Our Luv Guv started it all last week with his proposition — oops, perhaps that's not a good word to use where this guy is concerned. Let's start over.
Gov. Gibbons last week advanced a proposal to privatize the university system. You missed it? Lemme 'splain.
Jim the Dim, a man shockingly inept for having several college degrees, came out with a plan to give the higher ed system more autonomy. It reminded me of the "Doonesbury" cartoon strip's definition of "compassionate conservative." Compassionate means we care, conservative means you're on your own.
The guv wants the university system to be more “self-sufficient.” He is willing to do his part, advocating for exemption of campus construction from supervision of the state public works board. Translation: Import all the unskilled labor you want from South Carolina and we'll look the other way.
RGJ editors loved the idea and they were not alone.
"Regent Ron Knecht of Carson City said taxpayers now pay from 70 to 80 percent of a student's education," the paper reported, quoting Knecht as stating it would "be appropriate to revisit and reset" that percentage and require that students and families pay more.
I can see the student rally now, channeling Pink Floyd with an endless chant of "we don't need no education."
I was fortunate enough to attend Fresno State before Ronald Reagan began grinding down the best university system the world had ever known. I believe education should be entirely taxpayer paid and college level or vocational learning should be available to any student who can do the work. Otherwise, society is just paving the path toward prison, which is why local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) leaders are serious about major legal action against the state. (See below.)
Once again, the free market offers the solution. A group of nuke industry shills wants to establish an "energy park" at the Yucca Mountain nuke dumpsite and devote it mainly to reprocessing spent fuel rods. (Horse-loving S. Carolina is suing us over the dump closure.) They don't mention that reprocessing leaves you with more glowing stuff than you started with and they apparently have never heard of transmutation.
They want to model it after the Alaska Permanent Fund, which sends an annual oil royalty check to every resident. Their idea is great but the target is wrong. I suggest doing so with our tax-exempt, foreign-owned mining industry. Otherwise, get ready for the day when your local college changes its name to Tiger Woods-Nike-Budweiser-UNR because the likes of Jim the Dim and Ron the Rump have privatized everything.
Suing for schools
My latest TV program is now available online. Go to the front page of NevadaLabor.com and click on the very obvious link.
In case you missed it
Last Friday's concert by three UNR jazz professors proved that everything old is new again. In concert at Reno's Steinway Piano Gallery, saxy man Peter Epstein, trumpet player Larry Engstrom and pianist-composer David Ake performed some of the avant garde work from their new CD "The Dark." A few passages took me back to my younger years when I was a fan of jazz clarinetist/saxophonist Jimmy Giuffre, the point man for what was called jazz fusion back in the 1960s. I think it meant fusion between jazz techniques and classical intricacy but nobody was really sure other than listening to Giuffre was weirder than trying to take in sax aficionados Sonny Rollins or John Coltrane.
Mr. Giuffre, meet the three professors of new-new thing. Mr. Epstein wins the Roland Kirk Memorial Award for longest note without a breath ever witnessed. (Somebody call Guinness — not the beer, the record book. On second thought, get the beer, too.)
During the whole evening, I was the only guy who rose to applaud. I could not stay seated after the conclusion of a particularly rousing passage wherein all three virtuosos performed their own melody lines in what sounded like a mix of improv and tight orchestration. Somehow they held it together and soared, making this old horn man stand up and cheer.
Just around the corner
The annual César Chávez Celebration at Circus Circus-Reno is on March 31, the great labor organizer's birthday. This year's event will take place on Nevada's first official statewide César Chávez Day. For ticket or sponsorship information, see CesarChavezNevada.com or call me.
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Recent Barbwire special programs on health care and education would not have been possible without community media. We originate in public access facilities and rebroadcast over public and commercial television. SNCAT needs your help with a critical foundation grant that matches public contributions dollar-for-dollar — all tax-deductible. My personal thanks to those who have anted into this very important game. Please consider doing so yourself and contact me for more info. If you don't think corporate conglomerate TV provides all the news you never knew you needed to know, this is important to you.
Be well. Raise hell.
Andrew Barbano is a 41-year Nevadan, second vice-president and political action chair of the Reno-Sparks NAACP and editor of NevadaLabor.com. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.