A question from Leavenworth Street

Sasse-Balance-Board 01Happy New Year!

Metro Omahans, with Cox Communications literally cutting the cable on WOWT, here is what you will be missing on later today:

3pm: Meredith Vierra – Mom Jeans Makeovers!
7pm: The Biggest Loser – Makeover Week
8pm: Bad Judge -Naked and Afraid

Oh, and lots of faux-disappointed sarcasm from Alex Trebek.
Good luck with those bent coat hangers!


With the new year and the new Congress, Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer has been appointed to a new leadership post for new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

As we understand it, McConnell was looking for experienced legislators — people who put their head down and get the job done. He added Senator Fischer, Rob Portman, R-OH, Mike Lee R-UT and Shelley Moore Capito, R-WV.

This is a major jump for Fischer, only in her 3rd year of office. We will likely be hearing more about this soon.


New Senator Ben Sasse got a little national press on Sunday morning, appearing on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos (though George was nowhere to be seen). Some pols live and die by the Sunday morning shows, but unfortunately, if it is a “round table” of guests, these things generally go nowhere. Ideas don’t get developed, they hop from issue to issue in 20 seconds, and you are lucky if you get 8 seconds to respond to anything.

That was certainly the case with Sasse here, as the interviewer wanted to focus on new Republican Rep. Mia Love of Utah. Sasse did get to respond at one point that he is in favor of raising the debt ceiling:

This is a pretty logical conclusion, but we would note that we were bombarded with notes from supporters of a former Sasse primary opponent who got hammered with $2M worth of ads for saying essentially the same thing.

That’s politics, and whaddaya gonna do?
But campaigners have lonnnng memories.

In the mean time, if you want to see a minute-by-minute, photographed description of Sasse’s swearing-in day, including lots of family shots and down time, be sure to read National Review’s coverage of Sasse here.

(Hey, and someone get the intern to slap a Senate seal on that balance board!)


In one of our year end posts, we noted a projection for what the Nebraska Unicameral’s Appropriations Committee would look like.

We ended up being off by 2.

Instead of new 29 year old Lincoln Democrat Senator Adam Morefeld, we got decidedly less-young Democrat Senator Ken Harr of Malcolm.

And instead of arguably “moderate” Senator Al Davis of Hyannis, a fair amount of arm-twisting and backroom negotiating put more conservative Senator John Kuehn of Heartwell on the Committee. Some see this as a bit of a coup against Chairman Heath Mello’s plan to thwart the Ricketts agenda. An arguably 4-4 Dem-GOP split on the committee may now be decided by Senator John Stinner of Scottsbluff.

Nebraskans will likely be able to judge Stinner’s conservative bona fides as the year develops.

And then over on the also powerful Revenue Committee some, like Don Walton, see Ricketts’ tax cutting agenda as a smooth sail.

However, others see it lousy for conservatives, and have even gone so far as to say the Ricketts plan for tax cuts will be dead on arrival in Revenue.

Fun and exciting stuff, eh kids!


So Brad Ashford went to Washington, and first thing he did was vote for Nancy Pelosi.

Second thing he said he’s going to do is vote for the Keystone XL Pipeline.

So he got Republicans against him for the first vote, and (some) Dems mad at him for the second. Some will point out that this sort of trading will simply get him re-elected in Nebraska’s 2nd District.

Others say that when standing on the fence you eventually end up like Humpty Dumpty.
So Congressman Ashford, where do you stand on raising the gas tax that your fellow Democrat, Senator Dick Durbin, has proposed?

No wonder Ashford was singing the praises of the Unicameral where he could hide his party colors…


Outgoing Secretary of Defense (eventually?) Chuck Hagel got some grief for including a gay sailor wedding proposal in his holiday video greeting.

But that issue overshadowed the real shocking moment of Hagel’s message:

This sport-coat and tie ensemble!

Hagel Christmas 2014

Holy Bob Devaney’s Ghost, Batman! The red jacket does say throwback Nebraska, we suppose. But the pink tie combo?

This is a man who clearly does not give crap-one about who thinks what.

God speed.


And hey, we are leaving this one to the end, but we noted in our 2014 summary that we would have some big things happening here on Leavenworth St. in 2015.

Well, we have a question for you:

Street Sweeper?

And for now, we will leave it at that.
But please, stay tuned.


  1. Usually a devoted wife will steer a man away from fashion faux-pas like this. So I guess if he blamed Lilibet for the Obama sign on his lawn, he can blame her for the Strawberry Shortcake themed ensemble.

    Maybe Chuck just likes to give his feminine side a little peek out now and again.

  2. anon says:

    Cox charges what they want to charge us, WOWT’s battle is not the viewers, it’s winter anyway so we wont miss any of John Nicely’s apparent “inside” golf quips from the news that’s all fluff

  3. Sorta reminds me of the old Saturday afternoon movie serials … “Will Tex manage to get out of the abandoned mine shaft in time to save Miss Prudy from the evil Snively??!! Don’t miss the next exciting episode ….”

    The fact is, I really don’t much care … I have believed for a long time (and so stated multiple times) that the original Street Sweeper is long gone. Either that or he/she had a personal style transplant a few years ago.

    Whatever … I will no doubt still look in from time to time.

  4. jcrew says:

    I think Hagel’s wife may have helped turn him into a liberal. I remember reading in the OWH how Lilabeth was volunteering with immigrants and soon after Hagel supported the Dream Act. And as one comment above stated it was Chuck who said his wife put the Obama sign in their front yard.

  5. Sad Day says:

    Classy thing for Governor Ricketts to acknowledge the passing of 15-year Capitol employee Chris Keetle today. Chris was an amazing Legislative Aide and he will truly be missed at the Capitol!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Sweeper was Jordan McGrain for a long time. Then Andrew Northwall bought it from him. But Jordan (the superior writer) comes back on occasion.

  7. Random Bureaucrat says:

    I’m pretty sure Sec. Hagel is colorblind. He frequently wears colors and color combinations that seem odd. Why his wife doesn’t help him out, I do not know.

  8. Anon says:

    The Court really muddied things up. Four judges voted to overturn the bill giving the Governor authority to pemit the KXL and three refused to vote saying the plaintiffs didn’t have standing. The thing is, those three lost the standing issue because that is controlled by a simple majority vote. The law of the land is now that those plaintiffs had standing. Since they didn’t cast three votes to uphold the law, it is still an open question.

    Domina will refile his lawsuit as soon as Trans Canada exercises emminent domain and derail the entire process again. A district court judge will hold the law unconstitutional and it will go the the supreme court again. That time there will already be four votes to overturn and Domina will only need one of the remaining three, which he may get given the turd of a bill the legislature passed.

    The three judges did KXL no favors. It would have been better to strike down the law and force the new legislature to act now while bills are being introduced.

    The winner here is Domina who will get more in legal fees and publicity for the forseeable future.

  9. Domina will have to find himself a plaintiff who has received a condemnation order and is willing to sue. Either he does this pro bono, or someone has to pony up, because there were no damages awarded. The court is not going to broaden taxpayer standing, because to do so opens a huge can of worms.

    And the assumption is a second district judge will rule the same way. Not necessarily so. And the state now has the opportunity to clean up or even completely repeal the statute, which would be the first order of business for me if I were Ricketts.

  10. Anon says:

    This decision opens the way for the condemnation orders and he will find a plaintiff. Domina doesn’t need damages. He’ll get paid hourly by Bold and others.

    A majority of the Court did expand standing and all that point needed was a simple majority of the justices participating. Lawyers will start using that for taxpayer challenges to all sorts of things going forward with the exception that they may not want to use it for constitutional questions.

    I think the three refused to vote because there is no good basis to uphold the law. I’m a pipeline supporter, but what the unicam and governor did with that special session is blatantly against the PSC’s constitutional mandate.

    Bold and their ilk won’t win this outright. They will keep it tied up for as long as possible and try to kill it that way. The only thing that will change it is an act of Congress preemting the PSC which will be vetoed by Obama. The unicam won’t do anything because they don’t realize they have to.

  11. Brian T. Osborn says:

    I believe that the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Tribal Councils should use imminent domain to take over Dawes,Sheridan and Cherry counties, then cultivate marijuana on all of the land there. They should also build some quality houses of ill repute along with some really big casinos.
    I’m certain that our Nebraska Supreme Court would see no problem with that.
    Oh, and to my stalker, you keep forgetting that I also worked undercover in Italy as a CIA assassin.

  12. We actually considered using taxpayer standing to challenge Affirmative Action at the University of Nebraska; lawyer thought it was a crapshoot, given the reluctance of the courts. If you’re right, and I don’t know that you are, it’s a recipe for chaos. Any bill before the Unicam can be challenged by anyone in the state. You seriously don’t want that, and my guess is the four justices who voted for this don’t really want that.

    Obama’s argument was that he couldn’t approve the pipeline while the lawsuit was pending. It’s now lo longer pending, and he’s run out of excuses. Sure, after the permit were issued and condemnation started, Domina could sue again, assuming he found a plaintiff. But the smart thing to do would to wait for the State Dept. approval and then change the law. I’m sure TransCanada will play ball.

  13. Anonymous says:

    BTOciopath why don’t you just give it up already? You are the one that is behaving badly and none of us here give a damn about you, Osborn or your psychiatrist. Please just go away.

  14. Brian T. Osborn says:

    Thanks for the correction on imminent vs. eminent. I did know better, but sometimes I get lazy and forego editing what my fingers do.
    Since you seem to be the most intelligent, pragmatic, and stickler for facts of all the posters on here, perhaps you could explain to me how it is that the government of our fair state – or our nation, for that matter – can invoke eminent domain against American citizens to benefit a private, for profit, foreign corporation.
    Since the taking of private property by eminent domain requires that it be for public use, and that the owner receives fair compensation, it makes sense to me when it is used for building roads, dams for flood control, hydroelectric production (especially in a state with public power,) etc. However, I fail to see how transporting oil from Canada to China through a variety of American states serves the “public” good. I do see where some few American investors, and all of the politicians that receive kickbacks from them, might think it would be loverly, but aren’t we opening a can of worms here that might best be left sealed?
    Once eminent domain is used so egregiously to benefit a very few, what is to stop the next bunch of yahoos that choose to invoke it for THEIR favorite money-making scheme? Or, what will all of you conservatives and Libertarians think of it when we Liberals learn to wield it as a political weapon against the causes that you are all enamored of?
    Perhaps the Lakotas on Pine Ridge might consider a more scaled back proposal and merely take over Whiteclay, since it is definitely in their interest, and it would be for their public good to eliminate the liquor stores on their southern border. Sure, the purveyors of demon rum would just move further south, but eventually it could become a problem for Kansas.

  15. Old Timer says:

    BTOciopath, when you say BTO cyber bullies 86 year old women are you suggesting that Marion is still passing around fake emails? As far as I know she was probably 80 or 81 when she started photo copying those “hurtful” documents for general distribution. It’s hard to predict what professional victims will do in the name of self promotion. I remember when another of BTO’s “targets” put a threatening letter in her own mail box. It didn’t take the Grand Island police long to write that one off as a hoax.

  16. Anonymous says:

    If an 86 year old woman with needs that include a bit of black leather gets her electrodes on you, you may find yourself of a different opinion.

  17. Macdaddy says:

    BTO, see Kelo v New London. That was decided by your side of the aisle. In the words of Obama, it’s now the law of the land.

  18. KHDS says:

    The untold story is how did Governor Dave so screw up KXL at every turn?

    1. Should have forced TransCanada to modify route from the very beginning.

    2. Why take jurisdiction from the PSC? Did Boyle have Republican votes to stop it?
    Gov. Dave bought himself a lawsuit and he only lucked out to win. Oddest win ever.

  19. KHDS says:


    Read the decision.

    The answer is there. A common carrier transports goods or people, for every paying customer, and it serves a public good.

    Do you like to eat? Or, if you are a farmer or rancher, do you like to sell your products at the best prices in markets far from NE? Or do you use gas to drive your car?

    Then thank a common carrier.

    And there would be no beautiful Nebraskaland but for the railroads. And early in their history, the railroads had many foreign shareholders.

    Only idiots, the selfish,Greens and the uneducated oppose KXL.

    And the day Jane Kleeb starts getting around on a horse or a bike is the day she has some credibility.

  20. Free college are good says:

    Barack attended Occidental and Columbia. Occidental has courses titled “The Phallus” and “Stupidity”. Columbia has “Zombies in Popular Media”.

    The Joe was twice caught and punished for plagiarizing in college.

    Chuck was a Georgetown Professor. Georgetown has a course titled “Philosophy and Star Trek”. We know that Chuck has climbed the academic ladder to a Bachelor’s degree, majoring in Philosophy, but we are unaware if he minored in Roddenberry.

    It pays to be prepared for high public office.

  21. KHDS says:

    1. Hagel graduated from Omaha University; The Indians.

    2. What would life be like for a rancher in Keya Paha county if there were no common carriers?
    Worse than in Pakistan but maybe a better football team.

  22. Brian T. Osborn says:

    OK. I get the common carrier aspect, but why do we have to bend over backwards to make it easier for a foreign nation to profit by selling their oil to China?

  23. Anonymous says:

    Hagel did not graduate from Omaha University. OU became the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1968. Hagel graduated from UNO in 1971. However, the OU/UNO mascot “Indians” (1939-71) changed to the “Mavericks” in the summer of 1971, so you appear to be half correct, assuming Hagel graduated in the spring a few days before the mascot changed.

  24. KHDS says:


    1. Canada is one of our closest allies. Friends help friends.

    2. Oil is a world market. The oil sands is a heavy oil that is best refined in the Gulf because of the equipment there. As the global supply increases, the price of a gallon of gas for Jane in Hastings goes down. More importantly, we completely break the oil cartel and create a true free market for oil. And the fact that the Saudis will have less money to pay terrorists is also to the good.

  25. KHDS says:

    I consider those people opposed to KXL to be disloyal Americans.

    They are essentially a third column for the Islamist terrorists and they need to be called such.

  26. Brian T. Osborn says:

    Here I have been mistaken all of these years that the Saudis were some of our greatest friends. From the Saudis that were receiving training in each of the school commands I attended in the U.S. Navy, to the photos of G.W. Bush kissing the Saudi Prince on the lips, all of those signs had me confused.
    So, selling cheap oil to our greatest potential enemy in the world, China, is us just being neighborly? I’m glad that you cleared that up for me.

  27. Brian T. Osborn says:

    It seems to me that the current drop in gas prices, driven down by action of the Saudis, is helping more lower and middle class Americans than anything the government has down for us in years. An ancillary effect is that they are also helping our European allies by bankrupting Russia.
    You, KDHS, seem to me to be an ally of Putin and Xi Jinping.

  28. KHDS says:


    You couldn’t be more confused and wrong.

    We were only friends with the Saudis out of convenience. We protected them because we didn’t have our own oil. Rational states act in their own self interest.

    The Saudis are the low cost provider. The USA and Canada are the two new producers that are finding new supply but it is on the margin. And our marginal average price is higher than the Saudis; say $50 bbl.

    The best theory as to why the Saudis won’t cut production is to bankrupt the Iranians and stop their drive to produce nukes. Iran with nukes changes everything and the Saudis know Obama won’t do a thing.

    Russia’s break even for oil is sky high.

    We don’t export any refined oil to China.

    Jane Kleeb is a useful idiot. A tool for America’s enemies.

  29. Brian T. Osborn says:

    So you are saying that rather than prostitute ourseves to the Saudis we can now roll over and let some home grown economic terrorists rape us?

  30. Anonymous says:

    Nobody’s paying taxes in Kansas anymore and the state is broke.

    The Chinese will happily pay for a trans-Canadian pipeline West to Vancouver. They can pay for all the needed infrastructure in cash, which the have plenty of because America pays China plenty. The only strategic reason for the KXL is to reduce China’s supply somewhat. Of course China will also buy Russian and Persian oil.

    The Saudis can pump a lot of oil for a very long time but not forever. When they cut back we’ll frack again regardless of the environmental damage or who gets sick or dies. That’s what nations do.

  31. Fort Street Fury says:

    I’d like to address comment 50, specifically the first line.

    Republicans are taking quite a beating due to Kansas being under pretty much complete Republican control and their state being worse off now than it was just a few years ago. And frankly, it’s no wonder. Just because policies have the right idea behind them, does not mean that poor execution still won’t muck everything up.
    That’s what we’re seeing in Kansas: poor execution of good directives is making the state worse off.

  32. Anonymous says:

    poor execution of good directives is making the state worse off
    And I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.
    It’s always the “execution”. You are such ideologues that you can never admit that the idea is wrong. How much evidence does it take to change your immovable minds?

  33. Anonymous says:

    Ideologues are immovable irrational people with whom you disagree. Your ideas however are good for all to consume because everyone is exactly like you and the future you imagine is always unchanging and meets your principles perfectly.

  34. Random Bureaucrat says:

    So now that Lee Terry has taken a job with the Washington DC office of Kelley Drye, I assume that means he’ll be moving his family to DC as well. Always interesting to see which elected officials return home or go native.

  35. Anon says:

    Yeah, will Lee actually buy a home this time? I doubt the law firm would look positively on him shacking up in his office again.

  36. Anonymous says:

    So you want loser Lee back in Nebraska, living next door to you perhaps?

    To even mention Terry at this point is like refusing to flush your toilet because you want to bitch about the smell.

    We have a fresh incumbent floating in the congressional bowl where he can disease the body politic. Brad’s the new turd you need to worry about. Instead you pick out Terry with your fingers for show and tell.

  37. Happy Republican says:

    Way to go Governor Pete for condemning Pat McPherson over the bigoted blog post! That is the right stand, and I’m glad he spoke up about it.

  38. Brian T. Osborn says:

    Sweeper, you allow those of us that post in the comments section pretty much free rein, and I thank you for that. Unlike NDP Chair Vince Powers, you support the 1st Amendment. I would imagine that anything posted above the comment section was either penned by, or approved by, you. Correct? You would never allow someone to write a a racist or misogynistic blog entry and present it under your banner, would you?

    So … I’m curious. What is your take on the Patrick McPherson brouhaha? He has apologized for having been caught. Is that enough, or should he resign?

  39. Anonymous says:

    How many “Level I Trauma Centers” does the Omaha-Council Bluffs (and Bellevue, Papillion, LaVista, Gretna, Millard, Elkhorn, Bennington, Ft. Calhoun, etc) metro area actually need? Based on best practice for emergency medicine and public health? One? Two?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.