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Muth’s Truths: January 15th

Times & Seasons, a popular Mormon blog, named Harry Reid “Mormon of the Year” yesterday. The blog also named Tiger Woods “Husband of the Year” and Bernie Madoff “Financial Adviser of the Year.” President Barack Obama, of course, ran away with the “Light-Skinned African-American Politician without a Negro Dialect of the Year” award.

Yesterday, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sue Lowden joined conservative members of Congress and other conservative candidates across the country in signing a pledge promising that, if elected, she will “sponsor and support legislation to repeal any federal health care takeover in 2010.” Fellow Republican challengers Sharron Angle and Danny Tarkanian followed shortly thereafter. Candidate Mike Wiley, campaigning on Rura Penthe, was unavailable for comment.

Gov. Jim Gibbons yesterday suggested that maybe, just maybe, Nevada might want to drop out of the federal Medicaid program, a program reporter Ed Vogel describes as providing “free health care to more than 233,000 Nevadans.” Problem is, it’s not “free.” Taxpayers pay this bill. It’s HUGE. And it’s getting even bigger. And could soon bankrupt the state. Therefore, it’s absolutely prudent and responsible to explore options. Good call, Governor.

Went to the UNLV basketball game Wednesday night. Was introduced to President Neil Smatresk and Chancellor Dan Klaich. Nice guys. Rebels won. However, both men went all Chicken Little again yesterday over absolutely necessary additional budget cuts. Smatresk said such cuts would throw higher ed into a “death spiral,” while Klaich said we should be “outraged that this is happening to our educational system because we are seeing the future of our state down the river.” I don’t think these guys realize just how counter-productive this never-ending whining really is to their cause.

Just to reinforce this point about Chancellor Klaich and President Smatresk, the front page of today’s Business section in the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that retail sales dropped again in December, that the number of bankruptcies in Nevada has gone through the roof, that the number of newly laid off employees nationally jumped an additional 11,000 last week, and that Clark County lost 20,000 construction jobs in 2009. Tell me again how many university system employees were laid off last year?

Republican State Sen. Warren Hardy – who voted for $1 billion worth of tax hikes last year and then resigned his seat to become a full-time lobbyist – needs to be replaced by the Clark County Commission before the start of any special sessions to deal with the ongoing budget problems. Jon Ralston reports that tax-happy RINO Joe Hardy – the last remaining Republican in the state Assembly who voted FOR the 2003 “Mother of All Tax Hikes” – has the inside track. Bad news for beleaguered taxpayers.

Tibi Ellis, Republican candidate in the swing Assembly District 5 race against Democrat incumbent Marilyn Dondero Loop, reports this morning that she has raised $35,000 for her campaign, a rather impressive figure for a challenger in an assembly race….and 78 times more than Nathan “Li’l Nate” Taylor raised for his own AD 13 race.

Former Clark County Recorder Fran Deane (R) was sentenced to five years probation for ripping off taxpayers while in office. Judge Valerie Vegas also ordered that Deane’s stuffed teddy bear be returned to her. Deane got off WAY too easy. She should be wearing pin-stripes….and I don’ mean playing for the Yankees.

And finally, conservatives nationwide will be losing one of the few true limited-government champions in Congress next year, as our friend and first First Friday VIP John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) announced his retirement on Thursday. Something tells me, however, that this will be far from the last that we’ll hear from John.