Nevada has made the national news several times in recent days and weeks, but not in a good way. Most recently, Carson and Lovelock were in the national news because of the O.J. Simpson parole story, and before that boxer Floyd Mayweather and MMA (mixed martial arts) fighter Conor McGregor put the national spotlight on Las Vegas and last but not least, our laughable recreational marijuana “emergency” received nationwide coverage. Aren’t we proud? Not really.
What more is there to say, or write, about the inimitable O.J. Simpson, a former all-star football player and “B” movie actor turned accused murderer and convicted armed robber? He was convicted of robbery a few years ago after he took armed “security” goons into a Las Vegas hotel room to recover football memorabilia and personal items from a shady group of characters. It was difficult to differentiate the good guys from the bad guys, but O.J. has served nine years in a Lovelock prison for that fiasco.
O.J. told the Parole Board he has been rehabilitated and he has always been a peaceful, non-violent person despite being charged with the bloody murders of his late wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in 1994. That followed him pleading no contest for domestic violence for beating up his wife. Other than that, however, O.J. is a fine fellow who can now resume his intensive search for the “real” killer or killers, which may require him to visit every golf course in the Western Hemisphere.
Fortunately, O.J. will move from Nevada to Florida upon his release from the Lovelock prison in October. Good riddance!
Turning to the Mayweather-McGregor boxing match, scheduled for Aug. 26 in Las Vegas (Where else?), Charles P. Pierce of Sports Illustrated described this freak show as a “festival for fools” and a “carnival of greed.” “The official hype is only one week old and I want to turn in my American citizenship,” he wrote. “I would rather watch a raccoon fight an 18-wheeler on I-90 than this match.” Me too, Chuck.
“Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor have already demonstrated that there is no bottom to this barrel,” Pierce continued, noting the “fighters” traveling press rollout ... had enough homophobia and racism to last for months.” But not to worry, the Nevada Athletic Commission approved their prizefight — or whatever it turns out to be — which will generate millions of dollars for our State Treasury.
“The spectacle surrounding this fight already has set modern standards for public vulgarity and ostentatious indecency, richly rewarded by a public with an apparently insatiable appetite for bread and circuses,” Pierce concluded. Aren’t we proud to be hosting an event that reminds us of ancient battles between slaves and wild animals in the Roman Colosseum? Maybe not.
And speaking of spectacles, how about the phony recreational marijuana “emergency” that generated nasty “Pot Shortage in Sin City” headlines from coast to coast? Friends sent me similar headlines from the Orange County Register, the San Francisco Chronicle, and beyond.
We can thank Gov. Brian Sandoval and his high-handed Tax Department Director, Deonne Contine, for those negative headlines — the governor for rushing headlong into the commercialization of recreational marijuana and Ms. Contine, a UC Berkeley grad, for unilaterally initiating an “early start” strategy without first putting legally valid rules and regulations in place. In my opinion, she should act more like a tough but fair regulator and less like a cheerleader for the cash-only marijuana industry. Her job is to regulate a dubious industry rather than to promote marijuana sales.
Once again, aren’t we proud? I don’t think so.
Guy W. Farmer is the Appeal’s senior political columnist.