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All the lobbyist jobs must’ve been filled

This being Primary Election week, I know the question burning in the bosoms of Nevada voters everywhere: Is there life after politics? As it turns out, the answer is, yeah, maybe.

I base my premature conclusion on the receipt of an absolutely amazing release distributed a few days ago by a noted public-relations group on behalf of its newest client, starlet-to-be Elizabeth Halseth — better known to the local electorate as (former) State Sen. Halseth. Now, why in the world does a part-time politician who served only two years before resigning from her legislative position need her own publicist? The hint, I think, is in the photos that were attached to the release.

One of them is now pretty well known. It’s a photo of a bikini-clad Halseth, a come-hither look on her face, her hands clutching the bikini bottom as if she had just pulled the garment up from her knees. A second shot is a close-up of Halseth’s face and upper torso as she is sprawled on a dry lake bed, a photo that we are guessing resulted in sand particles getting into all sorts of uncomfortable places. The release notes that Sen. Halseth (described as “stunning and audacious”) is “making headlines” since being chosen in a write-in vote as one of <em>Maxim</em>’s Hot 100. To my utter astonishment, the release informed me that the sultry politico has been visiting retirement homes and women’s shelters since she was a mere 5 years old, and that she is studying psychology and expects to earn a degree by 2013.

The timing of the release is interesting, since Sen. Halseth’s, ahem, legacy played a major role in a hotly contested, highly publicized legislative primary battle this month. In state Senate District 9, the very same Halseth photos were used to besmirch the reputation of another shapely young woman who was seeking office, Mari Nakashima St. Martin, who was described in a brutal website attack as a “party girl,” someone who cannot be taken seriously, sort of like, you know, Elizabeth Halseth. At the time I am writing this, I have no idea whether the attacks on Ms. St. Martin’s character will stick or not, though it was an interesting strategy to try and handcuff her to Halseth’s steamy persona. Sleazy, no question, but possibly effective. (St. Martin showed she could dish out dirt of her own, as opponent Brent Jones was shellacked as a bit of a con man who may or may not be a Scientologist.)

A good PR professional knows an opportunity when she sees one, and since Halseth’s mostly unrobed body was being bandied about anyway, the company may have figured it should strike while the torso is hot. The point of the whole thing was to let we media professionals know that the ex-senator is available to be interviewed about “what is next after politics.” The first thing that popped into my mind was maybe an oil-wrestling match against OctoMom, or maybe filling in for that UFC ring girl who got arrested. I know there are some male members of the legislative press corps who are hoping that Ms. Halseth succeeds in becoming a movie star, even if the movies they have in mind are not the kind that will ever play at the local multiplex.

Whatever lies ahead for the stunning and audacious Ms. Halseth, it’s got to be more comfortable than that photo shoot where she was sprawled out on a dry and dusty lake bed.

<strong> </strong><strong>NAMES/FACES/PLACES</strong>

Whenever one hears that someone is stepping down from a high-profile government position in order to spend more time with their family, the inclination is to wonder what incriminating pictures have been snapped or what kind of indictment is about to be unsealed. Not many people willingly walk away from positions of power. But that’s exactly what <strong>Dale Erquiaga</strong> is doing. It has already been reported that Erquiaga is leaving his job as senior advisor to Gov. Brian Sandoval because his work in Carson City keeps him away from his children, who live in Arizona. For once, it looks like that explanation is true and legit. Other than Sandoval himself, no one in the administration deserves more credit for the steady, adult-level leadership thus far in Sandoval’s term than Erquiaga, a native Nevadan whose work as a journalist helped create positive relationships with the Nevada press corps, and whose experience with R&R Partners helped him understand how to sell big ideas to the public. Not surprisingly, Erquiaga’s job duties will be assumed by two people. His last day is July 6, and no one will miss him more than the governor. … Some <strong>big-time spooks</strong> are heading to town. IRVA, the International Remote Viewing Association, is holding its annual conference at Green Valley Ranch Friday through Sunday. The idea that anyone would take remote viewing seriously has been widely ridiculed, outright dismissed by some critics, and yet these psychic techniques have been proven beyond any doubt to be frighteningly effective. They were, after all, developed by the CIA and later by Army Intelligence. Many of the remote viewers whose experiences were chronicled in the book and movie <em>The Men Who Stare At Goats</em> and whose work for three-letter government agencies remains largely classified, will be at the conference, swapping stories and speaking publicly about some of the stuff that has been declassified. They are the real deal, though there will be a few profiteers and psychic hucksters in the mix, as well. The public is invited, though there is a fee. If you have to hear just one or two presentations, check out Dr. Russell Targ, one of the co-founders of remote viewing, or keynote speaker and CIA consultant Dr. Kit Green (as close to a real-life Fox Mulder as you will ever see). … For those of you wondering about <strong>my long-hauling incident</strong> at McCarran International Airport, here’s an update. The Taxicab Authority is following up my complaint about Nellis cabbie Hanjour. I’ve been interviewed by a TA investigator and was also contacted by several high-ranking folks in state government. Will let you know where it all leads. … Is it possible that local Republicans are using <strong>Steve Wark</strong> in decision-making capacities these days? Does the GOP read the paper or watch TV news?. … Knappster had a chance to watch the premier episode of <em><strong>Vegas</strong></em>, the new CBS show about former Sheriff Ralph Lamb, which debuts in September. It’s a barn burner and sure has the feel of a big hit. …