A potpourri of fresh-scented government

Sex marks the top spot in this potpourri week column at Reviled & Revered.

Potpourri columns provide a pastiche of various items as food for thought. They’ll appear occasionally; other columns will deal with single topics. If any of this week’s various items offend you, Grin & Barrette. Now to the sex, for what it’s worth.

Damn little. Nevada Sen. John Ensign and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford confessed sexual indiscretions. These were like bad drivers’ auto accidents in which folks got hurt, but not killed. So a paragraph will do. Ye who have not sinned, cast … but why write for a small audience? It’s just seamy stuff unless they used tax money. Heck, the nation twice had a president named Grover Cleveland who apparently fathered an illegitimate child. Meanwhile, a prayer I heard applies: “Oh God, heavenly Father & Mother, Creator, lover of David, maker of rules, fountain of hope: Thank you for making us imperfect, for challenges & mysteries & perpetual second chances.”

On a bit different topic, let me say this: As a conservative passionately devoted to liberty, I thank the recent Legislature for voting to override Gov. Jim Gibbons’ veto of SB 283. It guarantees similar benefits that married couples enjoy to gay and straight couples in civil unions. Civil societies should no more make policy based on what people do in bed—gay or straight, married or not—than voters should choose legislative or executive leaders solely based on bedroom behavior. ‘Nuff said on sex and civility.

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Nevada lawmakers also deserve credit for voting to override the governor’s veto of AB463, which bars retired state employees from returning as state consultants for at least a year. The legislation will get a handle on costs for most state consultants as well. Good stewardship, and overdue. A consultant often is merely a person with a briefcase and glib tongue from elsewhere, but also might be a former co-worker from the next cubicle now making more for doing less.

Sticking with that recent 2009 Legislature, an A-plus decision (concurred in by Gibbons) was enactment of SB317. It requires public schools to teach financial literacy and seeks competence in it prior to high school graduation. Had public schools in Nevada and across the nation done that over the years, the current financial meltdown might have been lessened. Everyone should understand the dangers of that two-edged dagger called debt. Here’s hoping schools succeed. Better late than not on our watch.

Speaking of education and policy, separate recent events made me gag. First, I was reminded term limits mean some citizen legislators—such as key Northern Nevada Sens. Bill Raggio, Mark Amodei and Randolph Townsend—must move on. Then I read Sen. Warren Hardy of Southern Nevada quit because of miniscule citizen legislator pay, and the recession made him take a day job. Next I read Chancellor Jim Rogers wants University of Nevada, Las Vegas President David Ashley ousted from the post for which he’s compensated $447,424 overall. Penalize policymakers and grossly overpay questionable policy administrators? No sense to this dollar derby. Duh!

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Finally, last week I wrote that conservatives must block any public national health insurance option. Now the public option as “competition” to private sector insurance may morph into a plan for a cooperative. But any plan with a heavy-handed public imprint over time will drive out private sector insurance, evolve into a full public program and cost like a taxectomy. We’ll get blue pill-burgeoned bureaucracy and headache-inducing regulations. A rose by any other name may smell as sweet—but it still has thorns.