Get off my lawn!

Ben_Nelson_EthanolWelcome to Throwback Thursday (as every Thursday has become on The Facebook.)

This one from the Editorial Page Editor of the New York Times, Andrew Rosenthal:

When Lehman asked Rosenthal to give his opinion on the “most ridiculous” Republican candidates in the race, Rosenthal named Donald Trump and “Ben Nelson.”

“Everything Ben Nelson says is ridiculous,” said Rosenthal.

Now Leavenworth St. isn’t here to quibble with the opinions of the mighty New York Times on the subject of Ben Nelson.

But it is possible he meant Ben “Carson”.

Oh, and speaking of “ridiculous” were you aware that Rosenthal is a “truther” about…D-Day? As in “did it really happen?


THIS is the guy who thinks Hillary is awesome and all the GOP candidates are dopes.

(Oh, and he hates Ben Nelson.)

From here on out we will get all of our Editorials from the York News Times


I hope you took, or will take, a few minutes of your commute or your walk or your workout to listen to my most recent podcast with Mike Kennedy on The Wheels Down Politics Show.

Mike and I talked about his 13 years of experience on the Millard School Board, and some of his thoughts on the various education topics these days.

Here is a short excerpt on the topic of Charter School:

I’m not a huge fan of Charter Schools.

I get why people want Charters. Charter Schools can have very different forms, but one of the forms they’re trying to push in the state is basically have an independently run Charter that’s run by a private entity — which could be nonprofit or for profit — and basically that they receive the funds and control the property, and run the school and set the curriculum.

Here’s my concern:
There’s Charter Schools that do a wonderful law. And there are Charter Schools that do a horrible job. And I think the law that (Governor Ricketts) was supporting, that was offered by Senator Larson, allowed the authorization of 5 Charter Schools in Douglas County.

Here’s my issue with it:
We have good schools in this state. And we have the ability of choice by doing inter-district transfers — like Millard kids going to OPS or Westside and vice versa — in fact about 2,000 OPS kids go to Millard Schools at this time for their school choice.

If you open 5 schools and you say, “it’s going to all these wonderful things of educating kids and getting kids out of poverty,” and all that; What about the kids in the other 55 elementary schools in the OPS school district?

They don’t have an answer for that.

The problem is Accountability. You have to set standards. If someone is receiving taxpayer dollars, you need to set standards, hold accountability — whether that’s state take over the district, giving sanctions or something like that.

Nebraska has wholly — wholly — neglected that aspect.

And immediately following those comments, you can hear Kennedy’s thoughts on OPS’s Nathan Hale Magnet Middle School for Leadership and Social Justice, and their abominable test scores from three years ago.

I really enjoyed this interview with Mike, and I think we will be hearing more from him in the future.

And just to make it easier for you, you can hear the whole thing by clicking here:


If you weren’t following on the Twitter yesterday, do take 2 minutes to watch the latest video, resulting from The Donald giving out Senator Lindsey Graham’s cell phone number:

My favorite is the mini-pizzas also in the toaster oven.


And as long as I’m screaming at you kids flat-brimmed hats, I’ll just spit out that I’m finally tired of the “new Husker unis for one game!

Yes it was cute and new and all that a few years ago. But now it’s just a goofball reason to sell jerseys and frankly is just more of the Oregon Duck-ification of college football.

That being said, I still like the throwbacks from the 60’s.

But I say ENOUGH of the Dallas Knights and their uniforms from Any Given Sunday.

And turn down your dadgum “rock” music too!


  1. Anonymous says:

    Hey – Hey You – You
    Get offa my lawn!

    I miss Agnew. A craven individual, but like more than a few convicted, political felons of his vintage he retained a dim sense of class even after he resigned in disgrace. I’d rather have Agnew to kick around than Donald Trump. The Republican’s don’t deserve Trump. No one, no group of people is that bad.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Let me see if I have this right:

    Kennedy is opposed to charters because they “don’t have an answer” on what to do with every child currently stuck in a failing OPS school.

    Where is the accountability for OPS, Mr. Kennedy? To whom is OPS responsible for the hundreds of millions of tax dollars they collect every year, only to consistently fail these children that charter schools would aim to help?

    Mr. Kennedy is speaking like a pure education bureaucrat here, who wants to protect the system of tax money pouring in to failing public schools. When a charter school fails, it closes. When a public school fails, it warrants a “state take over of the district” and receives more money and attention.

    Bureaucrats like Kennedy always preach accountability so long as it discourages charter schools and ignores the epic failures of many brick and mortar public schools.

  3. To 1:32 says:

    That’s called an “excerpt”, jackass.
    Try listening to the entire interview, and you’ll hear Kennedy talk about those issues.

  4. Sparkles says:

    It’s impossible to imagine anyone, with the exception of the ideologically imprisoned, could read that recollection of a phone call (‘D-Day Truther’) and not immediately recognize Rosenthal’s reply was sardonic.

    sar·don·ic (särˈdänik)
    grimly mocking or cynical.

    And to top it off.. using a quote taken from Tucker Carlson’s ‘Daily Caller’ to impugn the veracity of the NYT?
    Ha! That’s rich.

  5. To 1:37 says:

    If Kennedy did indeed say:

    “If you open 5 schools and you say, “it’s going to all these wonderful things of educating kids and getting kids out of poverty,” and all that; What about the kids in the other 55 elementary schools in the OPS school district? They don’t have an answer for that.”

    Then I don’t need to listen to the podcast to know that it’s full of obtuse excuses to oppose charter schools. Sometimes an excerpt is all you need to know a thing.

    But enjoy the name calling. That’s what the education bureaucrats and the big unions are known for.

  6. D66 says:

    I listened to it.
    Kennedy says he doesn’t like charters because there is no accountability.
    Says he could or would be in favor of vouchers.
    Says there was no good testing in OPS and their scores are terrible, but thinks they can eventually get better with the new leadership.
    If you’re all for charter schools this probably doesn’t make you happy either way.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Maybe Kennedy understands that charter schools take from public school funding and since he is a member of a public schoold board of the Millard School district he would be an idiot to support charter schools to essentially short hurt those he serves. Unlike, some that sit on the OPS Board who try to pretend they are for public schools while getting bed with those who are out to siphon off funding for private gain under the guise of doing it for … the words of Michael Savage….the cheeeeldren.

  8. Punditty says:

    Trump is polling up because his refusal to apologize hits a nerve. American’s are tired of being forced to wear a PC hair shirt, rather like post WWI Germans were tired of wearing their punitive treaty. The had a loud candidate who also refused to apologize and they loved him. Constant apologies here, however, may perhaps strike deeper in Americans because PC is internally generated.

    Be careful of assuming people who can competitively get wealth and keep wealth are stupid. They might indeed be political dunces. But unlikely. They don’t win economic competitions by being easy to read. It is safer to assume your opponents put up a folksy or clumsy or angry façade. It worked for Abe Lincoln and others. Voters aren’t very rational creatures.

  9. Scott Lautenbaugh says:

    Yes, there is an answer to Kennedy’s supposed concern. A couple. 1. The kids in those 5 schools are better off than they would have been. 2. It puts the lie to the “poverty excuse” for poor performance. Poverty and related issues are an obstacle– but not an absolute barrier– to education. Too many in the status quo either see it as a barrier, or use it as an excuse for poor outcomes. If a few charters start overcoming, everyone will need to step up his or her game– no more excuse.

    And the argument that charters take funds from public schools doesn’t fly. Charters ARE public schools. Kids going from OPS to a charter with their dollars are no different than kids going from OPS to Millard with their dollars– and somehow we tolerate the latter now.

  10. Scott Lautenbaugh says:

    And if you think charters have no accountability under modern charter laws, you are simply mistaken. They are more closely monitored than existing public schools– and if they fail, they lose their charter (they close).

  11. Dinosaur Deniers says:

    If someone wants to spend their own money to send their child to some school that will teach them that the earth is 6,000 years old they are free to spend their own money doing it, I don’t want my tax dollars going to that nonsense.

  12. The Real Issue says:

    What is wrong with Kennedy’s assertion that all public schools should held to high standards???? He further says that id the schools are failing then vouchers could be used. That seems pretty smart to me. Vouchers would offer more choice than Charter only alternatives. Didn’t Reagan support vouchers?

  13. Scott Lautenbaugh says:

    I represent no charter clients, but so what if I did? Would it make what I said untrue? And there’s nothing wrong with vouchers, either– it’s just another path. They aren’t exclusive of each other.

  14. TexasAnnie says:

    Charters and vouchers, if available at all, should be available to all! Here’s what your Constitution has to say: “The Legislature shall not pass local or special laws in any of the following cases, … Providing for the management of public schools.” (Art. III, Sec. 18, Neb. Const.)

    And yeah, I know that OPS and surrounding school districts have a “Learning Community” not available across the state. What I don’t understand is how that creation got around this particular provision. What is it about Nebraska(ns) that tilts toward inequity?

  15. Fort Street Fury says:

    Who ever said anything about opening charter schools that teach any history/science contrary to facts? That’s not even a thing. Charter schools aren’t about opening fundamentalist anything schools and I’m not sure why liberals are so opposed to charter schools. Charter schools have proven time and time again to do a great job for all students. Nobody can make a single argument against charter schools that doesn’t have a stronger counterpoint- unless their point is that charter schools hurt teachers unions. That argument is rock solid.

  16. Anonymous says:

    In other news, Putin just decreed that the Russian state will have 1 million employees, no more. He just fired 110,000 people. Nobody in America has that kind of ice water in their veins, not even The Donald. I don’t know if that’s an example of leadership or management, but it appears decisive.

  17. midtownguy says:

    Hay 8:21. I guess if you want that kinda of leadership. You should at least know name of that type of leadership/government it’s Totalitarianism. You may want to look it up

  18. Sparkles says:

    A rigorous March 2015 study by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes, or CREDO, suggests that charters do particularly well in urban areas, and best when they focus on disadvantaged and historically underserved student subgroups.
    You can find the study, or related stories about the study by googling: CREDO urban charter

    Does anybody believe that if charter schools in NE were to be utilized for their highest purpose, serving disadvantaged and underserved student populations, that the NE GOP would be such vociferous proponents?

  19. Charter School Scandal says:

    Go google Ohio and Charter schools. Looks like the results of several charter schools that received F’s were omitted deliberately from accountability reports.

  20. Scott Lautenbaugh says:

    To: Sparkles–

    I introduced the charter bill twice– it was limited to Douglas County and/or Class V districts (OPS). This year’s version was too. So, who do you think it was meant to serve, anyway? Rather than casting aspersions on the motives of the Republicans who supported the bill (when the very language of the bill seems to address your concern/allegation/whatever), shouldn’t you be wondering why so few D’s are supportive? You correctly cite the CREDO study– you know what they found. Where is the support? Where is the outrage? Where are you?

  21. Sparkles says:

    Touche’, Mr. Lautenbaugh.

    Wow, how remarkably refreshing.
    An informed, fact based reply.

    And to answer your question: “why so few D’s are supportive? ”

    Of course the answer is: Teachers Union. (of which Gov D-D-Dave was a big benefactor)
    The D’s are captive to the teacher’s union and it’s shameful.
    Although I don’t love unions, I don’t hate them either. Clearly their power lead, sometimes, to excesses that hurt private industry.
    But unions are almost solely responsible for creation of America’s middle class.
    Their victories in the 50’s and 60’s (“the good ol’ days” for which conservatives pine) extended beyond union-specific employment and lifted and entire generation of hard working Americans to an equality that is likely to never again exist in our nation.
    An era when the hard work and dedication of 1 individual would buy a house, raise a family, put a couple kids through college and fund a retirement.
    You can thank unions for that.

    And only the truly naive would deny our public education system is broken and has been for many decades. I’m of the opinion that millions of teachers should have long ago been unceremoniously introduced to other careers.
    Of course, when ‘accountability’ is introduced to a conversation dealing with school reform, the loudest cries often emanate from the right. (see: Common Core)

  22. Scott Lautenbaugh says:

    I disagree with your last statement. I was a non-combatant in the common-core struggles, but those who oppose it don’t oppose it because of their opposition to accountability — and there are many roads to accountability that don’t necessitate common core. The opposition to accountability is coming from the exact same place the lion’s share of opposition to reform comes from– and you nailed it above.

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