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Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 08:34 PM PST

Legal mistakes

by rainmanjr

C.I.A. director John Brennan said in a statement that the agency "made mistakes" but the policies were "legal."  

“Detainees were subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs), which the Department of Justice determined at the time to be lawful and which were duly authorized by the Bush Administration,” he said.
Well, "Isn't that special?
John McLaughlin, who headed the CIA under President George W. Bush, said of the EIT's
“We went to the Department of Justice at least four times to make sure that what we were doing was not torture in a legal sense and that it was consistent with the U.S. Constitution.”
I'm not sure which U.S. Constitution they were reading, and I'm not a Constitutional scholar (though I have seen the document in Washington's once respectable Capital Building), but I don't recall the passage about torturing people being perfectly acceptable.  They may have been reading the Tea Party's.
Thankfully, as a result of the brave Democratic Senate's official investigation into this deplorable reading of our once cherished Constitution and the events which it, apparently, authorized comes some possible consequences.  Unfortunately, they are not being talked about by our cherished President, who wanted to redact a great deal of this report.  They are being talked about by Ben Emmerson, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on counter terrorism and human rights or Baher Azmy of the Center for Constitutional Rights
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Should Obama arrest the previous Admin?

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I've been doing some soul searching since the great liberal massacre of 2014 and decided to impart my thoughts here, on Daily Kos, again after numerous years of silence.  You'll note I'm not an elder but hardly a young one to this site so please keep your attacks on my Party devotion to a minimum (as in not at all).  I'm thinking of doing more of this, writing diaries, because being ignored is great.  It's something I crave.  My thoughts are not conventional, among conservatives or liberals, and I'm often told what a crackpot I've become so be prepared for a gasp, hand to breast, or even a profanity.  Know up front that my response is that I don't care whether you agree or not.  It's how I see things, from where I sit, and I'm just trying to be funny.  If some point comes from my attempt to make Jon Stewart envious then swell (if that word doesn't give away my generational age then you're too young for my diaries).

My return will be a response to this PBS article.  Robert Burns and Julie Pace tell us that there's some concern, among Republic's (I return respect by leaving off the "an" from their Party designation just as they omit a letter from ours), Panetta, Hagel and "Foreign policy experts" (whomever they may be) that the WH is micromanaging the Pentagon and creating "a lack of clarity."  They say Pentagon policy recommendations are often discussed exhoustively by the WH and sometimes result in conclusions that remain vague.  Troubling enough that the 21st century's a complicated place but our President has the nerve to discuss ideas, even think about them, before telling the Pentagon's senior staff how to proceed (often too cautiously for their blood).  How galling to not just accept recommendations by foreign policy experts and shuffle off to pardon a turkey or put a wreath on something.  Eisenhower be damned, the Pentagon will have it's say.  Gates was stunned to find the WH had installed a phone linking them to HIS special operations headquarters in Kabul.  Had it ripped out, Gates did, ordering commanders to reply to a WH inquiry "...go to hell."  I guess old Republic Robert showed Obama who was boss.

Three S'sOD and "top Pentagon officials" are bothered that the WH seems cool toward their inclinations to use force.  While my heart bleeds for them I seem to recall that being a big reason why Obama won two elections (with the largest percentage of vote since FDR on both occassions).  I remember that being important to me but I do mushrooms.  Imagine, The Man is actually trying to keep us from becoming too mired in regional confllicts created by our apparently mistaken idea that Arab nations are feverish to welcome Christianity and USA occupation.  Gall.
Stephen Biddle, an occasional adviser to U.S. combat commanders (that's the way PBS actually describes him), says the WH has fallen victim to "group think."  I know Mr Biddle cooks up brilliance in the privacy of his den with a cigar and brandy but beg to suggest he's wrong.  The WH has fallen victim to a brilliance not seen since Jefferson dined alone.

Pentagon officials, and ex-officials, complain there is no clarity.  Imagine that!  The world is soooo easy, left or right, yet the WH can't come up with clarity!  What is wrong with our President?  Reacting to world events as they happen, starting with the most peaceful of responses before employing more, um, decisive ones?  smh.  There used to be such certainty, "when good was good and evil was evil.  Before things got so...fuzzy." (nod to Don Henley)  How will FOX be able to tell it's viewers what the USA will do if there's no certainty?  These poor officials.  They're so put upon.

President Obama has often demonstrated a vast intelligence that is capable of sifting through lots of information, ideas, and nuance to find the most hopeful action that can achieve positive results.  A committee, like that of Congressman Darryl Issa, dithers around for years without results or consensus.  It gets bogged down into political obssessions and ambitions, becoming as effective as a wet match.  That would be a much better process than one man the nation trusted to make such judgments and asking for national representatives to approve?  I suspect it would be more desireable if that one man were a warmonger like John McCain.  National voters, not just those of a Gerrymandered District or even a state, expressed their newfound feelings for killing (85% approved of it in 2003) and Obama seems to have heard them pretty well.  If collective USA citizens (a sort-of committee) hold the wisdom of of our nation (a notion I would dispute because of 2003) then it would seem Obama, by winning election twice, is the smartest man in the room.  Acting like it makes him a bit arrogant, though, according to Pentagon top staff and officials.  Rudeness will not be tolerated unless it comes from the Tea Party.

If only we had someone decisive, like Rmoney, to create clarity for our nation's warmongers.  A WH willing to go after our real enemies, like Dick and Bush, or even Nixon, almost did.  Someone who obeys the Pentagon-friendly Congress and abides by their decisions, like Reagan unto Contras.  Someone who could transcend being a leader and become something great.  Let me assure you all that Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, or JFK would never have taken the arrogant attitude of believing in their own determinations for the world's interest.

And the really amazing aspect of all this is that IT'S WORKING.  Republic's own 2/3 of the states, both houses of Congress, and SCOTUS.  If Don will excuse another nod, "The Devil is downhearted, babe, 'cause there's nothing left for him to claim."

Discuss

Sat Dec 29, 2012 at 12:50 PM PST

This is a manufactured crises

by rainmanjr

I argue that price/profit manipulation of stocks are a large part of what’s driving crises issues.  Those manipulations are not created by the average investor, who doesn’t hold enough financial power to cause huge shifts, but by wealthier investors, who do.  Hope and marketable shifts in public attitudes are talked up by brokers and media shows to create investment in stocks which then rise.  Then comes a manufactured “crises” which will, predictably, cause uncertainty.  The wealthy investors, who filled their portfolios at lower prices, now sell those shares and the average investors, who were only able to buy as the stock was rising, are put on an unavoidably losing trajectory.  At best one can only hope to tread water by having bought a valuable stock early enough that it’s basic price can’t fall much lower than what it was purchased for.  That can only be done by choosing established companies with high budgets that are integral to societal needs.
So the Fiscal Cliff “crises” is an obvious con by wealthy investors designed to take invested 401K money away from workers and put it back into the Plutocrat’s pockets.  It’s a shell game which workers are basically forced into playing by the creation of 401K matches heralded as “raises in pay.”  Even investing all 401K money in Market Funds is not safe as those can become playable if Stock Funds are insufficient to cover sell-offs.  That means the Plutocrats who run the companies can’t lose while the worker can’t win.
It is VERY IMPORTANT to see these politically manufactured market “crisisses” for what they are; expedient tools for creating uncertainty which provides the trigger for market manipulation and subsequent recapitalization of Plutocrat’s funds.  One way to stop it is demand for legislation that ties an employer’s pay-raise DIRECTLY to our pay, not our 401K’s, and retirement accounts that actually reward funding.  I would argue that profit sharing should also be mandated as a way to achieve fair and integrated pay-raises with company success.  This is basically what CEO’s are getting but without the necessity for the company to be successful (I'm looking at you, Hostess).  

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I've heard it said that greed & exploitation are behind the GOP's hatred of abortion but  I think they honestly believe God’s breath is within a fetus from the moment of conception and needs law to protect it from death since it can’t defend itself.  GOP is very big on defense for some very good historical reasons and it benefits us to understand their POV.  Telling someone who believes themselves to be a Godly human-being that they’re greedy isn’t going to open their eyes.  I also believe that life may start at conception but that both parties have a soul which needs the protection of compassionate law to survive.  I also believe mom's right’s take precedence since she’s the host.  There’s more information that determines which soul survives (which is the same reasoning for ending life during war).  I think an abortion for reasons of birth control, which was happening under the rotten welfare program we had and birthed this issue to begin with, is immoral—ergo the exemptions for a mother’s health.  Rape and incest are compassionate exemptions which, I believe, should also exist.  A legitimate life is still being lost but without malice or financial self-gain and, most likely, leaving a deep emotional/psychological scar from tragedy.  That’s excusable, imo.
For those GOPers who defend the fetus on religious grounds, which is more uncompromising SCOTUS needs to remind the nation that our laws ARE NOT BASED ON RELIGIOUS DOCTRINES. Religious Conservatives won't be happy but will have no legitimacy under law for their extremism.  Of course, SCOTUS might rule for their side and we would need to accept that. People on both sides would then need to make a decision as to whether to stay residents of the USA or not.  There are, after all, other nations.  Those who can't afford to move would need to choose whether to risk their lives to defend the nation or not.  I wouldn't but that's me.
SCOTUS needs to address this issue NOW.  Lives actually depend on the answer. There will be no forward movement from religious issues, like abortion or gay rights, until the nation has been given a clear understanding of legal conception. I do not believe an issue who's roots exist in "God said" can have legal standing within our courts but, without the finality of our top legal authority's declaration, these issues will never become accepted conditions of the USA. The SCOTUS needs to get brave and DIRECTLY take on the issue of religion vs law, whether there’s a specific case or not, and THEY MUST give a clear ruling.

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Should SCOTUS directly address Bible vs Constitution?

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I was recently given the series Life (narrated by Oprah) as a late Christmas gift.  I love documentaries and those about nature are simply heavenly so I’m enjoying every byte of this treat (watch out for puns).  While watching such things I invariably have great intellectual moments but forget them within minutes (let’s say I’m old and leave it at that).  Since these are on disc, however, it finally occurred to me that I can pause it, write out my thoughts and then make a column from them.  This new techno-age is great.  I’m getting dish tomorrow so can soon pause any show I watch.  This means that you, reader, can finally learn the secrets of life, the Universe and everthing.  I get to spend some quality time practicing my writing.  Yes, it saddens me that few will read this proof of my brilliance unless I go viral…ah-choo…but that’s a writer’s albatross.  I see a diary as a conversation so I hope you'll enjoy my writing and we’ll enjoy many conversations.
I’ll start with Primates (episode 10) because that’s the episode I just watched.  I’m brilliant but a bit slow.
Primates often remind us of ourselves for good reason...we are one of their kind.  Possibly the final model, in fact.  We exhibit tendencies found in most primate structures but with modifications.  Take class structuring, for instance.  It seems to be built into our species’ genes. Just look at Japan's snow monkeys (who live in Monkey Park).  The highest ranking females and their brat kids watch from heated springs as lower-class outcasts freeze, or even die, outside the posh “naturist” colonies.  This is necessary to preserve the primo gene pool (I love puns) which have been proven better stock by virtue, or more accurately without virtue, of the fact those families have put a serious hurt on everyone else.  Might makes rights, freezing dudes.
Western lowland silverbacks sometimes kill all the infants of a rival male.  They were obviously products of weaker genes since that rival is no longer around.  Silverbacks thump their chests in order to avoid fights that will result in death.  The sound, which exhibits their size and strength, can be heard two miles away.  Their eyes betray their intelligence as they watch over the kids and survey for the best food.  In our society we call silverbacks the 1%.  Gorillas feel silverbacks are a very necessary part of their society but humans feel the 1% can go to hell.  
Spectral tarsiers are the closest surviving relative to the original primates.  They are also the shortest (so fuck off, Randy Newman).  They survive off nocturnal insects, much like sexual shoppers *_@, and good communication which calls stragglers home (Dem’s sometimes try to do this with the GOP and almost always regret it).
Gibbons sing a song to display their size and, therefore, make other males try a different forest section.  Humans use cars parked in driveways.  Francois’ leaf monkeys are born bright orange so their mom can easily keep an eye on ‘em until they turn snow white within a few months.  Extreme Muslims and Christians think they can become snow white after killing people—too often a lot of people.  Female ringtail lemurs advertise their in heat by peeing on a tree.  Human males also like peeing on trees and secretly fantasize about peeing on other humans.  I believe that to be so but actual proof is hard to come by, lol.  They (the leaf monkeys) fuck on top of cactus after a few minutes of flirting.  I like the quick results but prefer a mattress or wood or something without the side effect of cactus balls.  The orange orangutan male is a neglectful father.  In fact, he has nothing to do with his offspring.  They live in a rain forest so protect themselves from downpours with a covering of leaves.  They look like homeless human males who have forsaken their offspring and spiraled down until something makes them beg their ex-spouse for forgiveness (according to Lifetime Channel).  Chacma Baboons feed from food provided by tides so have figured out complex tidal charts even more accurate than our own.  Whiteface Capuchins also use tides to collect clams.  They hammer the aphrodisiac against tree limbs in order to weaken the muscle which holds the clam shut. Yes, they’re that smart.  Humans weaken the others muscles by beating them against whatever’s handy and stealing their clams.  Brazil’s brown tufted capuchins are smarter—they use tools. Further, the tufted capuchins eat ants so their grocery bill is next to nothing.  They learn new traits that becomes unique to the specific capuchin family within a generation. Humans learn next to nothing…ever.  But wait…our closest relatives, chimpanzees, use tools, have empathy and can deceive.  See that, women, it’s biologic so get off our silver backs.  Chimps, our absolute closest relative (you can put that on a job application), even act altruistically.  That, alone, makes them more valuable to evolution than us.
Primates have been on this earth for a long time yet the ultimate primate (us) might be the final evolutionary step.  Especially with current GOP attitudes and Climate Change deniers.  Will we cause the extinction of civilizations?  Well, there’s an excellent movie that I’ve just seen which addresses that very question.  Watchmen.  It’s the story of aging super heroes who are being killed off while Richard Nixon, in his fifth term, presides over tensions with Russia that could very quickly become Armageddon.  Can the heroes settle their own identity angst in time to figure out what’s going on and save humanity?  It’s a beautifully done cerebral movie with plenty of action and hot body visuals.  It’s also the perfect sequel to Life’s Primate episode (though its last line is more reminiscent of The Incredible Shrinking Man) because it aims at our behaviors and appetites.  There’s a beautiful moment in which Dr Manhattan realizes what a miracle is and I was right there with him in seeing it for the first time.  I don’t think I’m giving away big secrets by making its last line that of this column’s, as well.  “Nothing ends.  Nothing ever ends.”

Discuss

Wed Feb 08, 2012 at 09:00 AM PST

FB Diaries #1: How Long?

by rainmanjr

I spend a lot of time on Facebook because I'm old, alone and have no life. I work, I eat, I drink, I drink some more, I sleep a little and I check the Facebook page. Sometimes I still get over to the old DK for a look around, though. Everyone one of Marko's Merry People are happy I stop in. =^].
But today I got a big idea. I'll start a series of diaries on DK about an idea sparked by Facebook (this link's particularly good).
So join me below the fold for today's installment. I have no idea how frequently these will appear so you'll need to stay on your toes.

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Tue Jan 31, 2012 at 06:00 AM PST

Florida Debate and David Gregory.

by rainmanjr

No,  David Gregory wasn't at the Florida debate.  At least, not on stage.  He may have been in the audience rooting for his favorite candidate, though.  Gregory is a hack in the same way that Wolf Blitzer isn't a wolf.  On last week's show he accused Obama of raising the dreaded Fed deficit more than Shrub when, in fact, it's lower.  Obama raised it $600B while Shrub did $1.3 trillion, according to The Business Insider.  That's the least rise since Grant gave up drinking.  Obama has cut so many govt jobs, while private sector grew 5%, that it kept unemployment figures from falling.  Gregory also called David Axelrod "One of those Chicago guys."  As if Axelrod is a gangster hell bent on stealing your 401K.  Isn't that so yesterday?  Gregory should be fired or, at least, informed.
But I came here to talk about the Florida Debate.  Yes, it's late but I sleep in.
I thought Newt nicely warded off Mitt's blows and Mitt looked less nerdy than he's been.  That was enough for the audience, who thought they were going to see Shark Night, and was only slightly disappointed.
Newt resigned with full honors, apparently, and will build a Moon colony with investor's money.  Mitt, apparently, doesn't know what his money is being used for or where it's stashed.  He's a great businessman who's always on top of things.  Wait, that's his dog.
Ron Paul actually sounded sane.  He's entirely consistant though suffering from Alzheimer's and taking us to HR for age discrimination if he loses.
I'm told Rick Santorum was in the building but couldn't be found.  Actually, Rick got off a few well placed punches and made his case rather well.  Floridians just didn't care about his case.  They only came to see Mitt and Newt duke it out.
Newt then said something about just getting along if Mitt would and Mitt said there was nothing wrong with telling people what a douchebag Newt is.
Ron Paul only grinned during the exchange but the audience applauded wildly.
Then Newt explained his role at Freddie's house (not sure who he was talking about) and exposed Mitt's friendship with Freddie.  Mitt, of course, knew nothing about Freddie, or the ad he's running which has him saying he approves of the message.  Ron Paul brought us back to reality by suggesting the issue was this Freddie guy, not who his friends are, and told us of his plan to break them all up.  I thought Paul was just being jealous until he reminded me that he used to be a physician.
Santorum chimed in that he's against adding eating a fetus.  Most of the audience nodded in agreement but a few chanted, "Let them eat.  Let them eat."
The drugs really took hold about then and I passed out.  When I awoke, Mittens and the kids were gone.
This is going to be fun.

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Who will win Florida?

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I have nearly two pages of notes from tonight's magnificent speech (which I'm sure is being compared to screetching of dead souls in Hell by GOP and disaffected Left).  It was, as a I said, magnificently built around the notion of a military unit.  A very good one, at that, with lots of love and enjoyment for education.  "They," said Obama, "don't care what kind of animal the guy next to them is humping (I'm paraphrasing) or whether they pray to God, Allah, Baal or TFSM. They probably hope it's God but being alert and a great shot is of more immediate concern. They help each other out and watch their back and shit.  They've got a mission and everyone does their part to make it successful."  I'm pretty sure that's what he said.
So let's get to it and see what else he may have said.  I was drunk so bear with me as we go down
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            down below

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Tue Jan 24, 2012 at 02:24 AM PST

Debating Florida. Um, *in* Florida.

by rainmanjr

I know it's been done to death but I feel like writing.
The debate opened with Newt claiming credit for Clinton's economy.  He started doing this in S Carolina (motto (sung by Kid Rock); We want back slave-er-ry) and it just gets funnier. Newt also rewrote his own history by claiming he left Congress voluntarily b/c the GOP wasn't successful enough.  This is what makes Newt precious; he can make shit like that up with a str8 face.  Newt then dismissed Mitt in favor of Obama but then started addressing Mitt's "blistering" attacks.  Not his best opening segment.
Mitt opened by reminding everyone he was more popular that Ray-gun in Massachusetts.  Satan was more popular than Ray-gun in Mass.  The point is that Mitt was Gov of the most liberal state in the Union and Mitt doesn't see that as a negative.  He then effectively made his "blistering" attacks on Newt but didn't score many points because Newt fended them off enough to make it a near wash.
Rick didn't help himself and will drop out in the next day or two.
Ron Paul nicely picked up Mitt's slack and slammed Newt's voluntary resignation from Congress as actually having been because Newt was thrown out.  Rick echoed this and both reminded us that they were there.  That hurt Newt but then he and Ron got into a love fest that might give birth to a Newt/Paul ticket.  For reals.
Mitt then announced he would eliminate capital gains taxes for savings accounts.  He didn't announce that he makes $0 from wages and, later, reminded Newt that his tax policy would eliminate capital gains taxes which are what Mitt pays.  Mitt would eliminate his own taxes yet criticizes Newt for also eliminating Mitt's taxes.  Odd strategy but okay.  Worse for Mitt, capital gains on savings accounts under whatever he said is probably about $20 a year, tops.  Oh, Mitt also wants to lower taxes on Corp's.  Yawn.
Mitt and Newt sparred for a long time.  During this moment (dubbed The Lost Minutes by those who died during them) Newt did get in that he's supported a stronger Medicare/Medicaid for the Senior vote.  I think Newt won that tussle because of it.  Sadly, old people have terrible memories so winning the moment wasn't a big deal.
Sanctamonious Santorum called us "Minions of Harry Reid".  I've never been a minion.  Do I have to catch bugs for Harry to consume?
The winner of this debate was Ron Paul, however, for calming tensions with Cuba by not wanting to bomb them if necessary to achieve their freedom.  Haven't we heard that somewhere about another Nation that wasn't threatening us?
And that was all I could stomach.  There is another debate Thursday because Floridians are hard of hearing.  Also, many were at Disneyworld but should be home exhousted and gelling to tv by Thursday.
It's reported that wild laughter eminated from our President's bedroom during the Civil War...er, debate...and he called for snacks.

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Who won?

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Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 02:59 PM PDT

PUT A FORK IN HIM, HE'S DONE

by rainmanjr

How did such a brilliant guy, with such great accomplishments for human rights, turn a win/win situation into his own defeat?  Did Joe Biden give him some advice, again?  Shit!
I still think he's been a decent President (great in some ways and poor in others) but today he got out of the race.  Why?  I think he's honestly afraid of what the Tpubs will do to his family should he win.  Oh, you know he's getting some messages (though he's not really good at getting messages, is he?).
So who are we gonna run in the Primary?  Time is moving on and Obama CAN NOT WIN.  Nor should he.  LBJ (a President I didn't especially like but the more I learn about him the more respect I gain and our last truly Dem President) would have come out, enacted the 14th Ammend and told Moody's where to stick their precious AAA rating.  They gave the same rating to worthless paper for many years and helped cause the very crises which ushered in the Tparty.  Possibly he could have called leaders of all other nations and started a new Credit Rating Bureau.  One backed by nearly all the money in the world!  At any rate, it would have been worth risking.

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I will vote for Obama

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I got what I think is a great idea (doesn't happen enough) from a comment in the Meteor Blades diary about the unemployed numbers.
For those who don't take links, Kossack Dance You Monster stated that the unemployed, if stretched side-by-side, would reach from sea-to-polluted-sea.  Americans did this once.  It was called Hands Across America.
Americans joined hands as a show of support for harmony of spirit from one coast to the other.  WE CAN DO THAT AGAIN.
Here's the idea: Only the un or under employed may actually join hands to stretch across the nation.  Imagine the visual media impact such a chain would make!
If you like it then post the idea on FB, Twitter and whatever else you're on.  Hopefully it will go viral and we can do this.  I would think it needs to happen next Spring because weather will not permit in Winter and it's too late to get such a movement going this Summer.  So, to bring up a rare bad song of Neil Young's, "Let's Roll".

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I'll help start this historic movement

29%5 votes
35%6 votes
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| 17 votes | Vote | Results

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Fri May 27, 2011 at 05:16 AM PDT

Possibly he isn't so bad.

by rainmanjr

I worked for Rory Reid's campaign, such as it was, here in Nv and (of course) voted for him. Sandoval struck me as a Gibbons-bot and Gibbons was aweful.  His lack of preparedness also bothered me.  But, it seems my fears weren't entirely realized. Thanks to the Nv Supreme Court we will save 1,000 teachers from the chopping block.  YAY!!!
So I take it back.  Nevada is not America's asshole.  We are more like its Achille's Heel.  Poll below the fold (just because I feel that I should have a "below the fold".

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I think Gov Sandoval's decision is...

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