Chris Christie would have done well BECAUSE he’s fat.

Posted October 7, 2011 by reasonablereporter
Categories: Uncategorized

Incredibly enough, there are people in this pizza-and-beer-loving nation who believe Fat New Jersey Governor Chris Christie would have had a tough race, had he entered the GOP presidential primary, because of his weight.

Such nonsense. The Fat Governor of New Jersey, had he tossed his hat in the ring, would have done well precisely because he’s fat.  We are a Taco Bell, Burger King, dip-and-Doritos, mac-and-cheese culture.

A lot of Americans are bloody sick and tired of being told at every turn that our body mass index is out of whack.  We suspect Fat New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and his wife, too, who appears to have put away a few double-stuff Oreos in her time, would never nag us about our eating habits.  We would welcome a policy of silence from the White House on our food choices when we’re watching the news at dinner time.

As to cultural prejudice against the chubby?  Sure, it exists. Unlike other brands of prejudice – those based on race, gender and religion – prejudice against fat people is acceptable, and in many states, it’s legal.  This snottiness grows tiresome, even to the not-so-fat, because who among us looks perfect in any case?

There are Americans – and not just french fry-ordering, fat slob, sweatshirt-wearing Americans, but perfectly lovely, marathon-running, yoga-practicing, organic kale-eating Americans, too —  who might find solidarity with the Fat New Jersey Governor, because he doesn’t give a crap if people call him fat.

In fact, the Fat New Jersey Governor told opponent John Corzine during their gubernatorial contest to stop pussyfooting around and just say it.

“I’m fat,” Christie said. And he won.

Here’s the thing.  You can’t pull this off if you’re just a few pounds on the heavy side. A few extra pounds doesn’t make a definitive statement. It suggests mere absence of discipline. It suggests you’re in denial.  It suggests you overindulged all summer even though you knew you’d have to make a bunch of on-camera appearances in the fall, and then you took the word of a friend who said, “No!  No, you’re fine!” when you made a self-deprecating comment about how your suit jacket looks like it belongs to your kid brother.

To be taken seriously by Americans weary of nutrition-harping, anti-fat propaganda, you have to be unmistakably and unapologetically fat.

Christie has already lived through a campaign where his heft was fodder for serious analysis (Washington Post, no less). And yes, let’s say it again. He won.

None of it matters now, because he’s keeping his portly ass out of the race.  But we’d love to have raised our 170-calorie Guiness Stout to his candidacy from our ringside seat in the living room recliner.  You go, Fat Governor of New Jersey.

DNA Moms versus the Fourth Amendment: How Brianna’s Law defied both logic and emotion, and failed in the Nevada Legislature

Posted June 23, 2011 by reasonablereporter
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Brianna’s Law was a controversial anti-crime bill that would create DNA profiles on thousands more people each year. Does the government’s interest in crime control mean police can reach into the mouth of a person presumed innocent, and seize that person’s genetic blueprint from the skin inside his cheek?

How Brianna’s Law failed in the 2011 legislature

Amazon rattles saber: We will rethink our Nevada investment

Posted May 12, 2011 by reasonablereporter
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Online retail pioneer Amazon has issued a not entirely surprising response to the campaign by Nevada’s brick-and-mortar retailers promoting sales tax collection by online merchants.

Amazon personnel said on a Wednesday phone call that they were aware of the pending amendment to Nevada Senate Bill 34, the existence of which has received wide press coverage, and which will be presented by the Retail Association of Nevada as a tax fairness measure.  Leading up to the presentation, the association has launched a television and radio campaign to influence public opinion in favor of retailers who collect taxes as required by law for schools and other public necessities, implicitly shaming companies that don’t. In the center of the bull’s eye — Amazon.

A written statement from Amazon Vice President of Global Public Policy Paul Misener was issued by email.

“The new tax legislation sought by big box retailers would make us reconsider our pending plans for jobs and investment in Nevada, including in Las Vegas,” he wrote.

Amazon has made headlines in state after state fighting any effort to force it into the role of sales tax collector.  It has battled the efforts by going to court, and by threatening to pull distribution centers out of states where legislatures are brewing up such a requirement, stirring fear of economic disruption and job loss.

The Nevada Association of Retailers asserts the state is losing jobs anyway, because physical retailers located here can’t compete with Amazon and other online merchants who aren’t required to pay sales taxes, and often provide free delivery.

The issue, says the association’s Bryan Wachter, is that Amazon should be paying (collecting) those taxes now.  He emphasized that the tax is not a new tax, because the online shopper is currently obligated by law to download a consumer use tax form from the Department of Taxation website, self-report online purchases, and pay the tax.  Hardly anyone does it because people are unaware of the law.

“It will be interesting to see if Amazon chooses to continue to have their advantage by leaving the state, as opposed to doing what most other companies are already doing,” Wachter said.

— original post —

Amazon issued the following written statement on Wednesday to the Reasonable Reporter in response to a request for comment regarding the Retail Association of Nevada’s legislative push to force the online retail giant to collect sales taxes in Nevada.  The request was part of the work for my segment on this week’s “Impact Nevada,”  which airs each weekend on Vegas PBS Channel 10 and commercial channel 8 in Las Vegas. Statement below, more to follow.

Here’s a statement from Paul Misener, Amazon vice-president of Global Public Policy:

“The new tax legislation sought by big box retailers would make us reconsider our pending plans for jobs and investment in Nevada, including in Las Vegas.”

Word from Texas: Margin tax is a work in progress, not simple, not meeting projections, likely headed for major reform

Posted May 6, 2011 by reasonablereporter
Categories: Uncategorized

The Texas business tax that’s serving as the model for Nevada’s legislative Democrats isn’t getting rave reviews in the state where it originated, according to sources in the Texas business community, who say the margin tax is roundly disliked, and will probably get an interim study, and subsequent reform or repeal in the 2013 Texas legislative session. Read the story at Nevada News Channel

The award for the most succinct statement by a politician goes to — State Senator Greg Brower, who says “yes” to CD2

Posted April 23, 2011 by reasonablereporter
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A text at lunchtime Friday from Vegas PBS producer Stacy: “Hey… just checking to see if brower is in the cd2 race???”  Followed by: “Just checking cause the rj and gazette just flashed he announced he’s running.”

The reliability of recent information about the race to replace Congressman Dean Heller has been mixed. With no formal announcement in the mailbox,  direct confirmation was in order.

In the hallway outside the Senate chamber, the question was asked, and the answer was, in a word, “yes.”

Asked to expand on his one-word statement, Brower said, “I think I’ll leave it at that,” and breezed right past.

Is Greg Brower the Gary Cooper of Nevada politics? Is there more to Brower’s decision to try to leave the state senate seat he just filled? Is it, in the age of texts and Twitter, a brazen act to put a microphone in the face of a politician and request actual confirmation? The answers to these and other questions are — not all that important, apparently.

That is all.

The customer is always right… but generally left out of the lawmaking loop

Posted April 15, 2011 by reasonablereporter
Categories: Uncategorized

Joe and Jane Voter rarely show up at the legislature to speak for themselves. Folklore from sessions gone by says there were  lawmakers who adamantly did not want to see or hear from Joe and Jane, and held power like a hammer over the heads of lobbyists who might have considered packing a hearing room with citizens.

This week, in a rarely-exercised act of self-determination, Joe and Jane got a chance  to kill a bill, without setting foot in  Carson City.

Senate Bill 203 would have changed the status of over-the-counter cold and sinus medicine, requiring  a prescription for drugs like Sudafed.

The objective: keep the drug away from folks who would use it to manufacture methamphetamines. Law enforcement estimates between one and two percent of the drug store purchases end up in the meth lab.

Joe and Jane Voter apparently didn’t care for the proposal, which would require them to drag their allergic brood to the doctor’s office on a school day, and shell out the requisite co-payments in order to then proceed to the grocery store and get a box of decongestant.  That was the scenario painted in a radio spot that ran with relentless frequency over the last couple of weeks.  The spot was paid for by an alliance of drug makers who were fighting the bill. It urged a phone call to legislators protesting Senate Bill 203.

Word to the business lobby: What took you so long to realize that the consumer is your natural ally?  It doesn’t take thousands of dollars worth of media to call the consumer to action. A simple op-ed piece or talk show appearance is sufficient to notify the people who really have something at stake. It’s a head scratcher, but rarely are Joe and Jane Voter actively brought into the loop on issues that affect them in the marketplace.

The radio campaign was executed by a national organization, not by any Nevada group, although the Retail Association got the credit for stirring opposition too strong to overcome.

Ironically, the people who killed this bill – Joe and Jane Voter — are largely unaware that they averted an equally undesirable alternative. The drug industry is also paying for a cloud-based decongestant user database — linked in a growing number of states — that logs purchases, along with personally identifying information of every stuffy-nosed citizen who buys a box.  Law enforcement has complete access, any time. Had SB 203 gone forward, this would have been the inevitable compromise.

By the way, Sudafed and its sister drugs are already tightly controlled at the retail level, having been placed out of reach of the runny-nosed customer in 2006. Currently it’s necessary to sign a log and provide identification in order to get sinus relief, but the information stays in the store.

Supporters say prevailing wage overhaul lowers costs, levels playing field; unions come out blasting

Posted April 11, 2011 by reasonablereporter
Categories: Uncategorized

A proposed overhaul of the state’s prevailing wage law drew protest on Monday from union representatives who said it will place Nevada’s construction workers in a “race to the bottom,” depriving them of a suitable living. But supporters claim the bill corrects rules that drive up building costs and put non-union contractors at a disadvantage. Story at Nevada Newschannel