a service of NPRI

June 29, 2005 
Vol. 1, No. 19

& Final Legislative Report - Courtesy,
Nevada Taxpayers Association



The Political Class
Conceit of Government

By Peggy Noonan

Why are our  politicians so full of themselves? What’s wrong with them? That’s what I’m thinking more and more as I watch the news from Washington.

A few weeks ago it was the senators who announced the judicial compromise. There is nothing wrong with compromise and nothing wrong with announcements, but the senators who spoke referred to themselves with such flights of vanity and conceit—we’re so brave, so farsighted, so high-minded—that it was embarrassing.

They patted themselves on the back so hard they looked like a bevy of big breasted pigeons in a mass wing-flap. Little grey feathers and bits of corn came through my TV screen, and I had to sweep up when they were done.


A Lawless SEC

The Wall Street Journal

THE SECURITIES and Exchange Commission is supposed to enforce the law, but lately it’s been flouting it. That’s the only way to read Chairman Bill Donaldson’s decision to stage another 3-2 vote today on a mutual fund rule that a federal court rejected only a week ago.

WSJ.com—Commentary: A Lawless SEC*

Respectable Charade

By Robert J. Samuelson
The Washington Post

Almost a decade ago, I suggested that global warming would become a “gushing” source of political hypocrisy. So it has. Politicians and scientists constantly warn of the grim outlook, and the subject is on the agenda of the upcoming G-8 summit of world economic leaders.

But all this sound and fury is mainly exhibitionism—politicians pretending they’re saving the planet. The truth is that, barring major technological advances, they won’t do much about global warming. It would be nice if they admitted that much, though this seems unlikely.


The Moolah Rail
Nevada Journal, 2000

How a scheme to shift costs of the Las Vegas monorail away from sponsoring hotels and onto taxpayers led to a hugely inflated project price tag and fishy ridership numbers

WHY BusinessNevada

Eminent domain ruling returns to bite Supreme Court justice

Jurist’s home to be razed for new hotel?

By Steven Miller

In the wake of the widely criticized U.S. Supreme Court eminent domain decision last week, Kelo vs. City of New London, a Los Angeles media company is seeking to make at least one high court justice understand first-hand the meaning of his action.

On Thursday, June 23, the U.S. Supreme Count ruled that local governments can seize the private property of homeowners or small business for development by other private companies if local politicians decide such takings will produce more tax revenue for them to spend.

Accordingly, on Monday, June 27, Freestar Media Group, a limited liability corporation, notified the code enforcement office of the City of Weare, New Hampshire, that Freestar is entering real estate development and intends to build a hotel on land in Weare currently owned by one David H. Souter—not so coincidentally, a justice on the same U.S. Supreme Court.

Faxed to Code Enforcement Officer Chip Meany was the following letter:


A personal remembrance
John Walton, Wal-Mart Heir, Dies in Plane Crash

Sam Walton’s second son owned one-fifth of the 40% stake in Wal-Mart that the Walton family controlled, worth some $19.1 billion. He was also a nice guy, and passionately interested in K-12 education.

By Andy Serwer

The news came in Monday night that John Walton, 58, Sam Walton’s second son, was killed in a plane crash.

John was on the board of the retailing giant, along with his older brother Rob, who is Wal-Mart’s chairman. John never worked at Wal-Mart, except as a company pilot (he was an expert pilot), but his common sense and straight-ahead thinking was considered invaluable by other board members.


Vegas housing market could face ‘stagnation’

By Valerie Miller
LV Business Press

The Las Vegas Valley isn’t likely to see the housing bubble burst, but it could feel as though it has, according to federal regulators. As home prices rise faster than incomes, residential real estate sales could go into a lull, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation officials said Tuesday at the release of the FDIC’s Spring State Profiles.


Field Poll Shows Strong Support for Paycheck Protection Initiative in CA

Voters to decide on union member rights on November 8

The respected Field Poll shows a solid majority of Californians support the paycheck protection initiative that will appear on the November 8 special election ballot in the state. If passed, the measure will allow union members to choose whether or not their dues may be used for political purposes. Courts have held that political activity by a labor union is not a protected, primary purpose for the collection of dues from members, even those working for the government.


Where the Scrushy
Prosecution Went Wrong

Big hit to Sarbanes-Oxley has huge ramifications

By John Helyar

In the case of United States of America vs. Richard Scrushy, it should have been a slam dunk for the prosecutors. They got all five CFOs who’d ever reported to the former HealthSouth CEO to plead guilty to accounting fraud that inflated earnings by $2.7 billion over six years, and to testify against Scrushy.

They also got guilty pleas and cooperation from 10 lesser company officials. Prosecutors had a damning document from former HealthSouth treasurer Leif Murphy, who’d sensed something was amiss as early as 1999 and calculated the fictious portion of corporate profits in a notebook. (When he brought this to Scrushy, according to Murphy’s testimony, the CEO was offended by the suggestion.)

Instead of a slam dunk, the government threw up 36 airballs—failing to score a single conviction on any of the three-dozen counts against Scrushy. The verdict, in which the government lost its first attempt to convict a CEO under Sarbanes-Oxley, has potentially huge ramifications.


Nevada seeks fortune in China 

Tourism delegation enhancing ties  

By Richard N. Velotta

BEIJING—When conducting business in China, success is all about establishing relationships. For Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt and State Treasurer Brian Krolicki, last week’s trip to Beijing sponsored by the Nevada Commission on Tourism resulted in several meetings with high-level executives in government and business that could someday pay dividends to the state’s tourism industry.


Ds worry over labor civil war

Labor’s partisan favoritism has been crucial to D power

By Tory Newmyer
Roll Call

The much vaunted “ground game” of organized labor — one of the Democratic Party’s most crucial electoral weapons for many decades — has been hamstrung by an internal rift in the AFL-CIO, stalling plans to overhaul the $60 million political program in the wake of 2004 election losses. Several sources confirmed that the program, led by the AFL-CIO, the umbrella group of the labor movement, is on hold, pending resolution of a split that pits five key member unions against the AFL-CIO leadership.


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