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Opinion
Where do we go when we die? The Nugget
The passing of an old friend last week reminded me of life’s frailties, unexpected tragedies and the ultimate destination of our journey through the hallowed walls of awareness. It provoked memories of my own personal losses to the Grim Reaper over the years, and it rekindled my childhood curiosity of what awaits us beyond the anxieties of life. When I was about 5 years old, I had a pet pigeon. Mom named him Parvenu. The city was full of pigeo...
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Winning in entrepreneurial America
As reported recently by this newspaper, the unemployment rate in the Reno-Sparks area dropped from 13.8 percent in December to 13.3 percent in January. Has the downturn turned into an upturn for 2011? Charlie Sheen might say, “Winning … Duh!” Easy there, Tiger Blood. The article went on to explain that the improved numbers have less to do with a better labor market than they do with local Nevadans “dropping out of the workforce.” Which, of cou...
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Hope has survived tragedy in Japan
We all have watched with absolute sadness and disbelief the news of the horrible events taking place in Japan during the last two weeks or so. The devastation, the loss of life and the total upheaval of the Japanese way of life pulls at the heart strings of every decent human being on this Earth. At every turn I have seen the results of the actions of Pandora, that young girl of mythology. Out of curiosity, she opened the box she had been seve...
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Letters to the Editor
Dear Editor, Lady Justice must be shedding tears with the recent decision of the U.S. Supreme Court giving the right to protest to a small group of hate mongers from Kansas. What about the rights of the families who are burying their dead? Don’t they have rights, too? The Supreme Court could have made an exception to the First Amendment by simply stating that protests could be allowed, except at funerals, memorial services or ceremonies. Inste...
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The Reagan Ranch, Hall of Famers and Protest Fatigue
Longtime readers know there are only two requirements for the Barbwire Nevada Columniators Hall of Fame: You have to be dead and been either a great writer or kicked some serious ass, preferably copious quantities of both. The original inductees were Las Vegas Sun publisher Hank Greenspun, a lawyer who wrote like one, but if you were going into a street fight in dark alley, you wanted ole Hank at your back. By far the best writer of the triumv...
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Pyramid Highway’s co-pilot
From the spot where Ann Barlettani will soon be laid to her eternal rest, she will be able to see the place where she was born. But between her birth at Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center and her interment at Mountain View Cemetery in Reno, she has gone many places and touched many lives. Foremost among those lives was that of her longtime husband and Sparks Tribune cartoonist Woody Barlettani. To give Ann proper respect, all I would have to...
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Time to choose
The next year will mark a historic point of change that will define our future, both as a nation and the world’s dominant species. Humankind, having survived the evolutionary process long enough to develop complex societies and technologies, must now choose the path to a future freed from our past mistakes and dedicated to remediation thereof. Or we continue our present practice of exploitation and destruction of the very earth on which we mus...
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Birthplace of Bootstraps
If I didn’t know better, I’d almost think Nevada is the place bootstraps were invented. Bootstraps, as in those things that you must pull yourself up by in order to get along in the world. If you’ve lived in Nevada long enough to unpack your duffel, you’ve no doubt heard that, around these parts, we’re supposedly all about the grand libertarian tradition of self-reliance and small government. None of those nanny state solutions for complex soc...
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My heart grew three sizes that day
“The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true.” — James Branch Cabell I question everything, trust no one and evaluate all sides of every issue before resting on a decision. I like to think this pessimistic outlook is what makes me a good journalist (which is open for debate), but it also causes a lot of grief. I’ve always been this way. It doesn’t make a ton of sense because I ha...
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Schools need a path to pride
Public school officials nationwide are concerned with the low graduation rates of high school seniors and the increased dropout rates of all high school students. All across America states are struggling to fund public education systems that, as many people see it, are failing to retain and graduate their students. In trying to place blame for these failures, teachers and administrations are the first to be accused. It follows then that if tho...
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Homeland Security: nose under the wrong tent
Last week, radicalization was the contentious term that stirred the most political debate. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King, R-NY, held a hearing investigating the radicalization of Muslims in the United States. Most Republicans supported the committee’s decision to question American Muslims about possible al-Qaida recruiting and terrorist cells existing in their mosques. Democrats argued the process was a witch hunt and s...
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Politics for kindergartners
Every night during dinner, my girlfriend and I watch “Jeopardy.” It’s a way to feed our minds as we feed our bellies. OK, really we’re practicing to be old people. Thanks to modern technology we’re able to digitally record the show and watch it after the original broadcast. What’s even better is we get to fast forward through the commercials. Even seeing them in high speed, I get to know the show’s advertisers pretty well. Something I learned ...
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Going to pot
In case you missed the Health Department’s alert notices, Nevada, like most of the rest of the western states, is in the grip of a virtual pandemic of aches, pains and maladies demanding the use of medical marijuana, the historically recognized panalgesic currently popular among alternative medical professionals and patients. Indeed the parameters of this health crisis are expanding daily and may encompass over half the population under fifty ...
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It Ain’t Broke, But We’ll Fix It
America’s corporate overlords no longer have a weight problem. For the past three years, they have been laughing their asses off. At us. The plutocracy gobbles appetizers, soup, salad, multiple meaty entrees, sumptuous desserts, brandy and cigars while the lower classes fight over who gets to lick the carpet for crumbs. We crumbums are so desperate that on any given day, some contingent of our threadbare multitude stages a protest somewhere. I...
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Nevada Ethics Commission v. Carrigan
“Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion.” — Julius Caesar quoted by Plutarch Rarely does a legal case start in Nevada and reach the U.S. Supreme Court for a decision that determines the law of the land. But just such a case concerns Mike Carrigan, a Sparks city councilman from the Fourth Ward. He has been elected four times. In his last race he won with a fantastic 80 percent of the vote. The legal question arose when the Nevada Ethics Commissi...
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Managing the Mustangs
After a couple minutes of conversation with John Carpenter, I got the feeling he suspects I don’t know which end of the horse eats and which end kicks. Carpenter read a recent column about the plight and politics of Nevada’s wild horse population and wanted to offer his considered opinion. The rancher and former state legislator knows a thing or two about the horses, having watched them gallop across the state all his life. Born in 1930 in Fal...
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Spanish Springs: A Witness Protection Community
“What is this place, the Witness Protection Program?” my husband asked. As we walked up and down and around, I looked around the familiar neighborhoods of Spanish Springs. It was the first and only town in Nevada I had called home so I never gave it much thought. Although at times, the nearby city of Reno seemed like a different planet to me. The manic buzz of traffic, downtown architectural variety and casinos that never close all quietly fad...
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The true test of an education
Reconstructing our educational system nationwide is a high priority on the bucket list of many of our states’ legislatures. Unfortunately, many of the legislators have not been in a classroom since they left the K-12 public education system they grew up with. Nonetheless, they feel knowledgeable enough to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to retooling the system. I agree, some changes are necessary. At the same time, I don’t recommend thro...
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Politics smell of Limberger cheese
The current political storm in Wisconsin is creating a divide between public workers, organized labor unions and government hiring policies. Wisconsin’s leading cheese head, Republican Gov. Scott Walker, has erased the proverbial line of compromise in his effort to eliminate labor unions. Wisconsin’s public employees and their labor unions have made all the fiscal concessions demanded by Gov. Walker. Although they accepted a substantial reduct...
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A real life sentence
I am in the midst of a lesson about responsibility.
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