RCP's Health Care Poll; Tillis Challenger; Out of the West
Good morning, it’s Wednesday, May 15, 2019. On this date in the early part of the 20th century, two unrelated and then-obscure events took place in Nevada and California, respectively, that changed the geographical and cultural face of this country.
The first was the May 15, 1905 auction of 110 acres of railroad land in Las Vegas. The parcels were between Stewart Avenue on the north to Garces Avenue on the south, and ran from Main Street east all the way to 5th Street, which is present-day Las Vegas Boulevard.
The place had promise, but its economy wasn’t helped by Nevada outlawing gambling in 1910. By 1917, the local railroad went belly up and was acquired by Union Pacific, always a mixed blessing, and then, 10 years after World War I, the Great Depression hit.
Las Vegas, in other words, was just another struggling Western crossroads. About that time, however, the second of the two unconnected events I mentioned took place. It involved a mouse in an airplane, if you can believe it, as I’ll explain in a moment.
First, I’d point you to RealClearPolitics’ front page, which presents our poll averages, videos, breaking news stories, and aggregated opinion columns spanning the political spectrum. We also offer original material from our own reporters and contributors, including the following:
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Poll: “Medicare for All” Support Is High … But Complicated. I report on a new RCP survey on voter attitudes about health care, which shows the issue is a top concern but opinions are mixed about how to improve it.
Once Cool to Trump, Tillis Challenger Courts His Support. Phil Wegmann has this profile of Garland Tucker, whose is billing his North Carolina Senate race as a referendum on the two candidates’ loyalty to the president’s policies.
Trump’s Reagan Moment. Steve Cortes argues that history may show the president’s confrontation with China over trade and intellectual property as pivotal to U.S. prosperity and security in the 21st century.
Trump Has “Promise Fatigue” From Dealing With China. Michael Auslin writes that even Democrats and other nations have grown impatient with Beijing and are willing to follow the president’s hard-line approach on trade.
New Russiagate Prober Has Haunted the FBI for Years. In RealClearInvestigations, Eric Felten dissects a neglected congressional transcript that suggests possible leaking of the Steele dossier by the FBI’s former top lawyer.
In Rapid PayPal Era, Why Do Bank “Floats” Sting Like a Bee? Also in RCI, John F. Wasik examines the reasons money transfers still take up to five days at a time when rapid transactions should be the norm. (Hint: It’s a holdup in more ways than one.)
Threatening War Where There Is No Threat. In RealClearDefense, Daniel L. Davis assails the administration’s projection of power or waging of low-level combat operations in areas peripheral to U.S. security interests.
Trump Takes Steps to Maximize Natural Gas Benefits. In RealClearEnergy, Timothy M. Doyle applauds new executive actions that let market forces enhance production while also reducing carbon emissions.
The SEC, Out to Smother Cryptocurrencies? In RealClearPolicy, Adam A. Millsap questions new regulations from the Securities and Exchange Commission that will have a chilling effect on the use of blockchain technology.
Navigating America’s Outrage Culture. In RealClearBooks, Max Diamond reviews Bret Easton Ellis’ “White.”
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As you surely surmised, the May 15, 1905 land auction I mentioned included parcels that became part of the famous Las Vegas Strip. The Sin City we know today didn’t happen overnight, however, as other things had to take place first: the advent of large-scale, water-cooled electrical air-conditioning (1906); the legalization of gambling in Nevada (1931); completion of Hoover Dam, with its cheap source of power (1935).
Two years later, electricity was flowing from the site to downtown, which some called “Glitter Gulch,” a more Western-sounding name than The Strip. Today, we’d call the development taking place there a “public-private partnership.” What it was called then was…progress.
But I’m getting out of sequence. On May 15, 1928, some 235 miles across the desert in Los Angeles, the company owned by Walt Disney and his older brother, Roy, was screening a silent animated film called “Plane Crazy.” Although the test audience liked it well enough, the young filmmakers were unable to pick up a distributor, and the project was tabled.
“Plane Crazy” is worth mentioning all these years later because it featured the first appearance of a character you know as Mickey Mouse. In this animated short, the mouse was imitating Charles Lindbergh while trying to impress a female friend. The movie’s highlight was Minnie using her bloomers as a parachute when Mickey wrecked his airplane.
It's no surprise that these kinds of hijinks were funnier with sound effects, which young Walt Disney learned later that year when “Steamboat Willie” -- with sound -- was released to great acclaim. Disney re-released “Plane Crazy” in 1929, and the rest of it -- Mickey, Goofy and Donald Duck; the Mickey Mouse television show with Annette Funicello and friends; the “Wonderful World of Disney”; Disneyland, Disney World, Walt Disney Pictures -- all followed through the years.
“We’re not trying to entertain the critics,” Walt Disney once said. “I’ll take my chances with the public.”
Carl M. Cannon
Washington Bureau chief, RealClearPolitics