Plenty of water to take from the Pacific

To the editor:

It takes Hank Vogler, a cancer-stricken rancher, to come up with the most obvious solution to our water problems (“Rancher calls bid for rural water a cancer to be stopped,” Tuesday Review-Journal).

Instead of doing the unthinkable and draining the eastern side of the state, Mr. Vogler proposes we use desalinated water drawn from the Pacific Ocean. Imagine an endless supply of water using renewable energy filling up not only Lake Mead, but serving all communities in both the Mojave and Sonora deserts — forever.

Seems like since Sen. Harry Reid worked so hard to kill as many federal projects as possible here in Southern Nevada, he’d jump on this and be a hero to all.

Pete Mueller

Las Vegas

Education spending

To the editor:

All the GOP presidential candidates seem to agree that the Department of Education should be on the list of federal agencies to be dismantled. I would ask the candidates and those who agree with them the following questions. I found this thought-provoking list on the Education Week website:

— It isn’t clear that abolishing the department would itself end any federal education programs (because they can migrate to other agencies). So, specifically, which programs and activities will you eliminate?

— Do you intend to push to eliminate federal funding for special education? If not, who will be responsible for ensuring that states and districts spend those tax dollars in accord with statute? If yes, how will you argue the case to families with children enrolled in special education?

— Do you aim to eliminate the Pell grants and student loans that make up the lion’s share of the department’s activity? If you don’t intend to eliminate them, who will be charged with administering and policing them? If you do, how will you make the case to millions of families and students who use them?

– Do you hope to eliminate Title I funding for schools serving low-income students? If not, who will be responsible for ensuring those dollars are spent in accord with statute? If so, how will you justify cutting federal aid for the neediest students?

— Practically speaking, you know that special education and student lending are popular, with influential, outspoken, middle-class constituencies. How will you convince Congress to go along if you intend to eliminate these programs?

— If you don’t intend to zero out federal K-12 spending, do you hope to turn it into a giant block grant? If so, will you seek to eliminate rules requiring that federal Title I aid and special aid funds be spent on low-income children or those with special needs?

It is very easy to paint with very broad brushes for political sound bites. It’s much more difficult when faced with the reality of the department’s responsibilities.

Let’s find out how each candidate will respond.

Joel Rector

North Las Vegas

Too big

To the editor:

Reading about the accusations against former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky is eerily reminiscent of the Michael Jackson child molestation trial. Defenders of these pedophiles rush to say that they are just big, overgrown kids.

Mr. Sandusky stated in an interview that, yes, he did shower with boys, but nothing inappropriate happened. Mr. Jackson stated under oath that, yes, he slept with boys, but nothing happened.

Do they think just because they are rich celebrities we will believe their lies?

Mindless music fans rushed to Mr. Jackson’s defense, and mindless students rushed to the defense of Mr. Sandusky and head football coach Joe Paterno. Is it because Michael Jackson’s music empire was too big to fail? Is Penn State football too big to fail?

Strange, but it’s just like mindless congressmen believing the mortgage industry did no wrong, so they rushed to save it to save it because … it was just too big to fail.

Doug Farmer

Las Vegas

Partisan politics

To the editor:

Shame on Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., for her diatribe “GOP wants to hurt seniors while massaging Big Oil, China” (Nov. 7 Review-Journal). Her commentary is nothing more than partisan politics at its worst.

It is time for our elected officials and those running for office to update their Politics 101 playbook. I find her “making you afraid of it and telling you who to blame for it” ploy old and tired. I no longer have patience for either party pandering to the base while preaching to the choir.

And with a current congressional job approval rating of only 13 percent, I believe that I am not alone in my assessment.

RON ARONSOHN

LAS VEGAS

Blame Harry

To the editor:

It is amazing that polls show the public has bought into the concept that Republicans are responsible for our do-nothing Congress. In fact, the do-nothingness lies squarely at the feet of Sen. Harry Reid.

The House has passed some 20 to 25 bills since the beginning of 2011, yet Sen. Reid has not allowed them to be discussed on the Senate floor.

It is time for everyone to realize who is the real core of the do-nothing Congress — Sen. Reid.

John Blake

Las Vegas

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