And the next Speaker is…

Pete Cubs 01As I type this, Rep. Kevin McCarthy has taken his name out of the running for Speaker of the House of Representatives.

At this point, no other name has come to the fore.

Jason Chaffetz (UT-03) and Daniel Webster (FL-10) were on the ballot with McCarthy, but at this point anyone could rise up. (And all sources with Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan say there’s “no way” he will run.)

National Review’s Joel Gehrke (brother of Ben Sasse lieutenant Jordan Gehrke) wrote in the National Review that Peter Roskam (IL-06) was planning something more long-term.

Also floated:
Greg Walden (OR-02)
Mike Pompeo (KS-04)
Jim Jordan (OH-04).

But at this point, no one seems to have a firm grasp on what will happen next. Though that could all change the moment this is posted.

And, FWIW, Jonah Goldberg has suggested Newt, Ben Sasse has suggested Arthur Brooks and Donald Trump has floated…Ivanka.

That would be a CLASSY Speaker’s office…

I’m following CNN Congressional correspondent @DeirdreWalshCNN in the Capitol for updates.


W is for…

As many of you were watching the Cubs win over the Pirates in the National League Wildcard game last night, you may have noticed this scene at the end of the game, featuring nearly the entire Ricketts family — the owners of the Cubs:

Ricketts Fam Cubs 01
Screen-cap courtesy of an L.St. Super Fan

And up top is a closeup of Nebraska’s Governor and First Lady enjoying the festivities.

As Deena Winter at Nebraska Watchdog tries to track down records of the Governor’s travel and overtime for the State Patrol, she may just want to stake out Wrigley and Busch Stadiums over the next week or so.



And speaking of the Governor, Governing Magazine did a review of the nation’s freshman Governors from the 2014 election.

Upon their review of Nebraska they wrote…


Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican, governs a solidly Republican state, but the nominally nonpartisan and unicameral legislature has stymied him on several key issues. He opposed a gas tax increase, the issuance of driver’s licenses for children of undocumented immigrants who came to the United States at a young age, and a repeal of the death penalty. Ricketts vetoed all three measures but was overridden each time. It was “a very bad start for a first-year governor,” said Paul Landow, a University of Nebraska-Omaha political scientist. “A savvy politician would have picked the battles more carefully.

That may be one way to put it.

Then again, Governing also called former Democrat Mayor Mike Fahey’s Chief of Staff a “political scientist.” (I’m picturing him with a lab coat on and smoking beakers full of polling data and candidate stool samples…)

What they didn’t call him was a “Democrat partisan political hack”.

But, you know…


…But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night

The papers are reporting that the lawyers for the Attorney General Nebraskans for the Death Penalty are seeking a dismissal of the lawsuit which seeks to block the Death Penalty Repeal-repeal vote. They claim because the Pro-Death Penalty forces didn’t list Governor Ricketts as a “Sponsor”, the petitions should be thrown out.

No one has really written it, but I guess I would be surprised if such a motion (by attorney, and former Nebraska GOP Chair, J.L. Spray) has much of a chance of success.

You pretty much HAVE to file those types of motions. But, especially in a case like this, it would be surprising if it succeeded. Though I base that on my reading of the Nebraska Supreme Court decision in a similar case.

Then again, I ain’t a lawyer in the case. You never know what might happen.


Fort for Fiorina

The Carly Fiorina PAC today announced that Nebraska 1st District Rep. Jeff Fortenberry has endorsed Carly Fiorina for President, and he will be a co-chair of her Nebraska committee along with Nebraska Regent Howard Hawks and his wife Rhonda.

From the release, Fort said:

“I’m supporting Carly Fiorina for President of the United States. Carly is clear, she is honest, and she is strong. With America facing economic malaise, political dysfunction, and cultural challenges, I am confident that Carly will rebuild our economy, repurpose our government, and renew America. I believe that Carly’s creative determination will make us proud.”

At this point 3rd District Rep. Adrian Smith has not endorsed anyone, though it is possible that he may.

And who knows who Brad Ashford might endorse.
We do know that he was a big fan of John Boehner…


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  1. Ricky says:

    No matter who says Ricketts is one terrible governor they would be correct. Logic says a true statement is true no matter who states it.
    Rickett’s has wasted political capital (and his money) for the bloodthirsty death penalty push. And he has accomplished nothing. Chambers and the Unicam ate his lunch.
    Maybe Nancy Pelosi will be Speaker again? That would be terrific. Then things would get done.


  2. Sparkles says:

    For the record..

    Paul Landow
    Assistant Professor — Department of Political Science, University of Nebraska at Omaha

    Education –
    University of Nebraska-Lincoln
    Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Political Science and Government

    “A political scientist is someone who studies government, political processes and political issues in a scientific way, often within the context of an academic institution. This field of study encompasses many things besides the formal institutions of government.”

    • Sparkles,

      That’s nice that Landow is working for UNO.
      And that’s awesome that he has a degree in “Political Science”.

      But to use the word “scientist” in the political realm is goofy — and this coming from one with a Politcal Science degree. Politics is an “art”, not a “science”. And most schools give you a Bachelor of Arts in Poli Sci — not a Bachelor of Science. Feel free to call him a Poli Sci professor, or whatever else. But a “scientist”, he ain’t.

      All that being said, you can take the man out of the Democrat Political Machine, but you can’t take the Democrat Political Machine out of the man.

      You can post that on the Google.

  3. Joe Bob says:

    I believe the papers are reporting that “attorneys for a pro-death penalty group” have filed a motion to dismiss. JL Spray doesn’t represent the AG. He represents Nebraskans for the Death Penalty and its board members. I would guess the AG will be representing the Secretary of State.

  4. Sparkles says:

    I respect your opinion and although few would disagree that poli sci is often more art than sci, the fact remains that there are, and have been for decades, gaggles & gaggles of folks running around our nation sporting the legitimate title of Political Scientist.

    The American Political Science Association agrees. Following is a prominent heading, cut and pasted from their main page:

    “Examples of Careers for Political Scientists
    The following are small sample of careers for political scientists. For more on the career potential for those with degrees in political science, check out the career booklets and pamphlets available from APSA.”

    Also in agreement is the United State Dept of Labor; Bureau of Labor Statistics – Occupational Outlook Handbook, which has a category specifically dedicated to the job of Political Scientist.
    For the occupation of Political Scientist, it lists:
    Median Pay (2012) – $102,000
    Entry Level Education – Master’s Degree
    Number of Jobs in 2012 – 6600
    Job Outlook, 2012-22 – 21% (faster than average)

    You may not like the man, but Dr. Paul Landow is indeed correctly referred to as a Political Scientist.

    • Sparkles,

      I don’t doubt that there are, and have been, scads of blowhards with Poli Sci degrees that want to call themselves “scientists”.
      But the aren’t.
      (No matter how much they get paid.)

      Now there are those who work in the area of, say, demographics or statistics, maybe polling that could use the moniker “scientist”. But the majority of what one studies in Poli Sci classes is the Art of Politics, not Science.

      It’s sort of like one of my favorite politicos (a much better term, frankly) used to say, when he’d come to Omaha and stay at the old motel on 78th & Dodge:
      “I’m staying at the New Tower…which is neither.”

      And thanks for reading.

  5. Sparkles says:

    Republican Congressman Charlie Dent (PA) said conservatives “just fragged Kevin McCarthy”.

    “The challenge for our conference is quite simple. That we need to assemble bipartisan coalitions to pass any important legislation around here,” Dent continued. “Whoever’s going to be the next speaker should not appease this group of rejectionists who have no interest in governing.”

  6. repentinglawyer says:

    Sparkles, Social Sciences are not sciences in the traditional sense and the attempt to imitate physics has done more harm than good, but the same is true of economics, and the neoAustrian in particular is like theology without Divine Revelation.

  7. Macdaddy says:

    McCarthy fragged himself. His comments about the Benghazi committee were him pulling the trigger.

    Unlike Congressman Dent, who is apparently wetting his pants because the next Speaker isn’t in place yet and apparently has no idea how the House works, I am more than happy with the Republicans taking time to get things right rather than the current rush to judgement.

  8. Sparkles says:

    “His comments about the Benghazi committee were ..”

    ..the first honest words in years to have emerged from the hostage crisis situation that is the Teapublican House.
    Hence, the total chaos we’re witnessing today.

    And Charlie Dent knows exactly how the House – is supposed to – work. He’s been Congress for a decade and prior to that served in the PA State Legislature for 14 years.
    Dent has been around long enough to remember a Republican party that embraced fact, respected science, searched for solutions and understood the the art of thoughtful compromise.
    A party that understood that shutting down government was an act of moral bankruptcy and abject failure – NOT – a cause for celebration or a vehicle for fundraising.

  9. bynd says:

    That is the second or third time on this blog I have seen the phrase “shutting down government” as a derogatory term. Why is that such a bad thing?

  10. Macdaddy says:

    Maybe you and Dent need a refresher on how the House works, Sparkles. In the House, majority rules. No bipartisanship needed. What is needed is a clear vision and someone who understands how the government is supposed to work. Boehner didn’t. Dent doesn’t. And you have your head so far up Obama’s ass that apparently you don’t either. The Benghazi committee uncovered outrageous abuse of the First Amendment by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Hussein Obama. It uncovered the unauthorized, illegal, immoral, dangerous, and unwise use of a private server by the woman who would be our Queen. It also uncovered the fact that not only is Hillary not ready to answer that 3 am phone call, she isn’t even ready for one at 5pm. Also, it uncovered the blatant disregard for the safety of those entrusted to her care. In other words, Hillary is not ready, never has been ready, and never will be ready for any position where she has real power. Sorry not sorry to burst your bubble of delusion.

  11. pushbroom says:

    Being Speaker is like being head attendant at the asylum. Look what it did to Boehner. He turned into one long nervous breakdown. Majority/Minority Leader is much more fun.

    Also, Sweeper, I think you missed a spot with your broom.

    Trump did not float his daughter’s name jokingly for Speaker. Someone tweeted that and Trump responded with a fatherly, “What a great idea, she is a total winner!”

    But since you mentioned Ivanka, in fairness her honors degree in economics from Wharton is from a better and more demanding school than all but four of the GOP candidates running for President attended. Just saying,

  12. Sparkles says:

    Robert Costa tweets:

    Rep. Peter King tells me that members are crying in cloakroom, unable to handle the unrest and confusion. “A banana republic,” he says.

    GOP in total melt down.
    Clown show.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Question: What is the purpose of a House Speaker being an elected member of Congress?

    How harmful is it to the process that holds our national purse strings to have the Speaker constantly distracted and pressured by a need to be reelected?

    A two year cycle means Congressmen never stop running, fundraising and flying home every weekend to press the flesh and beg for bucks. And if they aren’t actively campaigning, they are always keeping an eye out less for the nation’s needs than for their need to be reelected. You’d hope they would care for our nation but self-interest is paramount. No one expects them to be suicidal.

    Tom Foley was Speaker 1989-95 but Foley lost his 16th race for his own congressional seat at home. If a guy with 15 election wins isn’t safe, no one is.

    But far more importantly, whether a Speaker wins relection or like Foley doesn’t, every Speaker who needs to be reelected never can apply himself fully to being Speaker simply because he is always a candidate too. And as a candidate, his home voters don’t give a flying fig for him running the show in the House. They want him to bring home the bacon for them at the expense of all the other congressmen who elected him Speaker.

    Indeed, how is it not a conflict of interest and bad management to be at once the Speaker and a Congressman?

    Our Constitution allows a Speaker not to be an elected Congressman probably because it’s a unworkable conflict of interest to be both.

  14. TexasAnnie says:

    Well Anonymous above, like many people I assumed the Speaker HAD TO BE a Congressperson.
    Now that this has been corrected, I realize that you make a very good point. But if the Speaker does not arise from within the ranks, what keeps the Speaker loyal to the institution? Couldn’t one person then be powerful enough to thwart the will of the majority?

  15. TexasAnnie says:

    Carly Fiorina excited my political instincts the first time out, but her anti-abortion stance during the second debate turned me off. And now that she has continuously repeated the LIE about a live kicking baby being butchered, I doubt I could vote for her. And since my preferred choice, Rand Paul has run out of money, I’m looking at the Republican and Democrat candidates more carefully…
    I need a constitutionalist who believes in tax justice. Anyone, anyone?

  16. TexasAnnie says:

    Oh, and Sweeper, I see you pulled a RWP in the comments section above. Usage of the term “political scientist” is well established and the meaning is well understood. Yet you took umbrage…

  17. Anonymous says:

    I agree. The guy has a PhD in Political SCIENCE. Go ahead and disagree with him on every issue, but if anyone can be called the OFTEN-used term “political scientist” it’s someone with a PhD in the subject.

  18. Mark Andrews says:

    Science: mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy and the like. Observable, measurable, repeatable, testable, falsifiable (sic), verifiable. The fundamental, physical sciences with a demonstrable mathematical basis.

    Pseudo-science: everything else. This includes Political “Science.”

  19. The Grundle King says:

    So TA, you’re mad about Fiorina describing a ‘live, kicking baby’ being butchered.

    I guess you wouldn’t have a problem if it was a live, non-kicking baby being butchered. Constitutional rights are, as everyone knows, fully dependent upon your ability to kick.

  20. Sparkles says:

    Bill O’Reilly, yesterday, on Benghazi-Benghazi! –
    “If you don’t think the Benghazi thing is political, of course it’s political,” he said on Fox News’ “The Five.

    “..if you think those guys, those Republicans on that panel don’t want to bring down Hillary Clinton, you’re six years old. Because they do. So it is political,” O’Reilly continued.

    Benghazi –
    Seven investigations, 13 hearings, 50 briefings, 25,000 pages of documents released and millions of taxpayer dollars wasted.

    On November 22, 2014 the -Republican lead- U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence concluded their intensive two year investigation of the politically charged Benghazi incident, determining that there was NO intelligence failure, NO delay in sending a CIA rescue team, NO missed opportunity for a military rescue, and NO evidence the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria.
    Repeating – a Republican lead investigative panel debunked each and every politically motivated, hairbrained, rabble rousing, fund raising Benghazi theory and accusation.
    The report concluded the CIA and the military acted properly in responding to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.
    The reported also concluded, decisively, that there was no wrongdoing by Obama administration officials.

    Read it.

    On May 12, 2013 former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates forcefully defended the Obama administration against charges that it did not do enough to prevent the tragedy in Benghazi, telling CBS’ “Face the Nation” that some critics of the administration have a “cartoonish impression of military capabilities and military forces.”

    Watch it.

  21. bynd says:

    I must agree with Sparkles on this one. What good does any congressional inquiry do when those who are being investigated lie, wipe computers clean and plead the 5th. While all others go into a CYA mode. Corruption investigating corruption.

  22. Lil Mac says:

    “If the Speaker does not arise from within the ranks, what keeps the Speaker loyal to the institution? Couldn’t one person then be powerful enough to thwart the will of the majority?”

    Such questions brim with illogic perhaps because we all are habituated to this dysfunction.

    Every Congress elects its Speaker by majority vote and he’s loyal to it or they impeach him. And by “majority” I mean 51% of those voting. Parties aren’t monolithic. If loyalty mattered, McCarthy would be the Speaker today.

    A tiny percent of Americans in one congressional district obviously cannot safeguard the House against a Speaker’s tyranny. The House itself does that. Moreover, we wrongly presume the jobs of House members and Speaker are similar. Not at all. A Speaker’s job is as executive as a Congressman’s job is legislative.

    The Speaker is like a CEO of the HOR. Yet, throughout history, every Speaker has been required to deal with both the complexities of executive management of House legislation, while also expected to never deal with any complexity that cannot be distilled down to the baby-food his voters at home can swallow, lest he end up like Foley.

    That is like requiring a CEO to be both appointed by a Board of Directors and to also be elected every two years by a majority of the company’s janitors and office drones.

  23. TexasAnnie says:

    Thank-you Grundle. You are helping me understand why you care(d) so little when the constitutional right to a free and appropriate public education was being denied in Nebraska. At least some of those children cheated could not even kick…

  24. The Grundle King says:

    “free and appropriate”

    So was it that they were denied the right to a free education? Or to an appropriate education? Free is a pretty well-defined term, with no real wiggle room.

    Appropriate, on the other hand, is much more subjective. While I understand that you feel as though the education was not ‘appropriate’, I also suspect that there is little Nebraska could have done to meet your expectations…seeing as you were being held hostage in our fine state for the duration of your residency.

  25. TexasAnnie says:

    For Grundle: The “free and appropriate” part comes from federal special education law. The DEMAND that Nebraska (all states for that matter since all have such constitutional language) provide a system of public education “for all persons between the ages of five and twenty-one” comes from the combination of Art. VII, Sec. 1 and Art. XXX, Sec. 1. It’s a demand, not a request.

    In the awful case that I just can’t clear from my mind, Grundle, there were children with severe disability that the local school districts would not admit because they knew the state would not reimburse. And they had an outdated statute about ‘residency’ clobbering up the resolution. This injustice went on from 1997 until 2000. The legislators all knew it was happening; I made sure of that!
    But they would not fix the errant statute. So the NDE tried to write rules and regs. But Ben Nelson would not sign off on the new regs. You should note that Ben had offered and backed passage of LB742, 1995, which capped SPED expenditures without regard to enrollment numbers or educational need. Just a simple straight-forward ‘growth cap’ that did not apply to any other category of educational spending. Kinda like the 2 1/2″ growth allowed for SPED this biennium while every other category of educational spending gets 3%! So it should be no surprise that local school districts who would not be reimbursed by the state, which in turn was not being fully reimbursed by the feds, began refusing enrollment for students with questionable residency.

    In my perfect world, the impacted school districts would have aligned themselves against the errant governor and legislature. But they did not. Instead, they aligned themselves for pay raises… Grundle this happened to me at a time when I really did not believe it COULD HAPPEN. I really did not believe that a legislative body would collude together to defy it’s state (and federal) constitutions. But I assure, they did collude. Either openly: Chambers sneered at me for believing Art. VII, Sec. 1. Or by simply refusing to act. No other event throughout my entire life has effected my regard for government “authority” to such extent. And I just can’t go back to an innocent state wherein I believe I should be paying taxes for the “common good.”

    Oh, and don’t worry about my own child. She got everything she was entitled to under both federal and state law. My entreaty has always been about the children taken into state custody, for they might simply be moved to a school district refusing enrollment…

    And then there is/was BSDC! But that’s another ongoing chapter.

  26. TexasAnnie says:

    Sorry. I should have typed Art. III, Sec. 30. Art. XXX is wrong!!! But the point I was making is right on target. The legislature, in obedience to Art. VII, Sec. 1, had to act on Art. III, Sec. 30. Yet it refused to act.
    That’s logic.

  27. TexasAnnie says:

    I’ve got the exact language for you Grundle —

    Art. III, Sec. 30: The Legislature shall pass all laws necessary to carry into effect the provisions of this constitution.

    Art. VII, Sec. 1: The Legislature shall provide for the free instruction in the common schools of this state of all persons between the ages of five and twenty-one years.

    Clear it up for ‘ya?

  28. The Grundle King says:

    Thanks for pointing out the source of the ‘free’ part…now if you can just help clear me up on that whole ‘appropriate’ bit.

  29. TexasAnnie says:

    Well, you wouldn’t want someone with an IQ so low you can’t measure it sitting in a physics class, would you? The “appropriate” part is necessary so that schools will teach at learnable levels for all students. In Omaha, my daughter attended a school designed specifically for children with severe and/or multiple disabilities. I thought that was great! But the school district was getting pressure to ‘mainstream’ all students. And then we got ‘NCLB’ and we were told that all children were headed to college! What utter nonsense. But you must realize that most SPED students, in fact the very vast majority, just need help in one or two academic subjects. Most do not need special mobility equipment and training materials. But those that do, really do, and cannot do with anything less than what doctors and therapists deem “appropriate.” And such students have a right, under federal law, to have the appropriate equipment supplied in the classroom. When Ben was Governor, he took the position that such children will never be taxpayers, and the feds had a two decade history of NOT reimbursing their promised 40% excess cost, so… Also at about that time the Colorado Governor said something to the effect that he would not spend $X amount (I forget the amount he stated) “to simply teach a child to roll over.” I believe he was speaking on behalf of the Western Governors Assoc. Anyway it was a long time ago but I still feel the sting of having to hear on talk radio and read OW-H opinions lecturing that children like my child are worthless drains on society.

    I love my child, Grundle. And because of my love for my child I began to care about children like my child wherever they were presented. And I began to notice those who were clean, not fearful, and responsive to affection as compared to those who were not. Almost without exception, those who were not, were wards of the state. So I got busy! I began making inquiries about the cost of public education. To my dismay I learned that the highest student cost in the OPS district was at my daughter’s school. I say ‘dismay’ because some Superintendents or their lobbyists of other school districts liked to point to the per pupil cost at the school as though it was not appropriate. But Grundle, unless you segregate this very minority population, as OPS did, you can’t share special equipment, learning materials, therapists and expertise. I never wanted my child mainstreamed and she never was mainstreamed. But I fear that children in her circumstance today are not so fortunate.

    Thank-you for you civil inquiry. There is a lot to know about this minority population and unless you’re livin’ it, you probably just don’t get it! There are truly effective means for educational efficiency in this realm. But we have to give up the nonsense of mainstreaming…

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