Author: Spartacus

I'm Spartacus!

Bernie for Bernie

Don’t let Heath get too close to Bernie!

The Democrats had a nice turnout at their Bernie Sanders socialism rally yesterday!

And along the way, they even took 5 minutes out of their three-and-half-loooong-hours event to allow Heath Mello to speak.

Wait a minute (you yelp) that was a Heath Mello rally they invited Bernie to!

Noooo.
Didja WATCH it?

The majority of the day went by where Heath Mello was first un-endorsed by the Dem’s favorite blog, The Daily Kos. Then he was in the middle of the fray between Bernie and the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) President about how anti-choice Mello is.

THEN Mello decided to turn his back on his Pro-Life backers and exclaim to the Huffington Post that he wasn’t THAT Pro-Life, and wouldn’t do anything to stop abortions if elected mayor.

After ALL that, here’s what Nebraska Democrat Chair Jane Kleeb allowed Mello to do:
Introduce an anti-Semite Congressman from Minnesota.

(Hey, don’t look to me for definitions. The Anti-Defamation League said that Congressman Keith Ellison’s anti-Jewish and anti-Israel statements disqualified him from leading the National Democrat party. And uber-liberal law Prof. Alan Dershowitz threatened to leave the Democrat party if Ellison were it’s leader.)

So Mello got up, and on the biggest (literally) stage, in front of the biggest crowd of his political life…and he dumped out a dozen banalities from his closing debate statements.

“Truly!”
“Vision!”
“My children!”

Uh huh. Yeah.

Clap-clap-clap-clap. Now move it so we can hear Bernie promise us free stuff!!!

And after the indie-cover bands were done, Bernie got up and proclaimed about how horrible rich people are. (You know, like Warren Buffett, Walter Scott & Mike Yanney.)

Then he said how awful ObamaCare is.
(Well, he railed against the health care system, so I just assume he meant ObamaCare.)

And he went on and on for half an hour and laid it on thick about all the awesome ideas he has that America should do right now. (Hmm. How’s that Senate record of his on getting legislation passed?)

Of course no one ever follows up on Bernie’s socialist (his word) ideas. You know, about how he said that the American dream can now be found in places like Venezuela. (Just avoid the government takeovers and the flying Molotov cocktails.)

Because this was just another revival meeting going town to town under a big tent (or the, shudder, latest corporate sponsored arena). Sanders has been going across the country over the past few weeks doing these. This wasn’t some special trip for Heath Mello that he made from his bunker in Vermont.

Which is why, when called, his Washington Senate office told me that Sanders WASN’T campaigning for Heath Mello and WASN’T endorsing Heath Mello. I’m sure if someone splits hairs, they could freely argue either way.

But what WAS clear was that Bernie wasn’t there for Heath.
Bernie was there for Bernie.
And if the local Democrats insisted that Mello introduce the guy who was actually introducing Bernie, well fine then. And Bernie could even mention his name 2 or 3 times in his 35 minute speech. Huzzah, and all that.

But don’t let Mello in center-stage with Bernie during the final kumbaya moment with the acoustic guitar!

There is no public version of this in real life from last night

Or was that Heath trying to avoid Bernie?

Seeing as Heath doesn’t know whether he’s Pro-Life or Pro-Choice, Pro-Streetcar or Anti-Streetcar, Pro-Voting or Anti-Voting, Pro-Restaurant Tax or Anti-Restaurant Tax, it’s probably too much for him to actually, you know, take a photo with the guy.

Quick, search the newspaper, TV or radio and find a photo of Mello and Sanders standing next to each other.

Like the Daily Kos, local Democrats can decide if EITHER version of Heath Mello is actually worth their time.

*****

Picture this wacky scene on the new MSNBC sitcom, “The Ashfords!“:

Brad and Ann Ashford are sitting in their living room each reading the paper. (A close-up reveal shows that they’re BOTH reading their own copy of the editorial page! Cue laugh-track!)

Then the phone rings.
A close-up on the caller ID shows that its the Democrat National Committee.
They both shoot each other a furtive glance. Pause. Then each goes diving for the phone, yelling, “It’s for me!”

(Cue uproarious laugh-track!)

That is what The Hill is reporting, Nebraska Second Districters.
Brad told the news site:

“One of us is running. And that you can take to the bank.”

So WHY do the Ashfords think new Congressman, Retired Air Force General Don Bacon should be replaced? Well they don’t get into that, but don’t you nevermind. They WANT to win.

What do others think?

Heck, even Paul Landow, Democrat Mayor Mike Fahey’s Chief of Staff, doesn’t think the Ashfords have much of a chance of beating Bacon. He notes that “on a good day, it’s going to be really hard for a Democrat to win the seat.”

And that’s assuming that an Ashford even gets the nomination.

One would think with all the Democratness from last night (hmm, Brad wasn’t on that stage, was he) Jane Kleeb would like a True Believer to be the nominee. (A few more names are still tossed about.)

Well, all that being said, Which Ashford will run?

Find out  NEXT week on another episode of, “The Ashfords!

*****

As long as we’re still local let’s look at just a few more topics that people are actually concerned about in the Omaha Mayor’s race.

For instance, ever since the MECA board was forced to open up their meetings, transparency in government has become a more important issue to voters.

Heath Mello claimed he was the guy to get an online checkbook for the city of Omaha!

Then Mayor Jean Stothert noted that this was a city project since 2015, and it’s online now.

Well…

Heath Mello yelped, Hey how about that project at the old Civic Auditorium site? Where’s the vision on THAT? Huh! Huh!

And Mayor Stothert unveiled the new project for the Civic that, again, was in the works for quite some time (architects don’t tend to rush that stuff).

Hmm.

Well, how about them roads! Where’s the construction! Heh? Here, I am standing next to a pothole! What about this here pothole!

And today, Mayor Stothert showed the plan for the $10 million budgeted last year for road repair. (As it turns out, you can’t do major road repair in the middle of winter.)

And that’s where we are folks.

(And if being pro or anti-streetcar is your thing, Mello still won’t commit to a public vote on the issue. Apparently he thinks you don’t know about the “Play” button next to the “Pause” one he claimed to push.)

*****

Yeah, yeah, too much Omaha politics stuff for you.
Comment on what you want to comment on, as always…

Speaking up

Start your week out right, the Leavenworth St. way, with a Separated-at-Birth!

Douglas County Sheriff Tim Dunning and Dennis the Menace’s crotchety neighbor, Mr. Wilson!

*****

Dunning pulled off something over the past week that few thought he could do in an election:

For the second time, he turned what he thought was a big plus into a serious negative for the Heath Mello for Mayor campaign.

First, a few weeks ago, Dunning announced that he was endorsing Mello. But then he screwed the pooch by revealing that it was all because of a grudge against Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert.

And THEN he announced that he, the top law enforcement officer in the county, was childishly blocking the Mayor’s phone calls, public-safety-be-damned.

Then Dunning, Mello and the local Firefighters Union (which doesn’t care for tough contract negotiations with Mayor Stothert) decided to pour some Dark Money into the Mayor’s race.

So what does Dunning do? He cuts an ad that hammers the Omaha Police Department, saying that Omaha has become less safe over the past four years, a position that the statistics don’t agree with.

And as it turns out, Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer doesn’t agree either.

And in one of the strangest political alliances since Richard Nixon and Elvis, Omaha Police Union President John Wells put out a joint statement with Schmaderer denouncing Dunning’s ad!

(In Dunning’s next move, he’s going to cause Elizabeth Warren and Steve Bannon to unite against him…)

One wonders how long the Fire Union and Mello will stick by their guy Dunning, as he gets his hole closer and closer to China.

*****

As the world turns in Washington, D.C., the President’s Administration is still coming together. And a Nebraskan is still on the block for a top gig.

A bevy of groups have asked the President to choose Falls City, Nebraska’s Charles W. Herbster for the #2 spot in the Agriculture Department as the Deputy Secretary. Herbster was the President’s top Ag advisor during the campaign, and led a large group of national agriculture experts.

Herbster is a farmer and rancher, as well as the CEO of Conklin Company Inc., a manufacturing and distribution company in the fields of agronomics, animal, building, health, home and vehicle products. He was born and raised in Falls City, and was a candidate for Nebraska Governor in 2014, before a family illness cut short his campaign.

Herbster has received the endorsement of 19 national, state and local cattle trade associations representing 19 states.

The Senate has not yet finalized the confirmation of nominee Sonny Perdue as Ag Secretary.

*****

In case you missed it, above referenced local Omaha Democrat Heath Mello is bringing in Socialist Party member, Bernie Sanders for his campaign in a few weeks.

Sanders is probably more of a Communist than a Socialist, but why quibble? Sanders was a big supporter of the Soviet Union and Nicaraguan Sandinistas back when he was the Mayor of Burlington, Vermont.

Maybe he is hoping to pass along some of his radical ideas for Omaha?

Well, no doubt THESE Omahans will be at the Sanders love-in:

Isn’t this a fine bunch, outside of the recent Douglas County Republican Party event, of whom the local Democrat can be proud?

They are SO committed, they even printed shirts with the F-word on them, to show that they are SUPER committed to their cause of calling people names!

(And someone needs to educate these youngsters that the Fascists were born from the Socialists…)

Of course, they’re not so committed that they’re willing to show their faces to anyone. But why show your face when your poster’s message is so clear?

Curious if any local Democrat will denounce these groups and their tactics.

Will Democrat Party Comisar Jane Kleeb note that this has no place at an evening where kids can see them? Will Heath Mello tell these self-avowed radicals to knock it off? Will whichever Ashford plans to run against Rep. Don Bacon step up and ask these people to show a little decency in their political expression?

Not likely.

The Kleebs and Mellos and Ashfords (both of them) of the party aren’t likely to cross their precious base of snowflakes and anarchists.

Besides, they’re too busy giving bumper stickers and voter registration forms to new immigrants, to be concerned about how their followers behave in public.

Who’s voting?

There is a scene in the movie, “Gangs of New York” (remember that Scorsese flick, with Leonardo and Bill the Butcher?) where the immigrants are coming off the boats at the harbor in New York.

The local political chieftain is herding them over to a spot where he feeds the hungry souls soup — and then immediately signs them up to vote with his party Boss.

Nebraska Democrat Chair Jane Kleeb must be a big fan of this film. She cites these historic Democrats pouncing on the huddled masses who came from Ellis Island in a video she produced (on her cell phone).

In it, she shows her audience how loving and caring she is (oh, and the volunteers maybe too) because they’re putting together “Welcome Baskets” for the new arrived immigrants to the state.

See, there’s baskets with “just the basic stuff you need when you’re starting a new home,” Mrs. Kleeb passionately intones. You know, stuff like towels, toilet paper…and Nebraska Democrat Party merchandise!

An envelope from NDP stationery includes a Democrat welcome letter, a Nebraska Democrat car sticker and…A VOTER REGISTRATION FORM!

As Kleeb explains, that’s what the old timey New York Dems did! “They were waiting with food and voter registration forms, so we are doing that same thing.”

Of course the voting laws in those days may have been just a little different.

Nowadays, it is common knowledge that these refugees are not citizens and can’t vote.

Yet here is Jane, giving these folks voter materials, when they probably have no idea that they can’t vote, right?

Misinformation?
Potential Voter Fraud?
Transparent political hackery while taking advantage of the good will of others?

As Jane says, “This is just what Democrats do, right?”

*****

While the new arrived immigrants may not know their voting responsibilities, you can’t blame them. They just got here. Even if they were eligible, you could forgive these poor souls for not, say, voting in the 2016 Presidential Primary.

You know, like Omaha Mayoral candidate, Taylor Royal.

27-year old Royal can’t be expected to know anything about voting! Heck, he’s only 27! And he just got back from Texas!

So, when he failed to vote in the 2016 primary last year (for Donald Trump, ostensibly…probably?) Omahans must look the other way for this poor lad who is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to…be the next Mayor?

Well, his dad is spending it.
He’s been working a solid 3 years, so maybe he shouldn’t be expected to have that kind of cash.

So sure, he didn’t vote last spring.

But he MUST have some solid business ideas, or otherwise he wouldn’t be running for Mayor at the ripe age of 27, right?

Well, instead of backing off of his kooky, not an ounce realistic, plans for an NFL team in Omaha, he has doubled down on it!

“If we don’t get a professional sports team, I guarantee you, Des Moines will get one.”

Well, there you go.
You thought Omaha getting a team was idea worthy of a someone who’s dad just bought them a mayoral campaign. But now he’s convinced that Des Moines is Omaha’s biggest competitor for this???

Just in case there are some grade-schoolers who read this site and don’t quite understand statistics, and the like, here are a few facts.

The very broad Omaha metro is still under a million people.

  • San Diego metro, around 3 mil, is losing their NFL team.
  • Oakland is losing their team.
  • St. Louis, nearly 3 mil metro, lost their team.
  • Orlando, 2.4 mil, doesn’t have a team.
  • San Antonio, has a stadium, 2.4 mil metro, football nutty Texans, doesn’t have a team.

You can go on down the list, and it will take you a while to hit Omaha.

And then you will scroll even further before you reach Des Moines.

And young Mr. Royal, who thinks that Omaha is still not spending enough on it’s streets, figures a billion dollar NFL stadium is the way to go.

But if your dad buys you lots of TV and radio ads as a wedding present, why WOULDN’T you think you could get an NFL team as well? Kind of like the new immigrant not knowing they can’t vote?

The poor folks just don’t know any better.

Attention other 27-year olds out there!
Unlike Mr. Royal last spring, YOU should vote in the Primary next week!
(Assuming you’re registered…)

*****

Since you’re all going to dive into it anyway, just go ahead and give your thoughts on the defeat of the Obamacare repeal/replace.

Here is a thought though: Yeah, no one likes Obamacare and knows it’s a giant mess. But it also might not be the worst thing in the world that whatever replaces it gets a little more scrutiny.

The biggest joke (well one of them anyway, probably after, “If you like your doctor…”) was the “we have to pass it to see what’s in it.” No one liked that concept, and Congress probably shouldn’t fall for that again.

Some may disagree, and feel anything would have been better than what we have now. Maybe, maybe not. But some patience on this isn’t the end of the world.

What should be watched is a certain someone who will look for a “deal” and a “win” wherever he can get it, especially if it means going over to the other side to accomplish that.

If Gorsuch doesn’t get through for some reason, THEN Republicans can start the wailing and gnashing of teeth.

It’s been too long!

Readers!

How you been!?!

Let’s get to it!

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert has her third ad out of the election season! See it here:

A nice spot focusing on the things that have put her in the lead (I’m told) in this race: Public safety and jobs. They are the basic needs and wants of the city. And she is coming through on them.

Currently Stothert’s main opponent, Heath Mello is running one spot: essentially a “get to know me” ad, that emphasizes his electability as a Honey-Do list dad.

But veteran reporter Joe Jordan pointed out a few weeks ago that Mello seems to be using a wait-and-see strategy on advertising.  Holding off on his main ads until after the Primary, and just 30 days before the General.

Jordan calls it a risky strategy.

*****

As far as Mello goes, he had an interesting interview on KETV’s Chronicle show with Rob McCartney. (There was a day, before we had 100 channels, when you HAD to watch such shows, because it was either that or All Star Wrestling on Sunday mornings.)

But McCartney did a nice job of letting Mello talk, while also peppering with a few non-softball questions.

But here was an easy one to Mello, with a surprising response:

McCartney asked:

What’s your plan for North Omaha development?

Mello responded…

…with something about an “entrepreneurial ecosystem” to start small businesses.

OK.

And then, regarding “North Omaha development”, Mello responded…

“We know that there are a considerable number of people coming out of our criminal justice systems who are ex-offenders who are having a difficult time finding jobs and a difficult time finding housing.”

Well, now THERE’s an interesting response.

McCartney asks Mello about North Omaha, and Mello gives him an answer about employing people coming out of prison.

You will note that Mello didn’t talk about ex-cons when asked about West Omaha. Or Millard. Or Elkhorn. Or even his “base” in St. Thomas More parish west of South Omaha.

What say you, Mello supporters (who we know read Leavenworth St.)? Arguably your guy just called people who live in North Omaha a bunch of ex-cons. Oh sure that was after the “entrepreneurial ecosystem” buzz-word. But it was IMMEDIATELY after.

Heath Mello hears, “North Omaha.”
Heath Mello thinks, “Former inmates.”

Discuss amongst yourselves, Progressives.

*****

Exciting times we’re living in where, apparently, if you scream loud enough, you are considered a victim. That was what happened to all the poor folks who were so hurt that they didn’t have the opportunity to scream at their elected representative in person.

So Senator Deb Fischer had a town hall with constituents in Holdredge. And Rep. Don Bacon met with the organized opposition in their own private meeting!

Of course Jeff Fortenberry may have wished to have gone the Bacon route, after being forced to play keep-away with the microphone.

But Fischer and Bacon’s graciousness with their political opponents was also chuckleworthy, in the reactions and responses of said opponents.

At Senator Fischer’s meet, a screamer was screaming that Fischer was NOT LISTENING to them when they said they didn’t want Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary. She voted for her anyway. So that means Fischer was “NOT LISTENING!!!”

And the Senator calmly informed this individual, and her fired-up cohorts, that what we have, is whatchcall a “representative government”, where the “representative” gathers up all the information at her disposal and then votes using her judgment.

The screamer would have none of it.

“YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO LISTEN TO US! YOU REPRESENT US!!!”

Isn’t that just darling. Local angry person thinks that the loudest people are the ones who make decisions. Sort of like Senator Fischer giving a civics lesson to a class of 3rd graders 2nd graders preschoolers.

And then Don Bacon met individually with “Indivisible Nebraska” who are a group organized to disrupt these types of town hall meetings. That’s what they do. They chat on Facebook and organize to disrupt public events.

So Bacon one-upped them and essentially dared them to disrupt their own private event.

Genius, really.

And then at that meeting, where they got to sit down with the Congressman one-on-one, what was their beef at the end?

He listened, but I don’t know that he heard us,” she said, adding that she hopes he holds a town hall.

(She also may have noted that Bacon can listen to Jimi, but he can’t hear Jimi…)

See, they can tell he didn’t “hear” them, because he ain’t voting the way they want. So, after getting a private meeting, what’s their hope? Scream him down at a town hall!

What is it the kids text these days?
SMH…

*****

Hey, Secretary of State John Gale is quitting after something like 15 years in the gig!

And you know what that means? An insane campaign for a job where no one really knows what they’d do!

Who may be in?
Let’s go to Don Walton of the LJS, who has his finger on the pulse of would-be SecStates:

The Democrat: State Senator Adam Morfeld (Lincoln). Look for the Dems to push really, really hard on this election. Jane Kleeb figures this is her foot in the door for a Democrat jumping to a higher office. Don’t look for big crowded primary here.

The Republicans?
State Senator John Murante (Gretna)
State Senator Jim Smith (Papillion)
Attorney Bob Evnen (Lincoln)

More to come, no doubt.

Oh, and State Treasurer Don Stenberg will be term-limited as well.
It’ll be an election smorgasbord!

Demeaning young ladies

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert’s campaign has a new TV ad out (as of yesterday) entitled, “Consensus Builder”.

See it here:

I’d give you the text, but then you wouldn’t watch.
So take the 30 seconds and give your input on this upbeat spot featuring leaders from North and South O.

*****

12-year-old girls across Omaha and Douglas County should feel insulted.

They have been slandered over the past few days. particularly on the radio and on social media.

Comparing the average pre-teen girl…to Douglas County Sheriff Tim Dunning is outrageous.

These young ladies have more…backbone.

If you’re not tuned into the local political world in Omaha, you may have seen that Dunning endorsed one of Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert’s opponent, Heath Mello. When arguing for Mello, Dunning first claimed it was because he doesn’t think there are enough police in West Omaha.

Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer quickly shot that down.

But then Dunning got to the REAL crux of the anti-endorsement: He is mad at Mayor Stothert for the way the crime lab with the county and the city worked out. He said that first he didn’t get called early enough, then he got called too much, or something.

And then he said he got called so much by the Mayor that he blocked her phone number from his phone.

The top law enforcement officer in the county, doesn’t think that’s a safety issue.

Ho, ho, he responded: “The Chief of Police has my number.”

And let’s say there’s some disaster and the Chief isn’t around or isn’t able to contact him? Well, the Sheriff confirmed, tough luck. The Mayor CAN’T call him.

Once again, the average 12-year-old girl knows that even if she gets in a fight with her parents, she doesn’t block their numbers from her iPhone, just in case there IS an emergency.

The chief’s response?

“Whatever.”

(And that’s an actual quote. From the Sheriff, not a 12-year-old girl.)

*****

The President’s nearly universally applauded joint session of Congress speech included a couple of issues important to Nebraskans.

(By the way, apparently Presidents don’t usually give a “State of the Union” speech until they’ve been in office a year. Who knew?)

One issue was support for paid family leave.

Senator Deb Fischer has taken the lead on this. But her plan is not a Federal mandate, instead a tax incentive to employers that provide paid family and medical leave.

Fischer:

“I was pleased to once again hear our president emphasize his intention to increase workplace flexibility for families. This is an area I have focused on for nearly four years in the Senate. We have a real opportunity to take significant steps on these issues to improve the lives of families across this country.”

Interesting to watch the way this issue gets addressed going forward.

And then there’s the “Waters of the U.S.”…or WOTUS. That was a rule pushed forward by former President Obama, over much consternation from the people who would be actually affected by it, namely farmers and ranchers.

President Trump signed an order this week ordering a review of WOTUS, with the aim of ridding the oppressive measures. Senator Fischer and Rep. Adrian Smith were at the Oval Office to witness the document signing. Fischer said,

“Today, President Trump is taking a concrete and much-needed step to unravel WOTUS and put Nebraskans back in charge of decisions affecting our state’s precious water resources.”

*****

Another day goes by in the Legislature, and another day goes by where people argue that it is too difficult for minorities, young people, and old people to secure a photo ID.

Yes, one opposition leader said, “voter ID requirements place undue hardships on young mobile people.”

THAT is the argument against requiring people to show some sort of ID in order to vote??? Because otherwise, apparently it’s cool to just show up at a polling place, say you’re Tom Johnson from up the street, and vote.

It’s 2017 people! The argument is that it’s racist and ageist and I’m guessing sexist as well to ask for a photo ID???

In any case, racist, sexist, ageist, likely gluten-free hater and dog-kicker, State Senator John Murante is pushing the Voter ID bill in the Unicameral and for the life of me I don’t understand the opposition.

Apparently those “young mobile people”, who walk everywhere, can’t be troubled to find the DMV.

*****

So there you go commenters! Federal, State and Local issues to discuss! Now proceed and argue about Jeff Sessions…

Mob rules

First, ICYMI, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert has her first TV ad out of the campaign season. See it here:

For you slackers who can’t/won’t watch, here’s the transcript:

 

Since day one, your safety has been my top priority. You expect results.

Chief Schmaderer and I worked together to put more police officers on the street than ever before. And shootings that threaten our community have fallen to the lowest level in a decade.

We are seeing results and we are not done yet.

I am committed to protecting your safety.

I’m Jean Stothert. I’m proud of our progress and excited about our future!

 

The “crime” ad hits the biggest issue that any mayor faces: public safety. More on the ad, and the latest news from that race below.

*****

The quaking news these days seems to be about whether or not Senator Deb Fischer and NE02 Rep Don Bacon will be having Town Halls during this Congressional break. (Unclear on why not Sasse, Fort and Smith, but nonetheless…)

One can argue about whether or not a Town Hall is even merited when it’s a gang of rabble rousers who seem hell-bent on reliving a vote about a cabinet member.

(Let me go Allen Iverson here: we’re talking about a vote about a CABINET MEMBER. Not a bill. A cabinet member.)

In any case, here are the calm souls that wanted to confront Senator Fischer in Lincoln:

Ah, but they weren’t ALL costumed anarchists. There were a number of seasoned citizens re-living the 60’s as well.

And some seemed a little confused. For instance, when a VERY polite young law-enforcement officer informed the mob that Elvis…er, Senator Fischer…had LEFT the building and that there were business there trying to get on with their day and please move along what did they do?

Here’s the video:

 

 

And that protest to the wall of politician-less building bore a very similar resemblance to this protest:

 

Deb Fischer, in the mean time, pointed out that she does the vast majority of her Town Halls in August. That is the common time for most Members of Congress to do them. In the mean time, they’re meeting and speaking to groups that were scheduled (likely) months ago.

But that’s not good enough for some. For instance the OWH’s Matt Hansen points out ALL the Town Halls that Ben Nelson did before ObamaCare, back in 2009.

Which is nice.

But he didn’t mention the period AFTER the ObamaCare vote in August 2011. (And oh by the way, the pizza shop incident also took place AFTER the ObamaCare vote, in January 2010.)

During the 2011 August recess, then-Senator Mike Johanns did around 20 Town Halls across the state.

Hansen didn’t note how many Nelson did during the 2011 August break:
ZERO.

Which isn’t to say that detractors shouldn’t be allowed to protest, or that they can’t give Members heat for not doing Town Halls right now. You have the right to stand in right in front of the courthouse with a REALLY cool sign made with magic markers and poster board paid for by George Soros, and DEMAND that Donald Trump hear you out in your backyard at NOON this coming Sunday!

Rock on, brother and/or sister.

Oh, and by the way News Media: WHEN Bacon and Fischer and all the others DO the Town Halls demanded, please do count the number of Betsy Rioters who are satisfied with the answers they get and will concede that the elected representative is properly “doing their job.” Take a count, will you? Use any numbering system you’d like.

You’ll probably note you didn’t have to remove your pen cap.

*****

Along with the latest ad, the Omaha Mayor’s race is moving right along with points and counterpoints and all the like.

Mayor Stothert gave her State of the City last Friday, noting her achievements over the past four years, and presenting her goals for the coming year.

So Heath Mello, not to be outdone, stood in front of the ConAgra sign downtown and gave his “People’s State of the City” address. And no he did NOT don a Chairman Mao outfit to go along with the title of his speech, though it would have been funny.

Instead, Mello proposed a 5th police precinct, just like Mayor Stothert did.
And he proposed police body-cameras, just like Mayor Stothert did.
And his big-deal proposal as High-Tech-Heath was putting the “city’s checkbook” online! WooHoo!

And then the Mayor pointed out in her speech that this was a brand new feature on the city’s updated website.

Heath then took to the social media sites and took credit for the Mayor’s new online checkbook since, he (ha ha!) had been suggesting it in his campaign for Mayor for months! “Imitation is the best form flattery,” chortled Heath!

Well…except that this plan had been paid for by the city .
Oh yeah! How can you prove THAT!

Well, by noting the receipt that it was paid to Oracle by the city in November 2015.

Um…..well!!!
And then Mello began deleting comments on his campaign Facebook page.
And blocking people on Twitter for pointing this fact out.

Local campaign politics are always fun to watch.

*****

“Omaha” State Senator Ernie Chambers, on the Unicameral floor, as quoted by the Lincoln Journal-Star’s Zach Pluhacek:

“I speak panther. You all speak mouse. …I speak the language of the solitary dweller, like the mountain lion. You all speak the language of the lemming.”

As noted in the responses to Pluhacek, it would seem Chambers should be sporting this scent:

Feeling the Future

For those of you who got to see the Lego Batman Movie this weekend, you may have been surprised by this Separated at Birth:

The Lego Mayor of Gotham City (voiced by Mariah Carey) and the Mayor of the City of Omaha (voiced by Jean Stothert)!

*****

It is always fun when news flies in from casual observers at public establishments.

Case in point: Apparently, former 2nd District Congressman Brad Ashford was at Washington, D.C.’s Capitol Lounge this past Friday night. The Cap Lounge is just around the corner from the House office buildings, and a long-time popular place for staffers and other politicos.

The former Congressman had reportedly been there a while (ahem) and someone asked if he was coming back to DC…to lobby.

He (allegedly) replied, No, that he was back in town …planning his political future. He also (we are told) said he was looking to take back his seat in Congress.

Shazam!

This may explain much of the perceived politiking Ashford seems to be doing — going on KFAB, posting photos on his Facebook page with his good buddy George Norris, and protesting at rallies against the new immigration orders.

Funny thing about that last one:

Ashford voted FOR the expansion of background checks on Iraqi and Syrian refugees when he was an actual voting Member of Congress.

Wonder if that was on his sign when he was yelling “Hey Hey, Ho Ho, The Incoming Immigrant Population Is Way Too Low!

Voting records can be a pesky thing.

*****

Wondering where Nebraska Democrat Party Chair Jane Kleeb and Democrat Mayoral candidate Heath Mello are, on calling for Douglas County Democrat Party Chair Crystal Rhoades’ resignation from the Nebraska Public Service Commission.

It was recently discovered that Rhoades was using her position as a Public Service Commission commissioner for overt political purposes, unrelated to official business, as well as using her personal email account to further it.

If you don’t know, when you get one of those robocalls asking you to support candidate X,Y or Z, the script for the robocall has to be submitted to the PSC beforehand. After that, the scripts are public record, and it is common for campaigns or others to request the scripts from PSC staff.

But what Rhoades was doing, as an elected Commissioner, was proactively taking the scripts, as they came in, and forwarding them to her political allies, HERSELF.

In one instance the commissioners were forwarded a candidate’s scripts at 2:25pm and Rhoades then forwarded them to the candidate’s opponent at 2:44pm. Those calls did not go out until after 6pm that evening.

And she was caught forwarding those scripts to her personal email account as well.

Then there was the little matter of Rhaodes committee testimony yesterday. She was asked superficially if her husband, Ben Onkka, was involved with any campaign. She (reportedly!) said no.

Let’s go to the Facebook images!

The truth is, obviously, that both Democrat Party Chair / PSC Commissioner Rhoades and her husband were very involved with the Tony Vargas campaign.

My oh my.

Abuse of power.
Lying to to State Senators.
Use of public property for personal reasons.

These are some issues for all with the power to judge to consider.

*****

A few races shaping up in Omaha.

Chairman of the City of Omaha Planning Board, Brinker Harding, is running against former State Senator Dwite Pedersen in the newly drawn West O District 6.

Harding was Chief of Staff to Omaha Mayor Hal Daub and is a commercial real estate adviser and broker, and a Republican.

Pedersen is also a registered Republican, though some of his support doesn’t exactly jibe with that. He has the backing of local Union chief Terry Moore, and his campaign is being consulted by former Democrat Jim Suttle campaign honcho Gary Di Silvestro.

There’s a name from the past for you!

And the Mayor’s race keeps flowing, with a recent story about how Heath Mello is a “South Omaha Boy”.

Sort of reminds me of when former President Barack Obama was puffing about his love of the White Sox and called himself a “South Side kid” — then couldn’t name any former White Sox players. That’s because he was not a “South Side kid”…unless that was the south side of Honolulu.

In similar fashion, Mello didn’t grow up in “South Omaha”, as the boundaries are traditionally drawn. And then there’s the fact that he graduated from Gretna High School.

But campaigns are fun.

Snow Flakes

Mello snow-clearing plan
Yes, Dodge Street was clogged yesterday.

Guess what readers? When snow falls during rush hour, plows can’t go any faster than the traffic that’s ahead of them. You know that snow that your wiper blades just knocked off the windshield of your Prius in the bumper to bumper traffic. Yeah, the plows can’t get to that just now.

As one plow driver put it:

I woke up to plow for the city at 3:30. So start plowing at 5:00 there was only 1/4 inch of snow. What were we supposed to plow? People give it a break. Have you ever tried to plow in rush hour? That’s when the snow started. They got us out there, job done. It’s winter driving deal with it.

Whoa, whoa, whoa Plow Driver who thinks he knows so much!
Didn’t you read Mayoral candidate Heath Mello’s PLAN for plowing streets during a rush hour storm???

Mello asserted that Stothert left the city without a “blueprint” for snow removal. When informed of the city’s lengthy snow plan, Mello questioned its rush-hour provisions…
He didn’t offer specific changes to the snow plan…
“That’s a pretty tall order.”
“When I get into City Hall, we’re going to do things differently.”

You hear that people? Differently!
He couldn’t BE more specific!
When the snow zigs, he’ll zag!
Got that!
Got thattttt???!

Then again, this IS the guy who made fun of Omaha Public Works on KFAB for “utilizing brine and salt any chance they get to make it LOOK like they’re doing something.

Classy guy.

*****

So now you’re telling me that EVEN if you get a bunch of your best buds to make signs…signs on sticks, mind you. And you call Deb Fischer repeatedly and read the script that was emailed to you. She STILL won’t vote the way that you bullyingly demand?

What sort of a Republic are we running here?

(Oh, and the protest against the next Trump nominee starts tomorrow, so here’s how you can blockade the Senate phone lines!)

This one was forwarded, and worth reprinting:

What did you learn today?
1. Only those who “support” public schools have the capability of understanding our education system.
2. Unless you have children in the public education system you just don’t understand. (Nevermind if you are a product of public education.)
3. Only public school teachers are allowed to determine someone’s qualifications for positions.
4. One person is able to destroy education in America as we know it.
5. Without public schools America dies.
6. “Yes there’s problems. But only those of us on the inside are able to make it work by continuing what we’ve been doing.”
7. School Choice is like ISIS.
8. Betsy DeVos is only qualified to be a janitor.
9. Somehow the quality of life of teachers became less than an abandoned three year old in a sewer in rural India in an instant.
10. I came up with a great list of people who I never want teaching my children how to tie their shoes let alone reading, writing, and math.

*****

Is it too early to start talking about the 2018 Congressional Mid-Term elections?
No it is not!

The CV on the Dems side is that the GOP will get crushed during the midterms. And if we learned anything from last year, it’s that Freshmen are vulnerable. (Well, in theory, anyway.)

So who might challenge current Rep. Don Bacon?

Well, you may have noticed that Brad Ashford has burrowed back out of his hole. He is part of the Midtown 2050 group. And he is still Tweeting away, sending out a flurry of tweets and re-tweets over the past few days.

But hey, maybe he’s just re-discovered the TV-typewriter. Maybe he’s not really interested in running another campaign.

Either way, a few other names?
Well, there’s Heath Mello.
He’ll likely be looking for a job come May.

And frankly during the Mayoral campaign Mello’s main issues have been ObamaCare, immigration and opposing President Trump. The guy would clearly rather be working in Washington than in Omaha.

But would he be game for starting another race so soon afterwards?

Another name that has been out there for a while: Howard Buffett, Jr., Warren’s grandson.

He would be more worth mentioning, except he may have a hard time fundraising and getting attention from the Omaha World-Herald…

Fed, State & Local

A Separated at Birth for the fans.

SCOTUS pick, Judge Neil Gorsuch…and legal eagle and NEGOP leader, Mark Fahleson!

 

Your Federal, State and Local rundown…

Feds

Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer was harassed and hounded this week with the nomination of Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary.

Fischer was a holdout of sorts, reserving her vote on the issue until she could learn some final info about DeVos. Because of that, the people who march in the streets, set limos on fire, bash Starbucks windows — and some of the violent ones — made a phone call campaign to Fischer’s office.

And the Dems they love them some phone calling! Or marching! If they could march to a phone booth, that would actually be ideal. (Are there still phone booths? Did I hear some of you yungins say, “What’s a phone booth?”)

Point is, Deb Fischer is a former school board member and was state president of the Nebraska Association of School Boards. She knows her Ed issues. And she wasn’t about to be bullied by someone from Portland calling saying, “I’m from…uh…Pap-ee-own…and you shouldn’t support DeVos or…uh..I won’t vote for you next time.”

Instead Fischer asked DeVos her position on local education control and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. DeVos wrote Fischer a letter and expressed her support for both.

That local control one was the biggie, as DeVos has been a big supporter of Charter Schools. And the haters point to a program in Detroit where Charter schools didn’t work. Which is always good stuff, as they don’t seem to point to the many, many, many, many places where public schools don’t work.

Which isn’t to say that Charters are the miracle cure for every school. Millard School Board President Mike Kennedy is one who doesn’t oppose Charter Schools on their face. But he doesn’t feel that successful districts, like Millard’s, would necessarily benefit from them.

Again, that’s local control.

But whether it’s schools or the minimum wage or the water on your farm, the Big Government Dems love to hammer down the rules for evvvvvverrrryone from Washington.

Well, there’s a new sheriff in the District of Columbia.
Good thing the last guy left that pen and phone on the desk.

 

Staties

At this time of year…well most of the year…it is all inside-baseball stuff in the Nebraska Legislature. Lots about rules and motions and cloture and committees that the average person doesn’t pay attention to or frankly understand.

But they do understand the generalities of State Senators going their own way, often in a different direction from the average Nebraskan. Case in point: the Death Penalty.

Down in Lincoln right now they are still trying to figure out the budget that got screwed up from miscalculating the incoming taxes last year, among other issues.

The Governor’s peeps are trying to reign in spending (crazy idea, that). But there are others now (we’re looking your way Senators Harr and Krist) who are yelping that the Governor should have called a Special Session…LAST YEAR.

Well, just so everyone is on the same page, the Legislature could have called a special session last year. They did not need Pete Ricketts’ permission to do so. And the Tax Rate Review Committee which included Krist, Heath Mello, Speaker Hadley and Mike Gloor could have motioned and recommended that Ricketts call a special session.

So the Senators, with their dresses over their heads yelping about what SHOULD have been done, should get a grip.

And there are now quite a few Senators who are being disruptive of the process…just to be disruptive. Stuff like voting for bills out of committees, then filibustering them on the floor. (i.e. being for it before you were against it.)

But some have another view on this behavior by the Dems and the left-leaning Republicans: they no longer have the votes to run the place and they are still ticked off about chairmanships. In the past, the conservatives were small in number and if the liberal/moderates threatened anything, the Speaker would side with them and cave.

Well, new session. New legislative body. New Speaker.

And they’re not getting pushed around anymore.

Ah, elections…

 

Local-ites

The aforementioned former State Senator and Omaha Mayoral candidate, Heath Mello was on the radio in Omaha yesterday.  When asked about his top accomplishment in the Legislature, he named the aforementioned Budget that he designed and helped pass last spring.

You know, the Budget that’s nearly a BILLION dollars in the red, and some Senators are saying deserved a Special Session.

“Mr. Andrews, what would you say is your greatest achievement?”
“Well, I would HAVE to say building the Titanic. I mean it was a wonderful boat, really big, and EVERYONE agreed that it was unsinkable when it left port…”

But here’s another that would be funny, if it weren’t sad:

Heath Mello has been going on and on about how the City of Omaha needs to embrace technology and become a 21st Century city! And that he’s the youngster to do it!

(No matter that Omaha was recently cited as a top Digital City in the country.)

But Mello’s, and Mayor Jean Stothert’s, campaign report were due on January 31st at the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission offices. Stothert’s was submitted a few days before that, filed digitally and immediately posted online.

Her campaign raised a record $1.5 Million.

But Mello?

Heath Mello literally (and probably figuratively) MAILED his report in.
On a piece of paper.

So, that report, which will be put online, has to have all of the data, digit by digit, letter by letter, entered MANUALLY into the NADC system.

And don’t get the impression that there is a Mello staffer there to help out. It will be by the NADC staffers, paid by Nebraska taxpayers who will type-in each and every record in that mailed-report.

And you want a little irony, on top of all that? The poor NADC staffer has to hunt and peck on their keyboards to transfer the data. BUT, Heath Mello sent a regular Excel Spreadsheet out to the local press! WOWT even linked it for your handy-dandy download! NADC? Not so lucky.

There are any number of political reasons why Mello may be doing this. One wonders what he’s trying to hide by stalling his full report this way.

But the sum of it all is that he doesn’t care what it costs the taxpayers.

Or how the inability to review of these records side-by-side affects the issue of transparency that he has been trying to push since day one.

Keystone-a-GO-GO

Breaking news that President Trump signed an Executive Order to move forward with both the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines.

Governor Ricketts:

Keystone XL will create good-paying jobs for Nebraska workers and bring property tax relief to counties along the route. Today’s decision represents years of extensive environmental reviews that confirm Keystone XL complies with federal safety and environmental standards. With the federal approval process complete, state regulators must now work through the process in Nebraska to conduct their own thorough consideration of the project.

Looks like someone is going to have to get some new t-shirts printed.

*****

In the main election for this off-year, announced-challenger Heath Mello went to the Kiwanis Club in Omaha to talk about how he’d work if he were elected Mayor of Omaha.

When asked about the recent Nebraska budget that he led in crafting, which ended up millions in the red, he responded that he DID his work on the budget…last spring.

He told the Kiwanisians that after he worked on the budget in April he was D-U-N done, and when the shortfall numbers came in, that was someone else’s job to figure out.

For instance, he said:

“When I ended my term as a legislature in service in April of last year the last legislative session, we had a balanced budget…”

“…when I ended my term as Appropriations Chair in April we balanced the budget and there was no deficit…”

“…we started to see projections start to slide and start to see revenues come in month after month a little lower…”

[full audio here]

What’s that, Senator?
He said, twice, he ended his service in April? He says he saw the revenues sliding month after month, but did nothing???

Heath Mello continued to be a State Senator until January of 2017. And every article written, every story reported about him until the new Senators were sworn in still called him Senator Heath Mello. For instance, just a month ago, in December, SENATOR Mello stood shoulder to shoulder with fellow State Senators Ken Haar and Tyson Larson to discuss how the Nebraska Legislature should discuss…climate change.

You got that?

Mello is willing to get down and dirty with his colleagues to talk about how to change the weather. But after he wrote down his guesses for how much money the state would bring in for the year back in April, he washed his hands of all things Appropriations!

The Governor certainly didn’t wait until the new Legislature was sworn in to address it. Why wouldn’t Mello weigh in then? Wouldn’t the self-proclaimed EXPERT on the budget want to sit down with the Governor or his colleagues or SOMEONE to work out the screw-up that occurred?

Not so much, says Mello.

Heck, back in July, Mello told the OWH, “We’ll need to keep a mindful eye on the next couple months’ revenue.” Which is nice. So what did he do about it? Absolutely nothing? (Maybe he could release all of his schedules to clear all this up.)

Is Mello to blame for the budget going kerplooey? Well, he WAS the one who led the Legislature on it. But just for argument’s sake, let’s say he gets the benefit of the doubt about the predictions. But after EVERYONE discovered that the predictions were wrong, what did Mello do?

Well, apparently he just put together his campaign for Mayor of Omaha.

And like a high school kid leaving the cafeteria, he left his giant mess there for someone ELSE to clean up.

While Mayor Jean Stothert is building new police precincts, negotiating labor contracts and fixing roads, Mello says he wants to fix ObamaCare and stop the polar caps from melting. Perhaps when he was filing for Mayor, he thought he was running for Congress.

*****

Nebraska Legislature Speaker Jim Scheer is preparing a resolution for Wednesday to expel State Senator Bill Kintner. He says that he believes he has more than 33 votes.

Kintner is reportedly preparing a statement for later today.

In the meantime there are bags full of hammers standing around asking, “What was Bill Kintner thinking?”

That’s the reaction of most normal thinking people involved in Nebraska politics. ICYMI, Kintner re-Tweeted a radio jock’s Tweet showing 3 ladies from the Women’s March holding “Not MY Pussy” signs, with the tag, “Ladies I think you’re safe.”

Apparently Kintner thought that was a really good one and re-Tweeted it to his Followers.

So here is a guy who is dealing with Ernie Chambers every day on his past issues, and probably not successfully.

Instead of laying low, keeping out of trouble and watching his every step and statement, after less than 3 weeks in session, he steps on his own…er…feet.

Many have never liked Kintner’s bombast. Others find his outspokenness a breath of fresh air in a PC world. But there is no doubt right now that he is hurting the Nebraska Republican Party, and it didn’t even take one of Chambers’ 6th-grade poems to do it.

Sure he has a right to say what he wants. And yes it was meant to be a joke. But, for Kintner especially, perception is reality. And the perception by the public is that Kintner is an oaf who can’t help himself from doing the next thing.

If he hasn’t done it already, Kintner needs to take a long look in the mirror.

Stay posted to @LeavenworthSt on Twitter for updates.