Flood’s zone

Nebraska Watchdog beat us to the punch in giving kudos to Legislature Speaker Mike Flood for his negotiating skills over the past pipeline goings-on.

Joe Jordan and Deena Winter now see Flood in line for the Governor’s McMansion. The CW had been that Lt. Gov Rick Sheehy was the chosen one (already being endorsed by Governor Dave Heineman) and that Flood would run for (and slam dunk) the Attorney General’s office.

But the whole pipeline debate has made for an interesting PR play for Flood — whose name would undoubtedly have higher ID than the Lt. Gov’s at this point.

And it was interesting that the Governor tried to take some credit for the pipeline resolution — on the Sandhills anyway. Heineman said the resolution wouldn’t have occurred without him calling the Special Session.

Heh. That’s one way to look at it.

But any bills in the session were bound to get filibustered anyway. The real hold up was the State Department’s decision to hold up the whole thing — encouraged by the Governor in his multiple letters to Hillary Clinton. Problem is, now the State Department is not showing any indication that they are going to speed up their process that they originally said wouldn’t be completed until spring of 2013.

In the mean time look what Flood did:

  • He first negotiated with TransCanada to add extra safety measures to a Sandhills pipeline.
  • He then took the reigns on a Special Session that started with ZERO legislative proposals by the one who called it.
  • And finally, he negotiated with TC to alter the pipeline’s route.

That is just a fair amount of kicking ass and taking names.

And dare we say, Leadership.


Jane Kleeb told the LA Times that she and her group oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline “no matter where it goes.”

Wait, what??? (Oh my, the room is spinning!)

You mean Jane’s beef with the Sandhills and the Ogallala Aquifer were just another way to prevent the entire pipeline and thus the Canadian Tar Sands oil? Ohmygosh ohmygosh ohmygosh!

“On the federal level, we are still standing shoulder to shoulder with those who do not want to see a permit for this pipeline approved.”

Well ain’t that a corker? The Aquifer — which was NEVER in danger from any pipeline leak — was just a ploy for Jane to stand “shoulder to shoulder” with her national radical-enviros? Well, we hope to see all of the local MSM outlets — newspaper, TV and radio — note this to show what a sham operation she is running.

(Holding our breath real tight now…)


Lots of little stuff on the Senate race, but fun stuff nonetheless!


Jon Bruning announced to UNL students that the National Rifle Association is the the LEFT of him when it comes to gun rights. The left. Some even heard Bruning call the NRA a “left wing” organization.

Is this race going the way of Coco Puffs? (That’s cuckoo, kids.)


Don Stenberg, who recently raked in over $84K via Senator Jim DeMint, sent out a message to his GOP Senate opponents proposing nine debates — three in each Congressional district.

Note that that is NINE more than Stenberg proposed — or even said he would take part in — than the last time he ran (and lost) back in 2006.

Do you recall this? We had frankly forgotten the days when we referred to Don as “No-Show-Donno”, when he REFUSED to take part in GOP Primary debates with Pete Ricketts and David Kramer. Don refused to do so until the others took a pledge to not go negative against him.  But someone alerted Politico to Don’s history.

The concept was that Don had such greater statewide name ID than Ricketts or Kramer that debating them would only be a detriment to him. Apparently Don didn’t anticipate the money-bomb Ricketts would be throwing himself — and the desire by GOP voters to pick someone who could beat Ben Nelson. (That didn’t seem to work out either, huh?)

This time Stenberg feels that GOP voters need to learn more about him — particularly where he is facing someone who has won numerous statewide elections like he has. What a difference six years makes.


And then Stenberg camp’s new Finance Chair, Doug Wilwerding still hasn’t mastered that little matter of “the emails”.

Seems he sent out a mass-email to hoped for Stenberg supporters — but didn’t “Blind Carbon Copy”, a/k/a/ BCC them. So everyone saw who the email went to.

Friends and Colleagues:

As you may have seen in the attached press release last week I have agreed to serve as Don Stenberg’s finance chairman as Don seeks the Republican nomination to challenge Senator Ben Nelson for his US Senate seat.

Please read the attached short letter. In it I explain my decision to support Don.

We need your help. Don is the right man to send to Washington. His election will not happen without your financial support and without your votes on May 15, 2012 and November 6, 2012.

Each of you is highly influential in Nebraska. Your assistance to share Don’s message is also very helpful. Effective democracy is to a great extent a word of mouth process. Your stated opinions carry weight with all those around you.

I hope you will call me to discuss this race.

You can expect future calls and correspondence from me on specific events and fund raising efforts.

I appreciate your support,


And then one of the recipients, Jim Johnson, countered Wilwerding’s message with a message of support for Bruning.

Thanks Doug. You could help Don, who is running for his 14th time statewide, including 3 previous unsuccessful runs for Senate, and who will never beat Ben Nelson, or you could go say hello to Nebraska’s next U.S. Senator, Jon Bruning, who is having an event on Dec. 1 at 6:30 pm at the Corkscrew in Rockbrook Village. -Jim

And then Stenberg supporter, Dave Nabity!, responded to Johnson’s message, chastising him for his email etiquette.


I don’t know if you’ve got the message yet. But your hi-jacking of Doug Wilwerding’s email was a very bad move on your part.

First of all, you did not have the authority to do so. Second, insulting a public servant like Don Stenberg was in very poor taste. Even if you don’t like Don, you shouldn’t be foolish enough to put it in writing on a blast email in an attempt to diminish Don’s service and puff up Jon Bruning. That shows you have little regard for the feelings of others who might be fans of Don. Third, you are representing a candidate, and by sending the email that you did, you probably cost Jon Bruning ALL of those who might otherwise have supported Jon.

This episode gives donors another reason to not support Jon. If he has any hope of becoming a Senator, he and his staff need to begin acting more Senatorial. At this point, it’s probably too late.

Please take my name of your list (Jim’s list). Doug, you can keep my name on the list and communicate with me anytime you like.

David Nabity

Exciting stuff here, no?

In the mean time, Deb Fischer is sort of standing above the fray.
But, without a little more earned media, she seems to be more out of it, than above it.

The others are making waves and at least getting their names out there and mixing it up. If she wants to be part of it, she better get in there one way or the other.


Jeremy Jensen has gotten himself just a little clever with the PhotoShop, and is now STANDING WITH SCOTT!

No doubt we will soon be seeing good Senator Lautenbaugh’s mug traced onto a pumpkin.


And do you want to stand with those Target employees who don’t want to work on Thanksgiving? Well, then take your business to Amazon.com (via Leavenworth Street’s links!).

While there, you get great deals, don’t have to fight for a parking spot, fighting the crowds and standing in checkout lines. And you can get great pre-Black Friday deals! And give a little love back to L.St. (always anonymously).

Thanks to those who have already clicked!


  1. Julie Schmit-Albin says:

    I have worked with Speaker Flood on a number of controversial issues and have long admired his ability to see the problem and find a solution. Had it not been for Senator Flood grasping the concept of the legislation that bans abortion based on when an unborn child can feel pain, we would still have LeRoy Carhart aborting over 200 late term babies every year. The Speaker grabbed the concept, researched court cases and never looked back. Not only did he introduce LB 1103; he made it his personal priority bill. Since LB 1103’s enactment in October, 2010, the abortion rate in Sarpy County has decreased 14 % and Carhart has fled to Maryland with his late term business. It never would have happened without Mike Flood’s leadership and for that I am grateful.

  2. MacDaddy says:

    The tar sands oil is coming to America, especially with prices above $100 and rising. Obama’s refusal to move off the punt date means that as we go out and buy our Festivus presents, a dollar won’t go as far as it used to. But then that’s been Obama’s plan all along since he and his wife think we’re all fat and lazy.

  3. MacDaddy says:

    BTW, have Johanns and Heineman endorsed Speaker Flood’s plan or are they waiting for him to get even further out in front before they fall in behind him?

  4. Kortezzi says:

    Mike Flood is indeed a guy who makes things happen. He steers political matters in a reasonable direction with legal strategy, energy and a fair amount of personal charm.

    But Scott Lautenbaugh is showing admirable qualities as well.

    Either of these guys (and probably a few others) would be preferable to Rick Sheehy as a future Governor.

  5. Oh Mander says:

    So Bruning wants to completely do away with gun registrations… Great platform, Jon. I find it hilarious that Bruning is spending his time giving speeches about guns rather than focussing on the issues that he will be asked to address if elected to the Senate. I look forward to his upcoming speeches on abortion, prayer in public schools, and (insert additional token wedge issue here).

    PS – Kortezzi should be checked for an extra chromosome if he thinks Lautenbaugh is Governor material.

  6. Lizzie says:

    I imagine there are lots of Janiepant’s BFF’s in the Sandhills and whatnot waking up with serious morning-after remorse. Sorry folks. And – I told you so – she USED you.

    Mark Whitehead said in testimony last week that this pipeline debacle was Boyd county all over again, and without the intervention of Speaker Flood, it would have been. He used the appropriate phrase “fear-mongering.”

    Jane Kleeb is disingenuous to the core A lying liar who lies. I think there are a lot of Nebraskans feeling pretty foolish right now. As Sweeps stated, with all his calls to State, one would hope Gov. Dave is one of them, though I don’t imagine he is. I had heard there was political play between Gov. Dave and State, and this pretty much confirms it. Watch for his appointment to a saweeet! position soon.

  7. Sincere Question for SS from Ivy Marie Harper says:

    @Leavenworthst: Just three days ago, you wisely posted this question to the LJS & Don Walton, “Well, now the kicker there is, who gets to decide what is unbiased?”

    “We [SS] are willing to bet that Don considers himself unbiased. Should Don be in charge of that unbiased all-news news hour? Where we get to hear Ben Nelson unfiltered, and unchallenged? Along with hearty criticism of the GOP? All packaged as “news”? Think you’ve seen any of that in the LJS?” (Insightful, accurate Post, SS, these are my words.)

    Yet, today, you state the following about State Senator Deb Fischer: “But, without a little more earned media…”

    Now, I’m asking you, SS, who is it that gets to determine what “earned media” is with respect to U.S. Senate candidate, State Senator Deb Fischer?

    Who, in Nebraska, gets to decide if the Good Senator has “earned” enough media to warrant more media?

    Is it you, the LJS, or the OWH who get to determine whether Senator Fischer’s actions and/or accomplishments put her in a category in which she has sufficiently “earned” her right to more media coverage?

    Just curious.

  8. Ivy,

    “Earned media” is a campaign-related term for getting stories written (newspaper) or broadcast (TV or radio) about a candidate, without paying (i.e. purchase ads).

    It is the job of the campaign to get more stories in the media. That’s why they have jobs such as “press secretary”.

    Hope that sates your curiosity.


  9. Scott Lautenbaugh says:

    Kortezzi- I’m flattered, but I suspect you wrote that just to smoke out Oh Mander and/or one of my many other detractors. In any event, I do not see that or other higher state political offices in my future. That’s very liberating, and it allows me to say and do some things that others may choose to avoid. And while that approach as of late has probably taken me off of Ben Gray’s Christmas card list, I can live with it.

  10. SoWhat??? says:

    Senator Lautenbaugh,
    I doubt Ben Gray celebrates Christmas so don’t be too concerned about not getting a card. If you do get anything in the mail with his return address, I’d have it x-rayed before opening…just to be on the safe side.

  11. Jimmy the Greek says:

    Tony Fulton would be a good candidate for LG. Hand-picked and appointed by Heineman, ran a statewide race, always in the press, pretty decent name ID in Lincoln and in the west on KRVN. Perhaps a future governor as well. He needs to be kept in the fold for the future of the state.

  12. anon says:

    Oh Mander, 2nd Amendment issues aren’t going to be brought up in the Senate? Are you kidding me? Do I need to give you a civics lesson? Have you ever heard of the Supreme Court?

  13. Lizzie says:

    As far as I have seen, Tony Fulton only promotes Tony Fulton, as evidenced during the State Department hearings where we got to hear Tony Fulton talk ad nauseum about how awesome Tony Fulton is and how he singlehandedly made the Canadians use thicker steel or somesuch. As evidence by his August 2010 letter to State, Fulton also drank a big draught of the “contaminate the sacred Ogallala” kool-aid. He reminds me in many ways of Jon Bruning, which in my case is not a good thing. Just sayin….

  14. George Bailey says:

    The caricuture of Scott that he seems so enamored with makes him look like Mr. Potter from Its’ a Wonderful Life. Pretty good fit. Maybe Pottersville Public Schools can have a 5 member board.

  15. Anonymostly says:

    LIzzie, I think you were being too charitable in your description of Jane F’ing Kleeb.

    But lay off my friend Tony Fulton. He didn’t run for State Treasurer as a stepping stone for some higher job. He ran for it because he really wanted the gig. In that sense, Jon Bruning he ain’t.

  16. Ted says:

    Your best analogy that Tony Fulton didn’t run for State Treasurer as a stepping stone for some higher job, would be to Don Stenberg. Obviously.

  17. Kortezzi says:

    To Oh Mander:

    So I need to be checked for an extra chromosome, huh?

    Why do liberals like you think Down’s Syndrome is funny? Why did Al Gore put down his conservative critics by calling them the “extra chromosome right”? Why does Barack Obama joke about his bowling skills by insulting the participants of the Special Olympics?

    The left wing liberals in this country claim a monopoly of the virtue of compassion.
    In reality, they are the most vicious, mean-spirited, and self-serving jerks around.
    And Oh Mander is their Nebraska spokesjerk in chief.

  18. Oh Mander says:

    Anon 1:22 – It is people like you that caused the price of ammo to skyrocket. Keep buying it though, cuz them no good freedom hatin’ Demmercrats are a comin’ for ya. And by all means, proceed with the civics lesson, followed by an explanation of this “Supreme Court” of which you speak. Then tie it all together by explaining what in the hell any of it has to do with Jon Bruning’s pandering to paranoid rubes not unlike yourself.

  19. Some Thoughts says:

    Yet again, I’d say Deb Fischer is the best Senate candidate for protecting gun rights. Here’s someone who has long had the blessing of the NRA, and who personally understands responsible gun ownership. Bruning thinks we should have no restrictions at all? That sounds like political pandering, and not a responsible position. Wisdom would be to figure out which laws uphold the rights of responsible owners, and which ones unfairly restrict them to no benefit. Again, I would trust Deb to understand that.

  20. Perhaps, I need to make my Point another way... says:

    You write, ” Where we get to hear Ben Nelson unfiltered, and unchallenged? Along with hearty criticism of the GOP? All packaged as “news”? Think you’ve seen any of that in the LJS?” recently.

    Then today, in answer to my question, you write, “Earned media” is a campaign-related term for getting stories written (newspaper) or broadcast (TV or radio) about a candidate, without paying (i.e. purchase ads). It is the job of the campaign to get more stories in the media.”

    Let me re-phrase my question: With the above paragraph, are you saying that Senator Ben Nelson has the most amazing press secretary around?

    Or that Senator Ben Nelson has “earned” the coverage that Don Walton & the LJS give him?

    Again, just curious.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Fulton isn’t well thought of by his seat mates, especially since his tirade over the new lap-tops he voted for. Tony is a nice enough guy but always trying to grab the lime light. I’m sure he is waiting for a 3rd party to bring A law suite so he can run again, maybe Colby Mack or LIBA will do it for him.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I wonder what AFP thinks of Fulton now that he has gone over to the dark side with Jane and Ken Haar? He used to be their poster boy. Jane has nothing but good things to say about Fulton; which will not help him if he seeks a Republican nomination to higher office.

  23. Perhaps @ 3:12,
    Maybe it’s not clear to you or others, but the term “Earned Media” or “Free Media” is simply a term used for stories in the MSM about your candidate. You don’t pay for them so they are “free” or “earned”, as in you “made news”. For office holders this is much easier to accomplish, because the news media will generally print most stuff you say, do or vote on. TV is not as easy, b/c they are more choosy with their air time. As far as Don Walton goes, I would say that Nelson or his press aides would be stupid NOT to go to The Don, as he will usually print, unfiltered, most of what they say.
    For the rest of the candidates it’s mostly a matter of effort. And as noted in our post, we think Deb Fischer needs to make more of an effort commenting on the issues, making her views known, and generally putting herself out there.
    Maybe their strategy is to wait. But we’re not convinced that’s a winner.
    Cleared up for ya?

  24. Anonymous says:

    Stenberg only sent out invites to three of his opponents, apparently he doesn’t think 31 year old air force veterans are worth inviting to debates.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Stenberg didn’t invite Spencer Zimmerman, the fifth candidate in the race, to debate because he is afraid of being schooled.

  26. Will anyone that received Don Stenberg’s blast email (complete with all recipients) please forward it to me? I could have a LOT of fun with that! I’ve got a list of emails I’d exchange for them. Let’s make politics FUN!!!!!!

  27. Prairie Justice says:

    Robert Prokop got screwed. Media is reporting that a State Court has determined he has to pay $3,600 in fines to NADC from his 2006 Regents’ race for “a contribution statement and other paperwork filed late.” What gives? Prokop ought to be asking NADC how they let Jane Kleeb off with a $50.00 fine for not filing a campaign committee organizational report for months while spending funds on her school board race like a drunken sailor. Or maybe Prokop just needs to wear jeans tucked into his cowboy boots.

  28. @ SS at 3:44 p.m. from Ivy Harper says:

    You write, “Earned Media” or “Free Media” is simply a term used for stories in the MSM about your candidate. As a writer, I guess what I’m still contesting, SS, is your use of the word, “earned” rather than “free” media.

    The word “earn” means, “To gain a position through hard work and the accumulation of experience, often in the face of difficulties,” according to the dictionary and the definition should not be altered by politics. Using the word “free” is far more accurate.

    Two factors are corrupting contemporary elections: money and the media. And of course, they’re completely intertwined. The media is obsessed with money even though there is a great deal of proof that the politician with the most money does not always best those with less.

    For example, in the 2010 Congressional race, 3rd District candidate Rebekah Davis “earned” 16,000 Democratic votes in Nebraska’s Crimsonest 60+ Counties on Primary Day, May 11th, 2010 even though she received scant MSM “free” coverage and had raised little money. Tom White, on the other hand, had barrels of OWH “free” coverage, spent more than six figures, and “earned” only 12,000 Democratic votes. (That, right there, was a portent of things to come on Nov. 2, with respect to Tom White, who I really like by the way but Robynn Tysver & Kotok’s clear bias prevented them from facing what was truly “happening” on the ground.)

    In any case, Davis’ remarkable showing “earned” her “free” recognition in the OWH but did she get it? No. The OWH did not print a significant story on her from May all the way through Nov. 2, 2010.

    So, the OWH, by denying Ms. Davis her well-“earned” media coverage, also gravely hurt her May-November fund-raising opportunities given that coverage begets money.

    Of course, the OWH did the same to me during my 2010 Congressional campaign but then that goes back to Kotok who, it turns out, never forgave me for actually writing a biography on the Gr8 Bob Kerrey.

    See, back in 1992 when I was researching my book on Kerrey – after I’d already secured a major New York publisher in St. Martin’s Press – Mr. Kotok curtly informed me that he was “writing his own book” on Kerrey and he was saving all of his precious “Kerrey” insights for his own masterpiece.

    Let’s see. The last time I checked, Mr. C. David “Earned” Political-Coverage-OWH-Gatekeeper Kotok never did actually publish a book on Kerrey. Gosh, I guess he’s been holding that grudge against me for, like, 20 years now. Poor guy.

  29. Ivy,
    I am sorry you didn’t learn this when you worked in Congress or ran for Congress, but those terms are used interchangeably. They aren’t supposed to have some special meaning to you or anyone else. If it helps you, here is the definition from Wikipedia. They simply mean “news” or media for your candidate other than paid. Any other meanings you apply to those terms are simply coming out of your head.
    Thanks for reading and commenting.

  30. Just saying says:

    SS: You are being all technical with the words “earned” and “free” media.

    I think Ivy Harper’s point is that the media doesn’t just report what happens. (In fact, many times they don’t report at all what happens.) Rather they control, omit, spin, exaggerate and work glove in hand with the candidate they want.

    There is really no pretense of fairness. They are booster journalists for their annointed candidate.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Half the legislature would endorse capitan kangaroo too. Just go to the NADC reports and see if half of them gave $250 or more:-) hmmmmmmm

  32. @ Anonymouseburger @ 9:08 p.m. says:

    Do you believe how many times Vince Powers has sued people? Just in the state of Nebraska.

    Do you believe how many times Vic Covalt has sued people? Just in the City of Lincoln alone.

    Do you believe how many times Tom White has sued people? Just in the City of Omaha alone.

    Do you believe how many times lawyers at Remboldt Luedtke have sued people?

    You are aware, Mr. Anonymous, aren’t you, that on occasion, lawsuits are genuinely about seeking Justice.

    As I recall, Brown v. Board of Education was, hmmm, oh, that’s right, a lawsuit. Then there was Miranda v. Arizona and Gideon v. Wainwright.

  33. Ivy Harper here with the Record says:

    As the daughter of an Atticus Finch-like lawyer, Royce Harper, who started as an Assistant Attorney General with the State of Nebraska in the 1960’s with Frank Marsh and who ended his near-40-year career at the age of 82 under A.G. Jon Bruning, (who he liked, I might add) I reached (nearly) the age of fifty and was quite proud of the Fact that I’d never sued anyone nor had I ever been sued.

    Nor have I ever been arrested. Nor do I have a DUI. Nor have I ever had a speeding ticket that I can remember. Nor have I ever left the scene of an injury accident. Nor have I ever had my license suspended for failure to complete a good driving course. Nor have I ever worked for gambling and casino interests in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Nor have I ever worked as lobbyist for private, predatory student loan lenders or taken massive campaign contributions from them. Nor have I ever defrauded the hard-working American taxpayer to the tune of nearly $400 million dollars.

    Then, I was defrauded in a house/real estate arrangement and in a non-profit workplace situation wherein I was told that – with funding running low – the only way I could remain another year was to bring in my own salary. Which I did. Once the head of the organization received the financing that I brought in to secure my position, she eliminated my job anyway but kept the money I’d raised. Both cases were settled out of court in my favor.

    Hey, Anonymous, it’s called Life. For the record, I’ve never done anything that disqualifies me for public office. Deal with it, my Friend.

  34. Anonymous November 17, 2011 at 6:54 PM wrote, “Remember when BTO was on the news in Grand Island because he was stalking and harrassing that Democrat lady.”
    No, I don’t remember that, got any specifics – or any question marks for your punctuation?

  35. Anonymous says:

    Air Force Veteran and truck driver Spencer Zimmerman is running a campaign on the issues, agree or disagree, at least he takes a stand on the Keystone pipeline. He also has called for an investigation into Pakistan’s harboring of Bin Laden, cuts in foreign aid to Pakistan and China, and pay cuts for congress. He even said we should do away with a branch of the federal legislature like they did here in Nebraska on a state level in the 1930’s. For more information check out “Build the Keystone Pipeline” on facebook.

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