The ABBA bill

The OWH and LJS both discussed the Nebraska GOP’s state central committee meeting on Saturday, where the “Winner Take All” plan for the state’s Electoral Votes was discussed.

The NEGOP made a decision that any state Senator who does not support changing Nebraska law from splitting the Electoral Votes by Congressional district to WTA for the state, will not get support from the state GOP.

Now, in case you didn’t know, this is all aimed at one state Senator: Paul Schumacher of Columbus.

Schumacher infamously blocked the last WTA bill in the Unicameral, and many in the GOP were livid — and called him out for the reasoning behind his vote.

You may remember that back in March, we here at Leavenworth Street speculated on the reason for Schumacher’s vote against WTA:

Paul Schumacher is the President of Community Lottery Systems, Inc., a company that promotes gambling in Nebraska — mainly Keno. Community Lottery Systems gave nearly a million dollars to “Keep the Money in Nebraska” in 2004, a group that promotes expanded Keno and slot machines in Nebraska.

Paul Schumacher would like expanded gambling in Nebraska. We believe that he would agree with that statement. Two committees in the Unicameral have a great deal of influence on how gambling could be expanded in Nebraska: Government Affairs — which affects how petition processes and ballot initiatives are governed — and General Affairs — which looks at regulations on such things as…Keno. Schumacher is now on both.

General Affairs was not difficult to get on. Government Affairs, however, took some doing.
After he was elected in 2010, Schumacher received certain support to get on the Government Affairs Committee. One of his more vocal supporters to get on Government Affairs was Democrat state Senator Danielle Conrad.

How did Republican Schumacher get the support of Democrat Conrad to get on Government Affairs? Well, we do not know for certain. But, it could have been that Conrad made a deal with Schumacher that if she helped get him on Government Affairs, he would vote against Winner Take All.

Coulda been. But again, we don’t know.


So we will see how this all shakes out.

But here is a goofy part: While Nebraska is trying to get back to WTA, the Pennsylvania GOP would like to switch to… breaking it up by Congressional district!

And the irony of all that is that the Dems — led by former Democrat PA Governor Ed Rendell and uber-lib talk show host Rachel Maddow — are calling the PAGOP’s plan…(wait for it)…racist!

We KNEW there was something about the Nebraska Dems! And all this while it has been the racism! They’re racist for wanting to break up the vote by district. Whew! We were wondering what that was all about.

If you want to delve deeper into it, here is the segment from Maddow’s show recently:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Of course, the real super irony in it, is that at the top of the piece, Maddow chuckles about how even though Barack Obama is clearly a horrible bowler, he won a district like the Omaha area! (Because, you know, Omaha, bowling. C’mon!)

Then in the next minute or two, she and Ed Rendell declare how racist it is to have such a break down by CD (uh…where Obama narrowly won in NE-2). (Oh, but don’t you dare knock Rachel because she’s the smartest person on TV, you see…)

Well, in any case, if you were wondering what your problem is, Nebraska Dems, Rachel and Ed have it nailed down: You are shameful, racist bigots who are undemocratic, and you hate the Constitution.

Hey, they said it, not us.


And on that note, how about that whole “corn finger” thing that Jane and the Pranksters decided not to do at Saturday’s game in Lincoln. Did you see the mock-up of the foam hands they were ready to wave?

We will say it right now: It’s a pity that Tom Osborne decided or caved or whatever he did to stop the TransCanada ad, and thus, apparently stop their little in-game protest.

Because Nebraska fans would have turned on them.

You heard it right. Nebraska football fans would have been turned off by Jane’s little political foam-finger crap inside a game. Oh sure, there’s lots of glad-handing and stickers outside the stadium. But once inside, it’s all Runzas, Valentino’s and football. And a political protest would have marred that atmosphere.

A few people might have blamed TransCanada for “starting it” or some such. But it’s like the player on the field who retaliates. They are always the one who draws the flag.

That is what would have happened to Jane and her corn fingerers. Alas, we won’t get a chance to see it.

Oh, that is unless Jane decides that there aren’t enough yummy, healthy lunch items at Memorial Stadium — red hot dogs (whatever’s in those), hamburger (!) pizza, Runzas (whatever’s in those…).

Do you really think it is that far fetched for her next protest?


And speaking of Jane, we received an email from one of her fellow White House protesters who was none-too-pleased that Jane took the easy way out and decided not to get arrested with the rest of the gang.

We promised to paraphrase the message, but it essentially went that they were angered over the fact Jane was supposed to be the leader, but she failed to lead by example. They went on that neither Jane, nor other staff from Bold Nebraska, showed up at the staging area at the police station after they had been released, because Jane claimed she couldn’t find the location, even though everyone involved knew exactly where it was.

Gee. Shocker.

Just to show those of you following Jane (cough!), better know who you’re getting in with.


And oh my, we just can’t get those ABBA tunes out of our heads! And when that happens, we make a bee-line to to buy us some ABBA mp3’s and CDs and such. But first, we always click on Leavenworth Street’s link to get us there! No extra cost, and oh Mamma Mia, a little love goes back to L.St. Thanks for all of your clicks!

(Yeah, that’s right. Some times you just have to lay your rock n’ roll blogstyle on the line to make the pun work. That’s the blogging world, baby…)


  1. Anonymous says:

    Jane should be recalled!

    Sen Shoemacher is an embarrassment to his district!

    The NEGOP just set themselves up to be embASSed with an ultimatum. Schumacher is a millionaire who doesn’t need your $$$$!

  2. Kortezzi says:

    What’s more important than denying Schumacher support from the state GOP is for his fellow GOP state senators to kick him off the Gov’t Affairs committee. Then next time “winner take all” Electoral College voting is up for consideration again, Paul can’t block it next time with another quid pro quo to Conrad of some other Obama supporter.

    Sweeper, I’m surprised you bother to comment on MSNBC. Nobody watches it. Should anyone notice that Rachel Maddow calls Nebraskans racists? Nah. I doubt she’s ever been here, which is fine with me. Though if she did visit, I bet Rachel would start at Jane Kleeb’s house!

  3. Brian T. Osborn says:

    I don’t know why I keep getting pulled back into all this. I am TRYING to quit being involved in anything political … really … I am. But, it is an addiction that is hard to shake. So …

    This is the kind of thing that really disgusts me about the current path that politics is taking. Rather than serving the needs of the people – the citizens of America and Nebraska – our political parties and our politicians have devolved into a pack of snarling dogs that waste all their time fighting over the scraps of red meat – the voters. Instead of serving OUR needs, they serve only their own and those of the special interest groups, corporations, and filthy rich people that own them. Our votes are counted, not as indicators of the way the majority chooses to be governed, but as pieces on a game board whose rules are constantly being changed by whichever party has its grubby paws on the control levers.

    Let’s face it, the only FAIR way to divide the votes is the one man / one vote system. Gerrymandering by either party is just gaming the system unfairly to exclude the will of one group in favor of another, be it Republican or Democratic, urban or rural, rich or poor, black or white …

    This plan by the NEGOP to extort state senators to get in step with the will of the few is just another way that representation of, by and for the people is usurped by the few. The same damned thing happens in the NDP. I have no experience with the NEGOP, but I most assuredly do with the NDP, and I can’t but think the two are more similar in the way they are managed than most would imagine. The NDP has no use for the voices of its grassroots membership. It doesn’t solicit input from them, and when it is offered it is ignored. A case in point: the NDP State Convention (its supreme governing body as defined by its own Constitution) passed, by an overwhelming majority, a resolution to “… support and promote the legalization of medicinal marijuana” at its most recent gathering. Have any of you heard ANYTHING from the NDP on this matter? Anyone? I didn’t think so. The same thing happened with ever single resolution passed at the State Convention. If it didn’t meet with Sen. Nelson’s approval, it got no attention.

    Sweeper, I don’t blame you for going after Jane Kleeb the way that you do. After all, she IS the de-facto leader of Nebraska’s Democrats. I don’t agree with some of the theatrics that she has come up with, but they have proven to be more effective than anything done by the Nebraska Democratic Party in the past twenty years. Jane has accomplished more to get issues of interest to Nebraska’s Democrats into the media than the NDP has with its dozens of “press releases” over the years.

    Does anyone in this state, other than the hardcore, already involved, Democratic activists, have a clue what the NDP stands for? I’m not even sure that many of THEM do. The party certainly doesn’t go out of its way to inform the populace of this state about the contents of what is in its Platform, nor of the resolutions passed by its governing bodies. It never releases anything to the press about the decisions made at its State Central Committee meetings. For the average Democrat in this state, the NDP is non-existent ,but for the occasional postcard begging for a donation.

    Back on topic (sorry I’ve gotten so long-winded, Sweeper) I supported the idea of having each Congressional District having its own Electoral Vote. I still do. I think it is closer to the ideal of one man / one vote than “winner take all.” But when the districts get gerrymandered to the point of artificially skewing the results to allow the minority to usurp the will of the majority, I must protest. And to extort state senators that don’t walk in lock-step with the will of party leaders is wrong in just so many ways.

  4. Probably a good move by the Boldies not to do the foam finger thing…after all, the foam fingers probably would be made with *gasp*…OIL products! Then again, it’s not the first time they’ve used oil-derived products in an attempt to make an anti-oil point.

    BTW, if it hasn’t already been done, I’d like to nominate the “The Shucker” as the official name for the hand gesture depicted by the aforementioned foam fingers.

  5. @ BTO, how can a minority of voters “usurp” a majority of voters? If the political majority loses, it’s not because of gerrymandering, it’s because their members failed to vote. And if you create a district specifically designed to cater to a minority voting bloc…you’ve successfully gerrymandered that district.

  6. Brian T. Osborn says:

    Grundle, I can make that statement because I understand mathematics.

    By assigning votes by districts, rather than by people, it is easy to gerrymander those districts into segments that heavily favor one party over the other. Honestly, do I have to explain this to you, or are you just being contrarian for the sake of argument?

  7. Anonymous says:

    It will be interesting to see just how the NEGOP will exact it’s revenge on a Senator who is an incumbent and who doesn’t support some aspect of WTA. IF the party makes one call, sends one flyer, or provides a single volunteer with as much as a doughnut in support of a non conforming republican Senator or candidate, they will have diminished their credibility. And all of this to get at 1 Senator who beat them already, who has incumbency, and who in no way shape or form needs their money. This has to be one of the, if not the most, effective strategies EVER!

  8. Lil Mac says:

    Sometimes your name can kill you. Doubt that? Have your dad, Bill Hettler, name you “Adolph” and see what happens.

    The “Winner Takes All System” phrase makes even me want to vote against it. It sounds unfair. But call it the “Nebraska Presidential Election System” and it sounds much much better.

    We vote in many separate voting districts for Governor, but we get the one Governor even if District X voters mostly choose the loser candidate. What you call a thing matter.

  9. Macdaddy says:

    Dammit, Sweeper! I’m going to have “Dancing Queen” in my head all day now. Grrrrrrrr. Meryl Streep in Spandex. Double Grrrrrrr.

  10. Mostly being contrarian.

    BTW, typically the only folks who complain about gerrymandering are the ones whose party lost. And Democrats typically DO support the popular vote system because the most populous states tend to vote Democrat…so of course choosing the Prez by popular vote would basically guarantee a Dem in la Casa Blanca. Nevermind that those coastal states could give a rats ass about what the folks in flyover country (aka, here) care about.

  11. Shocked says:

    that Jane claimed she couldn’t find the release pen for her fellow enviros when she knows DC very well having lived there and claimed that the reason she wasn’t getting arrested was to be there for her fellow Nebraskans to bail them out. What a “liar.” She “lies.” (Jane’s favorite words, next to “essentially.” )

  12. curbfeeler says:

    You say politicians “Instead of serving OUR needs, they serve only their own” needs. Well, yea. What did you expect?

    Our constitution is designed to balance politician against politician, house against house, and branch against branch, precisely because PEOPLE ARE BAD. You and I are bad too if we are given power. That is normal human existence.

    Sure, people are good when they are powerless. It is easy to be good then. But power corrupts. Surely we have all heard that, right? Self-protection? Human needs? Struggling to succeed? And when given power, people will abuse it. That is why checks and balances exist.

    Politicians always serve their own needs. That’s human nature. You expect anyone in office to put your life before their own career? That isn’t going to happen. You expect politicians to “serve our needs”. What need is that? Our need to get screwed by politicians?

    The fact is, politicians will screw any individual citizen but they cannot screw the entire electorate without its majority permission. We voters have the power, if we care to use it. So don’t feel like you are spinning your wheels when you dive headfirst into the political blog pool here, for this is politics at the only level where it can make a principled difference, here at the angry voter level.

  13. Anonymous says:

    While the WTA move by the NEGOP was about as smart as screen doors on a sub, it is more the manner and approach that is distasteful rather the subject. As we all know imitation if supposed to be the highest form of praise, or something to that effect, and the BLUE states are adamantly against allocating electoral votes in the manner Nebraska does. This should tell even the densest individuals what is up.

    Dennis, your wild pitches would be a bit more effective if you were even in the ball park. You are like a kid you has a ball and thinks you should get to play or you will take your ball and leave. Only thing is we are playing hockey.

    Obama will not win in NE-02 as western sarpy county will bring at LEAST 3 pts to the R side and Obama is going to drive at LEAST another 4 points away with the way he has lead from behind. So really it is a moot point.

    I figure someone will get the bill out the Gov committee one day and then the floor will pass it and the Gov will sign. See with Obama and Nelson doing so much to engender the citizens to their side the R’s will pick up a seat or two and who will the Libs in the legislature turn to? Mello, Nordquist…….. PLEASE say McGill………. Dubas could run the joint….. the gang of 12:)


    Oh and all despite McPherson and McGrain………

  14. Macdaddy says:

    TransCanada had plenty of ads on TV during the game. I didn’t see any from Bold Nebraska. As for protesting on campus, I don’t know the rules for that, but it seems to me that setting up at a Husker game is a no-brainer. You got a bunch of college kids who are looking for a fad protest and everyone in general is in a good mood and generally open to talking to strangers. Apparently they already got the foam fingers. What could go wrong?

  15. refund says:

    With Sheila Page running things around here now (I do miss Jordan…hate typing that) can I get my money back from Amazon for my “I am streetsweeper” shirt?

  16. Brian T. Osborn says:


    Maybe I’m just weird, but my principles aren’t for sale. I actually believe people should do what they are supposed to do when they get elected to a representative office, and that is to represent the people that elected them. Maybe that is why I was such a failure as an officer within the NDP, such behavior was looked down on by the party oligarchs. A few good people that thought like me helped me become a tremendous pain-in-the-ass to the powers that be. But, some of them became, exactly as you pointed out – corrupted by the power they sought and achieved.

    My experience with partisan politics has proven to me that both the Republican and the Democratic parties demand more Pavlovian fealty than I can provide. I think I serve better as that guy that Vince Powers always feared, the one on the outside of the tent … pissing in. That leaves me free to toss my bombs where they can be most effective.

  17. kohler says:

    A survey of 977 Nebraska voters conducted on January 26–27, 2011, showed 67% overall support for a national popular vote for President.

    In a second question presenting a three-way choice among various methods of awarding Nebraska’s electoral votes,

    16% favored the statewide winner-take-all system (i.e., awarding all five of Nebraska’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most votes statewide);
    27% favored Nebraska’s current system of awarding electoral votes by congressional district; and
    57% favored a national popular vote.
    In a third question, 39% of voters think that changing the method by which Nebraska awards its electoral votes should be a high priority for the Nebraska Legislature in 2011, while 61% said that it should not.

    The first question was: “How do you think we should elect the President: Should it be the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states, or the current Electoral College system?”

    On the first question, support for a national popular vote, by political affiliation was 78% among Democrats, 62% among Republicans, and 63% among others. By congressional district, support for a national popular vote was 65% in the First congressional district, 66% in the Second district (which voted for Obama in 2008); and 72% in the Third District. By gender, support for a national popular vote was 76% among women and 59% among men. By age, support for a national popular vote, 73% among 18–29 year-olds, 67% among 30–45 year-olds, 65% among 46–65 year-olds, and 69% among those older than 65. By race, support for a national popular vote was 68% among whites and 63% among others.

    The second question was: “Do you prefer a system where the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states on a nationwide basis is elected President, or one like in Nebraska where electoral voters are dispensed by Congressional district, or one in which all of Nebraska’s electoral votes would be given to the statewide winner?”

  18. kohler says:

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote, everywhere­, would be politicall­y relevant and equal in every presidenti­al election. Every vote would be included in the national count. The candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states would get the 270+ electoral votes from the enacting states. That majority of electoral votes guarantees the candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states wins the presidency­.

    Minority party voters in each state and district would have a voice. Now their votes are counted only for the candidate they did not vote for. Now they don’t matter to their candidate.

    Elections wouldn’t be about winning states or districts. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state and district maps. Every vote, everywhere would be counted for and directly assist the candidate for whom it was cast.

    The bill has passed 31 state legislativ­e chambers, in 21 small, medium-sma­ll, medium, and large states, including one house in AR, CT, DE, DC, ME, MI, NV, NM, NY, NC, and OR, and both houses in CA, CO, HI, IL, NJ, MD, MA, RI, VT, and WA. The bill has been enacted by DC (3), HI (4), IL (19), NJ (14), MD (11), MA (10), CA (55), VT (3), and WA (13). These 9 jurisdicti­ons possess 132 electoral votes — 49% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.


  19. Anonymous says:

    If Sheila Page is one of the Streetsweepers then somebody ought to alert Mike Foley. That would be an awful lot of use of a state legislative employee’s time on the clock to run a political blog. Unless she’s the one doing the late night/early morning thing to get the daily posts done and she doesn’t touch LS during the work day. Can’t you folks just decide on one Streetsweeper? What happened to the old guy? He had the best sense of humor and institutional knowledge of any of them.

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