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In search of the Unified Theory of Conservatism

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President’s Day Weekend Potpourri

February 21st, 2012 · 1 Comment

Here’s a roundup of some of the happenings of Nevada’s blogosphere over the weekend, in case you were off having a life or something.


Will NPRI’s separation of powers lawsuit continue forward?  There are clearly grounds for moving forward, even if the original defendant is no longer directly impacted, and eventually, a sitting legislator will be found that can be sued without the issue being moot.  Best to decide the issue now.

The really interesting twist in this will be the Leslie/Brower race, if the District Court moves forward with the case and if it gets to the Supreme Court before the 2013 session.  The Supreme Court could conceivably be in the position of effectively deciding the balance of power in the state Senate.

I wonder if for that reason, the District Court will punt and declare the issue moot, leaving the question for a time when the Supremes wouldn’t be so open to accusations of partisan bias no matter which way they decided the case.


Speaking of NPRI, Victor Joecks has some stinging criticism of the Governor’s new economic plan.

I largely agree – government attracts sustainable innovation and entrepreneurship by acting as an umbrella, not a chaperone.  But one nitpick – Nevada spent $500 million less in the budget that was passed after Sandoval took office, vs. the budget passed the previous biennium.  While our government has grown significantly since 2000, it has shrunk under Sandoval’s watch, even with a Democratically controlled legislature.

Like any plan, it’s merely a starting point, and I’m glad to see it out there for exactly this sort of intelligent criticism that asks what second, third, and forth order effects of the plan would actually be.  And this is exactly why the down ticket races matter soooooo much.


[D]oes anyone seriously believe that it is in the Republicans’ interest for the 2012 presidential election to center on theology and gynecology?

Hey – don’t blame Nevada.  Santorum came in dead last here.  The Nevada GOP may be dysfunctional as hell, but at least we got that right.


A national budget group is advising all states to move immediately to a defined contribution pension system, now that even GM had to give in and realize that defined benefit plans are slow fiscal suicide.

It’s a good idea, since it’s going to happen sooner or later when the current unsustainable system runs out of money.  (NVPERS is by all accounts astoundingly well run, but the best run investment program in the world can’t keep up with impossible future promises.)  The alternative is to wait until the bitter end, when folks on the cusp of retiring will really, really get screwed when municipalities start declaring bankruptcy.


50 Years After John Glenn’s Flight, US Needs New Space Ride.

NASA channeled that momentum into a series of successes in human spaceflight. Over the years, the space agency has executed six manned moon landings, launched 135 space shuttle missions and helped build the $100 billion International Space Station.

But now, a half-century after Glenn’s flight, NASA lacks a way to get astronauts off the ground.

It is truly an embarrassment – what did we win the Cold War for, anyway?  I believe space exploration is critically important in the same way that the westward expansion of our nation was critically important to creating and sustaining ourselves as a nation of self-sustaining, individualistic, entrepreneurial innovators.  And I believe there is a role for the government in promoting such exploration and expansion, not to mention the military necessity of being able to service and protect our own communications, spy, and GPS satellites.  Newt Gingrich got a terrible rap for bringing this all up, frankly.

The silver lining, though, is that the neglect has opened the way for a lot of private sector entrants into the space industry, and that’s ultimately a great thing for everyone.  As I said, I believe there’s a role for government, but spending billions upon billions to send a few government employees into space for a few days at a time shouldn’t be the end-all-be-all of humanity’s skyward expansion.  Let’s just hope that the government partnerships that are inevitable in such enterprises (heh) will promote, rather than stifle this kind of innovation, even in the face the the very real risks these pioneers are taking.


Jim Rogers asks an interesting question pertaining to Nevada’s higher education priorities:

The Medical School costs are $141,324 per year, per student.  The Law School costs are $26,794 per year, per student. The Dental School costs are $39,297 per year, per student.  I would assume spending $141,324 on a medical student who pays only $17,999 in registration fees, the least of all the professional schools, should cause you to ask, “How the hell did this happen?  How did the doctors get such a sweet deal?”

Uhhh – because educating doctors is a much better use of taxpayer dollars than educating more lawyers?

We hear all the time about how critical it is that we “invest” in education in this state, and I agree.  But “investment” assumes we’ll get a return on that investment, and that means that not all majors or professional degrees can or should be subsidized equally.  It’s not that we don’t need attorneys (lawyer jokes aside but appreciated), but as a member of that profession I can say with some confidence that the legal market in most of the state is pretty saturated.  I don’t think the same is true for doctors, which are frankly of higher value to society, in my opinion.  If we’re going to subsidize professional training as a society, let’s focus most on the areas where we need members of that profession the most.


Mike Chamberlain has a great roundup of some of the political maneuvering involving the state Senate, as well as the Las Vegas City Council race.  He discusses the welcome return of Bob Beers to Nevada politics, a Conservative so effective the Dems had to literally defame him to defeat him.

I have to wonder, though, if he might be casting an eye back on the State Senate, now that Halseth has resigned.  If he lives in that district, or is willing to move, it would turn a crappy situation into an enormous opportunity for a huge net political gain for Senate Republicans.


The Left opposes entry level jobs for young people, homeless.  Because standing on a street corner is unacceptably dangerous, apparently.

Just 4 generations ago, we were crossing the continent in covered wagons.  Sigh.


Ralston’s take on some of the dysfunction in the Clark County Caucus.  It should have been titled, “How a handful of Paulestineans bullied county party officials into whimpering submission and chaos, so those same Paulestineans could later claim they were cheated.”
Here’s the thing that worries me the most.  People who are so obsessed and ready to assume cheating at every turn are that way because they themselves would cheat in the same way in a New York Second if given half the chance.  And while they don’t have a chance in hell of winning a legitimate election, they have in very large part embedded themselves deeply at all levels of the party organization.  The results of that have been – and will continue to be – exactly what you’d expect.
God help us when it comes time for the State Convention again.  Do these people really think they can get Ron Paul on the ballot at a brokered/contested national convention?  And even if they did, do they seriously think the 85% or so of Republicans who don’t support Paul would see that as legitimate and would work to get out the vote for him?
And given the probability that there is a group of folks ready to reenact the 2008 Convention Chaos, how is the current state chair – a staunch Ron Paul supporter – planning for it?


I’m shocked – SHOCKED! – that there is Politics going on here!  The trouble with accurately reporting crime stats.


If only we boasted the Senate’s most powerful member.  “Nevada loses millions of dollars from FEMA.

We’re better off getting used to being on our own now, anyway.  One way or another, and probably sooner rather than later, there just won’t be any more of other people’s money to spread around from Washington.


Oops.  “Uses for thousands of dollars of campaign funds going undisclosed by Nevada Democrats”There seems to be some ambiguity in the law here, but just from a purely political standpoint, why would you err on the side of non-disclosure and open yourself up to the appearance of shadiness when you were unsure enough that you had to get advice from your caucus’ lawyer to start with?

And please, lawmakers, let this be a lesson well learned.  That’s just one regulation in the law.  You’re smart people yourselves.  You involved lawyers, and still may have gotten it wrong, and wrong in a way which could have a significant negative impact on your profession.  Now think of the thousands of laws and regs currently out there that businesses large and small have to contend with on a daily basis, and think of your experience every time you’re tempted to pass a new one without thinking through the second, third, fourth, and fifth order consequences to the people whose livelihoods depend on understanding and complying with the rules you write and pass.

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