On the Soapbox

"Winner-take-all" should be re-considered

Each election there are some who want to change how we elect the President. Specifically, there are calls to do away with the Electoral College.

I believe the Electoral College is a valid and vital concept. What I disagree with is that the electoral votes are awarded on a "winner take all" basis per State.

America is a "melting pot", not a "mixing bowl"

This last election has shown the continuing trend in American politics to do away with the "melting pot" of America.

We saw ad after ad target specific groups of people in an attempt to convince them to vote as a whole and not give individual thought to a given issue. Two of the more blatant examples covered immigration and support for Israel.

I am reminded of two terms from chemistry that are often confused: "compound" and "mixture."

The Death Penalty

The ability to take a citizen's life as punishment for committing a crime is one of the defining attributes of a sovereign nation. It is something that should never be imposed lightly.

Tonight we saw two state executions take place, one in Georgia, the other in Texas. The execution in Texas was that of Lawrence Brewer. The crime for which he was executed was so brutal it was part of the inspiration for hate-crime legislation.

The Next Great Infrastructure Project

Brian Greenspun, publisher and editor of the Las Vegas Sun, had this to say in his editorial from today:

Pat [Mulroy]’s idea is simple. It is a pipeline that would take the rising water away from the Mississippi River and transport it westward to the Colorado River where, frankly, water is in very short supply. Over the next decade or so, many millions of Baby Boomers will be retiring to the Southwest, putting a further demand on the diminishing water supply. It makes perfect sense that we should take the water no one wants and move it to a place where everyone needs it. The only thing in the way is an old argument about water laws that should no longer, well, hold water. Whatever that pipeline costs can probably be offset by the next few years of flood damage. That’s a pretty good return on investment.

Small voter turnout may not be bad

First, I want to congratulate the winners of Tuesday's elections. But even more, I want to thank all of the candidates who ran for their desire to serve the public.

Jon Ralston made the following observation in a tweet Tuesday night: "These small numbers -- 50K votes in #lvmayor, few thousand or hundreds in others -- show why these muni races should be in even years, too."

Osama Bin Laden Dead

Word just broke that Osama Bin Laden has been killed.

There are many, many implications now, but most of all, what does this mean to our mission in Afghanistan? I hope this means that we can wind things down and bring our troops home soon!

I have always said we had good reason to go into Afghanistan for revenge. But I have also said that we should never have gone into Iraq. What impact does this news have on our mission there? What is our moral responsibility to the people of Iraq, whose country has been turned upside down at our hands?

Republicans have an ax, Democrats have a cherry tree

Imagine how I felt when I saw this headline in the Las Vegas Sun today: "Budget ax looms over veterans housing program"

I cringed when I saw this story. Reading it just made me feel worse. Democrats are trying to shame the Republicans for picking on vets, and the Republicans say the Democrats are cherry picking a possible action that is not specified to create fear and anger. The bottom line is that both major parties are using vets for political purposes.

Nevada's campaign finance mess

Jon Ralston, of the Las Vegas Sun, posted not one, but five stories today (with additional follow-up stories) listed below outlining how Rory Reid took advantage of what appears to be a loophole in Nevada's campaign laws governing contributions from PACs to candidates.

Here are the original stories:

Why the Whigs are needed today

An AP story titled "Tea party vision for Mont. raising concerns"carried by the Las Vegas Sun illustrates exactly why the Whigs are needed today, not only in Nevada but in every state.

I see the TEA Party as the extreme wing of the Republican party. But even the mainstream Republicans, as well as the Democrats, depend too much upon ideology to guide policy decisions. The Whigs do not.

Nevada needs the Whigs long term perspective

As we begin another legislative session there are many serious problems that must be dealt with, but I think many of you would agree with me that we don't expect much to be done to solve them. I expect to see those problems be kicked down the road yet again.

This is partly due to the fact that our state constitution embodies protections for some groups from taxation, and also prohibits the legislature from adopting some solutions such as a state lottery.

We need open contracts

The following is from Article 2, paragraph 2 of the contract between Clark County and IAFF local 1908 (Clark County firefighters):

The Union and County agree that the only way the public shall obtain a copy of this collective bargaining agreement is a request in writing to the Union or the County. At no time shall the County place the collective bargaining agreement, in whole or part on any website.

This strikes me as some unusual language to have in a public contract.

My Reaction to Governor Sandoval's State of the State

I did not have the opportunity to watch Governor Sandoval's State of the State speech live. But I did catch some of it, and have been reading the transcript available on the Las Vegas Sun. Here are my impressions.

He seems to start off well. The governor made one statement in his opening remarks that I can agree with completely:

"Some believe government is the only solution to our current plight. I disagree. Unemployment, foreclosures, bankruptcy – the cure is not more government spending, but helping businesses create jobs. The key is to get Nevada working again."

Thoughts from an old libertarian

Hi, I'm Jim.

I guess an age of 57 isn't really that old, but when I think of the changes I have seen in the political landscape it seems so.