It must be YOU!

flat-plateThe “race” for Speaker is still fluid in the House, as of this writing.

But in the mean time, Rep. Adrian Smith had this to say about Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who dropped out of the running:

“I have great respect for Kevin and all he has done for our Republican Conference as Majority Leader. As we proceed in the House Speaker election process, I hope Republicans can come together in support of another conservative candidate and move forward as a united body committed to governing our country.”

Will that candidate be Rep., and former Vice-Presidential candidate, Paul Ryan? No word yet. It certainly seems like he could bring the House Republicans together…for a couple minutes anyway.

The way Ryan is playing it, it reminded me of this scene from Gladiator:

(I’ll take other examples of movies where the lead character didn’t want the job, and the other character says, “That’s why it HAS to be you!” I feel like that’s a movie cliché…)



Back in April it was noted here that the ObamaCare rules would change the definition of a small group market for businesses from 1-50 employees to 1-100 employees in 2016.

Senator Deb Fischer and Reps Jeff Fortenberry, Adrian Smith and even Brad Ashford all signed on as co-sponsors of the bill, known as the PACE Act to change the law and give states the flexibility to determine the size of their small-group market instead of being forced into the national standard.

And the President signed it yesterday.

Chip chip chip.


A Fischer endorsement?

Speaking of Senator Deb Fischer, she had her weekly press-call yesterday and when asked about Jeff Fortenberry’s endorsement of Carly Fiorina, noted that she is still considering an endorsement of her own.

FWIW, when I asked the same thing of Sen. Joni Ernst, she pretty categorically said she would NOT endorse anyone before the Iowa Caucuses. Of course Fischer and Ernst are in a little different situations with the caucuses and primaries, but Fischer did NOT rule out endorsing.

Still interesting, especially as the field winnows…


I did it so you don’t have to

Yes, just out of duty, I read Ernie’s SIXTEEN PAGE “poem”. (You wanna talk about a punishment that is both cruel AND unusual…)

It starts like this:

WASHINGTON [the state], as far as I know,
Is famed for neither forests nor lakes;

OK, beyond the pedantics of the “poem”, just something to pass along to the Senator: Seattle sits ON a lake. It’s called…”Lake Washington”.

And, FWIW, the whole state has so much forest, that it’s known as “The Evergreen State.”

And you can imagine how the rest of the verse goes from there…

Now I will give Senator Chambers some credit for cleverness on one item: He added an illustration of Corrections Director Scott Frakes to the poem, and added an item in four different sections (essentially giving him the hangman’s mask).

It went like this:


I suppose that’s sort of the definition of “gallows humor”…


Laffering all the way…

An FYI that the Free Market Forum put on by Hillsdale College will be at the Omaha Hilton next Thursday through Saturday (with Friday being the main day).

They have quite the list of speakers, but the feature is probably economist Art Laffer (of the “Laffer Curve“) at the Friday noon Luncheon.

See the schedule, list of speakers and other pertinent info here.


…and Go Huskers!

Spread the word about Leavenworth St.- the talk of Nebraska politics to your friends (and enemies) because that’s how this site grows: from you.

Thank you for reading, commenting, listening to and supporting Leavenworth St!

And the next Speaker is…

Pete Cubs 01As I type this, Rep. Kevin McCarthy has taken his name out of the running for Speaker of the House of Representatives.

At this point, no other name has come to the fore.

Jason Chaffetz (UT-03) and Daniel Webster (FL-10) were on the ballot with McCarthy, but at this point anyone could rise up. (And all sources with Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan say there’s “no way” he will run.)

National Review’s Joel Gehrke (brother of Ben Sasse lieutenant Jordan Gehrke) wrote in the National Review that Peter Roskam (IL-06) was planning something more long-term.

Also floated:
Greg Walden (OR-02)
Mike Pompeo (KS-04)
Jim Jordan (OH-04).

But at this point, no one seems to have a firm grasp on what will happen next. Though that could all change the moment this is posted.

And, FWIW, Jonah Goldberg has suggested Newt, Ben Sasse has suggested Arthur Brooks and Donald Trump has floated…Ivanka.

That would be a CLASSY Speaker’s office…

I’m following CNN Congressional correspondent @DeirdreWalshCNN in the Capitol for updates.


W is for…

As many of you were watching the Cubs win over the Pirates in the National League Wildcard game last night, you may have noticed this scene at the end of the game, featuring nearly the entire Ricketts family — the owners of the Cubs:

Ricketts Fam Cubs 01
Screen-cap courtesy of an L.St. Super Fan

And up top is a closeup of Nebraska’s Governor and First Lady enjoying the festivities.

As Deena Winter at Nebraska Watchdog tries to track down records of the Governor’s travel and overtime for the State Patrol, she may just want to stake out Wrigley and Busch Stadiums over the next week or so.



And speaking of the Governor, Governing Magazine did a review of the nation’s freshman Governors from the 2014 election.

Upon their review of Nebraska they wrote…


Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican, governs a solidly Republican state, but the nominally nonpartisan and unicameral legislature has stymied him on several key issues. He opposed a gas tax increase, the issuance of driver’s licenses for children of undocumented immigrants who came to the United States at a young age, and a repeal of the death penalty. Ricketts vetoed all three measures but was overridden each time. It was “a very bad start for a first-year governor,” said Paul Landow, a University of Nebraska-Omaha political scientist. “A savvy politician would have picked the battles more carefully.

That may be one way to put it.

Then again, Governing also called former Democrat Mayor Mike Fahey’s Chief of Staff a “political scientist.” (I’m picturing him with a lab coat on and smoking beakers full of polling data and candidate stool samples…)

What they didn’t call him was a “Democrat partisan political hack”.

But, you know…


…But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night

The papers are reporting that the lawyers for the Attorney General Nebraskans for the Death Penalty are seeking a dismissal of the lawsuit which seeks to block the Death Penalty Repeal-repeal vote. They claim because the Pro-Death Penalty forces didn’t list Governor Ricketts as a “Sponsor”, the petitions should be thrown out.

No one has really written it, but I guess I would be surprised if such a motion (by attorney, and former Nebraska GOP Chair, J.L. Spray) has much of a chance of success.

You pretty much HAVE to file those types of motions. But, especially in a case like this, it would be surprising if it succeeded. Though I base that on my reading of the Nebraska Supreme Court decision in a similar case.

Then again, I ain’t a lawyer in the case. You never know what might happen.


Fort for Fiorina

The Carly Fiorina PAC today announced that Nebraska 1st District Rep. Jeff Fortenberry has endorsed Carly Fiorina for President, and he will be a co-chair of her Nebraska committee along with Nebraska Regent Howard Hawks and his wife Rhonda.

From the release, Fort said:

“I’m supporting Carly Fiorina for President of the United States. Carly is clear, she is honest, and she is strong. With America facing economic malaise, political dysfunction, and cultural challenges, I am confident that Carly will rebuild our economy, repurpose our government, and renew America. I believe that Carly’s creative determination will make us proud.”

At this point 3rd District Rep. Adrian Smith has not endorsed anyone, though it is possible that he may.

And who knows who Brad Ashford might endorse.
We do know that he was a big fan of John Boehner…


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The Dan Parsons Project

Dan Parsons
Dan Parsons

The newsywebs were aglow yesterday when the Death Penalty Repeal camp announced that “GOP” politico Dan Parsons had joined their team.

Well, “joined” is one way to put it.
“Hired” would be more accurate.

Yep, Parsons is now part of “Nebraskans for Public Safety” (I’m itching to discover how getting rid of this punishment makes the public more safe…).

But Parsons is a PAID consultant.
He ain’t workin’ for free.

And yes, as the OWH notes, Parsons has worked for Kay Orr and Don Stenberg.

But more recently, he has supported…

  • Democrat turned “Independent” Senate candidate Jim Jenkins
  • Uber Liberal Democrat Lincoln City Councilman Carl Eskridge
  • Freedom to Marry supporter Donna Colley

Which is all fine.
But let’s maybe rein in the talk of  “what a conservative Dan is, and therefore conservatives should follow his lead” (which is, of course, the gist).

Dan is a hired gun
There are lots of them in Nebraska.
And there’s nothing wrong with that.

But rather than tout his “conservative bona fides” maybe just note that he’s a paid political consultant.

Who, by the way, will be paid from George Soros’ money this time around.


Tank the Frank

Whoa, OWH’s front-page, above-the-fold story on Rep. Brad Ashford wanting to get rid of Congress’s free-mailing privilege (the “Frank”).

Well, that’s fine.
Didn’t exactly note in that story just who Ashford was influencing to vote on that bad boy in the House. Minority Leader Pelosi? Likely Speaker McCarthy? Maybe Rep. Chaffetz?

Just wondering how the Freshman plans to put this through.

But in the mean time, Team Ashford will continue using YOUR MONEY to advertise for Ashford’s Congressional campaign…er…“mass communications”.

Let’s credit the OWH’s Joe Morton for noting this:

One Ashford Web ad, which featured an image of someone in uniform saluting an American flag, touted Ashford’s Facebook page and his position on veterans’ benefits. “I’m working to ensure our nation’s vets get the healthcare they’ve earned,” the ad read. “Like my page.”

(Of course, this is 13 paragraphs into the story, and sure as hell ain’t on the front page or in the headline…)

So maybe Ashford will let us know when he stops advertising for his Congressional campaign with YOUR money.

At least when you Frank a newsletter there’s presumably, some news in it.
When you spend $1000 on a web ad — that’s all we get. An Ad.


Brekekekex koax koax

Commissioner Boyle
Commissioner Boyle

And then there’s the OWH’s story about Democrat Douglas County Commissioner Mike Boyle and the rest of the Democrat “majority” on the County Board. Boyle sponsored a resolution from the Board, “Honoring Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, for his long years of public service and accomplishments in Congress.

How about paying back the taxpayers for the electricity bill for the waste of everyone’s time in “honoring” Boehner.

Was that a joke? No seriously, was it done over drinks and with, like, a clothes-pin on his nose or something?

Because not only is it stupid in and of itself, but it would be difficult to find a less sincere vote possible.

Heck, at least Cavanaugh Family Dynasty member who’s on the board had the decency to go to the back of the room and ignore the witless palaver.

Get elected via Twitter with this one simple trick

I was on Omaha’s KPTM FOX 42 last night, talking about Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse’s Twitter Storm from Sunday night.

See it here:

Exciting stuff (though I’m not sure I went as far as saying “Twitter could win the next election” as anchor Monte Torres reports). TV interviews are always interesting because you chat for 10- 15 minutes, then they reduce all that down to about 8 seconds of speaking. But whaddaya gonna do? That’s the nature of the medium.

In any case KPTM reporter Laura Berry was great to work with (via Skype!) and she asked excellent questions, delving into the subject.

Now I just need a better HD webcam, and some powder on my…nose for the closeup.

As for Senator Sasse, his late-night Tweets about the Speaker got him articles in the Washington Post, Politico, Breitbart, Roll Call, not to mention the local fishwraps.

He has yet to make his maiden speech on the Senate floor — apparently hoping to make the biggest splash possible. But he says he will be MORE outspoken soon.

Maybe even more than 140 characters at a time…


TV Marching Orders

Let’s take a trip to Grand Island, where they had their Harvest of Harmony parade over the weekend.

Couple notes about the Hall County Democrats’ entry (featured by the local Democrats above)…

1) Funny stuff with their Bernie Sanders look-alike marching with a “Bernie 2016” sign. He’s Bernie Sander’s doppelgänger — at least from a distance.

Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 9.15.41 AM


2) Then there’s the guy marching next to “Bernie”. The on-air talent with NTV exclaims, “Ohmigoodness! Justin! NTV’s own Associate Producer.”

Justin Simmons 01


That would be, as near as one can tell here, NTV Associate Producer, Justin Simmons.

Justin Simmons 02

Justin, by his Facebook page, and association with the Hall County Democrats looks to be a true-blue Bernie Sanders fan:

Justin Simmons 03

Which is fine.
Except usually, once one takes a gig in the media, the partisan political activity ends.

Which of course, it never really does.
No one thinks Chris Matthews or Bill O’Reilly — or let’s say their producers — are non-partisan. But it would be unusual for any of them to actually be MARCHING for a particular candidate.

Justin seems to be a young guy, and maybe he’s new.
But it does seem a little unusual for a news guy to be out marching for the local Socialist.


Yankee Doodling

And as the Yankees take on the Astros in the Wild Card playoff tonight, Pinstripes homer Don Walton is up to his old tricks in his column.

Don finishes up, like he usually does, extolling his Yankees, this time, writing…

“Yanks v. Cubs World Series. Nothing could be more fun or better for baseball.”

Especially if you’re a Yankees or Cubs fan.

Now, Cubs, I’ll grant him. They’ve had the drought, and the Billy Goat and have taken over the whining that the Red Sox fans hoarded for so many years. I have no problem with them winning the Pennant. And if it was actually them up against the Damn Yankees, then everyone outside of the New York and St. Louis metros would probably root for them.

But, let’s get back to…the freaking Yankees.

No Don. Having the Yankees in is NOT the best thing for baseball.
Having the team that spends more than any other team and has dominated the scene is NOT the best.

Unless…you are a Yankees fan, of course.

Which dovetails nicely with what Don wrote in his column just a few paragraphs above that.

Don moans about the “partisan gridlock” in Congress where they “can’t get anything done”.

Well, if the President would stop vetoing all of the bills that Congress passes, they could get LOTS done.

Oh but wait, that would mean a Republican agenda would pass. Gee, why do those darn Republicans foul things up so much by passing things the President doesn’t like!

Oh, and can’t we all just wonder how Don would feel about those awesome “progressive reforms” that the legislature passed, had they instead been “conservative reforms”.

Heck, that would be tantamount to the Houston Astros beating the Yankees!

See, it’s all based on one’s perspective…

(Oh, and GO ROYALS!!!)

Sunday Night Quarterbacking

**UPDATE at 4:25pm 10/5/15**
I SHOULD BE on Omaha’s KPTM FOX42 at 9pm tonight to (generally) discuss Senator Sasse’s Tweets and social media in politics.



Nebraska’s junior United States Senator, Ben Sasse, was tweeting last night, during the Cowboys – Saints game.

And he delved into politics.
House of Representatives politics.

And he…veered just a bit too.

Read along with @BenSasse:

I typically dont tweet politics here b/c I think we need more celebratory / politics-free zones in life. But am making an exception tonight:

Have been thinking on House Speaker race. Boehner quitting has prompted some remarkably boring/lazy analysis on where we’re at as a nation

New to politics & in deference to tradition I’ve spent first 9mos in Senate keeping head down, interviewing older members/listening/learning

Amazing how much conventional wisdom gets wrong. Throughout our campaign, all we heard from DC press (but not Nebr voters) was The Dynamic:

Media: everything is Tea Party vs Establishment; Leadership vs Outsiders. Voters: Yawn. No; real question is vision–who has it; who doesn’t

Press obsesses over bickering / student council races / who slighted whom. Voters barely care. They care where their country is headed

Media framing of Speaker’s race is reductionistic choice: small-ball Establishment vs wild-eyed Visigoths who want to burn govt to ground

It’s a 24hr newscycle of this junk that never ends. The American people look at DC & think, “We want to fire every single one of you people”

There’s a reason #Congress approval is at 11%, folks

The problem w/ this Dynamic is it misses larger point: It aint A vs B. We need Option C: the Vision thing. The “Go Big or Go Home” thing

Which brings us back to this moment: Founding Fathers put House closest to the people so it would reflect the nation’s (not Beltway’s) will

HouseSpeaker should b Congress’ chief STORYTELLER -cast the big vision of American exceptionalism; remind nation who we are/what we’re about

The next Speaker must be someone who fights FOR people, not merely against bad or inefficient Washington programs

The next Speaker must be a happy warrior. We have to sell a vision and win an argument before squabbling about particular policies

The next Speaker must celebrate earned success & empowering our friends / neighbors to live full lives of opportunity

The next Speaker must cut through the media’s 4th-grade portrayal of Rs vs Ds. The choice here is NOT #GOP numbers vs Dems’ compassion

The next Speaker must go places Republicans don’t usually go. Need more venturing beyond country clubs and chambers of commerce

Expanding the electorate means expanding our horizons. I care far more about struggles of the bottom 30% than the top 1% (& so does the 1%)

Truly American leadership starts with politicians admitting that politics and DC are not the center of national life. A vibrant citizenry is

The Speaker’s job is not only for Republicans, but for the whole House – actually: the whole nation

The Speaker’s chief job is not policy bickering but lifting high / passing on a Constitutional sense of the American idea

Next speaker needs to have the ideas of Jack Kemp, work ethic of Mike Rowe, resolve of Margaret Thatcher, & wit of Larry the Cable Guy

Therefore…I’m endorsing @ArthurBrooks for Speaker of the House.

[Arthur C. Brooks is an American social scientist and musician. He is the president of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. Brooks is best known for his work on the junctions between culture, economics, and politics. – Wikipedia]

Just purchased the domain: #Momentum

(Fantasy update): @tonyromo still out with a shoulder injury, however @not_romo is warming up on the sideline. Weird #Cowboys #Saints #SNF

Who’s the best communicator in our movement? He/she might not be in Congress today. So what? Why wld we not pick that person –for “SPEAKER”?

lesson of Trump moment & 3 non-pols getting >50% of #GOP primary is NOT that people are saying:“Give us another politician to rule over us”

I’m not saying @arthurbrooks is definitely the best communicator in America; I’m just saying: If you know of a better one…Tell me. I’ll wait

Tell me who…I’ll wait. …Gotta go put kids to bed for a bit anyway. #thirdquarterjuststarting (was always my #MNF bedtime as a kid)

So, uh, there you go.

I was updated to the Senator’s Twitter journey by 3 different people while he was in the middle of it.

I did NOT see the Arthur Brooks endorsement coming.

FWIW, Jonah Goldberg, also of the American Enterprise Institute, had noted last week that the Speaker does NOT have to be a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and thus he suggested Newt Gingrich.

So maybe Senator Sasse was inspired by Jonah to make an “out of the box” suggestion.

And he does reference the current King of Tweets, Donald Trump, so possibly that provided some imagination.

Or maybe Drew Brees just riled him up.
We’ll keep you updated…


Trump, Ben and the rest…

The latest polling from Iowa

Donald Trump – 24%
Ben Carson – 19%
Carly Fiorina – 8%
Jeb Bush – 7%
Ted Cruz – 6%
Marco Rubio – 6%
Bobby Jindal – 6%
Mike Huckabee – 5%
Rand Paul – 4%
Chris Christie – 4%
John Kasich – 3%
Rick Santorum – 1%
Lindsey Graham – 1%

So that’s pretty much Trump, Carson and then The Field.
Fiorina is up from low single digits to high single digits.
Marco Rubio is still floating at mid-single digits.
Jeb Bush is continuing his mid-high single digits.

Here’s my question to you, peeps:
Does Trump have a ceiling?

Is he likely to go much higher than, say, 30% in Iowa?
Or anywhere else.
And is that enough to get him there?

Also note that over the weekend, Trump said Carson would have a place in the Trump Administration. Already courting his peeps?

Next debate 3 weeks away…
(And isn’t it sort of nice that people are actually looking forward to watching the debates this time around?)


Too Soon?

The Con Agra situation is harsh and horrible for many, many people in Omaha.
That being said — and I’ve personally been through these situations, so I’m not being flippant — sometimes a little humor helps.

And I saw this one on The Facebook…

Chef Boy

Have a Monday…

George Costanza Town?

Separated at Birth…

First for your Friday afternoon, a little SAB…

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Unicameral candidate Ian Swanson (R-LD31)!

Gowdy - Swanson 04

(Yes, yes, I know many of you wanted Draco Malfoy for Swanson. But frankly Gowdy has more Malfoy in him, so I went the more direct route for Swanson.)


The Out-of-Towners

ICYMI, the latest podcast on The Wheels Down Politics Show features Platte Institute CEO Jim Vokal discussing Con Agra’s move from Omaha to Chicago.

Vokal is pushing the theme of tax reform for boosting Nebraska’s economy in many different ways, to not only attract business, but more and more talented people.

There has to be some truth to that, though just how much of that affected the Con Agra decision in the long or short run is unknown.

What seems to be clearer is that when Con Agra hires a guy from Chicago to run the Omaha-based company, he is going to be inclined to move the company to his hometown.

Funny how that works.


The Jobbers Canyon Rats would be a great band name

Erin Grace wrote a long, interesting tome in the OWH, kvetching about Omaha being told, “It’s not you, it’s me!” from the CEO of Con Agra. She essentially tells Omaha to go out with the gals for Appletinis and start flirting with some really cute Fortune 500 companies.

But it’s interesting to see her, and other OWH writers, already longing for the days of Jobber’s Canyon. They complain about the “west-Omaha modern” design of the Con Agra campus, and “what could have been”.

I’m not sure I get it.

Sure, wouldn’t it have been awesome if Jobbers Canyon had been filled with modern businesses and people and restaurants and art and…and….

Was that going to happen?

Sure the current Old Market from 10th to 12th Street is pretty great. But how many businesses on the 12th to 13th Street stretch have failed? You get to 13th Street and you may as well be on the 16th Street “Mall”. Omaha should have resisted Con Agra back in the 80s? How much of that would have been empty today?

But hey, maybe it’s me. Maybe knocking down half of the Con Agra “McMansions” will provide tons of new development. (Though, last time I checked, the Embassy Suites isn’t going anywhere, and THAT’s where the Old Market would have extended.)

Maybe just eat up that Green Space and driveway along 10th Street, right? That’s gotta be prime real estate. Maybe a new Wal-Mart.

And am I the  only one chuckling that Congressman Brad Ashford called Con Agra “a bunch of rats”?

That from the guy constantly calling for more civility.


You can take the woman out of America’s Dairyland….

On another note, a woman from Wisconsin was found not to be the right fit for the job as Nebraska Economic Development director.

Apparently she didn’t know the players, didn’t know how they worked, and left VIPs wondering why she wasn’t in-touch with them.

Hmm. Hiring a staff from mostly outside of the state to run the state’s government. Doesn’t always work out.

Funny how that works.


Those “Unprofessional” Russians

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer and some of her colleagues took to the Ohio Clock near the Senate chamber to discuss the President’s lack of a coherent policy towards Syria, where Vladimir Putin is flexing his muscles.

Seems the Russians said they were going in to fight ISIS, but then ended up bombing U.S. allied rebels who were fighting Syrian President Assad (he of crossing Obama’s “red line”).

And now the President and the Secretary of Defense and the rest of the Commander in Chief’s staff are trying to hold press conferences claiming the Russians are “unprofessional” and on the wrong side of history and using other harsh words against Russia’s bombers.

In her press call yesterday, Senator Fischer put it mildly when she said…

“It seems fair to suggest that the White House has fundamentally misread both Russia’s imperialistic intentions and events on the ground in the Middle East.

“It’s greatly concerning that the administration is continuously caught off guard and publicly expresses confusion over obvious consequences and foreseeable occurrences.”

Makes you wonder how the President’s plans will go once he gives Iran $150 Billion.

They’ll probably just spend it on stuff that we’re into…


McConnell ain’t goin’ anywhere

And in her call, Senator Fischer echoed Senator Chuck Grassley when she said that she has not heard any word about Senator Mitch McConnell resigning as Majority Leader or anyone stepping up to challenge him in any way.

After Speaker Boehner announced he was stepping down, many on the GOP Right were calling for McConnell to do the same. Senator Ted Cruz wouldn’t voice any support for McConnell, but only said, it was a decision for McConnell to make.


The road to Cham-bana

Have a great weekend and Go Huskers!!!

And don’t forget to tell your friends (and enemies) to read Leavenworth St. and listen to The Wheels Down Politics Show! Thanks for spreading the word!

The Wheels Down Politics Show – Jim Vokal on the Con Agra move

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

Vokal - formalJerry Kratochvil interviews Jim Vokal of the Platte Institute on the announcement of Con Agra moving their headquarters out of Omaha.

Jim joins Jerry on a brand new LIVE podcast, via the Periscope app, which includes listener feedback and questions during the show.

Jim discusses his press release as CEO of the Platte Institute urging Nebraska lawmakers to reform the state tax code so more companies will be attracted to Omaha and fewer will want to leave.

They also discuss some of the dynamics of the move — Omaha vs Chicago, the influence Governor Ricketts or Mayor Stothert could have or did have on Con Agra, as well as the political climate surrounding the decision.

They conclude with a few questions from the live podcast viewers as well, on this first truly interactive podcast.


Hear the podcast in its live form (probably not linked forever) via Periscope, which includes the visual viewer/listener feedback.

Also find the Periscope app for Apple and Android at

Jim Vokal on Twitter: @Jim_Vokal, @PlatteInstitute


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

Don’t forget to click through our Amazon ads to buy your stuff on Amazon!

LIVE Podcast with Jim Vokal re Con Agra


Periscope app
Periscope app

Hey Peeps!

We are going to try something different today with the latest technology.

I am going to interview Jim Vokal of the Platte Institute to discuss the layoffs and closing of the Con Agra HQ in Omaha. Vokal has already made some statements on it this morning.

The LIVE podcast will be, today (Thursday, 10/1/15) at 12:15pm.

So, instead of doing the regular podcast where you listen to it tomorrow, we will try (TRY…) using a new app called Periscope. You can get the app for either iPhone or Android by clicking here.

Periscope lets you record and stream LIVE video on your smart phone or tablet. You can also watch (and listen) on your regular laptop, on a regular browser, when you get the link.

However, since the app hasn’t advanced to sync in Skype or Facetime (yet), I am going to give you the just the audio you can listen to (with some generic images on the screen). You can then listen to the interview LIVE. Of course you can also listen to it later whenever you like, like a regular podcast.

If you want to get involved, download the Periscope app on your smartphone or tablet, and you can get involved in the conversation. Periscope lets you ask questions and comment LIVE. You will be connected through your Twitter account if you have one, and that is always the best way to go.

This should be fun and different, and we will look at other live broadcasts to do in the future.

You can either get the Periscope app at follow LeavenworthSt or come back here at 12:15pm for the link.

Ashford: Call it Ssergnoc!

Ashford and Planned Parenthood 01
Ashford & Planned Parenthood partying

Nebraska 2nd District Congressman Brad Ashford declared (paraphrased):

Me and my fellow Reps are too big of wimps to stand up to special interests so we need to keep our votes secret from you.

Got that?

Ashford thinks that Congress should go the way of the Nebraska Legislature and have a secret ballot for Speaker — a practice Nebraska state Senators are trying to get rid of.

Because Ashford thinks we need MORE secrecy in Washington!

There’s your Congressman, Second Districtites.

Former Democrat Congressman Lee Hamilton shot down Ashford’s wuss-vote idea:

They’re not easy. But that’s the job. You’ve got to expect to be accountable to the American people.

Of course we are merely days — nay HOURS — away from Ashford proposing a Congressional Unicameral, making the two-finger wave mandatory for all DC cabbies and changing the name of the Smithsonian to the Nainoshtims, “Because it works in Nebraska!!!”

But some ideas are better kept to one’s self.

If Ashford can’t nut up and vote his conscience in front of God, America and his colleagues, then he should get out and let someone else do the job.


Ashford still listed as “Vulnerable

By the way, the Rothenberg & Gonzalez Political Report still lists Brad Ashford as the ONLY Democrat incumbent in the House whose election is a “Pure Toss-Up.

No doubt, Ashford’s next move will be to propose that Reps be appointed, “…So every single one of their votes aren’t influenced by trying to get elected as a Democrat in a swing-district. Oh, and ALL of their votes should be secret. Because Democracy!”


Watch out for flying rolls at the Nebraska Breakfast

Yesterday the U.S. Senate voted 77-19 for a continuing resolution to keep the Government running, and avoid a shutdown.

And Nebraska Senators Deb Fischer and Ben Sasse were on either side of the vote. Fischer voted to keep the Government running, and Ben Sasse voted for the shutdown.

And their press offices each had some choice words for the other side of the vote:

Deb Fischer on shutdown:

  • An ill-conceived strategy
  • Accomplishes nothing

She noted further that the shutdown vote would NOT have stopped mandatory Planned Parenthood spending associated with Medicaid. She says, “the only way to eliminate both discretionary and mandatory funding (for Planned Parenthood) is by passing S. 1881, a bill I cosponsored with Senator Joni Ernst.”

Ben Sasse, on the other hand, called voting to avoid a Government shutdown:

  • A stupid false choice
  • Kabuki theater
  • Empty gestures
  • Nonsense

Well then.
He added that, “I am committed to defunding Planned Parenthood.”


So far, the Government Shutdowns have accomplished almost nothing. People get ticked off because National Parks and Monuments get closed while they’re on vacation. Others don’t get paid.

And it can cause some Congressmen to lose their job when they comment on it…

But It didn’t stop Obamacare.
And it won’t defund Planned Parenthood.

It’s one thing to draw your line in the sand.
It’s a whole ‘nother thing to be able to stop your opponent from crossing it.

To date, the Republicans have done the first, but not the second.
Until they can do both, it’s all just beach volleyball.

Pay no attention to THAT man behind the curtain

Ricketts Family Cubs ESPN 02Political reporters are taking their deep dive into the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission’s website to find out who gave how much to the Death Penalty, for and against, campaigns.

The latest notes that the Pro-Death penalty forces raised nearly $1M for the signature petition process — with the repeats that the Ricketts family weighed in heavily. And now there is a new name associated with it — Robert Mercer, a New York hedge fund operator. And Judicial Watch added $100K to their previously donated $200K.

Hedge Fund manager! Spending money on politics in Nebraska? Outrageous!
(At least that’s the implication, and we have seen that repeated here in the Leavenworth St. comments.)

But then we see that “Nebraskans for the Safety Patrol” or whatever the anti-Death Penalty forces are calling themselves raised and spent over $433,000. And they didn’t even have to get petitions signed.

But, gee, I’m looking for the mention that Dick Holland chucked in $200K of his own money into that cause. My gosh, that’s Joe Ricketts type of cash!

But narry a mention.

And then there’s $400K from something called the “Proteus Action League.” They were on Saturday Morning Cartoons in Hungary, a foil to the American Justice League, and…

Wait. Not so much?

Oh, but there is a Hungary connection you see. That’s because billionairre George Soros drives and funds that group. See Hungarian Soros wants to see HIS views dominate in American politics. And where did he get his money? Well he made a billion or so betting against banks and shorting stocks.

All great stuff. He’s just like a goulash dealer selling on the strees of old timey New York! Except he’s betting on you dropping your goulash and becoming poor.

But hey, no reason to mention him!
Did you see Hal Daub gave $5K?!

And by the way, we are hearing that the Anti-Death Penatly folks will be WELL funded through next year…


Speaking of the Rickettses, did a major story on the family and their work on the Cubs and Wrigleyville.

No much mention of Pete, except to say that he’s not at the ballpark much.

Oh, and ubermodel Kate Upton makes an extremely random appearance with the fam.

See it here.


And another little follow-up on the “race” for the new Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Chip Maxwell, candidate for #NE02 sent off a little missive that hit a few good points:

Congressman Ashford said on the radio this morning that the job of a representative is to govern, which he described as compromising and making deals and moving government forward. The gist of the conversation was that House Speaker John Boehner did as well as he could given the unreasonable demands of conservatives.

…The kind of compromise Congressman Ashford endorsed boils down to: Let’s not fight over spending reductions; let’s grow government, make everybody happy, salute ourselves as enlightened compromisers, and take on more debt to pay for it.

As noted here before, Maxwell will have a tough time through the primary, let alone next November’s election.

But the point he makes is valid, and one that could push Brad Ashford a bit. Ashford is the pinnacle of the just-go-along kind of guy. He doesn’t even stick up for his own (new) party.

Is he likely to make any of the hard decisions that people seem to want out of Congress now?

Of course Ashford is likely good for pivoting his votes as the winds shift. But in this political climate, the voters of the 2nd District may be looking for just a little stiffer backbone.


And you can read this headline at The Hill…

Paul takes break to raise funds for Senate campaign

…but of course, as a Leavenworth St. reader, you already read about this yesterday.

However, National Review’s Jim Geraghty says, The ‘Rand Paul will drop out soon‘ talk feels extremely premature.”