Note to future politicians: When you become a droopy old Democrat with nothing left to get you hard but same-sex marriage and a $30 billion golf course, try not to rain on everyone else's parade by making some boner-kill speech about how bad the sex trade is for the economy.
U.S. Senator Harry Reid learned the hard way yesterday, when his case for banning brothels in Nevada gave way to a silent, scowling Carson City auditorium and what will surely be a lifelong ban from the sexiest (legal) sleepovers money can buy in the otherwise prudish U.S. of A.
Here at the Weekly...
... we were collectively scowling right beside Reid's audience -- along with (we're sure) the girls of "The Family Prostitute," our September 2010 cover story on all the ways Nevada brothels are actually erring economically friendly for a group of out-of-work girls not afraid to pull their best "Pretty Woman."
A peek into their lives:
"In the Inland Empire," [Nikki] laments, "there are no jobs at all. I couldn't even get a job at McDonald's right now."
And so she's come to Moundhouse, Nevada, just east of Carson City, where four of the state's 28 brothels are located just off U.S. Route 50, a desolate track that cuts through a high plain of sage and scrub and is known as "the loneliest road in America." It's here -- at the Love Ranch, the Moonlight Bunny Ranch, the Sagebrush Ranch or the Kit Kat Guest Ranch -- that women, acting as independent contractors, sell condom-protected sex and then split the profits with the management.
It's perfectly legal, sanctioned by the local sheriff, and has long been a part of the local economy. But that economy works two ways: Women -- many brand-new to the sex trade and acting as the sole support for their families -- have chosen it because of economic hardship brought on by the worst recession since the Great Depression. While there's always been a solid group of sex workers who support their families in this way, many on the management side of the industry say they've never seen anything like the large numbers the business is currently attracting.
A certain bespectacled politician, however, sees things differently:
"When the nation thinks about Nevada, it should think about the world's newest ideas and newest careers, not about its oldest profession," Reid said yesterday. "If we want to attract business to Nevada that puts people back to work, the time has come to outlaw prostitution."
Ouch. But the joke was on him, according to the Las Vegas Sun:
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The Legislature was engulfed by a sideshow of beefy pimps and short-skirted prostitutes, with joking comparisons to lobbyists and legislators being for sale and many asking: "Why take the time out now to bring up the issue." ...
Reid talked about some businessmen who considered moving to Storey County. "One of the businessmen in that meeting told me he simply couldn't believe that one of the biggest businesses in the county he was considering for his new home is legal prostitution."
Reid's staff would not identify the businessman.
So, as with the golf course incident, this is looking to be another one of Reid's special-interest-backed bright ideas, where the only "economy" that looks to benefit is that of his own campaign bank.
Come on. No legal prostitution in Nevada? That's like no legal weed in California. Oh wait...