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Essence of Nevada lures love, the curious and haters

Happy Birthday, Nevada.

Surely the cards and gifts are pouring in, but I’m betting you won’t be receiving any presents from best-selling author Bill Bryson, who wrote of your loveliness in his 1990 book, “The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America.”

“Here’s a riddle for you? What is the difference between Nevada and a toilet?

“Answer: You can flush a toilet.”

But for some reason, he seemed to like Las Vegas. With that, we take a stroll down the Boulevard, where the sidewalk circus gives the Occupy Las Vegas movement some competition.

DOUBLE DUNCAN? Solid word on the street is that formerly high-living pimp Micah Duncan, recently featured in this column after taking a hit on tax evasion, theft of government property, and felon in possession of a firearm charges, remains on the minds of Metro Vice Section detectives.

Now that he has admitted the tax beef and has agreed to do at least 18 months of federal time, Duncan has become the subject of a pandering case. Such cases are usually hard to prove because the working girls are generally reluctant to testify against their pimps.

How about this time?

PHOTO-OP: It’s hard to recall a presidential visit with less punch than this week’s drop-in by President Barack Obama. Las Vegas is so thunderstruck by its housing crisis that encouragement from our Optimist in Chief wasn’t enough to move the excitement meter much in Southern Nevada.

LOW TAXES: University of Nevada, Las Vegas political science professor David Damore surely sent a chill through state Republican Party spines recently when he told a National Public Radio audience that Nevada’s low-tax tradition isn’t exactly paying dividends these days.

In response to a question by Ari Shapiro, Damore offered, “One of the things we always hear as we go out there and we try to attract new businesses is businesses don’t want to come here because they don’t think that they can hire the people who are going to be educated enough to do the more demanding jobs that we’re trying to attract here. So it’s a mix.

“And we’ve been lucky, for our history is being able to rely primarily on mining and gaming and then obviously development in the last 20 years. So there’s never been this push to diversify.

“And now that they’re trying to do this, they’re finding, yeah, businesses do care about low taxes and low regulation, but they also care about workforce training. They care about the quality of life. If they want to tell their employees they’re going to move to Nevada here, are these people going to want to do that? And that’s the harder sell for us.

“So, I mean, I know it resonates well among the Republican primary voters, you know, low taxes, low regulation, but if that was the case, we’d have zero unemployment in this state.”

THE CLASSIC: There’s still time to participate in the 24th annual Candlelighters Muterspaw Memorial Golf Classic set for Nov. 4 at Siena Golf Club at Summerlin. Proceeds benefit the childhood cancer charity’s Camp Firefly summer youth program. This year’s event promises to be the most memorable ever. It’s being billed by Melissa Cipriano and her gang at Candlelighters as the “Halloween Hangover” golf tournament with participants invited to wear their costumes as they play the Siena course.

To find out more, go to candlelightersnv.org or call 737-1919.

ON THE BOULEVARD: As NBA owners and players continue down the road to ruin, I declare this the perfect time for a Las Vegas entrepreneur to work behind the scenes to snatch up a franchise. Prices have never been lower, and bargains abound. Sort of like life on the Boulevard these days.

BOULEVARD II: Hard-riding cowboy poet Waddie Mitchell is due to gain entry into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. Local writer Matthew O’Brien and David Philip Mullins will be awarded Silver Pens at a ceremony Nov. 17 in Reno. … Downtown will be neck-deep in writers and poets for the 10th annual Las Vegas Valley Book Festival. It’s Nov. 3-6 with most events at the Historic Fifth Street School.

Have an item for the Bard of the Boulevard? Email comments and contributions to Smith@reviewjournal.com or call 702-383-0295. He also blogs at lvrj.com/blogs/smith.

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