A blog on progressive news and politics on both the California and Nevada sides of Lake Tahoe which aims at helping to elect Democrats and Turn Tahoe Blue. The blog is written from Germany by a former German exchange student at George Whittell High School in Zephyr Cove, Nevada.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

My Q&A With Jill Derby

Jill Derby, who has announced her intention to run for State Party Chair yesterday, has agreed to do some Q&A with Turn Tahoe Blue on what she would do if elected, on the Nevada Caucus, Howard Dean's 50-State-Strategy, and the much criticized Fox News debate:

TTB: You announced your decision to run for State Party Chair on Monday. What makes you want to run the Nevada Democratic Party?

Jill Derby: I am aligned with those party leaders who suggest that the future of the Democratic Party is in the West. We can win in the West, but we must position ourselves in alignment with our uniquely western values. Our new State party slogan is “A New Direction for Nevada”. In my congressional campaign, I laid out a new vision for what a Nevada Democrat and Democrats from the West stand for. That’s the kind of vision and leadership I bring that I believe will advance our opportunities for turning Nevada blue and winning in the West. The opportunity to grow and build our party to that end is an exciting leadership challenge that I am looking forward to taking on.

TTB: Your congressional campaign was one of the most successful and professional campaigns of any Democrat for Nevada’s 2nd Congressional seat and you gave the Republican Party and its candidate a run for their money. What experiences from the campaign trail would help you run the state party?

Jill Derby: I was able to connect with many people in all 17 of Nevada’s counties during my campaign for Congress. That experience provides me with a network of positive relationships with which to build the unity, focus, and cohesion which will be important to the Party in the year ahead. Democrats often talk about being the party of inclusion and I intend to make that happen by involving everyone – rural and urban, north and south. I also learned that many Nevadans are independent and not locked into strict party vote. I learned that reaching out and framing our message in ways that resonate beyond our traditional Democratic audience can bring support across party lines, and is particularly attractive to independent voters, of which there are many in Nevada.

TTB: What would you like to change within the Nevada Democratic Party to increase the chances for Democratic candidates? In this respect, do you think Gov. Dean’s 50-State-Strategy is a good idea?

Jill Derby: Nevada’s early caucus status offers us an opportunity to grow the party and bolster its state-wide infrastructure. We must get disengaged Democrats re-engaged and active. We must communicate our values in ways that connect with Independents and independent-minded Republicans. There are lots of the latter. I met them all over Nevada in my campaign, and many of them voted for me because of the new vision and leadership I offered. I do support Governor Dean’s 50 state strategy which takes the long view of re-building the Democratic Party nationwide. The right wing of the Republican Party didn’t accomplish its impressive gains overnight. It took years of planning, investment, and strategy. We need to be smart and strategic, and build from the ground up to regain the our majority in the nation,

TTB: Your former campaign manager, David Cohen, has signed up as deputy state director with Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Do you intend to endorse a candidate for the Nevada Caucus or will you remain neutral?

Jill Derby: I will remain neutral.

TTB: The decision of the Nevada Democratic Party and the Western Majority Project to let Fox News host a presidential debate in August in Reno has caused an uproar among Democratic activists and bloggers. Do you think it was a wise decision to let Fox News host the debate even though Democratic officials and candidates are often ridiculed and vilified by its presenters?

Jill Derby: We cannot win in the West if we only talk to those who already agree with us. We must reach out to independent voters and independent-minded Republicans. There are a growing number of disenchanted Republicans willing to look elsewhere for candidates to support – my candidacy was clear proof of that. Let’s reach out to them through their media channels. I think the decision was well thought out, and while I understand the concerns of those who oppose the decision, I believe it was the right one. It is important to note that the terms of the agreement require that the logistics of the debate including format, moderator(s), and backdrop will only be determined by mutual consent of both parties. That gives us some safeguards.


Monday, February 26, 2007

Jill Derby to Run for State Party Chair

Jill Derby today announced her intention to run for state party chair, a position to be vacated by Tom Collins. The official press release:

Jill Derby, former Regent and 2006 Democratic nominee for Congress in Nevada’s Second Congressional District said today that she plans to run for Chair of the Nevada State Democratic Party when elections are held in March.

“In my congressional campaign, I laid out a new vision for what a Nevada Democrat and Democrats from the West stand for. That’s the kind of vision and leadership I plan to bring to the Party,” Derby said.

As was evidenced by the past week of candidate events and national media attention, Nevada will play a central role in the selection of the Democratic candidate in 2008. Nevada’s caucus will be the second in the nation, falling between key events in Iowa and New Hampshire.

“I believe I can make a valuable contribution to the Party’s growth during this critical time by leading the effort to make our caucus a success and by highlighting the issues important to Nevada and the West,” Derby said.

Derby’s experience as a Regent and congressional candidate makes her uniquely qualified to represent the entire state during this historic time.

“I can help bring Nevada and the State Democratic Party together in new ways,” Derby said. “As a Regent, I worked to advance each and every campus in our system of higher education around the state. As a candidate, I campaigned in every single county. I know the rural, suburban, and urban issues we’re facing, and intend to be a Chair that represents all our communities.”
Wow! This is awesome news. When I heard that Tom Collins announced his intention not to run again, I didn't expect any good candidates to come forward. This is an awesome candidate. With Jill Derby as state party chair we might actually be able to turn both Tahoe and Nevada blue.


I just wanted to make clear that Tom Collins decision to resign came just before the Fox debate issue exploded all over the blogosphere and before his post on Daily Kos last Friday (more here). The Las Vegas Gleaner reported on this last Thursday (Feb.22). Here's the press release, courtesy of the Gleaner:

Nevada Democratic Chairman Tom Collins has decided not to run for reelection to his post as state chairman when the Democratic Central Committee elects new state officers at a meeting March 31 in Reno.

Collins, who was elected to a one-year term as party chairman last April, will remain the chairman of the Nevada Caucus Commission, helping to raise money, coordinate and promote the Nevada Presidential Caucus, to be held Jan. 19, 2008.

During his term, Collins oversaw the coordinated campaign that helped to elect four Democrats to statewide office, plus an additional Democrat in both the state Senate and Assembly. Democrats also picked up another seat on the Clark County Commission.

Collins was one of the first advocates to lobby Democrats nationally to put an early presidential caucus in Nevada. Collins has argued the West is the new frontier for Democrats, and by focusing on Western states, Democrats can win the White House.

“The Nevada Caucus is a huge undertaking, and stepping down as state chairman will give me more time to focus on my duties as one of the chairs of the Nevada Caucus Commission,” Collins said. “I believe that Democrats must win in the West in order to win the White House, and I want to spend as much of my time as possible promoting the caucus and ensuring it is a success. I look forward to working with a new state chair who can bring the resources to the table to continue to build the Nevada Democratic Party and turn Nevada ‘blue.’”


For more news and action surrounding the Nevada Caucus go to Nevada Caucus 2008.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

John Ensign Rather Golfs Than Debate The War

Every cynical blogger in Nevada guessed that John Ensign was probably out golfing when he missed the vote on the Iraq war debate last Saturday. Call us cynical no more:
A spokesman for Ensign confirmed Tuesday that he played golf with his son in Nevada rather than attend the weekend session called by Senate Democrats. Ensign criticized the vote as nothing more than "political posturing" that he had no interest in joining.
Want a comment from a political science professor?

"The irony here is in the past he's been criticized for playing too much golf and having a good tan," Herzik said. "But if you're going to criticize - 'You're out on the golf course instead of the floor of the Senate for this historic vote' - he'll say, 'What historic vote? It was a sham.'

"His position is valid. Whether or not it's popular, that's another question," Herzik said.

What Lisa Mascaro forgot to mention in her article, although it's pretty apparent, is that Herzik is a Republican. One who obviously doesn't have much respect for the political instutions of this land, for the people of Nevada or for the troops.

To top it all off, here's Harry Reid's response:
In Carson City on Tuesday, Reid himself said: "Maybe you haven't heard about our pact?" It was a reference to an agreement he and Ensign have to not criticize each other publicly.
Good Lord!

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Nevada Caucus Blog

Late last year I started a new blog that solely focuses on the Nevada Caucus next year and all the news surrounding it. I've finally gotten into a steady flow of posting on that blog and new posts should appear on a daily basis, depending on how much is going on.

On Nevada Caucus 2008 you will find links to all the candidates, an easy way to contribute to your favourite candidates through ActBlue, updates from the campaigns, reports on the Nevada Caucus and appearances of candidates in Nevada. To keep up to date you can easily subscribe to the site feed and either include in your My Yahoo, newsgator or whatever is reader of choice or you can subscribe to an email feed that will be send to you on a daily basis.

For more go to Nevada Caucus 2008.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Reid Has No Regrets About Iraq Vote, Has Flawed Reasoning

Harry Reid isn't running for President. That might be one reason why he doesn't see the point in regretting his vote for the Iraq war resolution as Hillary Clinton is the only presidential contender who doesn't regret her vote and instead blames it all on Bush.

Essentially, they're both taking the easy way out. Whenever Hillary talks about her vote she sounds as insincere as can be. You think it would be impossible that anyone could do a worse job? Guess again:
As he prepares to lead Senate Democrats in the debate on President Bush's Iraq policy, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada says he has no second thoughts about his vote in 2002 authorizing the president to go to war.

"The evidence at the time was persuasive -- especially if you go back and look and see what Secretary of State Colin Powell did at the United Nations," Reid said Tuesday.

"We've learned since then that the evidence was manipulated," he said. "So the answer is no. I'm not going to apologize."
Either Sen. Reid's memory is really, really bad or he's just being smug and insincere as his reasoning is totally off. The Review Journal points this out, unfortunately only several paragraphs later:

Reid insists his 2002 vote was based on "inaccurate information" propounded by the Bush administration.

On Feb. 5, 2003 -- four months after the Senate vote -- Powell delivered a speech at the United Nations accusing Iraq of harboring chemical weapons.

Powell has since called that speech a "blot" on his record.

Basically, former Secretary of State Powell is more distressed about enabling the President to go to war than Sen. Reid. This is - to put it mildly - unfortunate.

Unfortunate is also Sen. Reid's disdain for the people of Nevada:
"My caucus accepted it, and the people in the state of Nevada have not raised that as an issue," Reid said.
I find it hard to believe that not a soul in Nevada has "raised that as an issue" with the Senator. There just must have been at least one lone peace activist in Nevada who must have gotten in Reid's face about his vote.

Therefore, the Senator is pretty lucky that he's not even thinking about running for President. Cause he would not survive. The netroots are already pretty harsh on Hillary who has basically stated that if people don't like her stance vote for someone else. Kos has replied to Hillary in no uncertain terms. It remains to be seen if he will do the same with Sen. Reid or if there is some sort of double standard.

As for Sen. Reid. It's a pity that he will probably not be forced to defend his vote like Hillary has been forced to do recently. He's pretty sure of himself and his position in the Nevada Democratic Party. Unfortunately, both for the Democratic Party and for the people of Nevada, I think he has no need to worry. There is no primary challenger in sight. That of course might change, as he's not up for re-election until 2010.

PS: Coincidentally, Harry Reid's son, Rory Reid, was hired by Hillary Clinton as her Nevada campaign manager.

Read another opinion on Reid's Iraq vote at the Las Vegas Gleaner.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Gibbons Sets New Records, Is Under FBI Investigation

After only having been in office for six weeks, Gov. Jim Gibbons is under investigation by the FBI for possible corruption:
Federal authorities confirmed Thursday that Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons is under investigation for failing to properly report gifts or payments from a software company that was awarded secret military contracts when he was in Congress.

The newly elected Republican governor’s office issued a statement saying that while he was a close friend of the company owner, Warren Trepp, there was “no special power” that Gibbons could provide in awarding defense contracts to the company.

Trepp, a former chief trader for convicted junk-bond dealer Michael Milken, also has denied any wrongdoing. He didn’t immediately return calls Thursday to his office at his eTreppid Technologies LLC in Reno.

Gibbons and his wife spent some time on a cruise and did not pay for that and neither for their ride on a private jet. However, the following part is the one that might actually undo him:
“Please don’t forget to bring the money you promised Jim and Dawn,” Trepp’s wife, Jale Trepp, said in a March 22, 2005, e-mail days before Trepp and his wife embarked on the Caribbean cruise with Jim Gibbons and his wife, Dawn, a former Nevada state assemblywoman.

According to the Journal, Trepp responded minutes later saying: “Don’t you ever send this kind of message to me! Erase this message from your computer right now!”

As this already drawing national press attention one has to wonder how long it will take for Gibbons to have to resign. Maybe it's "Hello Gov. Krolicki" before you know it.

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Say Good Bye to Gov. Krolicki

Looks like much of the Nevada blogosphere (including this little blog) was much too eager to get Jim Gibbons out of the Governor's Mansion. Turns out he wasn't quite as flunky as we all presumed and actually did resign from Congress before taking his oath as governor. Damn.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Say Hello to Gov. Krolicki

The biggest flunk ever to be elected governor of the Silver State may actually not be governor at all. According to what's been reported around the buzzing Nevada blogosphere this state may not even have a governor right now.

Before I go on, read the full run down on Vote Gibbons Out.

So, technically, Gibbons would have to be removed. Lt. Gov. Krolicki (R) would then take over as Governor and a new election would possibly have to be called.

Here things would become really interesting. Would Gibbons run again? Would it be too embarrassing? Would his wife run? Would Krolicki want to keep the new job? Who would the Democrats nominate? "Dina-Might"? Speaker Buckley? Anyone else?

Will any of this ever happen? Probably not. The establishment will see to that and I doubt that Harry would like to see his Caucus disturbed in any way.

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There's a New Blogger in Town

Senate Minority Leader Dina Titus, last year's Democratic nominee for Governor, has joined us crazy, everyday Nevada bloggers and we welcome her!

She send out an email yesterday, announcing her new website:
As we enter the second week of the new legislative session, I’m happy to report that www.dinatitus.com is back online and ready to serve as a hub for you to stay in touch!

It’s an important moment for our state – when we will decide whether to take the steps necessary to really move forward in such important areas as education, transportation, renewable energy and health care. At the same time, the 2008 Democratic presidential caucus is already bringing national attention to Nevada and its issues. There has never been a better time to make your voice heard.

I look forward to posting regular updates on the issues before us this session, calls to action on legislation and community efforts, news articles of interest and perhaps even some inside gossip from the halls of the capitol. We’ve also created a special area for links to the latest happenings related to the presidential caucus.

Those of you who know me well may be pleasantly surprised that I’ve also officially entered the 21st century (finally!) with a blog. I’ll do my best to write often – and I look forward to reading your responses. I’ll also see about getting some of my Senate colleagues to do some guest blogging!

Please share your thoughts often and help grow this site into a true online community. I hope you will use it as both a resource and a sounding board for the issues on your mind.

Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

The website is surprisingly well done and an improvement to the old Titus for Governor website. It's so professional that you have to wonder whether she is actually gonna run for Congress against Porter in 2008.

Visit Dina's website here and don't forget to read her blog!

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Monday, February 12, 2007

43 Plays for 43 Presidents

I wanted to see at least one play during our stay in the States. And that's exactly what we managed to do. Did we ever choose the right play.

43 Plays for 43 Presidents was an awesome experience. It was performed by the Rough and Toumble crew at LaVal's Subterranean Theatre in Berkeley. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to write about it right after we saw it. We only got back to Germany after their run ended.

I just wanted to write a short post on this to thank the writers (Andrew Bayiates, Sean Benjamin, Genevra Gallo, Chloë Johnston and Karen Weinberg) of this play and the magnificent actors of Rough and Tumble: Stewart Evan Smith, Louise Chegwidden, Arwen Anderson, Josh Pollock, and Norman Gee (as pictured from left to right). As all Presidents up to date were white men, it was interesting to see how it could have been, or better even, how it could be in the future with the first woman and first African-American having a real shot at the nomination of the Democratic Party.

They did receive pretty good reviews:

Contra Costa Times
San Francisco Chronicle
The Daily Californian

Just this little bit from the Chronicle:
Perhaps most refreshingly, "Presidents" lampoons Bill Clinton (Gee catching the vocal inflections) not for his personal peccadilloes but for his betrayals of progressive politics.

That was actually a little disheartening to watch but it seemed kinda true - a lot of talking but little progressive, liberal action.

Thanks, Rough and Tumble! We enjoyed it!

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Join Nevada for Obama!

Yesterday, I started the Nevada for Obama group at My.BarackObama.com. Join the group today and help Obama on his journey to the White House.

At first, I only started a Tahoe for Obama group (which you are also invited to join) and later founded the Nevada group when one state group after the other popped up, except for the Silver State.

Join Nevada for Obama here!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Tahoe for Obama Group Up and Running!

Barack Obama has announced his run for the White House today. I couldn't be more enthused. During the 2004 Democratic Convention I stayed up late into the night (was watching from Germany) to watch his speech and was I ever blown away.

Today I joined My.BarackObama.com and founded two groups. The first one is called Germans for Obama (I am German, after all) and the second one Tahoe for Obama. I invite you to join Tahoe for Obama. To join, click here.

A couple of you may have been to my blog Nevada Caucus 2008. I try to remain as objective on that blog as humanly possible and will try to report on all candidates in an open-minded manner and will not give preferential treatment on that blog to Barack Obama. I will however criticize and praise the candidates when they deserve it, no matter my personal preference.

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My San Francisco Pics

Ever since I first set foot in San Francisco eleven years ago, I've been in love with the city. Unfortunately, I never had enough time to venture through all the districts. This time around we had three days in San Francisco and spent them mostly walking the streets. We stayed on the quiet end Lombard near the Presidio and only had to walk a couple of feet from our motel to see the Golden Gate Bridge - when there was no fog, that is. We walked and ate on Chestnut St., looked at all the still closed shops in Cow Hollow (because of jetlag we were early risers) and took the bus down to the Castro. The Castro is clearly a sight to behold, with rainbow flags and all. Very interesting is the old Castro Theatre which was build in the silent movie age, in 1923. That night Alex and I met Sarah Carter and her husband Brendan for dinner in North Beach. We talked about politics (American and German), our studies and much more. Time just flew by and before we knew it, the waiters were ready to close for the night.

The following day we met a friend of Alex after exploring the exploratorium and she took us on a tour through the city, first showing us her favourite part: the Haight District. We later went downtown and ventured through North Beach, the Italian part of town, which was interesting for Alex as his mom is from Italy. We also walked through Chinatown and the area around Union Square. That night we went to see a play in Berkeley (more on the Berkeley part in a seperate post).

On our last day we drove over to the Cliff House on the north end of Ocean Beach. The breakfast was awesome (I love my eggs benedict) and the view a sight to behold. We left San Francisco via the Golden Gate Bridge, stopped at the vista point at the northern end of the bridge and took a last look at the city that we now both love and long to get back to.

A creative fortune teller on Union Street in Cow Hollow

Rainbow flags everywhere - the Castro District

Palace of Fine Arts on a sunny morning

Signs you only see in the States, at Golden Gate Park near the Haight

Words of wisdom on a sidewalk on Columbus Ave

Columbus Ave in North Beach

View of the Pacific from the Cliff House

Ocean Beach near the Cliff House


Friday, February 09, 2007

NRSC Working on Democratic Landslide in 2008

What one "deluded Republican staffer" can cause by thinking his boss might make a good President... First of all, I have to thank him/her for getting me five blogger minutes of fame and 1,000 visitors in one day.

Looking at my stats throughout the past 24 hours was quite revealing. First of all: it's true. All of Washington reads Wonkette. I'm surprised anything at all gets done in DC. You could probably fire half the staffers in DC and not a soul would notice.

Among the thousand visits to this post were at least nine (see below, times are MET) by the National Republican Senatorial Committee which started this whole thing. Seems like they have nothing better to do. If they keep up working like this (and with the ensignificant Senator running the show this seems likely) they will practically ensure a Democratic landslide in the 2008 Senate elections.

(Un)Surprisingly, this wasn't John Ensign's first time on Wonkette. He was featured prominently last year under the headline "Senator John Ensign: This White Man Can Jump". No wonder, Wonkette would like to see him run...

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Vote for Jack Carter! Now!

Wanna give some mojo to Jack Carter? You can vote for him in this online "Democratic Nomination Competition". It has no significance whatsoever but is really fun. You can rate candidates from 1 to 5 with 5 being the top vote. You can only vote today!

Vote for Jack here!


Thursday, February 08, 2007

Wonkette Endorses John Ensign For President - It's The Hair!

Breaking News: Ensign receives first endorsement for presidential bid!

just practically endorsed Nevada's favourite golfer for President. Why? It's the hair:
Someone at the NRSC has a brilliant plan for the Republicans: the dude who nearly lost to Jimmy Carter’s son should run for President. We like it! Ensign has such nice hair…

I jokingly thought about the possibility of former Nevada Gov. Kenny Guinn (R) replacing Cheney as Vice-President. Why? He's out of a job and W just likes western governors (think Kempthorne of Idaho (Interior Secretary), and Leavitt of Utah (HHS Secretary).

But never in my wildest dreams, or nightmares for that matter, would I have imagined to hear "John Ensign for President". Great thanks for that go out to the "Single Most Deluded Republican Staffer".

PS: Here's a look at the hair...

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Blogger Forced Me to Switch

I finally couldn't get around to switching to BloggerBeta anymore. When I logged into my account they practically forced me to switch. I'm not sure if I'm gonna like the new blogger. What I certainly despise is being forced into something.


Vote for Jack Carter Again! Tomorrow!

After the "John Ensign for President" idiocy coming from the National Republican Senatorial Committee yesterday, it's time to have some real fun and vote for Jack Carter again.

The website Calculusman.com is having its annual Democratic Nomination Competition. In the first round one can choose from a wide array of candidates, tomorrow's vote (Friday, Feb. 9) includes former Senate candidate Jack Carter. You can rate the candidates from 1 (least favourite) to 5 (most favourite).

Vote for Jack and give him a 5!

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

"John Ensign for President" - The NRSC Thinks So

What do bloggers do all day? They look at their site stats. And don't let any blogger tell you otherwise. We're obsessed.

Therefore, it took me only a little more than an hour to find the following gem. Apparently, someone at the National Republican Senatorial Committee got a little ahead of his duties. To all who haven't heard: John Ensign is the new Liddy Dole, meaning he'll be responsible for recruiting candidates for the 2008 Senate contests. Now, we have to wonder whether the ensignificant Senator and his staff are taking their duties seriously or whether the Hair-Do is standing in front of his staff all day asking: "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?"

And the staff must have shouted: "John Ensign for President!"

And so they ventured out in the world beyond the seven blogs to find the seven dwarfs who might agree with them.

Today, at 12.57pm pacific, 3.57pm eastern and 9.57pm middle european time, someone at the National Republican Senatorial Committee searched for "John Ensign for President."

John McCain and Rudy Guiliani watch out!

For details click the screenshot below.

Update: Wonder what the hair is all about? Have a look!

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My Meeting with David Bobzien

During our three weeks in the US in January Alex and I got to spend four days in northern Nevada (more on that later). Before heading out to California, we met newly elected Assembly member David Bobzien for coffee. I had sent him an email a couple weeks earlier requesting an autograph for my collection and he suggested meeting for coffee at Bibo Coffee Co on Mt Rose St in Reno.

David's an intelligent guy who will surely make his constituents proud. We talked about his victory over an incumbent Republican and what it took (a lot of door knocking after work) to get elected.

His first week in the Assembly (after being sworn in January) started on Monday with the election of Nevada's first female Speaker, Barbara Buckley. David said that he'll try to post updates on the blog he started during his campaign and has just posted about the first 24 hours.

Unfortunately, David's district only covers a part of Reno and does not stretch up to Lake Tahoe. Since Tahoe is now represented by James Settelmayer and the joke that is Ty Cobb (someone please tell him that the Nevada Assembly ain't the House of Representatives!), I hereby declare David Bobzien honorary Assembly member for Lake Tahoe! David, watch out for the interests of the Lake!

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Nevada Legislature Open for Business

The business of the people that is. And let's hope they'll remember it.

This Legislature will see the first female Assembly speaker, the slimmest of slim majorities for the Republicans in the Senate and 11 new freshmen, one in the Senate and ten in the Assembly. Among them David Bobzien, the new Assembly member for the 24th district in Reno. I got to meet David a couple of weeks ago in Reno. More on that in the coming days.

Here are two articles on the convening of the Legislature. One by Brendan Riley for the AP, another by Geoff Dornan for the Nevada Appeal. The latter has a list of interesting legislature statistics.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

New State Officials

While most Democratic candidates relative to Lake Tahoe lost their congressional or assembly races, I was somewhat consoled by the fact that Democrats managed to win the majority of state offices both in California and in Nevada.

This became quite apparent to me while walking the halls of the State Capitol of Nevada in Carson City a couple of weeks ago. There on the ground floor were two office doors engraved with the names of State Treasurer Kate Marshall and State Controller Kim Wallin.

Also taking office in January were Secretary of State Ross Miller and Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto.

In California, all political state offices except for the Governor and the Insurance Commissioner are now in the hands of Democrats. The newly sworn in officials are: Attorney General Jerry Brown, Secretary of State Debra Bowen, State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, State Controller John Chiang and Lt. Governor John Garamendi.

I've included links to their website in the sidebar.

More on my three weeks in California and Nevada in the coming days!

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Saying Good Bye to Molly Ivins and Ryszard Kapuscinski

Two very unique and very different journalists, who were among the best in their field, have passed away recently - Molly Ivins and Ryszard Kapuscinski.

I only discovered the wit of Molly Ivins in the past year - and relished every word she had to say. Maya Angelou in the Washington Post:

Up to the walls of Jericho
She marched with a spear in her hand
Go blow them ram horns she cried
For the battle is in my hand

The walls have not come down, but they have been given a serious shaking.

That Jericho voice is stilled now.

Molly Ivins has been quieted.

The writer and journalist, dearly loved and admired by many, hated and feared by many, died of cancer in her Texas home on Jan. 31, 2007.

The walls of ignorance and prejudice and cruelty, which she railed against valiantly all her public life, have not fallen, but their truculence to do so does not speak against her determination to make them collapse.

Ryszard Kapuscinski was the man who helped me understand all the good and bad of Africa. While he wrote under the confines of the communist Polish press agency he managed to write lyrical books about the people and history of modern Africa.

Verlyn Klinkenborg in the New York Times:

Where does the truth of history lie? In coups and revolutions, in wars and treaties and the chronicles of our textbook heroes and antiheroes? Or does it lie in the pulse of ordinary life, in a dailiness that looks almost hallucinatory if you venture outside it? I think of Ryszard Kapuscinski, who died at 74 on Jan. 23, as an emissary between those two versions of history. His writing life divides between the conventional reporting he did for the Polish press agency PAP — a voluntary slavery, as he described it, that made the whole world available to him — and the literary journalism that has found its way into books like “Imperium,” “The Soccer War” and “The Emperor.”

He was both witness and reporter, and an enduring reminder of the fact that the two are not the same.

I'll miss them both but I'm glad they left behind much of their wit and wisdom on paper.

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