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EDITORIAL: Don’t give VA another $17.6 billion; privatize the agency

In case you’re keeping score at home, the Department of Veterans Affairs repeatedly ignored and hid warnings from whistleblowers about a pattern of negligent practices resulting in delays in care, shoddy treatment and needless patient deaths at its medical centers. According to a report by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., VA negligence cost taxpayers nearly $1 billion in malpractice settlements over the past decade and may have killed up to 1,000 veterans.

EDITORIAL: City manager salary

It’s rare that we advocate for public-sector raises in the best of times, and even more unlikely under the current conditions. Generally speaking, private-sector workers aren’t reaping any benefits from the still-sluggish recovery following the Great Recession, and here in Clark County, the taxpaying public also faces a never-ending push to increase taxes on several fronts.

EDITORIAL: School district needs to move forward on outside-the-box solutions

The Clark County School District is getting a tough lesson in math as it deals with surging enrollment and aging campuses, amid numbers that come nowhere near adding up. As the Review-Journal’s Trevon Milliard reported last week, the district plans to spend $301 million in the next five years on capital projects, including replacing one school entirely, renovating and replacing equipment at older schools, and adding portable classrooms to alleviate student crowding.

EDITORIAL: Partisan union cuts ties with United Negro College Fund

The Koch brothers have donated considerable sums of money to various philanthropic efforts in recent years. They’ve also donated considerable amounts of money to advance conservative political causes. Those who can’t separate the two actions — among them Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid — have run an incessant campaign to demonize the Kochs, and that effort has now led to young black students losing college scholarships.

EDITORIAL: Gaming and pot

Nevada gaming regulators have remarkable oversight powers that allow them to strip the licenses of casino operators who bring “discredit upon the state” or fail to protect Nevadans’ “morals.” These tools were essential in ridding Nevada’s casinos of organized crime and paving the way for corporate ownership and investment along the Strip.

EDITORIAL: The grapes of math

This newspaper has long advocated a single, simple bill to greatly expand personal and economic freedom in Nevada: For every bill passed by lawmakers and signed into law by the governor, two laws must be repealed.

EDITORIAL: NBA Summer League a boon for Las Vegas

When it comes to basketball and Las Vegas, the first thing that often comes to mind is the UNLV men’s program, which was a juggernaut in its heyday under Jerry Tarkanian and has had varying degrees of success the past two decades. The city isn’t necessarily considered an NBA town.

EDITORIAL: Declining deficit proves deceiving

The government’s budget deficit will drop by almost $100 billion this year — from $680 billion to $583 billion. The deficit is the lowest it’s been since President Obama took office, and $66 billion less than the administration predicted earlier this year when it released its budget.

EDITORIAL: Rankings show a boost for business

As Nevada continues digging out from the Great Recession, there have been some encouraging signs over the past couple of weeks. On July 11, the Review-Journal’s Alexander Corey reported that Nevada got out of the basement on CNBC’s annual report on the best states for business, jumping from a dismal No. 47 up to a bit more respectable No. 29. That news came on the heels of a July 8 report from the Review-Journal’s Wesley Juhl that — a website catering to small-business professionals and customers — rated the Silver State 14th in its annual small business survey.

EDITORIAL: Public school improvements that won’t bust budget

If money alone could really solve all the problems in K-12 education, students in Nevada and nationwide would be among the best and brightest in the world. But as reported last week by the Review-Journal’s Whip Villarreal, an extensive study by the Nevada Policy Research Institute showed that cash isn’t king, while also making 33 recommendations that could improve public education in the Silver State without further hitting taxpayers.

EDITORIAL: Firefighter body armor

Determined killers, deranged gunmen and terrorist threats have forced local emergency responders to rethink their approach — and their safety — in active-shooter and multiple-casualty scenarios.

EDITORIAL: As lake declines, plan for pipeline

The news coming from Lake Mead was disconcerting, though not surprising: its water level continues to fall. As reported Friday by the Review-Journal’s Henry Brean, the lake declined to a record low of 1,081.82 feet above sea level late Wednesday night, a depth not seen since 1937, when Hoover Dam was completed and Colorado River water steadily rose behind it. Lake Mead will continue to shrink for several weeks.

EDITORIAL: Lerner must testify without immunity in IRS scandal

The investigation into IRS targeting of conservative groups is dragging on like a Las Vegas summer. Not because, as the Obama administration and Democrats charge, this is a “phony scandal,” and certainly not for lack of proof, as more evidence turns up almost every day. Rather, it’s the agency’s complete lack of cooperation — to the point of lawlessness — particularly from tea party-targeting ringleader Lois Lerner.

EDITORIAL: Fracking economy

Remember when the environmental lobby was totally on board with natural gas, and even the hydraulic fracturing required to bring more of it to market? It was only five years ago. Ronald Bailey, writing for, noted that in an August 2009 article for the Energy Future Coalition, arch-liberals Timothy Wirth and John Podesta proclaimed shale gas “a bridge fuel to a 21st-century energy economy that relies on efficiency, renewable sources and low-carbon fossil fuels such as natural gas.”

EDITORIAL: Colorblind Harry Reid continues to divide

Harry Reid is the da Vinci of distraction. The moment any scandal, policy failure or political defeat crashes down on him — and there have been plenty the past few years — the Senate majority leader unleashes outrageous rhetoric that’s better suited for a sandbox than what once passed for the world’s greatest deliberative body. Worse, the Nevada Democrat has become especially fond of slinging race cards just to crank up the outrage.

EDITORIAL: Merit pay, incentives can help boost low-performing schools

The lack of “teacher equity” in education systems across the country — including the Clark County School District — is by design. School districts and teacher unions have long embraced contracts and policies that ensure a steady flow of exceptional, experienced teachers to stable, higher-achieveing, higher-income, less-violent campuses where parents are more involved. Meanwhile, lower-achieving, lower-income, more-violent schools with higher minority enrollment and less parental involvement serve as training grounds for the newly hired — and the last stops for poor teachers who should be fired.

EDITORIAL: Sage-grouse politics

The fate of a chicken-size bird carries huge economic and political stakes across the West. The sage grouse, long a threat to the thriving energy sector, is also a threat to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.