Friday, April 30, 2010

NV-Sen: New "Chickens for Checkups" Ad Airing!

Patriot Majority PAC, an anti-teabagger/pro-sanity 527, is pouncing on "Barter-gate":

Why am I not surprised? As I said yesterday, Suzy Lowdown looks to be her own worst enemy and she's the one destroying her campaign. If she really wants to keep talking about it, I'm sure groups like Patriot Majority won't mind "returning the favor" in reminding us why she's too cuckoo for Senate-ville. ;-)

NV-Sen: The GOoPers on Immigration Reform

Jeez, why am I not even surprised any more? The Sun takes a look at where the Senate candidates stand on immigration reform... And as usual, they don't have anything truly meaningful to say.

Sharron, oh Sharron...

Angle, the former assemblywoman endorsed by the national Tea Party Express group, not surprisingly takes a conservative stance on illegal immigration. She supports Arizona’s new law, wants to build a fence or two on the border and create a “less illegal-friendly environment.”

In written responses to questions from the Sun, Angle would not say whether she supports eliminating education and emergency room access for illegal immigrants.

Instead, she responds with questions that imply she would at least consider it: “Should the taxpayers of Nevada be paying the cost of educating the children of illegals? Should an American citizen with a sick child wait in line at a hospital behind an illegal? No one wants to see a genuinely sick person turned away, but our priorities are all wrong when we don’t consider the consequences of these laws.”

Ummm... Perhaps Sharron Angle's priorities are all wrong here. Do we want to leave these kids untreated so they can possibly spread diseases to the rest of us? Do we want to leave them uneducated so they can't get any jobs and become dependent on public and private assistance programs? And do we really want to kick out all these many thousands of people PAYING THE TAXES (sales, property, and casino) that fund our schools, our hospitals, our roads, our entire State of Nevada?

Typical Sharron Angle. Her "wingnut tunnel vision" obstructs her from seeing the full picture of reality.


Chachas offers a kind of eulogy to the days when Americans could walk the streets unfettered: “It is worth noting that in many countries around the world, a policeman or military officer may, with very limited cause, ask any citizen to offer their ‘papers please.’ American society — the freest in the world — may be entering a period where our historic standards for personal freedom and the burden against government intrusion are challenged.” [...]

For a country with a $700 billion defense budget, there’s no excuse not to secure the border, he says. “If we can secure the border between North and South Korea does anyone really believe we can’t create an appropriate barrier between Juarez and El Paso?”

On a “path to citizenship,” Chachas says undocumented workers who will pay unpaid back taxes, fines and penalties should have a path to legal residency and citizenship in the typical time frame, though those who have been complete tax scofflaws should be deported.

Well, I'll at least give John Chachas some credit (again) for offering real policy... But it looks like he's copying Harry Reid's notes here.


As for immigration reform, Lowden says there is no need for additional legislation. The government, she says, should enforce the laws on the books. To secure the borders, the government should use technology to track movement and increase the number of border patrol agents, a task that for years has been elusive given rigorous skill requirements of the job.

Ah, Suzy Lowdown! As usual, she has nothing meaningful to say. Again, the legislation that Reid is proposing in the Senate will address border safety issues!

And again, Arizona's insane SB 1070 won't do anything to curb immigration problems. This is certainly not the way to go, mandating the police to harass people because of the color of their skin, And yes, contrary to what Suzy Lowdown may believe...

“I’m not sure it’s constitutional,” Lowden says. “We’ll have to let the courts decide that, but they’ve made a line in the sand saying to the federal government: ‘It’s your job to take care of the border and you are letting us down.’ ”

Racial profiling and unreasonable search and seizure ARE unconstitutional. But of course, Ms. Suzy only likes to talk about our Constitution when she can misinterpret it to trash health care reform.


Tarkanian, a lawyer and Las Vegas businessman, supports the Arizona law, saying the state has a “10th Amendment right and obligation to protect their citizens however they see necessary.”

By violating Fourth Amendment unreasonable search and seizure rights? Well, I guess Baby Tark at least gets a few brownie points for effort. Still, racial profiling is unjust and illegal. When did the color of one's skin become "reasonable suspicion"? But wait, it gets worse.

Tarkanian supports cracking down on employers who hire illegal immigrants and completing the border fence. He also wants to “make sure that those here illegally are not entitled to taxpayer-funded education, health care or welfare.”

To be clear, Congress has already outlawed welfare benefits for illegal immigrants; in general, federal law requires emergency care for the sick and injured; the U.S. Supreme Court ruled more than two decades ago that all children regardless of citizenship or residency are entitled to an education. Tarkanian would eliminate public education for children who are illegal immigrants. He would deport those here illegally after they receive emergency health care.

As for the millions living here illegally, Tarkanian would deport them “whenever we catch them.” He does not support any path to citizenship. “Even mere talk of amnesty is irresponsible because it encourages illegal immigration,” he says.

HUH??!! That's just crazy talk. As the article above states, Congress already passed legislation banning undocumented immigrants from receiving federal welfare benefits. And as I said above regarding Sharron Angle's lunacy, do we really want to punish the kids and leave them uneducated so they can become "untouchables" akin to the India of old?

So once more, the Nevada GOoPers don't really have much of anything meaningful to say on immigration reform. And why are we even surprised?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Casinos: Wynn Resorts Makes $0.22 Q1 PROFIT, Beats Wall Street Estimates, Shows Improving Vegas & Macau Numbers

This just in from The Wall Street Journal:

The performance shows the Las Vegas market is improving as Wynn's revenue there grew 9.3% and the operating loss narrowed. In the Chinese gambling enclave Macau, profit and revenue climbed 82% and 32%, respectively. [...]

For the latest quarter, Wynn reported a profit of $27 million, or 22 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $33.8 million, or 30 cents a share. The latest quarter included 4 cents of charges.

Net revenue climbed 23% to $908.9 million.

Analysts estimated earnings of 14 cents on revenue of $849.8 million, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters.

Operating margin rose to 12.6% from 3.7%.

Overall casino revenue, which provided three-quarters of the total, climbed 28%, while food and beverage revenue increased 2%. In Las Vegas, casino revenue grew 19% while non-casino revenue slid 1.4% as hotel revenue declined 8.8% and food and beverage revenue slipped 1%. The occupancy rate edged down to 89.4% from 89.5%.

And there's even more good news in the internals. The Las Vegas ADR was $203. Las Vegas REVPAR was $181. Table game win per unit per day was $6,459. Unfortunately, all of this wasn't enough to prevent a $34.5 million loss for Wynn Las Vegas (including Encore)...

But Macau's earnings more than offset it! Obviously, Wynn's formula for profit these days now includes a heavy dose of Macau action. Growth there is gangbusters, and it's becoming increasingly clear why they're so excited about building Wynn Cotai as early as next year.

So it was Macau that saved Wynn's day in the end... But Vegas is now starting to look better, and Wynn is looking all the better for it.

NV-Sen: Harry Reid, Health Care, "Lowdencare", GOP FAIL, and the Election

"Some people told me health reform wasn't politically smart, but I believe it's right for Nevada."

That's how Senator Reid closed the second of his three new health care ads going up this week, but ultimately it looks like health care reform will be both: both politically smart AND right for Nevada, that is. In addition to these new TV ads, he also has a "Nevada Health Facts" web site up with more good facts about health care reform. So far, it isn't looking bad...

And things may be looking even better in the coming weeks, now that Research 2000 is showing Lowden losing her lead over "Barter-gate" and GOoPer infighting set to ramp up some more this week.

Sue Lowden’s chickens-for-checkups gaffe is no longer just fodder for Dems and pointy-headed east coast talk show hosts. Her Republican rival is now officially making it an issue in the Nevada GOP Senate primary.

Danny Tarkanian, who runs a real estate business and is challenging Lowden, launched his first direct chickens-for-checkups attack on Lowden today, pointing to it as proof that she doesn’t have what it takes to take on Harry Reid in a general election.

The occasion for this move: Lowden gave an interview to a local TV station on chickens-for-checkups that has only landed her deeper in the manure. In attempting to explain herself, she looked a bit like a chicken who had begun to cross the road only to realize a truck was bearing down on her.

So for all the talk some weeks back about "Harry Reid is dead", the whole country is now starting to see just how f*cked up the Nevada GOoP is. Jeez, where's Dina Titus when we need her? (Btw, we still love her here, too... And I bet Team Titus is also liking this news!) :-p

Honestly, this is what we need to see more of. We need to keep seeing this contrast. Harry Reid and Democrats have provided real solutions on health care while the Republicans just offer idiotic crap. Same goes with Wall Street Reform. Same goes with economic recovery. Keep making those contrasts, and I'm sure Reid's poll numbers will continue to improve in the coming weeks.

Believe it or not, a good number of us Nevadans aren't stupid. We appreciate good policy, and we appreciate our elected officials who actually serve us and actually deliver good policy. As long as Harry Reid keeps doing this, he need not worry come November. :-)

Casinos: Another Day, Another Hot Mess in Station Bankruptcy Case

Why are we even surprised any more? Station Casinos is under fire for its now controversial plan to emerge from bankruptcy. It's been in a heated war of words with Boyd Gaming lately over the proposal.

In court papers filed Monday, attorneys for Station charged that Boyd has been meddling in the case -- claiming to be a creditor but actually acting as a potential buyer for Station. Station specifically objected to Boyd's insistence that its representative attend depositions in advance of the key reorganization hearing set to begin May 4.

"Boyd had sought to act as the stalking horse bidder in the auction ... but was not successful in negotiating for that position," Station's filing said. "As a result, Boyd’s true status is that of a disappointed bidder for the stalking horse position and a potential competing bidder in the ultimate auction.

"Equally important, Boyd is the debtors’ primary competitor, which means that regardless of the outcome of the auction process, Boyd has every incentive to try to disrupt the debtors’ efforts to preserve and maintain their business operations in a manner consistent with the debtors’ place at the top of the locals gaming market. Thus, Boyd’s posturing has nothing to do with its holdings of insignificant amounts of out-of-the-money bonds and everything to do with Boyd’s effort to try to gain access to debtor’s confidential documents and to attend the depositions in order to disrupt the bankruptcy process and the debtors’ business and obtain sensitive competitive information that it would then use to the detriment of the debtors’ estates.

"Boyd clearly views this as a 'free shot' to harm Station Casinos and gain a competitive advantage; such an agenda is not an appropriate use of creditor standing in these cases and should not be permitted," the Station attorneys charged, adding Boyd has failed to turn over documents related to the case sought by Station and Boyd violated a non-disclosure agreement by working directly with OpCo lenders on competing restructuring proposals.

"From the outset of these proceedings, Boyd has sought to delay, hinder, and obstruct the debtors’ reorganization, obtain access to Station Casinos’ valuable trade secrets, and harass Station Casinos' management. Simply put, Boyd has acted strategically to hurt Station Casino’s reorganization in order to further its own competitive interests. And, if at all possible, Boyd would like to poison the well for other potential bidders for OpCo, so that Boyd can obtain the OpCo assets at fire-sale prices," Station charged in its filing.

And not to be outmatched by Boyd...

But attorneys for Boyd, in denying allegations the company breached the non-disclosure agreement, said: "Boyd Gaming is a party whose involvement in these Chapter 11 cases as both a creditor and bidder already has brought substantial benefit to the debtors' estates, including by increasing the stalking horse bid."

Boyd attorneys also complained that Station attorneys have been making "vastly overbroad" discovery requests for Boyd documents.

"The majority of the debtors' document requests are directed to Boyd Gaming's development of its previous proposals to purchase the debtors' assets," Boyd argued. "Indeed, the debtors even have requested Boyd Gaming's competitive plans on competing with PropCo in the future.

"These topics -- what Boyd Gaming was willing to pay for the debtors' assets in the past, how it arrived at that decision and how Boyd Gaming will compete with PropCo in the future -- bear no relevance whatsoever" to current issues in the case -- amendments to the PropCo master lease between Station and lenders, Station's request that its exclusive period to file reorganizaztion plans be extended and the OpCo bidding procedures, Boyd's filing said.

"Rather, such demands only are designed in an attempt to gain insight into the amount that Boyd Gaming may be willing to bid in the future for the debtors' assets in an auction process in which Boyd Gaming will be bidding against the debtors' insiders," Boyd attorneys said.

And now, the bondholders are raising hell over the proposal:

Bondholders and other unsecured creditors, independent bank lenders and competitor Boyd Gaming Corp. have been attacking the Station plan as favoring the insiders and are likely to continue doing so during bankruptcy court hearings in Reno May 4 and 5. Billions of dollars are at stake in the case as the Fertitta/Colony proposals value the company at about $2.572 billion, while its debts and liabilities were last reported at $6.6 billion.

In a filing Monday, the bondholders asked Judge Gregg Zive to allow competing plans of reorganization to be filed so that creditors can recover more money than what is proposed by the Fertittas, Colony Capital and key lenders Deutsche Bank and JPMorgan Chase Bank.

"The debtors have been given several chances to put forth a good faith plan that benefits all creditors to whom they owe a fiduciary duty. The debtors have not used those opportunities to make progress through substantive negotiations with the vast majority of Station Casinos' creditors. Rather, they have offered sham auctions, one sided 'compromises' and conclusory, opaque rationales for their proposed actions," the bondholders' attorneys argued.

For instance, they charged: "Station Casinos has agreed to give the Fertitta brothers the opportunity to buy all remaining Station Casinos assets for a set price that all third-party bidders are required to top despite the fact that third-party bidders cannot buy the assets that are being stripped away from Station Casinos and handed to reorganized PropCo."

The controversy is swirling around Station's proposal to split up the 5 "PropCo" properties (Palace, Boulder, Sunset, Red Rock, Wild Wild West/Viva, and the Las Vegas Blvd./Cactus Ave. land) from the "OpCo" properties (everything else). PropCo won't be auctioned off while OpCo will... And a consortium of the Fertittas, Colony Capital, and JP Morgan Chase would be allowed to be the "stalking horse bid" in OpCo. And many of the technological tools needed to run OpCo would actually be included in the PropCo holdings. So when considering this, it becomes easier to see why the bondholders and Boyd are upset over Stattion's proposed plan to emerge out of bankruptcy.

It will be interesting to see what the courts finally think about this. Will Station be allowed to get away with it? Or will Boyd end up being in for a really sweet deal?

We know the Fertittas now want to keep everything together in Station world. We also know that the folks at Boyd are licking their chops over Station's assets. And in the end, it looks like we will ultimately still be dealing with a near duopoly on the Vegas locals' casino market. So the more things change with Station, the more they stay the same with locals' casinos?

NV-Sen: Lowdown in Trouble? Yes, b/c She Brought It on Herself

H/T Resident Nevadan Jed at Daily Kos for this...

And this.

No, Sue. You can't blame Harry Reid for your stupid idea. When you propose that uninsured folks should pay for health care with chickens, then you're the one changing the topic. And, I must say, you're doing it in most hilarious fashion.

I just hope Republicans don't see this video. If they do, Lowden is toast in the primary, and at this point, we definitely want her to be the nominee. Fortunately, there's only a month before the primary and she's leading the field.

Hopefully she pulls it out, because she's just an awful candidate. Lowden's Chickens for Checkups disaster has been unfolding for three weeks now, and each time she opens her mouth, she makes things worse. Now that she's finally gone on camera to try to turn things around, she's just gotten herself stuck even deeper in the ditch.

If she can't quell a controversy about using chickens to pay for medical care, how in the world does she think she's going to be able to defeat Harry Reid?

True. For all the folks trying to blame Harry Reid and Democrats for Suzy Lowdown imploding her own campaign, that's just hogwash. Suzy Lowdown did this to herself, and she is the only one to blame for this scandal taking over her campaign. Obviously, no one is putting words in her mouth... Nope, she's keeping this story alive by continuing to talk about it and talk about it and talk some more about it without offering any real health care policy.

The Hill has more on this:

“Before we all started having healthcare, in the olden days, our grandparents, they would bring a chicken to the doctor,” Lowden said during a recent TV interview on the Nevada-based program “NewsMakers.” “I’m not backing down from that system.”

The quote has left Washington-based Republican strategists scratching their heads — bartering is not part of the GOP’s playbook for attacking the Democrats’ healthcare bill. And it might have opened the door for her primary rivals to seize the nomination.

“It absolutely creates the opportunity for other candidates to get in this race,” said Ryan Erwin, a Las Vegas-based consultant who is working with Republican Senate candidate John Chachas.

Lowden’s original statement about bartering came almost three weeks ago at a town hall in Mesquite, Nev., that was videotaped by the Reid campaign. Strategists and political observers say Lowden’s campaign should have been able to move past the story more quickly. Instead she has repeatedly expanded on her comments — reiterating her support for bartering in a Las Vegas radio interview on Tuesday. [...]

“If she makes it past the primary, it would probably be a liability in the general election. Harry Reid would have some fun with it,” said Ted Jelen, a political science professor at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

With polls showing only a small group of undecided voters, Jelen said the result will hinge on turnout. “This might help Harry energize the base,” he said.

So without a doubt, "Barter-gate" may end up being the kind game-changer that Republicans weren't hoping for. And this is all their own making.

Republicans have been crowing for weeks about "repeal and replace", supposedly because the health care reform passed last month is do awful. So what do they want to replace it with? Bartering chickens? Trading house paint jobs?

Suzy Lowdown got herself into this mess because she still offers no serious health care policy. If she wants to keep talking about bartering, it's no one else's fault that the entire country is laughing at her. And if the Republicans keep encouraging their candidates to offer no meaningful, serious, rational policy solutions on anything, it's no one else's fault that they're losing grasp of an election they thought they were "supposed to win".

Casinos: Caesars Palace FINALLY Opens Octavius Tower... For Super-Duper High-Rollers!

And this villa can be yours for only $40,000 per night! So it looks like Harrah's decided to finally open Caesars' Octavius Tower... Well, only the uber-high-roller villas at Octavius so far. So for now, we'll just have to admire from afar until the rest of the tower is open to the rest of us. But hey, I can't complain about the look. If one's into "European Neoclassical Elegance", this place was certainly made for you. :-D

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

NV-Gov: Sandoval = Gibbons 2.0, and Ensign-lite Too

H/T Nevada Scandalmonger

Yes, meet the new Gube-wannabe... Same as the old Gube-disaster.

Do we really need any more of the same GOoPer hot mess that has put Nevada into such a mess? Don't we deserve better?

Just asking.

GOoPer Solutions on Wall Street Reform? Nope, Can't Find Any Here!

As usual, Desert Beacon has been doing an amazing job following the progress of financial regulatory reform in Washington. And as usual, the GOoPers here in Nevada are doing absolutely nothing to elevate the debate on reform.

Of course, it doesn't help when one of them actually IS directly from Wall Street!

Chachas is well-suited among the candidates to offer insights on Wall Street — he made millions there as an investment banker before deciding to return to Ely, his childhood home, and run for Senate as a Republican.

In a detailed white paper, Chachas argues that our system for “monitoring and managing risk across highly interconnected financial markets” failed. In general, he argues for more transparency and market-based incentives for a more prudent financial services sector.

"Market-based"? Really, Mr. Chachas? Weren't those "market-based" deregulation plans pushed in the last thirty years enough? If anything, the "market-based" laissez faire model of inadequate regulation is what caused this mess in the first place. The system failed because it was never properly equipped to handle the massive financial conglomerates that exist today.

But hey, I'll at least give John Chachas brownie points for actually treating the subject seriously. The rest of them just spouted off nonsense. Here's our favorite "Chicken" Suzy Lowdown:

Lowden, who said she would have voted with Republicans to block debate on the bill, said in a previous Sun interview that the meltdown was caused by too much, not too little regulation.

She stood by that laissez faire philosophy in written answers to Sun questions. Asked whether she favored reform, she replied, “Yes, but not the major reform being proposed by the Democrats. The No. 1 priority should be to protect the taxpayer,” though she didn’t elaborate.

Lowden opposes creation of a fund to help failed financial firms meet their commitments while the government uses an orderly process for liquidating it. Financial reformers have turned to this mechanism because the standard way failed firms are unwound, through the bankruptcy courts, is considered too slow, leading to panics while the onerous process gets bogged down in court. [...]

Lowden concluded by quoting the Republican favorite, President Ronald Reagan: “Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem.”

Ah, Ms. Suzy! Once again, she offers nothing meaningful to the table. As I just said above, it was the very laissez faire attitude towards financial regulation in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s that got us into this mess in the first place. And what does Suzy Lowdown propose? More of the same.

But hey, what should we expect from the same person who has offered the most laughably stupid "ideas" on health care that we've ever heard? And someone who's been awfully "truthy" about "government bailouts", decrying them while simultaneously benefitting from them?


Before you ask Angle how Wall Street should be reformed, you need to ask her if it needs to be reformed.

“No,” she said in a written response. “Getting back to tried and true supply-side economics affectionately known as Reaganomics will give small business and international confidence in our economy.”

On this, Angle is quite literally alone, not just among Republicans running for Senate, but also among economists and finance experts — left, right and center. Although there’s disagreement about how to do it, policymakers in both parties agree Wall Street must be governed by rules that will enhance transparency and safety.

Angle, a former assemblywoman with an endorsement from a national Tea Party group, said she opposes regulating the derivative markets, creating a fund for winding down failed banks and establishing a consumer finance protection agency. Angle instead ticked off a list of talking points from her stump speech — calling for an audit of the Federal Reserve, abolishing the IRS code and eliminating Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

Asked what she would do to reform the financial system, Angle said she would want to use unspent stimulus money to pay down the federal deficit.

Oh yes, Sharron Angle! As usual, she just says complete and utter nonsense! She "is quite literally alone" because she's crazy. Again, "supply-side economics" failed. Stronger regulatory oversight actually is needed to restore our financial sector to proper working order.

Now Lil' Tark Shark actually showed some promise by expressing support for some needed reforms, even he eventually joined the chorus of insanity as well.

Like most Republicans, Tarkanian opposes a $50 billion bank-financed fund to help failed companies meet financial commitments while the government winds the institutions down. “This provision institutionalizes bailouts, creating what truly is a bottomless bailout,” he said. “We must get away from the bailout mentality that has taken over Congress since the first Wall Street bailout.”

You mean the first Wall Street bailout that Bush and the Republicans shepherded in 2008? After allowing the SEC to decay to the point where it was toothless and meaningless in regulating Wall Street? And he's against finding the kind of solution that would simply break up insolvent banks instead of propping them up with taxpayer-funded bailouts. (The provision in this legislation is actually paid for with bank fees, not taxes on consumers.)

We know there's a major problem on Wall Street. And we know the powers that be on Wall Street are liking the Republicans' delay tactics. So do we really need to send another GOoPer to Washington to just obstruct? Or do we need someone who actually knows how to get something done?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Because We Need a Break...

I'm giving you the night off. Now enjoy...


NV-Gov: #AZRacism Exposes Sandoval Flip-flops

Are we surprised Dan Hart's 527 campaign is hitting Brian Sandoval hard on this? (H/T Nevada Scandalmonger)

Especially after Sandoval has done a total 180 flip-flop on immigration?

The three Republican candidates for governor threatened to rouse the Hispanic electorate last week during a televised debate, when Brian Sandoval and Mike Montandon endorsed an Arizona law that critics say could lead to widespread racial profiling of Hispanics.

A third candidate, Gov. Jim Gibbons, endorsed racial profiling.

The Arizona law, which was signed last week by Gov. Jan Brewer, compels local and state law enforcement to question the identity and immigration status of people if there is reason to believe they are not here legally. Those who cannot produce evidence of legal status could face six months in jail and a $2,500 fine. [...]

Immigration has been a difficult issue for Sandoval since he began his campaign. In response to a question from a Hispanic businesswoman, he flirted with the idea of giving illegal immigrants driver’s licenses but later came out against it.

Luis Valera, chairman of the Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce, which opposes the Arizona law, seemed incredulous when asked about Sandoval’s support for it: “I know Brian. I know he has told me he would never support anything that leads to racial profiling. Not only from a moral standpoint, but it would not stand up to a constitutional challenge.”

Asked to respond to Sandoval’s unequivocal answer, he said, “I’d ask him for a clarification on it.”

And by the way, yes, Brian Sandoval really did endorse the heinous and bigoted Arizona SB 1070.

On Arizona’s immigration law and racial profiling, Gibbons gave a confusing answer: “Racial profiling should be used for terrorism, if someone is coming here to deal drugs, commit crime, commit terrorist acts. If you’re going to racially profile an Irishman, then I’m going to question that. The constitution gives us all certain rights.”

Montandon said he supported profiling though it should not be racially based.

Sandoval, who was the state’s first Hispanic attorney general, said: “I have reviewed Arizona’s law, and I anticipated this question. I would support Arizona’s law. I do not support amnesty. I do not support driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants.”

His statement seemed to contradict what he told the Latino Lions Club in Reno — that he would consider driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants.

The hard line on immigration played well with the conservative crowd. But in November it will certainly be used by Reid to motivate Hispanic voters.

So who is the real Brian Sandoval? Who would we really get as Governor if he were elected?

NV-Sen: Suzy Lowdown's "Chickens for Checkups" Featured on Colbert Report

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Indecision 2010 Midterm Elections - Sue Lowden
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorFox News

Ah, Suzy Lowdown just keeps getting more and more (in)famous! Now, the whole country and the whole world can know the pride (more like embarrassment) of the Nevada GOoP!

Oh, and Nevada "News" Bureau has a new poll out that shows Ms. Suzy still leading in the primary... But with Baby Tark and Crazy Angle gaining on her. Apparently, she had a hard time keeping up with "teh crazy" in last weekend's teabagger debate. Oh my, this GOoPer primary is becoming so much fun to watch!

Monday, April 26, 2010

NV-Gov: "Luv-Guv" Gibbons Steps Into #AZRacism Debate... And Reminds Us of "Nanny-gate"

So "Luv-Guv" Gibbons really wants to reopen the immigration debate here in Nevada? Well, why doesn't he come clean about what he's done? (H/T Nevada Scandalmonger)

So does Gibbons want himself arrested for violating the law? That would be interesting to see.

Meanwhile Next Door, Racism Becomes State Law...

In case you missed it, Arizona codified racism in its state law on Friday. Under the guise of "getting tough on illegal immigration, Arizona's AB 1070 will allow police officers to use racial profiling and other intrusive techniques that clearly violate the Fourth Amendment provision forbidding unreasonable search and seizure.

By the way, why is it that the radical right likes to talk about "loving the Constitution" only when they're protecting corporate profits and have no legal ground to stand upon, but otherwise dismiss it and try to rip it into shreds? Citizenzero found some really scary teabagger comments that really prove this point.

And whenever the teabagger fruit cakes talk about immigration, why don't they ever go to the source of the problem? Blog for Arizona nails it.

It is Mexico that has seen its former agrarian economy disrupted by American agribusinesses that have bought up large collectives of land and forced small land owners off their family farms and into a desperate search for work anywhere they can find it. This is the consequence of NAFTA, CAFTA and free-trade policies. Exploitive American trade policies created this problem within Mexico. And exploitive American employers perpetuate the problem on this side of the border by hiring coyotes to transport illegal immigrant labor to the United States. As a result, people desperate for work die in the desert trying to cross the border or are victimized by human traffickers.

The drug cartel violence is largely concentrated within Mexico. It is the Mexican government threatened by "Narco" warlords and Mexican citizens threatened by drug cartel violence. It is Mexicans who are dying at the hands of drug lords made fabulously wealthy by Americans' demand for illegal drugs. Every time an American drug user purchases illegal drugs, that American is contributing to the wealth of the drug cartels and indirectly contributing to the deaths of Mexicans. Consider yourself an accessory to this crime. Americans can complain about gang violence on this side of the border all they want, but it is Americans' demand for illegal drugs that is contributing to the wealth of these gangs and indirectly contributing to the deaths of Americans on this side of the border. Again, consider yourself an accessory to this crime.

So let's focus on the real cause of this problem, shall we: exploitive American employers, and American drug users. Take a good look in the mirror, America, and face the cold hard truth. The solution to this problem begins with you.

See? It's really our problem. We're the ones that want the cheap fast food. We're the ones that want the good rock cocaine. We're the ones that want the cheap "helpers" standing outside Star & Moon Valley Nurseries at Eastern & the 215. We are the problem, and criminalizing being Latino and scapegoating immigrants won't help solve anything.

But hey, they're radical right Republicans... When have we ever expected real solutions coming from them?

Thoughts on Las Vegas AIDS Walk & HRC Family Picnic

(Also at Stonewall)

@LVStonewallDems & Team @HarryReid @ #LVAIDSWalk ! #Vegas #LG... on Twitpic

@LVStonewallDems & Team @HarryReid @ #LVAIDSWalk #Vegas #LGBT... on Twitpic

Young #NVDems in training @HRCLasVegas picnic yesterday #p2 #... on Twitpic

In the almost year since I've been living in Las Vegas (actually Henderson, but close enough!), I've been trying to get more involved in the community and be of good use. That's why I joined Stonewall. That's why I'm more than happy to help out with voter registration. But hey, it's not always all political for me. Sometimes, it's good just to go out, walk, and help raise awareness (and some cash... Seriously, chickens don't work here) for AFAN and what they're doing here in Las Vegas to help people living with HIV/AIDS and help prevent new cases of HIV/AIDS.

HIV/AIDS is still a major problem in our state and in our country, and it affects everyone. That's why it's important not to forget what we're facing and why we need to stay aware and keep fighting it. There may be new and better treatments available to help people live with HIV/AIDS, but it's not an easy life and it's still a powerful, incurable virus that leads to painful diseases.

However, it is preventable. And that's what AFAN is also doing, in addition to caring for people in our community with HIV/AIDS. That's why I was glad to walk with our Stonewall Team and Harry Reid's Team yesterday. OK, OK, I guess we did make it just a little political... And fun, too. The walk in Downtown Las Vegas was great, as we had live bands, street performers, and much more!

And afterward, the fun continued. HRC Las Vegas did its second annual Family Picnic right after AIDS Walk so we could all eat, drink (water, that is... It was HOT!), and be merry. And for all of us in the LGBTQ community, it was also nice to mingle and celebrate our "pre-PRIDE warm-up". We also saw some great friends of Stonewall visit, like Clark County Democratic Party Chair Roberta Lange, Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Fabulous) and Secretary of State Ross Miller (D-Awesome). We've seen plenty of progress on the state level, like SB 283 domestic partnerships, and hopefully we'll see more progress on the national level, like passing ENDA and repealing DADT.

And of course, this is why we all need to reach out to our family, friends, and neighbors to GET OUT THE VOTE! We can't expect any progress if we don't have allies in Congress, so it's imperative that we make sure progressives turn out and vote for the Democrats who will keep making change happens. That's why I was so glad to see people come to our Stonewall/Harry Reid (I bugged them yesterday about starting an "LGBTQ for Reid" group, and hopefully we'll see one soon!) booth and register or re-register (which is necessary when one moves) to vote. And as you can see in our photos, we did a pretty good job with voter registration!

So thanks to all our friends for coming over, joining us in the walk and in the picnic, and really making yesterday a big success! And if you want to join us again this next weekend for PRIDE, there's still time to sign up to volunteer for Friday's parade and/or Saturday's festival. Hey, why would you want to miss out on the next great fabulous party in town! :-D

Team @LVStonewallDems w/ #ShelleyBerkley @HRCLasVegas picnic ... on Twitpic

Team @HarryReid & @LVStonewallDems @AFANLV #LVAIDSWalk yester... on Twitpic

@LVStonewallDems & Team @HarryReid @HRCLasVegas picnic after ... on Twitpic

@Laura__Martin rocking @LVStonewallDems @HarryReid booth yest... on Twitpic

Team @DinaTitus @HRCLasVegas picnic! :-D #NVDems #p2 #Vegas #... on Twitpic

Horray for registering voters @LVStonewallDems @HarryReid boo... on Twitpic

Moi & Elmo @ #LVAIDSWalk #Vegas #LGBTQ #fb on Twitpic

NV-Sen: A Little "Chicken Sue" to Start the Day

Because it's always good to have a little laugh...

And don't forget to sign Progress Now's petition to Suzy Lowdown! Don't let "The Godfeather" scare you away. ;-)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Casinos: CityCenter Makes Conde Nast Traveler's "Hot List", Harrah's to Sell Rio?, Boyd Throws Station Reorganization Plans into Limbo

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Yep, you heard me right... MGM Mirage finally got some good news for CityCenter. Conde Nast Traveler has put both Aria AND Mandarin Oriental in its "2010 Hot List"! Apparently the rooms, the art, the restaurants, and the green touches all make Aria a winner in its book (even if Vegas Tripping and Rate Vegas' TWHT weren't as impressed initially). And since Conde Nast Traveler is quite revered as an authority on luxury travel, perhaps it can help encourage more of those high-end travelers needed to come and help CityCenter turn a profit?

Meanwhile in Harrah's territory, they may be considering (AGAIN!) selling The Rio. But unlike past rumors, which were just glorified gossip, this time it's getting press in Bloomberg Businessweek.

Harrah’s Entertainment Inc., the casino company owned by Apollo Management LP and TPG Inc., is seeking bids for the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, people with knowledge of the situation said.

Starwood Capital Group LLC and Colony Capital LLC are among the companies that are weighing bids for the resort, said the people, who declined to be identified because the talks are private. Some bids value the Rio at about $500 million, two of the people said.

Harrah’s, the world’s biggest casino company, is exploring a sale of the off-Strip property two months after buying Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. Las Vegas is coming out of a two-year slump that took casino operators to the brink of bankruptcy. Chief Executive Officer Gary Loveman cut Harrah’s debt by $4.2 billion in 2009 by offering creditors new bonds at a discount. He extended maturities on another $5.5 billion this year.

Dave McKee has more on this, including his thoughts on who might be the early favorite to snatch The Rio. He thinks Colony Capital (which currently owns The Las Vegas Hilton, as well as a chunk of the possibly-soon-to-emerge-from-bankruptcy Station Casinos) is the frontrunner, followed closely behind by Starwood Capital Group (which currently owns Sheraton, Westin, St. Regis, and a number of other hotel brands). However someone in the comments there mentioned the constant rumor that Penn National Gaming (which came close to buying the bankrupt Fontainebleau, which ended up in Carl Icahn's hands) may get it, which is always a possibility considering how badly it wants to enter the Las Vegas market.

So will The Rio be banished from Planet Harrah's? We don't really know yet, since the company isn't saying anything... Yet. But since Harrah's has already tried multiple times to sell The Rio, I wouldn't be surprised if they finally let it go this year.

And finally, speaking of Station Casinos, its long, hot mess of a bankruptcy isn't over quite yet... Boyd Gaming and the unsecured creditors are challenging the reorganization plan! They specifically object to the proposed PropCo/OpCo plan to let Station keep Red Rock, Sunset, Palace, and Boulder along with the proposed "Viva" site and the Las Vegas Blvd/Cactus Ave. plot of land while putting all the other assets (or OpCo) into "auction". Boyd and the creditors are claiming that the "auction" process and PropCo/OpCo divide put Station and Colony at an unfair advantage over everyone else (including Boyd, which badly wants to buy as much of Station as the Nevada Gaming Commission will allow).

Oh, and a group of independent lenders is also objecting to Station's plan.

"By excluding OpCo assets of significant value, as well as the PropCo assets, from the proposed Station Casinos sale, the debtors are not allowing their assets to be shopped as their fiduciary duty requires," Boyd charged in court papers.

Boyd also noted that its offers to purchase Station assets in February and December 2009 were not accepted. The last offer for the entire company was for $2.45 billion.

"We now know that the debtors were only interested in pursuing an insider transaction at the expense of their creditors' interests in breach of the board's fiduciary obligations," Boyd's filing said. "The court should not sanction the debtors' ongoing blatant disregard for the creditors' interests by approving these one-sided bidding procedures."

Similar objections were filed Wednesday by the case's Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors, representing bondholders and others owed some $2.5 billion. The unsecured creditors charged that the Fertittas and Colony Capital have arranged to acquire a 50 percent interest in the PropCo properties at a 15 percent discount while arranging a lucrative 25-year management deal for those properties.

"These series of transactions are structured, using New PropCo and Fertitta Gaming, to camouflage the conflicts of interest and self dealing that are at the heart of the ... plan," attorneys for the unsecured creditors charged.

"The proposed restructuring is simply a deliberate campaign by those controlling Station Casinos to benefit themselves, its equity owners, at the expense of Station Casinos' creditor constituents," the creditors charged.

Another objection was filed by a group of independent lenders, which also complained that assets crucial to the operation of the OpCo casinos would not be included in the OpCo auction.

"From the perspective of the OpCo creditors, the process makes no sense: It's like selling KFC without the Colonel's secret recipe, or selling Coke without the formula, because the seller fails to capture the full value of the enterprise and the buyer acquires a business crippled without its competitive advantage," the lenders charged.

So will all their objections be enough to derail the Fertittas' plan to take Station out of bankruptcy? We'll have to wait and see.

NV-Sen: Suzy Lowdown & Barter-care... Seriously

Progress Now Nevada has a new "Chicken Sue" action item up, and I really like their explanation of why Suzy Lowdown's "Barter-care" system doesn't work.

Sue Lowden (aka Chicken Sue), Nevada Republican candidate for Senate, thinks that the way to deal with skyrocketing health care costs is to have people barter with their doctors to trade good and services for health care.

While casino owning multi-millionaires (whose home has eight bathrooms and six fireplaces) might be able to pay cash for serious medical care, most people can't. In fact, we're pretty sure that's why the health insurance industry exists in the first place!

Now blog-master Steve Friess, who we're usually in awe of, actually tried to rationalize "Barter-care" yesterday on his blog. And while the arguments on the surface may seem to make sense, further analysis just destroys any argument that bartering makes any sort of sense.

- What if one has little or nothing to barter with? There's a reason why we've had 47 million uninsured Americans: The vast majority of them can't afford health insurance. So what makes us think they can afford to barter? Bartering means one has valuable goods to exchange for other valuable goods.

- What if one is already too sick and/or disabled to offer services? I know the next line of argument is: "Well, they can offer to paint a house or mow the lawn!" But come on, what if we're dealing with a cancer patient or someone with a broken back or an Alzheimer's patient? Should we expect them to try to mow the lawn or paint the house?

- What if the doctor just won't take a chicken or an offer to paint the house? These days most doctors work as part of management teams, and these management teams are far less likely to be able to offer special deals for their patients than those in private practice. Since all the doctors in the management team signed contracts spelling out acceptable rates and discounts, they can't just break the contract and put the business in jeopardy to barter. And by the way, this is also why paying cash most often doesn't work in reducing costs, either.

While many doctors may be compassionate people willing to help those in need, the staff still need to be paid and the medical suppliers expect to be paid. This is why neither bartering nor "pay-for-cash discounts" work as an entirely new health care system. And if you don't believe me, read what Steve Sebelius has to say this week.

Now of course The R-J is ignoring this story because it doesn't help their "anointed one", but all the rest of us reality-based folks have been (rightly) mocking Suzy Lowdown's "Barter-care" as ridiculous. But if the GOoPers really want us to take "Barter-care" seriously, then... Well, they still look ridiculous. Only this time, it isn't even funny. Unless one is super-rich and/or perfectly physically fit AND has a doctor in a private practice that doesn't have to deal with HMOs, "Barter-care" just doesn't work.

Now contrast this with the health care reform package that Harry Reid helped pass and President Obama signed into law last month. Take a look at the many benefits coming here to Nevada starting this year. I mean, just look at what we're getting.

What Health Care Reform Means for Nevadans:

No discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions.
Ban on insurance plans dropping you if you get sick.
Ban on lifetime coverage limits and caps out-of-pocket expenses.

What Health Care Reform Means for Seniors:

Closing the Medicare Part D donut hole – an immediate $250 rebate; 50% discount on brand names next year; and fully closed by 2020.
Free preventive care under Medicare – no co-payments and deductibles.
Help for early retirees – temporary coverage for ages 55-64.

What Health Care Reform Means for Women:

Ban on gender rating that results in higher premiums for women.
No discrimination for pre-existing conditions such as having had a C-section or being the victim of domestic violence.

What Health Care Reform Means for Small Businesses:

$40 billion in tax credits for small businesses to help them offer employee coverage.
The same access to quality, affordable coverage that large firms have today.

Now yes, we know the final package isn't perfect. We've talked about this extensively here. However, it goes a long way to set up the framework for a workable universal health care system and it's far superior to anything Suzy Lowdown and her GOoPer buddies are proposing. This is something we need to remember as discussion continues on "Barter-gate" and the coming GOoPer attempts to make it sound rational. It isn't rational, it doesn't work, and we're far better off leaving in place the historic health care reform legislation passed last month and instead building upon it to improve it.

NV-Sen: Suzy Lowdown's Game of Chicken

Remember when I was telling you not to freak out too much over the national media declaring Harry Reid "dead"? Well, this is why. All of a sudden, they're now realizing something we've been discussing for some time here in Nevada: Suzy Lowdown is NOT ready for prime time.

Here's Newsweek's account of what's happened in the last two weeks, including this lovely video mashup.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Harry Reid Wishes Us a Happy Earth Day!

OK, I'm just too sick and tired and lazy today to do a big Earth Day write-up now... But don't worry, I'll have some yummy eco-conscious goodness ready for you this weekend. In the mean time, please enjoy this nice little note from our Senator, Harry Reid. :-)

Dear Friend,

Today, as we celebrate the 40th annual Earth Day, I wanted to share with you some of the progress being made to preserve Nevada's environment and create good paying clean energy jobs.
I've made it my top priority to ensure our state takes advantage of our abundant natural resources like wind, solar and geothermal to lead the nation in clean energy jobs.  This will not only boost our economy, but protect our environment by breaking our dependence on foreign oil.

That's why I secured over $300 million in the Recovery Act for job-creating clean energy projects right here in Nevada.  That includes the funding for a new clean energy transmission line from White Pine to Clark County as well as $160 million for geothermal projects in northern Nevada.  And thanks to the Recovery Act, every electric meter in the state will be replaced with a smart meter, conserving energy, reducing utility bills and promoting savings. 

And thousands of Nevadans are taking advantage of a solar energy tax credit I passed. In fact, Solar Energy Industries Association said this will create 41,000 clean energy jobs in Nevada alone!

I've also made it a priority to protect our state's beautiful lands: we've set aside more than 3 million acres of wilderness area, created Great Basin National Park, and improved the management of popular areas like Red Rock Canyon and the Carson River corridor.

And I'm fighting to protect Lake Tahoe by reauthorizing the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act. This will help restore the lakes' famous water clarity and protect threatened species and wild lands, which have been threatened by invasive species and wild fires.  This is not only about protecting one of our state's natural treasures, but protecting the area's 23,000 tourism-supported jobs.

And this week, I announced almost $11 million in Recovery Act funding for a green office building in Boulder City to house 160 employees of the Boulder Canyon Operations Office, putting Nevadans back to work and contributing to a more sustainable environment.

Please take a moment to read more about what we've been able to accomplish together.

Also please join me by adding your name to Environmentalists for Reid or text EARTH to 42779 today.

Thank you for reading this note and I hope you will take a moment to join me in the fight to preserve Nevada's environment and create good paying clean energy jobs.


My (and Stonewall's) Letter to Dina Titus on ENDA

(Also at Stonewall)

So recently, Stonewall signed onto ENDA Now's letter asking for immediate action on ENDA. In addition, we've also just drafted letters to our members of Congress asking them to support ENDA. Well, actually Dina Titus and Shelley Berkley are already cosponsors, but Dean Heller has not yet suggested how he will vote this time. If you'd like to join us in asking for ENDA Now, you can draft your own "snail mail letter" using these addresses and/or use this online tool to email your Representative.

Below is the letter I drafted for Stonewall to Dina Titus thanking her for cosponsoring ENDA, and asking her to ask House leadership to get this passed soon.


The Honorable Dina Titus
U.S. House of Representatives
319 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-4708
April 21, 2010
Dear Representative Titus,
Thank you for cosponsoring HR 3017, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). This legislation is badly needed, as it remains legal in 29 states for employers to discriminate based on sexual orientation, and in 38 states for employers to discriminate based on gender identity or expression. Sadly Nevada is still one of those 38 states that allows workers to be wrongfully harassed, fired, and/or denied a promotion simply because of their gender identity or expression (, so many thousands of our workers would see immediate benefits from ENDA’s passage.
Las Vegas CityLife ( has just recently featured a story on the many hardships transgender workers face here in Nevada, and it has created a horrifying economic disparity where work is nearly impossible to find, the unemployment rate among transgender people can be as high as 35%, and access to needed medical care and financial security is deeply impaired.
This is why we must soon act to pass ENDA. There are too many Nevadans and too many other Americans unfairly suffering just because of who they are. A strong majority of Americans and a strong 65% majority of Nevadans ( support workplace anti-discrimination protection, so there is no reason for any further delays in passing ENDA. Thank you again for cosponsoring ENDA, and please urge your colleagues on the House Education & Labor Committee to mark up HR 3017 as soon as possible so ENDA can receive a full House vote. Please also urge Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer to press for a House floor vote soon so this much needed legislation can pass this year.
Thank you again for your steadfast support for LGBTQ Nevadans’ full civil rights, and we look forward to working with you and this and other important issues affecting our community.
Sincerely yours,
Andrew Davey
Secretary & Political Director
Stonewall Democratic Club of Southern Nevada

Great LtE on Wall Street Reform

I usually don't do this, but I must give props to local community organizer and progressive activist Marla Turner today. She wrote this awesome letter to the editor on financial regulatory reform, and it managed to get printed in both papers today!

On Monday, Citigroup announced it raked in $4.4 billion in the first quarter of this year and its stock went up. Last week, JP Morgan and Bank of America reported it earned $3.3 billion and $3.2 billion, respectively, during the same time.

They’re back in the black after Americans bailed them out (of the worst national economic debacle we’ve seen in decades), but Nevadans aren’t so fortunate. While Wall Street rejoices, thousands of Nevadans like myself are still making hard choices between food or medicine, shelter or education.

I’m proud of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada for having the courage to hold Wall Street accountable for the mess it created and insisting on financial reform. If folks don’t get behind Reid and get this done, Wall Street will still be posting record profits next year and Nevada will still be in the dumps.

And with Citigroup and Wells Fargo already trying to revive the very same "mortgage backed securities" scheme that helped cause the 2008 meltdown. OK, so maybe "mortgage backed securities" aren't inherently evil, but what is wrong is keeping investors in the dark on what they really are while this whole debt market remains mostly unregulated.

At the risk of redundancy, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with Mortgage Based Securities. They are a very useful way to provide liquidity in our financial markets. In all likelihood, the wary buyer will do some "diligence" and find out more about the loan level data, and the weights attached to the averages. One would think, "once burned, twice very very diligent." What is a bit disconcerting is that the banks would be moving back into the RMBS market without making it easier for investors to find loan level data, and without providing more initial public information about those "weighted averages."

The old argument used to obscure the nature of RMBS transactions said that the hoi polloi didn't need such information because, the bankers sniffed "These are for 'sophisticated' investors." After the average American taxpayer was put on the hook to bail out those 'sophisticated investors' it behooves us to (1) support the notion of exchanges on which these financial instruments can be sold, and (2) support the creation of independent clearinghouses that can scrutinize these deals so we don't have to.

We can't just keep making the same mistakes. It's nice to see all the banks benefitting after receiving all their TARP bailouts, but we the taxpayers can't keep holding the bag for them when their investments go south. And with Citi and Wells Fargo already jumping back into the "mortgage backed securities" game, we need to make sure the feds have the tools necessary to prevent another financial crisis like 2008's.

NV-Sen: Suzy Lowdown Goes Viral With "Chickens for Checkups" "Barter-gate"!

So The Sun is now noticing us talking about Suzy Lowdown's most ridiculously insane idea to date... And it hit MSNBC...

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Even The Economist noticed, and actually did some financial analysis on how our whole financial system would change (for the worse) if Suzy Lowdown's "Barter-care" plan were enacted!

Yep, it's all about chickens for checkups!

Suzy Lowdown: She Supports a Chicken in Every Doctor's Can!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

NV-Sen: Suzy Lowdown "Chickens for Checkups" "Barter-gate", THE REMIX!

From our friends at Progress Now Nevada:

So maybe if this lil' election doesn't work out for Suzy Lowdown, she and a chicken can spin out some awesome new tunes at the disco?

NV-Sen: Suzy Lowdown TRIPLES DOWN on "Barter-gate"

What? You really thought Suzy Lowdown would show some sanity soon and give up on her great new health care plan of "Chickens for Checkups"? Oh, no! She is still telling Nevadans to go f*ck themselves and try trading in goats for health care.

In yet another twist to chickens-for-checkups-gate, Nevada GOP Senate candidate Sue Lowden has now tripled down on her call for Americans to barter for health care, claiming that the idea has support from doctors, too.

Asked to clarify Lowden’s stand, her spokesperson, Chrystal Feldman, sends over this:

“Americans are struggling to pay for their health care, and in order to afford coverage we must explore all options available to drive costs down. Bartering with your doctor is not a new concept. There have been numerous reports as to how negotiating with your doctor is an option and doctors have gone on the record verifying this.

“Unfortunately, Harry Reid’s failed leadership forces us to take drastic measures. The fact remains that instead of producing a health care solution Americans support, Harry Reid spends his time focusing on attacking his biggest threat to another six years in Washington, Sue Lowden.”

HUH??!! Ummm... Last I checked, Harry Reid produced a health care solution that will start providing more affordable and more accessible health care, and a solution that doesn't require us clearing out our back yards to raise farm animals to pay for it!

Even Chuckie Muth isn't trying to defend Suzy Lowdown on this!

Still, the Lowden campaign has been molasses-slow in recognizing how bad this “macaca”-like moment really was when it first became public, and excruciating horrible at defusing it. Indeed, Ben Smith’s blog post this morning in Politico blares this headline: “Bring a Chicken!”

Add to the problem all the ridicule being heaped on the candidate by people commenting on the blog posts and columns which are commenting on the issue. Here’s just one example found this morning on [Politico reporter Ben] Smith’s post: “In April, we have take-your-kids-to-work-day. But in Republican senate candidate Sue Lowden world, it’s take-your-chicken-to-the-doctor-day.”

Ba-da-boom. [...]

Make no mistake; this incident probably won’t kill Lowden’s primary chances. She’s still way ahead in the polls and the election is just seven weeks away.

But Harry Reid ain’t Danny Tarkanian or Sharron Angle. And this out-of-control mess is a warning sign that Team Lowden’s quick-response messaging machine might not quite be ready for prime time. If they don’t get their act together soon, by the time Harry Reid really aims the vaporizer at her after the primary, should she hold on and win, there might not be anything there to vaporize.

Well, what can I say about that? Muth and other GOoPers wanted to anoint Suzy Lowdown as their candidate, so she is now their hot mess.

And now, we can all write to Ms. Suzy, thank her for her lovely idea of bartering, and ask her where we can find these doctors who will take our chickens for checkups. Maybe this was part of her favored health insurance plan at Santa Fe? After all, her company did break the law in forcing workers to sign away their health insurance benefits!

“When Sue Lowden headed the Santa Fe hotel-casino, management forced a group of workers to shift to part-time status and sign away their health care coverage, said a judge who ruled the company violated fair labor practices. He ordered the Santa Fe to pay two dozen employees almost $188,000 in back wages and benefits and to reinstate three workers who lost their jobs, records show … The complex legal battles between the union and Santa Fe management came after workers from Sept. 30 to Oct. 1, 1993, voted 300-241 for unionization in a labor board-supervised election, according to published reports. The Lowdens refused to recognize the results and dealt directly with workers in reducing hours and benefits instead of bargaining with union representatives … After the judge’s ruling, the Santa Fe was ordered to post a three-page notice to employees in the hotel-casino, admitting to the labor violations and promising not to repeat them.”

So I guess this is what it's all really about? Suzy Lowdown is simply out of touch with reality. She never had to worry about her own health care, and she certainly never bothered to even abide by the law in providing health care for her own workers. So should we be surprised that she still doesn't understand the health care problems all the rest of us in Nevada have been facing and why we needed real solutions instead of "Chickens for Checkups"?