Free Plug for Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery!

I’m all about giving businesses plugs when they deserve it. So, today I’d like to give a plug for Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery.

Today’s free plug comes because of a call I received from their local Reno office. I had my hands full when my phone started to ring. I was unable to answer the call, but I saw that the call came from (775) 688-5000. I was grateful to see that the caller left a message for me, which I listened to right away.

Here is the message I received:

(Warning: strong language)

 

I would have preferred to have you walk into the message unaware so that you could experience the same surprised reaction that I did. On the other hand, I figured I better say something in case you’re at work or driving down the freeway with your kids while you’re reading this.

So, there it is! A free plug for Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery!

I would love to give Ferguson an opportunity to explain the context of this message, but under what circumstances would this be the appropriate message? And my voice mail greeting is personalized, so the caller would have had to ignore the fact that he dialed the wrong number. Oh, well. If you like what you heard, make sure you give them a call!

Happy Sesquicentennial Birthday, Nevada!

Flag_of_Nevada_1905

Today marks the glorious sesquicentennial for the magnificent state of Nevada. To mark this momentous occasion we’ve arranged for “legal” Nevada Day to coincide with actual Nevada Day.

You may remember that Nevada was admitted into the Union on the last Friday in October, 1864. You see, they wanted to ensure that the creation of the Union’s greatest state would be appropriately marked by a three-day weekend.

Of course, this is absurd. Nevada’s existence as a state began on October 31st, 1864, which happened to be a Monday. And now that you know that, Monday will surely be your favorite day of the week! To reduce one of the greatest events in the history of mankind to nothing more than an excuse for a long weekend is disgraceful.

Mark Amodei, in his darkest hour, initiated this tripe known as AB396 in 1997. Even Sharron Angle supported this preposterous act of terror against our state. Brian Sandoval stood as a lone warrior in his party, but was joined by four Democrats. They stood against this monstrosity, but to no avail.

This evil was put to a vote in 1998 and subsequently became “law” after passing by 5 shameful points. One has to wonder how the vote would have been different had transplants been excluded from the vote. If you have no interest in the state or its history then what business do you have even voting on something like this? Nevertheless, state law does not differentiate between blue-blooded Nevadans and commie-red-blooded California transplants.

I also wonder what would have happened had the ballot question been worded more accurately. For example, “Do you support changing history, which isn’t even possible?”

So, I’d like to take a moment to tell Mark Amodei “thanks”. Thanks for nothing.

Happy Birthday, Nevada!

Do You Have an Impeach-mint? Perhaps some Binaca?

im-peachment

The case for impeachment can easily be made, especially when President Obama is embroiled in so many scandals that it’s almost impossible to keep track of them all. That said, I can’t figure out why people like Sarah Palin are calling for impeachment. What purpose would it serve? As much as this president deserves to be removed (and probably locked-up), I think there are at least two major reasons why impeachment should be off the table.

First, I believe we’ve reached a delicate point in the history of our nation. Many of the people who voted Obama into office continue to support him. I have no doubt that they would continue to support him even if he broke into their homes and personally destroyed their children’s most beloved toys. And killed the family pet. And used the bathroom without flushing. Many of his supporters would find a way to excuse his actions and blame the Republicans or the 1% or the Koch brothers or whomever. But there’s  another group of supporters that are waking up. Whether it’s Obamacare, Common Core, immigration or something else, these people are fed-up and are beginning to question the Democrat Party and its leaders.

Many Republicans went through the same process during George W. Bush’s presidency. They wanted to believe that Bush was on their side, but he started down a path that many could not follow. It may have been immigration, TARP, Medicare Part D, war or something else, but they knew that they were not being represented or served by their party or president. The defection from the Republican party continues even now – perhaps especially now.

We’ve been pushed into a hyper-partisan world and told that those with whom we disagree are not just wrong, but evil. This lie is perpetuated by Washington. Americans are finding they have more in common with each other than they previously thought. Those on the “left” and “right” have a chance to come together because they both feel betrayed by Washington and they are tired of partisan bickering.

If Republicans begin discussing impeachment, I think it’s likely this movement will be reset.

To explain what I mean, let me share my own experience. During the 2000 election, Bush talked a lot about lowering taxes, privatizing Social Security and using private sector alternatives for Medicare, etc. This all sounded good to me and I gladly supported Bush; however, after he was sworn into office in 2001 he quickly began talking about amnesty for “guest workers” and other illegals. What’s more, he continued to push it even though Republicans were wildly against it. The Republican leaders were betraying the will of their constituents (not much has changed). Out of frustration, I headed for the registrar and officially left the GOP. Keep in mind that this all happened before September 11, so the betrayal and subsequent party change occurred rather quickly.

Fast-forward a few years and I found myself re-registering as a Republican because I was so frustrated by the hate and vitriol being spewed toward Bush by the left. Whether you agree with the man or not, the way he was treated was disgusting. My registration as a Republican was a reaction to the Bush-haters; an act of defiance toward them as much as an act of support for the president.

I believe that any discussion of impeachment will have a similar affect on those struggling with Obama. They might not like what Obama is doing, but they still view Republicans as “the enemy”. An attack on their “leader” will cause a reaction and they will reflexively defend him. By abandoning the talk of impeachment, these people will be further exposed to the corruption of this administration and others in Washington (both parties). This will hopefully allow time for their feelings to steel.

As this happens to both Republicans and Democrats, we have a chance to act as Americans to clean house in Washington. As a Nevadan, I don’t want two Dean Hellers any more than I want two Harry Reids.

Second, there is perhaps a more obvious reason to stop talking about impeachment. Here is a partial list of successors (in order) should Obama be removed from office:

  • Joe Biden
  • John Boehner
  • Patrick Leahy
  • John Kerry
  • Jack Lew
  • Chuck Hagel
  • Eric Holder

Tell me which name you stopped on and thought, “he would do a good job!”

So, impeachment really wouldn’t solve any problems and it would present a whole slew of new ones.

In case you were wondering after reading my spellbinding tale, I left the GOP again in 2009 and have no intention of returning. It presents some frustration since Nevada is not friendly to anyone outside the (R) or (D) clubs, but the answer is to improve fairness in voting rather than force voters to choose between two evils.

 

ALERT: Students FORCED to go to college and take on debt!

I’ve been struggling for a while now. I’ve been asking myself many of the same questions all of us ask. Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? What flavor of wings should I order today? Honestly, it’s not quite that dramatic. Not quite. But I have been suffering a crisis of sorts trying to reconcile my beliefs with the world around me. On occasion, I take to the blog and concoct some crazy tripe about my personal predicament. Never satisfied, I save the draft and walk away.

Until I can achieve some kind of personal peace with my political persuasion, I suppose I can find some relief by yammering about something else. Today’s topic is an asinine email I received from Senator Harry Reid. You can read the full text of the email here:

http://reid-report.enews.senate.gov/mail/util.cfm?gpiv=2100117162.18984.342&gen=1

Get a tissue because you’ll laugh, you’ll cry and most likely give yourself a bloody nose.

Fair warning, after reading my thoughts you’ll probably feel the same way (except for the laughing and crying part).

So, here’s the gist: Students have too much college debt, so the government must bail them out!

Why do students have too much debt? Because “As higher education becomes more expensive, students are forced to take out more loan debt.” (emphasis added.) They are forced! Of course, the natural question is who is forcing students to take out more loan debt? Logically, you would then ask why is higher education becoming more expensive? After asking these questions, you might think it a good idea to find out who’s jacking up the cost of education and then forcing students to take out loans to pay for it. Wrong! We need a bailout.

There are three things that I ponder as I read the Senator’s words.

First, college education is a choice. Students go into college knowing the cost. If they choose this path in life, then they are also choosing the price that goes with it. If a person goes to a dealership and buys a Ferrari, then it seems silly that they would complain about being forced to make the payments month after month. Maybe they should be more pragmatic in their decisions. They can choose not to go to college or they can choose a less expensive school. There is no coercion.

Second, why is the cost of education going up? While the economy continues to suffer, the cost of higher education just climbs and climbs. Rather than do any real research, I’m just going to paste a couple of the first links that come up in Google when searching for information regarding the increasing cost of education:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-15/cost-of-college-degree-in-u-s-soars-12-fold-chart-of-the-day.html

http://www.dailyfinance.com/on/college-costs-tuition-rising-student-debt-infographic/

The bottom line is that education costs have increased more than 1000% since the 70’s. Name something else that has increased similarly.

Add this to the fact that many schools are already incredibly wealthy. Harvard, for example, has an endowment of about $30 billion. Stanford and Princeton are almost $20 billion each. Yale is more than $20 billion. (Just for kicks, guess what BYU’s endowment is. Less than $1 million.) So again, why is the cost of higher education going up?

Third, Harry Reid says “the average debt per student is at an all-time high – nearly $29,000.” I’m no mathemagician, but that doesn’t seem so high that we need to start bailing everyone out. For example, a lower-end Ford Taurus can run you around $30,000. My guess is that a lot of college students are driving cars that cost more than their college debt.

It seems obvious why this issue is coming up now. The Democrats are trying to buy the votes of college students. To some extent it might work; however, I think a lot of younger voters are starting to wise-up to the political tricks of those in Washington.

 

Right On Cue! “Musicians Sing for a Cause That’s Their Own”

As if they felt the burning need to respond to my last post about musicians and royalties, The New York Times joined the chorus of those complaining about how darn unfair royalties are.

You can read their blurb here, but I’ll give you a couple of my favorite lines.

Marc Ribot declares that “[the creation of the Content Creators Coalition] is possible now because musicians and artists are fed up.” No mention of listeners being fed-up with tyrannical companies and organizations that treat them like criminals even when they aren’t breaking any laws.

Blake Morgan shares this original trinket of thought: “The U.S. has the distinction of standing on a very short list of countries — including awesome ones like Iran, North Korea and Rwanda — in this particular policy.”

With a straight face, John McCrea says, “It’s not about Spotify. It’s about what’s coming in five years if we don’t have a collective voice.”

Mega-star David Byrne warns that “the Internet will suck all the creative content out of the whole world until nothing is left.” I almost feel bad for joking about it.

So, there you have it. If you don’t start emptying your pockets for musicians then all creativity may come to a screeching halt in five years. And worse.

Just for kicks, what if we applied the same standard to everyone in the name of fairness? If a mechanic repairs your car should he continue to receive royalties every time you drive the car? After all, without his work you wouldn’t be able to drive it. If you buy a sculpture for your home should you continue to pay royalties to the artist every time you look at it? What makes musicians so special that they should be able to make money in perpetuity for work that was done one time? It doesn’t make sense.

I would also like to know how much writers are paid for music sales. How is the money divided between the artist, the writer, the record company, etc.? The argument is that music played on broadcast radio only pays royalties to the writer of the music and not the performer. So how much of the cut goes to the writer for concerts performed? There is a very simple solution, which none of these genius musicians ever mention: If you would write your own songs this wouldn’t be an issue.

I’m all for people earning money and being able to keep it; however, when they treat you and I like criminals and then complain about how unfair it is that they aren’t being fairly compensated, I think it’s worth at least mentioning that David Byrnes is worth $40 million and Mike Mills is worth $245 million. Is this close to your net worth? Do you think you should continue to pay them over and over for work only performed once? If this isn’t a good reason to bring up the issue of intellectual property then what is?

As I mentioned before, this is a complicated issue and these people are not giving it the respect it deserves. There are lots of things to read, but for fun try watching some of these videos.

Thanks to Drepa Rugl for encouraging me to look for some new ideas about intellectual property. There are multiple good arguments on several sides of the issue. Honest debate can only help.

The Whining of the Musicians

record

So, it seems like the cool thing to do lately is complain about how little musicians make in royalty payments. These stories keep popping-up on Facebook and usually feature pictures of bank statements with ridiculously low royalty payments. Next to the pictures are captions like, “Britney Spears only made .15 from ‘Oops!…I Did It Again’ even though it was played on the radio over 23 trillion times!” You’re supposed to feel guilty about how little Britney is making in royalties. So guilty that you consider sending her money ever time you catch yourself singing one of her songs in the car or shower. We’ll discuss why you’re singing her songs in the car or shower another time, but for now you should feel terrible that you are stealing from Every. Artist. Ever.

Of course, no one ever really thought about this until mega-star David Byrne started complaining about it. He wrote an article on Vloggerheads where he adeptly points out that “with its denial of a Performance Royalty to artists, the U.S. stands with a short list of countries that includes: Iran, North Korea, China, Vietnam, and Rwanda.” The point is that denying royalty payments to artists is equivalent to genocide and mass murder. You can’t argue with that. I dare you to try.

I’m sure all of you know who David Byrne is, but for those who don’t you can get your hard facts over at Wikipedia (those guys know everything!). He is most famous for being the front man for the band Talking Heads. He’s a good example of how so many artists are struggling with his paltry net worth of $40 million, which makes him a natural spokesman for starving artists the world over. But I digress.

Byrne sees one problem (artists get small or no royalty payments) and one solution (government needs to pass laws). He presents a one-dimensional argument without answering (or even asking) the relevant questions. How else are musicians compensated? How much does he think artists should be paid? Where is this new money going to come from? He makes this statement: “Music fans wouldn’t be directly affected—it wouldn’t cost them anything. If anything they’d benefit, as some of the artists they like would stand a better chance of having a continuing life in music.” So, how do stations begin coughing up money without affecting the listener? Easy! “Many of those stations are owned by large conglomerates”! Sorry, he doesn’t provide any further information about where the money is going to come from. But you have to admit that’s a pretty ironclad argument. He continues:

…we musicians can expect [conglomerates] to hire lobbyists and propagandists to convince the public and congress that somehow, unlike most of thecountries (sic) in the world that A) musicians can live on the “exposure” their radio play provides and B) these companies won’t be able to make a profit if they are expected to pay a little bit to performers who provide the content that draws listeners.

Well, if that’s what we can expect then I think Mr. Byrne is out of luck. How can he possibly expect our current administration to resist the temptations of lobbyists? Heck, before you know it the conglomerates are all going to be ambassadors!

For those who work in radio, I’ll need to lean on your enormous collective brain to help me understand how this works because there are several things I don’t understand.

He thinks the stations should pay the artists since they “provide the content that draws listeners.” Does this mean that that artists should pay stations who play their music for providing exposure to their music? It seems logical that radio play serves essentially as an ad for the artist. If anything, the artist should be paying stations for the advertisement. Not that you can’t be successful without radio exposure, but radio play makes a huge difference. If radio play generates sales for the album or songs, then commercial airplay should be royalty-free. Paying royalties on commercial airplay would essentially be double-dipping by the artists.

I also wonder about licensing fees that a radio station may already pay. When you buy a CD or purchase music online you are told that the music is for your ears only. If you play the music loud enough that someone accidentally overhears it then you must pay the price for operating a pirate radio station and broadcasting illegally! As far as I know, stations don’t just jump on the internet with their iTunes gift cards and download the playlist of the day. They need to pay for the right to broadcast music. This is often done through a group such as ASCAP, which provides a standard license to broadcast or use music by all of the artists they represent. Where does the money go that is paid to ASCAP (or whoever)? If the artist receives royalties from this organization then receiving royalties directly from the stations would be triple-dipping.

What about digital music? Byrne says that this does not affect internet music since “digital and streaming radio stations already pay royalties to artists.” Pew Research has an article on The State of the News Media that shows some of the trends with new and traditional media. I couldn’t find much about music specifically, but it is increasingly popular to stream music rather than listen to the dial. I doubt this trend will shift, so why is he so concerned about traditional broadcast now? What is David Byrne really complaining about?

When something seems so nonsensical then you can bet there is some other unspoken motivation. In this case, it’s about punishing the so-called “1%”. He wrote an article last October in the Guardian wittily titled “If the 1% stifles New York’s creative talent, I’m out of here“. This is a threat that no one should take lightly. After all, if he leaves New York he may come to your neighborhood, assuming you live among the mega-rich (“which, full disclosure, includes me”, he admits in the article). This whole gripe is about extracting money from those who he feels don’t deserve it. What he fails to mention is that while there may be some very wealthy conglomerates, there isn’t usually a lot of money in individual stations. Adding royalty payments to their list of expenses would mean the end of many stations. Even if it does hit the conglomerates directly, they don’t just absorb the additional costs. Those additional expenses are passed along to the consumer, which means it isn’t quite true when he says, “music fans wouldn’t be directly affected.”

This is a very complicated argument and Byrne does himself and all artists a great disservice by reducing it to nothing more than an attempt to shakedown those he doesn’t like. He further loses credibility by neglecting to mention the RIAA. If he wants to be honest then there needs to be a discussion about intellectual property in the United States. Does he really think our IP laws compare with “Iran, North Korea, China, Vietnam, and Rwanda”? There are some who may say yes, but for other reasons.

Separation of Church and State – The One Way Street

wall

Yet another “separation of church and state” item popped-up in the news yesterday. The Appignani Humanist Legal Center sent a letter to the the School of Engineering and Arts in Golden Valley, MN, threatening to sue the school. The issue seems to be that the school takes its students on field trips to the Calvary Lutheran Church to make care packages for the needy (the horror!).

The letter complains that “The violation has been previously reported to you by the family, but the problem has not been corrected.” One family complained and everyone else didn’t bow. The nerve.

This type of complaint is old hat, so it really doesn’t merit much discussion. It’s like the girl who sued to have her school’s prayer removed, or the guy that used his kid to try to remove “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance. Or when a courthouse in Alabama was forced to remove the Ten Commandments. I suppose the atheist/humanist would look at this as a list of their proud accomplishments. I’m trying to remember what they call someone who never creates but only destroys.

But whatever. There are a few things that I wonder about.

First, I believe their true motives are revealed when you consider what they choose not to get involved in. I’m thinking specifically about the case in Colorado where a gay couple asked a bakery to provide a cake for their wedding. He said he was opposed to gay marriage for religious reasons and thus refused service. The couple then did what any sensible couple would do: they sued him to force him to bake them a cake. The crazy part is that they actually won the lawsuit!

I know what you’re thinking. The American Humanist Association jumped in the middle of the lawsuit and argued on behalf of the bakery. They said, “the Establishment Clause ‘erected a wall between church and state’ which ‘must be kept high and impregnable.'” Actually, they didn’t say that. They didn’t say anything. Apparently, they are totally cool with the government imposing itself on religion, just not the other way around.

So, the next obvious question is this: Where will they stand if the government decides to force churches to perform gay marriages? Reason says they will stand with the churches in order to defend the wall of separation; however, they are not reasonable. We can expect them to be silent, just as they were in Colorado.

Of course, you could argue that this is a civil rights issue. The religious radicals are denying others their civil rights! You could also make a similar argument against the American Humanist Association. We have created a human rights issue by denying the school the opportunity to make care packages for the needy. Both arguments are silly and can be dismissed. What’s left is a group of hypocrites with an agenda.

What makes me sad is that the humanists and atheist spend so much time and money attacking others. Imagine if they took that money and used it to help others rather than tear religion down. They yell from the rooftops that you don’t need religion in order to do good. As a matter of fact, the slogan for the AHA is “Good Without a God”. Yet when you look at their website, there are no instances of anyone doing good. It is devoted completely to destroying religion. This is sad.

Ultimately, there is one thing that they won’t admit but it’s the one truth they cannot deny. It is this: Lack of religion is a religion. Religion is nothing more that a set of beliefs. In this sense, believing in God and not believing in God are opposite but equal beliefs. Atheism and humanism are both religions based on lack of belief rather than belief. Which means that they are using government to force their religion on others.

When it comes to religion there can be no vacuum.

KOH KO’d? Reno’s Heavyweight Champion Takes a Punch

Bad news for KOH. As predicted previously, Nielsen Audio market data released today shows that KRNO (106.9) took the top spot with a rating of 8.2. KOH slipped to 7.6. I’m not sure how long KOH has been in the top spot, but it’s been YEARS.

Is this the result of Cumulus pummeling the station? Or increased competition that Ross Perot’d their share? Will Sean Hannity’s move to KNEZ (107.3) cause further devastation next time around?

There isn’t much else to report since KNEZ and KKFT are not included in the rankings. I would love to hear other ideas about what’s happening with talk radio these days. Drop a comment or jump over to Facebook and comment (and like the page)!

A Modern-day Flood. Boo.

flagsrepdem

Previously on NevadaBrad.com: I lamented – but didn’t necessarily disapprove of – the fact that most of Nevada’s representatives are not from Nevada. After griping, I noticed that the horse was still moving so this is an attempt to give it a proper and final beating (settle down, it’s just a wild horse).

First, a quick recap: Only 36% of the Assembly were born in Nevada. Only 19% of the State Senate were born in Nevada. Quick enough? Good.

So, just another interesting note. The Republicans tend to be far more balanced when it comes to picking native Nevadans. The Republicans claim 40% natives with 60% outsiders.

What do you think the ratio is with the Democrats? The natives weigh in at 24% with 76% for the outsiders.

So, what does it mean? It’s tough to say. On the surface it seems that we’ve all but lost the state to a bunch of outsiders that do not have the best interest of Nevada at heart. Did these people flee to Nevada with the plan to overthrow a red state with a small population? I think that’s unlikely. As stated in my previous article, these people were fleeing the fruits of their labors. Someone else did to them the same thing they’re doing to us. The problem is that we’re running out of places to which we can flee.

The next logical question is this: What’s with all the outsiders in elected office? Is it because of the sheer abundance of transplants? Or because native Nevadans have a tendency to avoid office? Or is it because we’re so flush with outsiders that it’s a given that the population, now comprised of outsiders, will vote for these weaklike-minded candidates, which are also inevitably outsiders?

Here’s a few quick numbers to help you understand what we’re dealing with. The population of Nevada is currently about 2.76 million. In 2000 it was under 2 million. That’s a 38% increase in just a little more than a decade. Unless the people of Clark County were finally successful in their Lepus curpaeums-Homo sapiens cross-breeding experiments (Area 51 stuff), then it’s obvious that people are flooding into our state. Why? They long to be closer to their favorite gaming establishment? They want the freedom to visit the Circus Circus buffet when the craving strikes? It’s most likely because they enjoy sleeping in the shadow of the majestic Spring Mountains. Or it might just be the beautiful summer weather.

Roughly 2 million people now live in Clark County. That’s a 45% increase over their 2000 population of 1.38 million. In Washoe County we’ve seen a 26% increase from 340,000 (2000) to 430,000 currently.

Whatever it is, there’s some reason they came here. And they continue to come here. Whether it’s favorable business, tax, housing (or whatever) conditions, I’m skeptical that our current leadership will preserve the qualities that drew them here to begin with.

We’ve turned from a nice red color to kind of an ugly blueish-purple. Now that people are waking up to the problems on both sides of the aisle, perhaps we have a chance to take our state back. Many on the left are disgusted at the early settlers/pilgrims that “stole” land from the natives. Let’s hope that they feel similar disgust at the modern settlers that have stolen this land from the native-Nevadans. And they can go home and let us get back to harvesting wild horse meat to sell to the French.