Category Archives: Las Vegas

The President Can’t Hide From His Words

On June 8. 2014 Las Vegas, Nevada police officers Soldo and Beck went to a pizza diner.  Their meal was interrupted by Jerad and Amanda Miller, two right wing anti-government extremists who had previously participated in the infamous Bundy Ranch stand off. Officers Soldo and Beck paid with their lives for the Millers’ warped minds and itchy trigger fingers.  The Millers and their ilk aren’t typical of American politics, but then that’s exactly what makes them dangerous.

Last November, the Washington Post reported:

“As a Republican, Mitchell Adkins complained of feeling like an outcast at Transylvania University in Lexington, Ky. “Hardcore liberals” made fun of him, he wrote, and he faced “discrimination on a daily basis.” He soon dropped out and enrolled in trade school.

But his simmering rage led him back to campus one morning in April 2017, when Adkins pulled out a machete in the campus coffee shop, demanded that patrons state their political affiliation and began slashing at Democrats.

“There was never any ambiguity about why he did it,” said Tristan Reynolds, 22, a witness to the attack, which left two women injured.”

Fortunately, the result wasn’t as lethal as in the Las Vegas, Nevada pizza parlor, but the core problem was similar.  Fast forward to October 26, 2018.  Cesar Sayoc sent out 13 pipe bombs to critics or opponents of President Trump.  We were lucky, none exploded either in the mail or at the destinations of the intended targets.

The Washington Post article, which described the increase in right wing violence offered this sobering information :

“Over the past decade, attackers motivated by right-wing political ideologies have committed dozens of shootings, bombings and other acts of violence, far more than any other category of domestic extremist, according to a Washington Post analysis of data on global terrorism. While the data show a decades-long drop-off in violence by left-wing groups, violence by white supremacists and other far-right attackers has been on the rise since Barack Obama’s presidency — and has surged since President Trump took office.”

Might we wonder why?  After Sayoc was arrested the tenor of the White House response left something to be desired:

Speaking at the White House, Trump praised the “incredible job” done by investigators and promised to punish the person responsible. Speaking later at a rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, Trump won applause from his loyalist supporters for calling for national unity and an end to political violence. But he soon attacked the media, encouraged chants of “CNN sucks” and set the audience up to boo the Democratic House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, and reprise “lock her up” chants aimed at Hillary Clinton. [Guardian]

It seems he just can’t help himself.  And now, after the arrest of Christopher Hasson, and the confiscation into evidence of his cache of weapons and ammunition, the President can’t bring himself to acknowledge how his “lock her up,” chants and repeated references to the press as the “Enemy of the People” might play a role in eliciting reactions like those of the Millers’, Sayoc, Adkins, and others.

He called the Hasson incident “a shame.” When asked if his rhetoric might have played a role in igniting Hasson’s rage, the President asserted his words have been “very nice.” [CNN video]  I’m not at all certain the record bears this out — there’s another example, again in Las Vegas, where Trump called out that he’d like very much to punch a heckler in the face.   Trump keeps hauling out the Enemy of the People line to describe the media, most recently three days ago, directly targeting the New York Times.  On February 12, 2019 the Times reported on the assault of a BBC cameraman at Trump’s rally in El Paso, Texas.  The White House keeps announcing that the President condemns violence and doesn’t condone attacks on reporters and opponents, however the list of incidents compiled by ABC news keeps getting longer.  So does the assemblage from Vox.   And these incidents and comments are not without consequences:

“A Kentucky gunman attempted to enter a historically black church, police say, then shot and killed two black patrons in a nearby grocery store. And an anti-Semitic loner who had expressed anger about a caravan of Central American refugees that Trump termed an “invasion” has been charged with gunning down 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue, the deadliest act of anti-Semitic violence in U.S. history.”

If the President’s word choices are determined by what will play well with his base, then he (and his advisers) might do well to consider the distinction between base and debase.  He is now speaking not merely to the deplorables, but to the despicables and the debased.  It’s been noticed.  The ADL reports that as of 2014 about 70% of Americans thought it was necessary for the government to step in to counter Antisemitism, the poll results now show about 80% believing the government should do more to protect against this scourge.

In April 2009 Janet Napolitano warned us about the rising temperature of right wing extremism in this country — and the conservatives prompted hit the fainting couches.

 The American Legion formally requested an apology to veterans. Some in Congress called for me to be fired. Amid the turmoil, my (Daryl Johnson) warning went unheeded by Republicans and Democrats. Unfortunately, the Department of Homeland Security caved to the political pressure: Work related to violent right-wing extremism was halted. Law enforcement training also stopped. My unit was disbanded. And, one-by-one, my team of analysts left for other employment. By 2010, there were no intelligence analysts at DHS working domestic terrorism threats.

What’s happening today? Not much.

“The Trump administration has done little to counter the impression that it is soft on right-wing extremism. Even before Trump took office, his presidential transition team began drawing up plans to redirect national-security resources away from white supremacists to focus solely on Islamic terrorism. The main target of this effort was Countering Violent Extremism, an interagency task force created by Barack Obama in the wake of the Charleston Church shooting to help prevent acts of violence before they happen. In 2016, the Office of Community Partnerships, which housed C.V.E., boasted a full-time staff of 16, about 25 contractors, and a budget of $21 million. But the Trump White House was skeptical of the preventative approach.”  [Vanity Fair 2018]

The situation within the Department of Justice at present describes a CVE program killed for all intents and purposes by a thousand paper cuts.

There are some actions we should consider:

  • Fully fund and restore the CVE efforts within the Department of Justice.
  • Keep records and statistical analyses of right wing terrorist groups and their activities within the United States.
  • Prioritize efforts to combat foreign influences which seek to foment racial and ethnic divisions in the United States.
  • Publicize the sources of funding for right wing extremist groups and their propaganda machines, including Dark Money organizations.

We can do some things individually.  I, for one, don’t find ethnic ‘jokes’ amusing, and I’m not above telling the reciter thereof so. If this makes the “Adkins'” of the world uncomfortable, so be it.  I don’t need to listen to anti-government spiels, unwarranted racial or ethnic diatribes, and I feel no compunction about indicating to those emitting this verbal garbage I’m quite through listening.  “I don’t hate you, I’m just through listening.”  If this drives the cockroaches back into the dark, fine. That’s where they belong.    If a person thinks a two year old Guatemalan girl and her 20-something parents are a “national security threat,” and doesn’t hold the same opinion of  some jerk with a personal arsenal harboring his sexual, political, ideological, whatever, perversions, then the person probably won’t enjoy my company anyway. I certainly won’t be enjoying his.

We DO want affordable health care. We DO want to address climate change issues. We DO want to rationalize and reform our immigration policies.  And, we need to tell our Congressional representatives and Senators we’d like this done in a country that doesn’t have to put up with the rhetoric of derision and division, and the verbal violence that leads to the real thing.

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Filed under anti-immigration, Gun Issues, Immigration, Las Vegas, Politics, racism, White Supremacists

Police Accountability: No one model and no single system

Crime Scene Tape

There was a meeting in Reno, NV between members of the community, representatives of Black Lives Matter, and law enforcement officers. That’s good. [RGJ]  It’s a start. Or, to put it another way it’s another step on a path forward which has the tortuous feel of a mountain trail with numerous cut backs.  We might be able to more fully address the issues related to policing our communities if we’d take some additional topics into consideration.

One of the most obvious topics is the use of force, in perhaps too many cases deadly force, and how police officers may be held accountable in controversial situations.  The importance of Tennessee v. Garner can’t be overestimated, and further, administrative and legal cases do seem to have an effect on policing policies and practices. [Hudson] However, public perception is also related to faith in the system, and the system is fragmented.

In Nevada, for example, how a citizen can report instances of police misconduct varies with each jurisdiction, and sometimes within a single metropolitan area.  Reporting a favorable comment about policing is very easy in Reno.  There’s a website form for that.  Reporting an instance of possible police misconduct isn’t as simple.  Reno, Washoe County, and Carson City each have their own process and requirements for filing an allegation of misconduct. [ACLU]  There are four ways to file a complaint in Reno, three ways in Washoe County, and only one way (in person) in Carson City.   The report information goes to the Internal Affairs Office in Reno, passes to the Sheriff’s office in Carson City, and through the Sheriff’s office in Washoe County.

The Accountability process is also a matter of local jurisdiction. There is a local Review Board in Las Vegas, which while it does have some investigative powers is confined to making recommendations only.  Even this improvement met with a critique from the Justice Department in a 2012 investigation:

“Metro’s Use of Force Review Board — currently a mix of residents and department personnel — needs revamping because of procedures the COPS Office found “outdated and insufficient.” To remedy the situation, the report recommends Metro create a stand-alone manual for the board, which would outline its purpose, operating procedures and clarify roles of the board’s members.” [LVSun] [DoJ] [DoJ Report pdf]

This wasn’t all the Department of Justice had to say on the matter in October 2012.   The report found that the Coroner’s inquest process related to the review of the use of deadly force was ineffective at the time. The District Attorney’s office needed more training and expertise related to investigating deadly force incidents, and while the Clark County DA had begun to review officer involved lethal shootings, and to issue decision letters, there were no letters for serious, non-fatal use of force incidents. [DoJ Report pdf]  The current accountability public perceptions may rest on how much progress has been made since the 2012 recommendations, and on the application of the review processes in the context of Nevada statutes on police use of force.

The public is beginning to perceive that investigations of police officers are quite different from those a private citizen can expect.  For example, in Las Vegas the officer will receive a 48 hour notice before an interview, and even if that notice requirement is waived it must be approved by the association.  Additionally, the officer will be provided with ALL evidence during an interrogation to facilitate correcting “inconsistencies.”  There are also contractual provisions allowing an officer terminated as a result of an investigation 30 days to appeal and to enter into binding arbitration. Written reprimands will be removed from the officer’s personnel file after 18 months; minor suspensions after 3 years, and major suspensions after 5 years.  There is to be no retention of investigation records in which the officer is exonerated, or the allegations are held to be unfounded, or un-sustained.   The contract in Las Vegas is about “average” in its provisions for police protection, with the major exception that the city is not exclusively liable for civil actions related to the incident.

There are some jurisdictions in which an officer cannot be interrogated for more than 6 hours in a given session, and may not be threatened with vile language or threats of demotion, transfer, or termination of employment. (Fort Worth)  Louisville, KY allows no threats, coercion, or promises made during an interrogation, and St. Petersburg, FL allows only one interrogation session.  [CTP interactive]

“Public Employee and Public Ideology” issues are also entangled in these topics.  There are some conservative voices only too pleased to blame teachers’ unions, for example, for allowing the retention of “bad apples.” However, these voices are strangely silent when the subject of police unions comes to the fore.  It is in no one’s best interest when any public employee is subjected to discriminatory, capricious, or arbitrary treatment regarding his or her demotion, dismissal, or refusal of re-employment.  However, when other public employees are alleged to have been responsible for the death or physical injury of another the notice and the interrogation limitations are not available to them, nor are the requirements that they have access to all the evidence collected prior to the interrogation.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

That there is no single model and no single unifying concepts for police accountability means that each jurisdiction is left to its own devices to cope with community and police relations.  Some, like the Dallas PD, have done a better job than others, such as Baton Rouge and Ferguson, MO.

Perhaps we’d be well served to think outside the dotted lines at some tangential issues which exacerbate the situations in which both law enforcement and community members find themselves.  Let’s start with what is likely to be one of the most obvious.

Racism.  Could we at least recognize that it exists? Could we at least acknowledge that it informs some actions that are not necessarily overt? Remember the African American college student who was arrested in NYC for buying a belt the clerk and officers said he couldn’t possibly afford, and concluded that he’d thereby committed fraud? [HuffPo]  Or, the African American actor who was arrested for buying his mother a $1,350 watch, as a present for her college graduation? [DNAinfo]  These are simply more high profile illustrations of the problem as related by one of the participants in the Reno meeting:

“Don Dike-Anukam said he was glad he attended Sunday’s event and hopes others will consider what life is like when “the shoe is on the other foot.”

“It’s hard to explain to people who never had to literally prepare for a police stop or have been followed in a supermarket when you’ve done nothing wrong or know what it’s like to have that feeling of suspicion and done nothing wrong,” Dike-Anukam said. “It makes you a little angry and annoyed inside and sad at the same time.” [RGJ]

Combining racism and fear is a truly toxic mix. What of the police officer  knowing that he is dealing with a white person in a traffic stop who may be armed, and feels less insecure? Or, more insecure if the person in Black? Is the white citizen more innocent until proven guilty, or the Black citizen guilty until proven innocent?

Police as collection agents. One of the things that precipitated the mess in Ferguson, MO was the use of the police department as a collection agency in an effort to bolster the town budget.  In 2010 the Ferguson police department generated $1.4 million for the county treasury, almost 25% of the city’s $13 million budget. [RS]  To put the issue more bluntly:

“…when budgetary whims replace peacekeeping as the central motivation of law enforcement, who is more likely to write up more tickets, the good cop or the crummy one? When the mission of the entire department shifts from “protect and serve” to “punish and profit,” then just what constitutes good police?” [MJ]

Most of the incidents that initiated the current turmoil began as traffic stops and other very minor items in the grand scheme of things.  We’d be remiss if we didn’t ask how many of these stops were associated with increasing revenues for local governments? With fulfilling quotas of some kind? With “keeping the numbers up?”  None of this having much to do with good police work.

Police Training. Now, if we combine racism and revenue generation, then why are we surprised when minor incidents become major news?  One element which seems to need further discussion is the addition of de-escalation policies and training for police officers.

In March 2016, the Los Angeles Police Commission voted to implement a use of force policy emphasizing de-escalation and the use of minimal force in encounters with the general public. [LAcbs]

“One of the recommendations suggests the LAPD’s use-of-force policy be revised “to emphasize that deadly force shall only be exercised when reasonable alternatives have been exhausted or appear impracticable.

The revision in policy will also establish the expectation that officers redeploy to a position of tactical advantage when faced with a threat, whenever such redeployment can be reasonably accomplished in a manner consistent with officer and public safety.” [LAcbs]

Unfortunately, the police union doesn’t seem to be on board:

“Clearly this is not a collaborative process by the Police Commission,” he said. “We are very concerned that the recommendations as written may jeopardize officer and community safety. We’re afraid that this policy does not take into account the split-second, life-and-death decisions police officers must make in the field.”

An internal LAPD report was released earlier this month that found LAPD officers used force nearly 2,000 times last year, including 21 cases in which people were fatally shot. More than one-third of the 38 people who were shot by police were mentally ill. [LAcbs]

However, making those decisions is a function of training and experience, and if the training includes how to de-escalate a volatile situation then both the safety of the officer and the safety of the citizen could be improved.  It hardly seems fair to criticize an officer when the predominance of his or her training is consumed in fire arms training, and then complain when the person shoots first and faces the questions later.

Guns. Eventually it all comes back to guns.   Now, there’s research reported on the subject:

“The results were shocking: line-of-duty homicide rates among police officers were more than three times higher in states with high gun ownership compared with the low gun ownership states. Between 1996 and 2010, in other words, there were 0.31 officer fatalities for every 10,000 employed officers in low gun ownership states. But there were 0.95 fatalities per 10,000 officers in the high gun ownership states.” [WaPo]

Law enforcement officers “working in states with higher levels of gun ownership faced a greater likelihood of being shot and killed on the job compared with their peers in states with lower gun ownership,” the study concludes. The relationship was strong enough that every 10 percent increase in gun ownership correlated with 10 more officer deaths over the study period. [WaPo]

If we’re truly interested in the safety of our law enforcement personnel then we have to address what’s killing them. Guns.

This partial list of “Things To Think About” is a heaping portion of problems on our collective plate.  None of these discussion will be easy, or simple, or without rancor.  However, I don’t think that we can afford to ignore any of the elements.   Those who refuse to consider the possibility that there are problems in our contemporary system will not be convinced there is a necessity to address these topics; those who do should take heart that communities around the country, like Reno, are at least beginning the discussion.

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Filed under civil liberties, Gun Issues, Las Vegas, Nevada, Nevada politics, Politics, public safety, violence

Under Construction: Nevada Housing Market, Still In The Shadows

Uh-huh, “government doesn’t create jobs”… so, what might be the explanation for the number of companies who have not sought business from Clark County (Las Vegas, NV) before, now becoming interested in all manner of contracts for “paving, construction, and repair?”  [LVSun]  Those who advocated injections of capital via government funding for infrastructure projects have been right all along.  For many construction firms, struggling with declining work in the wake of the Housing Bubble, the government is the employer of last resort.

Nor does the outlook for Nevada constructions firms look all that different than when DETR analyzed the situation in June 2011:

“Nevada’s construction industry has been hit harder than any other. Expect employment in this sector to continue to decline so long as the new housing market remains weak, and demand for new commercial development remains dormant. Adding to the construction industry’s woes this year is the expected completion of the Ruby Pipeline and Galena Creek Bridge. While massive losses like those seen during the worst of the recession are not expected, employment will still decline by 0.3% in 2011, .05% in 2012, and .03% in 2013. Total employment will decrease by about 600 jobs for the forecast period.”

In The Shadows

And, the new housing market is weak, in no small part because of Nevada’s shadow inventory:

“From the onset of the foreclosure crisis, four states have continually had relatively worse foreclosure problems: Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada. These four states still account for 42 percent of the foreclosure inventory today.”  [NAR]

The situation in Nevada  isn’t good, but it may not be quite as completely bleak as the foreclosure numbers might suggest. A tiny ray of light:

“Arizona and Nevada, while still ranking among top 25 states, are faring relatively better in terms of the shadow inventory. This is largely due to their shadow inventory moving somewhat faster through the pipe lines and comprising larger share of existing sales. While distressed sales comprise 55 percent of existing sales in Arizona, they are up to almost 70 percent in Nevada.”  [NAR]

Before we become totally enamored of this analysis by the National Association of Realtors, it should be noted that theirs is a tiny ray of sunshine in an otherwise rather bleak landscape for the construction sector.

The highly optimistic conclusion that the shadow inventory in Nevada could be cleared in seven months assumed that the rate of foreclosures would decline, and the number of homes added to the inventory would at least remain stable.   Unfortunately, however quickly the inventory was “moving through the pipeline” last March, Nevada still has those 53,265 homes foreclosed as of October 2011, and 1 of every 118 properties received a foreclosure filing as of September 2011.  [realtytrac] The shadow inventory continues to put a drag on the Nevada housing market, and by extension the construction sector.

Underwater

“Negative equity” isn’t helping either.   There’s good and bad news in this area as well.  On the positive side, Nevada may benefit from the Obama Administration’s revisions to HARP, or HARP 2.0:

“Time will reveal the true impacts of HARP 2.0, but it is certain that many more borrowers will benefit than would have otherwise,” CoreLogic wrote in its report. “The impacts will be targeted to housing markets and local economies that are the hardest hit by the housing collapse, as these are the markets with the largest shares of insufficient and negative equity borrowers.”  [HousingWire][…]

“Florida and Nevada, two of the states with the highest levels of homeowners in negative equity, stand to gain disproportionately compared to stronger markets. Nevada and Florida rank 1st and 3rd for the highest levels of negative equity, 60% and 45% respectively, and account for 2.3 million, 21%, of the underwater mortgages nationally.”  [HousingWire]

Again,  it should be noted that HARP 2.0 isn’t a panacea for Nevada’s housing market doldrums.  The purpose of the program is to staunch the flow of new units into the shadow inventory by allowing homeowners whose payments are current to refinance at lower interest rates.  The revised mortgages can replace adjustable rate or interest-only original mortgages with fixed rate ones.

There are some things, however, that HARP 2.0 doesn’t do.  First, it doesn’t “make” the bankers participate.  Although four major banks have agreed to join the effort, their participation in voluntary and there’s nothing in the structure to prevent the banks from including some of their own “rules.”

Secondly, it doesn’t address renegotiation of the principal.  In this respect, HARP 2.0 helps homeowners tread water, but doesn’t alleviate the central problem — that the house isn’t worth nearly as much as the mortgage.

Third, the program is not available to those who took on “Pick A Payment” (option adjustable rate mortgages) or subprime loans.  [ChiTrib]

Homegrown Help

Nevada’s foreclosure issues may be alleviated by the passage of AB 284, which makes “it a felony if a mortgage servicer or trustee made false representations concerning a title. There also will be a $5,000 fine assessed if fraud, such as robo-signing, is detected. The new law requires servicers to provide a new affidavit that provides the amount due on the mortgage, who is in possession of the note and who has the authority to foreclose.” [HousingWire] The rationale for the bill is explained in the testimony to the Assembly Judiciary Committee, March 31, 2011 (pdf).  (1)

And now, we’re back to the Im-MERS-ion problem.  The bankers’ efforts to privatize and replace the traditional real estate recording system with their high speed electronic  MERS version — to speed up the process such that the mortgages could be more quickly processed into “financial products” — backfired all over everyone.  The MERS “problem” is just now entering the courts. (2)

There are some reasons for cautious optimism in regard to the Nevada construction sector IF (a) the efforts of the Nevada Attorney General and State Legislature are successful in staunching the flow of fraudulent foreclosures into the shadow inventory; (b) the efforts of the State Legislature successfully address short sale issues and “double dipping,” and (c) States like Delaware, New York, and Texas are successful in clearing out the mess made by the bankers’ MERS project.   While these efforts address properties going into the pipeline, they do not alleviate the “underwater” issues Nevada homeowners are currently facing.

Resolution

The bankers’ lobby would like to turn the phrase “judicial resolution” into a pejorative.  However, the “underwater” problem will continue to be a drag on the construction and real estate sectors in Nevada, Arizona, California, and Florida until some action can be taken either legislatively or judicially to allow for the modification of principal portion of home loans.

Notes:

(1) Three pieces of legislation from the last session may assist Nevada homeowners, see AFC – LM.  See SB 414 (pdf) and AB 273 (pdf) and AB284 (pdf) as enrolled.

(2) “MERS Mortgage Registry Sued by Delaware Attorney General,” WaPo, October 28, 2011.   “Dallas Revises MERS Filing Fee Suit to Add All Texas Counties, Business Week, November 2, 2011. “MERS- It May Have Swallowed Your Loan,” New York Times, March 5, 2011.   “US Bankruptcy Judge Questions Legal Claims of MERS,” Wall Street Journal, February 14, 2011. “JPMorgan Chase Fires MERS, in Acknowledgement of Mass Mortgage Fraud,” Dayen- FDL, October 13, 2011.

 

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Filed under Economy, Foreclosures, Infrastructure, Las Vegas, Nevada economy

>Quick Clips: Retroactive Immunity, Hepatitis in Vegas, Medicare Rule Impact in Nevada and other Bush Administration disasters

>For those who have the time, today might be a good day to contact congressional representatives about the continuing issue of retroactive immunity for telecom corporations that cooperated with the Bush Administration’s domestic spying program. Nevada citizens may want to contact Rep. Berkley, Rep. Porter, and now 420th ranked Rep. Dean Heller. There appears to be some movement toward “caving” into the demand for retroactive immunity in which the members of the Intelligence Committees are at odds with those who have other committee assignments; this was quite evidently the case in the Senate, and that division appears to be happening in the House as well. TPM Muckraker offers a summary of the situation thus far. Paul Kiel provides an analysis of the status of the PAA.

The Las Vegas Sun raises “Questions on everyone’s mind” about the Hepatitis scandal and headlines “Take a grain of salt and read this: clinic owner defends practices in ad.” The LVRJ weighs in with “Public Health Crisis: Criminal inquiry starts,” and reports that “Related clinics (are) closed.”

Bay of Piggies: This paragraph should be sufficient to entice a person to read the Vanity Fair’s exposé on the Bush Administration’s fiasco in regard to the Palestinian elections: “Vanity Fair has obtained confidential documents, since corroborated by sources in the U.S. and Palestine, which lay bare a covert initiative, approved by Bush and implemented by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams, to provoke a Palestinian civil war. The plan was for forces led by Dahlan, and armed with new weapons supplied at America’s behest, to give Fatah the muscle it needed to remove the democratically elected Hamas-led government from power. (The State Department declined to comment.)”

The Mukasey Paradox: As is quite often the case, Prof. Jonathan Turley nails the essential problem with Bush Administration “logic” in this terse summation: “In his twisting of legal principles, the attorney general has succeeded in creating a perfect paradox. Under Mukasey’s Paradox, lawyers cannot commit crimes when they act under the orders of a president — and a president cannot commit a crime when he acts under advice of lawyers.” [LAT] Perfect. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has already commented on this issue: “The American people demand that we uphold the law. As public officials, we take an oath to uphold the Constitution and protect our system of checks and balances and our civil lawsuit seeks to do just that.”

Bush Administration Medicaid cuts slash deep: Nevada stands to lose an unspecified amount of funds for public providers of Medicare services; $2.1 million over five years in payments for graduate medical education; more losses in payments for outpatient hospital services; approximately $5.4 million lost in provider taxes; another $50.4 million over five years in coverage for rehabilitative services; $4.5 million lost in payments for school administrative and transportation for children’s access to school district staff with assistance with Medicaid enrollment or in accessing Medicaid benefits; an unspecified loss in funding for targeted case management, which could total some $28 million. [MedSum pdf] The House Committee on Oversight provides a state by state summary of what the Administration’s proposal will cost. And, if you’re thinking that this approach to medical care is bad; wait until you read what California has in mind for a “disaster plan” to respond to a “Katrina-like” (read earthquake, wildland fire) emergency. [Sac Bee] via [DKos]

Another wreck for the Straight Talk Express: While attempting to deflect criticism of his associations with lobbyists, the McCain Campaign has — hired another lobbyist. [AmerBlog] The Nation offers more in “The Real McCain Scandal,” (sub req) see also: Carpetbagger Report

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Filed under Bush, Las Vegas, McCain, Medicare, Middle East

>Coffee and the Papers: No help for Nevada from the Federal Highway Trust Fund

>
Nevada sits with a $3.8 billion deficit in its highway funding, and if we thought help might be coming from the other 49 states we are going to have to think again. The federal gasoline tax hasn’t been increased in 14 years and in 2009 the Federal Highway Trust fund will start falling short of planned federal spending. [LVRJ]

Business 2.0 says Las Vegas should experience a 6.5% growth rate based on commercial construction and hospitality (gambling…) [LVRJ] Good news? We’re growing — bad news we’re growing and the infrastructure isn’t keeping pace?

When 24% of the counterfeit conservative voting base says “Keep looking for another candidate” — maybe it’s time to start looking for another candidate? [LVRJ] There goes the old saw: Democrats want to fall in love; Republicans want to fall in line? The California GOP has found a challenger for freshman Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-CA) who defeated Richard Pombo in 2006. [Hill] Florida Governor Crist has signed the bill to move the Florida Primary to January 29. [MH]

Dealers opposed to Wynn’s tip sharing scheme used the Internet(s) to organize their opposition — leaving all those union busting consultants charging hefty fees to keep American corporations “union free” to devise new ways to “exert control over employee communications?” Watch for more company-sponsored sites, e-mail controls, and other “controlled” (you get to say what management wants you to say) and “accountable” (your name’s on it so they can retaliate later?) company communications.? [LVSun] Gee whiz, Steve Wynn’s sounding like the latest crop of whining pundits — all exercised that anonymous folk could say blasphemous things about him and his schemes… and the GOP is dithering that their party’s stuck in the circa 2000 Internet. When the ABC-PAC (conservative) raises $385.00 and John Edwards alone has racked up $3 million on Act Blue’s site — yes, the GOP very likely has a problem: Too much top down-marching orders-fall in line organizing? [WaPo]

The Nevada Legislature’s Gift Shop may open its Olde Wyne Shoppe? While — “what was that stuff in the glasses on the cruise ship?” — Dawn Gibbons plays at being ‘Lemonade Lucy’ Hayes at the Governor’s house? [LVSun] The governor’s spokesman says that Gov. Gibbons will have no problem signing the bill — just as soon as he unties the dinner napkin from his head and stops making “Rrrrrr” sounds?

Public school administrators voiced their concerns about the impact of the No Child Left Behind Act and the associated state legislation that is hampering local districts’ attempts to provide specialized instruction and curricula that reflects community needs. [RGJ] Not to put too fine a point to it, but when bean counters are put in charge of education, not surprisingly, we get beans.

Another one bites the dust. Hard on the heels of the Chrysler buyout by a private equity firm, Alltel Corporation has agreed to be bought by TPG Capital and Goldman Sachs for $25 billion. [Reuters] And, the “dollar buying ever less of world’s goods: the dollar has fallen 5% against the euro and the pound so far this year – the equivalent of a 20% annual decline” [CSM] Should make the trade deficit numbers look better?

The Army Times compares the Congressional pay package for troops with the White House proposal. Congress wins. The White House response: “Providing bigger pay raises for everyone is considered by defense personnel and budget officials as unnecessary and wasteful when there are other military priorities that are not funded or not fully funded.” So, we pay the fat contracts first and if we have anything left over — then we pay the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines?

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Filed under Economy, Las Vegas, Military pay, Nevada highways, Nevada legislature, Steve Wynn, Union busting