Category Archives: Nevada news

Dean’s Back In My Mailbox: Sweet Children Edition

I’m starting to develop a theory concerning politicians, photographs, and pro-family policies.  The theory is congealing along this line:  The more adorable small children are shown in close proximity to the politician in the campaign photographs, the less likely the politician is to be a true advocate for policies which benefit women and children.

Case in point:  Dean Heller’s latest addition to the contents of my mailbox.

This latest contribution is a flyer with nice photos of Senator Heller (R-NV) and lots of nicely clad, well groomed children, all looking familial. Very familial.  So, it’s no surprise that the “content” portion of the campaign piece highlights domestic violence; pregnant workers; veterans; and sexual assault survivors.

Lest I become too excited at the prospect of Heller as a prime champion of these causes, it’s time for a bit of context.

About those domestic violence survivors…  According to Heller, Heller “broke with his party” to pass the Violence Against Women Act.  If we are discussing the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2012, then Senator Heller wasn’t exactly the first to line up:

“Bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reached a critical point Tuesday, as Nevada Republican Dean Heller became the 60th Senator to cosponsor the legislation.  The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act was introduced in November by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho).

“The Violence Against Women Act has always been, and continues to be, a bipartisan priority,” said Leahy.  “I am grateful that Senator Heller has joined as a cosponsor of this important bill.  Every victim of violence deserves to access the resources available through VAWA.  Congress should act, without delay, to approve this commonsense legislation.” [IndLaw]

Thus, Senator Heller wasn’t among the first co-sponsors of S. 1925 in 2012, he was more like the 60th, and he voted in favor of the bill’s Senate passage along with 15 other Senate Republicans.  Fast forward to 2018 and the VAWA is about to expire in the summer months.  Indeed, it is due to expire in September 2018. There are 12 bills related, one directly others tangentially, to the VAWA in the 115th Congress, all have about a 3% chance of passage.   HR 6545, the reauthorization for 2018 has about a 7% chance of passage  However, Senator Heller is shown in the pictures with lots of nice looking children.

Pregnant workers... I like the title “Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.”  Although are there any other kinds of pregnant workers than women?  Senator Heller says he is working with his colleagues in the Senate on this one, specifically that would be Senator Casey (D-PA) the sponsor of S 1101.   The bill has two co-sponsors (Shaheen and Heller) and a 3% chance of passage.   Not to put too fine a point to it, but I’m not wagering any portion of my piggy bank contents on this one getting past the committee stage. Senator Heller is shown with several well scrubbed kiddies in the flyer.

America’s Veterans...  by Senator Heller’s lights he’s helped over 15k veterans with their issues, however we don’t know, for example, how many of these are directly related to issues with the VA; how many are directly related to health issues? Housing issues? Educational benefits issues? Other issues? Nor do we know when the count started, are we speaking of the last year or for every year Senator Heller has spent in D.C?  He’s also claiming “leadership” in resolving VA backlog issues, but then so is every other member of Congress.  The jury’s out on this one, but the Senator is shown with children in a nice sylvan setting.

Sexual Assault Survivors...  Republicans seem intent on talking about that rape kit testing backlog and I’m all for that. Both paring down that backlog and talking about it.  However, I’d be happier still if more Republicans would start talking about preventing sexual assault in the first place.  I’m not hearing all I’d like about making reporting instances of assault and molestation easier on the victims.  Nor am I hearing as much as I’d prefer about extending the statute of limitations on assault, molestation, and harassment, for the perpetrators of these crimes.  And then…there’s the not-so-small-matter of getting firearms out of the mitts of domestic abusers.  Abused women are five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if the abuser owns a gun.  Not only are spouses and ex-spouses abused, but if the situation escalates then the lethality increases five-fold.  There are lots of children in that sylvan setting with Senator Heller.  What has Senator Heller done to make life safer for the children who aren’t in the photograph?

Then there’s the  unspoken part … Planned Parenthood … which Senator Heller would have us “defund.”

Does he know that if a woman doesn’t have medical insurance she can receive low cost or free pre-natal care at a Planned Parenthood facility?  Does he realize that Planned Parenthood can help women find affordable health insurance so their children can get off to a good start?  Does he understand that Planned Parenthood also supports post partum care?  There are some profoundly good reasons for a woman to have a post partum check up and for the infant to get his or her check ups too.  Perhaps we could have fewer glossy photos and more attention to providing medical services for more women and their children?

And now I’ll search for more data with regard to my developing theory: The more adorable small children are shown in close proximity to the politician in the campaign photographs, the less likely the politician is to be a true advocate for policies which benefit women and children.

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Filed under Gun Issues, Health Care, Heller, Nevada news, Nevada politics, Politics

Please Go Right Ahead Mr. Laxalt, Clutch The Trumpian Phantom Coat-tails?

From the “Please Proceed” Department — Nevada gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt still clings to the Tangerine Tantrum Tosser in the White House. [NVIndy]  Meanwhile, the Tantrum Tosser is now openly calling for the end of the Mueller Investigation.  [WaPo] Now, why might this be?

The walls are closing in?  The first round of indictments hit the periphery of the conspiracy to defraud the US to manipulate the election.  Russians, many Russians, as in 12 members of the Russian intelligence services in the cross hairs of the Mueller probe.  As in the next round may very well include people like Roger Stone, or like people who worked with Roger Stone — say, Donald Trump, Jr.  This would help explain the increasingly shrill tone of unpresidential tweets emanating from Pennsylvania Avenue.  We might be getting up into the top part of the human hearing range, approaching, if not hitting, 28 kHz.   That low rumble, 20 Hz, could be the sound of the Mueller team(s) assembling the paper-work for the next round of indictments?

The walls have already begun to slide inward? Speculation appears to center on two points (1) Mueller is much further along than what appears in published accounts; and, (2) the Trump defense team is privy to information concerning that investigation which is also ahead of the publication curve.  If (and this is a major IF) we adopt both of these statements as possibly true, then the unpresidential tweet tantrums may be indicative of a felt need to “get ahead of the story,” i.e. to attempt to shape a public narrative prior to any action on the Special Counsel’s part.  I’ve enjoyed the various iterations of Trumpian apologetics in regard to the subtopic of collusion.  There was NO collusion.  Okay, there might have been some collusion, but it was done by people who barely related to the campaign.  Well, yeah, there were some campaign connected souls who indulged in some collusion, but collusion isn’t a crime.  I am waiting for the “collusion is a crime, but it isn’t a really serious crime” insertion, to be followed by “a crime isn’t a crime if the President does it.” [See Nixon interview May 1977]

There’s another wall coming in on them?  At the risk of redundancy, conspiracy and obstruction of justice aren’t the only two arrows in the Mueller quiver.  The money questions are bubbling to the surface.  There’s $$$ and the Russian + National Rifle Association element.  There’s $$$ and the Russian connections to former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort. There’s $$$ and the connections from Oligarchs to the Trumps.  There’s $$$ and Russian connections to Trump business operations.  There’s some $$$ washing around in dubious shell corporations, off shore accounts, and small specialty accounts such as those used to pay off porn stars and Playboy models.  There’s $$$ to be made by Russian aluminum and real estate tycoons, et. alia if sanctions are left unenforced or are rescinded. There’s $$$ to be made if tariffs are applied such that Russian commodities can be traded in international markets in the absence of American and other allied producers.  Follow The Money.

The Numbers aren’t adding up.  At no point thus far in 2018 has GOP identification registered above 28% [Gallup] and as of July 2018 the number stands at 26%, with Democrats at 30% and Independents at 41%.   Republicans give Trump an 87% approval rating; Democrats a dismal 5% rating; and, Independents at 38%.  The only term for this is “under water.”  Just for reference, as of July 26, 2002 George W. Bush had a 69% approval rating; Trump’s July 22, 2018 rating was 41%.   We might stick a pin in Richard M. Nixon’s approval rating as of June 25, 1973 when he was pulling a positive 44%. [Gallup]

Here’s the point at which DB recites the familiar mantra:  When you have an increasing share of a declining market your business plan is in serious trouble.

The troubling prospect is that those “campaign style rallies” will become increasingly strident, increasingly petulant, increasingly vitriolic, and increasingly threatening to members of the press.  While it might be superficially pleasurable to watch the continuing meltdown, the fact that five journalists in Annapolis, MD have already succumbed to the pent up hatred of a delusional gunman should give us all pause.

Unsolicited advice for candidate Laxalt:  Be careful who you wish for (as a pillar of support) because some pillars will turn you into yet another pillar of  NaCl.

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Random Thoughts and Backfill

trump baby blimpOkay, it’s official. At 18,000£ this is beyond my budget, but it will be so nice to see it in flight tomorrow.  That’s $23773.99 at today’s exchange rate. I can go the 99¢, the rest of it not so much.

So lovely to hear The Angry Man Baby say he wants to meet with former British foreign secretary Boris Johnson.  Precisely what Prime Minister May doesn’t need at the present time as she works to rebuild her rather fragile coalition in the wake of the Brexit debacle.  But, what does AMBaby know of this, he’s not even familiar with the term “hard Brexit.”  Click on that link and a British newspaper will explain it for you.

Now, there IS some news ringing pleasantly in my ears –> Jacky Rosen is outpacing Dean (I have more positions on more issues than the Kamasutra) Heller.  This, I could learn to like very much. Democrats also appear to be doing rather well in the voter registration department, at least according to reports from early this month.

I have an idea!  If the Angry Man Baby wants to see all of Agent Peter Strzok’s non-work related messages to his lover, then let’s swap — Strzok hands over the mushy gushy and Trump hands over his tax returns for the last 20 years?  Fair enough?

obama uk visit

Check out the photo on the left — the Obama state visit to the UK — and compare that to the BBC’s version of Trump’s “working visit” to the Isle this week.  First off, notice the ties the gentlemen are wearing.  Obama = white tie event in Buckingham Palace. Trump = black tie event at Blenheim.  Obama = Queen Elizabeth II herself is in charge of the events, formal and informal, and there were informal social meetings.  Trump = being hosted by QEII’s youngest son Edward, Earl of Wessex, at a Palace — just not one anywhere all that close to London.  Trump =definitely not at Buckingham Palace for a meeting with QEII, he only gets one quick introduction in Windsor.  Wagers his reception from what interested public there might be won’t look anything like the “Harry-Meghan” wedding thing? Somewhere some British bookie is making odds…

Meanwhile, on a sadder note.  CBS reports that “under 3,000” migrant children have NOT been reunited with their parents.   The Misadministration is trying to parse the term “eligible” children such that children of parents who have already been deported aren’t eligible, and thus “don’t count.”   I  still can’t stomach the comment from Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar that the Misadministration is performing great acts of “generosity and charity” by reuniting families. 48 hours after the comment and I still can’t swallow it. There is still obviously NO plan. No coordination. Cruelty begets incompetence.  It’s time for the cruelty to end.  it should never have started.

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Filed under Foreign Policy, Nevada news, Nevada politics, Politics

Yerington HS Illustrates The Problem: Racism in Trumpland

Lyon County, Nevada (county seat Yerington) gave 67.36% of its votes to Donald Trump for the presidency in 2016– a deep red vote in an otherwise urban blue state. [SoSNV] It would be nice to speak of Nevada as a tolerant blue state, but while Nevada is about 94.2% urban [ISU.edu] there are large portions (in terms of landscape) which are deeply rural and deeply bigoted.  Witness the reports of bullying non-white students at Yerington High School, as reported in the Reno Gazette Journal.

A Bit of Background

Lyon County is located east of the Reno-Sparks metropolitan area, and the largest population in the northern end of the county is located in and in proximity to Fernley (± 20,000)  There are approximately 54,000 residents in Lyon County. [Census] Yerington is home to about 3,071 of the county’s residents, and approximately 80% are white, 18% are Hispanic, about 6% are Native American, and 8% are “other” which includes African American.  [Substat]  “Others” are among those having a hard time in Yerington.

“Photos of a Lyon County sheriff’s deputy’s son holding a gun and wearing a belt with knives were posted on social media. Superimposed over the photos were the words “The red neck god of all gods … we bout to go (racial slur) huntin,” and “Watch out (racial slur).”

It is unclear whether the deputy’s son or friends wrote the comments, but it was enough to scare Taylissa and Jayla as dozens of classmates began forwarding the girls the posts.

Taylissa and Jayla stayed home from school the next day.  They filled out police reports. They worried when they went outside.” [RGJ]

  And then — nothing happened.

The mayor dismissed the social media posts as examples of teenage immaturity.  The chief of police said they were examples of Free Speech.  The principal of the high school says the school needs to have a “unity day.” The county superintendent of schools said school authorities were having a hard time controlling the situation.  Some residents said things were cooling off until “reporters started asking questions and stirring things up.”  If you’re thinking these perspectives could just as easily be associated with the heart of Jim Crow Dixieland, you’d be right.

In beautiful downtown Yerington there seems to be a safe zone for bullies, in spite of state legislation specifically prohibiting such conduct:

     “NRS 388.135Bullying and cyber-bullying prohibited.  A member of the board of trustees of a school district, any employee of the board of trustees, including, without limitation, an administrator, principal, teacher or other staff member, a member of a club or organization which uses the facilities of any public school, regardless of whether the club or organization has any connection to the school, or any pupil shall not engage in bullying or cyber-bullying on the premises of any public school, at an activity sponsored by a public school or on any school bus.”

So, NO the incident wasn’t a matter of “free speech,” the offensive postings were a direct violation of NRS 388.135.   Nor is there much evidence in the reporting that the local police and school district authorities paid much attention to the provisions of NRS 388.1351 in which specific directives are set forth for dealing with bullying and cyber-bulling.

And when a parent did try to meet with school officials, the following is hardly exemplary of compliance with Nevada statutes:

“On one of the occasions Charles Tolliver went to the school to try to meet with administrators, a student standing with a group of girls said to him, “You don’t even know the definition of (racial slur).”

“If you ever call my daughters (racial slurs) …”  he said before stopping himself.

After repeated requests for help had been ignored, Tolliver said, he called the principal a bigot.

School officials have accused Tolliver of being hostile and aggressive. He was given a trespass warning and is only allowed on school grounds with prior permission.

“… you interacted with me as well as Yerington High School students in a hostile, aggressive and threatening manner, resulting in the contacting of law enforcement,” the trespass notice from Principal Mattice said.” [RGJ]

Thus, the step-parent who sought to meet with a principal over repeated instances of bullying is met with surly students, an unhelpful principal, and then becomes the designated villain of the story according to Lyon County school officials.  Quite evidently, Lyon County has done what it must according to State law, it has all the right words on paper (pdf) — it just chooses not to enforce its own policies.  One might want to ask if the principal “investigated” incidents of blocked doorways, jammed doors, hate speech, and racial epithets within one day of a report, as required by school district policy?

There’s no need to be tactful about this situation.  First, the youngsters spouting hateful epithets and blocking doorways didn’t come into this world as little bigots.  They learned it somewhere and that somewhere is nearly always at home.  Secondly, their peers are obviously supportive. Few adolescents will do much which doesn’t comport with peer pressure.  Schools are supposed to have a socializing effect, i.e. negative attitudes and prejudices which come from home and are supported by some peers are to be addressed and rectified if at all possible.  It is not the responsibility of a school to make bigots feel comfortable.  However, this is made more difficult when…

(i) We have a president who says there were very fine people on both sides in Charlottesville, VA when one side was composed of white nationalist supremacist bigots and thugs.

(ii) We have a situation in which the Attorney General of the US who has decimated the capacity of that agency to supervise state and local official interactions with members of minority communities — “it’s a local problem.”

(iii) We have an environment in which local officials are allowed to ignore, dismiss, or diminish incidents of racial bigotry and prejudice without serious consequences.

(iv) We have social norms and values being curtly disdained as “political correctness,” with a slurring of the “s” sound at the end.

In short what we have at Yerington High School is a classic example of what happens when an atmosphere of racial division, with whites on the top of the divide, meets two girls whose parents don’t appreciate having their daughters referred to by the N-word. However, what might we expect in Yerington, in the heart of Nevada’s Trumpland?

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Filed under education, nevada education, Nevada news, Nevada politics, Politics

Laxalt Then And Now

February 15, 2018 Adam Paul Laxalt blames Michael Bloomberg (a convenient target) for his reluctance to enforce Q1 (gun sale background checks) and tells us “Asked if he would support banning bump stocks, Laxalt said he joined a bipartisan group of attorney generals in asking the federal government to review how it regulates them. “My guess is you will see these things regulated at the federal level,” he said.” [LVRJ] No mud (blood) on me.  Another way to read this is to infer Laxalt will do nothing on bump stocks, but will wait to see if the Trump/NRA administration will allow some form of regulation at the Federal level.

February 21, 2018 (17 children and adults are now dead in Parkland, Florida) Adam Paul Laxalt, formerly a scheduled speaker at the NRA Annual Leadership Forum, is “erased” from the program.

“Laxalt, also a Republican candidate for governor, appeared on the event’s website this week as a scheduled speaker for the May 4 NRA Annual Leadership Forum — which touts itself as a “must-stop for candidates seeking the highest levels of elected office” — along with Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, political commentator Tomi Lahren and Chris Cox, the NRA’s top lobbyist.”  By Wednesday, Laxlat’s name and photo were no longer on the event’s site. Scott’s name and photo are also gone.” [LVRJ] (emphasis in original)

February 22, 2018, but but but wait wait wait…a Laxalt aide says the gubernatorial candidate never “committed” to the NRA Forum. “Laxalt campaign spokesman Andy Matthews said Thursday that Laxalt hadn’t responded to confirm an invitation to the NRA Annual Leadership Forum in Dallas before his name was removed from a headliners’ list.” [RGJ]    But he didn’t have any problems with his name on the conference schedule previously?

February 23, 2018, protesters gathered in Las Vegas, ahead of a court hearing on Question 1.  Governor Sandoval says Nevada voters made their wishes clear — they want Universal Background Checks.  It wasn’t quite so clear to him in 2013 when he vetoed a bill to that effect.

Stay tuned as Adam Paul Laxalt twists and turns trying to remain a viable candidate opposing a popular concept — Universal Background Checks — while perhaps hoping the “issue” will subside as has happened after other gunfire atrocities?  Is he hoping to jump on board with the Trumpian idiocy calling for arming teachers? Is he hoping the Congress will do some tiny thing sufficient for him to espouse a minute bit of progress? It’s only February, and Laxalt doesn’t know what his schedule will be in May, by then he may have embarrassed himself out of the race?

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Heller’s Dipsy Doodle on Health Care: Centene Edition

Here we have Senator Dean Heller’s comments on access to health care insurance in Nevada — and some translation.

“I welcome Centene’s announcement that it will offer plans on the Nevada exchange, providing Nevadans with additional health care options so that no county in our state is bare. I was proud to work with Governor Sandoval to make sure that people living in all of Nevada’s 17 counties have the option to purchase coverage on the exchange next year,” said Senator Dean Heller. “Nevadans have been left with dwindling choices when it comes to their health care coverage, and it’s more evidence that Obamacare is failing. That’s why I continue to work for health care solutions – like the Graham-Cassidy-Heller plan – that return power to the states, protect Nevada’s most vulnerable, and repeal Obamacare’s onerous mandates that continue to squeeze hardworking Nevadans who can least afford it.”

Huh?  Working with Governor Sandoval to make sure people can purchase health insurance plans in the individual market certainly wasn’t in evidence when Senator Heller voted in favor of the last Senate version of the risible ‘repeal and replace with nothing’ bill.

And, no, the ‘dwindling choices” aren’t the product of failing ACA provisions — the choices are dwindling because insurance corporations are facing unpredictable (anathema to insurance) situations created by the President’s threat to cut the cost sharing provisions, which Senator Heller persists in inferring are “insurance company bailouts.”

And, there’s that Graham-Cassidy amendment to which Senator Heller amended himself, which turns Medicaid into a block grant program with an altered formula and which cuts lower income family’s access to affordable insurance plans in the individual market.  That, to put it mildly, isn’t a solution.

And so it goes…into the 2018 election.

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Filed under Health Care, health insurance, Heller, Nevada news, Nevada politics, Politics

Unpleasant Questions about Unpleasant Subjects

The Senate investigators of Trumpster ties to the Putin regime have called for the retention of all relevant documents and communications. However, the body count of Russians associated with the dossier, and diplomacy with the US, seems to be escalating, beginning with the January death of Oleg Erovinkin. Perhaps we should be investigating before too many more Russian officials bite the dust?

How about a bit more emphasis on fighting anti-Semitism? It’s also hitting too close to home:

“A student says to another, “We need to send you to the oven so you can be with your people,” a man engraves a swastika onto a marble column in front of a synagogue and trespassing teenagers yell anti-Semitic epithets at children at a Hebrew academy.

Those are some of the many anti-Semitic incidents recently reported in the Las Vegas Valley, part of an uptick in cases logged across the country in the past year, said Jolie Brislin, Nevada regional director of the Anti-Defamation League. The rhetoric and threats have intensified in the past months, she added.”

While the President may be appalled at these incidents, and has recently spoken about the problem, this doesn’t negate the fact that some of his core supporters feel that his elevation excuses their anti-social, biased, and belligerent behavior.  They’ve taken his “tell it like it is” and “no more political correctness” approach to mean they have license to spew hate and act out their white nationalist-supremacist feelings.  Perhaps we should be investigating the rise of domestic hate groups? Oh, wait, the Justice Department will now be focusing on radical Islamicist foreign inspired terrorists…

And the Mexicans will pay for it…only in this instance it’s the administration policy to deport undocumented non-Mexican immigrants and asylum seekers to Mexico. [The Hill] “Elements still need to be worked out in detail…” and how, pray tell, are we supposed to work out these details when the administration is busy demonizing Mexicans and their government?

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Filed under Mexico, Nevada news, Politics, racism, Republicans