Columnist uses front page spot to denigrate GOP convention speakers

I wonder whether the Las Vegas newspaper’s political columnist will go to the Democratic convention in Philadelphia next week and denigrate, contradict and call every speaker a liar on the front page, as he does with Republicans in Cleveland?

Today’s installment starts with a snipe at a Florida representative who wants to wean the nation off welfare because he once briefly was on food stamps. It then called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s comments on not filling a Supreme Court vacancy “possibly the lowest point of the convention thus far.” Then Ben Carson was called a liar with this self-contradictory commentary:

Hillary Clinton is not a follower of Lucifer, as Carson implied when it was his turn to speak at the big podium. It’s true that Clinton may have studied “Rules for Radicals,” a book by community organizer Saul Alinsky, which was dedicated to Lucifer, “the original radical.” But that’s a long walk around the block to imply that Clinton is the enemy of all good Christian values. (“I’m not politically correct,” Carson warned the crowd at the start of his remarks. Or even correct, for that matter.)

It concludes by suggesting Hillary Clinton would “govern cautiously as a moderate-to-liberal, modern Democrat,” as if that were a good thing.

The previous day’s column pilloried the mother of one of those killed in Benghazi, who dared to blame Clinton. “Donald Trump is everything Hillary Clinton is not,” the column quoted the mother as saying, followed by the commentary, “She may be right, although not in the way she intended.”

The tone in Philly will doubtlessly be one of brotherly love, if the owner of the paper can stand it that long.

Ben Carson speaking in Ohio. (R-J photo)

Can one really plagiarize a bunch of platitudinous pabulum?

What’s the big deal? So Melania Trump plagiarized some platitudinous pabulum from Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention speech in her own convention speech. (Do a search for Melania and plagiarize and you’ll get dozens of hits.) The candidate, Donald J. Trump, as his wife calls him twice in a speech delivered with all the passion of someone reading the phonebook, hasn’t said anything original or substantive in the past year and half, why should we expect his current trophy wife to do so?

But the caterwauling and blame laying is at least entertaining. Though Melania claims to have written the speech herself, people are calling for the speech writer to be fired.

Melania ended by saying, “Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.” Wasn’t that plagiarized, too?

Michelle: “Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.”

Laura Bush: “Thank you, God bless you all, and God bless America.”

I wager if one searched hard enough you could find dozens of speeches intended to be inspiring that include the same threadbare cliches.

But would someone please tell me what big thinking is? “Yes, Donald thinks big, which is especially important when considering the presidency of the United States. No room for small thinking. No room for small results. Donald gets things done,” the potential first lady promised. “Our country is underperforming and needs new leadership. Leadership is also what the world needs.”

She also said, “Everyone wants change. Donald is the only one that can deliver it.” Perhaps she meant hope and change?

 

 

November presidential election will be one it which voters will be holding their noses

According to several recent national polls, including the latest from the Washington Post-ABC News, voters this fall will not be voting “for” a particular candidate but “against.”

Though Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump by 4 points in the poll, a majority of her supporters say the reason for choosing her is due to their opposition to Trump, and likewise for Trump voters who really oppose Clinton.

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll show both candidates have net negatives:

Trump heads into the Republican convention with a 27 percent positive/60 percent negative score (-33) — remaining the most unpopular presumptive presidential nominee in the history of the NBC/WSJ poll.

But he’s followed closely by Clinton’s 34 percent positive/56 percent negative score (-22).

But that is just the head-to-head poll question, when you add in the Libertarian and Green candidates the result is: Clinton 42 percent, Trump 38 percent, Gary Johnson 8 percent and Jill Stein 5 percent.

That NBC News/Wall Street Journal four-way poll shows: Clinton gets 41 percent, Trump 35 percent, Johnson 11 percent, and Stein 6 percent.

No major poll, according to Real Clear Politics, thus far gives Johnson more than 13 percent and it takes 15 percent in five major polls for him to qualify for a spot on the national debate stage.

Will the GOP convention starting today give Trump a bounce?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morning paper adding more Sunday pages and stuff it already has

Carved in the Temple of Apollo is the admonition: GNOTHI SEAUTON, Know Thyself.

First, the morning paper added two pages to the Sunday opinion section, without any announcement or fanfare nor any additional local content, nor personnel, so far as I can tell.

Now it is heralding the fact it is adding pages to the Sunday Business and Comics sections.

Among the new comics being added, the paper tells us in a front page announcement today, is Marmaduke. Funny, they are the funny pages, Marmaduke has been in the Sunday comics as long as I can remember. If they like it once, they’ll love it twice? Don’t read it myself, and apparently neither do the writers and copyeditors at the morning paper, but it’s there.

Math is also not a strong suit. The blurb says the comics section is adding 10 new titles, but lists 11.

comix

On today’s front page.

marmaduke

From this past week’s comics section.

 

 

 

 

Editorial: Court should slap down public pension records trickery

There is contempt of court. There is contempt of Congress. But there should also be contempt of public.

This past week Nevada Policy Research Institute’s (NPRI) legal arm, Center for Justice and Constitutional Litigation (CJCL), filed suit in district court in Carson City seeking to force the state Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) to release information about the taxpayer-funded pensions of retired public employees.

After the Reno Gazette-Journal newspaper sued under the public records law in 2013 and won in the Nevada Supreme Court, this information was disclosed for 2013 and 2014 and posted on NPRI’s TransparentNevada.com website — names, former employer, years of employment, retirement year and pension amounts.

According to transparentnevada.com, in 2014 there were more than 1,000 Nevada state and local retirees receiving annual pensions in excess of $100,000. American Enterprise Institute found Nevada full-career PERS retirees fetch the most generous retirement checks of any state in the union — $64,000 a year on average or more than $1.3 million in lifetime benefits. That doesn’t include police and firefighters, who can retire earlier and generally have higher salaries.

But when NPRI filed a public records request for the same information this year for 2015, PERS had changed how it compiles the data. It replaced the names with Social Security numbers, making the data useless.

”By replacing names with ‘non-disclosable’ Social Security numbers in its actuarial record-keeping documents, PERS has attempted to circumvent the 2013 ruling of the Nevada Supreme Court requiring disclosure,” explained Joseph Becker, the director of CJCL.

After two years of disclosing the pension records, the bureaucrats at PERS apparently decided to nit pick a portion of that 2013 Supreme Court ruling that said, while public records must be disclosed, the agency has “no duty to create a new document by searching for and compiling information from existing records.” In order to circumvent the law, PERS altered its records.

But as Becker points out in his suit, there is a 2015 case out of the Nevada Supreme Court in which the court held that “when an agency has a computer program that can readily compile the requested information, the agency is not excused from its duty to produce and disclose that information.” LVMPD v. Blackjack

In an NPRI press release about the litigation, Becker is quoted as saying, “Not only has PERS attempted to re-engineer its record-keeping in a way that obscures from public view its critical financial instability — for which the taxpayers of Nevada are ultimately on the hook. PERS is also violating both the letter and spirit of the Nevada Public Records Act …”

The manipulation of the records by PERS is a clear act of contempt for the public, as well as the law and the courts.

The purpose of the public records law (NRS 239) is made abundantly clear by its opening paragraph: “The Legislature hereby finds and declares that:

“1. The purpose of this chapter is to foster democratic principles by providing members of the public with access to inspect and copy public books and records to the extent permitted by law;

“2. The provisions of this chapter must be construed liberally to carry out this important purpose;

“3. Any exemption, exception or balancing of interests which limits or restricts access to public books and records by members of the public must be construed narrowly …”

We urge the court to make short work of this naked effrontery.

A version of this editorial appears this past week in some of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel,  Sparks Tribune and the Lincoln County Record.

pers

Newspaper column: Jewell feels a drop of rain and declares sky is falling

Sally Jewell speaking about the “emergence of an extreme movement to seize public lands.”

Earlier this year Interior Secretary Sally Jewell delivered what could best be described as a doom and gloom speech about the state of disappearing “natural” lands in this country, primarily the West.

She claimed there is an “emergence of an extreme movement to seize public lands — from Oregon to Puerto Rico — putting lands that belong to all Americans at risk of being sold off for a short-term gain to the highest bidder. This movement has propped up dangerous voices that reject the rule of law, put communities and hard-working public servants at risk, and fail to appreciate how deeply democratic and American our national parks and public lands are.”

Communal ownership of vacant land is democratic? I thought there was another word for that.

That extreme movement must include the Nevada Legislature and a majority of Nevada’s Washington delegation, who have put forth modest efforts to transfer to the state control a little more than 10 percent of the federal public lands in the state — which currently amounts to about 85 percent of the state, the highest percentage of any state.

That extreme movement must include the voters of Nevada, who in 1996 voted to remove from the state Constitution the so-called Disclaimer Clause, in which the residents of the Nevada Territory in 1864 agreed that the residents of the state of Nevada would forgo forever all claim to unappropriated land inside its borders.

Jewell claimed that an analysis by a non-profit group found that natural areas in the West are disappearing at the rate of a football field every two and a half minutes.

“If you add that all up, you’re looking at a pretty bleak picture,” she warned. “If we stay on this trajectory, 100 years from now, national parks and wildlife refuges will be like postage stamps of nature on a map. Isolated islands of conservation with run-down facilities that crowds of Americans visit like zoos to catch a glimpse of our nation’s remaining wildlife and undeveloped patches of land.”

In a mere century we will have paved paradise and put up a parking lot!

According to the Congressional Research Service, there are 623 million acres of land in this country controlled by various federal agencies — Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife, Park Service and Department of Defense. If one bulldozed a football field-sized tract every two and half minutes, why there would be no federal land left in a mere 2,700 years.

The Congressional Research Service noted that over a 24-year period from 1990 through 2013 total federal land acreage did decline by 3.6 percent, mostly from the sale of BLM and Defense property, while the other agencies actually grew in land mass. This occurred while the population of the United States grew by 26 percent.

Over the same 24-year period, total federal land holdings in Nevada also declined, but by only 0.6 percent. This while the population of the state grew by 133 percent. At that rate, there would be no federally controlled land in Nevada in a mere 4,325 years.

Of course, Jewell also took the opportunity of this speech to implore Congress to give her more money so she can better “manage” these rapidly disappearing holdings.

A report from the Nevada Public Land Management Task Force, which was created by the Nevada Legislature, noted that the BLM loses 91 cents an acre on the land it controls, but in the four states that have public trust land revenues amounted to $28.59 per acre. The report estimated that Nevada could net $114 million by taking over just 4 million acres of the BLM’s 48 million acres. Taking over all 48 million acres could net the state more than $1.5 billion — nearly half the annual general fund budget.

Meanwhile in Washington, a year ago Rep. Mark Amodei introduced a bill calling for transferring federal land to the state in phases. The initial phase would authorize the state to select no less than 7.2 million acres of public land for conveyance to Nevada.

More recently, Sens. Dean Heller and Harry Reid introduced a bill that would allow Pershing County, after 30 years of discussions, to consolidate checkerboard lands along the old railroad right of way with some becoming public and some private. Up to 150,000 acres would be sold for economic development while a similar acreage would be declared wilderness. It could be a model for other counties to pursue.

The bills are pending.

A version of this column appeared this week in many of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record — and the Elko Daily Free Press.

Basin and Range National Monument seized by presidential fiat. (LA Times)

Car bomb apparently kills one person in Panaca

Den Sands' Facebook posting.

Den Sand’s Facebook posting.

According to the Lincoln County Record, what appears to have been a car bomb has killed one person in the tiny town of Panaca. Not exactly what anyone expects to happen in an unincorporated town with a population of less than 1,000 near the Utah border.

Residents throughout the town reported hearing a loud boom Wednesday evening. The blast shook homes for blocks.

“Rose Lanigan, a freelance writer for The Record, was at a friend’s home about a block away when they were startled by what sounded like a bomb,” the newspaper reports. “Upon viewing the scene, Lanigan said she saw a vehicle and telephone pole in flames and a home heavily damaged.”

Lanigan and others said they believed someone died in the explosion, though officials had not confirmed this.

Video of the fire was posted to Facebook: