KC’s Corner: Committing Harry Kerry | NevadaAppeal.com

KC’s Corner: Committing Harry Kerry

Kirk Caraway
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Aug. 6, 2 p.m.: Harry Reid dropped by the office yesterday for a chat with some of the Appeal’s editorial staff. He was in the area for the Tahoe Forum, and is also hot to campaign both for his own re-election and to promote John Kerry for president.

Reid joked that when Kerry was hunting for a vice president, his people called and said, that while they liked him, they didn’t think a Harry-Kerry ticket would fly.

The first real topic of the talk was, of course, Yucca Mountain. Reid described the planned nuclear waste repository as the “largest public works project in the world,” with its $100 billion price tag.

Listen for the Democrats to just hammer on this point in favor of Kerry. Even John Ensign had to admit that Kerry is better on this issue than George Bush.

Editor Barry Smith posed the question to Reid of what alternatives are there to Yucca Mountain. Reid said that casks have been developed that, while too vulnerable for transporting the waste, would work well for storing it at the sites were it is produced.

Reid made the point that all of these nuclear powerplants will always have waste on hand, even if they ship it to Yucca Mountain. That means it needs to be guarded against terrorist attacks, and that transporting the waste to Nevada just multiplies the security problems.

When asked about what other issues Nevadans should be paying attention to this election season, Reid’s top pick was the economy.

“We have to do a better job of not spending money,” was Reid’s simple answer. He noted the record deficit the Republican-controlled White House and Congress had run up, and its impact on the economy. He worried about how the jobs that are shipped overseas are being replaced by ones that pay much less. At the same time, the costs of college tuition, gasoline and health care are going up dramatically.

Reid’s solution for helping out on the health care front is to create pools for small businesses to join so that they can offer health insurance to their employees at lower costs.

For Nevada, Reid says we need an energy policy that puts more emphasis on alternative energy, such at wind, solar, geothermal and biomass, all of which would benefit this state. Offering significant tax credits would help bring these sources online and reduce the dependence on foreign oil.

Reid is pretty comfortable in his minority whip post, and is optimistic that his party can take control of the Senate next year, estimating at 52-48 majority. He is not anxious to seek any higher position. “I have a great job,” he said.

I did get one question submitted by a reader, asking if Reid would debate his challengers before the election. Reid responded that he was very open to a debate with his general election opponent, sometime in October.

Aug. 5, 11 a.m.: We can’t make this stuff up. First, Joe Bob’s Roadhouse causes a stir with its billboard in Washoe Valley that showed a chicken with bare, human-like breasts.

Then, after the closing of one end of Hot Springs Road put them out of business, the establishment’s owners claim to have offered up the lease on the property to a church, but zoning laws forbade it.

So, what do they do next? Open a strip club.

And they seem surprised the city is unhappy with their actions and wants to shut them down.

Gee, if the zoning laws wouldn’t allow a church, what made them think they could get away with having topless dancing?

You have to feel for them, with their business going down the tubes due to circumstances out of their control. But you have to wonder if all the marbles are accounted for when you see this kind of decision making.

Perhaps they will decide to move their “gentlemen’s club” to a more appropriate place in Carson City. But I wouldn’t bring back that billboard with the chicken.

August 5, 7 a.m.: After going camping for several days, I thought it would be hard to catch up with what was going on in the political world. But it would seem that nothing that earth-shattering is happening.

After all, I looked at the CNN website yesterday, and one of the top stories was about how First Lady Laura Bush felt about her daughter Jenna sticking her toungue out at the press.

Is this what crack political reporting has come down to? According to the polls, we have a very important election coming up, where a majority of the people believe the country is on the wrong track. Why aren’t we hearing more about the economic plans of George Bush and John Kerry?

During the Democratic convention, most the coverage seemed to focus on Teresa Heinz-Kerry’s comments to a reporter to “shove it.” My, what ground-breaking journalism we have here! I can’t wait for the investigative expose on what kind of underwear the candidates wear on the campaign trail.

We really need to demand that our national media outlets do a better job. These people are politicians, not celebrities, and the decisions they make really do affect us.

July 29, 9 a.m.: With the Democratic convention going and most Republican leaders laying low, it seems a bit one sided in the news world today. Last I heard George W. Bush is spending the week riding his mountain bike, which is easier on his knees than jogging. Maybe we should invite him out for a ride on the Flume Trail?

July 28, 7:30 p.m.: I didn’t get the chance to see Sen. Harry Reid’s speech in Boston today. I’ll have to ask him about it next week when he is scheduled to drop by our office for a chit-chat.

Do any of your have some questions for Sen. Reid you would like me to ask him? Send them to me at kcaraway@nevadaappeal.com.

July 28, 9 a.m.: I swore I wasn’t going to watch any convention stuff last night. But I accidentially switched over to PBS when I was trying to find “King of the Hill.”

What I got was a look at the man I would predict to be the first African-American President of the United States, some time in the near future.

His name is Barack Obama. If you don’t know him, you will soon enough.

I was struck by this man’s poise while making the biggest speech of his life. A month or two ago, it would have been ludicrous to think this state senator from Illinois would be making a keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.

And he nailed it.

What I liked best was his ability to speak to the heart of issues while ignoring the buzz words and catch phrases that divide the country. On CNN.com, they have pundits rate the speech. Conservative Tucker Carlson gave Obama an A-. He noted that Obama didn’t mention Iraq or the Patriot Act, which in Carlson’s eyes would have earned him a lower score.

The funny thing about that is Obama did talk about Iraq and the Patriot Act. But what he spoke about was the effects of these policies, which both sides can agree on, even if they don’t realize it.

In fact, a lot of what Obama said would have gone over well at a Repubican convention. Watch for him in the U.S. Senate next year.

July 27, 9:30 a.m.: A lot has been said about the man and his failings, but it’s hard to fault Bill Clinton for his speech-making abilities. I particularly liked the line about how some people like Bush, Cheney and himself, chose not to fight in Vietnam. Finally, a straight answer to that question, and it only took 12 years.

Now that the pressure is off, Clinton can be free to uncork some good speeches. Same goes for Al Gore. I keep hearing that if he had spoken like this four years ago, he’d be president now.

July 26, 3 p.m.: We have had our online poll operating on the Nevadaappeal.com website now for a few weeks. That was all the time it took for someone to figure out how to rig the results.

The question we posed on Friday was whether the country was doing enough to fight terrorism. After the question ran for most of the day, the results came out about two-to-one on the no side.

But then, in the usually light traffic of a Friday evening, there was a flood of votes for the yes side. In fact, a whole pile of votes were cast for yes in just a few minutes, completely reversing the previous results.

That sounded fishy, so I started the poll over again over the weekend. It racked up results just as it had when it began on Friday. But then, it happened again. The results suddenly changed to yes in almost an instant.

Looking at the website traffic statistics, I can tell that these votes all came from one voter, who discovered a little trick that allows them to vote multiple times. Someone it seems wanted to show that most people believe the fight against terrorism is going very well.

Without asking people to sign in with their Social Security numbers, there’s no way to make these quick online polls completely hacker-free. This is just a snapshot of our reader’s opinions.

We’ll keep on the lookout for other hacking incidents, and try to make it more secure, but understand that the results you see may not reflect reality.

July 26, 10:30 a.m.: So the Clintons will be leading off the Democratic National Convention tonight in Boston. As the headline of the Appeal this morning proclaimed, “Clintons may overshadow Kerry.”

Yes, Bill and Hillary cut quite a swath among the Democrats. Some still wish that Hillary would have thrown her hat into the ring.

You can criticize them for many things, but the Clintons are unquestionably expert observers of the political landscape. Hillary knew she was facing a buzz saw if she went against George W. Bush this year. No doubt Republicans were spreading most of the rumors of a Hillary ticket not just to keep their base energized, but half-hoping the pressure would actually force her to declare.

But this is the end of the line for the Clintons. If John Kerry wins in November, they are done, finished. Hillary was banking on running in 2008, but if Kerry wins, that’s out the door, unless Kerry totally screws something up and the Republicans completely self-destruct.

There is still 2012, but Kerry again foiled this plan when he picked John Edwards as his VP. Edwards is a rising star, and if Kerry doesn’t mess up the country too bad in eight years, then the job will be his to lose.

That leaves Hillary sitting on the sidelines for a long, long time. She will be old and gray before she gets a chance to live in the White House again.

Of course, if Kerry loses, then all bets are off. With this is mind, I wonder what she is going to say tonight.

July 21, 9 p.m.: The story broke Monday night that West Nile Virus had made it to Carson City, the first place in the state to have it. And no, that’s nothing to be proud of.

What was funny about the announcement I saw on an unnamed local television channel was the plea to look out for “dead crows, ravens and jayhawks.”

Having grown up in Kansas, I can tell you that the only jayhawk I know of is a blue and red fictional bird that is the mascot for the University of Kansas. If you want to find a dead jayhawlk, then perhaps your best bet will be this fall, when the Jayhawks show up on the football field for their annual butt-kicking by the Kansas State University Wildcats. (Bet you can’t guess where I went the school).

All kidding aside, this is quite a frightening development. They say the only defense is to keep from getting mosquito bites. Great advice, huh? I can’t remember a summer when I didn’t get bit, and I’m not the most outdoor person in the world, at least not anymore.

They have a vaccine for horses, but not for humans. What gives? Don’t tell me our wonderfully profitable drug companies have been too busy coming up with better cures for erectile dysfunction to worry about a killer virus.

July 20, 7:30 p.m.: I wish this weren’t a battleground state for the White House race this year. I’m getting real sick of the ads. So far, this is shaping up to be the most nasty campaign in recent history. While the democratic challenger is not blameless here, what does it say about the president to have been in office almost four years and yet he’s throwing mud like he’s been wallowing with the hogs all his life? What ever happened to taking the high road? Running on your record?

What both candidates seem to forget is that once you move into the White House, you have to actually govern. That means you must be president to all the people, not just those on your side. Governing a democracy is about compromise, learning to live together. What I fear is that whoever wins, the country will be irreversible split, It’s really too bad there isn’t a candidate like John McCain who could bring both sides together. You know the old saying, “United we stand…”

Kirk Caraway is Internet Editor for the Nevada Appeal. He can be reached at kcaraway@nevadaappeal.com.