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Opinion
Narrow, Bleak Redneck Nation
Deer Hunting with Jesus By Joe Bageant 267 pages. Three Rivers Press. 2007 Redneck Nation has never been as well portrayed as by Joe Bageant. The reason: Bageant is an offspring of that nation. Joey, as he is called by the “natives,” was born and raised in Winchester in the Shenandoah Valley of northern Virginia. It’s as redneck as any area in America. The epitome of boobus Americanus. White trash. Crackers. “Mutt people.”  The unwashed. Trail...
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Still Sierra Pacific Powerful
We coulda been contenders. In 1980, future Sen. Randolph Townsend, my wife Betty and I trooped to Winnemucca and Elko to convince local governments to buy the CP National utility system. Sierra Pacific Power campaigned the old fashioned way — hosting steak fries and schmoozing the hicks into endorsing SPP acquisition. They wouldn’t even listen when eminent economist Dr. David Schwartz convincingly presented the case for hooking into the public...
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The center does not hold
The problem with inspiration is the time delay in achieving the worthy ends. Eloquence combined with insight can change the course of history, but only slowly, with the passage of time and the fading of memories. Seeking some compromise with opponents in some mythical centrist balance between competing ideologies is an intellectually appealing objective, but it ignores history in favor of a futuristic fantasy of their imagining. Perhaps it was...
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Leave it to the offended
An important part of creating a newspaper is writing catchy headlines. Attracting readers’ eyes is not easy these days when there are so many sources vying for attention. Selling the printed word is difficult when competing against the latest TV pundit’s scare tactics, the small-screen drama of teen moms and their white trash families or the most revealing celebrity skin. On the pages of the Sparks Tribune, I work to write headlines that at le...
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Lesson learned from a winning team
They did it! The University of Nevada, Reno Wolf Pack football team beat Boston College 20-13 in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl game in San Francisco on Sunday night. I’m more than likely not the first person to tell you that, but I needed to preface everything else I wanted to say with that sentence. Sunday night, during the game, you could have held cannon practice on many local streets as the traffic was diminished considerably because everyon...
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No ‘nigger’ allowed in new Twain
The term “nigger” caused quite an uproar when Auburn University professor Alan Gribben announced he is publishing sanitized editions of Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” The new publication will substitute what Gribben calls racially sensitive language and will replace the word “nigger” with the word “slave.” In an interview with CBS, Gribben said the new edition would “enable us to set this ...
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Moving day for Gov. Sandoval
Moving sucks! Actually, the latest move that my husband and I undertook was a more joyful one then the string of “rental moves” I’ve endured through the years. This move was into our first home together. As joyful as this move was for us, it still lacked the magical appearance of a “Star Trek” transporter device — something I’ve desperately longed for during every single move to instantly relocate all my belongings from point A to point B. In ...
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Whodunnit? The recession
Pass the buck — we’ve all done it. There is not one among us who hasn’t been responsible for something and tried to blame someone or something else. It’s human nature. The game of buck passing is easier when the recipient is not a person. The dog is often an obvious culprit, or perhaps aliens. Sadly, a lot of things in the last few years have been attributable to the recession: unemployment, foreclosures, bankruptcies, business closures, etc. ...
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TV Cum Laude
It was the spring semester of 1963 when I broke the last tenuous string with academic studies and embarked on the long adventure that is life in the real world. Until then I — and most of my generation of white, middle-class children of the baby boom — had been hanging about on campus, sampling a variety of classes in the intellectual cafeteria at the universities of the day. Berkeley, Boulder, Anne Arbor and Cambridge all produced a generatio...
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Billy brawl
Sen. Bill Raggio is neither God nor dead. From all the fawning statements statewide, a visitor from Mars would assume either or both. The longtime state senator and former district attorney is a fine gentleman with a great sense of humor. I still have the handwritten letter of condolence he sent after my wife passed away. But the personal must be separated from the professional. At the very least, the record must be set straight. Since newspap...
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Death Valley’s Opera House
A sagebrush Shake-speare would have penned sonnets or even a play about Death Valley diva Marta Becket. This amazing woman, born in 1924, first set eyes on the care-worn buildings of Death Valley Junction in 1967 and somehow was inspired by the artistic possibilities. Such was the beginning of the incredible true story of the Amargosa Opera House. Through the years, Becket was the subject of feature stories in national newspapers and magazines...
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Audubon Stars at Museum
The Nevada Museum of Art has been turned over to the birds the last two months. But not any birds. Audubon birds. Audubon: the most famous name in bird lore. The Reno exhibit, ending Feb. 13, features 50 life-sized Audubon watercolors from the first edition of the New York Historical Society collection. The painting on the cover of the NMA booklet for the show is the flaming red American flamingo. It is elegant and graceful with its curling, S...
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Typing on a tightrope
Although the literal art of tightrope walking is not such a popular sport, except for among circus folk, I feel like my friends and I walk one every day. Oddly enough, I also feel like we’ve joined a circus in which we balance on a thin wire between following socially acceptable norms in a technology-driven society and slipping into the gray area between anonymity and overexposure.
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Time, space, awareness and reality
For many years, before the midnight celebration of New Year’s Eve begins, I have had dinner at a friend’s home. While the adults are gathered around the bar discussing politics, jobs, unemployment, immigration and taxes, I generally gravitate towards the children’s side of the family room. At my age, I think I learn more from children than I do from listening to adults who seem to know everything about nothing. This year, I noticed the childre...
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Know when it’s too much
A week ago the National Football League decided to postpone the Sunday night football game until Tuesday because of the heavy snowfall the Philadelphia area had experienced. Pennsylvania’s governor chided the powers that be in deciding to postpone the game as being a bunch of “wusses.” He asserted that “real men” could, and in fact should, play in any weather condition. Every football game is overflowing with enough testosterone to float many ...
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The Lady in the Red Dress
Out west lives an eccentric old lady. Sometimes you can glance at her and see flashes of what she was when she was young and unspoiled, wild and free. But there is an old sadness in her eyes. Men came and violated her one night more than a hundred years ago. The fear is still there. Once in awhile, she still walks the streets of Washington, D.C., and, occasionally, she still gets invited in — but only to be used again. The old lady has little ...
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Letter to the editor
Dear Editor, The economic and quality of life degradation in this county is a result primarily of a drug-induced type bringing of new density increases and subsidized sprawl type growth, that did not pay its own way, engaged in for well over a decade by all three political subdivisions in this county. Elected officials have been engaged in an economic and social rape, pillaging and pilfering of this county and its citizens for years. All to fe...
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Gays Win Great Victory
“Sometimes — there’s God.” — Tennessee Williams in “A Streetcar Named Desire” The lame-duck session of Congress was expected to be just that: lame. But--astonishingly!--it produced historic legislation: abolishment of gay and lesbian discrimination in the armed forces. Congress overturned the heinous policy of don’t ask-don’t tell (DADT). The Senate and House voted overwhelmingly for tolerance, fairness, dignity and decency. And President Obam...
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Ask not what Nevada can do for you
The inaugural words of John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country,” inspired a generation of Americans like myself. Urging us not to be dependent upon, but to go beyond what government could do, JFK challenged each of us to rekindle the founding spirit of self-reliance that created a nation like no other in history. That wintery day 50 years ago, America’s youngest president stood shivering...
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Time changes everything
Instant breakfast, instant coffee, instant gratification, Americas are in a hurry, perhaps from sub conscious awareness that we are all running out of time. Butterflies live a full life in just a few days. Turtles may live more than a hundred years, but they dance at slow time. Old growth Redwoods and Sequoia last a millennium, which is still childhood to the Bristle Cone Pine. All of which reminds me that long range planning and action are th...
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