with his leftist ideology coupled with endless taunts of "idiot!" and "moron!" to all those who dared oppose him. And then Lewis Ranja dove into the fray with his dreams of Liberty and his hatred for Socialism! And people said "IT CAN'T GO ANY FURTHER THAN THIS!"

But it has.

Nathan Horsley has created a blogsite. The dawn of madness has begun.
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Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Poker and Liberty shutting down until February 27th

With four weeks to go until the California Bar Exam, I've decided that all of my spare time should be spent studying for the Exam. Far too much time is wasted on this blog shit. Posting and reading and commenting and insulting Koppelman. It has to go. There may be the occasional post, but for the most part I will only be using the Internet for its two true purposes: sending/reading E-mail and looking at fetish porn. On that latter note - is anyone else continuously amazed at how many beautiful girls there are in the world who are willing to completely debase themselves for the porn industry? Before the Internet, we all knew there were a few dozen truly attractive women who came from awful families and were willing to humiliate themselves on film - but Jesus Christ! There are thousands now! I've never seen the same girl twice! Can't they just find some rich guy to take care of them? It's truly mindboggling.

But anyways. That's that.
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Monday, January 19, 2004

POKER AND LIBERTY ENDORSES JOHN KERRY FOR PRESIDENT

Howard Dean can have Al Gore. Wesley Clark can have Michael Moore. But John Kerry gets Lewis Ranja as his endorser. My emerging enthusiasm for this man has reached a crescendo with his having won the Iowa caucus. Now read this site , which our own Brian Dille has pointed me towards. It's an excerpt from the recently published book about Kerry's service in Vietnam. Read it and try to fathom the idea of George Bush writing something like this.

"It was a rough day last Thursday. It was raining and so we couldn't take the jets up. My coke supplier was out of touch and . . . to top it all off, the TV was on the fritz. I tell ya. The National Guard is just hell."
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It's settled. John Kerry is my man.
Update - I've added the link. Sorry about that.

I'll be registering to vote in Nevada tomorrow - and, by god, I can't believe it - but I'll be registering as a goddamn Democrat. I just received NORML's report card on the candidates. It scores them on three subjects - Decriminalization, Medical Use, and the repeal of the Higher Education Act. Kerry comes up as a strong neutral on all three. This may not seem too promising until you actually read the quotes that are behind these "neutral" stances.

His view on decriminalization - "I've met plenty of people in my lifetime who've used marijuana and who I would not qualify as serious addicts -- who use about the same amount as some people drink beer or wine or have a cocktail. I don't get too excited by any of that." "What we did in the prosecutor's office was have a sort of unspoken approach to marijuana that was almost effectively decriminalization. We just didn't bother with small-time use. It doesn't rise to the level of nuisance, even. And what we were after was people dealing with heroin and destroying lives, and people who were killing people. That's where you need to focus."

This sounds like the thinking of a rational human being, which is something we have not seen in the White House for the last three years. I just keep reading better and better things about Kerry (See below "John Kerry - A libertarian?"). I also like the idea of having a war veteran in office again. A man who has actually faced the horrors of war might be a little less prone to just send soldiers off to fight them for profits.

I'm also very inspired by the fact that he's currently ahead in Iowa. I've actually become excited about this damn race! I might even volunteer for his campaign in Nevada.
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Sunday, January 18, 2004

Your Instructions - Part One

In the four months that I have been in Las Vegas, I have witnessed two quickly escalating trends. The first is the popularity of poker. It is now nearly impossible to get a seat at a poker table on the weekends. The lists for the low or midlimit tables will likely have twenty or thirty people in front of you. Last night, 4-8 Hold 'Em at Bellagio had nearly 100 people on the list. Soon, of course, this fashion will fade and the beautiful people will move on to whatever their television tells them to do next.

The second trend is much more disturbing because it has a far greater stench of permanence. When I first came out here, I remember sitting down at a Blackjack table, betting $10, getting blackjack on my first hand, and then looking up at the dealer with a perplexed expression when he only gave me $12. He pointed to a red sign on the table that read "Blackjack pays 6-5." I thought that was strange, picked up my chips, and moved to another table that had the traditional blackjack payout of 3-2.

Yesterday, I went into O'Shea's casino (a little at the center of the strip), with the intent to win $5 at blackjack and spend it on a Subway sandwich. The first table I see has that 6-5 red sign. So I move on to the next one (6-5) and to the next one (6-5) and the next one (6-5). Finally, I signal the pit boss and I ask him if there are any straight blackjack games here anymore. He tells me that everything is 6-5. I tell him that I won't be gambling in his casino on account of this fact. He leans in to me and says, "I don't blame you."

These red signs have been disgracing blackjack tables all across Vegas, and their spread shows no sign of stopping. The reason for this is because tourists sit down at their table, assume that the reduced payout is no big deal, and just play the game. But it is a big deal. NEVER PLAY 6-5 BLACKJACK. It might not seem like much, but in changing their Blackjack payout, the house has quadrupled their edge. It makes blackjack a worse game to play than roulette.

I just wanted to do my part to spread the word. So there you are.
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Your Instructions - Part Two

Go see "Big Fish". It's the best damn film I've seen in a while, and the best Tim Burton movie since Edward Scissorhands.
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Saturday, January 17, 2004

Proud to be an American

After that last post, I was left inspired to write a full remix of "I'm proud to be an American." So here it is:

I'm Proud to be an American
Rewritten by Lewis Ranja

If tomorrow, the government confiscated
Everything I had worked for my whole life
And like Randy Weaver, I had to bury
My children and my wife.

I'd thank my lucky stars
To be living here today
Because I've got satellite television
And they can't take that awaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!!!!!

And I'm proud to be an American!
Where I pay tax on property I already own!
And where I can be put in jail for smoking
The wrong type of plant when I'm in my own home!

And I'll proudly stand up PSSSSH!
Next to you and consent to a full body cavity search
Because I might have some cocaine hidden in my anus . . . . hidden in his anus
God Bless the U.S.AAAAAAAAA.

From the overcrowded prisons of Atlanta
To the drug ghettos of L.A.
And to your home in Des Moines, Iowa
Which the feds can now search while you're away.

From Waco up to Ruby Ridge
To each drug offender raped in prison every day
There's fear in every American heart
And it's time we stand and saaaaaaaay

That I'm still proud to be an American
Where I can at least fight for my right to be free
And I won't forget the men who died
On Bunker Hill to give that right to me.

And I'll proudly stand up Psssssh!!!!
Against John Ashcroft and defend her still today.
'Cause there ain't no doubt I still love this land still loves this land
God Bless . . . . the . . . . U . . . . S . . . . AAAAA.

(Copyrighted by Lewis Ranja, 2004)
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Amusing Vegas anecdote

I've kind of lying low on the Poker scene lately - and will continue to do so until I take the Bar Exam in February. I'm just playing low-stake no-stress poker - nothing that has the potential of sending me off some crazy bender that will leave the studies neglected.

So, last night, I was too tired for poker and had learned all I could about California Wills and Trusts. So I decided to wander on down to the Bellagio to watch the dancing water fountains, which go off every fifteen minutes. I left my wallet in my apartment - because I knew that I'd be tempted to play poker if I walked over there, and I also knew that I was too tired to play a good game. So I leave my apartment and walk across the street, as I always do, with a steady pace so that I'll get to the Fountains on time.

As I walk, I see three cops standing in front of me, but I don't think anything of it until one of them says something to me.

"What was that?" I ask.
"Could you take your hands out of your pockets?"
"My hands out of my pockets?"
"Yes," he says, quickly angered, "Your hands out of your pockets."
"Sure," I say, and I hold my hands out in a very Jesus-like position.
"Did you know that it's illegal to jaywalk in Las Vegas?" he asks me.

Ah shit, I think. The last damn thing I need right now is a fine. I'm already being fucked by the DMV for new tags and a license, I really don't need a $100 fine for jaywalking. So he takes me over to the side, and one of his partners has me hold my hands behind my back, spread my legs, and he then pats me down.

"Do you have identification?" the lead cop asks me.
"No," I say, remembering that I left the wallet at home.
"No identification?"
"No, I intentionally left my wallet in my apartment."
You can tell that the cop is getting excited now. "Well then, where were you going without your wallet?"
"I was going down to watch the fountains at the Bellagio."
He smirks, "You were just going to watch the fountains-" he looks at his watch-"at 11:00 at night?"
"Yeah," I say.
He makes a little "ttt" noise, as his partner's hands come across my highly suspicious keyring. "What is this?" he asks.
"My keys."
"Just your keys?"
"And my library card. It's attached to my keys."
He asks to search that pocket and I let him. The cops asks me what I'm doing here and I tell him the whole story - he blinks a few times when I tell him that I have a law degree. The rest of the encounter ran like all the times that I get stopped by the police. As they were running my name through the computer, I started talking to him about the Drug War and what a travesty it is. They soon just feel fucking stupid for having stopped me to begin with.
"Well," the cops says, "Enjoy the fountains."
"I will," I tell him and walk off.

But here's the best part. Having missed the 11:15 show, I get there just in time for the 11:30. The song is "I'm Proud to Be an American", a song that is rich with irony tonight. As I watch the water exploding to what should be a very nice song, but which has become increasingly sickening when faced with the present condition of being an American, I hear my own lyrics overlapping the ones that are being gushed out of the Bellagio soundsystem.

"And I'm proud to be an American
Where wanting to watch a good fountain show makes me suspicious
And I won't forget the men who died
For our lying President's bullshit war
And I'll proudly stand up (GSSSSH! Big explosion of the fountains)
Next to you and waive my rights, consenting to a search following a pretextual stop!
And why does that cop keep groping my balls - groping my balls?
God bless the USA!"

Just brings a tear to your eye, doesn't it?
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Friday, January 16, 2004

John Kerry, a Libertarian?

According to the Drudge Report, John Kerry was quoted to have said, on January 6, 1996, "I think we can reduce the size of Washington. Get rid of the Energy Department. Get rid of the Agriculture Department, or at least render it three-quarters the size it is today; there are more agriculture bureaucrats than there are farmers in this country." Has it finally happened? Are we now looking at a Democrat who is more of a Libertarian than our Republican president? If Kerry sticks to that quote and doesn't try to backpedal away, then that freaky looking bastard just might get my vote.
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Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Clark County School District facing 135 lawsuits

Although my full investigation is going to be delayed for a week, because I can't get a tuberculosis test until the Friday after next (Thanks a lot, Martin Luther King!!!!), here is a little something that I found that I believe may be of interest. It's not much, but it is certainly proof that the issue warrants further investigation.

In the October 24, 2000 minutes of the Clark County school district , one Bill Hoffman stated that the county needed to decide if they should defend the lawsuits that are not meritorious, or if they should settle out of court. This is at the bottom of page 11, "Public Hearings on Non-Agenda Items". Mr. Hoffman further states that the district has had to hire outside counsel to deal with all of the lawsuits - which are at the number of 135 (not including school expulsions or labor arbitrations).

Now don't worry, Kop. Just because I never went to Evidence doesn't mean that I don't the difference between evidence and mere information. Maybe none of those lawsuits has anything to do with students suing teachers. That's possible. However, we have, at the very least, establlished that schools do need attorneys to defend from lawsuits - a point that you previously denied.

Now we need only to find out more about those lawsuits.

It gets deeper and deeper and deeper.
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Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Koppelman throws down gauntlet. Ranja accepts challenge.

Koppelman and Brett have recently insisted that public school administrators' fear of lawsuits is based purely on anecdotes and urban myths. They contend that these foolish representatives of the common masses are merely shadowboxing against media-inspired spectres that can cause them no real harm.

I think that's shit. And since this issue has now become inferior only to the Drug War and the Income Tax to me, I am going to be adding a new ambition to the next four and a half months of my life. Not only will I be winning the World Series of Poker. I will also be thoroughly showing Kop and Brett the error of their beliefs. And don't worry, guys, I'm not going to bring up some seized yo-yo incident from Ohio that made the national news. I'm going to focus purely on lawsuits in Clark County, Nevada. This isn't just going to be websurfing - this is going to be an all-out investigation. Letters will be written, school board meetings will be attended. By the time that I am complete, I will have a finished product that is not only worthy of publication, but which will forever silence any of the nonsense that you guys espouse about overly reactive "moron" principals and administrators.

You've just given me the inspiration for a bestseller. I'll give you all updates as it goes along.
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Lewis Ranja still in line to win World Series of Poker

Harrah's has purchased Binion's, and the World Series is still under way. So now I have to get back to preparing for the supersatellites. My destiny awaits.
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Monday, January 12, 2004

Good news on the Animal Rights front

Denver may be passing a ballot initiative that would ban the display of exotic animals - thereby keeping the Ringling Brother Circus out of their town. I certianly hope that this bill passes. Circus acts that involve animals are nauseating. Animals belong in the wild or on reservations - not jumping through hoops or balancing on balls. There are few things that I enjoy watching more than those videotapes where abused circus animals go crazy and just start mauling their trainer and anybody else who comes near them. They need to collect those all on one tape and sell it.
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My education of our Education System

My suffering as a wage slave is almost over. Soon I will be educating young minds all throughout the Las Vegas district. It is only a matter of time before I get them to form a band and turn around their stuffy ol' parents.

I have just returned from my daylong orientation, for which I received both ninety dollars and a six-hour seminar on everything that is so horribly wrong with our education system. I always heard teachers talking about it, but I never really knew how awful it truly was. However, this orientation brought me to full awareness.

90% of the session was just explaining to us what we could not do with/to the kids. I won't give you all the details, but the guideline that was just laugh-out loud funny was that you are not supposed to be confrontational with the students. You are not supposed to say "No." If a student says that he is normally allowed to run around the room for an hour, you aren't supposed to tell him to sit the hell down. You are supposed to politely explain to him that you would prefer it if he would refrain from doing so.

And, for God's sakes, don't touch them! If they get into a fight, you do not try to break it up - you call security. Even if two students are beating the holy hell out of one student, you are to do nothing but demand that they stop fighting. The reason for this is because if you touch them, then they can bring about a lawsuit against the school. Of course, everybody in the room shakes their heads at this and mutters about "those damn lawyers". However, if the school would actually fight back from time to time, then this likely wouldn't be a problem. The real cause of these lawsuits is that the schools routinely abandon the teacher and continuously bend over for the parents of some little shit who needs an assbeating. It's given me a great idea for an organization to start up in whatever city or state I finally put down roots - an association of lawyers who volunteer to defend public schools against lawsuits of this nature. Unlike the ACLU, however, we would be discriminatory in our caseload. If the teacher punches an 8-year old in the face, then we wouldn't get involved. However, if the teacher jerked a kid's arm after he called her a "bitch" while walking out the door, then we'd provide free services.

Here's the part of the day that was absolutely nightmarish . . . . The woman in charge had just explained to us that we can not pick up and move a child who has any disability - even made-up ones like ADHD. If he doesn't want to return the to room, or if he doesn't want to go to the principal's office, then we can't do a thing about it. The whole class has to come to a halt. So then the woman is explaining to us how, back when she began teaching in the 1970's, a teacher could just scowl at an elementary school kid to make him behave. Now, she told us, they just scowl back because they are a "whole new breed of kids." One old man asked rhetorically why she thinks that is - could it be because the children have no fear at all of authority figures? The woman smiled and said "I think we all know why it is." Of course, she knows. EVERYBODY FUCKING KNOWS! But they're all so damn scared to try to change anything. It's just as bad as the Drug War. It's just this massive system that has gone out of control and is being piloted by no specific individual, but which has everyone terrified of getting in the way.

So to sum it all up - I will never again be swayed by the argument that the education system can be fixed by throwing money at it. That's like giving money to a heroin addict - it won't go to any useful purpose. In counties like this one, the system has to be overhauled. Teachers have to know that they can stand up to their students without the school abandoning them at the first cry of a lawsuit.
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Sunday, January 11, 2004

Another reason that this election depresses me

Why is it that our society seems intent on equating the display of passion with the display of anger? Why is it that people keep whining about how Dean's attacks of a politician that he despises are "garbage" and "mean-mouthing"? The one thing that I like about Dean is that he does seem to actually give a damn about something other than getting elected.
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Democrats speak on the Higher Education Act

I continue to look desperately for a Democratic candidate, for who I can vote without feeling like I'm just voting for the lesser of the two evils. The search continues to come up barren, but here's a little bit of help for anybody interested in drug reform. Students for Sensible Drug Policy went up to New Hampshire to interrogate the presidential hopefuls on their stance on the issue of the Higher Education Act. For those of you not in the know, the HEA was an act that had the ingenious idea of withholding federal loans from college students who have had any type of drug conviction in the past - even for simple possession. After all, there is no better way to combat the country's drug problem than to prevent people from becoming educated and bettering their lives. Everyone and his monkey knows that more college degrees equals more crime. It's a proven fact.

I remember thinking that the 2000 election was depressing, but that now seems like when I used to get depressed about losing two hundred dollars in Biloxi. This year, I find myself faced with an absolutely lovely choice: Do I (1) vote for the man who wants to put me in jail and who lied to us all in order to get us to support a war that is a waste of our resources; or (2) vote for the other man who wants to put me in a jail (but with a little less zeal) and who wants to take all of my money? As Spider Jerusalem said in the great comic "Transmetropolitan" (go buy all the trade paperbacks, you'll love it - even though Spider really is just a hyped-up futuristic version of Hunter S. Thompson) - "GODDAMMIT! That is not what democracy is supposed to be!"
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One more chink out of the increasingly unstable foundation

It is one of the most harmful social trends in our society. It is at the root of the crucial problems of crime and lack of education. It is, quite likely, the primary problem facing black America. And now a film has been made to normalize it. I know, I know. I haven't seen the movie. Maybe by writing this post, I'm no better than those idiots who say that the film "Trainspotting" promotes heroin use. Perhaps some day I will watch this movie when I'm not actually donating money to its creators, and then perhaps I will be able to see whether or not I was wrong. If, by chance, the movie ends with all three of the characters marrying the mothers of their children (or I'll just settle for two out of three), then I'll say that I was wrong. I doubt that'll be the case, though.

If your mother refers to your father as "my baby's daddy", then you will be spending a significant portion of your life in the penal system. That's simply the way that it goes.
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Maybe I won't get to take a shot at the World Series of Poker, after all . . . .

I don't know how big this news was in other parts of the country, but Binion's Horseshoe Casino was closed down by the IRS yesterday morning. The casino is home to the World Series of Poker, and is quite likely one of the most well-known historical casinos in the world. Unfortunately, the casino has been in a rather rapid decline over the years. After Benny Binion's death, the casino fell into the hands of his feuding children - Jack, Ted and Becky. Ted died in 1998, and the cause of his death is still quite a dispute in Vegas. Some people say that he died from a heroin overdose. Others, including the Las Vegas judicial system, say that he was murdered by his girlfriend , Sandy Murphy, and her boyfriend, Rick Tabish. Jack left Vegas and opened up a new Binion's Casino in Tunica, Mississippi, where he hosts the annual World Poker Championship - a clone of the World Series and an obvious effort to steal the event from his sister. Becky has remained in Vegas and has seemed deadset on running Binion's into the ground. She closed the buffet, she sold her father's million-dollar horseshoe (an item that was one of the bigger tourist attractions in the declining downtown area), and she gave poker players bottles of water without tops to them - because she was afraid that they might keep the bottles if they had tops. Basically, she has cut every corner possible and has turned the casino into an uninhabitable dive. It's too bad, because it was the only place in Vegas where you could play No Limit hold 'em.

If it remains closed, then Chris Moneymaker will forever have the honor of being the reigning World Series Poker Champion - just in the same way that Brett Willis will forever be the Athens Poker Champion. That son of a bitch.

By the way, make sure that you read the last paragraph in the Vegas Review article.
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Monday, January 05, 2004

My suffering as a wage slave

I have started the Year of Lewis Ranja off rightly by rejoining the Work Force, from which I have been absent for nearly a year and a half. I've decided that, for the remaining four months that I am in Las Vegas, it would be better if I viewed poker as being a supplementary income to the guaranteed payment of temp work. The temp job is just as awful as I always remembered it being. Throughout the entire four-hour training session, during which they taught us something that should have only taken twenty minutes, I just kept repeating to myself, "I need to start my fucking law career. I need to start my fucking law career."

So, anyways, I am now suffering the indignities of being a Wage Slave. Yes, I am now working for The Man, who reaps the benefits of my toil - while I only earn nine dollars an hour. Two years ago, I would not have known how awful such a thing is. Since then, however, I have been educated on the concepts of socialism by hippies in Athens and, most recently, by reading "The Iron Heel" by Jack London. In this philosophy, we have never really cast away the bonds of slavery. We have only moved to a less obvious form, in which workers are unable to raise themselves to any level above mere subsistence.

As with most things, however, I look to my own life to find the answers to such intriguing suppositions. In the last ten years, I've worked a whole hell of a lot of jobs in a whole hell of a lot of cities. I've done everything from count cars on busy roads in London to clean off burnt property for insurance companies. And if there is one thing that I have learned it is this . . . . . .

The idea that these idiots with who I always end up working should receive a salary anywhere near that earned by the CEOs or other upper-level employees is as laughable an idea as that of the Dude and Walter rolling their way into the Semis. Some people are just better than others and they deserve more money. That's not slavery, that's just the rules of production. A failure to recognize this is an inevitable precursor to economic destruction.

And yes, I did write that whole thing just so I could write out The Big Lebowski reference. I thought it up while in the hot tub. "Liam and me, we gonna fuck you up, man."
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Sunday, January 04, 2004

Maybe I don't have to give up hamburgers, after all . . .

One of my many vows for 2004 (or The Year of Lewis Ranja, as it will soon be known) was to stop eating beef. This decision did not come from any moral objection to the act of killing an animal for food. I have absolutely no problem with that. My grievance with the beef industry has always been with the way that the livestock is raised and the damage that this process does to the environment. The recent Mad Cow scare was the final tipping point. There's something essentially fucked up about an industry that takes a grass-eating cow and feeds it portions of its fellow animal. When that kind of shit is going on, you really can't feel too bad for the cattleranchers who take losses on account of the Mad Cow hysteria.

So I was prepared to completely cut myself off from steaks and hamburgers. Then, while looking around on the Internet, I found this site. It gives detailed information about pasture-based farms in each state throughout the country. Whether you're looking for beef, eggs, pork, or chicken - this website can help you find a source that will provide you with healthy guilt-free meat that you can enjoy without worrying about getting any of the bizarre diseases that come from feeding brains and eyeballs to herbivorous animals.

It goes without saying that the local Wendy's or Burger King is still off limits. But if you have a house with a grill or a frying pan, then you might want to take a look at this site.

Two cows are standing in a field.
One cow says to the other cow: "Are you nervous about this Mad Cow Disease that they keep talking about?"
The other cow lookes up with a confused look on his face: "Why the hell should I care? I'm a squirrel."
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Thursday, January 01, 2004

Chief Justice Rehnquist criticizes Feeney Amendment

Chief Justice Rehnquist recently criticized the Feeney Amendment, a part of the Amber Alert Bill that seeks to limit judicial discretion in our courts. The Chief Justice stated that the Amendment "could appear to be an unwarranted and ill-considered effort to intimidate individual judges in the performance of their judicial duties."

Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy has also initiated a bill that would repeal the Amendment.

Ted Kennedy and Justice Rehnquist in agreement. I think that we should add an amendment to the next 9/11 Bill that states that anytime these two agree that a law is bad - it should immediately be repealed. How much better of an indicator of the horridness of a law can you ask for than these two both siding against it?
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