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Opinion
Academic spoils Elder College lecture on ‘Inferno’
Remind me never to go to another lecture at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (Olli), the Elder College adjunct of the University of Nevada, Reno. Phil Boardman of the UNR English Department was supposed to talk about Dante’s “Inferno.” One hour and 13 minutes into his recent lecture he finally got to the subject. Then he had to hurry because the talk was to end in 17 minutes.  He spent all that time showing slides and discussing Dante’s l...
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The politics of media ga-ga boosterism
After last week’s column, I foolishly thought I was done with the latest debunking of Nevada’s miraculous high school graduation rates. Then came last Sunday’s Reno Gazette-Journal and a Tuesday editorial whereby the Korporate Kinks of Kuenzli Street filed for divorce from reality. In April of 2012, while the Reno paper was busy validating Dr. Heath Morrison’s unbelievable graduation rate increases, I was printing the truth. The superintendent...
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Crimea: Ethnic freedom
From all appearances, Russia is beating the United States at their own game of divide-and-conquer military strategy, defending the sovereignty of independent states for their own gain and foreign policy hidden behind the two-faced political mask of good cop-bad cop manipulation that in the long term benefits the power of central government, not the social needs of the people they profess to serve. The attempted, orchestrated secession of Crime...
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Tennis on a grand scale
The best thing that ever happened to tennis in Washoe County was the opening of the Tahoe Racquet Club at Incline almost 50 years ago. Peter Paxton, an LA transplant, built the club that saw then-governor Grant Sawyer toss out the first ball to the likes of Pancho Gonzales, Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall. Laver went on to win the opening tournament by defeating the much-larger Gonzales. I never expected to see such high-caliber tennis again. Howev...
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‘Free trade’ deals just another congressional scam
Beware of any legislation called “fast track.” The phrase masks the truth: it promotes privatization and harms consumers. It makes the poor poorer and the rich richer. It widens the yawning income gap. The latest scam is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Congressional passage of TPP would give the Obama administration fast-track authority by a simple majority vote. No Senate filibuster allowed. “Fast-track authority would give Obama uncheck...
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Campaign 2014: If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry
Sometimes I hate it when I’m right. Fully two years ago, I exposed the phony graduation statistics that made Washoe school boss Heath Morrison national superintendent of the year and won accolades for local officials. I accurately predicted that Morrison’s inflated numbers could not continue for a third year. Predictably, he skedaddled to re-shuffle the deck in North Carolina, admitting his sins to Charlotte Observer education reporter Ann Dos...
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Upload my mind, live forever
In 1971 George M. Martin, a biogerontoligist at the University of Washington, published biomedical literature postulating the theory that our mind, containing all of our life’s thoughts, memories, knowledge, experiences, likes and dislikes, and political persuasions would someday be copied, stored and transferred to other substrates. He also indicated that our lifetime memories could be digitally stored or transferred to another brain. In othe...
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Olympic hijacking
Wrapping up the story of the 1960 Olympics at Squaw Valley, we should probably acknowledge the fact that International status had to be established for the Reno Airport. This was necessary since overseas arrivals had to pass through the newly opened Customs inspection. Since Charles Mapes had all the concessions at the airport at that time, we had a ‘hot line’ installed so that the manager, Dale Kraemer, could contact us about the arrival of p...
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Campaign 2014: An expensive comedy act
Time for follytix! Looks like we're in for a lotta laughs, as usual. Alas, perhaps the best moment of Campaign '14 has already come and gone and I don't think he even saw it. If longtime local government critic Sam Dehné hasn't promoted a media coup with a followup e-mail, then dear Sam may have missed arguably his biggest hit of the year. With all the hoopla surrounding the Nevada Supreme Court's decision to reconsider its ruling banning term...
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President Obama ‘all hat and no cattle’
One-quarter of the presidents in U.S. history owned slaves. Most presidents have been mediocre. A few were atrocious like Ronald Reagan and G.W. Bush. But Barack Obama is the most disappointing president.  New York Times columnist Bill Keller writes: “Obama is leery of getting ahead of public opinion and therefore is far behind it.” Or, as Texans say in derision, President Obama is “all hat and no cattle.” Take Obama on pot. He said in a recen...
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State lottery has gone to pot
Back in the 50’s, alcohol, tobacco and illegal marijuana were the most popular social addictions of choice. Cocaine, heroin and other forms of euphoria-producing drugs were usually relegated to wealthy party goers, hardcore addicts and smaller circles of individuals addicted to a different type of temporary ecstasy sought after by the generation of the new Cultural Revolution born in the mid 20th century. Back then, who would have thought it, ...
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More Olympic memories
As promised last week, we are continuing to report on memories of the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympic Games that were stirred up by the recent Olympics in Russia. While my trips to the actual games occurred on a near-daily basis, my main concern was in operating the 24-hour International Olympic Press Club, located on the top floor of the Mapes Hotel in Reno. It might be well to tell the story of how the Press Club came into being. Walter Ramage, th...
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Stalinesque Putin wields Mafia politics in Russia
Russians love autocracies: the czars, the Soviets and now Putin. President Vladimir Putin was elected three times but is still dictatorial. Putin personifies the worst aspects of centuries of harsh Russian rule: totalitarian regimes marked by censorship, arbitrary imprisonment, jailed demonstrators and demolition of civil rights. Putin got his toadies in parliament to pass a law banning “propaganda” about homosexuality. When several people, ho...
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Shirl Elliker: Nevada loses an honorable man
If you've ever wondered why you ended up here in the High Desert Outback of the American Dream, Shirl Elliker's life will prove instructive.
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Nevada Wolf Pack: Win for Carter
What’s all this falderal about Nevada men’s basketball? What difference does it make if they can’t make free throws, play defense, offense, rebound or shoot from the floor as well as most of the other team’s in the Mountain West Conference? They are all college student athletes, not professionals, and they are in the process of learning how to play the game at a higher level. They are a great bunch of kids trying their best to represent the Un...
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Recalling Olympic Highlights
With the Olympic Games scheduled to be wrapped up by the time you read this, I would probably be remiss in not comparing them to the Squaw Valley Olympics in 1960 To begin with, this year’s version of the Games included almost four times as many athletes as competed at Squaw. Also, the number of events was equally four-fold. One of the biggest differences in the two Games was that Squaw contained all of the competition in one venue. In Sochi, ...
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Education: The cure spawns an even worse disease
The plan to beat the teachers' tax petition is worthy of Karl Rove. The onetime Sparks schoolboy would appreciate a strategy so smooth that it doesn't look like one. TV spin for Gomorrah South: Nevada generates plenty of tax money for education. The problem lies with those greedy northerners and rural cowboys who take what should go to Las Vegas. Our lawmakers just need to get our money back. TV spin for Sparks-Reno-Washoe: Ignore statewide st...
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Pro football never seems to grow up  
Michael Sam, a gay All-American defensive end on the University of Missouri football team, is good enough to be a pro now rather than finish college next season as he plans. But grossly ignorant NFL executives anonymously expressed fear that he would disrupt the “manly” NFL and cause a terrible “imbalance” if drafted. Bruce Jenkins, sports columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, rightly asks: “Who will be the NFL’s Branch Rickey?” Rickey co...
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Teach American skaters how to dress
Watching the competition during these modern-day Winter Olympics reminds me how things have changed over the years.   To begin with; American Speed skaters blamed their Under Armour designer ski suits for their miserable showing in opening rounds of competition in Sochi. You think they would have noticed  the difference by checking their stop-watch in training sessions. Maybe someone put vodka in their tomato juice. The extreme craziness of at...
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Shirley Temple in Nevada
“Aren’t you going to ask me to dance?” The question came from the lips of America’s childhood screen sweetheart Shirley Temple, who was 20 years old when she sat beside me in the SkyRoom of the Mapes Hotel. I replied that my skill at terpsichore was very limited. Besides that, she had danced with many of the great hoofers in Hollywood. How we happened to arrive at this moment is probably explained by some events that occurred weeks before. To ...
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