Lotsa news outta Lincoln

A busy day for the Governor and his staff before he jets off to Chicago and the Orthopedist to the Stars…

Governor Pete Ricketts and Speaker Galen Hadley announced today that they will be sending out “Property Tax Relief Notices” to Nebraska Taxpayers.

They’ll look like this:


Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 1.41.50 PM

But wait (you say), these aren’t the official tax bills! Couldn’t they just have sent out a press release and said “notice that your tax bill is lower on your current bill,” or somesuch?

As the Gov says in his release:

The credit is listed on tax bills sent by county treasurers to property owners.  The language used to describe the credit varies from county-to-county, and it is not always clear where the credit originated from, what the purpose of the credit is, or how it impacts the tax bill.

“These notices are important to helping taxpayers understand the full impact of the tax relief they are being provided through the Property Tax Credit Relief Fund.”

Well that…and it’s a worthless political endeavor if you don’t tell everyone what they got.

I was reminded a few months back how a former Governor provided a major tax relief, but decided that it would be too expensive to send out over half a million postcards just to gain the political benefit of a notice.

And that move turned out to be politically penny-wise and pound foolish.

No doubt Ricketts has either been educated on the subject and is ignoring the short term costs for the political gain.

Smart move.



The Governor also made announcements on two appointments.

First, he appointed Brian Kruse as the new Douglas County Election Commissioner. Many people find Kruse to be extremely competent, energetic and a good choice overall. One thing that is interesting is the release that the Governor sent out noting Kruse, “most recently served as treasurer for State Senator Beau McCoy’s gubernatorial campaign.”

Ah, that. The Rickettses have often been seen as neglecting any post-election fence-mending, and one wonders if, beyond Kruse’s qualifications, they also wanted to show that they could reach across the invisible aisle within the party.

That remains to be seen. But while the handling of the firing…er…non-reappointment of Dave Phipps was somewhat ham-fisted, the Kruse in this gig should be a good start.


The other appointment that the Governor announced is Courtney Dentlinger as the Economic Development Director. Dentlinger, of Norfolk, was thought by many to be the “leader in the clubhouse” at the point of the announcement of the three finalists for the job.

The question though, was why announce the “finalists” for the job when you’re just going to give your pick two days later? It is not as if someone out of the loop had a chance to vet the three people. All they really did was come out and say, “Here are the two people we didn’t pick. Good luck in your old job.”

At this point anyway, one hopes that Ms. Dentlinger doesn’t run into the potential buzzsaw that could be Cabellas…


Pretty sweet part-time gig

Mike Boyle, Jim Cavanaugh, Clare Duda and Jim Rogers of the Douglas County Board gave themselves a 33% raise this morning for their part-time jobs.

According to the OWH:

Board members’ annual salary, now $37,304 a year, will increase to $43,594 in 2017, and then to $49,884 in 2018.

Boyle had said he wanted to catch up Douglas County Board salaries with Lancaster County Board pay.

Is he kidding?

Because he had Board envy with Lancaster County?
Because he needs to keep up with the Lancasters?
Because he was threatening to take his talents to Lincoln otherwise?
Because otherwise they will have a difficult time recruiting people to run for a job that requires occasional votes, that no one really knows about?

Former Omaha Mayor P.J. Morgan, a Douglas County Board member (did you even know that?) voted against the raise, along with Mary Ann Borgeson and Marc Kraft.

Morgan said, “It’s the wrong thing for us to be doing for a number of reasons.”
Heck, it would be interesting to know a single RIGHT reason for this.

By the way, State Senators make $12,000 a year.


See, he still thinks it was the video-maker’s fault

Warren Buffett and Brad Ashford expressed their love of Hillary Clinton today.

Nothing new for Buffett. Heck my wife and I ran into him giving Hillary a private shopping tour of Borsheims back in 2000 (they still had to keep the doors open as we walked past the Secret Service dudes.)

But Ashford’s sloppy wet kiss for Hillary will be an interesting one for the coming year:

“Her decades of public service have prepared her to lead our nation during these turbulent times.”

Yes, just think of all her accomplishments as Secretary of State, for example…
Well there was that Libya thing…maybe there’s a movie coming out about it…
And she has expressed her confusion about how email works…
And she condemned the sexual assault allegations against her husband before all the facts were known…
And she did fail at something called, “Hillary-care“…

But Ashford is correct that she has been around for a lot of years.
Just like he has…


figure1You can also get Old Style in Nebraska now too…

Finally, I asked around about the Ricketts knee surgery, just because.

The Gov said he’s going to Chicago for it, because he wants to do it outpatient, and it’s “fairly new”.

Well…yes, there is a prominent Orthopedic Surgeon to the Stars in Chicagoland who may have pioneered the non-invasive total-knee surgery (and I only say “may have” b/c I haven’t delved into the history). But that was about 10 years ago.

Nowadays, as attested to by Dr. Kevin Garvin, professor and chairman of Orthopedic Surgery and Rehabilitation at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and through some personal questioning to Omaha-area Orthopods, the total-knee outpatient surgery is well-available in the Omaha area, and beyond.

But as these things go, the marketing of medicine is as much a thing as it is in any field.
There are docs that are suggested, and there are those who are not.
And if you’ve got the cash, there are people who say you MUST go to so-and-so doctor.

C’est la vie.

And of course, you know what they say about being an Orthopedic Surgeon, right?
You have to be as strong as an ox…and as smart as one too.


Trump-Cruz fireworks?

There is so much to talk about…why don’t YOU dive into the Comments Section with your thoughts on who to watch in the GOP Debate tonight? (While some don’t like it, the Comments Section of Leavenworth St. offers anonymity if you want, or you can sign your name if you want. Up to you.)

In any case, when you’re watching the debate tonight, pull up that laptop, tablet or SmartPhone and dial up the Twitter and follow along!

The real-time quality of Twitter makes for a much more enjoyable, interactive viewing experience. And if you’d like, you can hit my “GOP Debate Pundits” Twitter List, and follow that group as well.

It’s always a gas, so Follow, Re-Tweet, comment and all the rest for the main show at 7:30pm tonight on CNN. (I will do my best to take part in the Happy Hour debate as well, but if not, just jump in on your own.)

See you later and let’s hear who you like tonight!


  1. My property tax bill went up by 35% this year, partly because of a huge school bond, partly because some jerk in the neighborhood got way too much for his house.

    If I get one of these little postcards, I am not going to be happy.

  2. bynd says:

    After what he did to the ACA, Marco should jump to the front. While others bloviated he acted and it is working.

    Are Boyle, Rogers, Duda and Cavanaugh more of the fiscally conservative Democrats in Nebraska that Sparkles likes so much? They could have raised their pay it 75% or more. Maybe once a politician votes successfully for a pay raise, they should be termed limited.

    I’m sure there are a lot of very qualified folks out there who could run for a State Senate seat if they could get compensated appropriately. Why do the Tea Party folks keep shooting themselves in the foot over this one? Absolutely asinine!

  3. Sparkles says:

    The Nebraska Department of Revenue plans to mail approximately 769,000 postcard-size notices to property owners with information about the tax relief provided through the Property Tax Credit Relief Fund.


    The Property Tax Credit Relief Fund was passed into law in 2007, by Dave Heineman.

    A bill passed into law only a few months after Pete had tossed more than $11,000,000 of his own money at a failed Senate campaign. So much money in fact that it triggered the Millionaire’s Amendment, allowing his opponent to raise larger amounts from each donor.
    Pete spent more money than any Senate candidate in Nebraska history.
    Pete lost that race 36%–64%.

    Ruth Sorensen, the Department of Revenue’s tax administrator said sending the postcards will cost the state an estimated $274,000.
    Since this is purely a political stunt, I’m assuming Pete will reach into his own pocket, or maybe tap the the Ricketts family SuperPAC, to pick up the tab?
    A SuperPAC the Rickett’s have comically named; “Ending Spending”.

    Offensive misuse of tax payer dollars for the purposes of craven political pandering.
    And from Pete’s base of self-professed ‘fiscal conservatives’ we’ll hear nary a f%*^ing peep.

  4. To Anonymous says:

    Besides being a funeral director and filing NADC forms, what makes Kruse a good pick? Phipps was a good guy and look what he did!

  5. ZZTop says:

    To Anonymous: You are right. Hillary does not like Jewelry because her husband gave out a lot of necklaces to other women over the years.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Lou Ann Linehan will probably run for the LD 39 seat. She is supporting Congressman Brad Ashford. Ashford just endorsed Hillary Clinton. Anyone else see a huge problem?

    • Sparkles says:

      “addled endorsement of Warren Buffett”

      Cookin’ up you own compounds again, Gerard?

      To your credit, I suppose Buffett’s endorsement does somewhat pale in comparison to those garnered by the two leading GOP contenders.
      Trump has locked down the noted nod of former Aryan Nation leader and convicted child molester August Kreis III, as well as the former Grand Wizard of the KKK, David Duke and most recently Trump snagged a hearty thumbs-up from the publisher of the neo-Nazi site, Daily Stormer, who contributed with his endorsement the slogan: “Make America White Again”.
      Why, Trump’s got him a literal trifecta of domestic terror.

      And Ted Cruz has recently welcomed the embrace of none other than one of the nations most extreme, violence promoting Right-to-Life activists, Troy Newman. A man who has publicly advocated for the execution of doctors who provide safe a legal abortions. In addition Cruz has secure the endorsement of two more men of faith. The End-Times, nutball, anti-gay Pastors Flip Benham and Ron Baity.
      Baity has compared gay people to maggots and declared that ebola will pale in comparison to the wrath god will bring down for the blasphemy of marriage equality.
      It was only a few weeks ago that virulently anti-gay activist Pastor Flip Benham went into a rage screaming; “..you understand that’s the most violent community there is, is the homosexual community. They want you dead! I’m guaranteeing you they want you dead!”
      And these aren’t just ‘drive-by’ endorsements. These are endorsements Cruz has publicly embraced.

      Yep, it’s too bad HRC has to settle for a endorsement by the lowly Warren Buffett.

      • Sparkles goes off on one of his far-too-frequent deranged rants, and then suggests MY problem is psychotropics. No, the problem is he really needs to take those meds the nice doctor prescribed. I suppose it’s a good sign that he’s off the Trump bashing bandwagon and is now hating on Cruz; obviously, the danger has shifted.

        He should learn what ‘literal’ means though.

        No, I’m not surprised Cruz has been endorsed by a passionate pro-lifer and is grateful for the support. It seems to be beyond Sparkles’ comprehension that a large number of Americans disapprove of abortion and consider the live dismemberment of viable fetuses a particular abhorrence. I certainly share the latter view, having spent many worried nights in a preemie nursery, watching late second trimester babies survive and eventually thrive. Yes, chopping them up is horrible and usually unjustifiable. And no, that’s not a religious view, but a humanist one. No, I don’t approve of the murder of abortionists — I disapprove of all political violence — but I wouldn’t shake one’s hand. And I don’t lose any sleep over George Tiller.

        Meanwhile Buffett is a grizzled old veteran of the inhuman zero population growth movement and a supporter of abortion. As, of course, is Hillary. If you’re a member of the abortion-is-a-sacrament club, you’ll vote for her.

      • Julie Schmit-Albin says:

        Sparkles, “Right to Life” is a term used for the local and State Affiliates under the umbrella of the National Right to Life Committee. You won’t find “Right to Life” used almost anywhere but within the context of the NRLC umbrella. Troy Newman is definitely a “pro-life” activist but as a leader of Operation Rescue, they do not fall under the “Right to Life” moniker. So while NRLC and its Affiliates are “pro-life”, other pro-life organizations not under the NRLC purview do not go under the term “Right to Life.” I’m not in Newman’s circle but have seen him denounce those who characterize him as promoting violence. I believe OR, as does NRLC, has a policy against violence done in the name of “pro-life” , typically by lone, deranged individuals.

      • Sparkles says:


        My apologies, I understand your point, I didn’t intend to formally associate Newman with “Right to Life”.

        It’s nice that you feel comforted by Newman’s attempt to distance himself from extremist activities.
        History tells a different story.

  7. Anonymous says:

    All the while, Putin, al-Assad, Khamenei, and al-Baghdadi have endorsed Hillary. Who better to follow the feckless and weak Obama? They salivate over her election.

    • Sparkles says:

      It was just last night that fellow GOP POTUS contender Lindsay Graham went on the record in front an audience of 18 million to declare that in fact – al-Baghdadi hearts Trump.
      “ISIS would be dancing in the streets, but they don’t dance,”

      Although, I would imagine al-Baghdadi struggled with his endorsement of Trump.
      After all, it was Ted Cruz who gave ISIS the massive recruiting assist of:
      “We will carpet bomb them into oblivion. I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out.”

      In the end, it was likely Trump’s promise to purposefully target and kill entire families that won him the ISIS endorsement.

      Add Carson calling Syrian refugees “rabid dogs”, and Christie’s promise to turn away from our shores orphaned children, and ISIS is certain to be in a dreamlike celebratory mode.
      The GOP Primary has proven to be the gift that just keeps giving.

      • Actually, what really helped ISIS out is the dismemberment of Libya, aided and abetted by the Obama administration. ISIS is as we speak transferring its base of operations to Sirte. Qaddafi may have been a thug, but most of his poison was drawn by George Bush and Tony Blair. Obama helped bomb him out and left nothing in his place, except four dead Americans in Benghazi.

      • Sparkles says:

        “most of his poison was drawn by George Bush and Tony Blair.”

        That’s a novel perspective.
        Not accurate, but certainly novel.

        In November of 2008, GW Bush became the first ever U.S. President to directly contact Gaddafi.
        Reagan attempted many times to kill Gaddafi, obviously failing in his efforts.
        But is was GW who extended to a hand to Moammar and family, contacting him specifically to commend him for settling the dispute involving Libya’s bombing of a Pan Am jet over Scotland and bombing a German disco.
        A historic outreach by President Bush to a known terrorist. An outreach specifically to commend a mass murderer.

      • bynd says:

        Never could understand why any one talks about the opposition. No press is bad press. So Sparkles, why do you always talk about Repubs and hardly ever about the Dems. Could it be you really think any one on here sees you as other than lef wing nut case?

      • bynd says:

        Hmmm, and not to far back it was the killing of innocents with drone strikes that fueled the extremist. You know, the Pres.’ drone strikes. Isn’t it nice Obama kept the JV all reved up until Trump came along. It has gone from being Bush’s fault to being the fault of the next Pres. who it appears that Sparkles believes will be a Republican.

  8. Complete bull from the Sparkles, the Father of Lies himself.

    In December 2003, as a result of the diplomatic efforts of Bush and Blair, Qaddafi announced his decision to renounce nuclear weapons. Qaddafi had been cowed by the attack on Iraq. So a country with an ongoing nuclear weapons program gave it up completely. Unlike Iran. He also got rid of tons of mustard gas and sarin precursors. The nuclear threat initiative called this a spectacular victory for non-proliferation.

    Imagine how much Libya’s current chaos would be if there were tons of enriched uranium and chemical weapons lying around.

    Yes, Qaddafi was a sponsor of terrorism. So was the UK in Ireland. So was the US in Cuba and Afghanistan. The point is, he gave it up, and gave up his WMDs, thanks to Bush and Blair. And then Obama helped depose him anyway, leaving the country is complete anarchy.

    • Sparkles says:

      Bush coddled a terrorist.

      And although you’ve attempted to lay the diposition of Gaddafi at the feet of Obama, the downfall of Gaddafi – at the hands of NATO and the NTC – is remarkably well documented.
      They filmed his capture and brutal beating (by Libyan rebels) on a cell phone for christ’s sake.
      A capture that was summarily followed by execution (after being sodomized by a rifle).

      The U.S., was among others who called for a full investigation into Gaddafi’s capture and death.

  9. Bush coddled a *former* terrorist. You know, the way two former terrorists ran Obama’s first political fundraiser. I’m surprised you don’t have the warm fuzzies for former terrorists.

    We are in NATO, genius. In fact, we’re the major part of NATO. So if you’re laying this on NATO, you’re laying it on us.

    Oh yeah, an investigation, that’s going to work. Like the one we had after Benghazi?

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