Hats in hand

Busy week gang.
For those of us on Leavenworth Street anyway…

So the fundraising numbers came out last Friday (though none up on FEC.gov yet) for the the Senate campaigners and Senator Ben Nelson came out on top for the quarter with $1.47M.

Attorney General Jon Bruning came in second (among all) and first (among the GOP) with around $860K for the quarter (adding in his previously raised $700K makes it $1.5M). State Treasurer Don Stenberg raised $14K and Pat Flynn had around $13K.

The Stenberg camp argues that they’ve only been raising money for a month, whereas Jon Bruning had much longer. Maybe. Multiply that times three and it still is only around $42K.

People have questioned why we call Bruning the GOP front runner, so there you go. Not saying there isn’t someone super organized who could swoop in and wrench that baton from his hand. But right now he has the cash, along with the poll numbers.

And Nelson has the cash, but will the poll numbers follow at some point? At some point those numbers are going to be a big factor in any decisions he needs to make.

But if Nelson does go all in, with plenty of cash, and has to come from behind to win…yowza. It would be one bitter, potentially ugly campaign. Are you ready?


Hey Democrat President Barack Obama’s State Department took another look at the Keystone XL Pipeline plan, and said, “yup looks good to us.”

A few notes from their analysis:

“experience from previous oil line releases in shallow groundwater areas with conditions similar . . .” to the Ogallala resources in the Sand Hills “indicates that the impacts from even large spills would likely be limited to localized groundwater contamination that would not threaten the regional viability of the aquifer system,”


“avoidance of the Sand Hills topographic region and the (Ogallala) are not considered appropriate screening criteria for the identification of alternative routes.”

Well then.

So you mean when UNL hydrogeologist Jim Goeke said that those who claim Ogallala Aquifer would be in danger were, “wrong”…he was correct?

But this is the the State Department! What do they know from pipes and oil and water!

That’s the argument made by the those Bold Nebraskans and (new mom!) Jane Kleeb. She’s pretty sure that a bunch of graduates of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, sipping martinis at a Georgetown cocktail party with the diplomats from Kazakhstan, were the ones who did the studies on metallurgy, ground water and oil viscosity.

Jane told the LJS that scientists! should be the ones people listen to, not those pencil pushers in Foggy Bottom!

You know, like experts from the Sierra Club. Or Jane herself, a self proclaimed nutrition expert…


And speaking of people outraged — OUTRAGED! — at this proposed pipeline, look no further than your friendly reporters at…Al Jazeera.

(sound of record needle scratching…)

Yup, THAT Al Jazeera.  They sent a reporter out to the middle of Nebraska to give a totally unbiased view of the issue.  Because, you know, why wouldn’t your source of MidEast news be super concerned about the Sand Hill cranes and ranchers in the middle of the United States. Why, there are probably plenty Qatarian citizens sitting in Doha thinking, “that pipeline may be the safest one ever built, but those Americans really shouldn’t risk it. Um…you know…for them.”

Let us just say it once again: The chief organizers against the pipeline don’t care about the pipeline. They are not concerned about siting, or water or liability or any of that stuff. They are environmentalists who don’t like oil, and have particularly focused their hatred on the Canadian tar sands oil.

The oil could be gently carried by Celine Dion in a Canadian Mountie hat, one brimful at a time, and they would still hate it. The pipeline griping is just one of their methods of stopping the project.

And those who get their news from Al Jazeera are happy to join their party.


  1. Poly Tics says:

    So, if the enemy of my enemy is my friend, do I now have to support Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration? Yeesh. I feel kinda dirty.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Jane Kleeb told the LJS that scientists should be the ones people listen to.

    Scientists were the one’s Adolph Hitler listened to. — Paging Dr. Goebbles. Paging Dr. Mengela. You have a call from Mrs. Kleeb.

  3. curbfeeler says:

    Sweeper, who exactly says Bruning isn’t leading in the GOP Primary US Senate race? Can you list them here? Because, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I need to sell.

    Lest we forget, Bruning had a million bucks and momentum during a Senate race when Johanns stepped in. Out of a politic sense of proportion that amounts to wisdom, Bruning stepped aside for a former governor cum cabinet secretary who would have beaten the future out of Bruning’s career. Bruning chose not to throw himself under the bus. And while that seems a no-brainer to us all here, it is in fact unusual for people with the massive egos of anyone who seeks high elective power, to set aside that massive ego enough to make clear decisions.

    Look at Stenberg. He’s run for office so blindly, over and over again, that he’s turned himself from a former winner into a washed out loser. There’s never been a wall that Stenberg refused to bash his head against. And look at Nelson who dove headfirst into the delusion of his own PR so that he openly solicited a political bribe, in broad daylight, from his own party, in what must be the most stupid political decision in decades.

    This isn’t academic. We are talking about Senators who decide the future and survival of the United States. Anyone we get for that job will be ambitious. But the last thing we need in the Senate are people who make bad decisions. When they have egos pathologically swollen beyond the limits of rational decision making, they make bad decisions in their campaigns, in their work, and while in the Senate.

    If there is a better, more careful decision maker out there than Bruning, it is no one mentioned so far.

  4. RWP says:

    Besides, Goebbels wasn’t a scientist. He had a Ph.D. in 18th century romantic drama.

    I’m a scientist, and you should listen to me. Build the fracking pipeline.

  5. Curbfeeler,
    Various commenters right here on Leavenworth Street bitch and moan every time I suggest that Bruning is leading the GOP pack. Take your bridge contract to them.

  6. Waxing Poetic says:

    Great prose Sweeper! “The oil could be gently carried by Celine Dion in a Canadian Mountie hat, one brimful at a time, and they would still hate it.” I just wish Johanns would back off now. What is his position now that he delayed the building the pipeline by his requested additional study that gave him the report he didn’t want to hear?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Sure Bruning has an ego, and a big one. And your point is? — If you are waiting for a GOP Senate candidate who comes to this egoless, with no fire in the belly, you need to be voting for a pope. And even they brim with ego. So I guess you are out of luck.

  8. Concerned says:

    Maybe you should tell the people threatened with condemnation that everything is safe. After all, the people in Michigan were probably told that. As a landowner, if it is my “localized area” that is contaminated, then I guess I’m SOL. If more people would take the time to listen to the concerns of the people living along the route of the proposed pipeline instead of painting everyone who expresses concern with the same brush, maybe there would be an understanding of those concerns. Not just water, but land reclamation, landowner liability and the constant LIES from TC’s land agents. If it were to go through the middle of Omaha, I’m sure there would be property owners there with concerns also. Would they all be labeled environmentalists and their opinions discounted by those of you who do not think you will be affected?

  9. Oh Mander says:

    I am confused by the phrase, “avoidance of the Sand Hills topographic region and the (Ogallala) are not considered appropriate screening criteria for the identification of alternative routes.” So the NEPA-required consideration of alternatives that avoid ecologically sensitive areas was not even a factor in their decision?

  10. I’m not a scientist kiddos. I just listen to them.
    And I’m not telling anyone anything. The State Department is.
    Yet somehow all the other Nebraska landowners who have pipelines running through their properties have managed to weather all of these same issues.

  11. Brian T. Osborn says:

    I would think that the concept of a foreign company threatening to invoke imminent domain against the reticent land-owners in Nebraska would rub some of you Libertarians, Constitutionalists, and Big Government opponents the wrong way. Personally, I would think it more logical for Canada to build its own refineries on their own territory. Why pipe the glop all the way to Texas? Couldn’t they despoil their own tundra?

    Perhaps their engineers have been toking a bit too long on the product provided them by Health Canada’s Marihuana Medical Access Division.

  12. Concerned says:

    Because it’s cheaper to pipe the sludge through the U.S. to refineries in Texas and have access to the ports for export. By the way, there are no 36″ tar sands pipelines running through the Sandhills. A 30″ one in eastern Nebraska is TransCanada FIRST oil pipeline.

  13. Brian T. Osborn says:

    Hey, Texas Annie. Wouldn’t you like to export some of your Texas wildfires to Canada in exchange for their glop? They could use the heat, and my neighbor that is flying tankers down there could use a break. I read that over a million acres have burned this year (for you city folks – that’s 1,562.5 sq. miles … a little more than the combined areas of Washington, Dodge, Douglas, and Sarpy Counties.)

    Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster that we’ve got plenty of water here this year. I wonder how it would burn if that big old pipe should ever break, which, thanks to a waiver given its builders will be constructed of thinner walled steel than prudence dictates. After all, this will be built by the same industry that pumped hydrocarbons into some communities’ water supplies with their freakin’ fracking!

    To be honest, I haven’t made my mind up on this issue yet. I’ve heard both sides of the story and I find it difficult to give 100% credence to the fables either side has concocted thus far. I’ll admit that I tend to err on the side of those who prefer to keep our environment safe, as opposed to the side that only sees the bottom line. Too many major ****-ups have occurred when the lust for quick cash obscures the long range picture … our survival as a species.

  14. Greg says:


    What evironmental safety standards would you put into place for the pipeline?

    Remember they allegedly put hydrocarbons into the water supply, it is one report that has not been substantiated yet. But assuming it is correct, stopping fracking to reach oil and natural gas would hinder the President’s goal of reducing US dependence on foreign oil. What is your suggestion for an alternative energy source?

    By my tally coal is too dirty, oil is similarly too dirty, nuclear isn’t safe, natural gas puts hydrocarbon into the water supply, wind turbines kill thousands of bird annually (endangered and otherwise).

  15. Brian T. Osborn says:

    I’d suppose environmental safety standards that the government put on a dear old friend, and one-time employer, of mine, requiring him to build very expensive containment systems for the gasoline tanks at his gas stations, would be out of the question. After all, those destroyed his ability to remain profitable and he lost five gas stations because of it. I’m not an environmental engineer, so I really don’t know what would be appropriate. However, I think re-routing the damned thing away from the Ogallala Aquifer would be a good start. Running it through the living rooms of its investors would be even more delightful!
    I’m reminded of a scene in the film, Erin Brockovich, where she offers a glass of water to the attorneys on the other side. They refused to drink it once they were made aware of its provenance – the same polluted wells that were poisoning her law firm’s clients. Perhaps we could require all of TransCanada’s investors to drink water exclusively from the wells around their pipeline. That would quickly demonstrate THEIR faith in the system.
    My suggestion for cleaning up the environment would be to quit having everyone needing to travel for business meetings. We have the technology with PCs, iPads, etc. to communicate with one another over fiber optics and radio waves. What’s the point of everyone sitting in the same room together to listen to some cubicle monkey read out loud what’s already on his PowerPoint? The only benefit is the donuts, and I can buy my own at Casey’s. Geez, even Congress could work from home … no need to fly to Hawaii for a nice taxpayer funded vacation … ahem … cough, cough … important committee meeting, when they could be using FaceTime®.
    As for the wind turbines … hell, that’s how we separate the stupid birds from the smart ones.

  16. Cigar Smoker says:

    Nuclear energy is still the safest practical way to produce energy. Not 1 person in the US has died in the civilian production of Nuclear Energy. The problems that happened in Japan couldn’t happen here, the standards the NRC uses are heads and tails above our Japanese friends. The Ft. Calhoun power plant is built to withstand a 6.0 earthquake, far more powerful than what we could get in this area (Eastern Nebraska). Nuke plants produce electricty that is cleaner, cheaper, safer and more secure than coal, oil and natural gas. Wind turbines are unreliable, solar is terribly inefficient and unreliable.
    If they can make the pipe safe and secure, then go for it. But lets make them go above and beyond the minimum safety standards, afterall, can you really trust a Canadian???

  17. Don Kuhns says:

    But Brian, if Canada refines that oil, we won’t get to keep it for ourselves. Once this deal goes through, all of our patriotic American oil companies are just going to say “To heck with OPEC”. That’s the plan, right?

  18. Out West says:

    It looks like Senator Fischer’s LB84 might just sail right by a veto by the Gov. Bruning better watch his back. Fischer can still get in the race if she wants to.

    The last thing we need is to send a self serving lawyer, like Jon Bruning, to Washington to replace another self serving lawyer, like Ben Nelson.

  19. RWP says:

    “By my tally coal is too dirty, oil is similarly too dirty, nuclear isn’t safe, natural gas puts hydrocarbon into the water supply, wind turbines kill thousands of bird annually (endangered and otherwise).”

    I feel a poem coming on. In this case, a poem by Dorothy Parker…

    Razors pain you;
    Rivers are damp;
    Acids stain you;
    And drugs cause cramp.
    Guns aren’t lawful;
    Nooses give;
    Gas smells awful;
    You might as well live.

  20. RWP says:


    They should have drunk the water. The levels of Cr(VI) in Hinkley water were minuscule, and it’s doubtful Cr(VI) is toxic by ingestion anyway. It’s highly reactive, and decomposes in the gut.

    Just another lawyer-driven $400 million enviro-scam.

  21. Lizzie says:

    Dear Sweeps.

    I heart you so much.

    Thank you for the pipeline update.

    Thank you also for continuing to find new ways to poke fun at Janie Pants.

  22. WTF says:

    “Harness the energy of hot air and our problems are over.”

    Follow Jane around and you can fill your quota of hot air and lower the fertilizer prices that AG Man was talking about all at the same time.

  23. Greg says:


    Not bad ideas at all. What really gets me going is the natural gas debate. I have already ordered my compressed natural gas vehicle, not because I think green house gases have caused global warming, but because I don’t want to be beholden to oil producing nations who hate the US. I also like paying $1.27/gallon instead of $4 or $5. Natural gas is a great alternative fuel source because it doesn’t emit any greenhouse gases and its cheap. It just seems like when people want to stop energy innovation they do it under the guise or “environmental” concerns, but in reality they want to stop all fossil fuels and have no viable alternative in place.

  24. Brian T. Osborn says:

    When I was a lad there were a few people here in my town that had vehicles that ran on natural gas. I think that perhaps even the gas company in town had their fleet converted. The problem was that several of these cars and trucks caught fire. Add to that the danger of having the regulator knocked off in an accident and having the gas canister becoming a missile (the same danger one faces when carrying a full scuba tank around in your car) and it becomes a bit problematic. Perhaps the technology has advanced since then, I really haven’t kept up on that one.

    Natural gas does produce greenhouse gases, just fewer of them. Hydrogen, on the other hand, only produces water when combusted. Producing hydrogen, if done with a non fossil fuel burning energy source could be good, yet expensive. I’ve read that ammonia can be used as a fuel source, but natural gas is used in its production. In fact, ammonia production from wind turbines during the off-peak hours, and subsequent use in generators during peak hours, is one of the solutions being considered for making wind generation more viable.

    So, we keep coming back to the question of which method does the least damage to the fragile vapor shield that protects us from the radiation of space and allows living organisms to survive? Our current technology and sociology favors the continuing use of hydrocarbon fuels. My proposal is not to abandon them, not just yet, but to reduce the unnecessary over-consumption of them. Industrialized nations, which much of the world is fast becoming, have an energy jones that will eventually kill us all. We need to learn new methods of energy production, and we need to educate people in ways to be better stewards of that which we already have.

    As long as the unfettered profit motive is the primary impetus to the production of energy, and hair-on-fire environmentalism is its counterpart, all we will be producing is … hot air and greenhouse gases.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Regarding “unfettered profit motive”, it seems impossible to fetter a motive. We can fetter actual profit via taxation, etc. And we fetter criminality, stealing and intrusions upon others, simply to fill our own needs. Is this just semantics? Perhaps not. For whereas to fetter profit is to cage and regulate a thing or a behaviour, to seek to fetter a motive is to seek to control people’s thoughts, desires, longings. There are no windows into men’s souls and to try to carve them into people is to climb into the abyss.

  26. Ivy Marie Harper says:

    @SS: Love laughing at a line in a political blog and ideology/issues aside, your “oil could be carried gently by Celine Dion in a Canadian Mountie hat, one brimful at a time, and they would still be against it,” graph is really funny.

  27. Anonymous says:

    RWP you have a right to your opinion. But you don’t have a right to make up facts. The court documents from that case have proven way and beyond that the cancer rate was way over the norm. So please stop making stuff up and making light of people who died. Maybe you should talk to some one who was involved.

  28. MacDaddy says:

    Anon 1:05: What court would that be since the case never went to court? It went to private arbitration where the rent-a-judges involved in the arbitration ruled for the plaintiffs. The evidence hasn’t been released. Some of those judges were later rewarded by the plaintiff’s law firm with a luxury cruise in the Med. They ultimately reimbursed the firm after the trip when it was apparent the optics weren’t good. Three of the arbitration judges also had pre-existing social ties to one of the plaintiffs’ law firms.

    But Erin Brockvich was still a good movie.

  29. GeosUser says:

    I had the experience of driving a dual fuel (gasoline/CNG) Chevy Impala in the mid-80s. It ran ok on CNG, but what ultimately killed the concept was the total pain in the ass involved with refueling and the severely limited refueling facilities. For local fleet operations, single fuel CNG may make sense but dual fuel is the only practical option for the next decade at least. My choice for a dual fuel conversion is gasoline/propane not gasoline/CNG. The conversion kits are available and you can get a propane refill in many locations…camp grounds, truck stops, propane suppliers, etc. As for the “exploding tanks” fear, you have lots more to fear from a ruptured gasoline tank than a propane/CNG tank in a crash.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Court documents do not prove, they simply document. If someone in court offered proof you can cite, then cite it and argue validity. Similarly, a court judgment is itself an opinion by either a jurist schooled in law, who is often ignorant of much else, or a jury of citizens who are rarely expert in any way pertinent to a case. But more to the point, RWP spoke of the functioning of physical processes, of concrete matters. Nothing of a concrete nature was offered to counter that.

  31. MacDaddy says:

    Anon 2:24: In addition, the state of California has yet to regulate chromium 6 levels in the drinking water even some 30 years later and despite having the fake Erin Brockovich lobbying for it. If Julia Roberts personally asked me to do something, I sure would. I guess the state of California didn’t believe her…or the movie.

  32. RWP says:

    The court documents from that case have proven way and beyond that the cancer rate was way over the norm

    You’re an anonymous cowardly liar. I’d challenge you prove what your posted, but I know you can’t. The case never went to trial. It was arbitrated. There are no public records.

    You can look up the actual facts by googling this phrase

    “Survey shows unremarkable cancer rate in CA town”

  33. Follow the Money says:

    How are the Kleeb’s making a living? What is Scott selling and Jane politicking about? You know they are following the Al Gore playbook.

  34. RWP says:

    Basic chemistry, folks. Cr(VI) causes cancer and all sorts of other diseases when it’s inhaled as dust, because it can come into direct contact with tissue of the respiratory system, where it generates Cr(V) and hydroxy radicals. Hydroxy radicals damage DNA and are known cancer causing agents. When you ingest it, it is reduced almost immediately in the gut to Cr(III), which is not just harmless but an essential nutrient.

  35. Macdaddy says:

    RWP, I’m going to have to disagree with you about hydroxy radicals. They are so reactive that the amount of DNA damage that they can do under normal conditions is negligible. I think other oxygen radicals are more important and that hydroxyl radicals are getting a bad rap. Scientists are looking at their promiscuity and assuming the worst about them. Bunch of repressed, judgmental prudes.

  36. How Interesting! says:

    Reading RWP and Macdaddy discuss organic chemistry is about as interesting as watching and smelling sulfuric acid bubble in a chemistry lab on a nice Friday afternoon towards the end of the spring semester, while everyone else is out having fun. Please take your discussion somewhere there might be someone who gives a rats ass.

  37. MacDaddy says:

    I’m sorry to bore anyone. Just thought that with all the comments about pollution that people were actually interested in the science behind it. Even Obama wants to return science to its rightful place of prominence. RWP had some very educational comments germaine to the discussion about water pollution that should reassure Hastings School Board Member Kleeb that scientists who live in Nebraska are very smart and able to separate fact from phobia, thus helping us to make informed, intelligent decisions.

    But we can get back to frolf or hackey-sack or whatever is popular with the collegiate posers of today. I guess that would be chugging and avoiding sopa and water.

  38. Kortezzi says:

    BTO, your posts are so long winded I don’t read them anymore. A shame, because you sometimes have an insightful comment (or at least keep me up to date on the official left wing enviro-kook point of view). Is Dennis still out there, or did he OD on liberal Kool-Aid?

  39. Lil Mac says:

    Funny you should mention Kool-Aid. It was invented in Hastings, Nebraska. A leader who preached a communal politic of peace, figured out how to mix poison into it. But thank goodness there’s no one in Hastings today pedding any sweet tasting poison.

  40. Brian T. Osborn says:

    “Expecting brevity in a political blog is like … expecting the food at McDonald’s to actually taste good.

  41. Expecting says:

    Expecting brevity in a political blog is like expecting Rachel Maddow or Jane Kleeb to say something meaningful or true.

  42. Brian T. Osborn says:

    Sorry Kortezzi,
    I don’t think in Faux News sized sound-bites. You need more than a fifth-graders attention span to understand me.

  43. Cigar Smoker says:

    Expecting brevity in a political blog is like … expecting a republican to not be a hypocrite.

    Ok thats not very nice, how about…

    Expecting brevity in a political blog is like … expecting good Mexican food in an American owned restaurant run by an Australian. (Taco Bell)

    Expecting brevity in a political blog is like … expecting something good to come from Texas.

  44. Expecting says:

    “Brevity sucks.” That must have been very difficult for RWP to write….but it makes a lot more sense that most of the stuff he writes.

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