Archive for March, 2010

Nevermind the $2,000 Strip Club Tab, What About the $110 Million You’ve Blown?

By Elizabeth Crum | 12:35 pm March 31st, 2010

By now you have probably heard about the the controversial situation involving a large tab at a racy L.A. nightclub, an RNC staffer whose credit card was declined and a very helpful consultant (who now surely regrets handing over his plastic).

The staffer was fired, the consultant has lost some clients and RNC “management” has been roundly criticized…all of which distracts from the larger story here.

A March 20 FEC filing shows the RNC has $9.5 million cash on hand.  Chairman Michael Steele began his tenure with $22.8 million and has since raised another $96.2 million. But during that same period the RNC has spent $109.6 million.

So, the $2,000 reimbursement of a highly questionable expenditure at a strip club aside, what about this $110 million the RNC has spent?  Members must be wondering:  What do they (we) have to show for it?

And how is the RNC now going to raise another $100 million – and the much more they will need – with perceptions of inappropriate misspending hanging over their heads?

Health Care Reform Lawsuit Sum-Up

By Elizabeth Crum | 11:27 am March 31st, 2010

In a bit of a hurry, Dear Readers, and will be mostly Off for the next day and a half, so here is a quick recap of the latest with the governor, the AG and a possible lawsuit against the federal government re: the health care bill:

– Ralston was first up with the AG’s “not gonna do it” letter yesterday.  Click here to go to his blog and read it.  The gist of her arguments against is that the Constitution gives Congress the authority to regulate commerce, a 10th amendment challenge is therefore not supported, the program is voluntary anyway, hiked Medicare costs don’t matter, and Nevada has already conceded the authority to Congress to regulate health care due to a past situation in which we “used the legal tools that Congress gave us under the Sherman Antitrust Act and the McCarran-Ferguson Act to protect the citizens of this state” re: a matter of interstate commerce.

–  Gubernatorial candidate (and ex-AG) Brian Sandoval, after sleeping on the whole matter when Gibbons initially called for a lawsuit, has now also criticized our current AG for her position saying he is “disappointed” by her “refusal to join several other states” in a suit. (Anyone else getting the feeling that Sandoval might be a bit of a gauge-the-political-winds, bandwagon type-o-guy?)  He went on to say the issues with the health care bill are “monumental.”  And so on; you get the idea.

– To the pundits who says Gibbons’ position on the matter is all about politics and winning a second term:  maybe yes, and maybe no.  Nobody knows Gibbons’ motivations but Gibbons.

– Re: the legal question over whether Gibbons can hire an outside lawyer, we answer one question but find another when we read NRS 228.110, which says the AG and her deputies are The legal advisers on all state matters arising in the Executive Department of the State Government and that:

No officer, commissioner or appointee of the Executive Department of the Government of the State of Nevada shall employ any attorney at law or counselor at law to represent the State of Nevada within the State, or to be compensated by state funds, directly or indirectly, as an attorney acting within the State for the State of Nevada or any agency in the Executive Department thereof unless the Attorney General and the deputies of the Attorney General are disqualified to act in such matter or unless an act of the Legislature specifically authorizes the employment of other attorneys or counselors at law.

Key words here are “employ” and “compensated.”  What if counsel works for free, as Gibbons’ last week indicated he had attorneys on stand-by to do?

– So, we shall see what the governor’s office plans to do next.  Send another strongly worded letter to the AG?  Go ahead and tell his free-to-you attorney friends to get to work?  Try to appeal to the state legislature to let him go around the AG (as the governor of Arizona who is also being bucked by a Democrat AG is doing)?  I imagine they are discussing the matter as I type this…

Sec of State Lists One Candidate Challenge, Four Withdrawals and a Pending Petition

By Elizabeth Crum | 8:30 pm March 30th, 2010

The Nevada Secretary of State said his office received one challenge to a candidacy prior to the March 29 deadline. Mark E. Hunt of Lyon County filed documents on March 23 challenging State Board of Education District 10 candidate Gordon Cornell’s qualifications, claiming Cornell doesn’t live in District 10. (Hunt also withdrew his own candidacy for the seat.)  The challenge will be turned over to the Attorney General’s office for resolution.

The Secretary of State also confirmed his office is a co-defendant in a petition filed by Independent American Party candidate Tim Fasano who is seeking to disqualify Scott Ashjian from running for the U.S. Senate as a “Tea Party of Nevada” candidate. A hearing is scheduled in the First Judicial Court in Carson City on April 14.

Four candidates who had filed with the Secretary of State’s office formally withdrew their candidacy prior to the March 23 deadline. Republican Sherry Brooks of Reno and Democrat Roy A. Woofter of Las Vegas both withdrew from the race for U.S. Senate.  Twelve Republicans and four Democrats now remain in that primary race. One Independent American Party candidate and four Non-Partisan candidates will appear on the general election ballot. And, of course, the courts will determine whether Tea Party of Nevada candidate Ashjian is on the general election ballot.

In other races, Democrat Robert Potter of Carson City withdrew from the state legislative race in the Capital Senatorial District and Mark E. Hunt of Dayton withdrew from the race for the non-partisan State Board of Education District 10 seat.

Nevada Group Pushing New Tax on Car Miles to Fund Road Improvements

By Sean Whaley | 7:58 pm March 30th, 2010

CARSON CITY – The Nevada Highway Users Coalition has announced its support for moving forward with a study on Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) as a potential alternative to the current gas tax paid by motorists at the pump to fund road improvements and maintenance.

According to those involved in the study, the consequences of inaction could include the deterioration of roads and highways, increased vehicle wear and tear, increased congestion and accidents and longer commute times.

But others, including the ACLU of Nevada, are questioning the proposal because of privacy concerns. Others say any such change is premature and unnecessary.

The first phase of the VMT study is being funded by the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) and Regional Transportation Commissions in both Southern Nevada and Washoe County. NDOT and Washoe contributed $100,000 each. The Southern Nevada agency contributed $60,000 for a total of $260,000.

More than a dozen other states are also exploring the use of a VMT to pay for road construction.

In a statement released by the coalition, which was formed to “advance the rights of Nevada’s residents and visitors to travel on safe, reliable public roads,” the increasing use of hybrid and electric vehicles is reducing the amount of fuel tax that is collected because of their improved fuel efficiency.

“These vehicles contribute less to use the roads, despite creating the same wear and tear as gas powered vehicles,” the statement says. “This has created a further diminishing of a significant source of funds to build and maintain roads.”

The current funding for road construction, maintenance and operation comes primarily from fuel taxes, which have not been raised in Nevada since 1992.

In a VMT fee system, users would be charged based on the number of miles driven rather than paying in the form of fuel taxes. So rather than pay the 54 cents in fuel taxes per gallon at the pump charged now, vehicles would be assessed on the number of miles driven instead.

The study is being conducted with assistance from both the University of Nevada, Reno and University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

“The evaluation and studying of the VMT fees as a potential funding source is needed for the Legislature and local elected officials to make a much needed decision on how to fund our future transportation needs,” the coalition said.

The first public meeting on the issue is set for later today in Reno. A meeting is also scheduled for April 29 in Las Vegas.

The idea of a VMT is not without controversy, however.

According to the Heritage Foundation, a Washington DC-based conservative policy and analysis organization, a VMT would be expensive to implement because every car would need to be fitted with a device that both records miles driven and transmits the information to a government database.

“This complicated system would cost millions and raise concerns of Big Brother watching our every movement,” the Heritage Foundation said in February 2009. “Americans don’t like paying the gas tax, but they are sure to be even more unhappy having to deal with the administrative nightmare the VMT promises.”

Paul Enos, chief executive officer of the Nevada Motor Transport Association, said there is no need to switch from the current gas tax just to try to capture revenue from hybrid and electric cars. A simpler solution would be to increase the existing fuel tax and index it so it grows over time, he said.

“The fuel tax has 20 to 30 years of life in it,” Enos said.

The current fuel tax is one of the cheapest revenues to collect, and switching to the VMT system would expand those administrative costs significantly, he said.

Enos said his industry would end up paying more in road taxes under the VMT plan, despite claims the proposal is intended to be revenue neutral.

Those pushing the VMT don’t talk about it much, but it would allow drivers to be taxed at higher rates for using freeways during congested drive times, Enos said.

“It is social engineering at its best; or worst,” he said. “They are trying to change public behavior.”

Scott Rawlins, deputy director for NDOT, said the agency is aware of the privacy concerns expressed by some members of the public. The entire study, which will take as much as 3.5 years to complete, will consider those concerns, he said.

A public report will likely be issued within the next three to four months as part of the Phase 1 effort, but the process will also require a 12-month pilot study using as many as 1,000 volunteers before the agency could consider moving forward with the VMT concept, Rawlins said.

The switch to a miles driven tax would not necessarily be excessively complicated, given the technology that exists today with cell phone GPS tracking availability, he said.

“It might not be that complicated,” he said. “Whether we use a device in a car or a cell phone or PDA, we don’t know the answer yet.”

But the ACLU of Nevada has expressed privacy concerns about the proposal.

“What we don’t want to see is the government creating an infrastructure for routine surveillance,” said Rebecca Gasca, ACLU of Nevada public advocate. “It is important that the owner of the car be the owner of the data.”

According to NDOT, overall vehicle fuel efficiency will increase to an average 35 miles a gallon by 2020, leading to a further reduction in fuel tax collections.

Because of inflation, fuel taxes now cover only about half the cost of road construction, maintenance and operations that they funded when fuel taxes were last increased in Nevada in 1992.

State GOP Chair Resigns

By Elizabeth Crum | 3:45 pm March 30th, 2010

As I told you was gonna happen (right here on Friday night), Chris Comfort has now very tenderly tendered his resignation citing both family and business reasons.

Uh huh.

I suspect Comfort may have waited until today just to spite everyone — I’d been told The Big Quit would happen yesterday — because one of his many demands of the Executive Board last week was that they keep quiet and allow him to exit gracefully (and control the message) with the timing and content of his resignation letter.  So I imagine he was none too pleased to have the story broken on Friday.

The fact is, four reliable sources called me between last Wednesday and Friday to tell me the resignation was coming and that it was just a matter of working out the How and When.  I waited until I was absolutely sure it was gonna happen and then clicked “Publish.”

Sorry, Chairman, but secrets just don’t keep that long in Nevada politics.

Las Vegas Chamber Study Concludes Nevada Students Are Below National Averages on Achievement Tests

By Sean Whaley | 4:24 pm March 29th, 2010

CARSON CITY – A study showing how well Nevada’s students perform on achievement tests, released today by the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, concludes they fare no better than mid-range, and often well below, students in other states.

The report consolidates the results of several K-12 achievement tests and compares the target and actual percentages of standards as measured by the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.

In addition, the report shows how Nevada students rank nationally in the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which measures 4th and 8th grade math and reading scores, as well as state-by-state comparisons of SAT and ACT scores taken by students planning to attend college.

Some of the findings include:

-          Nevada’s 4th and 8th graders placed no higher than 43rd in math or reading on any of the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) exams.

-          Only 26 percent of high school seniors and 11 percent of high school juniors took the SAT.  Of that group, Nevada placed 35th nationally in critical reading, 39th in math and 40th in writing.

-          Of the Nevada students who took the ACT, they ranked 28th nationally in composite score, 27th in English, 28th in math, 28th in reading and 31st in science.

“Nevada continues to rank well below national averages on standardized student proficiency exams administered to elementary school, middle school, and college-bound high-school students,” the report says.

“It doesn’t surprise me,” said Ray Bacon, executive director of the Nevada Manufacturers Association and a member of Governor Gibbons’ new education task force. The NEAP scores in particular show how Nevada students perform compared to students in other states, and the news isn’t good, he said.

“It’s pretty ugly,” Bacon said.

As for how to improve student achievement, Nevada ought to look to Florida, where several reforms have been made that are helping improve performance, he said. The Nevada Policy Research Institute recently issued a report on Florida’s reforms, Bacon said.

Florida has stopped the so-called “social promotion” of students beyond the third grade, meaning they can’t move on to a higher grade if they have not learned to read, and the state also now rates schools using an “A” to “F” grade so parents can get easily accessible performance information, Bacon said. Florida also created a virtual school where students can take courses online.

“None of the changes do much in the short term,” he said. “But we’re so far in the ditch, there is nothing we can do short term that will make any difference.”

The Las Vegas chamber report contained some good news, however.

The report found there was “meaningful improvement” by Clark County students in meeting or exceeding standards.  “…while the (Clark County School District) did not make AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) in 2009, elementary school students meeting or exceeding standards have increased from 45.5 percent to 57.2 percent in English/language arts and 49.5 percent to 63.0 percent in math between 2003 and 2009.”

If one of the 37 possible subgroups (including certain minority groups, English language learners, economically disadvantaged students, and students with disabilities) fails to make progress under the guidelines, then the entire school is designated as failing. The No Child Left Behind Act requires 100 percent student proficiency by the 2013-2014 school year.

The report also notes that often cited national tests are given to only a select number of students in each state and in fact “no comprehensive, national comparison of the proficiency of all students has ever been undertaken, let alone published.”

The report was done by the Las Vegas firm Applied Analysis, and is the first in a series of reports focusing on Nevada’s quality of education, education fiscal policy, and factors impacting educational attainment. The reports are designed to assess the current state of education and to lay a foundation from which the chamber and other interested parties can assess public policy issues regarding K-12 education.

“While we are encouraged by the improved performance of Nevada’s students in some areas in recent years, our education achievement needs to be significantly better,” said Hugh Anderson, chairman of the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee. “We look forward to working with elected officials, educators, and the community to improve our education results.”

Cox “On Demand” Offers Free Air Time to All Candidates

By Elizabeth Crum | 3:43 pm March 29th, 2010

According to a press release this morning, Cox-Las Vegas (via Channel 1 “On Demand”) is inviting all candidates for elected office to go in and tape a 2-minute video for playback on their On Demand system:

CONTACT

Steve Schorr, VP — (702) 545-1002 — steve.schorr@cox.com

COX Las Vegas Gives Candidates for Elected Office Free Air Time to Outline Platform and Connect Directly with Voters

LAS VEGAS – Cox Communications-Las Vegas is once again providing candidates for local, state and federal elected office free air time through its popular “Elections On Demand” initiative via Cox Channel 1 On DEMAND. The company’s election year initiative allows candidates to tape a two-minute “candidate vignette” in a special TV studio for playback via the Cox On DEMAND system. The initiative allows Cox digital cable viewers to more objectively educate themselves about candidates running in the June 8 primary election.

Cox Las Vegas has invited over 400 candidates who have filed for local, state and federal office in Clark County to participate in the company’s “Elections 2010” program. Each candidate is allowed a two-minute, pre-prepared candidate script at the company’s Cox Media television studio in Las Vegas. The scripts are written by the candidates themselves and must not contain any negativity or mudslinging directed at any other candidate. Scripts will be pre-screened and approved. No video editing of the candidate vignette is allowed; each candidate simply selects the best of three takes to be uploaded to the On DEMAND platform. There is no cost whatsoever for candidates to participate.

On Monday, April 19, all of the two-minute, candidate vignettes will be made available to Cox digital cable customers via the On DEMAND platform on Cox Channel 1. The vignettes can be activated using the Cox remote control on Cox Channel 1 à Freezone à Elections 2010.

“With so many choices this election cycle, it’s critical for candidates to connect with voters and for voters to have a better understanding of their candidates,” said Steve Schorr, vice president of public and government affairs at Cox Las Vegas. “Voters all too often vote by name. With Elections On DEMAND, our digital cable customers will have an opportunity to associate a name with a candidate’s specific platform thereby creating a more objective decision-making process based on side-by-side comparisons of each candidate’s platform.” Schorr went on to say “with the large number of candidates on the primary ballot we saw a reason to do this for the first time ever in Primary election.”

Elections 2010 is being provided as a community service to Cox digital cable customers by Cox’s News and Public Affairs department and is being produced entirely by Cox Communications without any cost to the candidates. Elections 2010 On DEMAND category will run from April 19 and Primary Election day in June. Cox Las Vegas notified all candidates who filed with the Clark County Registrar of Voters about the opportunity to participate in Elections 2010.

I assume their On Demand stats can be (and are) tracked.  Seems like a worthwhile endeavor and/but I’ll be very curious to see how many downloads/views they get.

Searchlight: The (mini) Sequel? (Updated!)

By Elizabeth Crum | 11:38 am March 29th, 2010

I’m told the Nugget casino in Searchlight is hosting a rally next Monday for Harry Reid’s “coming out” re: running for another Senate term.

A Searchlight source tells me many locals opposed to Reid’s re-election are organizing and plan to picket the event.

Got a kick out of this comment from my source when I asked if there is really a sizable anti-Reid community in Searchlight:

“Well, Searchlight has two factions, much like the Hatfields and the McCoys…”

Will post updates here as I get ‘em.

Update (6:45 AM on 3/30/10): I’ve obtained a few post-rally comments from Diane Kendall, a Searchlight resident and one of the main local organizer-volunteers of Saturday’s big Tea Party event:

With the Tea Party of March 27th coming closer, people from all over the country were contacting me wanting information so they could attend. I knew there would be a large crowd, but I am still amazed at the number of patriotic Americans who chose to attend this event. I have never met such a large group of people who were so well-mannered and proud to be an American. It gave me hope that we CAN make a difference.

I have heard on the mainstream media how the Tea Party Americans cause ruckus and incite violence, but that is not the case at all. I never heard any bad language, nor were there any signs of violence anytime during the event. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department did not have to respond to any calls during our event. I am also extremely proud that everyone left the property extremely clean.

And:

When I returned home after the Tea Party, I learned of a Harry Reid rally held next door to the Searchlight Nugget Casino. I was extremely upset to learn that at least one of the people who attended this rally threw eggs  at the passersby, the Tea Party Express Buses. They stopped traffic, and Metro was called to disperse the crowd. They also defaced a billboard in the center of town. This is what I call RUDE and an insult to my community.

I found two videos re: the egg throwing:  here (eggs being thrown and Andrew Breitbart “interacting” with Reid supporters) and here (two buses and bus drivers talking about what happened after the fact).

And here, per Diane, is the info for Monday’s Reid protest:

I would like to invite you to join me and my friends to a protest against Harry Reid on Monday, April 5th at 8:30 AM. The Searchlight Nugget Casino is having a rally to jump start his bus tour. I would like to see everyone stand tall, walk on the sidewalk, cause no disturbance and carry their signs. I believe it is important that we show the Harry Reid supporters that we are patriotic Americans who are respectful and will stand tall in our beliefs. The Tea Party Americans do not incite violence as the media portrays.

Sounds like both Reid supporters and opposers alike will be at the Nugget that morning, so if you have not had your fill of rallies and protests you can pick your side and show up.

For the record, Harry Reid was extremely gracious in his comments about the Searchlight rally on Saturday, including saying the Tea Party peeps were “welcome” and, “That is what is great about America.”  Of course, his campaign did use the event for fundraising fodder yesterday — but that is to be expected:

This weekend Sarah Palin and the Tea Party came to Searchlight and held a rally. You might have seen it on the news. I wasn’t there, but I’m told there were speeches, some signage featuring questionable assertions, and a lot of calling Democrats “socialists.” I guess it’s better not to let the facts get in the way of a good rally sign.

CLICK HERE AND HELP ME FIGHT FOR THE VALUES WE SHARE TODAY!

I double checked the definition of ‘socialism,’ and it’s defined as a political philosophy that advocates for government ownership of private industry. Absolutely needless to say, not a view I agree with in the least. My first thought was that we could hold a fundraising drive to buy dictionaries for all these folks and mail them out lickity split. But my campaign manager rightly pointed out that with the first quarter coming to an end, we should raise money for the campaign in dictionary-sized increments instead.

Calling me a ‘socialist’ has as much basis in fact as calling health reform a ‘government takeover’ — none at all. I’m making light of this nonsense today, but these attacks reveal a troubling reality. These folks are standing in strong opposition to progress for our economy at a time when Nevadans are struggling to make ends meet. If you agree that passing health insurance reform was a great thing for our country, and that passing two bipartisan jobs bills in the last two months was a good start, then I’m asking you to invest in my campaign today.

I’m dedicated to fighting for the values we share in the U.S. Senate. With your help, I’ll continue doing just that in years to come. President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and I have a lot to do — and we can’t produce the change we know we need without your help. Thanks so much for your support,

-Harry

John Chachas TV Ads to Start This Week

By Elizabeth Crum | 9:23 pm March 28th, 2010

U.S. Senate candidate John Chachas will be up with two TV ads this week (per Ralston a few minutes ago).  One stresses that he’s Nevada born and bred, and one focuses on Nevada’s financial troubles and his ability to fix them due to his business (not political) experience.

Searchlight Tea Party in Tweets

By Elizabeth Crum | 9:04 pm March 28th, 2010

I was off-Twitter as we approached Searchlight and for the first hour or so due to having Zero data signal from AT&T.  My workaround was to borrow a Verizon-connected Blackberry and load a Twitter application. Here they are (plus a few that apparently never made it from the BB into the Twitterverse):

I-95 all clear as we pass the big solar power facility about 20 miles north of Searchight. Ready for breakfast & another cup-o-coffee. #sltp

Teenage son having fun guessing which cars going to Searchlight by bumper stickers. #nra #USArmy #NObama #livefreeordie #sltp

1st things 1st. No ATT service out here. Borrowing Verizon Crackberry so can Tweet. #sltp

Gibbons bus pulled in about 30 min ago. Lots of candidates here. Oh, and it is miserably cold n windy. #sltp

Team Gibbons invites me onto bus for snack. Spokesman Burns hovering. Me: “Don’t worry, I’m not Tweeting what he’s saying.” #sltp

Wish I could grab photos from my iPhone. Got 1 of a Yugo parked next to Lamborghini. All kinds here. #sltp

Hey @ATT, your network is lame. Thanks for nothing! #whenismycontractup #sltp

Just ran into Sue Lowden working the crowd. She has a scarf; wish I did. #sltp

Estimate 6-7K peeps here. All orderly here so far. If only technology would cooperate w/me… #sltp

Speaker: “Welcome to Harry Reid’s retirement party!” Big cheers. #sltp

Sky writers (five airplanes) do: “Tea Party Express” – Crowd thrilled. What’d That cost, and who paid for it?!  #sltp

Sky writers do “VOTE REID OUT” as crowd (easily up to 10,000 now) chants it over and over. #sltp

Sarah Palin stepping up to mic. Crowd going wild. Flags everywhere. Very windy and cool but spirits high. #sltp

Can’t hear Palin too well. Very windy and sound system not that powerful. Peeps in back shouting “Louder!” #sltp

Palin: “A government which governs least, governs best” + “Don’t ever let anyone tell you to sit down and shut up” #sltp

Palin said “reload” statement meant to inspire, not incite. Said Tea Partiers need to keep going and vote. #sltp

Folksy original (slightly off key) ditty on stage now: “Let’s vote them out in 2010″ #sltp #musicalmaestrostheyain’t

So many great Searchlight pics on my iPhone. I would Tweet them if @ATT had a network that worked. #epicfail #sltp

Andrew Breitbart on stage. Talking about Big Media trying to marginalize the Tea Party movement, falsely allege racism. #sltp

Breitbart offers $100,000 for footage of even one instance of use of “n” word by a Tea Partier. Says tired of lies. #sltp

Breitbart says to Tea Party rally peeps, “Keep walking toward the fire” #sltp

About half the crowd has left or is leaving. Exiting started when Palin stopped speaking. Other speakers continue. #sltp

TPE speaker: “The hand of God formed these mountains that surround us and every man and woman here” #sltp

Overheard: Jerks complaining about parking control. Wonder if they volunteered to help? Land donated, event org’d by volunteers. #duh #sltp

Joe the Plumber: “The private sector drives the economy” + “Do your own homework, don’t rely on others to tell you what to think” #sltp

Wow, that is a Looooong line of cars waiting to get out. There’s gotta be a better way. #sltp

4-wheeled up hill, down back, around some bushes, down off-road trail, to access road & out to 95. No line, no wait. Buh-bye. #sltp

re: Searchlight crowd, I estimated 10K at peak. Mighta been less. Politico saying 20K…? Who knows. Maybe NHP will tell us. #sltp

Searchlight Tea Party in Pics

By Elizabeth Crum | 8:09 pm March 28th, 2010

LiveTweeting Searchlight

By Elizabeth Crum | 8:26 am March 27th, 2010

Once on site in Searchlight, I’ll mostly be walking around and Tweeting and TwitPic’ing w/the iPhone (with only occasional blog posts).  Follow me on Twitter:

@elizcrum

and follow/search the hashag #sltp for all the Tweets.

I’ll post my best Tweets later on for those of you STILL not on Twitter.

(Maybe today’s the day?  www.twitter.com  Takes two minutes to set up an account and start following.)

Tea Party Express “Showdown in Searchlight” Schedule

By Elizabeth Crum | 8:02 am March 27th, 2010

Here’s today’s schedule, Peeps.

(For other info already posted, use the Search button up there on the far right side of the navigation bar at the top of the page.  I suggest just entering “Searchlight” to find all my posts.)

*10:30 AM:  A “Candidate’s Forum” is being hosted by the Nevada tea party group, “Anger is Brewing” – this takes place on stage at the rally location.

*11:50 AM: Expected arrival time of “Tea Party Express” caravan from Laughlin.

*11:50 AM:  Governor Jim Gibbons riles up crowd to welcome the Tea Party Express

*11:55 AM:  Diana Nagy and Selena Owens welcome crowd.  Short prayer, national anthem.

*12:01 PM:  Lloyd Marcus performs “American Tea Party Anthem” and “2010” songs.

*12:11 PM:   Mark Williams, Amy Kremer, Darla Dawald, Melanie Morgan, Howard Kaloogian welcome crowd.

*12:15 PM:  Mark, Amy, Darla, Melanie and Howard announce Sarah Palin – ask crowd to stand and make some noise and exit stage as Gov. Palin takes the stage.

*12:17 PM:  Governor Palin speaks.

*12:37 PM:  Expected conclusion of Governor Palin’s speech.

*12:38 PM:  Rivoli Revue performs “Just Vote Them Out”

*12:41 PM:  Rivoli Revue performs “Big Fat No” [a song against “universal healthcare”]

*12:45 PM:  Roger Hedgecock speaks

*12:49 PM:  Andrew Breitbart speaks

*1:02 PM:  Jon David Performs

*1:08 PM:  Hannah Giles speaks

*1:13 PM:  Diana Nagy performs “Back on Track”

*1:17 PM:  Heidi Harris speaks

*1:21 PM:  Jerry Doyle speaks:

*1:26 PM:  Wayne Allyn Root speaks

*1:31 PM:  William & Selena Owens

*1:35 PM:  “Tea Party Express” Song

*1:40 PM:  “Joe The Plumber” speaks

*1:45 PM:  Howard Kaloogian & Melanie Morgan introduce Chuck DeVore

*1:47 PM:  Chuck DeVore speaks

*1:50 PM:  Jim Martin speaks

*1:55 PM:  Andrea Shea King speaks

*1:59 PM:  Victoria Jackson speaks/performs

*2:06 PM:  Angela McGlowan speaks

*2:10 PM: Polatik Rap

*2:15 PM:  Judson Phillips speaks

*2:19 PM:  Dustin Stockton speaks and introduces Debbie Landis

*2:22 PM:  Debbie Landis hosts U.S. Senate Candidate forum – Nevada

*2:45 PM:  Debbie Lee Veteran Tribute

*2:50 PM:  Rivoli Revue performs “Memorial Day” – Some Gave All

*2:55 PM:  “God Bless the USA” (TPX Singers)

*2:59 PM:  Conclusion of Program

Chairman of State GOP to Resign

By Elizabeth Crum | 8:46 pm March 26th, 2010

Three reliable inside sources have told me that Nevada Republican Party chairman Chris Comfort will be resigning shortly. The details have been more or less worked out since yesterday afternoon; now it’s all just a matter of nicey-nice letters and fluffy marshmallow press releases and kumbaya songs around the GOP campfire.  That will probably all happen on Monday.

This has been brewing for a week or two amidst conflict within the party and its circles and more or less coincides with the hiring of brand new Executive Director Cory Adair, an experienced party operative and former ED of the Mississippi Republican party who arrived in Nevada early last week.  The state party had been without an ED since Brent Husson, who had done the job as a volunteer for four months, left in February.

No word on who may replace Comfort as chair.

More details as they become available, plus some analysis once all the dust settles.

Here’s my song dedication!

I Think We Can All Stop Talking About “Tea Party of Nevada” Jon Scott Ashjian Now (Updated on 3/29/10)

By Elizabeth Crum | 5:04 pm March 26th, 2010

Well, it sure has been fun to follow this whole story — conspiracy theories and Tea Party disavowals and political talk shows and all — but there was never nearly enough evidence to seriously suspect Scott Ashjian was a pawn in some Machiavellian plot to milk votes from the GOP and get Harry Reid re-elected, and now there is plenty of evidence to the contrary:

Ashjian lost his contractor’s license last Wednesday due to passing a bad check to a supplier from his now out-of-business asphalt company, is facing pending foreclosure on a number of home mortgages as well as a $200K IRS and other liens…and now faces a felony indictment for bouncing a $5,000 business check last year (as reported by the AP).

Ashjian could face up to 14 years in state prison if convicted, although I imagine they’ll give him a chance to make good on the debt assuming he has no priors.

I’d joke that he could try to shoot for a Senate seat again when he gets out of the slammer, but a felony conviction would prohibit him from running for office.

Even if the charges don’t stick, this guy has so much baggage that he doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in Searchlight of winning anything except maybe a–

No, never mind. Anything I would say there would be very funny but also kinda mean, and I don’t like to kick a man (too hard) when he’s down.

I wish Mr. Ashjian the best with his troubles, but as they say when you’re all done flying the friendly skies:

Buh-bye now.

Update (Monday 4:32 p.m.): Clarification:  As I said on KTNV (Channel 13) today in comments to air in the 5:00 hour, IF Ashjian should avoid conviction, stay in the race and gain some traction there IS still a teeny-weeny chance he could siphon enough votes from the GOP candidate to influence November’s election results — IF the gap between Harry Reid and his GOP opponent closes to small single-digits.  Ashjian’s slim chances are getting slimmer with each passing day, but if he stays out of prison it’s not (yet) beyond the realm of possibility that his candidacy could still be an issue.  Much will hinge on the outcome of this felony arrest/indictment — and if he can escape that, then:  on how many “hearts and minds” he can win ‘twixt now and election day.

To my little eye, it ain’t lookin’ too good for him — which means all the GOP candidates can breathe a little easier.

Update (Saturday 4/3/10): Just in case you are reading this post for the first time and have not yet read this more recent post about Ashjian, it turns out he did not “bounce” but instead stopped payment on that $5,000 check (he says when he found out the contractor to whom it had been sent was not licensed to do business in the state of Nevada). And he is mightily miffed that the the Deputy DA at the Bad Check Division said otherwise. And that the media reported last week an arrest warrant had been issued for him. And that the entire world is conspiring to ruin him. Go read that more recent post for all the details. It’s quite something.