Thursday, May 29, 2014

Anything But Glamorous

It seems like an eternity ago. Once upon a time, Cliven Bundy was a nationwide G-O-TEA celebrity. G-O-TEA politicians from across the nation (and some nearby Nevada communities) rushed to Bundy's defense, regardless of what the law had to say about Bundy's "Range War".

But then, Cliven Bundy opened his mouth... And some incredibly racist s**t flowed out. And all of a sudden, G-O-TEA celebrities no longer wanted to talk about Cliven Bundy. But then again, they also didn't want to talk about the armed madness he and his fellow "outlaw cowboys" have wreaked upon the Virgin Valley.

They won't be able to avoid the Bundy Gang forever. Even though Cliven & Carol Bundy have left the Republican Party (to join Janine Hansen's party), their "outlaw cowboy fan club" has returned to GoFundMe to collect more wingnut welfare "request funding for a feature length documentary". We can't make this stuff up.

It's nice to see that the Bundys are having so much fun with their "cute little armed insurrection". Perhaps they thought that since the NRA is jumping into the entertainment industry, #BundyRanch might as well "go Hollywood" as well. Yet while the NRA & the Bundys are glamorizing their "gun culture", others are seeing a different side of their "gun culture". People like Richard Martinez are seeing a far more dangerous side, one that the NRA & Bundy Gang prefer that we not discuss.

What happened in Isla Vista last Friday was not a game. What Elliot Rodger did was not "entertaining". And gun violence is anything but "glamorous".

It's painful. It's lethal. It's most certainly sorrowful. But really, it's anything but glamorous.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


The video below pretty much sums it all up. What else is there to add? What else can we say?

OK, maybe we have more to say. After all, that's why we have this little corner of the internet.

However, we're just in this little corner of the internet. John Boehner (R-Ohio), however, is House Speaker. He sets the floor agenda. And he can schedule a vote for HR 15 whenever he wants.

So Speaker Boehner wants immigration reform? He can have it! All he has to do is schedule a vote for HR 15.

But, no. Instead of putting his floor schedule where his mouth is, Speaker Boehner continues to play this sordid game of charades. He's still blaming President Obama for Boehner's own caucus refusing to even vote on what already passed the Senate last year. And now, he's also blaming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) for daring to call out Boehner's duplicity on immigration reform.

Republican "leaders" claim they need to "trust the President". President Obama has overseen a record number of deportations under his administration. In fact, this is why immigrant rights activists have asked the President to stop the deportations that are ripping American families and communities apart. And now, it looks like a deadline has been set for the House to act before the President takes further executive action.

Speaker Boehner and his Beltway posse can deny it as much as they want, but this deadline has been set. The only question left is this: Will they meet it, or will they try more excuses? If it's the latter, they will be the ones paying the consequences of missing this deadline.

Sticks & Stones

Remember the rhyme we'd occasionally yell out on the elementary school playground? "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?" We've been thinking about this lately.

Long time readers of this blog know what our favorite TV show is. (Sorry, Jon Ralston.) So when this show fell into a pile of verbal sticks & stones, we were troubled. Why embrace the language of hate, especially when the message is supposed to be love?

Sticks & stones can break our bones... And can words cause a world of hurt as well? Can "blurred lines" lead us into serious danger?

Try asking those who lost loved ones due to Elliot Rodger translating his words into action. Try asking the residents of Isla Vista. Try asking someone who knows anyone who works and/or studies at UC Santa Barbara.

There's a reason for #YesAllWomen. There's a reason for "When Women Refuse". Violence against women, cisgender and transgender, is all too real. And it still happens all too often.

Sticks & stones may break bones, but can dysphoria do so as well? What happens when we mock real violence? Might we be encouraging more violence?

Think about it. Even now, even after this latest tragedy, we're still seeing all these sticks & stones oh so causally tossed around. How many more bones must be broken before we notice? How many more real people must be hurt before we take seriously the threats we make with certain words?

Here in America, we tend to cherish our freedom of speech. As we should. But with great freedom comes great responsibility. And with harsh rhetoric comes harsh consequences.

Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling have had to learn this the hard way. Isla Vista residents have had to learn this at the hands of a very troubled person. How many more sticks & stones must be tossed before we get it?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

"Your Dead Kids Don't Trump..."

Earlier this month, it was Chipotle. Now, it's Sonic & Chili's. For some reason, "suburban gun enthusiasts" have this urge to pack heat inside chain restaurants. Haven't they ever heard of Sriracha?

And haven't they ever heard of common decency? Maybe, just maybe, other customers want to eat their food without fear of a shootout?

As usual, the open carry activists immediately blamed someone else for their dumbassery actions. And as usual, their first target was Everytown/Moms Demand Action. How dare that Everytown request a safe environment where children and other law abiding civilians are present!

Remember "Joe the Plumber"? He's back (again). And this time, public intellectual Samuel Wurzelbacher has something important to say about free-dumb: "As harsh as this sounds – your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights."

Oh really, Sam/Joe/Whatever-the-hell-we're-supposed-to-call-you-now? First off, you may have the Constitutional right to be an idiot... But you don't have any Constitutional right to threaten other people's lives with your idiocy. Even the US Supreme Court has made that clear.

And secondly, who is "Joe the Plumber" to throw shade at Richard Martinez and other parents who lost their children in the Isla Vista massacre? Who is "Joe the Plumber" to lecture Richard Martinez and the UC Santa Barbara community on how they're "supposed to handle" their grief? Doesn't he recognize the severity of what occurred last Friday?

Or is he just too busy repeating NRA talking points to even care? "Your dead kids don’t trump"... The "right" to scare paying customers away from a restaurant? "Your dead kids don’t trump"... The NRA's political agenda? "Your dead kids don’t trump"... The gun industry's fight against legislation backed by most Americans to prevent the piling up of any more dead kids?

Yes, All Women...

Throughout 2012 and into 2013, House Republicans led the fight against a comprehensive Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). They continually made excuses as to why they refused to take up the VAWA that passed the Senate in a big bipartisan vote in 2012. But finally in February 2013, House Republican "leaders" relented and VAWA became law (again).

However, that final vote wasn't without controversy. Earlier that month, Heritage Action (yes, that Heritage) announced it would lobby against VAWA renewal. And not only that, but it would negatively score House members who voted for VAWA. That's why most House Republicans ultimately voted against VAWA renewal last year.

What was truly disturbing about Heritage Action's campaign against VAWA was that it was couched in the language of the "Men's Rights Movement". The "Men's Rights Movement" has resorted to false claims and extreme rhetoric to decry laws aimed at protecting vulnerable women from abuse, rape, stalking, and "deadbeat dads".

Elliot Rodger had grown attached to the "Men's Rights Movement". He even posted on "men's rights" online message boards about the "revolution" he wanted to start. Last Friday, he acted on his wishes when he killed 6 other people and himself in Isla Vista.

We've said it before, and we must say it again. Words have consequences. Words have meaning. Rape culture, slut shaming, "man-o-sphere", and other forms of misogyny threaten more than just "blurred lines".

Another shooting occurred in Stockton last Saturday when 3 women turned down 3 men asking them for sex. One of them allegedly opened fire, and the women took shelter at a nearby restaurant to call police.

Meanwhile, a prominent "pick up artist" site predicted more Isla Vista massacres and Stockton incidents if women don't have sex with men like Elliot Rodger. This and other misogynistic responses to these recent violent acts of misogyny have prompted feminist activists to respond with #YesAllWomen. It's easy for so many of us to dismiss what we see as "boys being boys"... Until we see real girls hurt.

Yes, all women deserve respect. Yes, all women should have a chance to live lives free of violence. Yes, all women are still at risk when we fail to acknowledge the consequences of trying to shame and/or force them into submission. And yes, we need to take these risks and acts of misogyny seriously, especially in light of recent events.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Into the Wrong Hands

It happened again. This time, it was Isla Vista, California, which is home to UC Santa Barbara. Seven people are now dead, including the suspected shooter, Elliot Rodger.

Once again, we saw the brutal reality of gun violence. Even though Elliot Rodger had obtained his semiautomatic pistols legally, friends & family had seen evidence showing that Rodger was preparing to commit a very heinous crime. Even local police ran into the warning signs (but seemed to miss them).

Make no mistake. These weapons are designed to kill. And when these weapons fall into the wrong hands, tragedy ensues.

Earlier this month, the NRA made a splash over its own "rebranding" campaign, complete with a brand new online TV network. Try as it might, but the NRA can't "rebrand" reality away. Over the weekend, Richard Martinez made that point very clear. He should know, as his son was one of the victims of the Isla Vista massacre.

Once again, we've seen the recipe for disaster executed. Someone didn't receive the treatment and care he needed. Instead, he was able to access deadly firearms. And we're once more witnessing the results of allowing lethal weapons to fall into the wrong hands.

Already, "TEA" fueled media pundits are trying to deflect blame onto someone else. "It's the feminazis' fault! It's the homosexuals' fault! It's a false flag government conspiracy!"

But of course, these "TEA" powered media personalities will never blame those who boast about being "what stood in the way" between this nation and better gun safety laws. Because of course, free-dumb isn't free. And it's best for us not to worry our little heads over dangerous weapons falling into the wrong hands.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Why Not Gold Butte?

Today, a mountain range in Southern New Mexico is making news. And don't worry, it's making news for a good reason.

Earlier this week, President Obama officially designated the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. This means that starting today, about 496,000 acres of desert wilderness just outside Las Cruces will officially be guaranteed forever wild. This region is home to golden eagles, mule deer, Montezuma quails, and a number of rare animal and plant species.

Oh, and the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument is expected to generate about $7.4 million in new economic activity for the Las Cruces area and double the amount of jobs in the region's tourism industry. That's why a large coalition of local business leaders, sporting/hunting enthusiasts, faith leaders, and elected officials support the new monument.

Not too long ago, a similar grassroots campaign emerged for preservation of Gold Butte. Senator Harry Reid (D) & Rep. Steven Horsford (D-North Las Vegas) even introduced legislation in Congress to declare a National Conservation Area for Gold Butte. But with hardened G-O-TEA opposition (even from Nevada's Republicans in Congress!), that legislation went nowhere fast.

And then, Cliven Bundy became an instant national G-O-TEA celebrity...

And now, the Gold Butte area is being overrun by armed madness. And as a result, Mesquite area businesses have been losing business.

Today, Southern New Mexico residents are celebrating the new national monument that will preserve a key stretch of the Southern Rocky Mountains while generating more economic activity for the region. Why can't Southern Nevada have the same? Why can't Gold Butte have the respect it deserves? Because a few armed zealots backed by a handful of billionaire zealots want armed anarchy instead?

Other ecologically sensitive areas of the nation have been fortunate enough to earn federal preservation designation. Why not Gold Butte? Why can't Gold Butte be recognized for the treasure it truly is? If Congress won't act to save Gold Butte from the crazed armed thugs who want to continue their illegal "Range War" there, why can't the President take action to save Gold Butte like he just has for New Mexico's Organ Mountains?

Best Foot Forward?

What else could we say? We knew this was coming. Last month, we explained why there was a better chance of hell freezing over than Las Vegas hosting the 2016 Republican National Convention.

This is why Republicans probably won't pick Las Vegas to host their 2016 national convention. While Southern Nevada is home to a diverse electorate who likely resembles the future of America, "Republican rebranding" has accomplished nothing but the repeat of the same old lame excuses of why the G-O-TEA base rejects 21st century America. And even though Nevada is a key state that Republicans need to win more often in order to remain a nationally relevant party, the Nevada Republican Party long ago lost interest in winning elections as it's pursued ideological "purity" to the point of endorsing "Chickens for Checkups" and armed anarchy. Southern Nevada can all too easily remind everyone of why the Republican Party has become radically out of touch with the mainstream electorate, and this is why the Republican National Committee will likely "rebrand" itself into a convention somewhere else.

Surprise, surprise, we were proven correct yesterday. But of course, "reliable sources" claim this happens due to "logistical reasons".

"Logistical reasons"... Like what? Cliven Bundy and his gang of "outlaw cowboys" fighting for free-dumb? Adam Laxalt continually reminding everyone of who's truly in charge of the Republican Party? Cresent Hardy's "segregation laws"? Sue Lowden's return?

Of course, @LV2016 operatives have been engaging in damage control. And to be fair, money (or more accurately, the lack of it) probably did play a role in the untimely demise of @LV2016. And perhaps the lack of an arena... Wait, what?! So Cashman Field, Sam Boyd Stadium, Thomas & Mack Center, and Henderson Pavilion weren't good enough for the RNC? Seriously?

Apparently, this was already a done deal before yesterday. So @LV2016 boosters tried their best to save face as their ship was sinking. And apparently, the best excuses they could come up with were "logistics" and money. (So #1 G-O-TEA Sugar Daddy Sheldon Adelson couldn't save their day?)

The Nevada Republican Party has been trying lately to put its best foot forward. And look how this latest attempt played out. Great job, Nevada Republican Party. And great job on that "Republican rebranding", RNC. So much for that putting best foot forward.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Make Ends Meet

There's a reason why a number of Southern Nevada's fast food workers took part in #FastFoodGlobal last week. They're working incredibly hard to survive. Yet even as they're working, they're still finding it difficult to survive and make ends meet.

Just look at the numbers Desert Beacon unearthed earlier today. Those numbers tell a sobering story. Even workers who earn slightly more than the minimum wage struggle to make ends meet for their families.

Yet when we've seen Congress debate even a fairly modest increase in the minimum wage, we've heard the usual "job killing" rhetoric from G-O-TEA politicians. Rep. Joe Heck (R-Henderson) tried it at a Henderson town hall in February. And Senator Dean Heller (R) tried it when he voted against raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. (FYI, #FastFoodGlobal strikers last week were demanding $15 per hour because that's what a parent with child needs just to make ends meet.)

What they fail to acknowledge is that Washington has the highest state minimum wage in the nation... And the highest rate of growth for small business employment last year. They also fail to acknowledge is that San Francisco has the highest municipal minimum wage in the nation... And the highest rate of growth for small business employment. Oh, and Seattle is the #2 city for small business growth. It's the largest city in Washington State, and it's now implementing a plan to #RaiseTheWage to $15 per hour citywide by the end of the decade.

We've yet to figure out how businesses would be hurt by guaranteeing workers' ability to make ends meet. To the contrary, workers with higher wages mean consumers with more income to drop back into the economy. And that ultimately means less poverty and more economic growth.

If anything, our current system isn't working. Case in point: McDonald's, the nation's largest fast food chain. McDonald's low wage business model costs US taxpayers an average of $1.2 billion per year due to McDonald's forcing its workers to utilize the social safety net just to make ends meet. And McDonald's executives are wondering why their company's profits have been so weak lately?

Maybe it's because low wage workers are struggling so hard just to make ends meet that they can't afford to buy their kids a lot of "Happy Meals"? Maybe it's because they've contributed to the inequality gap that's threatening to undo the foundation of this very nation? Maybe it's because their short term avarice has harmed their company's (and this nation's) long term success?

Think about it. How are we supposed to succeed as a society if so many of our people are finding it increasingly difficult just to make ends meet? And how can our democracy function if so few can afford to participate? How will America then be able to make ends meet?

The Great Green Rush

Last year, the Nevada Legislature passed SB 374. And after some initial hesitation, Governor Brian Sandoval (R) ultimately signed it into law. And with SB 374 becoming state law, medical marijuana dispensaries were finally cleared to open in the near future so patients could safely access the medicine they need.

Unfortunately for medical marijuana users, they ran into hiccups early this year when municipal governments throughout Nevada balked at the prospect of approving medical marijuana dispensaries. But in March, a major breakthrough occurred when the Clark County Commission approved a timeline to allow for new dispensaries in unincorporated Clark County communities. And later that month, the City of Las Vegas followed suit by announcing its own plans to draft regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries. And now, Las Vegas has finally approved specific locations for dispensaries.

And the City of North Las Vegas may also soon follow suit. At this point, Henderson and Boulder City are the only Las Vegas Valley municipal governments that are not moving forward on dispensaries. Boulder City has a ban in place. Henderson currently has a moratorium in effect until July... But with Henderson facing an increasingly nasty budget shortfall, the city may have to reconsider its stance on medical marijuana.

After all, medical marijuana is expected to bring more business to Southern Nevada. There's a reason why so many dispensary applications flowed into Clark County Government Center.

Hint: They want a piece of "The Great Green Rush". And as long as applicants are going into this for the right reasons and intend to serve patients in need, they have every right to go into this business. But of course, with every "rush" comes risk. So state & municipal authorities need to adopt wide regulations to ensure a fair market place.

There's a reason why all of this is happening. There's a reason why certain "entrepreneurs" are rushing to "embrace the weed". And there's a reason why the Nevada Legislature passed SB 374 in the first place.

It's because our legislators finally realized medical marijuana patients didn't deserve to be treated like criminals for daring to access the medicine they need. This is why we're now starting to experience "The Great Green Rush".

And all involved in this new "Rush" need to keep in mind who they need to serve.

Packing Heat

We've never quite understood why some of our friends have this ongoing love affair with Chipotle. Sure, we love the actual pepper. The fast food chain, on the other hand? Meh.

Earlier this year, certain groups decided to go beyond simply declaring their love for Chipotle (the fast food chain). They actually decided to #OccupyChipotle. But why? Oh, they wanted to feel their chiles with their military grade assault weapons.

Understandably, other Chipotle customers were disturbed by this. So Chipotle corporate headquarters just began asking customers to refrain from packing heat inside restaurants. And the gun fetishists were upset over Chipotle executives asking them not to bring their guns.

But wait, how did this even happen? How can this happen? In Texas, it's legal. And actually here in Nevada, it's legal.

And since we and several other states have no restrictions on military grade assault weapons, these individuals were able to carry their weapons into Chipotle. And since we and several other states don't guarantee background checks for gun purchases, we haven't really known who were packing heat at Chipotle and why they were doing so.

This is the problem. Not alleged "attacks on FREEDOM!" Not supposed "threats" based on outlandish conspiracy theories. No, this is the problem.

Sure, Chipotle's food may not pack much heat... But does that give certain customers the right to pack their own heat in the form of dangerous weapons? Keep in mind that at least some of these heat packing customers never underwent a background check.

We may not be all that into Chipotle, but other people are. Don't they have the right to order their (not really all that) Mexican food in a safe atmosphere? Must they be subjected to yahoos packing heat and brandishing weapons they could have obtained at a gun show or back alley without any background check? Shouldn't the heat be in the food, not in some customers' hands?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Actual Scandal

Here we go again. It's "SCANDAL!!!!" time. And more specifically, it's #Benghazi time.

Right now, House Democratic leaders are deliberating whether to participate in the new House Committee devoted to the G-O-TEA's favorite hashtag. Dare they risk legitimizing this farce? Or dare they miss an opportunity to call the G-O-TEA out on this farce?

It's not an easy decision... Unlike the actual scandal that needs to be not just investigated, but actually fixed.

It's been nearly 5 months since Congress let the federal unemployment insurance (UI) extension lapse. That's meant the loss of over $5 billion in economic activity. And it's meant unnecessary hardship for over 34,000 Nevadans and over 2.3 million Americans. Oh, and it may also soon mean the loss of over 240,000 jobs if Congress doesn't act soon.

Last month, the Senate passed bipartisan UI extension legislation. Yet since that Senate vote, the lower House of Congress has not touched UI. Even as the UI lapse has taken its toll on our economy & on over 2.3 million Americans, House Republican "leaders" have refused to schedule a #RenewUI vote.

In recent weeks, Congressional Republican "leaders" have claimed they want to find "solutions to poverty". One actual solution is right here. Instead of wasting any more of our tax dollars "investigating" a "scandalous" hashtag, they can #RenewUI and end the unnecessary suffering of millions of people who are just trying to get by.

Here we go again. While a haute faux scandal is about to be "investigated" to filth, the actual scandal is ignored. And actual people are suffering because of this. Does anyone else notice what's wrong with this picture?

Not If... But When

Just yesterday, we talked about two more to fall. Now, we can add another one to the pile: Pennsylvania. No really, Pennsylvania is the latest state where a federal court struck down its marriage ban.

As we were discussing yesterday, marriage equality is increasingly becoming a legal reality for the entire nation. And it's only a matter of time before it arrives in Nevada.

When the US Supreme Court issued its US v. Windsor ruling, it made clear that anti-LGBTQ discrimination would no longer be welcomed there. And since that ruling, we've had this long string of federal judges issuing rulings in favor of equality. That's certainly not a coincidence. Lower federal courts tend to take their queues from "The Supremes".

And it's not a coincidence that Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto (D) & Governor Brian Sandoval (R) decided to drop their legal defense of marriage discrimination this past February. The original defendants in Sevcik v. Sandoval had tried to make their case in court, but that only blew up in their faces. They ultimately had to realize that they truly had no Constitutional ground to stand on, so they stood down.

It's no longer a question of if... But rather, when. When will Question 2 finally be tossed into the dustbin of history? When will Nevada's marriage ban be declared unconstitutional? When will marriage equality arrive in The Silver State?

Just two years ago, Sevcik v. Sandoval seemed like a long shot. But now, it's feeling more like a slam dunk. But really, this was bound to happen. Eventually, public opinion would catch up with Constitutional law.

And it's no longer a question of if it will arrive here... But when.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Who could have guessed? Who could have figured this would happen? Last year, Congressional Republican "leaders" seemed to be all on board for comprehensive immigration reform (CIR). They even managed to finesse some Senate Republicans (including Nevada's Dean Heller) into voting for S 744.

Yet a strange thing happened as S 744 made its way to the House. Even before it passed the Senate, House Republicans passed an amendment to deport DREAMers. Seemingly "pro-reform House Republicans" (like Nevada's Joe Heck) ran away from legislation they seemed to support earlier in the year. When HR 15 was unveiled, only 3 House Republicans agreed to cosponsor it. And a number of allegedly "pro-reform Republicans" (such as Joe Heck) continue to oppose HR 15.

Earlier this year, House Democrats unveiled a discharge petition for HR 15. This was an actual, concrete way to ensure a floor vote on real CIR legislation. Yet again, those supposedly "pro-reform Republicans" failed to sign the discharge petition.

Last month, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) actually mocked his own caucus for failing to pass CIR. He basically called them cowards for playing games with such critical legislation for American families and the US economy. Yet when asked why he hasn't already allowed a floor vote on HR 15, Speaker Boehner reverted to the same answer he's been giving for nearly a year: "It's someone else's fault!"

For nearly a year, House Republicans have been playing this game of charades on immigration reform. They support it... Or do they? What do they mean by "support"? What do they mean by "reform"? Their calls for "immigration reform" always seem to be an enigma wrapped in a riddle covered with mystery veiled by confusion.

Early last year, some pundits were wondering whether CIR was ever truly viable in the G-O-TEA run House. Now, it looks like their doubts are being validated. House Republican "leaders" are just too afraid of their own 21st Century Know Nothing base to allow any CIR to pass the House.

So we're left with this game of charades. Will they or won't they? Who means what? Is there truly any there there?

Maybe there is something there there? One House Republican, Jeff Denham (R-California), has proposed the ENLIST Act to allow legal status for undocumented immigrants to serve in the military. But of course, Boehner and his lieutenants have pledged to kill this bill. And not even Rep. Denham has signed the discharge petition for the full CIR bill (HR 15) he cosponsors.

So is there any there there? Or is this just one sick game of charades? It remains to be seen when House Republicans will stop playing these games and start... You know, doing their job.


Whatever you do, don't look behind the curtain. Don't notice the melting Antarctic Ice Sheet. Don't pay attention to the record heat. Don't bother examining the ongoing drought.

G-O-TEA politicians continue to deny the increasingly frightening reality of climate change. For them, it's about pandering to the 21st Century Know Nothings who comprise their political base. For them, it's all about political survival.

But for many in California, they're simply concerned about human survival. Last week, over 20,000 people were evacuated as wildfires emerged near Los Angeles and San Diego. We even saw a "firenado" form last week.

And it's not just California. Closer to home, the Hunter Falls Fire has burning in the Mount Rose wilderness area near Reno. It's now 47% contained. And while it may be fully contained by Friday, it's meant a rather early kickoff to Northern Nevada's wildfire season.

For many "TEA" flavored politicians & media personalities, climate change is merely a "distraction" from the pressing haute faux scandals of the day. But for those of us who have experienced wildfires, drought, and other effects of climate change, it's about survival. It's about our survival. It's about the survival of the human race.

Keep this in mind next time you see a "TEA" tinged politician engage in climate denial. They may be worried about their own near term political survival... But we need to be more concerned about longer term human survival.

Losing Culture War

We told you this was coming. When the US Supreme Court issued its US v. Windsor ruling, we sensed this would only the beginning of more federal courts ruling in favor of marriage equality. And since then, we haven't been disappointed.

Just this month, we've had two more favorable rulings: Idaho and Oregon. Federal judges just knocked down two more state marriage bans. And now, it only seems to be a matter of time before Nevada is next.

Governor Brian Sandoval (R) is still trying to figure out how he really feels about it. Adam Laxalt is still promising to fight against it. Monte Neil Stewart is still trying to convince a judge that segregation should be legal. And Cresent Hardy is still explaining to anyone who will listen what he means by "segregation laws".

So how's that "Republican rebranding" coming along? Georgia? Florida? Texas? Michigan? Nevada?

We sensed this was coming. G-O-TEA politicians across the nation are still in denial. Marriage equality is increasingly becoming the law of the land across this great land. Yet even as court after court strikes down more marriage bans, G-O-TEA politicians try harder to "rebrand" it away.

When will they finally realize they can't? Love is makes a family. All families deserve to be valued. And marriage is meant for loving families.

We told you this was coming. Marriage equality is increasingly becoming reality across the nation. It just remains to be seen how much longer G-O-TEA politicians want to continue fighting their losing "Culture War" to stop equality.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Who Will Be Metro's New Top Cop?

There may not be a dazzling "top of the ticket" this year, but that doesn't mean this election isn't important. Far from it, this election will determine the future of our state... And the future of Metro Police.

In recent years, Metro has been facing tough questions on police brutality officer involved shootings. Last August, Metro came under fire for allowing a police helicopter to be used by a Guns N Roses guitarist for his marriage proposal. More recently, Metro has been caught in a bizarre slut shaming incident where a uniformed police officer scared young girls with inaccurate information. And questions still surround Metro's handling of the Cliven Bundy "Range War" in the Bunkerville/Mesquite area. Why has a police department that's become notorious for "quick & decisive action" in the Las Vegas Valley been dragging its feet on #BundyRanch, allowing celebrities to use its equipment for publicity stunts, and engaging in counterproductive slut shaming of young girls in our community?

Last August, incumbent Sheriff Doug Gillespie dropped a political bomb when he announced he won't be running for a third term. It just so happened that his decision to retire was announced shortly after the Clark County Commission rejected the "More Cops" sales tax surcharge. The Commission rejected "More Cops" again in January. And now, Sheriff Gillespie is abandoning the tax proposal after three failed County Commission votes.

Gillespie now says Metro will have to endure painful budget cuts. Metro Police have already stopped responding to non-injury car accidents. Yet even as this is occurring, many members of the public and a few County Commissioners are still asking what Metro is doing with its current funding. And they're asking why Metro leaders are still refusing to hold anyone accountable for officer involved shootings.

Last summer, Ted Moody retired as Assistant Sheriff after Sheriff Gillespie failed to implement the recommendations of the task force he called to address officer involved shootings. He's now running for Sheriff. And in a rare display of solidarity, both Clark County Commissioner (& progressive favorite) Chris Giunchigliani (D) and the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce have endorsed Moody.

Current Assistant Sheriff Joe Lombardo is also running for the top cop position. He's been endorsed by Gillespie, and he's been raising money from The Strip's top casino players.

Former Metro executive lieutenant Larry Burns is also running for Sheriff. He's gained the endorsement of the police unions. And while he's called for better relations with the wider community, neither he nor Lombardo has promised the kind of broad accountability that Moody is now campaigning on.

Six other candidates are also running for Clark County Sheriff, so this is truly a wide open race bursting with possibilities. And this truly is a race that will determine the future of Nevada's largest local law enforcement agency. Metro's new top cop will have to make decisions on how to curb officer involved shootings, whether to pursue the "More Cops" tax again, and simply how to improve troubled relations with the greater community. And we will be the ones deciding who that new top cop will be.

So make sure to vote this month... And choose wisely.

A Way Out

Last Thursday, a number of local fast food workers took to the streets with community allies as a part of #FastFoodGlobal. These workers either make minimum wage or just above minimum wage. And they're struggling just to survive.

These low wage workers are merely asking for this: #MakeWorkPay. That's all. They're already working hard just to feed the kids and pay the bills. How are we really hurting anyone by ensuring people can actually work for a living?

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) has yet to answer this question. He opposes increasing the minimum wage. And he opposes even sustaining social safety programs that actually work at reducing poverty. But now, we're supposed to believe that Rep. Paul Ryan wants to "fight poverty"?

How exactly does Rep. Ryan plan to "fight poverty" if he's constantly fighting against letting millions of workers work for a living wage? And how does he "fight poverty" by fighting to rip to shreds the social safety net that prevents millions of Americans from falling into deeper poverty? We can only wonder if any of the hedge fund executives who Ryan met at Bellagio. Did anyone address the glaring disparity between Ryan's rhetoric and his real policies during the pool side party or the Champagne mixer?

Economic inequality is not merely some philosophical conundrum in need of abstract concepts. It's a very real problem in America today. Real people are suffering. And they're not helped by empty rhetoric and counterproductive policies.

Here in Nevada and elsewhere throughout the nation, millions of Americans are merely asking for a way out. They don't want a handout. They just want a way out of the poverty cycle. Is this really too difficult for Paul Ryan and other Republican "leaders" to understand?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Loud & Clear

It's hard work. Try working all day, and possibly all night as well. And try working so hard... Only to be paid so little.

This isn't just a theoretical scenario for these workers. This is real life.

.@RubenKihuen  #FightFor15 w/ @McDonalds workers #FastFoodGlo... on Twitpic

Why @McDonalds workers #FightFor15 #RaiseTheWage #FamilyValue... on Twitpic

That's why they and some community friends stood outside a local McDonald's in Las Vegas today. They have been working hard for minimum wage and near minimum wage pay. And they're struggling to survive.

Minimum wage hasn't been enough for them to take care of their families. So they asked for a raise. And they weren't alone in doing so.

This was just one of many #FastFoodGlobal events across the nation... And around the world. They were simply asking for fair wages. They were asking for a chance to feed their families. And they were asking for a chance to improve our economy.

And they weren't alone today. State Senator Ruben Kihuen (D-Las Vegas), community activist Linda Turner, and many more community allies from PLAN, ProgressNow Nevada, SEIU, and elsewhere joined the protest.

For over an hour, they were all baking under the hot Southern Nevada sun. And this was just one of three #FastFoodGlobal events in the valley today. Local fast food workers really wanted to make sure their voices were heard today.

They can only hope they were heard loud & clear.

The crowd @ #Vegas #FastFoodGlobal #RaiseTheWage #FightFor15 ... on Twitpic

Are @McDonalds execs listening? #RaiseTheWage #FightFor15 #Fa... on Twitpic

Why @McDonalds workers #FightFor15 #RaiseTheWage #FamilyValue... on Twitpic

This isn't some theoretical argument over abstract numbers. This is real life. Real families here in Nevada are struggling, even as they're working as hard as they can to get by.

Can we hear them? We should. The message should be coming across loud & clear by now.

Who Expects This?

We were wondering when more folks would notice. Sure, Cliven Bundy became "old news" for national media pundits when he was revealed to be a racist fool. But for the poor residents of Bunkerville & Mesquite, the armed madness continued even after the national media cameras left.

But at least now, Salon's Paul Rosenberg is noticing. And even better, he put together the timeline of what's happened at #BundyRanch since the national media spotlight dimmed. That helps those who haven't been keeping up with the story here.

Yet now, the media spotlight seems to be returning... Or has #BundyRanch just moved to where the national media spotlight is now?

Remember when we discussed "Operation American Spring"? That's actually about to begin tomorrow. The "Patriot Movement" is hoping to take the mayhem it's unleashed on Nevada & Utah all the way to DC.

Meanwhile on this end of the continent, Gun Owners of America Director Larry Pratt is still encouraging the Bundy Gang to do whatever they can to stop federal authorities from enforcing federal law. And not only that, but he's proposing a nifty solution to the Great Western Drought: Just have California's county sheriffs point guns at federal officials to make them release water that California no longer has!

Wow. That makes plenty of sense. (/not)

But then again, none of this really does. Who expects local law enforcement agencies to prevent other law enforcement agencies from enforcing the law? Who expects 10 million people to descend upon the DC area to overthrow our duly elected government? Who expects license to trespass upon the American people's land without facing any consequences?

Who expects this? And who condones this? Think about it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

No Rebranding That "TEA"

This should come as no surprise to faithful readers of this site. "Republican rebranding" has been nothing but a majorly EPIC FAIL. Republican "leaders" can try as much soft lighting as they want, but that doesn't change the hard reality of the state of their party in 2014.

Here in Nevada and across the nation, the Republican Party has merely "rebranded" the same crazy "TEA" it's been hawking for the past 5 years. Don't believe us? Believe those primary results.

Still don't believe us? Then turn on your gawd damned TV! Really, grrl. Don't tell us you haven't seen this yet. And don't tell us you still haven't clocked this yet.

Oh, and let's not forget this. Even though Cresent Hardy loves him some "segregation laws" and Cliven Bundy, it's still not enough for Niger Innis and his deep pocketed BFFs. And that may actually be enough for Niger Innis to win the NV-04 G-O-TEA primary!

Get it now? They still like their "TEA" brewed extra strong over in G-O-TEA Land. And the 21st Century Know Nothings the call the shots.

Republican "leaders" can "rebrand" all they want, but they can't make us forget reality. There's ultimately no way to "rebrand" the "TEA" that's come to define the Republican Party of 2014. There's only the choice they're making as to how much more they want to drink.

Sashay Away

For some, too much is never enough. This definitely applies to Cliven Bundy and his gang of "outlaw cowboys". For them, too much attention is never enough.

They loved it when national G-O-TEA politicians & pundits rushed to their aid. But when the Republican Party started "rebranding" its #BundyRanch involvement and the Kochs started to deny the existence of #BundyRanch, they had to rethink their media strategy.

So they started unleashing armed madness upon the Virgin Valley (and each other). They then proceeded to drive business away from the Mesquite area. And because it wasn't enough for them to damage Nevada's reputation, they then began making field trips to Utah to terrorize that state with their signature brand of lunacy.

Of course, "Free-dumb isn't free". That's why some Bundy Gang members have taken to GoFundMe to demand welfare checks donations for continued wannabe insurrection shit whatever. Apparently, they're most in need of life advice from the very wise philosopher, Lohanthony.

Needless to say, "outlaw militia" crew at #BundyRanch are now running into some money trouble. Below is some exclusive footage of the Bundy Gang soliciting at GoFundMe.

(Obviously, not really. The Bundy crew wish they could be this sickening!)

But wait, there's more. The Bundy Gang may be busy soliciting funds, but they're never too busy to throw shade at elected officials. And this week, they're actually reading Governor Brian Sandoval (R) and Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie to filth for not supporting their law breaking ways. Apparently, they forgot when Brian Sandoval cheered them on... Or they remember that, and they're just wondering why he doesn't want to be caught anywhere near them any more.

Here's some helpful advice for the Bundy Crew. Remember the 5 G's: Good god, get a grip, girl!

Here's some more helpful advice for the Bundy Gang: Call it quits already. We know you feel very attacked, but that's no reason to take up arms against our elected government that's set up by the very Constitution you claim to know & love. It's just too much. And the last thing we need is a man-made disaster on your hands.

We can only hope Cliven Bundy and his outlaw gang can take this helpful advice from us, and from Mama Ru of course, before their delusions of grandeur land them into any more trouble. It's now time for them... To sashay away.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Principles v. Excuses

Principles are important. Principles indicate values. And principles form the foundation of something.

Early this year, House Republican leaders announced their "principles for immigration reform". This was nearly a year after they promised action on comprehensive immigration reform (CIR). And this was after they began voting on "TEA" tinged legislation meant to derail CIR.

So far, those "principles for immigration reform" have taken them nowhere. They're still standing in the way of CIR. They won't even allow a simple floor vote for HR 15. All they've allowed for are worthless excuses.

Excuses are meaningless. Excuses indicate nothing (except perhaps sloth). And excuses form the foundation of nothing.

Perhaps that's why even the US Chamber of Commerce is admitting that the Republican Party it used to know & love (but now just uses whenever it's convenient) is likely screwed for 2016. By p**sing all over 21st century America, G-O-TEA politicians are only handicapping their next Presidential Nominee.

Of course, readers here already know this. And deep down, even House Speaker John Boehner (R-Which Way Is the Wind Blowing?) knows this. But because he's afraid to offend the 21st Century Know Nothings who comprise his party's base, he's stuck in this conundrum of his own making.

It doesn't have to be this way. All he has to do to break this synthetic logjam on CIR is to allow a mere floor vote on HR 15. If he's telling the truth about the "vast majority of Republicans" wanting CIR, then he should give them the chance to vote for HR 15. If he truly wants to give a helping hand to Rep. Joe Heck (R-??!!) and other supposed pro-CIR Republicans in his caucus, then he should give them the opportunity to vote for HR 15.

It's that simple. No really, it is. There's no need to complicate this.

Either House Republican "leaders" actually believe in their principles... Or they have nothing to offer but excuses. They can't have it both ways. And if they keep trying to have it both ways, they'll be the ones paying the price.

Hot Scandal

Ready for some hot, hot, hot #Benghazi action? House Speaker John Boehner (R-Benghazi) most certainly is. And he doesn't care whether or not Democrats come along for the ride. He just wants to get his Benghazi on, baby!

Yet while he and the rest of his G-O-TEA acolytes (cough- Joe Heck -cough) prepare to take their Benghazimania to the next level, the rest of the nation keeps wondering why they're losing their s**t over this.

And why are they losing their s**t over this and not the greatest global security threat of our time? Why is it "overreaching" to talk about the very real threats posed by climate change?

While House Republicans are losing their s**t over a hashtag and some half-baked conspiracy theories, the rest of us are being scared s**tless by real life. And by real life, we mean the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. We've known for some time that the ice in Antarctica is melting faster than we're accustomed to. But now, we have confirmation that s**t is about to get awfully real far sooner than we had expected.

And no, we're not talking about "abstract models". We're talking about real life. We're talking about what we're already experiencing now. We're talking about our own future.

While G-O-TEA politicians obsess over their new favorite haute faux scandal, a very real scandal is unfolding before our eyes. This scandal is so real that the US Defense Department is now preparing for future climate relayed national security threats. What else do G-O-TEA politicians need to realize the actual hot scandal emerging just outside their front door?

For us here in Nevada, the Great Western Drought is already taking its toll. And for many other parts of the nation, this scandal has already reached a furious boiling point. So why can't Congress start investigating (and more importantly, acting upon) this very real & very hot scandal?

Notice Anything Different?

Gotta love that "Republican rebranding". Late last month, G-O-TEA media personalities were rushing to defend embattled racist billionaire slumlord Donald Sterling soon after they finished their worship ceremony for embattled racist "welfare cowboy" Cliven Bundy.

But now, Donald Sterling is trying to defend himself. So he went on CNN yesterday. And he declared Magic Johnson is not "a good example for the children"...

Because he is HIV positive. Oh, yes. That's right. He went there. (/facepalm)

After all, abusing one's tenants is far more honorable than someone who actually puts his money where his mouth is. How dare that Magic Johnson give back to his community! What kind of example is he setting up for the children?

Oh, but he's HIV positive! Yes... So? A number of Americans are. And they go on to live their lives. HIV is not a crime.

Harrassing tenants, however, is. And being a negligent landlord most certainly is. And Donald Sterling is most certainly guilty on both counts.

And speaking of negligent, let's return to our favorite negligent "welfare cowboy".

As we mentioned yesterday, the BLM is pursuing another court challenge to make Cliven Bundy pay up. Yet somehow, not even this is stopping his fan club from making a pilgrimage to Salt Lake City tomorrow to demand the feds give up land that has been federal land ever since The West became US territory. After all, Cliven Bundy knows a thing or two about "proper stewardship"...

And about [redacted]. And now, Ann Coulter & Rush Limbaugh want to tell us something they know about First Lady Michelle Obama. Because she dared to go to Twitter to demand Boko Haram release the 300+ Nigerian school girls they kidnapped.

Apparently, screaming at Michael Sam and HGTV wasn't enough. So G-O-TEA Culture Warriors are now throwing shade at Michelle Obama for demanding the safe return of the kidnapped Nigerian school girls. And they're reading Magic Johnson to filth for giving back to his community. And of course, they're still lusting after that "Range War" Cliven Bundy promised them.

So how's that "Republican rebranding" coming along? We're still wondering what's changed. Has the "brand" even been changed? We don't notice anything different.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Hot Mess

So it's 3 steps forward, 2 steps back for "Governor Sunny"? Back in February, Governor Brian Sandoval (R) finally agreed to drop the state's legal fight against marriage equality by essentially dropping out of Sevcik v. Sandoval. That's why the remaining defendants are left presenting this in court.

We thought Governor Sandoval had finally fully evolved into the 21st century. But no, he's crawling backward again by backtracking on marriage. Oh yes, he still won't say he supports marriage equality... Even though he's admitted the state's legal argument against marriage equality has no leg left to stand on.

What's this about? Is Sandoval truly that confused? Or is this just his twisted way of providing cover for Mark Hutchison, Adam Laxalt, Joe Heck, Cresent Hardy, and all the other Nevada Republicans who refuse to acknowledge the existence of the 21st century? Whatever the case, all we have to say is this.

Queen, you're a hot mess!

But then again, the entire Republican Party has devolved into a total hot mess. They can't reconcile their alleged devotion to "FREEDOM!" with their resistance to granting all loving couples the freedom to marry. So they must twist & turn in all sorts of strange directions to make their "libertarian populism" sound coherent.

So what else are we supposed to say? What else can we add? Oh yes, this: Queen, you're a hot mess!