Washington McNugget

An interesting day yesterday in the annals (the what?) of Leavenworth Street. We were finally recognized by the Omaha World Herald.

Well, not the newspaper itself, but by their new little blog thing — “The Hall”. Nonetheless, it is part of, so we send them our greetings. This from the newspaper that still is at pains to say KFAB’s name.

Jeffrey Robb at the “The Hall” noted our post (alas, no link though) the other day about Pete Ricketts considering a run at the 3rd Floor of the City/County Building (hint: Mayor’s office!). Robb chuckled dismissively that we used a (gasp!) exclamation point when mentioning Ricketts’s name — as if we should nonchalantly note the name of the local zillionaire and MLB owner who is rumored to be interested in taking on the current Mayor.

But Robb then got a quote out of a “Ricketts family spokesperson” that this was all “just gossip.” (And by the way shouldn’t every family have a designated spokesperson? For ours, it was Aunt Shirley — though that was really just to tell the other gals at the beauty parlor that her sister-in-law was known to nip at the cooking sherry…but we digress.)

Later in the blog post, Robb gets out of Ricketts spokesman that this is, “just fun for the bloggers, but that’s it.


We don’t know if Robb was on the phone with said spokesdude or if it was a text or email, but isn’t the follow-up here, “Uh, so we noticed you never actually refuted this contention.

Because here is the thing: We KNOW (oh we have our sources) that Pete has had conversations with political movers and shakers on this very subject. This is not out of the clear blue sky, and frankly if we hear this type of thing, you can often bet that others have as well. In other words, if you went to the salon of the Ricketts kids’ aunt, you may get better intel.

So there’s that. But here is the thing, from our standpoint: Is a Mayoral run by Ricketts likely?

Here is one of the richest guys in town, who ran for U.S. Senate. And he has been running an economic think-tank for the past three(?) years. He is Nebraska’s GOP Committeeman. And he has been rumored for some time to be interested in the Governor’s McMansion in Lincoln. And add to that that he is a member of a super-exclusive club of Major League Baseball owners. In other words, he is a mover and shaker (arguably) on the statewide and national level.

So, wouldn’t Mayor of Omaha be sort of a step down for Ricketts? Look, we are not saying it is not an important job. And frankly it can be a 24/7/365 job (unless you are a Mayor who telecommutes from Lake of the Ozarks). It is a fantastic and crucial job, for the right kind of person. But would Pete be that person? Not to mention, could he win? It would not necessarily be a slam dunk, and a loss would be a fairly embarrassing step. Hey, who knows? Nixon lost the election to Kennedy, lost the California Gov’s race, then made it to the White House. (OK, we will quit with the Nixon analogies.) We just find the Mayor’s office to be a bit of a strange course on the Ricketts trajectory.

Pete likely has a lot of different discussions about a lot of different things, so a trial balloon like this is not that much of a surprise.
(Now if only he could have a discussion about a preseason Cubs-Royals game at TD Ameritrade…).


Still on the Mayoral front, we saw that state Senator — and likely Omaha Mayoral candidate — Brad Ashford did not move on the bill in the Committee he chairs to prevent the Omaha gay discrimination ordinance.

State Senator Beau McCoy had introduced the bill to prevent “a patchwork of local ordinances” across the state. Should there be a different standard when you walk from Omaha to Bellevue (or where ever)? Well, by refusing to discuss it, Ashford gets to not take a public stand, and not anger either side on a contentious issue.

Well, that is one way to handle it.


In last night’s Prez debate, when they asked the stoooopid question of “describe yourself in one word,” we were really hoping for Will Ferrell as W to pop in with, “Strategery.” Good for Newt for giving the F-U, “Cheerful” response.

And from @danmoser1961:

No more #GOP debates. Sure hope they go into reruns, though, ’cause I kinda miss Cain, Perry and Bachman.

As they kept panning the audience, showing Rick Perry last night, we Tweeted our hope for a shot of Herman Cain…then him slowly turning to the camera, and slowly flashing the creepy grin…


  1. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone know when and why Beau McCoy started wearing bow ties? Is this to provide a hook for a future campaign so people remember that Beau is the guy in the bow tie?

  2. Jessica Moenning says:

    Pete Ricketts is not thinking about a run for mayor. And if he was, he wouldn’t throw up a “trial balloon” on an anonymous blog site. There is a difference between people encouraging him to run for mayor or other offices and him having an interest. Get a job.

  3. ricky says:

    At the hearing yesterday on Senator Beau McCoy’s LB 912, sure was surprising to hear anti-Suttle head and slum lord John Chatelan compare GLBT to addicts and tattoed people and alcoholics.
    That earned him a rebuke by Senator McGill. Also how rude and disrespectful of Senator Laughtenbaugh to not shake Councilman Ben Gray’s hand as Gray went around the table to greet the Judiciary Committee.
    If these two Republicans are the standard bearers for the G O P I might start feeling sorry for them.
    The GOP already has it’s head in the sand by stalling on the anti-discrimination movement for GLBT.
    I was at the hearing yesterday and McCoy’s bill is not at all popular.

    ricky from omaha

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’ve heard Jordan McGrain is going to run for Omaha Mayor. I think he would have a good grassroots team. The question is can he raise the money. He would be the conservative in the field and that could win it.

  5. @ 5 says:

    Jordan (also streetsweeper so this post will get deleted) doesnt stand a chance, the establishment thinks he is brash and doesnt trust him. plus he is as “ethically challenged” as Bruning

  6. Macdaddy says:

    I agree with Rob. If the handshake came with an apology for the insult, I would. Can’t ever see that happening, though. Hate is celebrated on the Left side of the aisle.

  7. Fad Assford says:

    Nice to see Brad once again stardling the fence. I dare the Omaha Buffett Herald to ask Brad where he stands on Gray’s Ordinance.

  8. Omaha Native says:

    To Jessica Moenning, you are just disappointed you can not run another miserable campaign as you did for Pete when he ran for Senate.

  9. Anonymous says:

    People are so very tired of the GLTB crowd. You aren’t “special” you are different. The construct of marriiage is biblical not legal. Transgender and Bisexual are choices so there are no rights for choices just consequences. Far as Gays and lesbians a cival union should do the trick for legal purposes.

    Gray is a racist tool.

  10. Anonymostly says:

    So, word is Kyle Michaelis is going to challenge Colby Coash in Leg Dist 27. He’s written more than John Bruning did in college and its more recent. Is he scrubbing his Facebook page and deleting the archives at New Nebraska Net? That might be a fun one to watch.

  11. Some Thoughts says:

    To Anonymous: do you think it’s okay for someone to be fired because their employer finds out that they’re gay? I don’t think that has anything to do with marriage or the Bible. More importantly, your view is a long-term loser especially with younger people, who think the GLTB crowd is no big deal.

    On a national level this issue is starting to cost votes right now, and it’s only going to get worse for the party. People under 40 overwhelmingly accept equal rights for gays like employment and housing, and most of them also accept gay marriage. Although most of them aren’t single-issue voters on this question, people like Santorum who come out really strongly against homosexuality are generally disliked in precisely those blocks of voters that will be needed in the future. Worse yet, it makes the whole party seem like the party of Anti-everything, rather than a positive vision for the future. People didn’t like Reagan because he was always talking negatively about the things he didn’t like, but because he had an infectious optimism. Think about it.

  12. They are not including everyone says:

    If theey are going to pass this “anti-gay” ordinance, I think it needs to be all inclusive and not discrimante against celibate people, heterosexuals or political beliefs. Seriously, lets just say that EVERYONE has a right to work.

  13. RWP says:

    To Some Thoughts: do you think the government should prosecute everything you and some friends think isn’t ‘okay’? The government was not intended to be a school monitor. People do mean things every day that aren’t illegal, and shouldn’t be illegal.

    People under 40, in my experience, often have an attitude towards authority that used to be exclusive to liberals and people under 8. That is, they think the government is their mommy, who will right all wrongs in the sandbox. I think it’s long past time they grew up.

    It is entirely possible to be against discrimination based on sexual preference — I am — and be similarly against anti-discrimination ordinances.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Right. What happens if someone who is gay isn’t hired for some position they have applied or interviewed for because they just weren’t right or qualified for the job for a legitimate reason? All that person needs to do is ASSume they weren’t hired because they were gay, and they are then able to run and file lawsuits on whomever doesn’t hire them. It could turn into a huge mess of lawsuits of “he said/she said” claims and a whole bunch of bogus lawsuits.

  15. Anonymous says:

    It is entirely possible to be against discrimination based on sexual preference — I am — and be similarly against anti-discrimination ordinances.

    RWP, if everyone thought like you, we wouldn’t need anti-discrimination ordinances. Unfortunately that’s not the case.

  16. Anonymostly says:

    Jessica, I think you misunderstood the “trial balloon” comment. Sweeps isn’t saying that Pete is floating a trial balloon on his blog but rather he’s reporting word that Pete is mulling such a run and that such mulling might be a trial balloon rather than a firm decision.

    Your suggestion about getting a job seems to be a pithy over-reaction.

  17. Solution looking for a problem... says:

    OK Some Thoughts. Let’s see a list of people in Omaha (or Nebraska) who have been fired or been refused service because of their sexual orientation.

    The fact is that anyone refused service or terminated wrongly/unjustly ARE already protected by law. They do NOT need to be singled out. Ben Gray’s “favoritism” ordnance is just a move to appease an extremely vocal minority. Similar laws passed in approximately 140 other cities have only caused problems for the cities and local businesses. Well over half have since tried to repeal those favoritism laws.

    Ben Gray should worry about improving live for the people of his district, instead of proposing a solution looking for a problem that doesn’t exist.

  18. It's for Suttle says:

    Ben Gray is doing this for Jim Suttle. What is Suttle’s fixation with this issue?

    It is sad but comical to see Gray and Suttle working on this one issue so much when the district they promised to help (Gray’s) continues to suffer. Has anyone asked the people of Ben Gray’s district if they think this issue is at the top of their list? What do community leaders in Gray’s district have to say? Maybe we need to hear from the people and not a few elected officials with some very clear agenda?

  19. Anonymous says:

    The anti gay talk of today is so much like the south’s anti black talk or in some regards like the anti jewish talk of the 30’s. Same words different people. Some people need to take a long hard look at them selfs in the mirror.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Similar laws passed in approximately 140 other cities have only caused problems for the cities and local businesses. Well over half have since tried to repeal those favoritism laws.

    Can you back this up? I’m pretty good at the Google and can’t corroborate. Sounds like made up stuff which many of those on this site tend to believe without question as long as it reinforces already present beliefs.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous at 11:15 — the problem is there were numerous documented cases of black people or Jewish people being discriminated against in just about every facet of their lives. Regarding this ordinace that Ben Gray is pushing, can you name one person in Omaha who has been fired (or not hired in the first place) just because they were gay? It’s just not a problem. I work with several gay people and guess what? No one cares in the least that they are gay!

  22. Solution looking for a problem... says:

    If not mistaken, when race was added as a protected class it was by putting it into charter and with a vote of the people. It was the same for those with disabilities.

    If discrimination based on sexual orientation is really a huge issue lets write it into the charter and put it to a vote like we did in the other instances.

    We are yet to hear of even ONE case where someone was fired or refused services based on sexual orientation. And if we add this, why stop there? Shouldn’t we be protected based on political orientation too? We are ALL a protected class…aren’t we?

  23. Anonymous says:

    Okay, #31, Wikipedia shows 4 attempts after 1996 to repeal LGBT anti-discrimination ordinances. All failed. A groundswell I tell you!

  24. Friends don't get it says:

    My gay friends are not in the least bit interested in having some special law protect them. They want everyone to think of them like they think of everyone else. Friend, co-worker, boss, patron. To them the idea of not being discriminated against is about just being a normal part of society. Not standing out as a GAY-coworker, GAY-friend, GAY-boss or GAY-patron.

    By the way, they all have good educations, good jobs, eat at the same restaurants we do and we can enjoy a beer together anywhere in town. They wonder why would people want to make them stand out now?

  25. Anonymous says:

    #34, anyone can type a number. Substantiation?
    #35, actually an ordinance would PREVENT gays from standing out. It would require that they be treated like anyone else (i.e. can’t be fired or not hired because of a personal attribute)

  26. Solution looking for a problem... says:

    It’s really pretty simple. Count ALL of the cases where they tried to repeal the laws. Last I checked, the world did not start in 1996.

  27. Some Thoughts says:

    Well, I expected that reaction, and that’s fine. You don’t have to believe me, but the facts on the ground indicate that this issue is a political loser, especially in the long term. If Republicans want to keep advertising themselves nationally as the anti-gay party, they’ll suffer some political damage for it, and honestly I don’t see the point. What’s even at stake here for conservatives? The religious right is not going to stop voting for Republican candidates on this basis.

    In wider Nebraska it won’t matter, but even in Omaha things are changing and more voters are either supportive of or indifferent to gay rights issues. I’m not one of those “under-40” folks myself, unfortunately, but regardless of their other merits as a generation, it’s pretty clear that they’ve accepted gay relationships and marriages as no big deal. This isn’t one of those issues where people change as they get older, kind of like people become more economically conservative the more years they’ve spent working for a living.

    RWP, if you’re against such discrimination, then how do you propose to ensure it isn’t lawful? I don’t really know what the best way to put something like that into the laws might be, honestly, but I have no problem with it being enforced by law, and I see no other way to guarantee it. People can still dislike homosexuality if they want; they can still be racists if they want, too. They just can’t fire people for that reason.

    I’m not concerned about “special treatment” or false prosecution of employers for that any more than I’m concerned about it for people of different races. There would still have to be evidence that was the reason, and that’s hard to come by if there’s no actual discrimination. It’s not like courts magically grant such claims without basis, especially around here.

    The fact that ballot initiatives have happened (or not) says absolutely nothing about whether such ordinances were effective. Anyone can launch a ballot initiative, and I’m sure in most places you could find a group of people who opposes an anti-gay-discrimination ordinance, right?

    As a tangent, it was interesting to find that Jon Bruning attends a church that believes in and practices full equal rights for gays, including gay marriage and gay ministry. Mark in his favor, I’d say, though I’ve heard that First Plymouth is a big “see-and-be-seen” church for the movers and shakers and many wealthy Lincoln folks, so it makes sense that a political aspirant would go there.

  28. Friends don't get it says:

    So, you want to prevent something that isn’t happening? That’s dumb. I can only tell you what my gay friends think about it.

    Have you been fired or refused service? If so, tell me when and where.

  29. Solution looking for a problem... says:

    We have all asked for examples in Omaha of this discrimination and we here nothing. Thus, a solution looking for a problem.

    I have never been in any establishment where someone was refused service and tossed because they are gay. Seen people tossed or refused service because they were stupid. So here is the EXACT scenario that an ordinance like this creates. Someone of an alternative sexual orientation gets tossed from an establishment for being stupid. They run to some city panel and tell they were tossed because they are gay. Who is on that panel. Does that establishment now have to go defend themselves for tossing a stupid customer. How much will this cost the business to defend. What if the panel has an extreme bias one way or the other? Having this in law opens a whole new can of worms and unintended problems.

  30. Some Thoughts says:

    Never, but then, I’m old and white and heterosexual. Ask me again when I’m even older, though–I fear that discrimination against older employees (i.e. more expensive ones) is a much bigger problem. Anyway, my main point was that this issue is a problem for the public image of Republicans, but sure, I also favor writing into law that we can’t discriminate against people for being gay. I don’t know your gay friends and I congratulate them on never having been discriminated against. I don’t have enough gay friends to take a meaningful survey, but I do know a significant number of people who employ people and would prefer not to hire “queers”. I have no idea if they act on those feelings or not; probably they don’t know whether some of their employees are gay or not.

    In sum, I see no harm in legally prohibiting discrimination. What harm do you see in it?

  31. Solution looking for a problem... says:

    I add. All of that when we have not had one single public case of such discrimination come to light. Not one.

    Ben Gray should worry about improving the economic condition of his district. The lives oof his constituents. They are hurting and what is he doing? This.

  32. Anonymous says:

    #39, my actual gay friends think an ordinance of this type is welcome and necessary. I’ll defer to them, as they’ve had to deal with the problem, and it does exist.

  33. Solution looking for a problem... says:

    Problem is that under such a law a business could be forced to prove the reason they didn’t hire someone. What if the person was simply not qualified. If someone says they weren’t hired because they are gay, how does a business prove something that didn’t happen. Now all of the sudden that business could be called in and must prove their reasoning? Does a prospective employee declare the moment they walk into an interview they are gay? Then will a business be compelled to hire them even if they aren’t the most qualified candidate?

  34. Solution looking for a problem... says:

    It’s easy to write words. Describe the exact discrimination your friends have experienced in Omaha, Where did it take place.If this has happened be very specific.All we ever hear is “it does exist” yet nobody can give any specific examples.

    Your key statement is the word “welcome.” Simply put this law is under consideration not to address an actual problem but to make a specific group of people feel “welcome.”

  35. Anonymostly says:

    I”m with RWP. I don’t think government ought to be telling people whom the should and shouldn’t like. I work in a professional office and, while I wouldn’t fire or refuse to hire a gay person just because they’re gay, I do have a problem with all the strange tattoos and odd body piercings and so forth that some people — gay and straight — choose to display. I just don’t think that fits the image of the office that I want to project. So, if the government can tell me I must hire gays, why can’t the government tell me I have to hire or cannot fire people with visible body art of all kinds and descriptions?

    Shouldn’t that be my call?

  36. Some Thoughts says:

    44, I hire people at my workplace. We keep records on such things. It is very easy to demonstrate why someone was considered the best applicant, or better than another. We’re not allowed to discriminate by race, sex and other such factors, and none of those laws have been a problem yet. I mention age discrimination as more serious because I think it’s easier to mask that kind of discrimination, and I suspect it’s far more prevalent given that there are direct economic incentives for employers to have younger and cheaper employees, even though the older ones often have experience that should be considered more valuable.

  37. RWP says:

    RWP, if you’re against such discrimination, then how do you propose to ensure it isn’t lawful?

    What a bizarre question! Do you honestly think everything you’re opposed to should be made illegal?

  38. ricky says:

    I wonder what Senator Laughtenbaugh was reading on his little IPad when the hearing was going on? Did not look like he was paying attention until Mr Gray spoke, then he bored a hole with his eyes through Mr Gray. What a baby.
    Also it was remarked that the timing on McCoy’s bill was suspicious and one of the speakers wondered if some Councilman or perhaps Councilwoman from Omaha was behind McCoy’s LB 912.
    Also it was funny to see McCoy get up to leave immediately after his testimony and his posse of about 10 people in the hearing room got up and left right then too. What was up with that?
    Hopefully Ms Domina will knock McCoy from his seat this year.

    ricky from omaha

  39. Some Thoughts says:

    When it comes to employment discrimination, then absolutely yes, I think it should be a matter of law and not just up to individuals to decide. What kind of commitment do you actually have to opposing discrimination, if you don’t think that it should be illegal to fire someone on that basis? Didn’t we already settle this one back in the 60’s, civil rights movement and all that?

  40. RWP says:

    In the 1960s, there was a clear and well documented national problem of discrimination against African Americans. The disadvantages of government-mandated equal opportunity, and they are substantial, were weighed against the problem of endemic employment discrimination against blacks, and our government decided the problem was severe enough to warrant action. I think we were right.

    This is not an argument for government intervention against any form of irrational discrimination. Rather, it is an argument that where discrimination is so severe and pervasive as to constitute a genuine bar to equality or a real social problem — and black poverty was a huge social problem — then government should intervene. The presumption, in other words, is against intervention.

    If one wants to argue for additional protected classes, it is incumbent on one first to prove that employment discrimination against members of the class is a real bar to equality and a genuine social problem. I have yet to be persuaded either is the case for gays. No doubt individual cases of discrimination occur, and they’re unpleasant for the victim. But that alone is not enough to justify yet another government intrusion into the social and economic life of the nation.

    That, it would seem to me, is the conservative position on the matter. The liberal position is quite different, one that elevates equality above almost all other social goods.

    About 15 years ago, there were plausible allegations a well-known Lincoln restaurant had fired an employee for being gay. The restaurant received highly unfavorable press coverage and a substantial fraction of their former patrons began to boycott it. The employee, IIRC, was rehired, and there have been no further problems with this restaurant (other than that the service IMO sucks). In my opinion, this sort of action by private citizens is far preferable to the heavy handed intrusion of a government agency.

  41. Some Thoughts says:

    You offer a novel explanation of civil rights law. The standard for prohibiting discrimination is, on your view, that discrimination against members of a particular class is already occuring at such a level that it constitutes a “real bar to equality and a genuine social problem.” Discrimination against such persons must be “endemic”. Do you believe this standard has been met when it comes to discrimination against Catholics, or women, or men, or married people? If not, was it wrong for the government to prohibit discrimination against such groups too, when it decided to prohibit race-based discrimination? Perhaps once discrimination is less than endemic against a particular group, it should no longer be included in the “protected” classes.

    Your primary concern is with intervention, however. Private action is superior to public intrusion when possible. Therefore, I wonder whether, or why, you think it’s still a good idea to enforce any anti-discrimination statutes, now that discrimination against various groups is no longer endemic. If my business refused to hire or serve black people, or Jewish people, surely they would be subject to the same sorts of criticism nowadays that you describe in the restaurant example above. We wouldn’t have to take a judge or jury’s word for what happened, based on evidence–rather, we could punish businesses arbitrarily, to the degree that the complainants were successful in stirring up public ire. If it works for a restaurant in Lincoln when they fire a gay person, then surely it would work for every other case where discrimination is by definition a greater problem than you say it is for gays.

    I realize that you distinguish carefully between public and private entities on this issue, though. It was very important to you that equality be elevated above at least some other social goods in the matter of hiring at public institutions, and in that case there was no need to show that any particular class had suffered endemic discrimination before earning the right to equal treatment. In the private sector, though, it’s another matter. I’m hiring someone for a new position this spring; on your view, it should be legal for me to weed out applications from black men, white women, pregnant women, old people, and Catholics. We get plenty of applicants in this economy, so I’ll still find someone who can do this job. If someone starts to notice that my company never seems to employ anyone in those categories, the only real question is whether I can win a PR war against them, and I think I can.

  42. Some Thoughts says:

    To all those wondering if there’s even a single example of discrimination against gays, RWP has one, but unfortunately it’s in Lincoln. Maybe the big city doesn’t need such an ordinance after all, since discrimination probably only happens in the little cow towns.

  43. RWP says:

    To all those wondering if there’s even a single example of discrimination against gays, RWP has one, but unfortunately it’s in Lincoln. Maybe the big city doesn’t need such an ordinance after all, since discrimination probably only happens in the little cow towns.


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