Oh well

First to get things rolling on your Friday, a little Separated at Birth…

State Senator Les Seiler of Hastings…


…and recently indicted former Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert!

(Popular frames.)


A roller coaster week, no?

Tragedy and mourning.
Political wheeling and dealing.
Overriding and cheers and jeers.
More plans.
More overriding…

On this blog, at the beginning of the session for the Nebraska Unicameral, it was noted that between the new Governor with an inexperienced staff and the new members and old foxes in the Legislature, it could be like the Wild West.

Little did we know.

It started out with the Committee Chair votes, rolled over to the Presidential voting, and ended with defeat of the Governor on two issues that he declared and showed to be priorities.

All the while we kept hearing from the Dems how awesome of a guy he is. You can work with the NEW Governor. (i.e. not like that mean guy who previously occupied the McMansion). There was cooperation! Talking!

What they were talking about is anyone’s guess.

But here’s what we know:

The legislature passed a new Gas Tax over the Governor.
The legislature gave driver’s licenses to illegal aliens over the Governor.
The legislature repealed the Death Penalty over the Governor.

And hey, the Governor and his staff did seem to be fully engaged on the Death Penalty vote…starting last Friday.

He was talking to Senators, asking people to call.
Hey, apparently his staff was even yelling at Senators moments before the final override vote:

“Two citizens who were standing in the hallway reported seeing representatives from the governor’s office shouting at (Senator Robert Hilkemann) before the final vote.”

And hey that’s great.
Two did flip.

But that was on, what, the fourth vote? Think how difficult it was to get Johnson and Murante to change their votes after voting the other way all that time.

One only needs to look back to January to see the momentum on this and see what new Senators were signing on.

Giving it the ol’ “College Try” over the weekend is sort of commendable.
But it harkens more back to the college days of finally starting that semester long assignment, that was assigned the first day of class, on the weekend before it was due. Pulling an all-nighter, lots of hot coffee and bleary eyes.

Then handing in the final copy with pizza-grease stains on it and really hoping for a “C-“.

But the Death Penalty Repeal was Pass/Fail.


As far as those effort went, and the stories get written about who was behind what, we will probably see more and more as the plan for reinstatement of the Death Penalty gets going.

We know that the likes of George Soros poured cash into the effort. You don’t have a “grass roots” organization with paid staff without serious funds to get it going.

When folks have to come out of the weeds again, and actual campaigns have to be mustered, it all may become a little more transparent.

Here’s an interesting question though.
Take a look at this picture of the veto-signing ceremony:


What member of the administration is missing?


Annnnddd…Driver’s Licenses for DREAMers went by the wayside.
Not a surprise at this point, but another defeat.

So it’s off to Italy to tell the Italians how great Nebraska beef is.
(Any deals ready to be signed there? Usually when one goes on an international road trip like this — say to China or Cuba — there are deals THERE ready to be signed.)

This would have/could have been a good time to capitalize on the issues that just went through the legislature. When the public is still focused. A little jet-setting around Hastings, and North Platte and Norfolk.

Not really very sexy, huh?


On the Congressional front and the GOP nomination, things are eerily quiet.

There’s Don Bacon with a full-formed, endorsed campaign. There’s Chip Maxwell — who took a bit of a beating at the Douglas County Republican Party meeting the other night — who hasn’t had a full roll out yet.

And that’s it.

Sure someone else can roll in all the way up to March 2016. But as it gets later and later, that person would have to have some serious personal funds behind them, or have a solid funder.

Could happen. But the calendar pages continue to flip.

In the mean time Rep. Brad Ashford showed how moderate he is … by hiring Democrat State Senator Jeremy Nordquist.

I suppose that slightly less obvious than hiring, say, Jane Kleeb.

But only slightly.


  1. Where is Jessica says:

    Is it Jessica you were referring to? Where has she been this whole time? I though she was using state resources to try to help the governor with this type of political wrangling.

    Maybe there just isnt enough money in it for her on that? I bet the lobby pays well though!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Governor Chambers is doing a fine job leading the Unicameral and advancing his agenda. Unlike the current goofball sitting at the governor’s “desk,” for all the good he’s doing holding the goddamn chair down with his brain.

  3. PoliticsJunky says:

    Lieutenant Governor Foley is not there. Not to surprising; He’s with the Catholic lobby and they’ve been pushing this. Any opinion on AG Peterson’s lawsuit Street Sweeper? Been a bummer session for Ricketts…

  4. What exactly does Jessica Moenning DO? says:

    She’s got half the Republicans in the Legislature as her clients, and yet, they consistently voted against Ricketts the entire session. She’s basically calling the shots at the NEGOP, and yet they’ve been basically AWOL during this whole thing.

    If I’m Ricketts, I’m wondering what exactly I’m paying her to deliver, because it certainly hasn’t been much in the way of results. If I were Governor and my top political person had all the Rs as clients who were consistently thwarting my legislative agenda, I’d be pretty ticked right now.

    (That’s if Ricketts is even aware of just how badly he got punked this session.)

  5. The Grundle King says:

    Early in the session, when ‘winner take all’ failed, I could understand a breakdown in communication between the Governor’s office and the “Republicans” in the legislature. But at this point in the session, to not know that these votes were coming would mean that the Governor’s office made no attempt to improve the lines of communication, or that the senators were straight-up lying about how they planned to vote. If he truly didn’t know how these votes were going to shake out, due to a lack of communication, then what the hell is going on over there?

    I have to agree with what others have said, though…Foley is noticeably absent from all of these discussions.

  6. Anonymous says:

    PRO staff screaming at a senator in the rotunda is only a public glimpse of how they have treated the legislature all session. Chief of staff openly trash talks senators to other senators and staff and lobbyists. The gov still has great respect, but his team in the capitol have lost all credibility. National search for leadership within the office is in order.

  7. Anonymous says:

    He had Jessica there when he ran for Senate and invested $12 Million only to lose and now this. Wonder what it takes to see beyond.

  8. The Grundle King says:

    Based on the voting record of this legislature, quite a few of those senators deserve a little trash talking.

    Looking at Orr’s ‘legislative scorecard’, you have 8 ‘Republican’ senators whose voting record this session is equally liberal (or more so) to that of Ernie Chambers. Cripes, even Chambers managed to vote against the gas tax increase, which was more than Campbell, McCollister, and Schumacher managed to do.

    If the NE Republican Party funded their election campaigns, it would appear they’re getting a nice slice of bovine pie in return. I realize that candidates can register as whatever they want when it comes to filing for office, but at least the NEGOP should get the word out that these folks are more than happy to carry water for the Dems…and, you know, NOT give them money. Is it really better to have a bunch of progressive/liberal Republicans in office, when the alternative could be a centrist Democrat? (P.S. I’m told they do exist)

  9. Wondering says:

    Could it be that Schumacher, Krist, McCollister, Campbell, and so on is Ne GOP? The next election seems to be on course to prove this, and I will not be caught by surprise

  10. buck turgidson says:

    There’s a cancer on this administration, and it’s growing. The incompetence is staggering.

    Now, we learn that the $56K lethal injection drugs are not even allowed in the US per the FDA. AG Peterson’s response to this news is mind-blowing.

    “In Cook v. FDA, a federal court ordered the FDA to prohibit the importation of lethal injection drugs that fail to meet the agency’s standards. The part of the ruling on the FDA’s role in lethal injection drugs was upheld by the District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

    Attorney General Doug Peterson has said the 2013 ruling does not apply to Nebraska because the state was not party to the case, which involved death row inmates in Arizona, California and Tennessee.

    Dale Baich, assistant federal public defender in Arizona who represented inmates in the Cook case, called the attorney general’s conclusion “ridiculous.”

    Out. Of. Their. Depth.

  11. Bent Lindstrom says:

    It’s not how you vote, but how good you look when you vote. Thanks Omaha Buffet Herald for the ego boost.

  12. Three names says:

    Why is Jim Smith at this news conference? He was one of three senators who pulled a Ben Nelson. That is to vote yes on cloture but “No” on the bill. Smith, Schilz and Tyson Larson are the ones who repealed the death penalty.

  13. Macdaddy says:

    Any of you pro death penalty repeal people got a problem with the government slowly killing the former death row inmates with substandard medical care? What if the government got it wrong and these men are actually innocent? You’re fine with that? I don’t see you lining up to re-litigate these cases just to make sure. You should be. Just because you think you are letting nature take care of the problem for you, that doesn’t make it so. If the government made a mistake in locking an innocent man up, you are still complicit. If it’s a life sentence, you still have their blood on your hands. Enjoy, delicate snowflakes.

  14. In the US, we kill 30,000 innocent people on the road, every year. Basically, every year you drive, you stand about a 1/10,000 chance of killing an innocent person. This stops very few of us from driving.

    Consider this. There are about 5,000 DACA recipients (idiotically called ‘dreamers’) in Nebraska. We just gave them drivers’ licenses. The effect of that will be to cause 1 extra innocent person to die in a road accident every two years. Likely more; DACA recipients are young, and young drivers kill more people. In contrast, in the last 50 years, Nebraska has executed 4 people, and they were certainly all guilty as hell.

    So the DACA bill will kill far more innocent people than the death penalty repeal will save.

    The unicam are a bunch of bloodthirsty ghouls.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Looking at Pete’s top advisors, how many of them have had any legislative or governing experience before?

  16. midtownguy says:

    This what happens when you nominate and then a elect as the leader of the state and party someone who’s only really accomplishments in business has been getting promoted within his fathers company. Even the board of Ameritrade realized not once but twice that Petey did not have the competence to run his fathers company. Since the vote against him become CEO 2 different time. Maybe Petey can get his dad to just buy the unicameral and then Petey might be able to have something to show for his time as governor.

  17. Ed Stevens says:

    Unfortunate timing with the Hastert-Seiler SAB, Sweeper. I’m guessing Les would have preferred to not be paired with Washington’s latest sex scandal. Although, upon reflection, that may be preferable to being associated with some in the Unicameral.

  18. What dis you expect? says:

    Lindstrom was a shitty QB at Nebraska. I think he has the worst QB stats ever with a season total of -6 yards. As a State Senator, how far did he set Nebraska back with his 30th vote!!!!

  19. Bob Loblaw says:


    Go on Netflix. Watch a couple episodes of Death Row Stories from CNN. Then tell me if you’re still pro-death penalty.

  20. The Second House says:

    Well we heard that was quite the Sine Die party. Here are some of the nominations they missed:

    Most Obnoxious Freshmen: Tie: Adam Morfeld & Patty Pansing Brooks
    Least Likely to Jump-Start His Acting Career Even Though He Was On ABC: Colby Coash
    Most Likely To Confuse Being Held Accountable With Being Personally Attacked: Bob Krist
    A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to Losing My Conscience: Laura Ebke
    They Call Them Flipper, Flipper, Flipper,: Jerry Johnson, John Murante, Tyson Larson
    Most Likely to Channel Rachel Maddow in His Sleep: Jeremy Nordquist
    We’re The Cool Kids & You’re Not: Seersucker Suits in the Lobby
    Why Are Those People Yelling In The Balcony & Where The Hell Is My Gavel: Galen Hadley
    Most Valuable Player: Ernie Chambers

  21. The Eye Ball says:

    If you read the daily Herald today, I think you will come to the conclusion that Ricketts had no eye on the Unicameral.

  22. Anonymous says:

    The second house, with the seemingly unimportant committee vote was the start. The term limits was the tell. The new kids on the block wanted it bad. Maybe a Kristmas tree bill where a option will stick, and one that includes current incumbents. PPB who knows all arguing you need more time to govern. Why were they fighting so hard for a bill that didn’t include current members, Was there going to be another bill next session?

  23. And now, a podiatrist joke! says:

    “Podiatrists laugh three times when they hear a joke: Once when it is told, once when it is explained to them, and once when they understand it.” *Of course if you’re Sen. Hilkemann, that third laugh never comes.

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