Romney’s call to give states control over oil and gas leases on federal land doesn’t go far enough

Obama sat down with reporters in Reno recently and talked about cutting the red tape that entangles productive use of federal public lands.

But the reality is that on his watch Bureau of Land Management statistics show the length of time it takes to obtain a drilling permit has doubled since 2005 and, just since Obama took office, the time it takes to “resolve any deficiencies” in an application has tripled. In fiscal years 2006-2008 there were 20,479 federal drilling permits issued, compared to only 12,821 in fiscal years 2009-2011. As a result, oil production on federal land fell 14 percent this past year.

A Nevada oil well.

By contrast, Mitt Romney is proposing to cut the federal bureaucrats out the picture when it comes on oil and gas leases on federal land and give that authority to the states, I report in this week’s column, available on The Ely Times website. But even that is but a half measure.

Romney claims his plan will create  3.6 million jobs, add $500 billion to the GDP, generate $1 trillion in revenue for federal, state and local governments, while reducing the cost of fuel and electric power. One of the key components of Romney’s plan is to allow the states to oversee exploration and development of oil and gas on federal lands inside each state. In Nevada that is more than 85 percent of the state.

Instead, Romney and Nevada’s entire congressional delegation should heed the voice of Nevada’s voters, who in 1996 amended the state Constitution to remove the Disclaimer Clause that was inserted in the statehood ordinance in 1864. In that clause the residents of the territory of Nevada bound the future citizens of the state of Nevada to “forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within said territory, and that the same shall be and remain at the sole and entire disposition of the United States.”

Sixteen years after that vote the state Constitution carries a footnote that the “amendment was proposed and passed by the 1993 legislature; agreed to and passed by the 1995 legislature; and approved and ratified by the people at the 1996 general election, effective on the date Congress consents to amendment or a legal determination is made that such consent is not necessary.”

Neither Congress nor the courts has done anything since. Nor have any of our elected officials.

Taking over and privatizing huge swaths of federal land would be an almost instant boost to the economy of the state. What are we waiting for?

Columnist provides handy guide to racist words

For those of you who comment on this blog and get called racist for your use of various words and phrases, Michelle Malkin, writing on, has put together a compilation of such words and phrases to avoid while talking politics, lest you be called a racist.

It is called: the dictionary.

Well, not quite, but you begin to think so when you read her list and how people have used poor, innocent words to divine racism in just about every utterance critical of President Obama. Use the word “president,” because a certain newspaper publisher I know thinks it is disrespectful to call him just Obama, and perhaps even racist.

Take a word used by commenters here: Chicago. Malkin explains:

–Chicago. The Obamas and their core team of astroturfers, pay-for-play schemers and powerbrokers hail from the Windy City. This is a simple geographic fact. But in progressive of pallor Chris Matthews’ world, it’s an insidious dog whistle. The frothing cable TV host attacked Republicans this week who have the gall to remind voters of the ruthless Chicago way.

“(T)hey keep saying Chicago, by the way. Have you noticed?” Matthews sputtered. “That sends that message: This guy’s helping the poor people in the bad neighborhoods and screwing us in the ‘burbs.'”

Then there are words and phrase such as angry, Constitution, kitchen cabinet, holding down the fort, professor, food stamps, experienced, you people and golf.

Yes, someone has deemed each of these and more to be tinged with racism.

Well that explains everything

The ‘choom gang’ in Hawaii

Scientists say smoking marijuana permanently lowers intelligence, says Additionally, those who started as teenagers and used it heavily, but quit as adults, did not regain their full mental powers, according to scientists at King’s College in London and Duke University in the United States.

According to a Washington Post blog, David Maraniss’s book, “Barack Obama: The Story,” quotes one of Obama’s friends from the “choom gang,” Tom Topolinski as saying Obama popularized “roof hits,” because wasting weed was not tolerated. At least he was frugal.

“When they were chooming in a car all the windows had to be rolled up so no smoke blew out and went to waste; when the pot was gone, they tilted their heads back and sucked in the last bit of smoke from the ceiling,” Topolinski is quoted as saying.

Obama was known for Bogarting joints or intercepting the roach as it was passed around. “When a joint was making the rounds, he often elbowed his way in, out of turn, shouted ‘Intercepted!,’ and took an extra hit,” Maraniss writes.

Las Vegas newspaper finally announces ouster of experienced top editors

Well, after two weeks of silence, the Review-Journal finally got around to announcing their craven and cowardly decision to boot its most experienced, most loyal and most valuable top editors with much more than a century of experience, just at the R-J, replacing them with people who have been with the paper a total of five years.

The scuttlebutt was dead on. Jim Wright, with two years at the paper, and Mark Whittington, with three, become the city/business deputy editor and the sports/features deputy editor, respectively.  I hope they realize what they are getting themselves into.

MIke Hengel, auditor-in-chief

The only surprise in the announcement is that Joe Hawk will stay on as sports editor for a couple of weeks and then become a reporter. I give that six months before they yank him around so much he quits in disgust. Been there, done that. Gone this week are: Managing Editor Charles Zobell, City Editor Mary Hynes, Art Director Ched Whitney, Features Editor Frank Fertado and Editorial Page Editor John Kerr.

“I am sorry to have to take these painful steps,” the announcement quoted editor Mike Hengel — affectionately known as the auditor-in-chief for his habit of spending hours and hours in his office counting bylines and photographs to find out who is cranking out quantity content, no matter its quality — as saying. “All of these individuals have helped to make the Review-Journal the dominant source of news and information in Southern Nevada. I believe, however, that a structure which removes a layer of management will best serve our readers going forward.”

What a crock of B.S. It was a bottom line move to shed salaries no matter how much it hurts the quality of the paper. And it almost assuredly wasn’t his decision. He just gets to take the blame. I’ve already said what they could have done instead.

There is no one left who knows where the bodies are buried or where the journalistic landmines lie.

I hope everyone who remains at the newspaper fully realizes just how little they are worth to this bunch of gutless pirates who have forced some of their best employees to walk the plank so they can lighten the load and save their own worthless hides. They’ve scuttled the ship. It is just a matter of time until it sinks under the weight of incompetence.

Nevada Gov. Sandoval — the Hispanic face on the cutting room floor

While flipping through the various channels in search of GOP convention coverage, I soon realized that most of the channels were doing more interviews in the aisles and panel analyses than actually showing the floor speeches. So, in order to be sure to catch Gov. Brian Sandoval’s speech, I settled on CSPAN, which was doing what it does, showing the whole shebang.

Brian Sandoval at convention. (AP photo)

Therefore, I don’t know how many channels actually broadcast Nevada’s Hispanic governor’s admittedly less than stirring speech, but apparently the execs at MSNBC decided Sandoval was not ready for prime time, according to something called Red Alert Politics, along with practically every other “minority” speaker on the convention stage in Tampa.

Red Alert reports:

“MSNBC wants you to think the Republican Party hates minorities. So much so that the liberal news network cut minority speeches from it’s convention coverage.

“When popular Tea Party candidate Ted Cruz, the GOP nominee for Senate, took the stage, MSNBC cut away from the Republican National Convention and the Hispanic Republican from Texas’ speech.

“MSNBC stayed on commercial through former Democratic Rep. Artur Davis’ speech, as well. Davis, who recently became a Republican, is black.

“Then, when Puerto Rican Governor Luis Fortuno’s wife Luce’ Vela Fortuño took the stage minutes later, MSNBC hosts Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews opted to talk over the First Lady’s speech.

“And Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval? Noticeably missing from MSNBC, too.

“Mia Love, a black candidate for Congress in Utah, was also ignored by MSNBC.”

In case you were watching MSNBC, and I have no idea why you would, here is the Sandoval speech:

For your further edification, the folks at Breitbart’s Big Journalism website compiled an almost minute-by-minute compilation of the media obsession with a hurricane, abortion, rape, how the party is anti-gay, anti-women, anti-Muslim, while releasing unfavorable polls as Ann Romney takes the stage.

Here is one brief passage:

“After Santorum’s speech ended, Gwen Ifill asked Newt Gingrich if he gets a ‘twinge’ listen to Rick Santorum’s speech, obviously trying to get Newt to slam Rick. But Newt said no, Santorum shows the compassionate side of the GOP that ‘might surprise many people.’

“Judy Woodruff then tried to push Newt to admit that the GOP is an all white party, saying ‘when you look at the faces,’ you don’t see minorities. But Newt didn’t bite on that either. Newt noted that just as they were talking, Texas Senate candidate Ted Cruz — an Hispanic — was just starting to speak.
“Also, I’ll note that as Ifill and Woodruff were talking and during Santorum’s speech many minority faces were panned by the PBS cameras. Apparently Woodruff doesn’t watch her own network!”

Sandoval on the national GOP stage

This is a transcript of Gov. Brian Sandoval’s speech to the Republican National Convention. He delivered it almost verbatim:

I stand here tonight humbled to share with you the story of a nation, a state and of one man.

It is the story of America itself – of courageous, freedom-loving visionaries who believed in the promise of opportunity, rather than the divine right of kings.

Who dared to dream that anyone could rise above the circumstances of their birth.

It is also the story of the great Silver State: Battle Born Nevada!

We joined the Union to help keep Abraham Lincoln in the White House and fulfill the promise of opportunity, as he ended forever the scourge of slavery.

And, it is my story: the child of working-class Hispanic Americans who has lived the American dream.

The Proverbs tell us “from small beginnings come great things.”  My father was one of ten children.  My mother and her family lived in a tiny, two-bedroom house in the Southwest.

Dad worked his entire career as an aviation technician.  Mom was a legal secretary who became a teacher.  We lived a simple American life.

When I was a boy, my parents brought us to Nevada in search of opportunity.  My first job was cleaning sheep pens.  In college, I worked in a hospital cafeteria.  I worked my way through law school.

Encouraged by my parents’ love for this country, I dreamed of public service.  I became a state legislator, a gaming regulator, and attorney general of my state.

My story could end there, but this is America.

And so, in 2005, a simple son of promise was appointed by President Bush, and confirmed by the United States Senate as a federal judge.

I saw in my courtroom the fulfillment of all that our forefathers sought to create.  A nation of laws.  A nation of due process and merit and justice for all.

And, yes, a nation of immigrants.

One of the greatest duties I performed was to administer the oath of citizenship to new Americans – immigrants who embody our dream of opportunity and prosperity.  But from the federal bench, I also saw a nation beset on all sides by unprecedented challenges.

I watched my state’s economy falter, stagnate and slide into decline.  Nevadans lost their jobs and their homes.

Nevada was hit hardest by the recession – highest unemployment, highest foreclosure rate, highest bankruptcy rate.

Like so many, I looked around for help.  And what did I find?

A president who promised change, but turned instead to the same tired strategy of ever-larger government.  A president who abandoned hope and embraced only blame.

So I stepped down from a lifetime appointment to make a difference.  I ran for governor, was elected and, like Republican governors all across this nation, I chose to make the tough decisions:

On issues like economic development, education reform and redesigning how state government operates.

On job creation, and reducing state spending, and eliminating red tape.  It hasn’t been easy.  And we’re not through it yet.

But I have put my faith in the people of my great state – because they are the ones who will grow our economy.

I have seen Hispanic business owners and families from backgrounds — not unlike my own — struggle in this economy.

I have seen young children from all walks of life begin to wonder if their future holds any hope at all.

Make no mistake: The current administration’s failed experiment with big government gets in the way of economic recovery.  Their love affair with government regulation is a drag on business confidence.

From personal experience, I can tell you what will help states like Nevada and families like mine: elect the team that understands how to get America working again.

Send Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan to the White House!

This administration sings the siren song that this is all there is.  They tell us government is the answer, but we know it’s the problem.

They tell us we didn’t build our businesses, but somebody else made it happen.  They tell us not to dream but to settle.

You and I know America is better than that.

Our national story is one of confronting challenges – and winning.  We have overcome economic devastation, defeated mighty oppressors and lifted up generation after generation of Americans.

We can – and we will – do it again.

For that is our birthright as members of the American family – white, black, Hispanic, Asian, immigrant or descendent of the Founding Fathers themselves.

We must leave Tampa this week on a mission to remind Americans they deserve more than the status quo.  They deserve to dream big.

We must remind Americans that the promise of opportunity remains unbroken – that every person in this great nation can succeed through hard work, courage and personal responsibility.

For that is the real American story.

Thank you.

And now, let me introduce to you one of those Hispanic business owners that I mentioned are struggling in this economy, Mr. Phil Archuletta of New Mexico.

‘2016’: Is that all there is?

I agree with Sherman Frederick, “2016: Obama’s America” is preaching to the choir. I wager there wasn’t a Democrat in the house when I saw it — at least no one under 50 among the 60 or so white-haired folks.

But I was, frankly, a bit disappointed. There was nothing in the movie that I did not already know.

I thought perhaps the bit about Obama’s mother being angry with her Indonesian second-husband over his becoming too much of a capitalist might’ve been new, but no. There it is on page 78 of Dinesh D’Souza’s “The Roots of Obama’s Rage.” I had forgotten.

“In time she began to view her second husband as a kind of sellout, somehow lacking the authenticity that the she continued to admire in Obama’s father,” D’Souza writes. “Basically she fell in love with the old anti-colonial Lolo (Soetoro) and came to detest the new pro-American Lolo.”

If anything, D’Souza makes too much of Obama’s obsession with a father he met once and too little of his bohemian anti-American mother and communist-leaning grandparents.

I also got my journalistic hackles up over the staged and scripted interviews that were made to look like they were taking place over the phone, as they probably were for the book. OK, I’ll grant him a little license with that. You’ve got to have something to look at.

But he makes an excellent point about how a militarily and fiscally weaker United States makes the whole world a more dangerous place.

Investor’s Business Daily notes the so-called mainstream press is ignoring the film, though it is No. 7 at the box office.

The scary part is what Obama said to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, “After my re-election, I’ll have more flexibility,” which is included in the movie. He is already acting unilaterally in defiance of Congress, enacting the DREAM Act by decree, repealing No Child Left Behind by waivers and exempting a favored few from his own ObamaCare. What will he dare to do with four more years?

The movie is worth seeing, whether you’ve read the book or not, but once you’ve seen the movie, read the book. It fills in gaps a short movie cannot possibly cover.

I’m not as concerned with Obama’s past and his obsessions, as I am with our future and that of my grandchildren, who inherit a burdensome debt, an economy secondary to China and perhaps even India and a world with fanatical, nuclear-armed terrorists who have no fear of us or our leaders.

Now I am going to have to read “Obama’s America.”

Read all about it! Somewhere besides the newspaper that is

Is this the state of newspaper journalism in Las Vegas?

Harry Reid goes to an Hispanic grocery and holds a news conference. The Review-Journal carries nothing but a photo with a caption telling readers to “Find out more in Thursday’s edition of El Tiempo.” That’s on page 2B of the print version only. It doesn’t even offer that helpful direction online. All you have to do is wait three days, go find a copy of El Tiempo and, in the meantime, learn to read Spanish.

As for the Sun, it has a story, but not in print. It is available only online. Actually, if you read the story, he really did not say anything he’s not said repeatedly, including calling for Romney to release more tax returns, while he refuses to release his. But since when is the lack of news a reason to not cover the state’s senior senator?


Harry in the aisles. (R-J photo)

Where are you on the political spectrum?

I don’t know about you, but I rather enjoy filling out those little Pew surveys that show you how you stack up against fellow Americans.

After all, I am the author of the general political relativity theory. In politics, it is your frame of reference that determines what you see. No observer is stationary. All are themselves in motion at different velocities, in different directions along the political spectrum from red to blue.

The theory goes something like this (e=mc²): The energy of one’s convictions equals the mass of one’s deductions times the speed of insight squared.

Pew Research Center’s latest survey asks a dozen questions about the usual-suspect issues and then ranks your answers on a sliding scale.

I’ll show you mine, if you show me (or tell me) yours.

First, is overall:

Second, is social issues:

Third, is economic issues. It looks like I pegged the meter on this one:

Harry explains how to succeed in politics without really being nice

I have managed to plumb the inner sanctum of Harry Reid’s office. The Fourth Estate has a fifth columnist spiriting out documents that explain the means and methods of the exalted leader of the Senate — how he manages to create Republicans for Reid, push the agenda of cronies in “green” energy companies and change political stances 180 degrees, like something out of “1984” in which one day the enemy is Eurasia but the next it is Eastasia but no one seems to notice.

In a memo purloined by my spy, Harry explains to his staff the vital necessity of striking fear into the hearts of both friends and enemies.

For example, if an electric utility company plans to build clean-burning, coal-fired generators that will produce inexpensive power that would obviate the need for your supporters’ expensive “green” energy, remind the utility company executives who it is that holds considerable sway over the EPA emissions standards, which could be ratcheted down until it becomes impossible to meet them.

If a newspaper owner also owns banks, just remind him who it is that controls the calendar where banking regulations live and die.

If a wet-behind-the-ears junior congressman dares to suggest on television that you do not consider Nevada citizens a priority, then remind him of your power by demanding that his bill, which would create hundreds of jobs for rural Nevadans, include a provision to remove from productive use some unspecified acreage of land from some unspecified area by designating it as wilderness, thus placating your environmentalist backers who live in the cities.

Here is the gist of the memo:

“Upon this a question arises: whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved? It may be answered that one should wish to be both, but, because it is difficult to unite them in one person, is much safer to be feared than loved, when, of the two, either must be dispensed with. Because this is to be asserted in general of men, that they are ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly, covetous, and as long as you succeed they are yours entirely; they will offer you their blood, property, life and children, as is said above, when the need is far distant; but when it approaches they turn against you. And that politician who, relying entirely on their promises, has neglected other precautions, is ruined; because friendships that are obtained by payments, and not by greatness or nobility of mind, may indeed be earned, but they are not secured, and in time of need cannot be relied upon; and men have less scruple in offending one who is beloved than one who is feared, for love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails.”

The working headline is: “When you’ve got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.”

This is how Harry has left many a loyal supporter trampled in the dust and kept others from abandoning their Democratic posts (or caused others to abandon their Republican principles) lest they be torn apart by those willing to do Harry’s bidding out of fear of being torn apart themselves.

Do you think any of Harry’s staff will notice that, if you change the word “politician” to “prince,” you have a passage out of Machiavelli’s “The Prince”?









.Separated at birth?

Not everyone feels the love … or the fear.