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John L. Smith

Debate gives McDonald camouflage

The Democrats take center stage tonight at the Wynn Las Vegas for a presidential debate, and that surely comes as a relief to beleaguered Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael McDonald.

For poet, Great Basin an acquired taste

The Great Basin was an acquired taste for Gary Snyder. Raised on a family dairy farm in the lush Pacific Northwest, Snyder's early sensibility was informed by spruce forests and wilderness and the snow-capped majesty of the great Cascades.

Haze of hypocrisy hangs in smoky casino air

You're not allowed to smoke within 25 feet of the entrance to the Sands Expo and Convention Center, according to the sign. On Tuesday morning, smokers blurred the 25-foot rule to catch a few puffs between programs at the annual Global Gaming Expo.

Both parties get strong words from pope

Pope Francis spent last week wowing the nation with his understated calls for peace and kindness and love for our fellow man. He even addressed Congress and reminded we the People that, "Each son or daughter of a given country has a mission, a personal and social responsibility." I'm pretty sure he meant you.

Esposito may be target in FBI probe

Only a few weeks ago, Nevada Republican Party Chairman Michael McDonald and his pal Brad Esposito said they were eager to tell their side of the story in the $2.2 million Miracle Flights for Kids loan scandal.

Knowing Dalitz made Merv Adelson a winner

Merv Adelson was 83 years old, but he was still limber enough to play semantical Twister. When Vanity Fair special correspondent Bryan Burrough asked the obvious question in 2013 about Adelson's historical ties to the late mob bootlegging king and Las Vegas forefather Moe Dalitz, the octogenarian's backflip would have made a Cirque du Soleil acrobat proud.

Walker's relevance in GOP field fading

Set against a backdrop of powerful hydraulic machines capable of raising many tons of dead weight, Wisconsin Gov. and GOP presidential candidate Scott Walker surely hoped for a similar boost to his sagging campaign Monday at XTreme Manufacturing in downtown Las Vegas.

More Cops tax comes just in time

The Clark County Commission's decision earlier this month to approve a tax increase to fund additional police officers couldn't have come at a better time. From the look of things on the street, Metro can certainly use the backup.