A NYer’s view of the world

Steinberg_New_Yorker_CoverOver the weekend the NYT had a story about the Nebraska Death Penalty repeal and the effort to get it reinstated.

All the usual stuff, with a few interesting quotes:

Former State Senator Danielle Conrad, now Nebraska ACLU Director…

“The petition is kind of a head scratcher from our perspective. These petitions all offer false promises. Even if proponents are successful with procuring signatures and successful with procuring ballot access and successful at the polls in November 2016, that still gets us no closer to carrying out executions in Nebraska.”

What gets you no closer to carrying out executions is repealing the Death Penalty. Reinstating it DOES get you closer.

But do more things need to happen here?
Yes, yes they do.

Because if the supporters don’t set out at least a course or plan for what would happen if it is reinstated, there WILL be people who will believe there is no reason to sign or vote.

Those people are absolutely out there, and it is an issue that needs a response from those in charge.

Another quote:

From current Republican State Senator Colby Coash:

“It makes me worry. How many times is he (Governor Pete Ricketts) going to try to reverse one branch of government’s decision that he couldn’t get reversed through a veto? Is he just going to write another big check and try to get it reversed that way?”

Wow. Well, if Colby didn’t already burn his bridges with the Governor, there is a giant “F-You!” screamed from the other side of the chasm.

Apparently not only does Coash not like Ricketts’ Death Penalty position, he just thinks he’s a demon on every issue.

Big shocker, though, that the Anti- forces keep harping on this — since it is easy. As has been noted here before, once Governor Ricketts took charge of the program, instead of broadening the base of support, he put it all squarely on his shoulders. That’s certainly one way to operate — but it opens him up to all of the criticism behind it.

In the mean time, as the article notes, thankfully there are still volunteers out there who believe that Nebraskans should have the opportunity to vote on the issue.


Ah, Don Walton and the Monday column.

This one is all about how because Rep. Jeff Fortenberry hasn’t come out against the Iran nuclear deal, he is “measured and thoughtful.”

So…that would make Nebraska’s two Senators, 3rd District Congressman and 2nd District GOP candidate…rash and close-minded, according to Don, right?

All of them have made fact based, specific arguments against the Iran deal. But you see, they haven’t sided with Don’s opinion, so…NO THOUGHTFULNESS FOR YOU!

Just to put this in perspective, Don also notes…

Electric baseball season at mid-summer.

Oh look! Don’s Yankees are in first place!
Well gosh, that DOES make is electric!

You see how that works?

(In the mean time… clap-clap-clapclapclap, LET’S-GO-ROY-ALS!)


OK, got it.
Leavenworth St. readers are NOT into World Emoji Day.
They are not into trying to figure out what certain Emojis are.
And they’re not into guessing games involving Emojis.

(There’s probably more to it as well, but we can at least nail those points down…)

Well, from Friday’s little game, here are your answers to what I came up with for Nebraska politician Emojis.

(We will continue the game to the bottom of the page, where you can see what the meaning is behind each Emoji…)

Pete Ricketts: ©
Deb Fischer: 🎣👆
Ben Sasse: 🚐
Dave Heineman: ⌛️
Ben Nelson: 🌽👢
Mike Johanns: 🍴
Lee Terry: 🏡
Jeff Fortenberry: 🐊
Adrian Smith: 🚜
Tom Osborne: 😇
Hal Daub: 🎫
Mike Fahey: ⚾️
Jean Stothert: 🙋
Jim Suttle: 🌊
Bob Kerrey: 🌉
Chris Beutler: 💈
Kay Orr: 🚣☝️

OK, and now the meaning behind each of those…

Pete Ricketts: © =  that’s meant to be a Chicago Cubs symbol, for the family owned team

Deb Fischer: 🎣👆 = “fisher” + 1st female senator

Ben Sasse: 🚐 = the “Ben-ebago”

Dave Heineman: ⌛️ = hourglass for the longest serving Gov

Ben Nelson: 🌽👢 = that ear and boot would represent the Cornhusker Kickback

Mike Johanns: 🍴 = eatin’ irons for the Ag secretary

Lee Terry: 🏡 = an Emoji of a nice house

Jeff Fortenberry: 🐊 = an alligator for the born and bred Louisianan

Adrian Smith: 🚜 = a tractor for the 3rd Dis rep

Tom Osborne: 😇 = some see him as a saint

Hal Daub: 🎫 = a ticket to all the events at the CenturyLink Center he championed

Mike Fahey: ⚾️ = a baseball for the stadium on his namesake street

Jean Stothert: 🙋 = the first female Mayor of Omaha

Jim Suttle: 🌊 = Mayor during the historic floods

Bob Kerrey: 🌉 = a very difficult to discern emoji of a bridge

Chris Beutler: 💈 = that’s a barber-pole, very similar to his street art

Kay Orr: 🚣☝️= an “oar” and the first female Governor in the state and first female GOP Governor in the country

See, wasn’t that fun?


There may be some later updates for you about some of the “fun” at the Gretna Days Parade. Stay tuned…


  1. KHDS says:

    Love the “head scratcher” comment by the ACLU person as it so typifies the Left. That can’t even begin to understand how ANYONE could disagree with their enlightened views.

    Up next: vicious personal attacks against anyone who opposed them and signed the petition.

    Prediction: Once the petitions are turned in to the Secretary of State the ACLU crowd will publish an online database of those who signed. Burger King heiress Jane Kleeb will then come to your house with a bullhorn and “shame” you for signing.

    Why? Because that’s how the Libs roll!

  2. Sparkles says:

    The article states:
    “All of them have made fact based, specific arguments against the Iran deal. ”

    Really.. facts… specifics?

    Conjecture and fear-mongering. That’s what Fischer and Sasse offer.

    Scientists and arms control experts around the world have heralded this to be an exceptional and historic deal.
    Experts have specifically noted declared the Inspections regime that are part the deal are nearly 100% guaranteed to detect any potential violation, regardless of the 24 day window.
    As part of the deal Iran is required to give up 97% of of it’s nuclear stockpile.
    It is allow to keep only a very small quantity of uranium and none of it enriched beyond 3.67%. For perspective; uranium used in medical research is enriched to 20% and uranium used in nuclear weapons must be enriched to 90%.
    Also, as part of the deal Iran must reduce it’s number of centrifuges from the nearly 20,000 in existence today to only 5000.

    For historical perspective, Iran had a total of 164 centrifuges when GW Bush imposed sanctions on Iran in 2003.
    It was -under- these very sanctions, the ones that so enamor Fischer and Sasse, that Iran built it’s nuclear program!
    It was also the Bush admin, led by Darth ‘The Torturer’ Cheney and his Neocon cabal that ripped a gaping hole in the mideast, leaving behind a massive power vacuum that Iran gladly stepped in to fill.

    And just a few days ago it was GW Bush’s former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, who himself had attempted nuclear negotiations with Iran, that called this deal “necessary and wise”.

    Fischer, Sasse have no “fact based, specific arguments”.

    Republicans don’t have a leg to stand on in this debate.
    Among the electorate at large, this is yet another battle they are going lose.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This deal is better than no deal. As Mr. Reagan said, “Trust – but verify.” If there’s no verification, if verification is inhibited or is in any way sketchy, sanctions go back on. I’d get those Bunker Busters out of storage too.

  4. Paul Scurvy says:

    Senator Coash reflects what a lot of rank and file Republicans are thinking. The Gov. has used his checkbook to set the Death Penalty as the #1 priority for the NEGOP. This effort is swallowing alot of time, energy, money and attention.

  5. Sparkles says:

    By the way, anybody know how goes our Governor’s attempt to divert taxpayer dollars toward smuggling illegal drugs into the country?
    Last I heard the checks have been cut and are in the hands of Indian drug purveyors. Checks presumably bearing the signature of our follicularly challenged Governor.

    Has Pete been successful in his efforts to commit a crime that should rightfully find him imprisoned?
    And what of AG Peterson? “Accessory to Felony”, would that be the charge?

    Or, more likely, this is all merely the insipid blathering of a privileged 1%’er.
    A special class of American who’s money, political connections and paid accomplices among the right wing media insure they remain protected from the tedium of accountability.

  6. Sparkles says:

    Re your fact free statement:
    “Iran gets ICBMs as part of this deal.”

    Pure and simple – BS.

    Fact –
    The agreement specifically states that restrictions on advanced military weapons sales to Iran will remain in place for five to eight years.

    This agreement and the verification measures contained within – ELIMINATES – the possibility of Iran producing or obtaining an ICBM.
    Yet another victory on behalf of the P5+1 and the Obama Administration.

  7. Sparkles is full of it.

    I’m a scientist. I’ve actually worked on isotope enrichment and isotope chemistry. Since Iran does not have to provide any accounting of its past activities, it will be possible for it to store as much highly enriched uranium as it wants. All we know currently is they got enrichment at least as far as 27%. We actually don’t know how much further they’ve gotten. It is trivial to hide enriched uranium. If I were them, I’d simply flood all my facilties with depleted uranium as UF6. Forensice analysis will simply pick that up, and any traces of enriched material will be swamped.. You can actually build a bomb with 27%, though it wouldn’t be very efficient. But heck, with a few centrifuges and patience jacking it up to real bomb grade won’t be hard.

    And in the end, all Sparkles has is ‘blame Bush’, so that’s what he reverts to.

    Their military chief today said he will not permit inspections of military facilities. So much for that. With advance planning, 24 days is time enough to hide anything, if you plan ahead. But of course it won’t be 24 days. hey will stall and stall and dare us to abrogate the agreement. Which we won’t. We’ve seen what Obama’s ‘red lines’ mean.

    The number they’re actually allowed to keep is 6000. It’s worth recalling non-proliferation ‘experts’ had written off the gas centrifuge as an enrichment method before AQ Khan used it to produce the Pakistani Bomb. 6000 P1s will be all they need.

  8. ICBMs are part of the deal. Their military chief said today ICBM development is non nuclear and therefore not subject to the agreement. He won’t permit inspection of ICBM research facilities.

  9. Millennial Mike says:

    I appreciate the NE emjois! All great picks! I think Ernie Chambers would be a good choice for the barber pole.

  10. KHDS says:


    What if Iran breached any part of this agreement?

    What does the international community do? Sue Iran?
    A rational person doesn’t strike written agreements with a terrorist state.

    Britain had a deal with Hitler. It didn’t work out so good.


  11. Jiggery-pokery says:

    I think the Emoji for Senator Chambers should be a Fur Trapper Hat. The early French Canadian trappers named the area Belle Vue because of the beauty of the view from the bluffs overlooking the Missouri River. Very filling symbol

  12. TexasAnnie says:

    Procuring execution drugs is a wholly separate enterprise from reinstating the death penalty. So it’s “kind of a head scratcher” that Ms. Conrad seemingly does not realize that BOTH reinstatement and drug procurement must occur. And even when only one of those two events occurs, proponents of the death penalty are indeed “closer to carrying out executions in Nebraska.”

    And besides, the only “promises” the referendum offers, are promises to the people of Nebraska that THEY (not the governor nor legislature) will decide the issue. It would be really cool if the referendum were allowed to proceed (without court challenge) and direct democracy flourished in Nebraska!

  13. TexasAnnie says:

    I don’t believe pundits here really KNOW anything about ICBM’s in Iran. And that includes you, scientist Gerard. I’ve decided to trust my ‘leaders’ on this issue.

  14. It would disappoint me if you didn’t, TA. If you agreed with me, I’d have to seriously consider whether I might be wrong.

    BTW, it doesn’t appear you know what an ICBM is.

  15. Here’s the crucial section from the latest IAEA report

    “While the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material at the nuclear facilities and LOFs declared by Iran under its Safeguards Agreement, the Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities”

    In other words, Iran has undeclared facilities and material, and we don’t have a clue where they are and how much uranium is in them.

    This is the cool thing; Iran can build its expertise and do research in full view of the IAEA. It can then use what it’s learned to improve processing in the undeclared facilities. Moreover, they can get away with murder in the next 18 months, because Obama is not going to endanger his legacy by declaring them out of compliance unless they shove a 90% enriched uranium Ingot up his backside.

  16. Sparkles says:


    Thanks for going to the trouble to look up the latest IAEA report, issued May 29th.
    A report enabled and guided by the stipulations contained within the Safeguards Act of the Non-Nuclear Proliferation Treaty
    A Treaty negotiated and entered into force in 1970.

    Any chance you could explain it’s relevance to the historic agreement that was just reached and awaits a 60 day review and approval by Congress ?

    Anticipating, and preempting your reply, allow me to also note –
    the newly negotiated agreement stipulates the IAEA will not only be continuously monitoring every element of Iran’s declared nuclear program, but they will also be verifying that no fissile material is covertly carted off to a secret location to build a bomb. And if IAEA inspectors become aware of a suspicious location, Iran has agreed to implement the Additional Protocol to their IAEA Safeguards Agreement, which will allow inspectors to access and inspect any site they deem suspicious. Such suspicions can be triggered by holes in the ground that could be uranium mines, intelligence reports, unexplained purchases, or isotope alarms.

  17. The Grundle King says:

    Anon @ 3:40 wrote:

    “If there’s no verification, if verification is inhibited or is in any way sketchy, sanctions go back on.”

    But all we’ve heard from the supporters of the deal is the following:

    The sanctions don’t prevent Iran from developing a weapon.
    The sanctions cannot hold indefinitely.
    The sanctions from America are meaningless if others (Russia, China) drop theirs.

    So reinstating the sanctions would be akin to doing absolutely nothing, and that’s not according to me, but again, according to people supporting the deal.

  18. Lil Mac says:

    I headed the department at Stratcom that assured the quality of the entire integrated U. S. nuclear war plan. I also spent years a few miles from Iran monitoring it. However, if people here don’t think a chemistry professor has a grasp of the nuclear enrichment process, I am sure they won’t care about my opinions either.

    Abe Lincoln once said that if a man asserts and re-asserts that two plus two doesn’t equal four, there’s nothing in the power of argument that can gag such. His opponent, a respected judge, was asserting a need for slavery. Obama today asserts a need for this Iran deal. Most veterans don’t grasp such things. Average civilians are dangerously clueless. All I can say is, RWP is correct.

    At this point, it doesn’t matter what Congress or the USA does with this deal, for it is dealt. China and Russia are opening Iran with or without the USA. The barn door is ripped off and America is left weaker on the world stage. It is Peace in our Time.

  19. Sparkles says:

    Scott Walker has a plan for Iran.

    According to the July 20th issue, of war monger Bill Kristol’s Weekly Standard – Walker is offering up to the conservative base –
    Military strikes on Iran, on the very day he is inaugurated.

    And all along we’ve been thinking The Donald had a lock on ‘Most Crazed’ among the clown car bursting with GOP contenders.

  20. The Grundle King says:

    @ Sparkles,

    The President of your choosing just reached a deal with a country that eats, sleeps, and breaths “Death to America!” (hint: all of us)…as well as Israel, and any other nations that don’t share a taste for their particular flavor of Islam. A deal that, in a few short years, will provide access to all sorts of fun weapons that don’t contain nuclear material…and in a few more short years, will provide access to weapons that DO contain nuclear material. That is, of course, if one believes the folly notion that Iran can be trusted to abide by the agreement…or that we (the laughable P5+1) could actually flex enough muscle to keep them in compliance with the agreement.

    But Scott Walker is the crazy one. Hmm-kay.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Military strikes on Iran, on the very day he is inaugurated.

    No, GK, you’re the crazy on if you are fine with this. Did you learn anything from our decade in Iraq and Afghanistan?

  22. “Any chance you could explain it’s relevance to the historic agreement that was just reached and awaits a 60 day review and approval by Congress ?”

    The IAEA will be conducting the inspections. Duh!

    The weasel word in Sparkles’ piece is ‘declared’. The IAEA says it has no idea about undeclared sites. It also has no idea if the uranium for which it has inventories is all of the uranium. There are known

    There’s no better adjunct to a secret nuclear program than an inspected nuclear program. Anything you develop in the monitored program can be used in the secret program. Moreover, with Iran about to spend a vast amount of cash, there will be no better time to expand secreat facilities, soimply because Iran is about to go on a vast spending spree and building program.

    But don’t take my word for it. Goodle this interview with the former deputy director of the IAEA.

    Ex-IAEA Leader: 24-Day Inspection Delay Will Boost Iranian Nuclear Cheating

  23. Sparkles says:

    As a scientist, one would think it a bit demeaning to have to resort to finding your validation in the online-only Washington Free Beacon blog.
    A Republican lobbyist founded (in 2012), admittedly catering to the far right and universally recognized to be a scruples-free source of all things conspiracy.

    Go ahead, google it. Try googling:
    washington free beacon china arming hawaiian’s

    Actually, it’s story written by the very same author who penned the article to which you so kindly referred us.
    Bet you didn’t know Hawaiian separatists, with the aid of Chinese weapons, are about to break free from the oppression of the mainland.
    It’s all in the Washington Free Beacon.

    What, is Glenn Beck’s “The Blaze” no longer producing the material you need?
    You know, I hear Alec Jones has really stepped up his game of late. I bet he could even point you to a few abandoned Walmarts, right here in ‘Murica, promised to be hiding spinning centrifuges producing the nuclear material destined for use in the coming Obama Invasion.
    A nuclear armageddon of vast stretches of conservative America, all of it lead by an army of ‘terror babies’, the ones Louie Gohmert warned us about.
    (go ahead, google it: terror babies conspiracy)

  24. Are you saying that the Deputy Director of the IAEA didn’t say that, Sparkles?

    Of course you aren’t. You’re attempting to discredit it by association. But of course, Heinonin said many of the same things to Deutsche Welle On June 17 “Iran has not changed its nuclear course” DW is of course a hioghly respected German public broadcaster.

    Is someone paying you for this, Sparkles? Because I’d hate to think you were posting this bilge for free.

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