Not that the rest of government is doing all that much better, but one must recognize the systemic shortcomings of our electoral process as presently practiced. For all our bragging about representative government of, by and for the people, America imposes more obstacles in the path of voters than most modern nations. To prevent voter fraud partisan agitators are pushing for government-issued ID cards at the polls, confirmed with evidence of r...
Status quo rules UNR
“Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” — French saying The Board of Regents has a penchant for naming second-raters president of the University of Nevada, Reno. The regents last weekend selected mediocrity Marc Johnson, interim president, to succeed the late Milton Glick as UNR president. The “national” selection process was a joke, a mere façade for picking a mediocrity lacking in vision, imagination, cultural knowledge and scholarly inc...
Where do we go when we’re sleeping?
My recent conversation with a 6-year-old girl and her mother reminded me of the old adage, “Children ask the darndest questions.” It also reminded me of my own curiosity about sleep when I was her age. Taking advantage of the first warm Saturday of spring, I headed for the park to catch some sun. Not long after I settled in, a woman and her daughter sat at the picnic table next to mine. They systematically placed their lunch on the table and a...
Defining ‘US’ from abroad
“He who does not travel does not know the value of men.” — Moorish proverb. We were standing in the parking lot of our Grenada apartment complex. As the Canadian couple next door put their little baby to sleep and the Iranian family two doors over came home from a long day of studying, a friend asked me a strange question. “What is American culture?” A pregnant pause followed. Do we 311 million Americans even know? My friend was American, but ...
Call it what you want, but recognizing the vast gap between the Haves and the Have-nots is long overdue in our society, and this election is opening and defining that division to public debate for the first time in recent decades.
Titanic discovered by 5-year-old
When I was a kid, my family lived for a time in Valentine, Neb. It is my father’s boyhood home — a little cattle ranching town situated in the north central part of the state. One day I went to visit my father’s Aunt Coke, one of my father’s many relatives who lived in Valentine. I was about 5 years old at the time and cute as can be, which I can only guess was the reason I had been invited to her home for the day. I remember doing two things....
Debate sparks my fear of fire
Last summer, my beloved coffee maker died. Right about the same time, my girlfriend and I purchased an assortment of camping supplies, intending to see some of our region’s great outdoors. One thing we hadn’t purchased was a percolator in which I could brew my morning caffeine while appreciating nature. So, I bought one to use both inside and outside. There are two drawbacks to using my old-fashioned coffee maker year-round: crunchy coffee ful...
Drug war declared
Let’s get one thing straight from the start: America’s problem isn’t drugs, nor any humanitarian sympathy for the user/victims of the criminal scourge. Drugs and the war against them is entirely a political issue. America was created by neo-Puritans whose beliefs leaned strongly on punishment for sins and transgressions of every sort. There was also a problem of combative ethnic minorities with ancestral grudges that carried over into the New ...
Profits trump health reform
America’s most urgent domestic problem is health care. The cost is so enormous that many people cannot afford primary-care coverage. They go to hospital emergency rooms instead. The solution is universal national health insurance, Medicare for all, funded by taxpayers. Every major industrial nation has it except the United States. It is disgraceful that this rich nation does not. Nor is it likely to have it soon without winning huge Democratic...
The Unsinkable RMS USA
Today is the 100th anniversary of the Titanic sinking and her number one fan, James Cameron, remains as obsessed as ever. Sinking Leo, Kate and Billy Zane with unprecedented scientific accuracy in 1997 was apparently not enough for Cameron. The newly released “Titanic 3D” takes the filmmaker’s passion to new depths once again, as the “unsinkable” ship collides with an iceberg, breaks into pieces and plummets to the ocean floor. But this time, ...
The Marshal is Getting Outta Dodge City
“When your enemy is destroying himself, never interfere.” — Napoleon Last week, I advised that if you have kids, move someplace else. They will have a hard time getting a decent education here as Nevada plunges ass-first toward the 19th century. Somebody has already taken my advice. Washoe County School Superstar Superintendent Heath Morrison wants to get the hell outta Dodge. The low-hanging fruit has been picked, the PR spin is glorious and ...
Colored By History
“Miss, I can see your veins!” the little girl said wide-eyed as she pulled my lilly-white arm towards her. I was different. I was, in her words, “weird.” My blue eyes were a constant source of fascination when I first started volunteering with Grenada’s underprivileged children. Two pair of sunglasses were broken in little-fingered attempts to uncover my bright blue eyes. A similar uproar is happening in America, but ours isn’t as innocent. A ...