Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Nevada Day!

Yes, our state really became a state 145 years ago this week. So how well do you know this state? Try to answer these questions correctly:


Answer these questions correctly and rejoice in being able to call yourself a native. Get them wrong and … Well, you did just move from California, right?

1. What year did Nevada become a state?
2. Who was president of the United States at the time?
3. Why is one of Nevada’s nicknames “Battle Born?”
4. Which states border Nevada?
5. What is the state bird?
6. What is the state song?
7. What is Nevada’s highest peak?
8. Las Vegas has the state’s largest population. Which cities come in second and third?
9. How often does the state Legislature convene?
10. Which professional sports teams call Clark County home?

I got 7.5 out of 10, not bad for one of those California transplants. Now you give it a try... And no cheating! ;-)

All state and local government offices will be closed for the state holiday today, along with schools, libraries, colleges, and (state) courts. However, federal courts and government services will remain open today. Happy Nevada Day! Enjoy another great day in our great state.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Recovery on the Way?

The national GDP expanded 3.5% in the 3rd quarter. Harrah's reported record 3rd quarter losses, but Wynn reported a better profit than expected and Las Vegas Sands is so far looking forward to a stronger 2010. Nevada hadn't seen much federal stimulus aid until just recently, but Harry Reid is now touting $92 million heading here for renewable energy and possibly the creation of many thousands of badly needed jobs.

Is the worst over? Yes, it looks like it.

Is the recession over? Most likely, yes.

But are working class families feeling the "recovery" yet? I'm not so sure.

Wall Street is rallying over the GDP numbers, and gaming stocks seem to be using the LV Sands earnings report as further reason to rally. But really, how is Main Street doing? Do we have reason to hope?

I hope so, but so far I'll just say I'm "cautiously optimistic". At least the stimulus is finally working and we're now seeing a real economic boost from it. However, unemployment is still far too high and that's confirming my early suspicion that the stimulus wasn't large enough and targeted enough to job creation. I really do think The White House and Congress need to spend more time and money on real efforts to put people back to work before they even consider offering up any more bailouts to the big banks.

After all, how can people spend money if they don't have jobs making them money? It's common sense that we need to get folks back to work. Hopefully we'll see some improvement as more of the stimulus money is released (like in today's announcement of $92 million for green energy here in Nevada), but I'm also hoping for even more help to get people working again.

Still, we're at least on the right track. The economy is growing again. Consumers are slowly starting to spend again... And even take trips to Las Vegas again! And perhaps with some additional help from Washington, we'll get more of those free spending tourists and perhaps even some well-paying non-gaming jobs as well.

Health Care: Reid Fought for Public Option After All, May Be Open Now to Reconciliation

Interesting news today on the health care front! Let's start with TPM now reporting what so many of us here in Nevada were trying to tell everyone else. And furthermore, they suggest The White House may have been fighting AGAINST it. Huh?!

According to a source briefed on White House-Senate health care negotiations, the public option's saving grace was its political popularity with the Democratic base. The source described the back and forth between Senate health care principals and the White House as a "sort of stare down where the two sides were saying, 'you be the face of pulling it out.' Reid wants Obama to do it to give cover to his caucus, Obama wants Reid to do it so he's not the bad guy on the public option, and can still walk away with a win with reform, with bipartisanship, and with a card for everybody running for re-election."

According to a separate source close to both parties, administration officials pushed hard against the idea of Reid backing the [public option]. "I started the days before [the Thursday meeting], that the White House was trying to fuck with them on this whole thing, and that was very much of a thread throughout the days before."

On the morning of the meeting, anonymous sources--and even some high profile senators--came forward to say that Reid was leaning very heavily toward backing the public option. And that's the news he and other senators brought to the White House that night.

"Reid actually asked Schumer to make the pitch," the first source said. When he did, "Obama was less than responsive and asked questions that suggested he preferred an option that could get the trigger and bipartisan support."

Now a number of bloggers in the know, like Mike Lux at Open Left, have disputed the claims that President Obama was actually leaning on Reid to remove the public option or add Olympia Snowe's preferred triggers. Still, one detail that no one is disputing is that Reid fought for, and ultimately achieved, a public option in the merged Senate health care bill.

And now, it looks like Reid may be willing to go even further to make it happen. The Huffington Post is reporting this morning that Reid and Sen. Dick Durbin may be ready to go the way of reconciliation.

As Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid works to cobble together the 60 votes he needs to overcome an expected Republican attempt to block a floor vote on health care, there is still one powerful parliamentary weapon he could draw from his back pocket. [...]

"Sure, it's always an option," Reid said after leaving his press conference Monday, when he announced that he'd be pushing forward with a public health insurance option with an opt-out provision that would give states the right not to participate.

Reconciliation gained new relevance on Tuesday, when Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said that unless the public option is stripped out, he's prepared to join a GOP filibuster of the health care reform package. Without Lieberman, Democrats would only have 59 votes to end a filibuster -- one short.

Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who is in charge of corralling and counting votes, also said that reconciliation is still being considered. "The failsafe on this is reconciliation," Durbin said. "I hope we don't reach it because you can only do a limited amount of things on reconciliation."

There's no greater suffering that can be afflicted upon "Holy Joe" Loserman than that of irrelevancy. I have a feeling that even if Reid just threatens "the r word", that might be enough to kick Loserman into shape. And even if Holy Joe ultimately admits he's a Republican and joins their filibuster, he'd be pushed to the sidelines with some simple parliamentary rule changes.

And if Harry Reid REALLY wants to make Loserman's head explode, he can go all the way in bringing back the nuclear option! That might really scare the obstructionists!

Is Sue Lowden a Stupid Liar? Or Just Plain Stupid?

OMG, she really went for it! Sue Lowden is so desperate to gain traction as a Senate candidate that she went on slimeball Heidi Harris' radio show and denied ever knowing about the infamous attempted assassination of Harry Reid! WTF??!!

She was a reporter. She was around when it happened. Even The R-J isn't hesitating to dig through its archives and unveil the evidence!

(Courtesy of The R-J)

So we must ask: Is Sue Lowden THAT stupid??!! Did she really think she could get away with this lie and act like it never really happened? Did she actually think that she'd somehow score political points by going along with some hare-brained attempted smear by Heidi Harris of all people?

Keep it klassy, Nevada Republicans!

Oh wait, and it gets better! Miss Sue now looks to have yet another scandal of her own brewing up in Reno.

In a quick recap of the last state [Republican] convention, [Ron] Paul supporters succeeded in winning a rules change that allowed the entire delegation to compete for the 34 national delegate spots. McCain was already the party's presumptive nominee, but Paul supporters thought they might have a shot of ousting him at the national convention. Balloting in the three congressional districts occurred but were counted in only two. With counting still continuing and the at-large delegates yet to be selected, the convention organizers, including Lowden, chairman Bob Beers and McCain consultants decided to abruptly end the convention and reschedule it for another day. The box of ballots from the 2nd Congressional District were never fully counted.

The convention was never rescheduled. The party came up with its own delegates, which included a few Paul supporters. The RNC gave their blessing to the slate and the rest is history.

But some Paul supporters have always wanted to know what was in that box. National Committeewoman Heidi Smith, who has had her own maverick streak and always had an affinity for the Paul supporters, twice asked the Peppermill to search the hotel for the missing box. It was never found.

Earlier this month, however, Smith obtained the key to the safe that contained the ballots at a Republican women's event in Las Vegas. She said the key was given to Lowden, who gave it to Carole Del Carlo, who gave it to Smith.

Last week, Smith went back to the Peppermill with a Paul supporter. They found the safe, which had the box with envelopes full of ballots. Those envelopes are still sealed. They will be opened and counted at Washoe Republican headquarters at 4 p.m. Friday.

"Counting the ballots won't do any good, but at least it will put an end to the fight, I hope," Smith said. "There are some people who will never heal. Some people who will always carry a grudge. But I want them counted. I want it done honestly and then I want everybody to shut up about it."

So now the long lost Republican ballots that were mysteriously found at The Peppermill in Reno will be counted. But why were they lost in the first place? And why were these ballots lost under Sue Lowden's watch? Remember that Sue Lowden was the Nevada Republican Party Chair until earlier this year?

It looks to me like Miss Sue is agreeing with Heidi Harris' batsh*t crazy conspiracy theory on Reid so she can hide her own deep, dark secrets. So what is she hiding? Why weren't those ballots counted last year?

And is Lowden so stupid as to think she could get away with all of this?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Health Care: Good News & Bad News on The Public Option

Here's some good news. The merged House health care bill is expected to hit the floor tomorrow. The bad news? The public option included is expected to be a negotiated rates "level playing field" program that may even resemble the Senate bill in including a state opt-out. If this happens, it looks like we may be stuck with the opt-out. Chris Bowers says this bill may not be able to pass the House, but I don't know if Nancy Pelosi will allow for that, especially after she gave progressives some time to round up votes for the Medicare+5 public option.

Oh, but here's some good news on the Senate side. Even "Queen Triggers" Olympia Snowe herself doesn't expect any triggers to be added to the merged Senate bill! So if "Holy Joe" Loserman expected his move yesterday would result in a weakened public option that would never be allowed to "trigger", even Olympia Snowe is doubting that will work.

Also on the Senate side, a number of real Democrats are speaking up and rebutting Loserman's many lies on the public option.

"I think one of the problems the leader is working that there have been a number of theories about what a public option is that have been kicked around," said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) in response to a question from TPMDC. "On the Senate side, in the [HELP] Committee, we chose to...make sure that these public options were self sustaining."

Lieberman has suggested both that the public option would be a drain on taxpayers, and that it would drive up private insurance premiums, in contrast to the findings of most experts.

"I think there's a bit of a function of trying to make sure that everybody's clear exactly what it is that we're proposing," Whitehouse said. "I think once the actual text of the bill is out and it's clear that the HELP language is what was adopted. I think we'll be successfully able to make the case to Senator Lieberman that there is not a subsidy here and it is not an entitlement."

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) added his own two cents as well.

"Any low income, or moderate income person coming into the exchange brings a can take the subsidy and buy Aetna, you can take that subsidy to buy the public option. So the public option gets nothing better or worse...than any private company that's involved in the exchange," Brown said.

And in case, anyone out there is believing media reports on Harry Reid being trashed for being "too liberal", good ol' Chuck Schumer will have none of it.

Asked by a different reporter if his potential defection lends credence to the idea that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid ought to have chosen a more moderate course, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) leapt to Reid's defense.

"We are working with leader Reid on getting 60 votes... I am optimistic that we will get those 60 votes," Schumer said. Harry Reid is the best vote counter and vote getter that I have ever seen in my 35 years as a legislator."

And finally, MyDD caught the latest Gallup poll on health care. Voters trust President Obama on health care matters by a 55-45 margin while voters distrust Congressional Republicans by a 62-37 margin. Yikes! So ultimately if Obama wants to bring this baby home, Americans are more willing to believe what he's saying than the lying liars on the far right.

So there you have it. The public option is overall looking better, even though the House's version likely won't be much or any stronger than the Senate version as originally hoped. "Holy Joe" is still throwing a temper tantrum in the Senate, but hardly anyone is taking him seriously. And if President Obama really wants to be a hero, he can be a real force to be reckoned with to get this bill passed.

Health Care: Reid & Other Senate Leaders Making More Noise on Public Option

Here's a message I just got from Harry Reid. He's getting serious about keeping the public option in the Senate bill. Fortunately people are signing his public option petition like crazy, and that's helping!

Btw, Dick Durbin is also organizing on his web site with a public option poll we can take to let Senate leadership know what kind of public option we really want in the health care bill. Go take it!

Dear Andrew,

Thank you so much for signing our petition! I'm convinced that if we work together, we can get the votes we need to move this historic health insurance reform effort forward.

Our idea to build support for the health insurance reform bill I sent to the CBO on Tuesday with an online petition is going like gangbusters. Since last night, an average of about 1000 people have signed our petition each and every hour. Over 18,000 total!

When I meet with my Senate colleagues to convince them to support health insurance reform with a public option, I need as many Americans as possible from all corners of our country standing with me.


Or, if you're on Twitter or Facebook, click here and share our petition to your social media friends. Thanks again for your support, let's keep it up!


Washington: It's Crunch Time to Protect Domestic Partnerships!

Remember that other election happening next Tuesday? You know, the one in Washington? The one where domestic partnerships are up for a popular vote?

Yes, you heard me right. Domestic partnerships are now at risk in Washington. There's only one week left until Election Day, and the time is now to get working to protect Washington's LGBT families!

These are some of the ads now on the air in Washington thanks to our support. And fortunately, they're up just at the right time. The KING 5 poll shows Referendum 71 narrowly ahead 50-43, even though the University of Washington poll shows a stronger 56-39 lead for Approve 71. And even if the actual numbers are more like UW's, we can't just rest on those laurels in an unpredictable low turnout election. And especially if the numbers are more like KING's, then this may be a close election where every vote counts!

Think about it. For many thousands of senior couples and LGBT families, their basic rights and responsibilities are on the line. Their lives will be made far more difficult if R-71 is rejected and domestic partner rights are stripped away. All families deserve equal protection under the law, and Washington families will get something closer to equal protection if R-71 is approved.

Don't these families deserve protection?

Obviously, the anti-equality forces don't. Focus on the Family and NOM are now dumping money into Washington to deceive voters into rejecting R-71. They whine and scream over all of the usual objections to marriage equality... But in this case, it isn't even marriage equality!

Sound familiar? It should! Here in Nevada, our very own "Luv Guv" Gibbons used these same tired and blatantly false "arguments" to try to block final passage of SB 283, Nevada's domestic partnership law. Fortunately he didn't succeed this year, but perpetual homophobe campaigner Richard Ziser is already planning to try again next year. Believe me, what happens in Washington this year will have a profound impact on what happens in Nevada next year and in other states considering similar DP/civil union legislation.

This is why I must ask you one more time to remember all the families in Washington at risk. Please donate what you can to approve R-71 and/or volunteer to call for equality. Our action will really make the difference.

These are the last days for Washingtonians to mail in their ballots. Again, turnout will be critical in determining the fate of domestic partnerships. Let's get R-71 approved in Washington so that families there are protected and all of us in Nevada and elsewhere need not worry about any more radical religious right attacks on our families.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

ACTION ALERT: Help Harry Reid Round up the Votes for Health Care Reform with the Public Option!

I just got this message from our Senior Senator, and I hope you join me in supporting his fight for a good health care bill.

Dear Andrew,

When I emailed last night, I told you we were working on ideas for mobilizing support for the bill I sent to the Congressional Budget Office yesterday. Well, we did just that and decided that the best way to build support in the Senate is for me to have as many signatures from as many Americans as possible that support health insurance reform with a public option.

This way, when I ask my colleagues to support a bill with a public option, I can tell them that it's not just me asking, it's me AND thousands of Nevadans - AND a majority of our fellow Senators - AND thousands of voters from their home state. To do this, I need you to add your voice to mine right away.


If there's one thing I've learned from being the Senate Majority Leader, it's that we need strong grassroots momentum to win the support required to pass big legislation. Change isn't easy. And big change is even more difficult. But we have the chance to deliver real health insurance reform this year, we just have to work together to convince every Senator we can that a vote for this bill is a vote on the right side of history.

Please, sign our petition today and tell your friends and family to add their names as well. Thanks so much for your support.

Together, we'll get this done.


Health Care: WTF??!! Holy Joe??!!

OK, so "Holy Joe" Loserman is threatening to nuke all health care reform over any public option included. He's now talking about breaking all his 2006 campaign promises and 2009 assurances to President Obama and Senator Reid to embrace the Republican "Party of No" line. What now?

Reid seems to remain unfazed by Holy Joe's venom.

"Joe Lieberman is the least of Harry Reid's problems," Reid told reporters at his weekly press conference.

During a Q&A session with reporters, Reid offered a fairly spirited defense of Lieberman, signaling perhaps that he doesn't believe Lieberman will ultimately be an obstacle--or at least that he doesn't want to tip his hat: "I don't have anyone that I've worked harder with, have more respect for, in the Senate than Joe Lieberman. As you know, he's my friend. There are a lot of senators--Democrat and Republicans--who don't like [parts of this bill]... Sen. Lieberman will let us get on the bill, and he'll be involved in the amendment process."(...)

"We'll get it on the floor, we'll have an amendment process, and that's what we do," Reid said. "We haven't been doing a lot of it because we've had 81 objections so far this year by the Republicans."

Already, there's confusion about what's happening. Some have called Loserman's office and found the staffers telling them he WILL vote for cloture after all. Meanwhile, anonymous Democratic Senate staffers are already telling reporters that Loserman's threat is empty and he'll at least allow the Senate bill to reach a full floor vote. So maybe there's no real story here?

Whatever the truth is, Holy Joe is an attention whore who likes to see his name in the papers and on the teevee. Whatever is other motivations are, he's always trying to be the star of the show. I hope Harry Reid has a good trick up his sleeve to whip Holy Joe into line.

Maine (& Nevada): Why Marriage Matters

OK, so the Yes on H8/Yes on 1 anti-equality forces are now saying they "don't oppose civil rights". Uh-huh. So they just want "equality by another name"?

Not really. After all, why did these same religious right forces fight SB 283 here in Nevada that isn't even marriage?

And by the way, Maine Domestic Partnerships are not even comprehensive like ours in Nevada. They're very limited to only a few medical decisions and property rights. Is this type of third-class (since it isn't even second-class) citizenship what Yes on 1 calls "equality"?

OK, so let's assume some of these Yes on 1 folks are serious about "changing" Maine's domestic partnership law to look more like Nevada's. I did my homework on SB 283, the domestic partner law that's now being practiced here in The Silver State. I did my homework and I know what's in the bill and what isn't. Let me give you the gist of SB 283.

[State Senator and SB 283 author] David Parks wasn't joking when he said that this is NOT marriage. While SB 283 provides for domestic partnerships (DPs) that are supposed to treat "domestic partnered" couples just like married spouses, let's remember that this theory doesn't always work out in practice. So while we celebrate the first major advance in civil rights in Nevada in decades, let's keep working toward the final goal of true civil marriage equality. [...]

But again, we must stress that DPs under SB 283 are not marriage and will not be treated by the federal government as such. Even if you and your partner file for a DP this fall, you will still not be able to file a joint federal tax return. You won't be able to receive any spousal benefits from the military or the VA. You won't be able to sponsor your partner for US citizenship or permanent residency if he/she is a foreign national. Unfortunately, DOMA still applies here as it does across the nation. This is why it's crucial that not only Nevada law change to give our families full equality, but that federal law change as well.

When it comes to federal law, marriage is marriage is marriage. And even if DOMA is repealed soon and same-sex marriages will be recognized by the federal government, comprehensive DPs and civil unions will still not be recognized by the feds and treated as "marriages". So all of us in Nevada will still be left in the cold and so will Mainers if Question 1 passes.

And even worse, comprehensive DPs and civil unions are not even treated equally when it comes to state law. That was the experience in Vermont until marriage equality was legalized there. That's what New Jersey is dealing with in regards to their civil unions. That's what California, Oregon, and Nevada are now facing with DPs. No matter how well intentioned the "separate but equal laws" are, separate is simply never equal.

Marriage equality is important because it gives LGBT families the same equal rights and responsibilities under the law as straight families. And even more so, civil marriage equality gives our families the same respect and dignity they deserve.

And again, I doubt the anti-equality folks will even allow DPs. After all, Richard Ziser is attacking us here in Nevada once again. DPs are under attack in Washington state this year. This is just another excuse for the anti-equality religious right to make LGBT families in Maine and elsewhere suffer. Don't believe them.

The Beltway Insiders Just Don't Get Nevada

Obviously, Mark Halperin has never really talked to us who actually live in The Silver State.

Ummm, we Nevadans actually support the public option 54-39! And if anything, including a good public option in health care reform will actually help Reid win reelection next year... And for that matter, help his son Rory defeat the pack of GOP clowns who will probably soon commit political suicide in calling for Nevada to opt out.

So again, the DC Beltway Insiders know nothing about Nevada and The West. We care about our health care, even if they don't.

Health Care: So Reid Got a Public Option in. So What's Next?

So we got a public option... With a state opt-out. Nevada may be under pressure to opt out... But it looks increasingly unlikely. Health care reform looks ready to pass, but is it enough reform?

We'll see. While the HELP Committee public option was left standing mostly intact (other than the state opt-out clause), there are still some nasty Finance Committee provisions that were also left standing. The exchanges don't have enough negotiating power. The "free rider" provision prevents a workable employer mandate. Oh, and the "national plans" proposed would be able to circumvent state insurance regulations.

Oh, and did I mention that state opt-out is better off thrown out of the bill?

Obviously, there's still work to be done. Hopefully there will be some good amendments on the Senate floor to support. And thankfully on the House side, their bill keeps looking stronger and stronger. There's no way we'll see a very ugly bill emerge out of Conference.

So keep on our Congresscritters in Washington as the bill finally makes it to the floor in both houses. Let's see if they can actually deliver meaningful health care reform this year.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Maine: No on 1 Taking Lead & The Opposition Is Now Throwing Everything INCLUDING the Kitchen Sink at LGBT Families

Well, we have some good news and some bad news to report in Maine today. First, let's start off with some good news. Maine Public Broadcasting just got the hot new Pan-Atlantic poll numbers.

Pan Atlantic's Patrick Murphy says the survey of 400 likely voters found 53 percent opposing Question 1, which would repeal Maine's gay marriage law, while 42 percent favor the measure and six percent remain undecided. [Empahasis mine.] The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percent.

Murphy says Question 1 is getting a different reaction in Maine's two congressional districts, with voters in the 1st District favoring the measure by a 20 point spread, while voters in the 2nd District remain nearly equally divided. He says among the state's Catholic voters, the measure has a narrow margin of support, 49 to 46 percent.

Obviously, ads like this one are working.

And better yet, the campaign actually has an active field program that's contacting voters all over the state and rounding up enough votes against Question 1 to win. And even better, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree and other pro-equality elected officials in Maine are stepping up to help with GOTV efforts! With such great work on the ground and on the air, no wonder why No on 1 is gaining momentum!

Still, we can't sit by idly and revel in this success. Nope, since the same Yes on H8 operatives who attacked California's LGBT families last year are now throwing everything INCLUDING the kitchen sink at Maine's LGBT families! NOM is already kicking in another $1.1 million to take away fundamental rights from many thousands of Mainers, and they're ready to spend even more on some of the most disgusting and hateful ads you've ever seen.

Oh, and how fitting is it that NOM's bringing out the vilest of scare tactics just in time for Halloween?

This is why I need to ask you one more time to step up and help No on 1 make it to the finish line succesfully. Donate what you can afford and/or sign up to call for equality while you still can We only have one more week until Election Day, so we have no time to waste!

Trust me, we can win this. We can make sure that Maine families are protected. We can stop the forces of bigotry from causing any more pain and suffering in any more states. We can win if we step up and take action!

So will you join me in taking action? I hope so. Let's make it to that finish line.

Health Care: Trigger? State Opt-out? Or Real Public Option?

We have plenty of news on the health care front to talk about today. Contrary to earlier media reports, the public option isn't dead after all. However, efforts to cripple it are still very much alive.

"Co-President" Olympia Snowe recently admitted that she's trying to slow down and bog down the health care bill in the Senate... Oh, and she still won't allow any public option without her beloved trigger to indefinitely delay it. So now the question is whether "Elected President" Barack Obama will allow Snowe to delay health care reform and water it down some more. mcjoan at Daily Kos seems to believe The White House's denial that Rahm Emmanuel is encouraging Obama to go with Snowe's trigger, but Jane Hamsher at FDL says the paper trail is just too long to ignore.

Whatever is actually true about Obama's real views on the trigger proposal, it looks like The White House is playing a more active role these days in Congressional negotiations. We're just wondering if this is a good or bad thing. I'm hoping for the best, but PCCC isn't wasting any time in making sure Obama works for a better bill.

In the mean time, our own Harry Reid will be announcing this afternoon the merged Senate bill. So far, it looks like the bill will have a public option with a state opt-out provision. Honestly, I'm not big on the state opt-out because I think individuals should make the choice on the public health insurance option, not the state governments. However, it's an otherwise trigger-free public option and Harry Reid is to be commended for sticking to his guns on it.

Meanwhile on the House side, Nancy Pelosi is only about 10 votes away from not just any public option, but the strongest possible one with a Medicare+5 rate. As I reported last week, Dina Titus is on board with it... But she and other House members may be leveraging to get more "bacon" in the bill that they can bring home to their respective districts. While I appreciate Dina's efforts to get the best bill possible for Nevada, it doesn't hurt for us to keep encouraging her to stick with the Medicare+5 public option.

And as long as both Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi whip up the votes for the strongest public option possible in their respective houses of Congress, hopefully this will get President Obama to realize he doesn't need Olympia Snowe's hurtful "trigger" to get a bill on his desk for him to sign.

Steve Wynn & How Government Works (For Him)

Add this to the continuing Steve Wynn saga:

Now Steve Wynn is whining about how "socialist" America is becoming... And wait for it, endorses the oppressive Chinese government!

He called Obama’s policies “socialism light.” When it was suggested the policies Obama has pursued resemble those of European social democracies, he replied: “I wouldn’t want to see America become a European social democracy. It would stunt growth, inhibit our standard of living. And it would be lights out for Las Vegas.”

Wynn then offered an unsolicited endorsement of the Chinese government: “The environment in China is much more free than here.

“Do they feel they are being deprived of their human rights? No. My employees (at Wynn properties in Macau) are very happy with their government,” he said.

As Human Rights Watch and other groups have documented, China has stifled freedom of religion and expression, jailed dissidents and blocked the formation of labor unions, among other abuses.

So I guess Steve Wynn's version of "freedom" involves him enriching himself off of slave labor while the government whips and beats that slave labor into submission for him. How klassy of him.

Oh wait, and it gets better. Steve Wynn then talked about how "government doesn't do much" for him, and this Sun story highlights just how wrong he is.

Let’s start at the beginning: Many of Wynn’s tourists book their rooms on the Internet.

Where does the Internet come from? [...]

The Internet as we know it is derived from 1970s-era computer science of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which was launched to do research after the Sputnik scare.

(Government often funds research like this, through universities and institutions such as DARPA and the National Institutes of Health, because there’s no incentive for the free market to finance it — it’s too expensive, and there’s no guaranteed revenue even if the research is successful.)

Once those Internet denizens make a reservation at Wynn’s resorts, many will get in their cars in Southern California and travel on Interstate 15 to get here.

University of Nevada, Reno, economist Elliott Parker notes that the Interstate Highway System was an idea hatched by the administration of former President Dwight D. Eisenhower and is owned, operated and maintained by the government. (Also worth noting: Eisenhower was on the government dole when he saved civilization from the Nazis.)

The article goes on to how police protection, Social Security (how many seniors can afford to play the slots), airports, gaming regulations, the water infrastructure, and so much more that's provided by government helps keep Steve Wynn in business.

Robinson refers to the godfather of capitalism: “That’s one of Adam Smith’s big points — you need government to enforce contracts and protect property rights.”

Nevada’s sophisticated gambling regulatory regime might feel intrusive to Wynn, but it actually helps him — the strict licensing requirements restrict Wynn’s competition. Not any old Joe can set up a poker table on the sidewalk outside Encore.

Yep, and I bet that's why Steve Wynn bankrolls so many campaigns for so many Nevada politicians. Government must obviously be working for him... Both here and in China!

Friday, October 23, 2009

NV-03: Dina Delivers on Health Care & Public Option

Here's some great late breaking news from Open Left. The votes are being whipped among House Democrats for not just any public option, but a robust public option with a Medicare +5% reimbursement rate. Nancy Pelosi is counting, and fortunately it looks like we're really close to seeing a great health care bill passing the full House.

And better yet, I just called Dina Titus' DC office and confirmed it. She's on board!

So please call Dina's DC office at 202-225-3252 and/or her Henderson office at 702-387-4941 and thank her for standing up for real health care reform that works for Nevada's working families. Hopefully by next week, Pelosi will have enough votes to pass health care reform with a robust public option out of the House. And from there, it will all be on Senator Harry Reid...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

LATE BREAKING: Hate Crimes Bill FINALLY Passes Congress, On Its Way to Obama's Signature

Here's a great announcement from HRC on the hate crimes bill FINALLY passing Congress!

Human Rights Campaign
Dear Andrew,
The hate crimes bill has passed through Congress!
This groundbreaking victory never would have happened without the actions and determination of thousands of people like you. Thank you.
I have some amazing news: after a Senate vote today, the inclusive hate crimes bill has crossed its last hurdle in Congress! President Obama has vowed to sign it by the end of this month.
Today's victory marks a truly pivotal moment in our fight for LGBT equality. It happened because of the dedication of people like you and the families of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., for whom the bill is named.
And with bills seeking to end workplace and military discrimination coming up for debate in Congress, today's victory could be just the first of many if we can keep up our momentum.
But even as we celebrate this amazing news, we're already getting a sense of the fight we'll have to wage to keep our momentum going.
Courageous lawmakers are continuing to hear from right-wing groups falsely claiming their vote will end free speech, criminalize anti-gay thoughts, and open the door to jailing pastors for their sermons.
One recent right-wing article said passing this bill would "shred America's Judeo-Christian value system."
That's what we're up against.
It's clear that we can't afford to sit back and hope for the best.
But we've proved today that if we continue to fight with the passion and persistence that paved the way for today's hate crimes victory – we can fulfill the promise of this moment, despite our anti-equality opposition.
I hope you'll take one moment today to celebrate this turning point and send your message of support for the families whose dedication helped pass this law:
Thank you again for everything you've done to help make this possible.
Joe Solmonese
Joe Solmonese

PCCC's Adam Green, Las Vegas Gleaner, & ProgressNow's Erin Neff Discuss Harry Reid & Health Care on "Face to Face"

In case you missed it, The Sun now has video from last night's "Face to Face With Jon Ralston". I wish I could embed the video here, but the best that was offered was a link.

Basically, Jon Ralston first grilled PCCC's Adam Green over the new ad they put on the air challenging Reid to push as hard as possible for the public option. And after that, Hugh Jackson and Erin Neff argued over what Reid needs to do to ensure a public option is in the Senate health care bill.

All around, it was a great show last night and it hopefully revealed to Nevada that beyond the usual teabagger/birther/deather crap is a real discussion over what people here want Harry Reid to deliver on health care reform.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

NV-Sen: Reid in Trouble If No Public Option in Health Care Bill?

Perhaps so, says Research 2000. Yikes.

While Nevadans support the creation of a public health insurance option by a 54-39 margin, Nevadans also think Harry Reid is a "weak leader" by a 52-24 margin. And while Reid's numbers against the two main Republican candidates have improved a little over the last Research 2000 poll ordered by Daily Kos, Reid is still losing by 5% to both Sue Lowden and Danny Tarkanian.

Still, don't let the numbers against the Republicans fool you. Harry Reid will do just fine and win next year, but only if he gives reason for the Democratic base and progressive-leaning independents to support him.

Nancy Pelosi doesn't seem to have a problem sending a strong public option down to the House floor for an up-or-down vote. This House of Congress hasn't been fighting over whether there will be a public option in the health care bill, but over how it will be modeled and funded.

OK, OK, so the Senate is a different ballgame than the House. I get that. Still, Harry Reid can do plenty to get a good public option in the merged Senate bill. After all, he is part of the negotiating team.

His office did reassure me on Monday that he is just doing that, and there's no reason yet for me to doubt Reid's commitment to a good health care bill with a real public option. I just hope that he'll soon produce the results we're looking for. Not only will it be good for Nevada's working families, but it will also ensure his own reelection next year.

Why Is Obama Appointing a Nuclear Industry Flak to "Regulate" Nuclear Power & Yucca Mountain?

Is President Obama sending mixed messages again? This bit of news isn't assuaging fears that the Yucca Mountain project isn't really dead.

Anti-nuclear groups are fighting the Obama administration’s nomination of a pro-Yucca Mountain nuclear industry insider to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

On Oct. 9, President Barack Obama nominated Bill Magwood to the commission, which is charged with regulating and licensing all civilian use of nuclear materials, including the stalled nuclear waste dump proposed for 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

Critics of the choice say Magwood has a history of nuclear boosterism that is incompatible with the role of a regulator. He also has repeatedly been quoted as saying Yucca Mountain is the best solution to the nation’s nuclear waste storage issues, most recently in May.

President Obama and Senator Reid are promising us that Bill Magwood is a "changed man" who won't allow nuclear waste to be stored at Yucca Mountain, and perhaps they're right. I just don't see why Obama would even take the risk of nominating such a big nuclear booster as Magwood to this position.

And honestly, I don't know why Obama still thinks nuclear power is "clean" or "safe". Listen to a real expert who knows the real dangers of nuclear power:

Obviously, nuclear power isn't as safe as industry spokespeople claim it is. In fact, it can ultimately prove to be quite deadly.

But you know what's even worse? Contrary to claims that nuclear power is "clean" and "green", it really isn't. After all, it takes energy to make energy. How again does one split an atom? In reality, hiding behind the "clean" nuclear power are the same old dirty fossil fuels (such as coal and oil) that really make nuclear work.

So why again is Obama appointing some nuclear industry flak to this position? And why is Harry Reid ready to let this guy in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission? Even if he follows through on his promise not to make Yucca Mountain a vast radioactive dump, the fact remains that nuclear power is dangerous to our health, totally environmentally unsustainable, and not a real energy solution for our future.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Steve Wynn Likes Reid, Despises Obama, & Still Doesn't Make Much Political Sense

File this in the "WTF??!! Files".

Wynn Resorts Ltd. Chairman Steve Wynn said Monday he plans to continue speaking out on what he calls the Obama administration's mishandling of the economy.

And he believes others in the business community should be taking a similar approach.

"I feel very strongly about this, and it needs to be discussed," said Wynn, founder and chief executive officer of the company that operates Wynn Las Vegas, Encore and a casino in Macau. "I plan on speaking up every chance I get. Every businessperson ought to speak up or things are going to get much worse."

But he plans to do more than talk. Wynn said he may establish a political action organization within Wynn Resorts that will empower his Strip casino's 14,000 employees.

OK, why again does Steve Wynn hate Obama so much?

Wynn believes the president has not focused attention on job creation, and he said Monday the administration's policies will "punish" businesses.

"It's a misdirected agenda. It's socialism lite," Wynn said. "All the things being talked about do nothing toward creating jobs. Eventually, this is going to start to dawn on the American people."

In addition to Obama, Wynn was critical of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Oh, but wait! Here's where it gets really weird!

However, Wynn, who is a Republican, said Monday that he supports the re-election of Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

"My friend of 40 years will protect Americans from this kind of foolishness," Wynn said. "I don't believe Harry will let that happen. Remember, Harry is a conservative Democrat from Searchlight."

And wait, here's where he just jumps the shark!

On Monday, Wynn clarified comments he made on the Fox show about government having never created jobs. However, he said public works jobs, such as the building of Hoover Dam in the 1930s, are not enough to bring America out of the recession. Jobs, such as those in the service sector created by the casino industry and private business, are more important than government employment programs.

"If the government hires everybody, that's communism," Wynn said. "We know that destroys initiative."

Wynn said the administration and Congress need to come up with policies that are favorable to business and that fuel capitalism and job growth, not attack it.

"These macroeconomists don't understand what happens in each community," Wynn said. "When people have a job, they feel better about themselves, buy houses, pay taxes and become consumers. People without jobs don't have consumer confidence."

OMG, Obama has a bunch of macroeconomics experts in The White House! And basic Keynesian economics is now COMMUNISM! And Obama and Nancy Pelosi are evil SOCIALISTS... But eh, Harry Reid is OK because he's from Nevada and Mr. Steve-o Casino has his ear.

OK, will you please excuse me while my head falls into my hands in total disbelief?

Thanks, I'm composed again. How the hell can a guy who's so brilliant in developing casinos such a moran on politics... And for that matter, macroeconomics? Last I remember, government intervention in the form of jobs programs, the creation of the social safety net, and ultimately defense spending in gearing up for World War 2 got this nation out of The Great Depression. On the other hand, Mr. Wynn's preferred policies of Bush-style deregulation and "socialism for the rich ONLY" are actually what got our economy into this deep hole in the first place.

I guess that's why top Harrah's and MGM Mirage execs are just laughing as they watch this train wreck.

Two rival casino executives, MGM Mirage Chairman and CEO Jim Murren, and Harrah's Entertainment Senior Vice President Jan Jones, said they don't question Wynn's right to speak out. But they disagree with his opinion of President Barack Obama. Wynn, they said, is not expressing the universal opinion of casino operators.

"(Wynn is) very well-known and he's a provocative speaker," Murren said. "He is a celebrity and he enjoys doing that. He does not speak for the industry nor does he speak for (MGM Mirage)."

Again, I enjoy going to Steve Wynn's casinos. It's just that his politics doesn't make any sense.

Health Care: Keep Calling!

Here's an important message from ProgressNow Nevada. Please don't forget to call and email Reid and Titus on health care. They need to remember who's been there for them before and who will be there for them again... So long as they get health care done right.

ProgressNow Nevada
Dear Friends:
The battle for health insurance reform has reached a critical stage with Nevada Sen. Harry Reid in the middle of negotiations to see what elements will be included in the final Senate bill.
Now is the time to remind Reid, Sen. John Ensign and Rep. Dina Titus who they actually represent back in Washington.
Negotiations are designed to pull different committee bills together for a full Senate vote. Eventually, the legislation will have to go back to the House. So, it's critical that Nevadans tell all of their Congressional representatives that we need reform now.
Take action now.
Call your representatives and tell them you want a strong public option to keep insurance companies accountable. Call today and add your voice to the ones our representatives hear. We Nevadans have to speak louder than the insurance lobbyists.
Call today!
John Ensign (202) 224-6244 in Washington, D.C., or (702) 388-6605 in Las Vegas.
Harry Reid  (202) 224-3542 in Washington, D.C., or (702) 388-5020 in Las Vegas.

Dina Titus (202) 225-3252 in Washington, D.C., or (702) 387-4941 in Henderson.
Take action now. Let your voice be the one Nevada's representatives remember when they vote.

After you call, visit our website for more information about health care reform and how you can make a difference in the debate.


Erin Neff

Maine: It's a Tie??!!

Public Policy Polling has released its Maine numbers today. And if they're to be believed, Question 1 is completely up in the air.

Public opinion on Question 1 in Maine, which would reject the state's law allowing same sex couples to marry, is knotted up two weeks before election day. 48% of voters in the state support it and 48% oppose it.

With most voters' minds made up the election is not really about persuasion at this point but turnout. Even a small difference in the ability of supporters and opponents of the referendum to get their folks out to the polls could tip the scales with the issue this close.

PPP says it can't get any closer. It was an automated (robodial) poll, so I guess it's to be expected that their numbers would be different from the live call polls' results. We can argue over whose method produces more accurate results, but ultimately all the polls point to a close race. No matter what, we have our work cut out for us.

And as PPP said, the race ultimately turns to turnout.

Opinion on the issue predictably breaks heavily along party lines. 74% of Republicans
are planning to vote yes while only 25% of Democrats are. Independents may end up
deciding which way it goes- presently 50% of them support rejecting the law with 44% in

Older voters are strongest in their support of cutting off gay marriage. 54% are in
support with 40% opposed. Senior citizens can often dominate the electorate in low
turnout elections so the ultimate fate of this measure may lie in how many younger
people get out to the polls and vote.

This is expected to be a low turnout election. And unfortuantely, Republicans and older voters have a history of dominating these low turnout special elections. We can't let history repeat itself this time. We need to help No on 1 turn out the votes to defeat the marriage ban!

The campaign still needs volunteers to help round up votes for marriage equality. If you're close enough to Maine and have enough time to take a little "road trip", why not consider driving for equality? And for all the rest of us who are too far away and/or too busy to go to Maine in person, we can still help by signing up to call for equality.

And of course, we can still help the campaign build up its "get out the vote" effort by funding it! The campaign still needs our support as they put TV and radio ads on the air, and as they go door to door all over the state to turn out the vote. Our support can go a long way and be the deciding factor in victory next month.

Election Day is drawing near. The poll numbers can't be any closer. Please do whatever you can to protect marriage equality in Maine and stop the forces of hatred from attacking any more LGBT families.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Health Care: I Called Reid's Office. Here's What Happened.

I just got off the phone with a staffer at Senator Harry Reid's Las Vegas office. I had called the DC toll free line (for Nevadans only), but all the lines there were busy. Of course, I was calling regarding the Senate health care bill.

I called to ask what Reid will do during negotiations this week on merging "The Baucus Caucus" Finance Committee HMO bailout and the HELP Committee bill that Ted Kennedy worked on and made sure to include a good public option in. Honestly I can handle most of the Finance Committee financing, but just as long as the HELP Committee policies (like the public option and the more humane subsidies for working families) are what's financed by it. I wanted to see what the staffers knew (and were willing to tell me), as well as to encourage our Senior Senator to get the job done on the public option.

Thankfully, the Las Vegas staffer was courteous and answered to the best of her knowledge. She said she doesn't yet know what the plan is to move the merged Senate bill to passage, but that Harry Reid will make sure it has a public option in it. This caught me by surprise, and not in a bad way.

The staffer didn't use "the r word", but her statement that Reid hasn't yet decided on how to move the Senate bill to passage suggested to me that reconciliation is still on the table. Or hopefully at least, he will be talking with Baucus, Dodd, and The White House about rounding up votes to allow for cloture on any attempted filibuster.

And ultimately, her words to me were that "Reid is fighting for a public option". That part couldn't have been any clearer. He knows he needs the unions and the progressive base to win reelection next year, so he must be realizing that the way to energize us is to get a good health care bill passed with a public option. Also I'm sure he knows this is what's best for Nevadans, especially all the families here struggling and in need of affordable, quality health care.

I also wrote to Harry Reid last weekend, and the letter is posted below. It looks like we still need to encourage him to keep fighting for the public option, but the good news is that he's where we want him to be.

October 19, 2009

Mr. Andrew Davey
0000 My Street
Henderson, Nevada 89074

Dear Mr. Davey:

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts regarding health insurance reform. I appreciate hearing from you.

In America today, concerns about our health care system have been rightly brought to the forefront of the national consciousness. Many of us are familiar with the reports of 47 million uninsured Americans, escalating prescription drug prices, and declining health insurance benefits. Unfortunately, for too many across Nevada and the country, these facts and statistics are not anonymous findings removed from daily life. As a fellow Nevadan, and as the Senate Majority Leader, I know that millions like you are struggling with the reality of America's health care crisis. 

            Amid our health care crisis, however, I believe there are opportunities for members of Congress, the President and his Administration, the private sector, and other stakeholders to work together for the benefit of the American people. It is my hope that the solutions we develop and enact will ensure quality, affordable health care coverage for all Americans-regardless of their age, income, employment, or health status.  I share your dismay about the state of health care in this country, and as we work toward comprehensive reform, I am also mindful of minimizing disruptions for those fortunate enough to have good coverage.  Therefore, I believe that if you prefer the coverage you have, you should be able to keep it.  I also support the creation of a public option that would keep the insurance companies honest and provide care that puts patients first.  Real reform will also eliminate pre-existing condition exclusions, guarantee coverage to everyone regardless of health status or gender, and strictly limit age rating. 

During the 111th session of Congress, we have already made significant improvements to our healthcare and public health systems.  For example, in February we passed an expansion and extension of the vital Children's Health Insurance Program (P.L. 111-3), known as Nevada Check Up in our state.  This legislation will expand coverage to an additional 4.1 million low-income children across our country. I am also pleased that as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-5), billions of dollars have been allocated for health information technology, the National Institute of Health for research and development, and for prevention and wellness programs.  In addition, the federal matching payments for state Medicaid programs have been increased, and a temporary subsidy for COBRA premiums has been implemented to help ease the burden for hard-working families affected by the economic crisis.  Finally, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (P.L. 111-31) was signed into law by President Obama on June 22, 2009.  This legislation, which I cosponsored, gives the FDA the legal authority necessary to reduce youth smoking, prevent the sale of tobacco to minors, help current smokers quit, reduce the toxicity of tobacco products, and stop the tobacco industry from misleading the public with their understated claims about the dangers of using tobacco products. 
We have taken the first steps in a long, arduous journey towards reform, and there is still much more to be done.  Please know that as we move forward, I will keep your ideas and concerns in mind.  It is my hope that we can make affordable, comprehensive health coverage areality for so many Americans who are currently struggling to pay their medical bills, and make ends meet.  In the meantime, you can track this and other legislation at

Again, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. For more information about my work for Nevada, my role in the United States Senate Leadership, or to subscribe to regular e-mail updates on the issues that interest you, please visit my Web site at I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

My best wishes to you.


United States Senator

Health Care: PCCC Targets Reid, Burris to the Rescue??!!, Reconciliation for What??!!

This looks to be the big news of the day. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) is hitting our Senior Senator with an ad featuring a Nevadan who knows first-hand the woes of our current health care system... And issues a direct challenge to Harry Reid to include a strong public option in the health care bill.

In my humble opinion, this may be the best way for "outsiders" to pressure Reid. He clearly won't pay attention to "angry bloggers" making wild threats to support Lil' Tark Shark or Sue Lowden (HUH??!!) next year, but I think he will pay attention to those of us who live here, work here, and vote here. If you want to help them put these ads up throughout the state, click here. I hope he's listening.

And if PCCC ads at home aren't enough to get Reid's attention, this should.

The Illinois Democrat, appointed by disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, says he'll only vote for a bill to provide health care to millions more Americans as long as it allows the government to sell insurance in competition with private insurers.

And he says he won't compromise.

"I would not support a bill that does not have a public option," [Roland] Burris, 72, said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. "That position will not change."

Those words caught the attention of the very Democratic leaders who tried to keep Burris out of the Senate, suggested he resign and have shunned him in unprecedented fashion. Burris is not the only Democrat to insist on creation of a government-run health plan. But he is the one who has the least to lose by defying President Barack Obama and the Democrats who once turned him out in the cold rain.

Now things REALLY get interesting! Roland Burris was nearly kept out of the Senate by Democratic leaders, and they have succeeded in making sure he doesn't try running for a full term next year. It seems that Burris is now looking for his "sweet revenge", and his revenge might actually work out quite well for us... Especially if he succeeds in ensuring a good public option is in the merged Senate bill.

And it seems with the "merger" process starting tonight for the Senate health care bill, Sen. Burris and the PCCC could not have picked a better time to speak up.

And finally, it seems the dreaded topic of reconciliation is being brought up. Wait, so Senate leaders are willing to go this route? Wait, hold on... It's actually over an education bill that would redirect federal funds from student loan sharks "loan providers" to actual college student aid programs that work. While this in itself is important, it will be interesting to see if this is also a message that Senate leaders are leaving the door open to reconciliation for health care if necessary.

Why the 2010 Census Really Matters

Today's Reno Gazette-Journal says it all.

When David Byerman says no other state in the union has more to gain than Nevada in the 2010 Census, he means it.

Nevada ranked No. 1 in growth from 1990 to 2000 when the Silver State's population mushroomed by 66.27 percent. While growth has slowed this decade, Nevada's growth rate is still the highest in the country after a one-year loss to Arizona, based on census estimates.

All those new bodies -- about 1 million more since the last census in 2000 -- mean more federal dollars in local and state grants, if they are counted.

"No state in the country has more to gain from the census than we do here, given how much this state has grown," said Byerman, chief liaison to Nevada for the U.S. Department of Commerce. He oversaw census preparations for 2000 in Nevada and is again in charge for 2010.

"I look at this as the highest possible stakes," he said. "A lot of money is parceled out by census data."

That money is needed for schools, roads, social services, and much more. And considering how much our state government is struggling to pay the bills, all that new federal money will really come in handy in 2011.

So for the sake of Nevada, ignore Michelle Bachmann's crazy Census rants and just fill it out. Believe me, you'll thank me later. ;-)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Health Care: Dina Titus IS Doing a Town Hall Meeting, After All

So she is doing one...

Democratic Rep. Dina Titus will do this week what most Nevada lawmakers ably avoided during the long hot summer of Tea Party protests: She will host an open town hall forum on health care on Monday.

The freshmen congresswoman had publicly promised her constituents in August that she would return to her Southern Nevada district in fall with a full-fledged forum.

Titus is keeping good on her word with an event from 7-8 p.m. on Monday at Temple Ner Tamid, 55 North Valle Verde Drive in Henderson.

Yes, questions will be taken and answered.

The one we’re wondering is: Has the public mood cooled on health care reform or will fall prove as hot as summer?

Most Nevadans support health care reform and want a strong public option, so I hope Dina remembers this and ignores the tiny-but-loud teabagger minority as the rest of us ask her to get the job done. I also hope progressives remember to show up to ask so that it doesn't look like another teabagger hanging.

Health Care: Perhaps Reid Has a Trick Up His Sleeve?

Much has been said of late about our Senior Senator and his role in the health care fight. But do people really know what he's up to? Are folks just assuming things about Harry Reid that may not actually be true?

Perhaps so, reports TPM.

"Reid and/or his staff has been in practically hourly conversations with a whole set of progressive players re how best to make sure we position ourselves to get a strong public option coming out of conference committee," said one progressive strategist, who asked not to be named. "He hasn't made any final procedural decisions yet RE how to get that done, but he's having really honest conversations [about] all his major options, pros and cons of each, etc. I'm actually pretty impressed, at least right now."

The source adds, "He and his staff are much more engaged with both pro-public option activists and Senators over the last couple of weeks.... But he does seem to have a new sense of religion [with respect to] figuring out how to maximize our chances for the best possible public option coming out of conference."

Approached by TPMDC, a prominent progressive health care leader echoed this conclusion. "Harry Reid sincerely wants to get a public option and he's doing everything he can to figure out how," the second source added.

An optimistic Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) told TPMDC, "We talk to him, he doesn't have to reach very far. He's listening, clearly Reid's listening on all this on the public option."

So maybe Reid is actually sticking to his word? I think he is. He knows he needs the progressive base that turned Nevada blue last year to keep the state blue and help him win reelection. If Reid delivers a good public option, it will shut the naysayers' mouths and make him a Democratic hero again.

Reid keeps saying he wants a public option, so perhaps he really is fighting for it. We really need to keep encouraging him to go for it and deliver what Nevada families really want out of health care reform.

Maine: More Lies from the Bigots

Already, the liars are back with an even more outrageous lie.

They just won't stop. Even though Maine's Attorney General has declared this a lie, they keep at it. They know what they say are lies, so they're just following the old KKKarl Rove tactic of saying it enough until people believe it.

Unfortunately it worked in California, so the Yes on H8/Yes on 1 radical right Californicators are trying to do it again in Maine. We can't let them succeed. No on 1 has already done some great ads to fight back...

But they obviously have more work to do to fight the lies and get the truth out. We still have time to help them, so let's make sure they have enough resources to keep fighting. The forces of inequality know this is their last chance to stop progress, so they're throwing everything including the kitchen sink at us. We all know the story of California, so let's make sure it isn't repeated in Maine.

We know how this homophobic H8 campaign hurt millions of California families, so Maine's LGBT families need to be defended. Please help make calls this weekend and please donate whatever you can to make protect equality and fundamental civil rights for Maine's LGBT families.