Write-in campaigns?

Write-inHere’s a twist for you on the whole Senator Bill Kintner saga:

As you may know, many have suggested to Kintner that he not only resign, but resign BEFORE September 1st. Why? Because if he is out by September 1, the ballot would be opened up for a vote, and anyone who wants to get their name on would have “time” to collect signatures to have that done.

(Of course, note that the deadline for 1,300 signatures is September 1st, no matter what — and one can’t start collecting until the seat is offically open. So good luck with that…)

But here’s a quirk:

Let’s say Kintner resigns AFTER September 1st, but BEFORE September 9th. Then, the open seat would be on the ballot, but without any candidates listed. So a candidate could then only win by write-in vote.

Think what kind of chaos that could potentially be. Sure a well known person could step up and get their name on the airwaves and internets. But equally, a simply ORGANIZED person could potentially do the same, and get in by whatever plurality could win it.

Of course, the Legislature or Governor could take the issue out of Kintner’s hands if they could call a special session and expel Kintner within the next 7 (to 14) days.

A week’s pretty tight though, eh?

If only they had seen this coming.
By, say, a year.
If only…


Independents Day

If you’re not a Lincolnite, you probably haven’t been following the budget standoff in the Star City between the Republican controlled City Council and the Democrat Mayor.

Much of it comes down to whether the Council has “the right to pass a tax rate lower than required by the mayor’s budget.

There are legal implications for that, and possibly a court fight.

So in the middle of all this, the LJS editorializes on who is really at fault. The clear answer?

KLIN’s Coby Mach.

The LJS describes Mach as a “Republican Party operative” who is stirring up his listeners to “egg on” the Council in their fight. Wow, the power that Mach has during his Drive Time radio show!

And he must REALLY be making the big bucks being employed by the Nebraska GOP!
(Oh, he’s not?)
(Them neither?)
Uh…well…he was a Republican delegate, so he MUST be controlled by the GOP, yeah?


But here’s how the LJS concludes their editorial:

In the city of Lincoln, a fast-growing political affiliation is nonpartisan. Last we checked on active voters in the Capital City, there were 64,646 Republicans, 60,942 Democrats, 1,254 Libertarians and 34,228 nonpartisans.

In other words, about one in five active voters in Lincoln is registered nonpartisan.

When the conversation turns to government, those are the folks we want to sit with at Saturday morning coffee, see on the next bar stool and chat with on the church steps after services. May their numbers continue to grow.

So instead of the 80% of voters who have core beliefs and the backbone to actually choose their party, the LSJ pretends to waiver with the 20% who can’t make a decision (and oh by the way, don’t get to vote in the partisan primaries).

And of course, the hilarious part is the LJS trying to pretend that THEY’RE independent, when they’ve been rock-solid SHILLS for the Democrats for years.

Rock. Solid.

So, nonpartisans, know that when the LJS sidles up net to you at the bar for that chat their dying to have, there’s a great chance they’re going to suggest that YOU pay the bill.


Interview prospects

Oh, and hey, speaking of the LJS, funny that they haven’t come forward on this story:

Of course, in order to successfully cover this story they’d have to…

1) Waive their Democrat bias towards Hillary
2) Pretend that Hillary wasn’t pro-Pipeline before getting hammered on it
3) Waive their declaration against political party leadership and interview Democrat Chair, Jane Kleeb, while she pretends to be an “independent” observer

And then, Jane is in an conflicted place herself.

On the one hand, she hates pipelines. And she was a Bernie Bro during the election — going so far as to have her people flex their muscles, (it’s been said) at the convention to get her spot as chair.

But on the other she IS trying to get Hillary into the White House (in theory, anyway).

What are the LJS and Jane to do???

Maybe they can call into Coby Mach’s show and plead their case…



Sidewalk-less debates

Leavenworth St. has received word from the Don Bacon for Congress campaign that retired Brigadier General Bacon has accepted offers to two debate — one from KMTV and the OWH and the other from 1290 KKAR.

No word yet on whether Democrat Brad Ashford has or will accept these offers to talk directly to the voters of the 2nd District.

We know Brad likes to show up unannounced on sidewalks to deny he is a Democrat who votes for Nancy Pelosi and Co-Chairs Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Hopefully he will show up on the air to smooth through all of his positions.


That’s how

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Special Session on Kintner has around 20 votes, needs 33 (or just Ricketts)

Nebraska state Senators Heath Mello & Bob Krist. (AP / Nati Harnik).

The word ’round the Capitol in Lincoln is that there are approximately 20 or so state Senators so far who would vote in favor of holding a Special Session of the Legislature to address the Senator Bill Kintner cybersex extortion scandal.

They need 33 to call the session.

Apparently state Senator Bob Krist and his bud Senator — nay, Mayoral candidate! — Heath Mello are itching to jump into the mosh pit.

Or, Governor Pete Ricketts could convene the Legislature by proclamation. And the word is that he is inclined to do that — though he may wait for Senators to decide on their own.

But this is a risky venue for Ricketts. Because at this point, we pretty much know everything about the scandal…involving Kintner. The State Patrol has reported times and dates and emails and threats and confessions and pretty much all of your scandal info short of a car chase.

But one issue is still out there:
What did Pete Ricketts know and when did he know it?

All indications are that Governor Ricketts had all of the pertinent info — offically or not — less than a week after the dirty deeds were done. That was August of 2015.

And after that, with Ricketts having — at minimum — a very good idea of what took place in the Boston hotel room and afterwards, he still kept dates with Kintner. He still showed Kintner his support. And Ricketts even put Kintner on his slate of delegates for the 2016 GOP Convention in Cleveland.

This is a hairy situation for all involved.

Many in the Unicameral — not just the Governor — will be asked what they knew and when they knew it. And then they will be sitting there while their fellow Senators cluck their tongues at them.

There is only one real answer to all of this.
It is unclear however if all of the parties know how to get there.


Forever young

Speaking of Heath Mello, he was on KFAB yesterday with Gary Sadlemyer.

He had a few interesting lines…and Sadlemyer didn’t really let him get away with much.

Mello said he wants Omaha to be a “city of the future”.
And Sadlemyer drolly responded that he didn’t know what that meant.

Mello scrambled a bit and talked about biomedical research and technical education. And Sadlemyer immediately shifted to the issue of how Futurama would get built: raising taxes.

And here is where Mello’s experience in politics helped him: he wouldn’t answer the question.

But Mello did note that he is “a young father” and that he is in office “at a VERY young age”.

Yet, it isn’t exactly clear why Mello wants to emphasize his relative youth and inexperience for the job of the City’s top executive.


Sarpy County Election Commissioner Wayne Bena and Douglas County Election Commissioner Brian Kruse talk early voting.
Sarpy County Election Commissioner Wayne Bena and Douglas County Election Commissioner Brian Kruse talk early voting.

Wayne Bena: anagram for “Ya, new bean!”

Douglas and Sarpy County Election Commissioners Brian Kruse and Wayne Bena held a presser earlier today, noting an information card they are sending out, as well as some pertinent upcoming dates:

September 1, 2016: Deadline to file for office by petition.

That means that, per the above conversation, if Bill Kintner resigns before 9/1, applicants could still file to get on the November ballot. After that, too late.

But Kruse and Bena also hit a few other notes:

They’re sending a mailing to all registered voters in Douglas and Sarpy, which includes an early-voting ballot application. They’ve made it pretty easy — including taking a photo of the application and emailing it back to the election office. (Saves you for whatever a stamp costs these days.)

And to cut any confusion, while Kruse suggested a “selfie” of the ballot application, one does not actually have to include their face in the photo back to the commissioners.

Vote early, vote often!


Where it’s at

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Making choices

Carhenge, near Alliance, will be a prime spot to view the FULL solar eclipse in August 2017...
Carhenge, near Alliance, Nebraska, will be a prime spot to view the FULL solar eclipse in August 2017…

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts has said that he will not call a special session to address budget issues from the apparent tax shortfall this year.

So now, if state Senators want to call a special session to deal with Senator Bill Kintner…it will only be about Kintner. There had been some talk that a special session could deal with multiple issues — which would mean that they wouldn’t all be trudging back to Lincoln to just talk about cybersex and extortion.

In the mean time, it appears that Senator Kintner has his heels dug in, and still refuses to resign. And it seems apparent that Speaker Hadley isn’t going to let this sit until January.

This would seem to be one-a-them Mexican standoffs.

And (dumb as this type of source is), here is the wiki def:

“A confrontation between two or more parties in which no participant can proceed or retreat without being exposed to danger. As a result, all participants need to maintain the strategic tension, which remains unresolved until some outside event makes it possible to resolve it.”

The emphasized italics there is added.


Bucket lister

Weird Tweet from OWH reporter Paul Hammel:

“He’s an Omaha guy”?
As opposed to…whom?
Or what?

OK Paul, I’ll bite:
I am surprised that Mello, with no experience with the city of Omaha’s budget, no significant work experience in the private sector, and no significant plans for the city, thinks a) the current, successful Mayor, Jean Stothert, should be removed and b) thinks HE is the one who should replace her.

So, yeah, color me “surprised”.

(Hate to harsh too hard on Hammel here, for what is probably a benign tweet. But these kind of things always leave me shaking my head…)


“Blue Steel”

After the pro-Death Penalty folks put out this new ad…

(That narrator’s voice is the guy from “Law & Order“.)

The Anti’s put up this one, starring Colby Coash:

And OK, I’ll bite, Ryan Horn (who is doing the ad work for the Antis):

Why Coash?
I mean, he’s fine and all, but is he your spokesmodel?
And I don’t mean “spokesman”, because he can probably deliver a quote to Don Walton anytime you need.
I mean “spokesmodel”.

His wife and mother no doubt think he is a very handsome gentleman. But there is a reason there are models and spokespeople on TV.

Sure, you want to have an ACTUAL soldier, when talking about military issues. Or an actual mother, when you’re addressing motherhood.

But this is just about who favors something.
ANYONE could be speaking. And there are lots of Republicans you could choose from, since that seems to be the draw.

And so you went with…Coash?

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 11.48.11 AM
Hey, you’re the professional…



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Bucket List: Run for Mayor!

Omaha Mayor Jean Sothert, over the weekend, “Raising money for research at the JDRF Walk with Sadie’s Superstars and Anna’s Rock Stars.”

So Heath Mello is finally, offically going to run for Mayor of Omaha.


Because he was term-limited and, Hey there’s a gig no one else wants to run for!

Mello is only 37 years old.
He has himself a bachelors degree from UNL as a Poli Sci major.
And he is finishing up serving in the Legislature.

The most recent actions he had there was authoring a budget that apparently causes shortfalls and may be in need of a special session to address it.

The funny thing is, nearly any of the Democrats on the City Council would be more experienced to run for Mayor of Omaha than Mello.

But then, they’re not term limited, like he is.

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert had a nice response to Mello running:
She is focused on the budget for Omaha, improving infrastructure, cutting taxes and making the city work.

As opposed to just spit-balling pretend-ideas about nothing.

Not too many months away!


Ring Leader

The Executive Board of the Legislature had a meeting about a meeting on Friday, where they complained about the meeting that they may or may not have.

Well, some of them anyway.

Apparently it was important to get on record the actions of Senator Bill Kintner — though that seems like the sort of thing where a report could be issued and everyone says, “Aye.”

But then there would have been little theater.

Of course at the end, Senator Bob Krist complained that the person who wasn’t invited wasn’t there speaking.

Apparently only those invited would be speaking.
Apparently Bill Kintner was not invited and was told that he did not need to be there.

So of course Bob Krist complained that Kintner wasn’t there speaking.
Uh huh.

Krist also said, “We can’t carry this circus on!
And then told reporters, “Whatever phone number (Kintner is) using to talk to God, I want it.
Ho ho ho! What a card!

Because he doesn’t want it to be a circus…


“State Business”

“State Business”

ICYMI, Andrew Sullivan, a frequent commenter on Leavenworth St., and a Leavenworth St. post contributor, was the one who filed the complaint against Senator Ernie Chambers for mis-use of government property for his “Ernie-grams”.

Chambers does things like drawing caricatures and writing poems to make political points against opponents in Nebraska government, including Governor Ricketts and Senator Kintner.

Chambers defended himself during the Executive Board hearing, saying, “his memos/poems/drawings against Kintner deal with state business.


Sullivan also questions who is running Chambers’ Facebook account.



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Matt Hansen’s OWH push poll

Burke’s Bulldog is a contributing writer on Leavenworth St.

MattHansen_edited-1In my political background, I’ve had to explain to people multiple times what a “push poll” is. Essentially, a voter will get a phone call from a candidate’s campaign or interest group and it will go something like this:

“How do you feel about Candidate X? Favorable or Unfavorable.”

If the voter says “favorable” the caller will then say something along these lines:

“Thank you. And if I were to tell you that Candidate X has a history of failing to pay his taxes, hates puppies, and thinks rainbows should be outlawed, would that change your favorable opinion?”

Basically, these phone calls are designed to hurt Candidate X.

Thanks to the OWH’s Matt Hansen, I can now simply carry a copy of today’s “opinion piece” with me as an example.

It was, literally, a push poll. Mr. Hansen called an ethicist at Creighton and asked which is worse, engaging in cybersex on a state computer (à la Bill Kintner) or a DUI like assistant football coach Keith Williams. Surprisingly, the ethicist correctly pointed out that while what Kintner did was bad, what Williams did – putting other people’s lives in danger – was worse.

But wait, said Hansen, what if I told you more about Kintner! He then listed eight “negatives” – at least three of which were taken out of context. He then reads a list of positive attributes of Williams.

Not surprisingly, the Creighton prof said, essentially, “Well, yes, it sounds like Kintner has a history of being a jerk and Williams is a good guy.

Which is the exact results you want from a push poll.

Mind you, this wasn’t in the opinion section. Oh no. It wasn’t even in the Midland’s section. This was on the front page of the paper above the fold.

I guess when the OWH finally just admits that they are the Democrats’ mouthpiece, Matt will have a leg up on his new career as a pollster.

Author: Goss told “Bald-Faced Lie” on the Cost of the Death Penalty*

*Note that this post has been updated below with a response from the anti-Death Penalty group.

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 9.20.58 AMThe Legal Director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, who was quoted by Creighton professor Ernie Goss in his analysis of the legal cost of the death penalty, says that Goss told a “bald-faced lie” when quoting him in his analysis.

Kent S. Scheidegger wrote on his blog that…

“Opponents (of the death penalty) are not above outright lying when they think they can get away with it.

A whopper has just come to my attention from the state of Nebraska, where the people are going to vote on whether to abolish or retain the death penalty.”

Well, there is a start.

It seems that Goss quoted Scheidegger in a portion of his analysis:

“(Goss and his team are) not saying that this is their interpretation of my results. They are saying that these are my exact words and my interpretation. This is a bald-faced lie.”

The gist?

Goss claims that — nay, QUOTES Scheidegger that…

“There is no credible evidence that replacing the death penalty with life without parole will result in significant added trial costs…”

But Scheidegger says he wrote the exact OPPOSITE of this, and moreover, there is of course no quote from him that Goss could have used to make such a statement.

Scheidegger actually found that, “counties with the death penalty disposed of 18.9% of murder cases with a plea and long sentence compared to 5.0% for counties with no death penalty.”

And by the way, he notes this comes from “the only other study on the subject I know of from an independent source.


Couple this whole thing with Goss’s use of out-of-state statistics to come up with the numbers they are throwing around, the state of Nebraska’s analysis which disputes this and the Attorney General’s statements…and this analysis comes further into question.

It will be interesting to see how often that $14M number from Goss gets used by the press between now and Election Day.


Leavenworth St. received a response from Dan Parsons at “Retain a Just Nebraska”, the anti-death penalty group which paid for the Ernie Goss study.

Parsons states that Goss misidentified the quote referenced by Kent S. Scheidegger above, and has sent an apology to Mr. Scheidegger. Parsons states that the quote should have been attributed as follows:

48 Arthur L. Alarcón and Paula M. Mitchell, Costs of Capital Punishment in California: Will Voters Choose Reform this November?, 46 Loy. L.A. L. Rev. S1 (2012). Accessed at http://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2803&context=llr.

This source has been updated on Goss’ study that is on the RaJN website.

Now HERE’s the irony:

Scheidegger’s version of this analysis is exactly the opposite of the analysis Goss references in the updated version.

In other words, someone in Goss’ office was reading the Scheidegger version, and seemingly was so fixated on it, they actually cut and pasted the reference to that version in their report.

And note, again, what Scheidegger says: an INDEPENDENT study says, “counties with the death penalty disposed of 18.9% of murder cases with a plea and long sentence compared to 5.0% for counties with no death penalty.”

So, in the end it was kind of Goss to point people to this INDEPENDENT study that contradicts the study paid for by the anti-death penalty group.



And the folks against the death penalty like to present their polls of people who are now against it as well.

Funny they didn’t show this report, from Cal-Berkeley:

“California voters oppose an effort to abolish the death penalty and strongly support a competing measure that would streamline procedures in capital cases…”

That’s CALIFORNIA voters.
And the study is from Cal-Berkeley. What are the odds of arguably the most liberal educational institution in the country overstating their study? These are the people who don’t like a flag flying on the back of a fire engine.

It will be interesting to see, when November rolls around, whether the Unicameral is in-step or out of step with Nebraska voters on this issue.


Executive session

The Executive Board of the Unicameral meets today to discuss what to do with a problem like Senator Bill Kintner.

It would seem that the main issue before them is whether to hold a special session to deal with it, or to wait until January. The guess here is that they won’t wait.

And if they do call for the Special Session, the ball will be back in Kintner’s court. One would assume that they will only call a Special Session if they have the votes to either expel him or impeach him. Why call the session of they don’t have the votes, or are just going to slap his wrist?

And if they DO have the votes, Kintner will have to think whether it is worth it to him to fight this. Because of his actions they did a year-long investigation. Because of his actions he has brought this embarrassment upon the state, the party and his family. And Kintner is not arguing the facts of the case. What would be the point of fighting what would be a sure thing?

Of course if they DON’T have the votes, no matter what double-secret probation they bring down on Kintner won’t really matter. And then they’ll still have to deal with Ernie Chambers bringing it up every day starting in January.

Someone better start counting.


Invoking Senator Curtis

OK, OK, it’s a Carl Curtis Open Comment Friday, so dive into the political topics you so desire in the comments.

If the Board comes out with something momentous, there may be another post up here today. Otherwise, keep up by following @LeavenworthSt on the Twitter.  And Like Leavenworth St. on The Facebook and/or sign up to for email updates (up top on the right) to get notified whenever there is a new post up.

Because THAT is how you stay updated on the talk of Nebraska politics!

Have a great weekend!

Ryan stumps for Bacon, Bacon stumps Ashford

Ryan-Bacon-081716Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan was in Omaha yesterday, raising money and stumping for Republican 2nd District Congressional candidate, retired Brigadier General Don Bacon.

Reportedly, the event brought in $150K for the Bacon campaign against Democrat Brad Ashford.

But Ashford wasn’t content with reading about the event afterwards. He thrust himself right into the thick of it…and came out flustered.

After the Ashford campaign was reportedly calling around furiously to find out details about the impending visit by Ryan — the details of which were withheld on the direction of the Secret Service — a “surprise” occurred.

Ashford magically appeared at the exit of the event, and right into the arms of the local media.

And Ashford took the opportunity to challenge Bacon on his plans in Congress. As it would happen, Bacon was more than prepared.

Reportedly, Ashford first denied voting for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker, twice. This would be surprising were it not for the fact that Ashford has recently…

Denied being a supporter of Hillary Clinton’s…

Denied being a member of the Democrat Party…

And being a no-show at the Omaha rally for the candidate for which he is a co-chair…


But Ashford also wanted to brag that he has “only” voted with Democrat Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi 72% of the time. “Only”!

Bacon quickly responded that 72% would be a low in someplace like Madison, Wisconsin or San Francisco…but not in Nebraska.

And then this exchange occurred:

It’s no wonder that Ashford wanted to high-tail it outta there.

KMTV reported that the Cook Political Report has the 2nd District race as a “Toss-Up”.

Don Bacon said on The Wheels Down Politics Show podcast that those polled, who knew both Bacon and Ashford, give Bacon a double-digit lead. And Bacon is not even on TV right now.

In the mean time, since Brad Ashford is clearly so fond of debating, Don Bacon has proposed 9 debates to Ashford between now and Election Day. While a week has passed, Ashford has yet to respond. (Must still be at the gym swimming laps.)

This is going to be a much more interesting race than many had figured. Both sides are putting an emphasis on it — with both Nancy Pelosi and Paul Ryan making visits to the district to give their support.

Hear the entire podcast interview with Don Bacon on The Wheels Down Politics Show here:


Unfit, or not?

An interesting development in the saga of state Senator Bill Kintner:

Governor Pete Ricketts and Speaker Galen Hadley sent Kintner a public letter yesterday asking him to resign again.

But that wasn’t all.

They also proposed that Kintner resign immediately, and then run for his seat again in the fall. They propose that if he resigns now, he can get signatures to place his name on the ballot to then be re-elected, if the people choose. State Senator Bob Krist made the same suggestion.

But that suggestion strays from a point that many had made at the outset of this scandal: That, because of the scandal, Kintner is unfit to serve in the legislature.

That’s unfit, “period”, as the Governor would say. Not unfit because his constituents don’t think he can serve. Unfit because he embarrassed and endangered the legislature by allowing himself to be an extortion victim while using government property.

That is the reason for either expelling or impeaching him. By the suggestion from the Ricketts, Hadley and Krist that he should be able to run — AND SERVE — if the voters decide, they cede any suggestion that he should NOT serve, and therefore be expelled or impeached.

Once again, the whole business of suggesting that he run again, or that he should serve — but without a staff or an office or a parking place — puts all of this opposition in a murky place.

Either Kintner should resign (“period” as it were), or he should be expelled or impeached. Any other suggestion muddies the discussion so it is not clear what it is about Kintner’s actions that they are objecting to.


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The Wheels Down Politics Show – Don Bacon and the Brad Ashford sidewalk debate

(Click above to play in the browser or Direct download by clicking here, or by searching Wheels Down Politics on iTunes.)

Ashford-Bacon-sidewalk-debate-081716Jerry Kratochvil talks with retired Brigadier General Don Bacon about the recent visit to Omaha by Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, and the subsequent sidewalk debate with Democrat Congressman Brad Ashford.

Bacon starts off by talking about the event with Speaker Ryan, when it was set up and about some of the security requirements they had with the Secret Service.

He then gets into the topics Speaker Ryan hit at the event itself and the issues he has discussed with the Speaker, and where he comes down for his legislative priorities.

Jerry and Don then get into some of the nitty-gritty of the campaign, what polling shows and where each of the candidates stand in terms of the 2nd District.

Don then gives some detail into the impromptu debate that he had with Ashford, after Brad crashed the party outside the event at Midtown. Bacon relays the shocking statement that Ashford made about Speaker Nancy Pelosi as well as Ashford’s being dumbfounded by Bacon’s question before hustling away.

Web: DonBacon2016.com
Twitter: @DonBacon2016
Facebook: Don Bacon for Congress


You can find this, and all of our podcasts at WheelsDownPolitics.com and by searching Wheels Down Politics on iTunes.

Follow Jerry Kratochvil @WheelsDownPols and @LeavenworthSt on the Twitter and Like Leavenworth St. on The Facebook to get the talk of Nebraska politics!

An apparent repeal of the supple appeal

The Nebraskans for the Death Penalty folks came out with a new website and new web video yesterday. See it here:

Vote Repeal from Vote Repeal on Vimeo.

Good spot.

But I will confess that upon reading the website name, I was slightly confused. And then Brent Martin at the Nebraska Radio Network confirmed my thoughts with this headline:

Both sides of death penalty debate worry ballot language could confuse voters

(Phew. Glad I wasn’t the only one…)

Here is State Treasurer, Don Stenberg, putting it succinctly:

So, in effect, you need to repeal the repeal. So, if you favor the death penalty you’ll want to vote to repeal LB 268.

So if you don’t want the death penalty to be repealed, you will vote to repeal the repeal, thereby reinstating the repealed penalty.

So go to VoteRepeal.com.

(Quick, which side are they on?!)

Here is the way the wording will appear on the ballot:

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 10.52.07 AM

So you can see why the pro-Death Penalty folks are using the term “Repeal” in their appeals.

Now if we can only get our hands on the butterfly ballot…


Gossly misleading

And still on appealing to the repeal of the repellent ordeal, Attorney General Doug Peterson called out the study on the death penalty cost by Creighton professor Ernie Goss as “misleading.”

Peterson said:

“It is misleading for this report to conclude that, on an annual basis, having the death penalty costs an amount that far exceeds the total annual budgets of both the Nebraska attorney general’s office and the state public defender’s office combined,” he said.

“Nebraska voters are entitled to accurate Nebraska figures as they determine whether to keep the death penalty in Nebraska.”

It is certainly an interesting argument from Goss, especially basing many of those numbers on data from other states.

My suspicion is that Goss numbers probably capture more data than the state’s analysis did, but it also seems very likely that he overestimated to make a point.

It does always come back, however, to the adage of, “Look how expensive it is for you when we try to block what you’re doing!


That’s UNICAMERAL air you’re breathing!

State Senator Bill Krist is taking his knife out on Senator Bill Kintner. He is threatening him every which way, if Kintner doesn’t resign, to take away…

His office
His parking spot
His staff

Which is the biggest wuss move the Legislature could come up with.

Look, if they think Kintner’s actions were bad enough (and there is plenty to argue that they were) then they should try to kick him out by impeachment or expulsion.

If they are not willing to do that, or don’t have the votes, then tough luck.
Either he is fit to serve, or he’s not.

Taking away his office and parking spot?
Well that is a vindictive move of someone who clearly does not have either the spine or the power to do what they SAY they are supposed to do.

“All those things are provided by the Legislature for senators in good standing,” Krist said Tuesday. “And from my perspective, that’s a question right now.”

If Krist doesn’t think Kintner is in “good standing”, then he shouldn’t be a Senator. And if not, then he should be kicked out. But taking his office and his staff is punishing the constituents of the district, not Kintner.

Maybe this is just an idle threat to scare Kintner into leaving. But if it is not, then there may be other Senators whose actions are not “consistent with the standards of this Legislature”.

Just maybe.
And then things get very interesting.

Trump announces Nebraskan, Charles W. Herbster, as National Ag Chair

Trump-HerbsterThe Donald Trump for President campaign has formally announced the Republican nominee’s Agricultural and Rural Advisory Committee.

The National Chairman is Nebraskan Charles W. Herbster of Falls City and includes former Governor Dave Heineman,  state Senator Beau McCoy and Governor Pete Ricketts.

Mr. Trump said, “The members of my agricultural advisory committee represent the best that America can offer to help serve agricultural communities. Many of these officials have been elected by their communities to solve the issues that impact our rural areas every day. I’m very proud to stand with these men and women, and look forward to serving those who serve all Americans from the White House.”

“I am honored to have the opportunity to work with each member of the committee to support Donald J. Trump and his campaign to be the next President of the United States of America,” said Charles W. Herbster.

Heineman-Trump-McCoy“As a fifth-generation farmer, Owner of Herbster Angus Farms, and Owner and Chief Executive Officer of the Conklin Company—a company that specializes in agriculture and animal health products, among others—I look forward to working with this esteemed group of individuals. Each of these committee members has a diverse background in agriculture and do not take lightly the responsibility we have to keep the American farmer in business and profitable. Those who put food on our tables and keep our economy growing need our continued support and as the National Chairman on this committee, I will make it my goal to take care of those who make it their livelihood to take care of us.”

Executive board members will convene on a regular basis. The more than 60 advisory board members include:

Charles W. Herbster – National Chairman of the Agricultural and Rural Advisory Committee for the Donald J. Trump Campaign for President
Sam Clovis – National Chief Policy Advisory for the Donald J. Trump Campaign for President
Rebeckah Adcock – CropLife, Senior Director, Government Affairs
Robert Aderholt – Congressman from Alabama; Chairman, Subcommittee on Agriculture
Jay Armstrong – Kansas Wheat Commission; Chairman, Farm Foundation
Gary Black – Commissioner Agriculture, Georgia
John Block – Former Sec. of USDA
Mike Brandenburg – State Legislator, North Dakota
Terry Branstad – Governor of Iowa
Sam Brownback – Governor of Kansas
Chuck Conner – CEO, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
Mike Conaway – House Agriculture Chairman
Jack Dalrymple – Governor of North Dakota
Dennis Daugaard – Governor of South Dakota
Rodney Davis – Congressman from Illinois; House Agriculture Committee and Subcommittee Chair of Bio Tech
Mary Fallin – Governor of Oklahoma
Eddie Fields – Senator from Oklahoma; Chair Senate Ag and Rural Development
Steve Foglesong – Former President National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
Jim Gilmore – Former Governor of Virginia; Chairman of Report on Terrorism and Agro-Terrorism
Bob Goodale – Former CEO of Harris Teeter
Bob Goodlatte – Congressman from Virginia; Former Chairman House Agriculture Committee
Mike Green – Senate Senator, Michigan; Appropriations Agriculture Chair; Senate Agriculture Committee Vice Chair
Helen Groves – Rancher; daughter of Robert Kleberg (King Ranch); well known in Texas/ranching world
Ron Heck – Iowa farmer and past President of the American Soybean Association
Dave Heineman – Former Governor of Nebraska
Hans Hunts – State Legislator, Wyoming; Wyoming House Ag Committee; rancher
Cindy Hyde-Smith – Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce, Mississippi
Brent Jackson – State Senator, North Carolina
A.G. Kawamura – Former Sec. Food & Agriculture, California
John Kautz – California wine producer; CEO Ironstone Vineyards
Charlotte Kelley – Tennessee cotton grower along with her husband (14,000 acres) plus operates a cotton gin processing 30,000 plus bales and a leader in the cotton industry
Mark Killian – Commissioner of Agriculture, Arizona; farmer and rancher from Arizona
Brian Klippenstein – Protect the Harvest
Tsosie Lewis – Former CEO of Navaho Nation’s Agricultural Products Industries
Forrest Lucas – CEO Lucas Oil; Protect the Harvest
Mike McCloskey – CEO Fair Oaks Farms (one of the largest dairies in the United States)
Beau McCoy – State Senator, Nebraska; National Chair Council State Governments
Ted McKinney – Former Director of Global Corp. Affairs for Elanco Animal Health
Sid Miller – Commissioner of Agriculture, Texas
Jim Moseley – Former consultant on agriculture at EPA; Former Deputy Secretary of USDA
Brian Munzlinger – Chairman Missouri Senate Ag Committee
Casey Murdock – State Senate, Oklahoma
Tom Nassif – President Western Governors; Former Ambassador
Garry Niemeyer – Former President National Corn Growers
Bill Northy – Secretary of Ag. Iowa
Sonny Perdue – Former Governor of Georgia
Rick Perry – Former Governor of Texas
Ryan Quarles – Commissioner of Agriculture, Kentucky
Bruce Rastetter – Summit Ag Group of Alden, Iowa; Hosted first Republican Presidential debate
Jim Reese – Secretary of Agriculture for Governor Mary Fallin of Oklahoma
Larry Rhoden – State Senator, South Dakota; House Majority Leader and Senate Majority Whip; Chair Senate Ag Committee
Pete Ricketts – Governor of Nebraska
Pat Roberts – U.S. Senator, Kansas
Marcus Rust – CEO Rose Acre Farms (second-largest egg producer in the United States)
Leslie Rutledge – Attorney General, Arkansas; Co-Chair of the National Association of Attorney General Agriculture Committee and is married to a soybean producer
David Spears – Commodity Futures Trading Commission; Dole Ag Advisor; Senior Vice President, Mid-Kansas Cooperative, Inc.
Dr. Mike Strain – Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry, Louisiana
Red Steagall – Official Cowboy Poet of Texas
Annette Sweeney – Former Iowa House Agriculture, Chair; farmer; agriculture advocate
Kip Tom – CEO, Tom Farms LLC (Largest agri-business farm operator in Indiana); operates farms in South America
Johnny Trotter – CEO of BarG (125,000 feedlot operation and farms 10,000 acres in Texas)
Steve Wellman – Former President of the American Soybean Association
Walt Whitcomb – Ag Commissioner, Main
John Wilkinson – Chairman, Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee Georgia State Senate


The bias of the OWH

OWHFishwrapThe Nebraska Anti-Death Penalty group paid CU professor Ernie Goss for a study that concluded that when anti-death penalty people try to make it harder to execute someone, it costs way more for the state.

OK then.

And the pro-Death Penalty peeps immediately pointed to an independent study by the state of Nebraska that concluded that the difference in cost was essentially negligible.


If you’re reading the Omaha World-Herald, you can see the following headline on the story:

Death penalty costs Nebraska about $14 million annually, finds study commissioned by capital punishment foes

And you can read down to paragraph 6 (!), that the pro-death penalty group disagrees.

But how about that poll put out by the pro-death penalty group a few days ago?
Let’s look again at that headline:

Death penalty backers release poll data finding public support in Nebraska; foes contest results

And in the lede paragraph, you’ll note that they show the Anti’s disagreeing with it, right away: 

A group seeking to return capital punishment to Nebraska released poll results Sunday showing that Nebraskans supported the death penalty by a 2-1 ratio — a finding that was quickly contested by those who favor eliminating the death penalty.

(Emphasis added.)

See, the OWH knows that around 60% of people who read the paper, only read the headlines. And then after that, most only read a few paragraphs. By paragraph six? Heh, they’ll try to pass along some additional info, when they can get around to it.

This is your NEWSpaper folks.
Where you’re getting your daily info.

But always, always, always, always know that there is an agenda and they will pound away at it whenever they get the chance, whether you realize it or not.


Ricketts-Foley ’18

ICYMI, the LJS did a lengthy story over the weekend about Lieutenant Governor Mike Foley. The gist of the story was about how Governor Pete Ricketts says that he never listens to Foley, and essentially keeps him locked in a pota-potty, until he needs him to cut a ribbon while the Gov is at a Cubs game.

Ha ha ha! Of COURSE he didn’t say that! He said he DEPENDS on Lt. Gov. Foley for his wise counsel and strategic thinking and homeland security, etc., etc. (Albeit, “quiet”.)

But the most interesting part was when Don Walton asked Ricketts if he’d keep Foley on the ticket in 2018:

So, does the governor view this as an eight-year partnership if Ricketts wins a second term in 2018, an election year when he once again will choose his running mate?

Yes, the governor said, “you would be hard-pressed to find someone with the experience that Mike has.”

Leavenworth St. has been hearing a while now of the strong possibility of Ricketts dumping Foley in favor of state Senator John Kuehn. Looks like that has been nipped in the bud.


NRtL for Trump

While some have been shaky on endorsing or have run the other direction, Nebraska Right to Life forged ahead and endorsed Donald Trump for President.

“The next President could be nominating from three to four U.S. Supreme Court Justices. As we have seen with the Court’s decision on the Texas abortion case, the ability of the pro-life movement to pass meaningful State restrictions is in jeopardy.

Moreover, the demeanor of the Court has shifted with the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. We know what Planned Parenthood and NARAL friend Hillary Clinton will do to the Supreme Court.

Donald Trump on the other hand has already released a list of potential Supreme Court nominees which have passed scrutiny by two major conservative legal organizations. He has said he would defund the abortion industry, and is for the reversal of Roe v. Wade and returning the issue to the States. He has also reached out to faith-based leaders and pro-life, pro-family organizations to begin a dialogue regarding pro-life issues.”


Things to do in Denver…

Leavenworth St. referenced Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse’s speech to the Red State Gathering in Denver over the weekend. You can now see the entire speech here:

And then 11 minutes of the Q&A:

If you were looking for some details about Sasse’s opposition to Trump, or maybe how to defeat ISIS or his healthcare plans…you’re out of luck.

Lots of 10,000 feet views of “responsibility of government” stuff.

One thing someone tried to nail him down on in the Q&A was about what legislation he would like to pass. He named “national security strategy for cyber and jihad”, entitlement reform and job retraining as items he thinks should be at the forefront for Congress. However he notes that he would be unlikely to get to lead on any of those issues because he’s too junior.

Strangely, nothing about ObamaCare, as most would agree was his signature issue when running for the Senate (you’ll remember the NR cover of “ObamaCare’s Nemesis” and the giant printed out version of the ObamaCare legislation that he took to every campaign rally).


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