Skip

This is Vegas baby!
May 10, 2009 6:42 PM   Subscribe

Lost Vegas is a documentary that follows Laura Ling as she tours the wreckage of Sin City, from unemployed strippers and half-built, abandoned casino projects, to hospitals turning away cancer patients and ambulances, to one of the few remaining boom industries--evicting people.

Vanguard is Current TV's documentary series. Other docs include: Somali refugees washing up on Yemen's shores, Narco War Next Door, Japan: Robot Nation.
posted by P.o.B. (42 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
There are more docs under the Vanguard link. Also, the video kept dropping out as I watched it on my Linux EEE but I got to watch it through on a Windows box.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:51 PM on May 10, 2009


This is interesting. I have a slightly sociopathic wish for Vegas to get swallowed up by the desert.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:01 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Laura Ling, of course, still being imprisoned by North Korea.
posted by padraigin at 7:01 PM on May 10, 2009 [8 favorites]


Nice insight into LV. I am, however kind of disappointed by the Current's video player. No scrub bar? The little ad icon on top of the volume interface? Makes it really frustrating to enjoy the content. It looks nice, yes, but does it function? I think the youtube video player is ugly as all hell, but I'm always able to enjoy videos the way I want to, which is more important to me than having a 'sleek' video player. Sorry. I need to go to bed.
posted by localhuman at 7:25 PM on May 10, 2009


to hospitals turning away cancer patients and ambulances

How's that whole unbridled "SOCIALISM GTFO OUT OF MY HEALTH CARE SYSTEM" capitalism working out for you again, America?
posted by Talez at 7:29 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Scary to watch, it's good to remind myself how lucky I am to be where I am.
posted by octothorpe at 7:31 PM on May 10, 2009


Let's see: Detroit, New Orleans and now Las Vegas. That makes three abandoned cities.

Did a heckuva job there, Bushie!
posted by Avenger at 7:31 PM on May 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


I like to call it Lost Wages.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:37 PM on May 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


padraigin: Laura Ling, of course, still being imprisoned by North Korea.

Entering North Korea is one of those things, like climbing Everest, which is dangerous enough that I think you kind of wave assistance from the outside world if you do it (and going near the Chinese border isn't any better.) So while I hope we can help her, I definitely vote against giving North Korea heaps of money, nuclear materials, or starting a war over it.
posted by Mitrovarr at 7:43 PM on May 10, 2009


Stunning. One public hospital serving all of Nevada?? Living in Canada these kinds of things are utterly incomprehensible to me before I see a documentary like this, thanks.
posted by mek at 7:51 PM on May 10, 2009


The rental property story is pretty heartwrenching. I'm genuinely surprised that there's no communication at all to the address that is going under foreclosure.
posted by boo_radley at 7:55 PM on May 10, 2009


Agree with localhuman... I watched about 15 minutes and accidentally hit the back button on my mouse. It's interesting, but I'm not going to watch the 15 minutes again so I can see the rest. Too bad.
posted by Huck500 at 7:58 PM on May 10, 2009


The rental property story is pretty heartwrenching. I'm genuinely surprised that there's no communication at all to the address that is going under foreclosure.

I'm surprised that failing to notify one's tenants that a property is under foreclosure is not a class b or higher criminal misdemeanor punishable by jail time.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:00 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


(since it was clear the owner was interested in keeping the rent money coming for as long as possible, it was pretty much a type of fraud)
posted by Burhanistan at 8:01 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Maybe we can give the house with two dishwashers to the renters who got kicked out?
posted by Avenger at 8:06 PM on May 10, 2009


Entering North Korea is one of those things, like climbing Everest, which is dangerous enough that I think you kind of wave assistance from the outside world if you do it

Maybe you could surf your way out?
posted by 445supermag at 8:06 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Somehow, I doubt that there's much in the way of tenant's legal rights in Nevada.
posted by octothorpe at 8:06 PM on May 10, 2009


I agree the player sucks. The documentary is about 25 minutes long if you wondering how long you had to through or if you accidentally went to another page and wanted to know how much you missed.
posted by P.o.B. at 8:09 PM on May 10, 2009


Entering North Korea is one of those things, like climbing Everest, which is dangerous enough that I think you kind of wave assistance from the outside world if you do it

Sometimes it isn't any trouble at all.
posted by hippybear at 8:12 PM on May 10, 2009


I feel torn. On the one hand, a large chunk of the cash that flows into a gambling paradise like Vegas is the money from broken homes, defrauded clients, and the other wreckage cause by an industry that is, let us face it, every bit (if not more) dependent on addiction as illicit drug dealers.

On the other hand, I seriously doubt the people in Vegas really hurting are much different to the people the industry screws over, you know?
posted by rodgerd at 8:14 PM on May 10, 2009


Laura Ling, of course, still being imprisoned by North Korea.
"The rumor was that they are being housed at one of the guest villas," said Han S. Park, a University of Georgia expert who was visiting North Korea as part of a private U.S. delegation after the women were captured. Park told CNN International that the North Koreans scoffed at any suggestion that the Americans were receiving harsh treatment.

"They laughed. 'We are not Guantanamo.' That's what they said," Park said.
posted by delmoi at 8:32 PM on May 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Holy shit, that 'immediate eviction thing' was fucking crazy. I'd heard of stuff like that happening (and I'd heard that one sheriff in Chicago or somewhere refused to do it) but it was certainly surprising to see it happen.
Entering North Korea is one of those things, like climbing Everest, which is dangerous enough that I think you kind of wave assistance from the outside world if you do it
I don't know if she had actually gone into north Korea, they claimed she had but supposedly she'd just been on the Chinese border.
posted by delmoi at 8:42 PM on May 10, 2009


Generally the only way outsiders are permitted to enter North Korea is via train from China. As a part of this train trip, you are required to sign various documents to obtain your visa, which include statements that you will not take photographs or otherwise record things inside NK, etcetera. I'm pretty sure "I am not a journalist" is one of those legal declarations you are supposed to make, so if Lisa Ling used her real name and an official googled her, bam, arrested.

So while I hope we can help her, I definitely vote against giving North Korea heaps of money, nuclear materials, or starting a war over it.

I don't think we need to worry about that - she's not blonde.
posted by mek at 8:56 PM on May 10, 2009


delmoi: I don't know if she had actually gone into north Korea, they claimed she had but supposedly she'd just been on the Chinese border.

The borders of dangerous places are themselves dangerous. Hell, I'd argue they're more dangerous - everyone is suspicious, there's a military presence, etc. That wasn't a good place to be, and while I appreciate her intentions, we should not have civilians in that kind of position. I don't think it's right for the government to force you not to go, but if you recklessly endanger your own life, I don't think we necessarily owe you giving an enemy a strategic advantage to get you back.

That being said, if the North Koreans really did jump the border to grab her, I'd imagine the Chinese would be more than a little unhappy.
posted by Mitrovarr at 9:02 PM on May 10, 2009


hippybear: Sometimes it isn't any trouble at all.

And sometimes the weather's good on Everest. While NK is not as dangerous as Everest, I'm simply not a fan of our citizens getting picked up by the government in some rogue nation and getting ransomed back for favors, money, or weapons.
posted by Mitrovarr at 9:06 PM on May 10, 2009


One public hospital serving all of Nevada??

Southern Nevada, actually. But this may be misleading. In the US, there aren't actually that many public hospitals run by state-sponsored institutions, outside of major cities (e.g. Cook County Hospital, the model for ER's County General, or the University of Wisconsin Hospitals in Madison). Most hospitals outside of the South are non-profits -- many were begun by religious orders -- and therefore function effectively as public hospitals, required to give at least basic care and often with substantial charity arms. Most states have some type of hierarchy for hospital tiering and coordination.

The real problem is common to all 50 states -- employer-sponsored health care insurance. Increasing numbers of workers just can't get it, and public insurance pools are extremely limited, so many people simply go without care.
posted by dhartung at 9:12 PM on May 10, 2009


Oh Jim Gibbons, the governer of NV mentioned in the video (students were upset with him) was accused of assaulting a drunk woman during the election and still won. He said he was just helping her to her car, so she could drive home plastered, apparently. All the surveillance footage from the garage disappeared.
posted by delmoi at 9:21 PM on May 10, 2009


Oh documentary, how I would love to watch you but, you see, I don't have the money for a top-of-the-line internet connection. You loaded less than 3 minutes of yourself over the course of a half hour, then pooped out for some reason. When I realized that I would have to start all over again, I gave up on you.
posted by Foam Pants at 9:55 PM on May 10, 2009


Las Vegas has been unsustainable since its inception. As is Phoenix. And probably several other cities I like MUCH more than either of those (imo) awful places. It's not about the economy, it's about water.
posted by hippybear at 10:15 PM on May 10, 2009


It's not about the economy, it's about water.

Well, in this case it was all about the economy.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:17 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mitrovarr: Eek! It was supposed to be a clever cross-reference to another thread, not an endorsement of Ms. Ling's captivity. Was it really read as such?
posted by hippybear at 10:17 PM on May 10, 2009


Burhanistan: yes, but when the water goes, it will be more likely that this will happen. ;)

I was IN Vegas during that "peak of the cycle" they talk about. Went there to see a concert (Nightwish), ended up seeing a couple more... Most of the time it felt like a rush hour subway crowd, only ALL the time. Going down the sidewalks... going through the indoor casinos... going through the malls... I could not have imagined a more unpleasant experience. All the $15 glasses of beer in the world couldn't blot it out.

This was a marked change from the last time I spent any amount of time in Vegas, which was when I was working in Zion National Park in southern Utah in the late '80s. They hadn't even built the Luxor yet, and Circus Circus was still a pretty big deal. Vegas was OH so cheap, and OH so tacky, and OH so much fun. It wasn't family friendly, but I haven't laughed that hard for that long over an entire weekend since.

It was peculiar to see the Caesar's Palace expansion project nearing completion. It wasn't nearly that far along a year ago. It's sad that they abandoned it, as it's right in the middle of everything and sort of dominates that whole area.
posted by hippybear at 10:28 PM on May 10, 2009


Instant eviction is un-American bullshit.
posted by grouse at 10:32 PM on May 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


hmm, I revisited the link, and now a sensible video player interface appears. Yay!
posted by localhuman at 11:18 PM on May 10, 2009


dhartung: while 1/2 of the nations hospitals are non profit and many provide charity work, it is my hunch that the charity work overall doesn't even add up to the taxes hospitals get to skip out on paying.

The last hospital I went to provided a total amount of charitable work that was pretty pitiful- Adventist Midwest Health (representing 4 hospitals) claimed $58 million in community benefits in 2005 of which $3.8 million was actual charity care and a good portion of the rest was from lack of reimbursements for medicade & medicare. And the magic part about that is, if next year I want to claim a billion in charity all I have to do is up the price of common medicade/medicare procedure and shazam I'm the greatest charity in the world. What? Don't you trust me? I'm a doctor! (The state doesn't - they actually had to make laws up for this.

These guys also claim that "spreading the good word" counts as charity (Benefit to the FAITH-BASED AND SPIRITUAL needs in the community, in accordance with our mission of Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ: 9,523,860 From 2008 Annual report for national Adventist Org).

Some, like Mount Sinai actually are doing serious charitable work worth mentioning. I don't think most of the rest of them are though.
posted by zenon at 12:04 AM on May 11, 2009


That instant eviction stuff- how on earth is that legal? I can't speak for Nevada, but in Washington I'm fairly sure you couldn't evict someone like that, period- even if they were delinquent on rent.

The questions I have include:
a) How much lead time did Fuckwad mcConstable have on these "instant" evictions, that he couldn't have let the people in question know "You're being evicted in N days, at least you have a few days to prepare"? I find it hard to believe he got a notice that very day, and had no ability to simply fudge it for the sake of humanity.

At the end of the day, that clueless shit-for-brains is the problem: he chose to evict those people, and not simply make his instant evictions be "here's the warning, I'll be back in 2 days, that's the best I can do" instead of the "I can give them 15 minutes, but I don't want them 'taking advantage' of the situation" crap he spewed. Fuck you, assclown, and I hope this shit happens to you someday soon.

b) Why would the bank not want to take ownership... and keep leasing the property?! I mean, why would they choose to have zero money coming in, when clearly the rental payments would defray some if not all of the monthly mortgage costs the bank was expecting when they decided to foreclose?

But I guess the answer to that is the same answer to why the country as a whole is in these situations: so-called smart people are very, very, very dumb.
posted by hincandenza at 2:08 AM on May 11, 2009 [5 favorites]


it is my hunch that the charity work overall doesn't even add up

I dunno. It's not like they're actually corporations with owners making profits and somehow skipping out on the taxes. The whole point of such an exemption is to encourage a public good, and I'm not sure that it's proper or useful to require that the public good exceed the tax rebate per se.

In a more practical sense, speaking to our Canadian friend, it is possible to get emergency care in any part of the country. But if you have cancer and no insurance, it doesn't matter whether there is a public hospital, a non-profit hospital, or a private hospital -- you will have a hard time getting care. That's the intentional design of the US system.

I certainly did not mean to argue that the US hospital system is in any way a meaningful substitute for a proper universal health care system.
posted by dhartung at 2:35 AM on May 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


You guys are way more coherent in the early am hours than I. First: I am not in fact a doctor. Second: you're absolutely right dhartung - its only an encouragement and a pretty weak one at that. And you are dead on about the design and direction of the US health system.

Third: Back on subject - I just wanted to quote that young fella at the end of the video waiting for social services: "The economy is stupid." That's right Milton Friedman.

Fourth: Foreclosure is a dirty business and everything about it very prescribed - during the video someone noted owners get 9 months of lead time before actual eviction. How that police department handles it is still BS but apparently they are not big fans of how evictions works in Nevada either. And given the massive budget shortfalls I wouldn't be surprised if that office soon joined the ranks of the unemployed.
posted by zenon at 7:36 AM on May 11, 2009


I was in North Vegas this weekend visiting family; there are huge areas of those suburbs that are just vacant strip malls that have never had a single tenant in them. 100,000 sq.ft. buildings sitting vacant. I saw tons of high-end condo's with For Rent signs in the windows, in complexes that looked like they probably only had 1 tenant for every 10 homes.

Remind me again why we don't at least have adequately sized homeless shelters, if not a safety net to keep people in the homes they started out in?

The airport was still packed with people leaving at 7am on a Sunday morning; our flight out was so overbooked, they were offering 1st class on the next flight Plus the standard $300 voucher.
posted by nomisxid at 10:33 AM on May 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


“It's not about the economy, it's about water.”
Just…find the girl, Mr. Gits.
Proud to say a lot of the sheriffs out here (Illinois) are following the example on the instant evictions by not doing them.
Those things really remind me of Schindler’s List. There’s that ‘aha’ moment you wish these asshats would have. Where there’s all the Jews counting and weighing the gold confiscated from other Jews and one guy is weighing, measuring, etc. Then some Nazi dumps a load of gold-capped teeth and the guy stops and sits there, takes off his glasses: “Oh….”
Now the folks there had, literally and metaphorically, guns to their heads. But you wish these people had that moment of clarity.
Actually, Paul Atreidies in Dune speaks about how one drowning man standing on the shoulders of another drowning man, forcing him to drown first, is understandable – except in certain places.
This seems an apt equivalency. We all need jobs. And I’d do just about anything if I had to feed my family. But I wouldn’t do instant evictions.
I suspect most of these people are going to die off and/or be ostracized.
Not to reference, again, pop culture, but the film Tree’s Lounge - you see people who are lost, who sit in bars every day. You wonder how they get there. A lot of them do things that sever their ties to people, society, etc. I can’t imagine someone doing instant evictions makes or keeps a lot of friends.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:05 PM on May 11, 2009


Here in Missouri, the House has overwhelmingly approved a grace period. 10 business days after the date of written notification of the foreclosure sale of the property.
posted by badger_flammable at 7:01 PM on May 11, 2009


Park told CNN International that the North Koreans scoffed at any suggestion that the Americans were receiving harsh treatment.

I think it is harsh to be imprisoned in a third-world communist totalitarian state for the crime of being a journalist, no?
posted by Slap Factory at 7:54 PM on May 11, 2009


« Older The Bain Project   |   An Gorta Mor - 150 years later Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post