Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Unionize the Aladdin Casino!

Before I start I just have to say: Unionize the Aladdin Casino!! (Here's a good article from the NY Times how unions have elevated the Vegas working class.)

The reason I bring this up is of course the Linda Ronstadt incident: the Aladdin Casino gave Ronstadt the bum's rush after she dedicated a song to Michael Moore, who promptly wrote an open letter to the casino defending Ronstadt on First Amendment grounds.

This is yet another example of the big chill on speech here in the US, and it's worse than if it were a government crackdown. It's like there's this creeping lynch-mob mentality among the ├╝ber-patriotic, who are ready to draw and quarter the next transgressor against patriotically-correct speech. The lynch mob is really a minority, but they are emboldened by things like the Patriot Act and the readiness by those in power to dismiss our rights in the name of "security."(Don't forget, Democrats and Republicans voted overwhelmingly for the Patriot Act).

But although I agree that the actions of Aladdin boss Bill Timmons are a crime against freedom of expression, I have to quibble a little with using a First Amendment argument in this case because it's a legal argument that actually has little legal merit (and besides, there are better ways to send a message to the casino). The Aladdin is a private business, and the state, always looking out for business interests, gives Aladdin management have a lot of freedom to boot whomever they want from their casino and decide who they want to hire and/or fire to entertain their customers. Plus there's court precedent limiting free-speech rights on private property (there is still room for argument there of course, the problem is that it takes lots of expensive lawyers to do the arguing ...)

People can write letters of complaint like xnerg did (Thanks to Andrew for that link), or even better, go picket the Aladdin or something. What would be really cool, however, is if everyone turned their rage against the Aladdin into massive support for the drive to unionize the Aladdin Casino. That actually would make a difference.

And just for fun, I'd love to make a Google bomb out of this link: Aladdin Casino. I think it would be hilarious to have people type the casino's name into Google and have it return the page of the union trying to organize their workers. Of course, I'm no Anil Dash so I'm trying not to be overly confident here, but it would be really cool if people would replicate this link on their sites and encourage others to do the same: Aladdin Casino. Aww, c'mon, why not?

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