Friday, May 28, 2010

Casinos: Encore Beach Club Is OPEN!

It's here! It's here! It's finally here, bitchez!

Encore Beach Club is HERE! And Surrender. And the newly remixed Switch.

Here are the deets, via The Sun.

The Las Vegas Strip today has another nightclub and adult pool to add to its growing list. Encore Las Vegas will open its Encore Beach Club and Surrender nightclub, just in time for the Memorial Day weekend crowds.

The $68 million pool-nightclub complex is replacing Encore’s porte-cochere, so those walking the Strip will be able to peek in on the action.

Opening festivities will begin when Surrender’s resident DJ Steve Aoki takes over the turntables and will continue through the weekend with musical guests Ne-Yo, Kaskade and LMFAO. The 5,000-square-foot Surrender nightclub will open to the outdoors as weather permits.

The 60,000-square-foot Encore Beach Club will be a 21-and-over pool complex. The pool will feature 26 cabanas, eight two-story, 350-square-foot bungalows, a restaurant and poolside blackjack and craps.

Sean Christie, who operates Blush Nightclub and Society Cafe, will operate both the pool and the nightclub. Wynn Design and Development Executive Vice President Roger Thomas is responsible for the design of both the Encore Beach Club and Surrender.

Hopefully soon, I'll have a chance to see it all for myself and give a better, more accurate assessment of it all. But so far judging from the pics and vids I've seen, I'm liking it. Everything looks so sexy and sumptuous and sensual and oh so luxurious.

I know the design, along with the whole entire pool day club concept, have generated some controversy. But for me, it's all a perfect fit.

Why? Well, why not? Las Vegas is the 24/7 fun party town... Or at least The Strip is. And we're already known for our more notorious pool day clubs Rehab @ Hard Rock. Why not let Wynn & Thomas glam it up with their own fabulous day-into-night luxury party spot? I'm all for it.

Score another WIN for Steve Wynn and Roger Thomas! :-)

NV-Sen: Friday Snippets & Quick Hits... UPDATED!

OK, I'm on my way out and I can't spend too much time blogging this morning. Still, let me go through some of the top Senate race stories I'm following today and into the weekend.

- No matter how the paper that shall not be named tries to spin it, Harry Reid is looking stronger these days while all the GOoPers are faltering. Obtuse Angle slips into a 3% deficit against Reid in the paper's "poll", while Suzy Lowdown holds a 3% lead within the margin of error and Lil' Tark Shark holds a tiny 1% lead even further within the margin of error. And remember, paper/Mason-Dixon polls typically skew 5-10% more Republican than the more accurate polls. (Remember when they said Obama & McCain were tied in late October just before Obama won Nevada by 12.5% in November 2008?)

- That same "paper that shall not be named" "poll" also shows Suzy Lowdown with a 1% lead deep within the margin of error against Obtuse Angle in the GOoP primary, with Lil' Tark Shark only 7% behind Lowdown. So yet again, we see that Suzy Lowdown may not even win the primary!

- Today's Sun exposes some more of Suzy Lowdown's abysmal business record. For someone who talks plenty about "creating jobs", Ms. Suzy seems to have a hard time actually doing that at Archon. However, here's one thing we should give her credit for excelling at: making sure she and the hubby get their bonus checks (regardless of whether they have to fire more workers)!

- Today's Sun also has a doozy on Baby Tark's hot mess of a land foreclosure here in Henderson. He says he was caught in a bad deal, but he also admits he didn't do any research, didn't do any meetings, didn't handle any paperwork, and basically failed to do his own due diligence! Is this the kind of sloppy "business" we want in the Senate?

- And finally, Suzy Lowdown is noticing her falling poll numbers and trying to change them by hitting Obtuse Angle even harder. I guess she has to keep distracting voters from her own failure to answer the simplest questions on issues like civil rights and climate change.


- While Tea Party Express went with Angle, it seems Action is Brewing is endorsing Cha-cha-Chachas for Senate (while also endorsing "Luv-Guv" Gibbons for Gube). It seems all is not well in Teabagger-land, as they all can't agree on a single slate of candidates to endorse.

- And Suzy Lowdown is hitting Obtuse Angle yet again with a new ad on "Scientology-Massage-gate". Yep, this GOoP Primary is about to get a whole LOT uglier before early voting ends.

Again, I'll have more on all of this over the weekend. But again, I just have to say that... Well, I told you so! The DC pundits may be surprised about Harry Reid's comeback, but I'm not. And you shouldn't be, either. The more Nevadans learn about the GOoP's riches of embarrassments, the more confident I feel about November. :-)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Finally, a "Best of Las Vegas" Poll Worthy to Be Considered "Best"?

Have our prayers been answered? Really, great goddess of the sky? Some Las Vegas publication has actually published a decent "Best Of" list??!!

Yes, my dears, Las Vegas Weekly knows good food... For the most part. What a relief!

Still, there were a few things I disagreed with. Why bother with The Palm for lunch when there are so many more interesting choices? Why give Paymon's ANY "best" award??!! (Best lousy grub pretending to be "Mediterranean"?) Why declare Capriotti's sandwich "best"? (They're good, but nowhere near Earl of Sandwich IMHO.) And why give Dick's ANY "best" award? (Best lame Light Group attempt at a restaurant?)

But yes, their list has far more hits than misses. Bravo to Sage's Shawn McClain for winning "Best New Chef" and "Best Wine by the Glass"! Bravo to Julian Serrano for "Best Tapas" and "Best New Restaurant"! Bravo to Guy Savoy for "Best Wine List"! Brava to Sunrise Coffee for "Best Coffee Shop"! And brava to all the other worthy "Best Of" winners this year!

Oh, and brava to Las Vegas Weekly for actually caring about eating well here in Las Vegas! Tasting Las Vegas is right. Some of the picks seem odd, but all in all they sound like they know what they're doing (as opposed to that other paper that shall not be named).

It probably helps to have great food writers, and good management that lets the great food writers actually do their job. :-)

SD 7: My Take on the McClain v. Manendo Mudfight

OK, this whole thing is getting to be too much for me. I'm really sick of hearing about the whole ordeal.

Long story short, there's been plenty of chatter over the sharp negative turn in the campaigning in Senate District 7. Steve Friess has done a great job in chronicling this ugly, hot mess. Now he has chosen sides in the dispute, but I don't fault him as I'm not one to "play it down the middle" here. And in fact, I'll give you my take on all this shortly.

But first, here's Friess' quick summary of what happened.

[...] Kathy McClain, [Mark] Manendo's opponent in this very bitter race, had written in her mailer that he was 42, never married and has lived with his mom for long periods of time. When asked what that was supposed to mean, the candidate told me she was a more stable person because of her marriage and her children. But now it seems that (a) Manendo lived with his mom to care for his dying father, (b) Manendo, who's actually 43, has been in a long-term relationship for several years and (c) McClain was a single mother when she was 43 and is so proud of that choice/situation that that's part of the heroism of her life story on her site.

And now, word has leaked that McClain's campaign manager has engaged in this kind of campaigning before.

Four years ago, [Las Vegas political consultant Gary] Gray ran the campaign of now-Treasurer Kate Marshall in a primary battle against fellow Democrat Geoffrey VanderPal [...] VanderPal is gay. Gray knew that. In the waning days of that campaign, Marshall sent out a mailer eerily similar to the one Gray sent for Kathy McClain last week in which, among other things, he compared the two candidates by noting that Marshall was in a stable, married relationship with children and VanderPal was single.

Nobody can dig up the precise wording, but again it struck many gays who read it as the same sort of code: Kate's a married hetero mom, VanderPal is not.

The best part: Gay activists called Gary Gray at the time and complained. They told him the code they read into that comparison and . . . he laughed at them! He was just pointing out that Marshall has a more stable life than VanderPal, that's all, he told those who spoke to him.

And worse yet, they weren't really telling the truth.

I spoke to VanderPal today. He now lives in Texas. He confirmed all this and added another wrinkle.

VanderPal was NOT single during the 2006 campaign. He was in a long-term relationship with his partner of at least three years. So Gray, in fact, punished VanderPal for not being married when, in fact, he couldn't be married because it was and still is not legal here. At the very least, he devalued VanderPal's same-sex relationship in a way quite unbecoming of a pro-gay-marriage Democrat.

So what does this all mean? Well, I'm not Steve Friess. I don't live in District 7 (in case you missed my recent talk with my State Senator on green collar jobs), and I'm not as personally invested in this primary as others who've been talking about it. So please forgive me if I sound like I'm more detached from the situation as the other bloggers.

Kathy McClain is at fault for running with this smear in the first place. Even if she wasn't aware her campaign was going this route, she could have put a stop to it as soon as she realized what was going on. And even if it wasn't initially meant as "gay-baiting", it shouldn't have taken this long for her to examine Gary Gray's 2006 record and tell him not to repeat it in 2010.

So case closed? No, not quite.

Let's not be naive here. Mark Manendo isn't innocent, either... Or at least, he wasn't in his past record of sexual harassment.

The 2003 complaints that Manendo sexually harassed two interns set off the most public incident involving him.

The interns worked in the office of then-Assemblywoman Dawn Gibbons. According to news reports at the time, Gibbons, now the state’s first lady, said Manendo repeatedly asked her what it would take for the interns to date him.

Gibbons told reporters that while in the presence of other lawmakers Manendo had said one of the interns “has the kind of body you want to go to bed with.”

“He seems kind of sleazy,” Gibbons said at the time. “I have had it with him going around saying things about my interns. They aren’t interested in him. They want him to leave them alone.” [...]

That same year, a female staffer with the Nevada Association of Counties accused Manendo of making inappropriate remarks to her at a Carson City restaurant, where she had gone with friends.

“She felt that Mark Manendo had made inappropriate comments to her, in a public place,” said Bob Hadfield, then-executive director of the association. “It had upset her, significantly.”

Hadfield characterized Manendo’s remarks as “bizarre and inappropriate” and a “verbal attack.”

After the second incident, Democratic leadership ordered legislative staff to investigate.

No report was released, but after the session ended Manendo was stripped of his government affairs chairmanship and has since been frozen out of leadership.

Hopefully he's matured since 2003, but I'm finding a hard time completely dismissing what then-Assembly Member Dawn Gibbons' office documented AND what the Nevada Association of Counties revealed. Manendo still denies any wrongdoing, but it looks to me like his past actions opened the door for McClain's attacks. And let's not forget both of their colleagues in the Legislature seem to trust McClain more as a leader. McClain was given the green light to ascend the leadership ranks in Carson City while Manendo was held back, and 20 of 28 Assembly Democrats have endorsed McClain over Manendo.

Still, it's not like Kathy McClain is without her own scandals. Just last month, McClain had to settle a case with the Secretary of State over her misusing campaign funds on personal expenses. Now I understand that legislators are paid diddly squat and any legislator NOT coming from a mountain of personal wealth has to incur major costs to become a "citizen legislator", but that's still not a good enough excuse for McClain to use here. She should have known better, and she should have considered other, more legal options to cover her expenses.

Oh yes, and Mark Manendo has used this to attack McClain.

So both candidates have had nasty scandals, and both candidates have twisted and turned the scandals to attack each other. And honestly, it's sad that both candidates are using these attacks to avoid discussing anything serious, like the budget, economic diversification, education, and transgender equality (the DMV recently reversed its policy on drivers' licenses, but our hate crimes and anti-discrimination laws are still not trans-inclusive).

So please pardon me while I yawn and turn my attention away from this primary mudslinging again. Until either candidate starts talking about fully inclusive civil rights legislation or budget issues or green collar jobs, I'm tuning this crap out.

Casinos: More Techie Goodness

Yesterday, we took a look at some new, exciting slot technology coming into the casinos. Well, it looks like the casino floor won't be the only part affected by new technology. Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas gave a sneak preview of what's to come at this week's Gaming Technology Summit.

Cosmopolitan’s chief information officer, Marshall Andrew, said during a technology executive panel at Tuesday’s Gaming Technology Summit at Green Valley Ranch that the resort is using technology create a “wow factor.”

Andrew said people will have to wait for a public relations blitz for specifics, but he said the technology will focus in three areas: server-based gaming, mobile apps and in-room technology.

The property’s website, which will be launched in June, will detail the technology better, Andrew said.

Like its neighbors Aria and Mandarin Oriental at CityCenter, Cosmopolitan’s in-room technology will feature a central remote controlling all of the room’s devices, Andrew reluctantly shared.

“They are going to have more features and functions,” Andrew said of the Cosmopolitan rooms. “Aria kind of laid the groundwork. A lot of us went over there and stayed in the rooms to check it all out. We saw things that we liked, but we saw things that we could improve upon, and that’s what we’re working on right now.”

So a Cosmo guest will be able to turn on the TV, open the drapes, turn off the iPod stereo, and handle every other electronic device/equipment with just one remote control. WOW!

And there's even more hi-tech goodness awaiting us outside the casinos!

Harrah’s put its first app for a property on the market in February 2010. Ceasars Palace allows users to check property maps, make restaurant reservations, check out current events at the property and even dig into the Caesars Palace history with photo galleries.

The app has 588 ratings in Apple’s App Store, with an average rating of 2 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Lane said the company developed the app to help its customers make decisions on things like shows and restaurants while on the property.

“Most decisions with our guests happen on the casino floor. That’s where you have to reach them,” Lane said.

Along with the Caesars app, the Harrah’s technology team also created a mobile site where customers can check their players club point balances in real time, a mobile slot game called iSpin and an initiative Harrah’s is calling “textpress” that lets guests bypass the check-in process at Caesars Palace.

MGM Mirage recently rolled out some mobile apps of its own. During April and May, the company released property-specific apps for MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, New York-New York and the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Miss.

More are under way for MGM Mirage Las Vegas properties, company executives said. The apps do similar things as the Caesars Palace apps — guests can make restaurant reservations, navigate their way with property maps and watch previews of resident shows on property. It also lets customers access the property’s Twitter feed so they can see what others are saying about the resort.

All three Las Vegas property apps have a rating of three out of five stars in Apple’s App Store.

And now, MGM Mirage is upping the ante with its own "Vegas Reality" iPhone app:

OK, so not everyone is excited about MGM Mirage's new app. Hunter at RateVegas explained the limitations of augmented reality (AG), and why most tourists probably won't be interested in holding their iPhones in front of them. Oh, and the app only provides details on MGM Mirage casinos... Understandable, but a little frustrating if one was expecting to use this somewhere like The North Strip, where there's only one MGM Mirage casino (Circus Circus).

And with all these technological advances, we'll have to wait and see how tourists react. So far, Aria's "fully integrated room technology" isn't getting overwhelming rave reviews due to the constant glitches. If Cosmo and other hotels are hoping to go in this direction, it will be crucial for them to ensure that everything actually works.

Otherwise, the future looks bright for more geeky techie goodness coming to entertain us, comfort us, and inform us here in Las Vegas. :-)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Crazy Fun Video Night Goes to... RENO!!!

'Cuz hey, Vegas can't have all the fun all the time here. It's time to give some lovin' to Northern Nevada tonight for Crazy Fun Video Night. ;-)

NV-Sen: Club for Growth Going to Bat for Angle (& Hitting Back at Lowdown)

Uh, oh. Suzy Lowdown's in BIG trouble! She tried to take down Sharron "Obtuse Angle" (Thanks, Scorpiogal!), but it looks like her attempted smackdown is backfiring on her. Obtuse Angle's corporate funded astroturf buddies at Club for Growth are hitting back!

Oh yes, Ms. Obtuse Angle is being embraced by the same folks that even top Republicans had called too extremist!

Oh yes, and remember what just happened next door? They were a part of that, too!

And now, it looks like Suzy Lowdown has unleashed their wrath upon her. She thought she could use all her big, bad Archon bucks to slam Obtuse Angle...

But now, she's getting a taste of her own medicine... And getting it from expert "political hit men" who've made a record of promoting only the wingnuttiest of wingnutty Rethuglicans. But wait, why would they attack Ms. Suzy? After all, she's worked hard to veer as far to the radical right as humanly possible. Well, Batsh*t Crazy Sharron Angle still has her beat on that. Take it away, Desert Beacon!

The Las Vegas Sun reports, "Angle wants to privatize Social Security and Medicare. She doesn’t believe Wall Street is in need of reform and would vote to abolish the U.S. Education Department." While these sentiments may endear her to the hard right of the GOP, they aren't especially resonant with those currently receiving Social Security benefits, nor are they likely to find a favorable ear with those enjoying the affordable premium and health care costs of the Medicare program. That would be approximately 11.2% of Nevada's population.

For the sake of analysis, all the propositions set forth in Angle's position statements (privatize Social Security, Medicare; deregulate Wall Street; and, abolish the Dept. of Education) appear to stem from her inclination to favor Wall Street over Main Street.

The privatization of Social Security has been a mainstay of the investment interests since retirement accounts of various forms have become the next large target for Wall Street. The amount of money available for Wall Street investment houses has surged at various points in time and the Streeters are looking for the next pot of gold. They once looked to the creation of money market accounts as a profitable revenue stream, and those were - and still are - profitable, but they don't represent a source of "new money."

Innovations in retirement accounts was once a source of "new money" as more individuals put funds into IRAs and 401(k)s. This, too, still represents a profitable source of funding for the investment institutions, but again, it's not "new money." In order to maintain high levels of profitability, and those fat bonus checks, it's periodically necessary for Wall Street to find new income streams.

So, what's left? Everyone's retirement account. Forcing all Americans at some point in time to invest in Wall Street financial institutions would represent the next great Golden Egg for the investment firms. Issues regarding the solvency of Social Security are fodder for another post at another time, but suffice it to say that (1) the system is NOT bankrupt, nor is it getting that way; [SocSec Report May 2009 pdf] and, (2) the Social Security system was never meant to be a total retirement plan, it was (and is) a safety net program guaranteeing minimal income to as many people as possible. There is absolutely nothing preventing anyone in the country from investing as much as any individual may see fit in an individual retirement account; the essential question is: Do we want to put the fabric of a safety net program in the hands of Wall Street traders?

Wall Street lost the battle to gain more control over student loans when the parasitical relationship between private lenders who received the benefit of privatized profits and socialized losses was reformed to reduce the role of private lending by cutting off the taxpayers' subsidization to private banks. The Department of Education, which oversees the Direct Student Loan Program estimates the savings (the part Wall St. isn't getting) as $45.6 billion through FY 2020. [EdBudgetSum] Dispensing with the Department of Education would put all student loans back into the hands of Wall Street bankers, and eliminate grants for low income students -- who presumably would have to take out more student loans as well. Remember, please, the precept that one man's liability is another's asset, and recall that student loans are similar to mortgages in that they can be securitized, tranched, "waterfalled," and sold off to hedge funds and institutional investors. If ALL student financing could be privatized and made available to the Wall Street investment trading desks, then the traders would be happy indeed.

And this is why Club for Growth is going all out for Angle. Like the Club, she believes in letting the corporate fat cats do whatever they please while we suffer (and ultimately pay the tab for their misdeeds with government bailouts!). Again, even Republicans like Mike Huckabee and Bob Bennett have denounced the "Club for Greed" as extreme. I just wonder if Suzy Lowdown could ever do the same. She tried to sew up the nomination by making the teabaggers (and their corporate backers) her new BFFs. I doubt she'd ever muster the intestinal fortitude to call them out for what they're now doing to her.

And slowly but surely, the Nevada GOoPers and their big, flashy corporate right friends (like Club for Growth) are being exposed for what they really stand for...

Casinos: New Technology to Change Slot Playing?

So this week is the Gaming Technology Summit here in Henderson. All the big casino players are here to discuss new technology and how to bring it into the casinos.

For some time now, casino execs have been eyeing server-based gaming and its many possibilities. But now, it looks like the possibility is becoming reality.

Server-based gaming allows casinos to have slots connected through a network. It lets operators change themes, promotions, the amount that can be wagered and the hold at a touch of a few keystrokes.

CityCenter’s Aria paved the way for deploying server-based gaming in newly built casinos. Almost half of the Aria casino floor is server-based, totaling about 900 games from manufacturers International Game Technology and WMS Gaming. The floor will have 100 percent server-based gaming by the summer as more manufacturers receive regulatory approval on their games.

So why is this so big? Why is everyone so excited? Here are the facts.

Executives say one of the perks of server-based gaming is it attracts younger customers who are looking for more stimulation on the casino floor. Some server-based games allow users to play up to four games at a time, which is becoming increasingly popular among customers already familiar with using several mobile devices at the same time.

“If I can win three games simultaneously, that is better than winning one,” Saenz said.

Executives said regulators, operators and most importantly, customers, need to be comfortable with the technology. When introducing new technology, it is important not to greatly change games customers already are loyal to, said Bally Technologies Vice President of Strategic Development Walt Eisele.

“The revenue still comes from the machine so you don’t want to mess with that too much,” he said.

The next step will be training third-party developers to make applications for server-based games, executives said. The technology would be similar to how third-party applications work on the iPhone. Saenz said IGT will have a booth at this year’s Global Gaming Expo devoted to helping developers create such applications.

Now yes, there are many long-time players who are uncomfortable with the new technology. Hell, there are still some players who hate ticket-based slot machines! However, they're only a small portion of the market.

What casino execs and slot manufacturers see is the still untapped market of younger players who aren't interested in just seeing lines spin. Players my age are now used to advanced, multi-dimensional, interactive video games that can be played on every console from XBox 360 to iPod Touch. These new server-based slots open up the possibility for far more new, sophisticated games like the new Sex And The City video slot machines.

Oh, and by the way, games like the Sex And The City slots are ways to attract older players to the new server-based machines in addition to younger players.

But do they pay well? Can pay schedules be tampered with? Can the odds be changed? Obviously, there are legitimate concerns about these new machines. That's why regulators like the Nevada Gaming Control Board has taken its time to examine this new technology to properly regulate it.

Still, this new technology holds some real promise in bringing new games to the casinos... And more players into the casinos as well!

DADT: Is This Repeal? Is This Fake? What's Happening?

So the odious "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy banning LGBTQ soldiers from serving openly in the military may finally be repealed... Or will it? The language is quite squishy, and at best it will allow Congress to give The White House and The Defense Department the authority to stop the discharges after studies are done. So maybe we'll see DADT repealed, but not until 2011 at the earliest and that isn't even a guarantee so long as Defense Secretary Bob Gates keeps slow-walking this.

So what do we have? Progress? Maybe. Mission Accomplished? Certainly not. Equality? Not yet.

So what's to be done? I don't know.

I guess something is better than nothing... But really, aren't we tired of saying this? Didn't President Obama promise DADT would be repealed this year? I don't remember him saying that maybe Congress would pass a measure allowing for The White House to consider repealing DADT perhaps some time next year.

What about the good soldiers being discharged for no good reason?

You know what? Lt. Choi and the folks at GetEQUAL are right. This is a positive step, but it isn't enough. President Obama needs to commit NOW to stopping the discharges as the studies are underway and Congress passes this legislation. The President can do this, so he needs to do this to show he really cares about our national security and our equality.

78% of Americans now want DADT repealed. More and more military servicemembers want DADT repealed. And now, the Senate is finally moving on the legislation to start repealing DADT.

Now the ball is in Obama's court. And since Congress looks to be putting it there, The President must act to stop the discharges NOW and get the ball rolling on formal repeal ASAP.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

More Vegas at Night

Admit it, bitchez. You want MORE, dammit! ;-)

NV-Sen: Suzy Got Stood Up? Sharron Getting All the Corporate Funded Teabagger Love?

So Mr. Reno Mayor no longer wants to be seen with Suzy Lowdown? And Ms. Suzy doesn't know why? Well, here's a reminder:

No wonder why Bob Cashell is running away as fast as he can. Suzy Lowdown's campaign has become radioactive, and the GOoP establishment is more worried than ever before about Sharron Angle.

But that isn't stopping Sharron and her corporate funded buddies at "Tea Party, Inc." from running to her aid.

Wait, so who are these teabagger groups backing Angle? Citizens United? Tea Party Express? Are they really as "grassroots-y" as Sharron Angle claims?

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

So we all know about Suzy Lowdown's campaign finance troubles and her record of putting her own financial interests over the best interest of the people, but Sharron Angle really likes to go around and tell people she's "the grassroots candidate". Really? When she's happily getting all this support from all these teabagger astroturf groups funded by the biggest corporate interests in the country?

So who is Sharron Angle really fighting for? Is this GOoP primary just one big kabuki theater?

Sorry, Jon Ralston. I Voted Yesterday!

(Btw, I will always [HEART] Jon Ralston for his superb political reporting and his curmudgeonly yet insightful commentary. I just don't get why he's so adamantly opposed to early voting. That's all.)

On Sunday, Jon Ralston told me NOT to vote early. And lil' rebel princess that I am, I voted early yesterday anyway.

But why? Especially after Ralston begged me not to.

Don’t vote.

At least not yet. [...]

I know this rant falls on deaf ears — if history is a guide, half of the primary voting universe will have dispensed with the sacred duty with the solemnity of a trip to the convenience store. I am used to being ignored (do not forget — I have a teenage daughter).

But imagine:

You voted for U.S. Senate hopeful Sharron Angle this weekend and then watch in horror the disclosure June 1 that she had a bit part in “Battlefield Earth,” left on the cutting room floor because she advocated mandatory chemical castration of rapists.

You voted for gubernatorial candidate Brian Sandoval this weekend and then recoil with revulsion at the revelation June 4 that a tape exists of him saying, “I had to lie during the campaign but, of course, I will raise taxes.”

Or, perhaps, you voted this weekend for congressional aspirant Michelle Fiore and then blanch with embarrassment at the unveiling June 7 of a defunct website in which she was selling guns on the black market to illegal immigrants.

These are obviously fantastic scenarios (I think), but I exaggerate to make a point. In case you missed it in my subtlety, that point is: Don’t vote. At least not yet.

Well, I had a Democratic ballot (Oh, the shock! LOL.), so I couldn't have participated in Ralston's doomsday scenarios anyway. But even if there were more competitive races on the ballot, I probably still would have voted yesterday. It's fun sometimes to savor the scandaliciousness of campaign season. But ultimately, it's policy that determines my election decisions. So yes, I still would have voted early.

But why? Especially when Ralston begs us every two years not to.

And why should voting be a convenience, thus reducing its importance to picking up a pack of Trident at the 7-Eleven? I wonder if any of the folks blithely voting this weekend and for the next two weeks have any appreciation for the interminable lines or threats to life and limb those in other countries are willing to endure for the right to vote for their leaders?

It’s not just the potential to miss something that could make you regret your vote — it’s your duty to wait until June 8. So: Don’t vote. At least not yet.

Oh dear, here comes the guilt tripping. Now yes, I use it myself when I hear of someone I know deciding not to vote at all... But why denigrate those who choose to vote early? We're still doing our civic duty. And in fact, we're making sure we fulfill our civic duty in case we have to work all day on election day, or the babysitter can't be booked that day, or we're on a business trip, or we're on a vacation that couldn't be rescheduled, or we had to fly back to California for a family emergency... Get it now, Ralston? Most people have lives, very busy lives in fact, and early voting gives us a chance to participate in elections in case life intervenes and we can't (gasp!) vote on election day.

But why? Especially when Ralston said early voters didn't really know who they were voting for/against!

This cycle, I fear, will be worse than most. I would not be surprised if early voting is at a record percentage of total turnout. Why?

Never before in recent history have people had their minds made up, often bereft of facts and unencumbered by thought. Blind anger — emphasis on the first word — governs so much of the political colloquy today that you would have more luck convincing many Republicans that the world is flat than persuading them to vote for Harry Reid. You would have a better chance of inducing Democrats to hop on the birther bandwagon than to consider the possibility that Shelley Berkley isn’t the greatest congresswoman since Bella Abzug.

So if you know what you like — or more likely, loathe — why take the time to carefully deliberate, look at all the facts and make a rational decision?

Better to vote early. Don’t worry, be angry.

Meanwhile, the willfully benighted will trundle down to malls and elsewhere only to be confronted by ballots with names they have never heard of. What, there are judicial races? Who are these people?

Those with patience, though, will have the benefit of televised debates during the run-up to June 8 so they can make — oh, the horror! — an informed, intelligent decision. It will once again be striking — and depressing — how many folks will skip over the judicial races on their ballots after they vote for their favored candidate near the top of the ticket — or more likely, press the button for the candidate they hate the least.

So yes, my mind was already made up. But no, I was NOT "bereft of facts and unencumbered by thought". In fact, I've done a number of candidates' debates so far. I read Progress Now's handy-dandy Progressive Voter Guide. I've even had the privilege of meeting most of the candidates I voted for "face to face" (pun intended)!

Believe it or not, it's not difficult to be informed early. Perhaps Ralston didn't realize this, but voters no longer have to rely upon newspapers and TV make decisions. We have this thing called the internet, and it allows us to check out campaign web sites, read voter guides like Progress Now's, see policy speeches via YouTube... And yes, we can even stay up-to-date on things like political scandals and late-breaking campaign news by reading these things called BLOGS.

Oh yes, I'm writing on one of these blogs right now!

Let's face it, times have changed. And as long as the feds refuse to make Election Day a national holiday and perhaps extend "Election Day" to a three-day weekend so we can all make time to vote in person "when we're supposed to", early voting is a much needed tool to give more of us the chance to participate in democracy. And come on, isn't more people participating in democracy a good thing?

Well, at least Jon Ralston isn't in California. I fear he'd be in a total state of horror over a little thing they call Vote-by-Mail.

And by the Way, the DMV Is Finally Obeying the Law...

Sorry I couldn't get to this story earlier. I know, I know, I feel so EPIC FAIL today. Remember when we had to contact the Nevada DMV and ask them to stop their illegal discrimination against transgender persons? Well, it worked!

According to [DMV Field Services Chief Nancy] Wojcik, her agency will now provide transgendered folks with a form, to be filled out and signed by a physician, that states people asking for license changes have been living their lives with their new gender.

No longer, said Wojcik, will any Nevada transsexual have to complete genitalia surgery in order to obtain a new, official gender.

Maggie McLetchie, an attorney with the ACLU of Nevada, is thrilled at the prospect that, this time, DMV seems to have embraced real change.

"The ACLU of Nevada is very pleased to announce that we learned [on May 18] that the DMV is making the changes we requested. We understand that while the changes will not go into place immediately because they need to finalize the materials, the DMV is committed to instituting a humane policy that allows people whose gender has changed to get drivers' licenses that reflect their identity and enable them to avoid harassment and discrimination," she said.

Finally, FINALLY, the DMV is moving to comply with state law and treat transgender Nevadans with the dignity and respect they deserve. And hopefully we'll see the new policy implemented sooner rather than later, so that no one else has to endure the same kinds of horror stories described in last week's CityLife.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Crazy Fun Video Night: In Suzy Lowdown's Honor...

I was thinking about her when I saw this...

And this...

And this...


NV-Sen: Bye Bye Suzy... And Hello Sharron?

Ah, the Suzy v. Sharron war continues in the Nevada GOoP. DC Beltway gossip rag Politico has some dirt on the new round of GOoPer infighting over the Senate Primary.

[... P]olitical strategists on both sides say Angle would have to step up her field organization and advertising apparatus to have any shot of beating the most powerful Democrat in the Senate.

Angle “has no clue about what is going to happen to her,” said a Nevada GOP insider. “She is in no way prepared for this, for a race at the federal level. She’s really out of her depth here.”

And when asked by the Politico reporter about "Angle-mania" among Nevada GOoPers, Suzy Lowdown just lost it.

Lowden stopped just short of saying that Angle would lose if she were the nominee, but said: “You think Harry Reid is afraid of her? Is he running commercials against her?”

In an interview Friday, Lowden denied suggestions she was in a free-fall, saying that the race has tightened in the final weeks because of the Tea Party Express’s endorsement of Angle — and because of the six-figure attack ad blitz from Reid’s allies.

Although Tarkanian insists that he can emerge from the three-way primary as Lowden begins to focus on Angle, Lowden said the race has become a two-way campaign between her and Angle.

During the interview, Lowden refused to say if she stood by her bartering-for-health-care comments, saying she was focusing instead on Nevada’s high unemployment and foreclosure rates. When a reporter asked Lowden about the comments, she accused him of “allowing” Reid to change the subject.

“If you want to change the subject and talk about the subject that no one else is talking about, that’s up to you,” Lowden said.

At the end of the interview, Lowden declined to discuss whether she shared Paul’s views on the Civil Rights Act.

“You can’t resist this, can you? I have no idea what another candidate says,” Lowden said.

Asked whether she had any concerns about the law’s reach into private business, Lowden said, “I’m going, thank you,” then abruptly hung up the phone.

Obviously, Ms. Suzy is upset. She thought she was "the anointed one" entitled to win this year. And all of a sudden, voters abandon her as she repeatedly sticks both feet in her mouth? And her long record of violating the law when it's too "inconvenient" for her is exposed? And Batsh*t Crazy Sharron Angle erases her lead in the polls?

Poor, poor, lil' rich Suzy Lowdown! Whatever will she do?

Meanwhile, we continue to learn more about just how batsh*t crazy Sharron Angle really is!

Democrats are eager to lump Angle together with other tea party candidates across the country — particularly amid the controversy Rand Paul has created with his comments about the Civil Rights Act.

And they believe an Angle win in the June 8 Nevada GOP primary would give them an appealing national narrative: that the Republicans’ November ticket across the country is filled with “extreme” candidates well outside the mainstream of American politics.

On her website — full of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors — Angle declares: “Like a soldier going to war, I am fighting for my country, the Constitution and a free society.”

She wants to privatize Social Security; cut federal spending by hundreds of billions of dollars; build nuclear power plants inside Yucca Mountain; abolish the federal income tax and institute a “simpler, fairer, flatter tax system”; “defund Obamacare”; pull the United States out of the United Nations; ban nearly all abortions; get rid of the Energy and Education departments as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; and remove all campaign finance restrictions, requiring instead immediate reporting of donations.

And in a state with a large and growing Hispanic population, Angle takes a hard-line view on immigration, siding with the tough new Arizona law that gives law enforcement officials broad discretion to crack down on suspected illegal aliens.

No wonder why GOoPer insiders are freaking out!

Sharron Angle's surge in the U.S. Senate primary contest has created a rift within the Republican Party, with key establishment players unhappy that the Tea Party-backed conservative might upset their handpicked favorite, Sue Lowden, GOP insiders say.

Some Republicans even have threatened privately to support Democratic incumbent Harry Reid in the fall if Angle on June 8 wins the nomination, so great is the consternation in traditional GOP circles, where Lowden, the former party chairwoman, enjoys considerable support. [...]

A state GOP insider, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss candid talk among party figures, said the Angle surge has taken many Republicans by surprise, and they worry the conservative isn't the best choice to carry the party mantle and reach out to independent and Democratic voters.

"There are a lot of Republican insiders who believe Sharron's going to win this thing. And there aren't very many people in the elected Republican establishment who like her," the insider said.

Bill Raggio was quoted in the piece, and not even he would deny abandoning Angle if she wins the primary. After all, she nearly defeated him in 2008! Obviously, this infighting is turning quite bitter. The teabaggers are demanding purity while the establishment folks want one of their own.

The GOoP establishment tried so hard help Suzy Lowdown buy the primary... But the teabaggers wouldn't have any of it. It's increasingly looking like they'll end up with their own "Rand Paul situation" should Batsh*t Crazy Sharron Angle win the primary. Even Markos, who isn't always very happy with Harry Reid, is now acknowledging something I've been telling you here for quite some time.

Oh, and once more, Lil' Tark Shark is a crybaby.

"Danny Tarkanian has been a strong supporter of the Tea Party movement, and he can best help this movement by ending his campaign for U.S. Senate," said Bryan Shroyer, political director for the Tea Party Express, who noted Angle had racked up all the major conservative endorsements.

The Tarkanian campaign responded with some heat, saying the Tea Party Express is tied to long-time GOP consultants who just want to make money off the anti-big government movement.

"The Tea Party Express is leading the corporatization of the Tea Party movement, and it's distasteful," said Jamie Fisfis, a California-based consultant of the Tarkanian campaign.

Some things never change. Baby Tark looks to be going down, continually crying over spilled milk... Or is that tea?

And the bumper car ride that the GOoPer primary has become continues. Suzy Lowdown and Batsh*t Crazy Sharron Angle continue to fight over who's the wingnuttiest, with Baby Tark crying in the sidelines. And still, someone in Searchlight is smiling. He really did get his groove back. ;-)

My Weekend of Eco-Activism

In case you haven't heard, a giant gravel pit may be started dangerously close to Henderson. Folks here, especially in areas like Anthem and Seven Hills that are only three to five miles from the proposed gravel pit, are enraged. Air, water, and noise pollution would become catastrophic. Home values would plummet (even more than what we've already endured in The Great Recession). The quality of life that we currently enjoy here would vanish. Basically, Henderson would no longer be that "Place to Call Home".

However, someone is thankfully coming to the rescue.

Sen. Harry Reid on Wednesday moved to block development of a major gravel quarry that has drawn complaints from residents at the southern end of the Las Vegas Valley.

Reid, D-Nev., introduced a bill he said would put a stop to the proposed Sloan Hills quarry on federal land outside Henderson. It would withdraw the 640-acre site off Las Vegas Boulevard South from being made available for mining purposes.

"The potential negative impacts of the proposed operation far outweigh any benefit the mine may provide," Reid said. "This legislation makes sure that the proposed gravel operations at Sloan Hills will not go forward." [...]

The proposed quarry is about three miles from the Anthem development, and slightly farther from other Henderson neighborhoods where residents have concerns about dirt and dust pollution, noise, truck traffic and the effect on their home values.

Two companies, Mexico-based Cemex and Service Rock Products of California, want to lease the BLM property, which contains high-quality construction aggregates that are used to make concrete.

Plans call for an open pit mining operation that would cart off millions of tons of sand and rock over 20 years.

"Citizens from all over Clark County have rallied against this project because of its potential effect on the health of residents and the toll that the blasting operations would have on an otherwise peaceful community," Reid said in a statement that accompanied his bill.

"The dust kicked up by the proposed gravel operation would undoubtedly complicate the current air quality challenges in the Las Vegas Valley and would be particularly troublesome for members of nearby, age-restricted communities that have seniors already suffering from respiratory problems," Reid said.

And this is why I joined some of my fellow Hendersonians on Saturday to walk the neighborhoods in Anthem and let them know about what Senator Reid is doing to stop the Sloan Hills gravel pit. And while a few Republicans just didn't want to hear anything positive about Reid, everyone else I spoke with in Sun City Anthem (an area in the far south end of the development, very close to the proposed mine) appreciated what Reid is doing in DC to stop Henderson from getting screwed.

So on Saturday, I was out helping to raise awareness of what's happening in Henderson. On Sunday, I joined some activists from Sierra Club and Progress Now Nevada to protest Sarah Palin's continued love for "Drill Baby Drill, Spill Baby Spill" as she was delivering her train wreck of a stump speech for the ReCon retail real estate convention. While Palin still extols the "virtues" of offshore oil drilling, the Gulf of Mexico has been devastated by the catastrophe caused by the BP oil spill.

"Drill Baby Drill" is NOT a realistic energy solution. We're running out of oil. And as companies like BP drill deeper and deeper to try to find more oil, the chance of more disasters like the BP spill in The Gulf rises exponentially.

Oh, and what about that thing called climate change? Do we really want to remain addicted to fossil fuels causing this escalating crisis? Or do we want real, sustainable energy solutions?

We're poised here in Nevada to take full advantage of the developing green economy and demand for smart renewable energy solutions. So why should we listen to Sarah Palin and her "Drill Baby Drill" cohorts in the fossil fuel industry as they ruin our country? Perhaps we should do what's in our own best interest, as well as what's in the best interest of our nation and our planet.

So as you can tell, I was busy doing what little I could to help save our planet. I can't help it. I like me some clean air, clean water, and a healthy Mother Earth. Don't you, too? :-)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Casinos: On the Passing of "Theme Park Casinos"

Casinos may no longer be done like this, but the debate rages on. Were we right in ditching the theme parks for something else?

Hunter at RateVegas posted a photo of TI, and it got me thinking... And arguing.

In the early 1990s, Circus Circus mastered the art of bringing middle class families (with the kids!) to Las Vegas in building Excalibur, and later Luxor. And from there on, the other major casinos were trying to follow suit. MGM Grand originally had a giant theme park (where The Signature towers now stand). Treasure Island was intended to be a place where the kids could explore while the parents gambled. Vegas was a very different town back then.

These '90s theme parks were evidence of the Vegas casinos pursuing the "middle class family" sector that regularly takes trips to the two Orange Counties (California and Florida). That's what all the heavy theming was really all about. The kids wanted somewhere fun, and the parents wanted somewhere for the kids to have fun while they gambled. They were "exotic destinations" that the whole family could supposedly enjoy. But ultimately, the formula didn't work. I couldn't ever imagine Disneyland with a casino.

And by the early 2000s, attitudes were changing. The Strip was becoming "adults only" again. Mandalay Resort Group was already starting the de-theming with Luxor v.1996 and Mandalay Bay. The Palms didn't even go with any type of theme park, opting for a "hip party palace" vibe instead. And after initially flirting with Vegas in the '90s, the family set ultimately stuck with the two Orange Counties while MTV's "Real World: Las Vegas" (FINALLY) made Vegas look attractive to younger crowds.

Let's be honest here. Las Vegas has never really been considered the ideal "family friendly destination", and that's why I think the "theme park casino" concept was doomed from the start. Sure, there are places here in town where the tourists can take the kiddies. Obviously if we can raise kids here year-round, tourists can survive with the kids in tow. However, we'll never be a place like Orange County where families can go from Disneyland to Surf City and keep the kids excited all day.

And you know what? That's OK. We have gambling. We have fine dining. We have shopping. We have great spas. And of course, we have nightclubbing... And now dayclubbing! We're an adult oriented destination, and that's OK.

That's why I honestly don't miss the "theme park casinos" that dominated The Strip in the 1990s. It seemed then like they were pretending to be something they weren't. The casinos were pretending to be "kid-friendly fun zones" when they really just wanted the parents' cash, and Las Vegas was pretending to be another Orange County when we could never really fit that mold.

When I step into Wynn and Encore, it feels like a place where Steve Wynn and Roger Thomas finally had the full freedom to create a unique and luxurious experience. When I step into Aria, it feels like a cool and jazzy place that is really its own place. I even feel very comfortable at Mandalay Bay, as I think Circus Circus/Mandalay Resort Group saw where Steve Wynn was starting to go with Bellagio and taking it further in dropping the heavy theming to instead just provide a classy resort that doesn't have to pretend to be something else (save for perhaps the wave pool/"beach").

For me, it's OK for casinos to just be casinos... OK, maybe not. Still, I appreciate the casino resorts of today that aim higher. Wynn and Encore are a study in "maximalist" postmodern design that simultaneously incorporated the rich history of "Old Vegas" opulence and "New Vegas" chic. CityCenter is what happens when a casino resort complex takes a new direction in incorporating natural elements, contemporary minimalist cool, and the great postmodern art of our time.

So what's wrong with Las Vegas being herself? Especially when we have nothing to be ashamed of? Let's just be ourselves, especially now that we've matured into

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Vegas at Night: Then & Now

NV-Sen: Bye Bye Suzy?

Suzy Lowdown's BusGate scandal continues to keep her campaign in full tailspin. She could face over $1,000,000 in fines and up to five years in jail time (yes, SLAMMER TIME!) for this EPIC FAIL or accepting that luxury liner of a campaign bus in flagrant disregard of campaign finance law.

Meanwhile, a new PPP poll is the first poll to show Sharron Angle with a lead, albeit a tiny 29% to 26% lead over Ms. Suzy (within the margin of error) with Lil' Tark Shark close behind at 24%. So is Suzy Lowdown done? Maybe not yet, but she certainly isn't the "inevitable one" that the "newspaper" that shall not be named claimed she was.

Well, maybe there's someone who understands the situation Suzy Lowdown is in...

But at least Britney could eventually make a comeback. I don't know if Ms. Suzy can.

Meanwhile, Harry Reid Actually Gets Stuff Done...

OK, so it's been hard lately for me to take my eyes off the trainwreck that Suzy Lowdown's campaign has become along with Batsh*t Crazy Sharron Angle catapulting her way to the top of her party so rich with embarrassments. But apparently today, the guy who actually is our Senator delivered some good news.

After failing yesterday to get the 60 votes they needed to bring debate on a historic financial reform bill to a close, Senate Democrats succeeded in this afternoon's cloture vote.

The final vote today was 60-40 (yesterday it was 57-42). Next up is a final vote on passage, which is expected to take place within days.

After today's vote, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said there are "a couple of amendments that are germane post-cloture, but they're the ones that we have to figure out a way to get resolved."

"We're going to try to work through this," Reid said, adding that there may be more votes this afternoon.

"Best of all worlds, we'd finish this thing and move onto other issues," Reid said. "We're gonna try to do that."

Sure, financial regulatory reform isn't perfect... But at least it looks like we'll have a chance to see votes on amendments to strengthen the bill tomorrow. Hope isn't all lost. Rather, we have a chance to finally see some kind of overhaul in our financial system to prevent any more "too big to fail" catastrophes like what we saw in 2008.

Oh, and did you hear about this?

Stimulus funds will have created or saved 5,600 construction jobs by the end of the year, according to a press release issued yesterday by the Nevada Department of Transportation.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the release says, has provided about $201 million in funding for road construction in Nevada, and 90 percent of the funds have already been contracted out to construction companies.

The release states that 32 ARRA-funded projects are currently underway in the state, and an additional six will begin by the end of May. After the rest of the projects begin over the course of summer and fall, a total of 69 road projects will have used stimulus funding.

Stimulus money has provided funding for numerous road preservation projects throughout the state, funding for landscape projects along the U.S. 95 in Las Vegas and the 395 in Carson City, and partial funding for a new interchange at the 395 and Meadowood Way in Reno. A full list of projects, last updated in January, can be found on the NDOT website.

The majority of the funds — $134 million – have been allocated for work on state highways. An additional $40 million was allocated to Clark County, where about 30 projects were funded by Federal stimulus money. $9 million was allocated to Washoe county, $11 million to rural areas and $6 million to numerous “enhancements.”

But wait, haven't the GOoPers been calling the Recovery Act "porkulus"? So that "pork" meant money for roads and some 5,600 much needed jobs? So Harry Reid was right in pushing to pass the Recovery Act?

The difference can't be any clearer. Whoever the GOoPers ultimately decide upon, he or she will be campaigning AGAINST the very measures that are now pulling us out of the worst recession since the 1930s and into economic recovery. Senator Reid actually worked to pass these very measures that are bringing about a turnaround.

Now why would Nevada want to settle for less? I don't think we do. :-)

NV-Sen: Suzy & Sharron Vie for the Radical Right Oligarchy-phile Vote

As Suzy Lowdown continues to try denying and lying her way out of her hot mess of scandaliciousness, Desert Beacon actually tries to find glimmers of real fiscal policy coming out of her campaign... But can only find this crap.

If we were speaking of bankers, hedge fund managers, and corporate chief executive officers, then Ms. Lowden would have a point [on making the Bush tax cuts for the super-rich permanent, repealing the estate tax, and repealing capital gains taxes]. However, the effect of the Bush tax cuts was to place more tax burden on the middle and lower income strata and less on the the upper 2% of income earners. The effect of the Bush Tax cuts lessened the liability for federal taxation for the lowest income groups by 1.9%, the middle income levels by 2.0%, the top 20% of income earners by 3.4%, and the top tier by a hefty 4.8%. [CBPP] The result was anything but a progressive income tax: "High-income households are paying considerably less of their income in income taxes now than before the tax cuts. In 2000, households in the top 1 percent of the income scale paid an average of 24.2 percent of their income in federal income taxes. By 2005 (the latest year for which data are available), that figure had fallen to 19.4 percent, the lowest level since 1986." [CBPP] In short, support for the Bush Tax cuts is to advocate a scheme in which the top tier income earners receive the greatest benefit while the "burden" is effectively shifted to the middle and lower income tiers.

Would not a better, more thoughtful, income tax schematic advocate have decreased the lower income tax burdens by 4.8%, the top twenty percent earners' by 3.4%, the middle income burden lessened by 2.0% and the top 1-2% by 1.9%?

By simply adopting the shorthand of supporting the Bush era tax cuts as a campaign platform plank, Ms. Lowden is clearly advocating a tax structure in which the greatest liabilities are placed on average income earners, and the income gap between the extremely rich and the middle class would continue to expand. However, it would probably not do to take the podium and announce, "Hi, I'm candidate Sue Lowden, and I'm here to speak on behalf of the top two percent of Nevada taxpayers, and to advocate for their benefit."

So what is Suzy Lowdown really saying? Basically, she's supporting the continuation of the George W. Bush economic policies that benefitted the super-rich at the expense of all the rest of us. No really, Bush's tax cuts did absolutely nothing to produce sustainable economic growth and did not benefit the vast majority of working Americans. So why exactly would we want to return to that?

And yet, even this devotion to hard-line radical right economic "policy" secure the "frontrunner status" that Suzy Lowdown's campaign is trying desperately to keep.

Former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle continued to show momentum by winning the endorsement of the Club for Growth, a conservative group that often opens deep pockets to its favored candidates. Angle won the group’s endorsement in 2006 in a Republican primary she would eventually lose to Rep. Dean Heller in the 2nd Congressional District. [...]

The Lowden campaign, clearly sensing an Angle boomlet, launched what could be a devastating attack in a Republican primary, hitting her for voting to raise her legislative salary in 2001 and 2005, despite Angle’s denials.

Uithoven also made what will be the most important argument on behalf of Lowden: electability.

“To beat Harry Reid, you have to attract conservative Democrats and independents. Sue Lowden can do that,” he said. Angle “has never proven her ability to win over independents in any race.”

Ah yes, the Club for Growth... They're really a perfect fit for Sharron Angle. They've gone to the furthest extremes to lie about health care reform. They would consider Suzy Lowdown's above tax cut lunacy (which Sharron Angle more than agrees with) "mainstream". They support only the most radical of radical right candidates, and won't even allow for mainstream conservatives to serve in the Republican Party.

And yes, the Club for Growth, the teabaggers, and Sharron Angle all go together hand in hand in hand.

On the issues, it would be hard for Angle to run farther from the right. In Washington today, she spoke often of the Smith & Wesson she carries when she's not in D.C. and told one tea partier that she agreed this year's Census form is "too intrusive."

She promised to get rid of the "unconstitutional czars" in the executive branch.

"Our president can have friends," she said, to laughter from the crowd, "but I don't have to pay for them."

Angle is a member of the "Oath Keepers," the conservative group that advocates law enforcement and military types disobey orders they feel are unconstitutional. She touted her "Ronald Reagan Freedom Medallion" from the conservative Claremont Institute, and other right wing bona fides in conversations with reporters today.

When it comes to governing, Angle has no doubts about her priorities. She told the audience at the Tea Party Express press conference that her first legislative act as a Senator would be to call for the repeal of the health care reform bill, which she called "Obamacare."

After the press conference, I asked her how far that opposition to the reform bill goes. Angle made no bones about it: she doesn't support a single shred of the health care bill, including the banning of preexisting condition discrimination. Angle told me that the "free market" would eliminate the need for preexisting condition screening, as long as the government stopped mandating what kind of care insurance companies have to provide. [Emphasis mine.]

"Whenever the government makes a law [about health care] it just gums up the works and makes things worse," she told me. "I don't think the law is solution."

That mantra is central to the way Angle views politics.

"I'm a free market person," she told me. "The law doesn't solve problems. Law is the problem."

So she's a "free market person"? Apparently, she is for everyone except the super-rich, the big corporations, and the Church of Scientology.

OK, I'll put aside the Scientology issue for now. Let's focus on health care. The new health care reform legislation is projected to expand health insurance coverage to about 92% by 2016 if just left as is. There are immediate benefits set to start this year, and more that will be implemented by 2014. And just take a look at how health care reform specifically helps us here in Nevada!

And Sharron Angle wants to repeal it all? Why? Because the "free market" was working so splendidly for the HMOs (while screwing us over)?

Again, Sharron Angle is just too batsh*t crazy for Nevada... And Suzy Lowdown is trying to be just as batsh*t crazy to try to woo the teabaggers over to her side. Neither of them seems to care one bit about doing anything to help us working class folks. So why bother taking either of them seriously?