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Only uncertainty remains constant

Mar 11, 2003 5:47 AM

Americans, from Las Vegas to Little Rock and from Winnemucca to West Palm Beach, are confused, and with good cause. Inconsistencies plague us at every turn.

With North Korea playing with plutonium and no one able to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the former governor of Texas, where men are men and private citizens still can carry guns, prays for peace and sends 300,000 men to the Middle East.

We ridicule the French because they don’t want war.

The Donald ”” Rumsfeld, not Trump ”” may be the scariest man in America, grinning to the press while thousands are about to die.

Colin Powell, who as a general said it would have been chaotic and a huge mistake to try to take Baghdad, now says, as secretary of state, that we should by all means do so.

Major league baseball players chafe and grumble about drug tests although one of their members may have died in recent weeks because of using drugs.

Las Vegas, hardly the fashion capital of the world, has more "part time models" than New York, Paris and Rome combined, and more pages of escort services in its telephone book than any city in the world.

So while pondering all these anomalies and growing despondent because of them, we turned to a source of refuge: W magazine, where a few hundred pages are devoted monthly to beauty and fashion. That, we thought, should be a tonic.

Beauty and fashion?

The fashion houses have gone wild, with miniskirts to the butt and hoods that conceal a woman’s head.

Some of the most bizarre dresses ever seen are pushed as fashion, and some of the most bizarre-looking people ever seen are modeling them.

The idea that guys who need shaves and a shower and gals who look like they’re auditioning for hookers, or starving to death, will entice people to buy the clothes they are wearing, or not wearing, is just one more manifestation of the state of the nation, and the mentality of those who foist this stuff on us.

We have concluded that the great danger to this country is not Saddam Hussein, but the advertising agencies of New York and their photographers.

They’re sick, and we suffer.

While musing on all this, we were interested to see more contradictions, this time in law.

A federal appeals court ordered MGM Grand to pay $3.3 million to a Mexican businessman who was detained after he got sloppily drunk and obnoxious, largely because a medical response team that was called when his wife said he was an insulin-dependent diabetic reportedly did not evaluate his heart rate or blood pressure although he complained of chest pains. They decided he was merely drunk, and he was taken to jail. The next day he was taken to a hospital, where it turns out he had suffered a heart attack. The medical response company for whom the paramedics worked supposedly settled for $50,000 out of court, and the deal reportedly cost the Las Vegas Metro police $10,000.

In Indiana, meanwhile, a federal judge dismissed all claims of a former Indiana Department of Revenue auditor who lost his money, home and job through his compulsive gambling and sued Casino Aztar in Evansville, claiming they knew he was an addicted gambler but let him continue gambling. The judge found that despite the plaintiff’s "long and embarrassing spiral downward through the circles of Hell, and despite his counsel’s creative efforts and regardless of his sympathetic plight, neither federal nor Indiana law provides him any refuge or reward." The man’s lawyer said, "The problem of pathological gambling is still here. What the courts will do about it and what the companies will do to address it is still up in the air."

So is America, as the greatest country on earth faces contradictions and tortured logic that is driving its citizens to distraction.