Thursday, September 18, 2014

"Rebranding" BS

Earlier this month, we noted the lower House of Congress' failure to ensure equal access to military family benefits. Yes, you read that right. The G-O-TEA led House could not even agree to that.

Rep. Dina Titus (D-Paradise) has been working on this issue for some time. And finally, she succeeded this month at securing a committee vote for her legislation as an amendment to a related veterans' bill. It then lost by one vote.

Obviously, Rep. Titus was upset. However, she's not alone on this.

And she isn't stopping on this one issue. Yesterday, Rep. Titus joined Rep. Steven Horsford (D-North Las Vegas) in signing a discharge petition for ENDA. And as of today, Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) now has 75 signatures for his ENDA discharge petition.

The catch? All 75 of those signatures are from Democrats. And House Republican "leaders" just canceled all remaining work days until after the election. How sweet. So right after Congress returns from summer recess, the House will essentially enjoy a fall recess. We wonder where else one can find so many paid vacation days.

Unfortunately for millions of LGBTQ American workers, it's far from easy to even feel safe at work. Rep. Polis has amended the House version of ENDA to close any & all loopholes opened by the US Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision. Even though President Obama did sign an executive order forbidding federal contractors from engaging in employment discrimination, that still leaves millions of LGBTQ Americans throughout the nation who simply have the misfortune of living in a state without a state level ENDA and working for a company without any federal contracts.

Last November, the US Senate passed ENDA on a broad, bipartisan 64-32 vote of approval. Yet since then, the House has refused to take it up. Just like House Republican "leaders'" blithe dismissal of military equality legislation, they've been awfully swift in shooting down any & all attempts at bringing ENDA to the House floor.

Last November, the Republican Party's internal culture war burst onto national media headlines when Liz Cheney nearly disowned her sister in preparation for a US Senate campaign in Wyoming. Yet while Liz Cheney later abandoned her diastrous attempt at electoral politics to return to the cozy confines of the Northern Virginia DC suburbs, her sister Mary Cheney continues to plead with her party to make peace with the 21st century. Unfortunately for her and other Republican campaign consultants hoping to "revamp the party's image", the 21st Century Know Nothings continue pulling the G-O-TEA in more of a 19th century direction.

They're still struggling to accept marriage equality. They're still attacking transgender Americans with reckless abandon. They won't allow a floor vote on ENDA. And they can't even allow equal access to military spousal benefits. And we're supposed to believe "Republican rebranding" is real?

Sure, it's real... Bull$h!+.

Visions of Stadium Splendor

Uh oh. Maybe no goal?

In recent weeks, Las Vegas City Hall has been heating up as speculation has been ramping up over a proposed soccer stadium Downtown. Findlay Sports & Entertainment and The Cordish Companies have been hyping the cache of a prestigious sports stadium in the heart of "The Entertainment Capital of the World". Yet while they and Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman (I) have been hyping the razzle-dazzle of this stadium, others have been asking the tough questions. How many will actually attend games here? What are the real revenue projections? And how much will Las Vegas taxpayers have to pay for this?

Now, we know Cordish wants $3 million per year from the City of Las Vegas in addition to all the other subsidies Cordish & Findlay are demanding from city government (such as the ~$130 million they want the city to chip into stadium construction). That money would come from hotel tax revenues. Mayor Carolyn Goodman actually admitted it earlier this month on his show, even as she was claiming room tax revenue "isn't tax dollars, it's tourist dollars".

Last night, Las Vegas Council Member Lois Tarkanian (D) told Jon Ralston she would not vote for the Cordish-Findlay Stadium if the vote was today. She mentioned the issue of those hotel room tax revenues, and in particular how those room tax funds are used to maintain Las Vegas city parks. Council Members Bob Beers (R) and Bob Coffin (D) have already been sounding the alarms on this, and Tarkanian added that the city is just about to finish repaying bonds for parks in Northwest Las Vegas.

And the City of Las Vegas just recently raised user fees for youth sports leagues to use city parks. So how much will Las Vegas residents actually have to pay for this stadium?

Las Vegas isn't the only municipal company chasing after a MLS team. And when we look at the history other sports stadium subsidy deals, the outlook turns from merely very concerning to downright frightening.

Look, we're not against soccer. Far from it. And no, Mayor Goodman, we're not all just "naysayers". We're realists. And all we're asking for are the real numbers behind this stadium proposal.

We can see why Cordish won't talk to anyone and Findlay only agrees to "happy talk". However, Las Vegas city officials don't answer to Cordish and Findlay. They answer to Las Vegas residents. So they should not be afraid to drop the spin and start talking about the reality behind these visions of stadium splendor.

Ready for Primetime

Earlier this week, we noted the absence of a once familiar presence from local media. Once upon a time, there was no way to peel State Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson (R-Henderson) away from the TV cameras. Whenever he felt the urge to go on his favorite media pundit's TV show, he just went ahead and jumped onto the show.

So why are Michael Roberson and his hand-picked running mates now avoiding the very cameras he once cherished? Why are they now running away from the very media spotlight he once adored? When did Senator Roberson become so reclusive?

Has Senator Roberson suddenly developed a shy personality? Or has he just developed a deep fear of his general election opponent, Teresa Lowry?

We can understand why Becky Harris (R) is avoiding debating State Senator Justin Jones (D-Enterprise). We can also understand why Patricia Farley (R) doesn't want to debate Assembly Member Marilyn Dondero Loop (D-Spring Valley). Clearly, Harris & Farley are not ready for primetime.

However, Senator Roberson should have been ready for primetime since 2010. Hell, he spent countless weeknights prancing onto primetime TV in 2013! Why won't he debate his opponent now?

We doubt this has anything to do with shyness. Oh looky here, someone isn't ready for primetime.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Last night, the City of Las Vegas held its first of a series of six community town hall meetings at Centennial Hills Community Center. Why? Well... Goal!

Or at least, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman (I) and some City Council Members are hoping they're about to hit a big goal with a proposed Downtown soccer stadium. However, not everyone seems to be sold on this. Las Vegas city officials looked ready to give a "pep talk", but a number of residents were ready to grill officials over the numbers behind this grandiose proposal.

Las Vegas city taxpayers are being asked to chip in nearly $130 million towards the estimated $410 million price tag for the new stadium. A number of financial experts are now stepping forward to explain the many risks the city will take if it decides to partially subsidize The Cordish Companies' and Findlay Sports & Entertainment's desired Downtown stadium. After all, the city will ultimately be on the hook for at least $82 million even if the stadium succeeds in attracting a well performing Major League Soccer (MLS) team and selling out plenty of games... And that's still a major if.

Over the years, Dr. Judith Grant Long has been crunching the numbers on the public costs of "public-private partnership" sports stadiums. She's revealed the hidden costs of these stadium deals, such as "free land", lease discounts, and tax exemptions. Yet so far, the City of Las Vegas isn't noting any of these costs in its "financial analysis" of the stadium plan.

In 2012, Bloomberg News revealed that Americans had spent $4 billion subsidizing sports stadiums since 1986. And what have we received in turn? Oh, about $10 billion in additional costs while sports team owners laugh all the way to the bank.

There are plenty of good reasons for Las Vegas city residents to be skeptical about this latest stadium proposal. Remember when the City of Henderson ran into trouble over a stadium plan that Chris Milam was never going to get off the ground? While the Cordish-Findlay Las Vegas soccer stadium plan doesn't approach that level of fraud (or at least, not yet), there are already a number of warning signs on the high costs the City of Las Vegas will have to incur for it. And so far, there's little evidence suggesting this stadium will actually "pay for itself". After all, no publically subsidized stadium ever truly has.

Perhaps now that Tesla scored the sweetheart deal of a lifetime from the State of Nevada, Cordish & Findlay now want in on the corporate welfare gravy train. What exactly is the goal of Mayor Goodman and the stadium cheerleaders? That's the key question that City Council Members and Las Vegas city residents must ask at the upcoming town halls.

The Secret (Is Out)

What was an inconvenient snow flurry is suddenly becoming a dangerous avalanche. US House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom (D) are calling for the San Francisco 49ers to bench Ray McDonald while he's under investigation for abusing his pregnant now-wife. The Minnesota Vikings have suspended Adrian Peterson while he's under investigation for child abuse. The Carolina Panthers have just deactivated Greg Hardy following the public revelation of his May domestic violence conviction (he assaulted his girlfriend and threatened to kill her). And 12 other NFL players arrested on domestic violence charges are still active in the league.

It's not just Ray Rice any more. In fact, it never really was. Yet apparently, it took this avalanche of controversy to fall for NFL executives to finally realize they have a serious problem on their hands.

Corporate sponsors, such as Nike, Radisson, Castrol, Cover Girl, and Anheuser-Busch, are either pulling ad deals or issuing "concerned" statements. A growing number of fans are now making #BoycottNFL viral. And even the most hardcore NFL fanatics must now come to terms with the harsh reality of domestic violence...

Or maybe not? Already, rumors are buzzing about another NFL team potentially picking up Ray Rice. And that may be due to the NFL Players Association appealing the NFL's indefinite suspension of Rice. Even as some top NFL officials are signaling their willingness to make changes, others (hint: the owners) have just gone into hiding.

After surviving the firestorm that erupted when the Ray Rice story first broke, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh made some interesting comments about the meta here. Whether NFL bosses like it or not, this isn't something they can hide from. And whether we like it or not, this isn't something we can hide from.

In a fascinating twist, the NFL just hired Cynthia Hogan as its new Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs. In a past career life, she worked with then Senator (now Vice President) Joe Biden (D-Delaware) on drafting and passing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). It remains to be seen how the NFL's newest top lobbyist will "resolve" this issue going forward.

But right now, we must ask this: How will we resolve this issue going forward? When War Machine/Jonathan Koppenhaver was making national headlines over his assault on then girlfriend Christy Mack and Corey Thomas, we noted that domestic violence is an issue that goes far beyond the confines of UFC, Bellator, and even MMA (mixed martial arts) in general. The same rings true for the 49ers, the Ravens, the Vikings, and the NFL in general. This is still a problem for American society in general.

In debuting her new daytime talk show, former NBC "Today" co-host Meredith Vieira revealed a very dark and painful secret on national TV. It's a secret that only people like Vieira, Christy Mack, and Janay Rice can fully comprehend. And it's a secret that we shouldn't force any person to keep to oneself.

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The secret is out. There's no hiding it back in some dark corner. And really, we never should have done that in the first place. So what will we all do to end the seemingly endless cycle of violent misogyny that threatens way too many American women?

Denial Is Not an Option.

Yesterday, Washoe County School District had to cancel all outdoor events. The smoke even became that thick in Reno.

The King Fire has spread to over 18,000 acres. It's still only 5% contained. A portion Highway 50 between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe is now closed. And over 1,600 homes are threatened in El Dorado County, California.

Once again, a wildfire is hitting Northern California and Northern Nevada quite hard. And this has been quite the gruesome Western Wildfire season in 2014. Washington State's wildfire season has been 6 times worse than normal this year. Yosemite just endured a major wildfire. Even the sub-arctic forests of Canada have experienced wildfires like never seen before.

Perhaps now is finally the perfect time to talk about climate change... And climate solutions? We have a growing pile of evidence showing how climate change is worsening wildfire season. How much more evidence do we need?

Last month, House Republicans actually decided to skip town for Congress' August recess without even allowing a floor vote on bipartisan wildfire aid legislation. And of course, G-O-TEA hotheads on both sides of The Capitol are still complaining about President Obama's recent executive actions on climate change.

The smoke in Reno has officially reached an unhealthful level this morning. More evacuation orders may soon be coming to El Dorado County. A growing swath of terrain from the Sacramento exurbs to the Truckee Meadows is now feeling the effects of this latest huge wildfire.

We can't deny it's happening. That's no way to fight a wildfire. So why are so many of our elected "leaders" still denying the climate change that's fueling more of these epic infernos?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Normally, we don't do this. Normally, we don't post this kind of material here. But today, we must make an exception.

So here goes.

(Images courtesy of the Nevada State Democratic Party.)

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After he took a quick post-primary victory lap (as in not even reaching 60% against an underfunded opponent), State Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson (R-Henderson) suddenly clammed up. But why? He's become world renowned (well, among Carson City politicos) for his loquacious ways. What changed?

Now, we're hearing that he and his "hand picked candidates" are dropping out of debates. And not only that, but they're even avoiding debates hosted by Senator Roberson's favorite media pundit. What changed?

Is Senator Michael Roberson (R) too afraid to discuss his own record? Is Becky Harris (R) too afraid to explain where she stands on any issue (along with where she lives)? Is Patricia Farley too afraid to even reveal herself to local media?

What are they afraid of? Why are they now chickening away from any sort of public scrutiny? A while ago, the above mentioned media pundit claimed they were not hiding from media scrutiny, but rather taking time to be "groomed" before entering the media spotlight. So where are they now? And why are they even refusing to do his show?

"Not your typical Republican(s)"? No, this is very typical behavior. In fact, this is typical for any politician of any stripe who has something to hide.

And we know exactly why they're all in hiding. It's far easier to blanket the Las Vegas Valley with glossy mailers and glitzy A-frame signs than to meet the voters and face local media. And it's more convenient for them to continue beating their prized dead horse (via their campaign ads) than to actually explain their real policy plans.

We get what they're doing, but we won't let them get away with their ridiculous game of chicken.

Gaining Traction

Here we go again. It's time for even more "rebranding". Earlier this year, the NRA decided to make a big splash with its own online TV channel. After all, that's where all 'dem 'dar "YUNG-GUNZZZ(!!!)" iz.

Ever since then, the NRA has been doing everything possible to "rebrand" both itself and the nature of gun violence. It's claimed "your dead kids don't trump our rights". It's tried to sweep away "unfortunate accidents" while redefining the English language. It's mocked the civil rights movement. Oh, and it's even demanded more guns at school while going Godwin.

We can't help but notice the NRA's rather interesting "rebranding" strategy unfolding just as Everytown and other gun safety advocates are taking their message to the streets... And to the phones. Last night, we stopped by a local Everytown for Gun Safety volunteer phone bank in Henderson. They were busy recruiting more volunteers to get out the vote this fall for pro-gun safety candidates. And no, they didn't need an online TV channel or a redefinition of various words to make their goals for the evening.

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They just needed their cell phones, outlets, and snacks. That's all.

Perhaps that's because so many Nevadans support expanding background checks for gun purchases, keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of domestic violence perpetrators, protecting children from unnecessary harm, and other basic gun safety reforms. It's so much easier to state where one stands on securing our communities than to continually "rebrand" the source of so many senseless deaths.

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We're not quite sure what the NRA thinks it's accomplishing with killer cop competitions, old fashioned duels, vitriolic personal attacks, and all around douchebaggery. But hey, if it ain't broke... Wait. The NRA may be far from broke, but it's increasingly sounding like a broken record.

And perhaps this is why gun safety advocates (locally and nationally) are increasingly gaining traction.

Mystery at Highland Hills

How would you enjoy living on top of a landfill? Most likely, we probably wouldn't enjoy that at all. And we certainly wouldn't enjoy living in a sinking, stinky house.

We can't imagine the horror residents of Highland Hills in Mesquite encountered when they realized they were living on top or way too close to an unsealed landfill. Oh, yes. That's right. The residents of Highland Hills are literally living on top of trash.

This may sound funny, but Highland Hills residents aren't laughing. One couple already abandoned their house on doctor's orders. Methane tests have become a way of life for the neighborhood. Several homeowners have been warned about carcinogens lying just below their floors. Homeowners have also been sounding the alarms on cracks in their respective foundations, driveways tearing apart, and houses graduallly sinking into the ground.

The City of Mesquite and RFMS, the company that developed Highland Hills, have lawyered up. The City of Mesquite has also gone to great lengths to deny records to Mesquite residents pertaining to the construction of Highland Hills. So what might the Mesquite City Council and RFMS be hiding?

That's what nearly everyone in the Virgin Valley is asking. After all, Highland Hills was built by Legacy Construction & Development. And Legacy Construction & Development happens to be the company owned by then Mesquite City Council Member Cresent Hardy (R-"Segregation Laws"). (And yes, this the same company Assembly Member Crescent Hardy later led into Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in January 2012.)

Is Cresent Hardy afraid of something? Are his former City Council colleagues and trusted Virgin Valley political network afraid "he knew too much" when he signed the deed (for what was to become Highland Hills) over to RFMS? And not only was Cresent Hardy on the City Council when this land sale occurred, but his company was also a partial owner of the unsealed landfill!

But wait, there's more. While Cresent Hardy has been in the Nevada Legislature, he and several of his Republican colleagues have been trying to weaken or fully repeal Chapter 40, Nevada's construction defect law that was designed during the 1990s to aid homeowners seeking justice when they're duped into buying faulty real estate. In 2011, Assembly Republican leaders tried to hold up a budget deal while demanding weakening of Chapter 40. And in 2013, none other than State Senator Michael Roberson (R-Sleaze) authored SB 161 in another attempt to undermine Chapter 40.

Already, Highland Hills homeowners are living in a world of hurt and atop a pile of trash (literally). Imagine how much more hardship they'd have to endure if they didn't have resources like Chapter 40. Yet that's exactly what Michael Roberson and other top Nevada Republicans want to take away from Highland Hills homeowners.

And then, there's the matter of NV-04 Congressional candidate Cresent Hardy (R). What did he know, when did he know it, why did he withhold this information from Mesquite residents, and why was he allowed to take part of a transaction he stood to gain from? There are still so many unanswered questions there.

Watch this space. We suspect there's more to this disturbingly pungent mystery at Highland Hills.

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Waiting Game

Last week, the State of Nevada had no one present. No one even bothered to show up for court in San Francisco. Instead, the judges of the Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals instead had to endure this bucket full of crazy last week.

We will likely receive a ruling from the Ninth on Sevcik v. Sandoval fairly soon. And so far, marriage equality seem to be liking their odds.

Yet now, other states may have leapfrogged ahead of Nevada on the way to the US Supreme Court. However, Nevada may yet slip onto The Supremes' docket if the Ninth issues a ruling on Sevcik this week.

As we've discussed before, the US Supreme Court set this chain of lower court marriage rulings with its US v. Windsor. Will the SCOTUS Justices who ruled so passionately in favor of LGBTQ civil rights reverse course so suddenly? We seriously doubt it, but we can't take anything for granted there.

Now here's where it becomes even more interesting. The State of Nevada dropped its legal defense of marriage discrimination in February. That's why no one from the State of Nevada even bothered to show up in San Francisco last Monday to argue for the Question 2 marriage ban. And that's why US Supreme Court Justices will have to determine standing (a la Prop 8 California) should the usual suspects decide to appeal the Ninth's ruling.

This is why we're now playing the waiting game. If the Ninth Circuit rules in favor of equality, Nevada may become State #18 for marriage equality by next month. Or we may not, should SCOTUS decide to place that ruling on hold. Perhaps our case may be one of the marriage cases that will set a national precedent next year. Or perhaps not, should SCOTUS decide not to take up Sevcik at all.

Whatever happens, this month promises to be an exciting one for civil rigts activists here in The Silver State. We're just waiting to see what comes next.

"Play Long Ball"

Did you hear? Everything is coming up roses! We will be greeted as liberators! Just take a look on the bright side of life! And no matter what, always make sure to admire the bright & sunny "optics".

Last week, the mantra was supposed to be, "Ratification is different from rubber-stamping." But now that Tesla secured the deal it always wanted from Carson City, even the media pundit who uttered those words before the 28th Special Session of the Nevada Legislature is now upset because some legislators didnt rubber-stamp the Tesla deal quickly enough.

Wait, what?! Sadly, even some highly esteemed leaders of the Fourth Estate have caught #Teslamania.

Last week, The Atlantic's CityLab Editor-at-Large, Richard Florida, tried to warn those in Carson City of the risks of placing all of Nevada taxpayers' eggs in one "economic development" basket. And now, Los Angeles Times business columnist Michael Hiltzik is essentially calling our state's leaders "suckers" for approving the Tesla deal so quickly without analyzing the true cost of all the giveaways Tesla demanded along with the possibly way-too-rosy economic forecasts from the Governor's Office. Oh, and Good Jobs First continues to question the wisdom of allowing such a profitable company to operate in Nevada completely tax free for the next decade.

A cool $195 million is already leaving the state's coffers for Tesla corporate headquarters. And that's while Northern Nevada local authorities are just starting to realize the strain on local infrastructure that they just agreed to. How will we pay for the new roads and schools in Washoe, Storey, & Lyon Counties? And how will this affect state funding for the already overcrowded Clark County School District (CCSD), the already overburdened Southern Nevada transportation system, and still-in-need-of-some-TLC Southern Nevada economy?

Yesterday, the above mentioned media pundit used his Sunday Column to chide all the "ivory tower know-nothings and southern partisans" who dared to question Governor Brian Sandoval's (R) "play long ball"/"swing for the fences" strategy. Oh, really? What in any of this deal is "long ball"? How did Sandoval's "economic development team" "swing for the fences" by agreeing to the same old corporate welfare that this state has always tried to use to "diversify our economy"? How's that working out for us? The only difference this time is that the Tesla corporate welfare package is 14 times greater than the previous record setting Nevada corporate welfare package (cough- Apple -cough).

Look, we know Tesla likely has a bright future ahead. We even realize Tesla's potential role in a climate change/clean energy/human survival breakthrough. We can't understate the promise of the ground Tesla broke in Storey County.

We're just wondering why we're once again trying to substitute short sighted corporate welfare for long sighted economic planning. If we truly care about the well being of our state and our people, we know how to secure a far better bang for our buck. Yet in order for us to score this kind of real "long ball" deal, we'll need to approve it ourselves.

Our Problem

Earlier this month, we noticed the growing social media campaign in support of War Machine. We also noticed a common theme in this social media campaign in support of him as he goes on trial for the vicious near-fatal beating of Christy Mack and Corey Thomas: "She deserved it".

Shade Tree Executive Director Marlene Richter had something to say about this latest round of victim blaming.

Bottom line: It's slut shaming. And not only is it slut shaming, but it's the kind of slut shaming that can kill.

And now, believe it or not, we're seeing all sorts of excuses made for suspended NFL runningback Ray Rice and his vicious beating of his then fiance (now wife). "Oh, but obviously Janay Rice is OK with it! Why can't the damned LIB'RUL FEMINZAIZZZZZ leave them alone?! We're ruining the game by 'feminizing' it! And come on, domestic violence isn't really a serious problem."

Far too often, we shift blame to the victim. We ask why they stayed. We ask why "they asked for it" (even though they never did). We ask what's their problem.

Perhaps we need to focus more on our problem. Perhaps we need to stop blaming the victims. And perhaps we need to realize people's lives are more important than "alpha male s--t".

Are we ready to start addressing our problem?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Last Call

Consider this your last call! You don't want to miss out on this. Seriously, you don't want to miss out on ProgressNow Nevada Action's exciting event, "Celebrate Progress".

Join Arshad Hasan, national ProgressNow Executive Director, and ProgressNow Nevada Action for a big announcement and fundraiser.

In addition to celebrating the big news, join us to celebrate and honor four amazing progressive individuals in Southern Nevada for always standing up for the issues that matter most.

Progressive Leader Award - Senator Tick Segerblom

Rising Progressive Leader Award - Rudy Zamora

Progressive Voice of Reason - Andrew Davey

Progressive Business Owner Award - Cassandra Rice, owner of GymCats

There are plenty of great reasons to "Celebrate Progress". So why not join us?

How often do you have the chance to Arshad Hasan, a premier nationwide expert on grassroots campaigning? This alone is worth the price of admission. A source close to the event actually told us, "I learned everything I know about grassroots campaigns from Arshad."

So consider this your last call. We'll be celebrating progress next Tuesday at 6:00 PM. We'll be at Artifice in Fabulous Downtown Las Vegas. And tickets start at just $50... Or $5 a month for the next year!

Please RSVP here. We hope to celebrate progress with you & all our friends at ProgressNow Nevada Action next Tuesday.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Done Deal: The #Teslamania Postscript

It's official. It's happening. And it's unanimous.

Late last night, the Nevada Legislature unanimously passed the Tesla deal. Governor Brian Sandoval (R) quickly signed it into law as US Senator Harry Reid (D) signaled his approval from DC.

Ultimately, Tesla got the $1.25 billion in tax credits it wanted. However, the final bill was slightly modified to ensure Tesla factory workers receive decent wages and health insurance benefits. The final bill also included more oversight should Tesla request a waiver for the 50% Nevada workers hiring requirement.

So it's a done deal. A bunch of legislators and media pundits are smiling as they await their return flights to Las Vegas. And of course, Tesla executives must be grinning from ear to ear this morning.

But what about all the rest of us? After the State Senate wrapped up their voting, they had just enough time for a few speeches. And yes, a handful of Senators actually addressed the 900 pound gorilla in the room.

Senator Tick Segerblom (D-Las Vegas) went even further in addressing the problem... And the solution. He pretty much channeled "The Original Gleaner" Hugh Jackson in pointing out the obvious. Why is it so damned easy for our state government to hand out corporate welfare like candy while failing repeatedly to properly fund public education?

It's a done deal. Tesla just got its sweetheart deal... But what about the rest of us? Where's our sweetheart deal?

Here's what isn't yet a done deal: this year's election. In particular, we have our solution: The Education Initiative (TEI). As Senator Segerblom and Hugh Jackson yesterday, we need to secure a good deal for our communities by making it happen ourselves.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Think Before You Act

Today, we're all remembering what happened 13 years ago. And we're facing tough questions that harken back to the decisions made in the aftermath of September 11.

Not even a year after 9/11 and the start of the Afghanistan War, then President George W. Bush wanted to go to war in Iraq. We were initially told Saddam Hussein was personally responsible for 9/11. Then, we were told Saddam Hussein was providing safe harbor to al-Qaeda terrorists. Then, we were told Iraq was somehow part of the "Axis of Evil". Then, we were told of "smoking guns" and "mushroom clouds".

Ultimately, then President Bush got the war he wanted. Thanks to neoconservative allies in Congress like Senator
John McCain (R-Arizona), approval for the Iraq invasion was a snap. And Bush never had to worry about obtaining more funding for what later became a war of "liberation" and "spreading democracy".

Senator John McCain, along with so many of the other regular cable "news" talking heads and Sunday show pundits, have regularly been proven wrong on their constant assertions that all we need is another war in order for Americans to "feel safe".

But what if we don't need another war in order to "feel safe"? What if we don't need to repeat the mistakes from our last war in the region? What if we actually think before we act?

We can't afford to make the same mistakes we made in Iraq last decade. While Isis indeed poses a threat to regional stability in the Middle East, it's not the some rapidly approaching apocalypse for America. Yet if we make the wrong move there, we risk further destabilization of the region (and ironically, a stronger Isis).

Contrary to what certain "TEA" flavored media pundits like to say, sports analogies won't help. Neither will bombastic rhetoric. And probably neither will yet another full scale Middle East war.

Perhaps we should think some more before we act. We have no obligation to repeat the mistakes of the previous Iraq War. And we have no obligation to commit thousands more American troops to a geopolitical Pandora's Box that only promises more brutal & bloody mayhem if opened. However, there are 535 people on Capitol Hill who do have an obligation to hold a vote. We'd like for them to think and act on it.