Caped Crusaders

crusades 02Ah, the OWH’s Erin Grace is at it again.

“Again?” you say?

Well, you may have read her Sunday column about Governor Pete Ricketts’ views on Catholicism.

That’s all it was about, you see. It was JUST about Pete’s views on Catholicsm…and how he applies it to the Death Penalty debate. (She calls it a “crusade”. See what she did there?)

See, Grace did some deep research, and consulted a number of Catholic Theologians regarding the Death Penalty, and what is and isn’t adherence to Catholic dogma.

She found that Ricketts’ views aren’t Kosher with Church teachings…on the Death Penalty. And she wants you all to know it.

But what about OTHER church teachings? What does Erin Grace think about those?

Well kids, THAT’s another story.

See when she wrote a few years ago about Catholics and ABORTION — mainly as to how some Catholics feel about the Church being forced to fund abortifacient drugs — well…the official views of the Church weren’t so important.

She focused on a few individuals. (One of them being on the Brad Ashford for Congress team, not to mention “Nebraskans for Kerrey”.) But she wasn’t so interested in zeroing in on those politicians (gee, wonder what party they’d be from?) who are Pro-Choice.

Wonder what she would have found it she’d delved into that issue deeper?
Would those pols even give her the time of day, if she wanted to get their thoughts on Catholic philosophy and abortion?

Would she point out their hypocrisy?

(Holding my breath starting…now!)


The LJS ran a story on Saturday about the Death Penalty reinstatement petition process. They noted that Chris Peterson of the “Nebraskans for the Death Penalty” would not give them an update on the number of signatures they have collected so far.

However, Madison County has gotten theirs. Madison County reportedly has gotten signatures from over 15% of voters. Note that Norfolk, where the 2002 bank robbery and 5 murders took place, is in Madison Co.

Note the rules for the ballot:

By collecting the signatures of approximately 57,000 registered voters (5% of registered voters in Nebraska) and signatures from at least 5% of registered voters in 40% of Nebraska’s counties (38 of the 93 counties), the question will be placed on the November 2016 general election ballot.

If approximately 115,000 registered voters (10%) sign the petition including at least 10% of registered voters in forty percent of Nebraska’s counties, the law repealing the death penalty will be suspended until the outcome of the November 2016 election has been determined.

No word from Peterson on financial contributions, though he did note, “We could always use more help and more money, because this is a very labor-intensive and expensive undertaking.


And back to the LJS, Don Walton wrote in his Monday column about former Omaha Fire Union head Mike McDonnell running for legislature…

The Legislature is non-partisan and state senators act independently — perhaps more so during the past legislative session than at any time in recent memory — but party affiliation matters during legislative election campaigns both in terms of money and organized support.

Recent voter registration figures in South Omaha’s 5th District: 8,066 Democrats; 4,487 Republicans; 4,357 independents.


So which is it? The legislature is super NON-partisan…but hey, look Democrats! And lots of them!

Oh, and you might note that the Nebraska Democrats almost consistently vote as a block and are no more “independent” from each other than rest of the Warsaw Pact were from the former Soviet Union.


Hey, if you like my interviews on The Wheels Down Politics Show, today I have up an interview with Representative David Young of Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District — which ranges from Des Moines to Council Bluffs, and generally takes in southwest Iowa.

Young had a particularly interesting election in 2014, where the GOP primary went to the convention (because no candidate received more than 35% of the vote) and Young finally won on the 5th ballot.

I talk with Congressman Young about a number of issues before Congress, as well as his district constituent work in the state that is currently overrun with Presidential candidates.

(He also does a killer Chuck Grassley impression.)

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


And just because…Don Walton cites in his column, for some reason…the USA Today’s Top Ten baseball rankings? Because he is hoping for a split between the Computer Rankings and the Coaches’ Poll to see who will make it to the World Series?

(Oh and Don, the Royals are ranked 2nd in your poll today, not 3rd…
But for some reason, I’ll stick with the Standings.)

Friday I’m in Love

Carl Curtis button 01Today we will keep with our new-ish Friday tradition of the Carl Curtis Open Comment Friday.

The comments section is open up to the topics that YOU want to discuss.


And please feel free to continue the discussion of Charter Schools, that was initiated during my podcast interview with Millard School Board Member, Mike Kennedy.

Kennedy expressed that he is not a big fan of Charters, though may be in favor of vouchers.

Others in the recent comments have said they are fans of Charters, and that they can be effective and can be held accountable.

Have at it.


Other topics?

  • Iran Nuclear deal
  • The Planned Parenthood tissue harvesting videos
  • Reinstatement of the Death Penalty
  • Your favorite Presidential candidate…


More later as things hit the wires.
And as always, follow Leavenworth St. on the Twitter @LeavenworthSt.

(Yes, I did use this headline before, about 4 years ago. There’re only so many songs by The Cure…)

Get off my lawn!

Ben_Nelson_EthanolWelcome to Throwback Thursday (as every Thursday has become on The Facebook.)

This one from the Editorial Page Editor of the New York Times, Andrew Rosenthal:

When Lehman asked Rosenthal to give his opinion on the “most ridiculous” Republican candidates in the race, Rosenthal named Donald Trump and “Ben Nelson.”

“Everything Ben Nelson says is ridiculous,” said Rosenthal.

Now Leavenworth St. isn’t here to quibble with the opinions of the mighty New York Times on the subject of Ben Nelson.

But it is possible he meant Ben “Carson”.

Oh, and speaking of “ridiculous” were you aware that Rosenthal is a “truther” about…D-Day? As in “did it really happen?


THIS is the guy who thinks Hillary is awesome and all the GOP candidates are dopes.

(Oh, and he hates Ben Nelson.)

From here on out we will get all of our Editorials from the York News Times


I hope you took, or will take, a few minutes of your commute or your walk or your workout to listen to my most recent podcast with Mike Kennedy on The Wheels Down Politics Show.

Mike and I talked about his 13 years of experience on the Millard School Board, and some of his thoughts on the various education topics these days.

Here is a short excerpt on the topic of Charter School:

I’m not a huge fan of Charter Schools.

I get why people want Charters. Charter Schools can have very different forms, but one of the forms they’re trying to push in the state is basically have an independently run Charter that’s run by a private entity — which could be nonprofit or for profit — and basically that they receive the funds and control the property, and run the school and set the curriculum.

Here’s my concern:
There’s Charter Schools that do a wonderful law. And there are Charter Schools that do a horrible job. And I think the law that (Governor Ricketts) was supporting, that was offered by Senator Larson, allowed the authorization of 5 Charter Schools in Douglas County.

Here’s my issue with it:
We have good schools in this state. And we have the ability of choice by doing inter-district transfers — like Millard kids going to OPS or Westside and vice versa — in fact about 2,000 OPS kids go to Millard Schools at this time for their school choice.

If you open 5 schools and you say, “it’s going to all these wonderful things of educating kids and getting kids out of poverty,” and all that; What about the kids in the other 55 elementary schools in the OPS school district?

They don’t have an answer for that.

The problem is Accountability. You have to set standards. If someone is receiving taxpayer dollars, you need to set standards, hold accountability — whether that’s state take over the district, giving sanctions or something like that.

Nebraska has wholly — wholly — neglected that aspect.

And immediately following those comments, you can hear Kennedy’s thoughts on OPS’s Nathan Hale Magnet Middle School for Leadership and Social Justice, and their abominable test scores from three years ago.

I really enjoyed this interview with Mike, and I think we will be hearing more from him in the future.

And just to make it easier for you, you can hear the whole thing by clicking here:


If you weren’t following on the Twitter yesterday, do take 2 minutes to watch the latest video, resulting from The Donald giving out Senator Lindsey Graham’s cell phone number:

My favorite is the mini-pizzas also in the toaster oven.


And as long as I’m screaming at you kids flat-brimmed hats, I’ll just spit out that I’m finally tired of the “new Husker unis for one game!

Yes it was cute and new and all that a few years ago. But now it’s just a goofball reason to sell jerseys and frankly is just more of the Oregon Duck-ification of college football.

That being said, I still like the throwbacks from the 60’s.

But I say ENOUGH of the Dallas Knights and their uniforms from Any Given Sunday.

And turn down your dadgum “rock” music too!

The Wheels Down Politics Show – Mike Kennedy

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

Gov. Dave Heineman, Mike Kennedy, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert
Gov. Dave Heineman, Mike Kennedy, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert

Jerry Kratochvil talks to Millard School Board Member Mike Kennedy.

Having served on the school board for 13 years, Kennedy gives his thoughts on a wide variety of subjects in the education field, including the Nebraska Learning Community, Charter Schools, testing of kids, accountability of schools, national standards and after school programs, among others.

Kennedy gives some straight-forward thoughts on other topics such as school vouchers, after school programs and the true effectiveness of the Learning Community.

Kennedy also talks a little about being the first attorney in Nebraska to represent a client seeking a divorce from a same-sex marriage.

A veteran of campaigns for Mike Johanns, Chuck Hagel, Hal Daub and Jean Stothert, Kennedy finishes with some thoughts on his future in elective politics.

On the web: Millard Public Schools – Board Members
Facebook: MikeKennedy1970


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

Chip Maxwell’s phone-throwing campaign

Chip Maxwell - Gretna 02Chip Maxwell had a conundrum prior to the Gretna Days Parade this past Saturday.

It seems he forgot to — or didn’t want to — pay the $250 to enter a “float” in the parade. (As everyone who has watched a local parade knows, politicians rarely have an actual float, but instead just duct tape some yard signs to the side of a Dodge Charger, or some such.)

So Maxwell instead did the next best thing: He took his campaign to the Sarpy County Republican Party float. They were offering — for a mere $50 — to put any Republican candidate’s signs up on it. Quite a few paid the $50, and that way the county party can recoup the expense of the float from people who support them, and everyone is happy.

And Sarpy County Republican Brad Kuiper stepped up with his truck to pull the GOP trailer “float”.

And then things took a turn.

Since Maxwell didn’t have his own entry — and Kuiper, a Maxwell supporter, was driving the truck — Maxwell took it upon himself to put his largest signs on the truck.

As you can see here:

Gretna Days 2015 Sarpy GOP Entry - Initial Plan

And it essentially looked like a Chip Maxwell float — or like the Sarpy County Republicans had endorsed Chip Maxwell.

And several Republicans waiting at the parade start noticed.

So someone got on their phone and made a call to a Sarpy County GOP official to get a “ruling” on what had become of this parade entry.

The Sarpy GOP official decided that no one candidate should take over the float to give it the impression that it is their’s.

And further, even though the vehicle owner wanted to deck it out with extra Maxwell signage, that would not be appropriate as, again, it was a Party float, not meant to favor one candidate.

And Chip got this message over someone else’s cell phone…

…that was in his hand…

…which he promptly chucked towards someone else’s car.

(No immediate damage to either the cell phone, the vehicle, or the listener on the other end was reported.)

And the giant Maxwell signs were removed and everyone moved on to passing out stickers.


There is no real intention here to pick on Chip.

He is apparently running for Congress.

If there has been a formal announcement, none has been forwarded to Leavenworth St. or otherwise mentioned in the press.

He does have YouTube videos up on his campaign web page that shows him speaking to people at Champions Club and at the Tea Party event this year.

In the Champions video he says, “…I am getting ready to run for the Nebraska 2nd District House Seat.

He has filed a campaign finance report with the FEC.

But apparently we will have to wait until he makes an official announcement.

It will be interesting to see where all this goes.


Senator Deb Fischer issued a column yesterday where she detailed her objections to the proposed Iran nuclear deal.

She notes:

We cannot undo sanctions for an agreement that is built on the hope that the Iranian government changes its behavior. This used to be a bedrock principle. In fact, the president himself repeatedly stated that no deal would be better than a bad deal. The president’s rhetoric seems to have changed. Now, recent history is being erased, and we are told that the only alternative to this agreement would be war. That is not true.

If you are averse to reading, or simply like your articles read to you, Senator Fischer does that as well, which you can get by clicking here.


And for your really breaking/broken news, Senator Ben Sasse hits the rankings as number 4 in the U.S. Senate.

Oh, sorry.

That’s #4, among male Senators, in the “Sexy Congress” rankings.

For the record, Sasse ranks #52 overall among both male and female Members of Congress.

(The first 45 are all women.)

Among only male MOC’s he comes in 7th.

He comes in just behind Senator, and Presidential candidate, Marco Rubio, who is 6th among all men.

3rd District Representative Adrian Smith comes in at #64 among all male Congresspersons.

1st District Rep Jeff Fortenberry is at #134.

2nd District Rep Brad Ashford is ranked 315th sexiest of the 429 male MOCs.

And Senator Deb Fischer comes in at a respectable #52 among the 104 female Members of Congress. (That is, if you “respect” this sort of thing…)

Well, clearly the interns and junior staffers are keeping busy with something….

A NYer’s view of the world

Steinberg_New_Yorker_CoverOver the weekend the NYT had a story about the Nebraska Death Penalty repeal and the effort to get it reinstated.

All the usual stuff, with a few interesting quotes:

Former State Senator Danielle Conrad, now Nebraska ACLU Director…

“The petition is kind of a head scratcher from our perspective. These petitions all offer false promises. Even if proponents are successful with procuring signatures and successful with procuring ballot access and successful at the polls in November 2016, that still gets us no closer to carrying out executions in Nebraska.”

What gets you no closer to carrying out executions is repealing the Death Penalty. Reinstating it DOES get you closer.

But do more things need to happen here?
Yes, yes they do.

Because if the supporters don’t set out at least a course or plan for what would happen if it is reinstated, there WILL be people who will believe there is no reason to sign or vote.

Those people are absolutely out there, and it is an issue that needs a response from those in charge.

Another quote:

From current Republican State Senator Colby Coash:

“It makes me worry. How many times is he (Governor Pete Ricketts) going to try to reverse one branch of government’s decision that he couldn’t get reversed through a veto? Is he just going to write another big check and try to get it reversed that way?”

Wow. Well, if Colby didn’t already burn his bridges with the Governor, there is a giant “F-You!” screamed from the other side of the chasm.

Apparently not only does Coash not like Ricketts’ Death Penalty position, he just thinks he’s a demon on every issue.

Big shocker, though, that the Anti- forces keep harping on this — since it is easy. As has been noted here before, once Governor Ricketts took charge of the program, instead of broadening the base of support, he put it all squarely on his shoulders. That’s certainly one way to operate — but it opens him up to all of the criticism behind it.

In the mean time, as the article notes, thankfully there are still volunteers out there who believe that Nebraskans should have the opportunity to vote on the issue.


Ah, Don Walton and the Monday column.

This one is all about how because Rep. Jeff Fortenberry hasn’t come out against the Iran nuclear deal, he is “measured and thoughtful.”

So…that would make Nebraska’s two Senators, 3rd District Congressman and 2nd District GOP candidate…rash and close-minded, according to Don, right?

All of them have made fact based, specific arguments against the Iran deal. But you see, they haven’t sided with Don’s opinion, so…NO THOUGHTFULNESS FOR YOU!

Just to put this in perspective, Don also notes…

Electric baseball season at mid-summer.

Oh look! Don’s Yankees are in first place!
Well gosh, that DOES make is electric!

You see how that works?

(In the mean time… clap-clap-clapclapclap, LET’S-GO-ROY-ALS!)


OK, got it.
Leavenworth St. readers are NOT into World Emoji Day.
They are not into trying to figure out what certain Emojis are.
And they’re not into guessing games involving Emojis.

(There’s probably more to it as well, but we can at least nail those points down…)

Well, from Friday’s little game, here are your answers to what I came up with for Nebraska politician Emojis.

(We will continue the game to the bottom of the page, where you can see what the meaning is behind each Emoji…)

Pete Ricketts: ©
Deb Fischer: 🎣👆
Ben Sasse: 🚐
Dave Heineman: ⌛️
Ben Nelson: 🌽👢
Mike Johanns: 🍴
Lee Terry: 🏡
Jeff Fortenberry: 🐊
Adrian Smith: 🚜
Tom Osborne: 😇
Hal Daub: 🎫
Mike Fahey: ⚾️
Jean Stothert: 🙋
Jim Suttle: 🌊
Bob Kerrey: 🌉
Chris Beutler: 💈
Kay Orr: 🚣☝️

OK, and now the meaning behind each of those…

Pete Ricketts: © =  that’s meant to be a Chicago Cubs symbol, for the family owned team

Deb Fischer: 🎣👆 = “fisher” + 1st female senator

Ben Sasse: 🚐 = the “Ben-ebago”

Dave Heineman: ⌛️ = hourglass for the longest serving Gov

Ben Nelson: 🌽👢 = that ear and boot would represent the Cornhusker Kickback

Mike Johanns: 🍴 = eatin’ irons for the Ag secretary

Lee Terry: 🏡 = an Emoji of a nice house

Jeff Fortenberry: 🐊 = an alligator for the born and bred Louisianan

Adrian Smith: 🚜 = a tractor for the 3rd Dis rep

Tom Osborne: 😇 = some see him as a saint

Hal Daub: 🎫 = a ticket to all the events at the CenturyLink Center he championed

Mike Fahey: ⚾️ = a baseball for the stadium on his namesake street

Jean Stothert: 🙋 = the first female Mayor of Omaha

Jim Suttle: 🌊 = Mayor during the historic floods

Bob Kerrey: 🌉 = a very difficult to discern emoji of a bridge

Chris Beutler: 💈 = that’s a barber-pole, very similar to his street art

Kay Orr: 🚣☝️= an “oar” and the first female Governor in the state and first female GOP Governor in the country

See, wasn’t that fun?


There may be some later updates for you about some of the “fun” at the Gretna Days Parade. Stay tuned…

Nebraska Emoji Day

Emoji-TestOn this Carl Curtis Open Comment Friday, you can let your freak-flag fly just a little more than it usually does in the comments section.

Oh sure, you were already discussing the Planned Parenthood Organ Harvesting video, and touching on the Iran deal. Not to mention a little Presidential politics mixed in.

But you can open it up to some of your own local stories as well.

Remember the rules:

  • Please enter some sort of a name — either yours or a made up one — to assist in the conversations on the comment boards
  • Do not enter web links or phone numbers.  We do not want to have to police the veracity of the link and we do not want you pimping your or someone else’s web site. Any comments with links will automatically NOT post.
  • Do not cut and paste articles.
  • Keep your comments P.G.
  • Try to keep your comments relevant to the post topic.
  • In the words of the great Jim Rome, “Have a take and don’t suck.”


Just one more time I am going to pimp my podcast interview with GOP Presidential candidate, Dr. Ben Carson. You can listen right here:

The discussion is pretty much exclusively on the proposed Iran nuclear deal.

And as long as we’re on the POTUS candidates, here is one a few weeks back with Senator Lindsey Graham.

Graham has been trailing in the pack lately, but I can tell you that I think he will come more to the fore as the situation with Isis and Syria gets more heated.

You may remember that he proposed an invasion of Syria in our discussion:

And back at the Iowa Lincoln Day dinner, I also interviewed Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, the leader in the Iowa polls.

I can prove it. See:


This was post-interview.

Alas, I had problems with my recorder and ended up getting none of our discussion.

We talked about his recent trip to Israel, his thoughts on Mideast and foreign policy in general. As those things go, he didn’t really say anything that he didn’t say in his other speeches that day.

I did try to nail him down on the goofball issue of that day:

Who would he want to see on the new $20 bill?

His response:

“I’m not so worried about whose face is on the twenty, as much as making sure Americans can keep as many of those $20 bills as possible in their pockets.”

Ahh, politicians…

(For those of you keeping a tally on who to put on the new $20 — or $10 I suppose:

Walker: Doesn’t care.

Graham: Keep it the same.

Sen. Deb Fischer: Doesn’t care.)


2nd District GOP candidate General Don Bacon made a statement about the Iran deal today. In full…

I’ve spent the last few days studying the proposed nuclear agreement with Iran. It deserved careful consideration. I’ve concluded this agreement is wrong for America and our allies.

The one benefit of the proposal is that it will make it harder for Iran to quickly obtain a nuclear weapon. However, the administration acknowledges that Iran will have a “1-year break-out” capability to amass enough fuel to produce a nuclear weapon even after this agreement is put into effect. This is not sufficient and the bar has been set too low.

The costs of this agreement are high. Iran will come out from underneath economic sanctions and eventually will have the weapons embargo removed. This will allow Iran to grow as a regional power and to ramp up its terrorism efforts, undermining its neighbors, Israel and the United States. The dire threat to Israel will continue. And, Iran will still hold four American hostages.

We should believe it when Iran says it is our enemy–its actions have shown it. Just last week their Supreme Leader said, “Death to America.” Iran is behind the killing of over a 1,000 Americans in Iraq using the Shi’a militias. During my year in Baghdad our area would normally get hit with between three to thirty rockets or mortars a day, and most originated from Sadr City where the Shi’a militias operated from. The weapons used were newly produced from Iran’s factories. Iran had two training camps for the Shi’a militias that were located South of Tehran, Iran. While I was there we captured a senior Iranian operative in Iraq who was evaluating the training needs of the Shi’a militia and who was advising them on their operations against American servicemen and women. And, we should not forget that the Beirut Barracks and Khobar Towers bombings were inspired by Iran.

We should maintain crippling economic sanctions, an arms embargo, and the credible threat of air strikes with the goal of dismantling the nuclear infrastructure in Iran. The current agreement sets the bar too low, and should have included the return of our American hostages being held in Iran. The President’s proposal will result in a stronger and more dangerous Iran.


So now for the REAL fun.

Did you know that today is World Emoji Day?

“Duh, Sweeper. Do you think I’m some sort of caveman/woman?”

Well, in light of the recent Tweets which attempted to describe NBA players and Heisman Trophy winners as Emojis, let’s do it with some Nebraska politicians.

So here is how it will go:

First, keep in mind that some of the Emojis are hard to see. Them’s the breaks. They also show up differently, depending on your platform (Twitter, web, etc.). Some are more descriptive than others. (You’d be surprised/not-really-that-surprised how few Emojis there really are, and how Japanese centric they are.) If you’re not sure what something is, try cutting and pasting it into the Google machine and see what it says.


Your task:

Connect the Politician’s letter with the Emoji’s number.
Then in the comments, list your results — with the meaning behind the Emoji.

(Example: “g4 because Johanns really likes sand“)

Uh, but do better than that.


a Chris Beutler 1 ©
b Hal Daub 2 🎣👆
c Mike Fahey 3 🚐
d Deb Fischer 4 ⌛️
e Jeff Fortenberry 5 🌽👢
f Dave Heineman 6 🍴
g Mike Johanns 7 🏡
h Bob Kerrey 8 🐊
i Ben Nelson 9 🚜
j Kay Orr 10 😇
k Tom Osborne 11 🎫
l Pete Ricketts 12 ⚾️
m Ben Sasse 13 🙋
n Adrian Smith 14 🌊
o Jean Stothert 15 🌉
p Jim Suttle 16 💈
q Lee Terry 17 ☝️🚣

Easy Bonus: Who is the non-Nebraskan politico Emoji up top?

Have at it, have fun (complaints will not be tolerated) and have a great weekend!

Throwforward Thursday

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 12.40.17 PMAs mentioned 2 days ago, Paul Aaron’s name has come up as a potential GOP candidate in Nebraska’s 2nd District. Aaron was president of the Pinnacle Sports Network, a name you know from the Husker radio broadcasts.

While there is no confirmation yet on Aaron’s interest, his name is not the only one that has been making the rounds. Another is Omaha City Councilman Franklin Thompson. While he has not made any visible moves toward a campaign effort, his name often comes up as someone who could be interested.

And then, sort of in the background is still Chip Maxwell. Maxwell filed a FEC report under “Maxwell for Congress” for the recently completed quarter.

Maxwell reported contributions from 5 individuals for a total of $9,400.


ICYMI, the OWH said that former Omaha Fire Chief Mike McDonnell will run for the state legislature in District 5, Heath Mello’s current seat.

McDonnell is a Democrat.

No word yet from Nebraska GOP Chairman Dan Welch on McDonnell’s bid.

Welch and McDonnell frequently butted heads while Welch was on the Omaha City Council and McDonnell was Union President of Omaha Firefighters Local 385.

McDonnell is currently a “labor educator” at UNO.


I hope you will take a listen to my podcast interview with GOP Presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson on The Wheels Down Politics Show yesterday.

I focused my questions to Dr. Carson about the President’s recent announcement of the Iran nuclear deal, and he gave very candid, straightforward answers.

You will also note that currently Carson is listed as about #5 in the “Top Ten” of current GOP candidates — which is the threshold for participation in the upcoming Presidential debate on FOX.

It is a very short and sweet 20 minutes — just perfect for your commute or workout.

The Wheels Down Politics Show – Dr. Ben Carson

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

IMG_3127Jerry Kratochvil interviews Republican Presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson on the Iran nuclear deal. Dr. Carson talks about his views on the deal, the need for it and whether it makes America safer.

Dr. Carson gives his views on whether America should be at the table at all with Iran right now, and what may be down the road in ten years. He also talks about what the implications of the deal may be for Israel.

Dr. Carson finishes by relating what he hears from the people of Iowa as he travels the state and what the most important issues are that face the country today.

On the web: Ben Carson for President
Twitter: @RealBenCarson
Facebook: Dr. Ben Carson


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

A new name up for #NE02

Paul Aaron
Paul Aaron (2008 interview)

After asking around and around, there has finally been a whiff of another person (or two) interested in running for the 2nd District Congressional seat.

The latest name floated is…Paul Aaron.

You may recognize that name as the President of Pinnacle Sports — which took over the play-by-play for Nebraska football years back.

Aaron eventually sold Pinnacle years later and was involved in various other ventures, including being founder and Commissioner of the Indoor Football League (of which the Omaha Beef was a member).

Here is an interview back in the early days of the new league in 2008.

His name also pops up as being behind a wedding photo-booth business, and from years and years back, as the original radio guy who hired a young DJ in Sacramento named…Rush Limbaugh.

There currently is NO confirmation about the nearly 70-year-old Aaron’s interest in Congress. At worst, it is a name that Nebraskans know, and now you have just a tiny bit more info about him.

(By the way, good luck on researching Mr. Aaron. You end up with a lot of photos of Jesse Pinkman…)


Moving onto the current holder of the #NE02 seat, Brad Ashford confirmed with the OWH that he is NOT interested in the rigors of retaining political office.

And why won’t Ashford raise money for his campaign?

He is too busy…

“…focusing on policies such as the trade bill and the situation in the Middle East.”

Ah, there it is. Brad has been in the thick of it with the negotiations in Vienna and Japan. You just know that the Mullahs in Iran have been wondering what the Freshman Rep from Omaha was thinking about all this. And now they know that he will be probably reading several of the news stories about it, and such.

Seriously though, if Ashford had just said he was busy with new committee work, or meeting with constituents back home, at least that would sound plausible. But trying to make it sound like he has been huddled with John Kerry and the trade negotiators is just goofy.

His final statement to Joe Morton makes more sense: he just doesn’t feeeeeel like doing it.


Speaking of people who actually will be involved in reviewing the Iran deal, Senators Ben Sasse and Deb Fischer came right out of the box criticizing the proposal.

Sasse was one of the first in Congress to have a statement on it:

In full he said:

“Sadly, the Administration just lit the fuse for a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. We all know Iran’s neighbors will not sit idly as the world’s largest state-sponsor of terror becomes a nuclear-threshold state.

“Congress will thoroughly review it in the coming weeks but this much is immediately clear: this deal abandons ‎‎America’s historic bipartisan commitment to preventing nuclear proliferation, and instead begins the era of managed proliferation—a descent into chaos and an even more dangerous world.”

Deb Fischer was equally strong where she said:

“I have closely followed the reports on U.S. negotiations, and am concerned that the Obama administration has given up too much in order to get a deal, which will now be sent to Congress for review.

“While the president argued that we ‘give nothing up’ by ‘testing’ whether this agreement will constrain Iran’s nuclear ambitions, I disagree. The international sanctions regime took years to assemble and remains the most effective method of imposing costs on Tehran for their destabilizing behavior.

“We cannot undo sanctions for an agreement that is built on the hope that the Iranian government changes its behavior. To recklessly gamble with our only source of leverage would be far worse than signing no deal at all.”

It will be interesting to see how this is debated in the months ahead.
But it just seems a little strange.

Bully continually threatens to firebomb your house.
You make it hard for bully to operate.
So now you take away bully’s economic hardships, bully will only keep a few firebombs (they’re just for my fireplace!) and you can ask to inspect his firebombs every once in a while.
And the deal is only for 10 years.
After which, there is no deal.

And the President calls that a “victory”.