Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Messin' with Ernie: The allegory

The Nebraska unicameral disrespected Sen. Ernie Chambers.

You know what happens when you disrespect people in the neighborhood? Nothing good. That the good senator, a north Omaha legend, is twice as smart as your average legislator and 47 times more cantankerous only adds to the s*** sandwich the body is having to eat now down in Lincoln.

Above, this is illustrated in a manner the SWPL crowd can understand.

Below, the particulars from the Omaha World-Herald about how some people never learn. That's why they go into politics.
After a legislative meltdown that concluded just before midnight, state lawmakers were admonished Tuesday morning to show respect for their colleagues over the final four days of the 2014 session.

State Sen. Greg Adams, the speaker of the Legislature, rose at the beginning of the session on Tuesday to urge senators to work together, after an acrimonious session Monday.

“We have to demonstrate respect and do our very best to maintain the credibility of this body,” Adams said.

On Monday, tempers rose on the floor of the Legislature as the minutes ticked away on what was the last day to advance bills from first-round debate.

That prompted a scramble by lawmakers to get their proposals attached to other bills.

But standing in the way was Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha who attempted, for a third time, to resurrect his vetoed proposal to ban mountain lion hunting in Nebraska.

That effort failed once again, but in the process a bill that carried three measures to expand insurance coverage to sick Nebraskans was blocked from advancing, and may be dead for the year.

“I'm not going to get what I wanted, but a lot of you are not going to get anything,” said Chambers, as the minutes clicked off to midnight, when the legislative day ends and the Legislature adjourns.

THE BELLUM UNICAMERENSIS began after the legislature failed to override Gov. Dave Heineman's veto of Chambers' cougar-hunting prohibition bill. The senator thought he had the votes to make the prohibition state law despite the veto, but he ended up convinced that he'd been double-crossed by some colleagues:
Chambers said he thought he had enough votes to give Heineman another defeat Thursday, but he was derailed by some of his fellow senators.

Sen. Russ Karpisek of Wilber offered Chambers an apology on the floor, saying he had pledged to be the 29th or 30th vote. At the last second, however, Karpisek said, he “blew it.”

“I don’t like the bill,” he said, “but I did give my word, and I broke it.”

Chambers said others defected, but he named only Sen. Tom Carlson of Holdrege. Carlson, however, denied that he had ever told Chambers he planned to support the override.

Carlson, chairman of the Natural Resources Committee and a Republican candidate for governor, voted to send the bill to the floor and approved it on final reading. But Carlson said he then heard from constituents who opposed the repeal, so he told Chambers before the first override vote that he was switching sides.

Chamber said he replied, “You’re running for governor and you’re getting a lot of pressure, and you can’t withstand the pressure.”

Later Wednesday, Chambers asked Carlson if he would reconsider before the second override attempt the following day. Carlson said he would.

Chambers said he took that to mean Carlson would vote for the second override attempt. Carlson said he meant that he would rethink his vote — which he did, though in the end he remained opposed to the override.

Carlson said he did not appreciate having his character questioned by Chambers, whom Carlson said he sincerely respects for his intelligence and legislative experience.

“I’ve offended him and he’s offended me, and I’m sorry,” Carlson said.
NOT HALF as sorry as he -- and the rest of the unicameral -- would be.

You may not like Ernie Chambers' word, but he's a man of it. He does not suffer those who aren't men, or women, of theirs. (Actually, the senator doesn't suffer a lot of people, but that's not important now.)

YOU'D THINK Nebraska politicians would have learned that by now, more than 43 years after he became the first African-American elected to the Nebraska Legislature. And just like the hammer-wielding doofus who screwed with the smart phone didn't count on that lithium-ion battery blowing a gasket, the unicameral's bill-wielding doofuses who screwed with Ernie Chambers never count on the good senator blowing his.

Which is kind of like being shocked that August is hot.

This year, the short bus departs Lincoln on April 17. My guess is that Ernie will shove a potato up the exhaust pipe just before it pulls away from the capitol, much to the amusement of Nebraska's mountain-lion community.

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