Polls, performers, pot and publishers

Pollsters remind me of daily newspaper publishers. They dress up, put on airs and charge too much for too little.

Empty suits and uppity attitudes aside, the tendency to ask a king’s ransom for poor production is an insidious modern trend. It also sparks my mini-rant to open this post-election potpourri column.

Publishers of the daily persuasion, particularly chumps at chain publications, lay rotten eggs, charge half a buck per copy and soak advertisers despite fewer readers. Pollsters call easy political races early and often, cite margins of error when perplexed, and sell semi- or seamy soft science pursuing power and plenty.

Check out the Sandoval/Reid race for governor, which former federal Judge Brian Sandoval won. Anyone of average IQ knew he would.

Even though I write this before Election Day, you’re reading it afterward, and yet I’m stating the outcome every un-deluded Nevadan expected. Clark County Commissioner Rory Reid bombed for various reasons.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Rory’s dad) and GOP challenger Sharron Angle, meanwhile, gutter-sniped their way into November locked in an orgy of offal. Pollsters and newspapers couldn’t quite call it, though Angle led. The outcome eluded intelligent people; the only poll that counted came Tuesday.

Pollsters receive healthy paychecks to state the obvious in terms of the ponderous, sometimes botching their job and influencing the electorate. Funny things happen on the way to the forum: Daily newspaper publishers publish this gabble for the gullible.

• • •

End of rant and on to upbeat thoughts so Nevada and my friend named Reid (Robert Leonard, not Harry or Rory) can get gold stars.

Bob Reid, author/musician and non-politician, staged an updated version of his “I Say Nevada” revue at the Brewery Arts Center in Carson City recently. This was his revue 2.0, subtitled the Government Bailout Version. It lampooned politics and other Silver State oddities with panache.

This “I say Nevawda, you say Nevadda” send-up included skits and songs on the Reid-Angle race, Yucca Mountain, Area 51, the legislature, Las Vegas and other tempting targets. But it ended with a song lauding Nevada, which contained these lines:

“I’ve got a place in my heart called Nevada/A land where the bald eagles fly/A desert so true and Tahoe so blue/And pine trees that reach to the sky/I’ve got some dust on my hands from the red rocks/And the fragrance of sagebrush so fair/No matter where I wander/Nevada will always be there.”

• • •

Hoping to wake up Californians about misguided government, George Soros poured $1 million into Proposition 19 calling for legalized marijuana on the western side of the Sierra Nevada range. The billionaire thinks the drug war is an expensive waste.

Soros is tagged as liberal, libertine or just loony, but he’s conservatively on target with this: Government spends billions on enforcement but could get billions regulating and taxing pot. Prohibition doesn’t work. When will we ever learn?

• • •

Poor Juan Williams. Or not, given that he’ll make millions at Fox News as his reward for being dumped by National Public Radio after saying what many airline passengers fear in their dark hearts since Sept. 11, 2001.

Williams is a lightweight of the broadcast news arena’s chattering class, but that doesn’t change the fact that his dismissal shows he is a heavyweight compared with the putz-running NPR.

Perhaps I’ll tie one on for Juan and the sorry state of broadcast journalism now.