It's a tough time to be a state worker

Union rally, originally uploaded by beancounter.

Pity the state workers. Sacramento's biggest employer is going through a bit of a rough patch.

You see, the State of California has not yet passed a budget for the year - and they're supposed to start working on the next one on January 1. (Ha!) It's been California's own special political opera since the summer. The outline:
  • The budget hole's been a problem for a while, but it went from being a hurdle to a massive, immovable political Sphinx as the recession's gotten worse. By most measurements, it now can't be closed even if every spending cut and tax increase suggested were used.
  • Legislative Democrats have the majority in both chambers. The unions, particularly those representing various public employees, have a lot of cachet with them. This is not shocking, but it means they can't cut the budget without feeling the wrath of the unions.
  • Legislative Republicans are anti-tax mavens who have circled the wagons and refused to countenance any tax increase whatsoever, no matter how small, no matter the consequences. (These are not Nevada Republicans.)
  • Governor Schwarzenegger was not elected out of the California GOP establishment. He's a moderate who's become more moderate during his tenure. He's been burned by the unions before and there is little love lost between him and his Republican colleagues. His political popularity, however, is based on his image of a get-stuff-done reformer.
Were staring down Christmas and still no budget. The last move was made by Senate President Darrel Steinberg (D-Sacramento) who tried an end-run around the Republicans by raising "fees" rather than "taxes." Schwarzenegger knocked it down though and he's started calling for furloughs and layoffs of state workers.

As usual, the comment section is where the real magic happens.
statewrkr95630 wrote on 12/19/2008 02:04:09 PM:

a recent study said the state could layoff HALF of its state workers and not be impacted. i knew things were bloated, but that's wild !!!

Care to share your source, "statewrkr"? Probably not. Unironically, this story comes just as Sacramento's unemployment situation is getting worse.

State workers are the political football of the year. (The illegal immigrants of 2009?) They get manhandled on the comment boards and even by the editorial boards. This post on the Fresno Bee's editorial blog by Lisa Maria Boyles, though, takes the cake.
After reading the latest on the California Legislature's budget maneuverings -- Democrats pass a budget that Republicans say is illegal, governor vows not to sign it, and that's it, we're going home for Christmas -- I'm ready to disband the entire bunch, recall them, vote them out, whatever it takes to get some new people in there who actually give a damn about solving our state's problems.

*deep breath* There was this thing a few weeks ago, early November I believe, where the people were polled - everyone over the age of 18 has the right to participate - about their representation in the California Legislature. NOT ONE SINGLE INCUMBENT LOST. So, if they're doing such a lousy job, Ms. Boyles, why did the voters see fit to return them all to Sacramento?

Jim Newell is my hero!

You should just read Newell's whole post on your own and absorb the awesome. I would like to, however, re-post a small kernel of the angry-truth that he does so well on Wonkette.

A major problem with current “political analysis” is that there’s no need to analyze something that’s obvious to everyone. American national politics is a vulgar, transparent, and stupid drama. You can read a few news wires regularly and understand every major politician’s short- and long-term intentions. This is why most of our Wonkette posts are composed of bad/filthy jokes, because it’s the only way to write about this shit secondhand without coming off as utterly patronizing to you, the reader. It would be insulting to you for us to legitimize the horror that is American politics under the guise of “expert analysis” [...]

He goes off like this about once a week. And here's a little poorly-kept secret: most of DC agrees with him.

Also, Jim, if you comment on this, I will buy you one pint of Yuengling or its equivalent of equal or lesser value. That's all I can afford.

Winning the Gay Marriage Debate

Here’s the video from Mike Huckabee’s appearance on the Daily Show last week. The conversation along with my weekend of progressive networking at the DemocraticGAIN job fair got me thinking about the gay marriage debate and how proponents can win it.

(Okay, the Tubes are not cooperating. Here's the link.)

The core of the gay marriage debate revolves around Huckabee’s argument that marriage’s definition stems from its purpose. Those who anatomically cannot procreate therefore cannot be married. The implication of this argument (which Stewart fails to pick up on) is that a child reared by anyone other than their biological mother and father is inferior.

A brief detour: Liberals and conservatives disagree over society’s and government’s role in perfecting the welfare of the people. Liberals often argue that government’s job is not to judge people morally, but ensure a bare minimum of human dignity. Sometimes that means giving needles to drug addicts, but if it saves lives, it’s worthwhile. Conservatives, however, argue that government must represent the highest ideals of society. Its job is to lead men to their better selves, not support them in perpetual meanness. Taxpayer funds should to be spent to mitigate the hazards of drug use.

Progressives seem to miss that gay marriage opponents are actually asking them to provide their own definition of marriage. Any definition of gay marriage devalues the role of procreation. While proponents may be afraid of the backlash from such a definition, I don’t believe it’s far off from society’s expectations. Americans marry much later in life than they once did and the old maid stereotype sets in later, too. We tend to marry for love and decline the option in its absence. To win support for gay marriage, proponents must in fact agree with conservatives that they wish marriage to move beyond being an institution for the creation of offspring.

What, of course, is the purpose of marriage then? Gay marriage proponents must answer that question as confidently as Mike Huckabee does on the Daily Show.

Silly Hippies

I just wanted to share this most delicious link to SFist. Teh libruls have been making a hit-list of businesses they want to see fail in the upcoming economic catastrophe. They are curiously ambivalent about Taco Bell - I smell a business school thesis!

Yes, the Bay Area's been pretty badly walloped by America's economic oopsies. But you live in San Francisco, you hippies! Quit complaining. At least the Governator's not takin' away your paid holidays...

Independent Voters Mistrust Politicians

It will be key to any statewide initiative strategy to predict when independent voters will side with liberals or conservatives. Using data gathered by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) on the last election, it is possible to design a rubric that measures independents’ fidelity with Democratic or liberal positions. The results show that they side with Democrats and liberals in most cases, but do not trust the Legislature and elected officials.

Methodology: Determining Which Way a Population Breaks

Assuming that independent voters perfectly represent the center of rest of the population's political make up, independents' responses to questions should reflect those of partisans. In California, according to the PPIC survey, Democrats enjoy a 13% advantage in self-identification. Indeed, when asked which party independents self-identify an affinity towards, Democrats enjoy a 14% advantage. Independents’ self-identities do correlate with the self-identities of their milieu. When asked to describe their political views, however, independents prove to be almost evenly divided between conservative and liberal views (‘conservative’ actually enjoys an overall 2% advantage).

[W]ould you consider yourself to be politically…?
  • 12% very liberal
  • 21% somewhat liberal
  • 29% middle of the road
  • 21% somewhat conservative
  • 15% very conservative
  • 2% don’t know

The implication here is that independents either believe California’s Democratic establishment to be more conservative than it is, or the Republican establishment to be too conservative for mainstream views. Whatever the situation, independents’ self-identified party affinity does not correlate to their self-identified political views. It can therefore be assumed that party affinity does not fully predict independent voters' preference on issues. That is to say, they break for the Democrats sometimes, but break for Republicans other times.

To measure when they break one way or the other, independents’ responses on various initiatives and to questions are compared to those of self-identified Democrats and Republicans. Their party self-identity is the same as the rest of the population, and they should therefore respond exactly in the middle of Democratic and Republican results. Where they do not, demonstrates where their political views override their party affinity.

Independents’ ratings of Governor Schwarzenegger’s job will serve as an example and a baseline for other comparisons.

Governor Schwarzenegger’s job performance:


The difference between the Democratic and Republican responses is 19% in both cases, and the median is 9.5%. For both responses, the independents’ position places them 2.5% to the ‘left’ of the median, thus breaking in favor of the Democratic position on the question. As explained above, since independents self-identify themselves by party at almost the same rate as the rest of the population, this move away from a predicted response suggests that independents side with the Democrats when considering Governor Schwarzenegger's performance.

This 2.5% break towards the Democrats repeats in independents’ votes both for and against Proposition 1A. Interestingly, independents broke in favor of the Democratic position on Proposition 8 by 4% in voting yes and 6% in voting no. On Proposition 4, another socially contentious initiative, independents actually broke in favor of Republicans by 0.5%. On Propositions 8 and 4, independent voters swam against the stream.

Independents broke in favor of Republican positions also on Proposition 11, which seems contrary to their position on the Governor’s performance. Their break regarding the Legislature’s performance was mixed, with a 0.5% break towards the Democrats in approval, but a 3.5% break towards the Democrats in their disapproval. While Democrats were more supportive of the Legislature than Republicans, the difference in breaks shows that independents lean towards disapproval of the Legislature, just not to the degree that Republicans do, generally. More telling, is their 5.5% break in favor of the Republican position when asked whether they trust elected officials to write public policy, rather that the voters through initiatives. Republicans strongly distrust elected officials, and independents lean that way, too.

Conclusion: Trust is the Key to Independents’ Votes

Independent voters in California seem perfectly inclined to vote with Democrats in favor of public expenditures and even in defense of civil rights for homosexuals. When asked to trust elected representatives, they lean in disapproval of the Legislature, buck the Democrats’ faith in public officials, and even vote against their own dissatisfaction with Governor Schwarzenegger.

Going forward, the findings advise the strategist, especially those campaigning for liberal positions, to avoid the endorsement of elected personalities and promote liberal ideals. An independent voter likes liberal policies, but not policymakers.

The Job Hunt

I guess there's something worse than not finding the right job for you via joblists: finding a job posting caused by your own incompetence!

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen's (presumably) former Communications Director misspelled both Barack Obama's and Rahm Emanuel's names in a press release about the Congresswoman accidentally hanging up on both.

The lesson is this: Don't screw up trying to explain away your boss's screw ups.

A Sunday kind of love

My first day back in DC has been a rousing success!

I woke at 11:30; went for a jog; drank some coffee and read the Hill Rag; and season three of The Wire has finished downloading. Huzzah!

And all this on a THURSDAY, when most able-minded folks are, y'know, workin'.

The Winter of My Discontent

I heart DC, originally uploaded by sbma44.

It seems that I will have at least a month to consider my future, from my room in DC.

What should I do with my time? Suggestions?

Gainful employment

Okinawa, originally uploaded by Packherd.

What sucks about working in politics is that whenever I think I've gotten just cynical enough to move on, some stranger restores my faith in democracy.

Time to find a new place to hang my hat.

Radio silence lifted

I've been gone for a while, cuz I was tryin' to get a piece o' that Ol' Time Change some guy been preachin' 'bout.

It didn't take.

Now I'm (trying to get) back in the saddle. I'm still in California with my signature California-induced sinus issues. Despite my illness, my real problem is depression. I did not think I would take this defeat so hard.

For two months, I've been manipulating my own mood and emotions. The price is a badly misused psyche.

FBI Building

FBI Building, originally uploaded by rigel.m.

This building creeps me out. It hasn't been open for tours since September 11, so now it's just a Miniluv-esque box in the middle of E Street.

Praised be the Tubes!

Garfield minus Garfield. (It is delicious internets. You must click it!)

The gimmick is simple. "Garfield" comic strips with Garfield the cat removed. What remains?

[...]the existential angst of a certain young Mr. Jon Arbuckle. It is a journey deep into the mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness and depression in a quiet American suburb.

Poor Jon. He is profoundly depressed, schizophrenic, and lives with a poltergeist. If only he had a companion, perhaps an animal of some sort...

UPDATE: the Tubes win again! No copy of the comics can go here, so make with the clickity-click.

Whoa. Kieckhefer reads Wonkette?!?

Anjeanette moved her blog. To another corner of the same website? I dunno. But she dropped word of the Nevada Dems' new Gibbons attack site the other day. She also landed a quote from Ben Kieckhefer, the LuvGuv's spokesman,

"If they're pointing to the governor as the worst in America, they're just following his lead," Kieckhefer said, accusing Democrats of failing to come up with an alternative to budget cuts in the special session. "Plus they stole the name from Wonkette. At least be creative."

Nicely played. 

The website is kinda funny. It features quirky music and a neat quote generator. It will be interesting to see whether these kinds of sites really work.

The Minx Returns

Myrna the Minx is blogging again! She's also got her new site up, Reno Fabulous Media.

As she says,
No doubt you've noticed the way people outside the Truckee Meadows raise their eyebrows in sympathy when you tell them you're from Reno. The best response is a quiet smile--you're already in on the best kept secret.


Last night (cont.)

East Capitol Ave., originally uploaded by Packherd.

Here's my favorite pic from last night - though maybe not the best.

The lights glowing from the interior looked like a showroom. There was a piano, sheet music, and portrait of a woman in what looked to me like late-19th Century dress. The windows, obviously, were wide open; this was intended for public viewing. It was like cleavage for houses.

Last night

My evening consisted primarily of drinking and shouting at my roommate. However, the night was not all piss and vinegar. It also involved impromptu games of Thirteen, smashing my fucking thumb in the door, and using my new tripod to take some night shots around Lincoln Park.

The photos will show up here eventually.

Happy Sunday morning!

Drunk before noon

Some snarky Wonkette readers spent last Saturday morning drinking on other people's tabs and making fun of sincere and decent people.

Wait, there were pictures? Shit...


Hey, look, it's some parents!

But they didn't go out of the floor, so Brian still wins. Hooray!

Also, if you're one of the three people who's been reading this, I'm sorry that I haven't been able to post as frequently. I told you why, so don't ask.

I'm gonna be famous

As I was walking back from the Safeway, I saw a Civic with an odd contraption attached to its roof. It looked like loudspeakers.

"Oh boy," thought I, "an old fashioned political campaign. Hooray!" When I got closer, however, my predictions turned dark. "Maybe they're trawling for wireless accounts. Oh dear."

Eventually, I got close enough to see the California license plate. Odd - but not out of place in D.C. Then I realized that what looked like loudspeakers from a distance were really cameras. Those are out of place in D.C., and everywhere else I'd imagine.

That's when it hit me: Google StreetView!

I'm gonna be on the Tubes foeva carrying a broom and a bemused, suspicious demeanor.

The dullest politics in America

While the DNC was figurin' out how to not screw the Democratic party too terribly, the Sacramento mayoral race is shaping up to be... well, lame.

Marcos Bretón says Heather Fargo could win by simply being less weird than K.J. But he does so by calling her a nimrod who can't coordinate with her political milieu.

W00t! Sactown!!!

Joe Lieberman

This kinda hatin' on Joe Lieberman drives me nuts.

I understand the frustration. In the year that anti-war Dems finally took the reigns of control in DC, this guy jumped ship. Because of his treachery, the Iraq war has not - and will not - come to an end in the near future. That blows.

The arguments against Lieberman, however, are that he should've been a man and given up when he realized his own views were not the same as the liberal base of his party. (Of course, when GOPers disagree with their base, they're evildoers for not speaking out...) Libtards also are incensed that he's allowed to even participate with the New Democratic Majority in the Senate.


THAT MAJORITY HANGS ON ONE SEAT: LIEBERMAN'S!!! If the caucus kicked him to the curb, he'd join the Republicans and the Dems would LOSE their precious majority.

I'd like to think that libtarded activists would be the one subset of American everymen who would get the basic details of coalition management. Y'know, a majority in the 100-seat Senate requires, er, 51 seats. 

Having 50 seats means, um, oh gosh I know this! ... The Vice-President Whatsizface casts the tie-breaking vote! Yeah, that's right.

Please people, think before you rant.
(Perhaps I should take that advice.)

The guys at Best Buy are totally stoked!

(Photo: Lawrence K. Ho, Reuters)

Actually, those are the NASAtards who just put another BattleBot on Mars.


The end of the world. Huzzah!

The AP interviews some survivalists in - where else? - Idaho and Vermont.

I won't be worried about an oil crisis until the military enforces rationing. Of course, when the world really does end, there will naturally be somebody who became a survivalist at just the right time to claim coincidence as prescience.

That person will be a jerk.

Takin' on big bad Bob Beers

Challenging the "Vice Governor," Bob Beers, for Nevada Senate District 6 is Allison Copening. She has good credentials, but her campaign website is noticeably bare. And there isn't much chatter about her, either.

Beers, naturally, already has a vague attack up on his own blog. The attack comes in the form of a silly poem written by someone else that doesn't even name the object of its vitriol, but that doesn't really matter cuz Dems are all in cahoots with the Clintons anyway!

Against "Buddhism"

This is my response to Jared Bernstein's column on Huffington Post, "What Would Buddha Do?"

I’m compelled to respond to Bernstein’s broadside against what he calls “absolutism,” because he implies that the preferred alternative (embodied in his column by Buddhism) is “relativism.”

Relativism is never the answer – literally. What Bernstein calls “absolutism” is really partisanship or factionalism. Those are ancient and altogether banal forces that divide societies.

Bernstein’s willingness to assault “absolutism” is just an old populist rant against the perceived perniciousness of confrontational debate. He is the feckless friend who prefers angst-ridden silence among his acquaintances to an honest fight over the future of the gang.

I don’t mean to suggest that Bernstein’s positions are wrong, per se, but his premise is that fighting is bad, and we should all coalesce around a warm, if ultimately false, center.

There are very real disagreements in American society about these topics Bernstein touches most pithily. A civil engagement means presuming that the other side’s points may be incorrect but not inherently invalid, and also presuming that the other side will give us the same consideration.

(I am skeptical that there are many honest interlocutors on the right, but I am not so cynical as to dismiss their existence.)

Allow me to restructure Bernstein’s positions via co-equal engagement, rather than “Buddhist” disengagement.

1. Diplomacy’s role. The division between left and right should not be between “talking” versus “not talking,” respectively. Rather, the division is more subtly placed on a continuum of approachability. No one suggests “talking” to Osama bin Laden – he sits on one end of the approachability scale. At the other end, some blockheads seriously wish to cut off our less malleable European allies, like the French, something even Rumsfeld was not silly enough to propose. In between, somewhere lies a line that determines whether a given international leader may be approached diplomatically. The right puts this line closer to France; the left puts in closer to al Qaeda. Its proper placement is something we’ll have to determine with a good ol’ fashioned shoutin’ match.

2. Neo-socialism. Generally, Bernstein is correct to assail the right’s unwillingness to regulate industries that are important to society. (Of course, the right is happy to provide government funding and oversight of the military-industrial complex while calling for the death of the Department of Education.) Unfortunately, what he’s really complaining about is Americans’ distaste for government-managed healthcare. Perhaps he’s correct to lament, but the U.S. has never known socialism or autarky. In our social contract, basic welfare from the state is not something we have negotiated in exchange for our complacency. For Americans, tyranny hurts more than toothaches.

3. Death and taxes. Taxes have always been verboten in the U.S. As a nation, we have never come to grips with sovereign wealth because we’ve never really accepted national sovereignty. Of course, as the adage goes, taxes visited us as surely as the cold kiss of death. Americans, however, have never felt compelled to accept the inevitability of inevitable things. Even the “right to die” is something many of us feel disgusted by. In my view, Americans can be convinced of the value of their government, but I’d be loathe to try and convince them of its goodness. (Of course, we’ve most accepted government when we have participated in it, especially through the New Deal and World War II. Again, government is not what’s good; the American people are what’s good.)

I believe that Bernstein does the left a disservice by pretending that we (the left) can bring Americans away from conflict to a place of comity and consensus. We won’t win Americans’ hearts by wooing them with our gentle philosophy. We will sweep them off their feet by giving their less honorable suitors a little chin music.

What do you think? Are you ready to wrassle?

Lucas's 'dark side'

I just finished watching the end of Return of the Jedi on TV - the re-done version with all the new cuts Lucas put in years later. (For what it's worth, I think the trilogy looks much better in its "hybrid" form, than the prequels ever looked.)

What I saw at the end was a little shocking. Perhaps you remember the closing scene, as the heroes celebrate with the Ewoks, Luke sees apparitions of the three Jedis who helped him realize his destiny - Yoda, Obi-Wan, and his father, Anakin.

In the original, Anakin, sans Vader outfit, was portrayed by David Prowse, the bodybuilder who portrayed Vader physically throughout the trilogy. Prowse, had already been screwed by Lucas with the release of the original Star Wars, because Lucas had not told him that his voice would not be used.

In Jedi, of course, Prowse got his retribution. He was shown as the restored Anakin, both in the final death scene when he confirms to his son, Luke, that he has indeed been saved, and as the apparition, verifying his acceptance as sort of Jedi "saint."

In the prequels, Anakin was portrayed inimitably poorly by Hayden Christensen. In the re-do of Jedi, Lucas replaced Prowse as the apparition with Christensen. While it does make sense to connect young Anakin to the decrepit Anakin who "died" 15 years earlier, Lucas did not replace old Obi-Wan (Sir Alec Guinness) with young Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor).

Lucas further screwed Prowse by having him give fake lines in Jedi, telling Luke that Obi-Wan had killed Anakin - rather than the now famous "Luke, I am your father." (Mark Hamill knew the real plot, and had to react accordingly, despite what his co-star Prowse was actually saying.) Prowse, along with much of the crew and cast, did not know that Obi-Wan was innocent until the final screening.

Credit is due for managing a sensitive plot twist so well, but Prowse has been disabused by the Star Wars institution since the very beginning. He did promo appearances in the late 70s and 80s, though his identity was never revealed so as to maintain the menacing aura of the Vader character.

I had forgotten about that final snub, Lucas removing Prowse from the closing apparition scene more than a decade later. I wonder if he'd considered inserting Christensen into the death scene, too.

All in all, it's pretty shabby treatment of one of the greatest villain characters of all time.


Last week I finally got around to going to the Brickskeller. That was much closer to my "scene."

ABITA Golden Beer
ABITA Purple Haze Raspberry Wheat
ABITA Turbo Dog
ACE Apple Cider
ACE Berry Cider
ACE Hard Apple Honey Cider
ACE Pear Cider
ACHEL Achelse Kluis Trappist Brune
ACHEL Trappist
ADNAMS Broadside Ale
ADNAMS Suffolk Special Bitter
ALDERIS Porteris
ALLAGASH Dubbel Reserve Belgian Style
ALLAGASH Tripel Reserve Belgian Style
ALLGAUER Cambonator Dunkle Dopplebock
ALLGAUER Oktoberfest
AMBAR Dos Especial
ANCHOR Liberty Ale
ANCHOR Old Foghorn
ANCHOR Old Foghorn
ANCHOR Our Special Ale 1998
ANCHOR Our Special Ale 1999
ANCHOR Our Special Ale 2000
ANCHOR Our Special Ale 2001
ANCHOR Steam Beer
ANDERSON VALLEY Brother David's Dunkle
ANDERSON VALLEY Brother David's Triple
Anh-Busch ANHEUSER World Select
Anh-Busch B to the E
Anh-Busch BUD Light
Anh-Busch BUDWEISER Select
Anh-Busch BUSCH
Anh-Busch BUSCH Light
Anh-Busch MICHELOB Amber Bock
Anh-Busch MICHELOB Black & Tan
Anh-Busch MICHELOB Hefe Weizen
Anh-Busch MICHELOB Light
Anh-Busch MICHELOB Premium Beer
Anh-Busch MICHELOB Ultra
Anh-Busch NATURAL Light
Anh-Busch O'DOUL'S Amber Non/Alcoholic
Anh-Busch O'DOUL'S Non/Alcoholic
ARIS Greek Lager
ASAHI Super Dry
ASMARA Lager Beer
AVERY 14'er E S B
AVERY Czar Imperial Stout
AVERY Ellie's Brown
AVERY India Pale Ale
AVERY Kaiser
AVERY New World Porter 
AVERY Out of Bounds Stout
AVERY Redpoint Ale
AVERY the Reverend Quadruple
AVERY White Rascal
AYINGER Altbairisch Dunkle 
AYINGER Brau Weis Hefe 
AYINGER Brau Weis Hefe 
AYINGER Celebrator Dopplebock
AYINGER Jahrhundert 
AYINGER Ur-Weiss  

And those are just the As!

Term limits, pt. deux

Some follow-up to my term limits rant from earlier.

Nevada's legislative sessions are front loaded. The January following an election is usually when it meets, and it's session usually lasts through the beginning of June.

So, a freshly minted Assemblyperson, just after a bruising and (increasingly) expensive campaign, will arrive in Carson City just one month or less after receiving their mandate. And we, as constituents, expected them to get to work.

The sessions only last five months, so a two-term limited Assemblyperson will spend less than half their career actually legislating. The interim is supposed to be used to prepare for the next session - do research, hold hearings, draft legislation.

However, after their second term, an Assemblyperson will be doing a summer's worth of work for someone else.

With term limits in Nevada's system, we will see half the Assembly (and a third of the Senate) shirking their duties for six months. Instead of using the interim to do the work of their constituents, they'll be using it to find their next job.

Sacto politics? Oh my!

My goodness! I need to pay more attention to my hometown.

It seems that K.J.'s running to unseat Heather Fargo as mayor of the River City. 

It also seems that K.J. may have a bit of a liability... Or perhaps Mayor Fargo likes to play rough.

Oh dear. This could be juicier than "Divorce, Nevadan Style."


I don't much like it when I agree with Hugh Jackson and Chuck Muth… for the same reason.

ATTENTION ALL NEVADANS!!! Your state's tax structure is badly lopsided and your budget process is a tad screwy. Maybe you should look into this, no?

"Lean... not mean."

Nevada Senator Bill Raggio, answering challenges to his conservative credentials, said "government should be lean, but not mean."

That's way better than "compassionate conservatism," IMHO.

Obama piles it on in NV

Kinda like in Texas, Obama actually won Nevada, but it didn't get reported as such. Well, he added one more delegate to his count at the NV Dem convention this weekend. The cherry on the sundae.

I will say this here and now - Senator Obama won Nevada because he went to Elko.

(And for good measure, another link - a look back on the at-large caucus sites. One observer picks up the theme that disgusted some of the volunteers who worked that day: polarization of African-American and Hispanic voters.)

Myrna revealed!

Myrna the Minx is no longer anonymous! Hooray! Now, who is Bjorn the Houseboy...? 

And who else is hiding behind their blogging identities? Why, I've heard that Wonkette's not even a lady.

Best of luck, Tracy Viselli (néé Myrna), as Renoland's hottest new celeb! (Kara Tsuboi, eat your heart out.)

And so it begins...

Unbeknownst to a lot of folks, Nevada has been on the front lines of democratic reform in the U.S.

The legislature has considered a reform of the state's judicial election process called the Missouri Plan. It ruffled a few feathers last session. Now, the Secretary of State, Ross Miller, has started enforcing the state's recently approved term limit laws, and Clark County Commissioner Bruce Woodbury is "wondering aloud" whether this is all part of a larger plan to challenge the constitutionality of term limits in Nevada.

This plan has been spoken about quietly for over a year in both Democratic and Republican circles. Although the average voter probably could guess that the average politician does not favor term limits, they're probably wrong if they think they know why...

It has never been a foregone conclusion in this country that term limits are inherently positive, least of all with the venerable Libertarian Party. Nonetheless, a lot of disaffected voters - my mom, for example - adhere to a "throw the bums out" philosophy. At it's best, this is a reaction to the maxim that "power corrupts," suggesting that it is in everyone's best interest, including the officeholder's, to rotate through positions of power, lest a man's spirit be tempted. I believe, however, that impulse is more likely a value judgement against a given clique of our society. "Everyone knows," they might say, "that all politicians are only interested in enriching themselves." In other words, incumbency is the proof of a man's inauspicious motives.

First, I don't believe a man can be judged by his career. Even used car salesmen go to church and love their kids. Second, if you wished to aggrandize yourself, public service is the worst way to go about it. The pay is awful, the work is difficult, and you're guaranteed to come out worse for the wear. 

While I do think there's some argument to be made that power corrupts inherently, I also believe that there are many fine examples of men and women who've served their communities honorably and well. Most of them serve in small town city councils and unnoticed county departments - you've never read about a scandal involving them because they haven't gotten involved in any. 

As you move up the chain of power, however, all the way to Congress and the White House, the decisions a public servant makes are larger and more complicated, and they are responsible to more people. (No wonder Bush's approval ratings are so low - he has over 100 million constituents who never liked him in the first place!)

... Getting back to Nevada, the reason many politicians, especially legislators, have been working to overturn the state's term limits is that term limits will do more harm to the good governance of the state than all the Jim Gibbonses of the world put together. 

Meeting regularly only once every two years, Nevada's legislators are always at a disadvantage to lobbyists and special interests during the session. They spend so little time actually legislating, that they rely on outside professionals to do the job for them. Every other winter, they fly up to Carson City to rubber stamp the handiwork of the state's lobbyists. 

With term limits, the situation will be even worse. A freshman Assemblyperson will have less than 10 months, spread out over two years, to learn how to write law, build coalitions, and acquire the knowledge necessary to do both effectively and in the interest of their constituents.

Of course, for a state that prides itself in its libertarian spirit, it's odd to allow a person to visit a prostitute, but forbid him from voting for a three-term politician.