Showing posts with label unicameral. Show all posts
Showing posts with label unicameral. Show all posts

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Jesus is just all white


Democracy dies in . . . Bayard.

Bayard?


Bayard, Neb. If you were in Bayard, you'd croak, too.

Religious services have not been finalized, but interment will be in the back yard of state Sen. Steve Erdman, R-Greater Nebraska Trumpian Reich, in a plot between those of tolerance and decency. Erdman indicated that the funeral would be a white, Christian one.

No word on whether the funeral luncheon will be scheduled for before or after the book burning and Two-Minute Hate of University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds.

From the Omaha World-Herald:
A western Nebraska state senator recently criticized the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s plan to hire a diversity vice chancellor, saying it bodes poorly for “white Christian conservative males.”

State Sen. Steve Erdman of Bayard wrote in a column or letter last month to constituents that the NU system complains about inadequate state funding but it still has money for a “six-figure-salaried” person to assist with diversity.
Bayard, Neb. . . . The Florence of the high plains
Erdman said Wednesday that the reaction from some constituents was: “It’s about time somebody said something.”

The matter highlights some conservatives’ belief that universities are swarming with liberal professors who seek to indoctrinate their students. Edna Chun, a national consultant in diversity, said Wednesday that most universities have diversity officials.

NU President Hank Bounds said in a written statement Wednesday evening that he is proud that the university supports diversity. “Throughout my career, I’ve seen again and again that we are stronger when we serve alongside people who don’t look or think like us.

“I was shocked and deeply saddened when I read the column. For any elected official to champion these kinds of dangerous views only serves to damage our great state and our ability to recruit and retain the top talent that will grow Nebraska for the future.”

UNL has never had a vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion, although it has had employees devoted to those tasks. The vice chancellor is the first diversity administrator who will report directly to the chancellor.

The aim of diversity work, Florida-based consultant Chun said, is to broaden the awareness of all students and prepare them for a global society.

“The whole goal of it is educational,” Chun said. She said minority students can feel isolated when there are small numbers of them on a campus. Diversity and inclusion also refer to gender, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identification, she said.

UNL data show that last fall, minority students made up 14.3 percent of the university’s student body — 3,719 of 26,079 students.

Erdman said he wants no preferential treatment for anyone. “Favoring people by way of their genitalia, the color of their skin and their sexual orientation is as much an insult as discriminating against them for these very reasons,” he said in his letter, which he called “Straight Talk From Steve.”

His letter says he can envision “white Christian conservative males” being “excruciatingly scrutinized against the backdrop of the new Vice Chancellor’s extremist progressive worldview.”

Erdman said his views don’t come from contempt for any race. “I’ve got black friends. I’ve got Mexican friends,” he said in an interview Wednesday. “I look at them as being a friend and an American.”

But some Nebraskans are rebelling against the university’s liberalism, he said. An acquaintance told him his daughter changed her mind and isn’t interested in attending UNL.

“People are starting to wake up,” said Erdman, a 68-year-old retired farmer who sells some real estate. He said in his letter that a student who suggests that marriage is the union of man and woman in the future might be “beaten down by a torrent of LGBTQ complaints followed by psycho-analysis and reprogramming.”
Ground Zero: Senator fears UNL will rename his favorite cereal 'LGBTQ Loops.'

I'M SO OLD that I remember when Nebraska was better than this -- when western Nebraska was better than this.

I remember when there were Democrats outside Omaha and Lincoln. I remember when conservative outstate Nebraska was, by today's standards, vaguely "libtard" and RINO-ish. I remember when state senators from outposts like Bayard, hundreds of miles beyond the last traces of black Nebraskans, weren't angry nativist cranks.

Some were even moderates. Hey, it was the '80s. In 2018, moderates are the new communists to mouth breather-friendly politicians like Erdman.

And raving, paranoid projection is the new Keeping Your Powder Dry Until There's a Demonstrable Problem With the University's Diversity Program. But when you're playing to voters' prejudices and fear, you gotta do what you gotta do.

That would include accusing the University of Nebraska-Lincoln of the nefarious thing you're actually doing.  For example, note that Erdman is calling an unknown vice chancellor who hasn't been hired an "extremist progressive" based on non-existent things not yet done by the chimerical administrator. Just look:
The addition of a Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion also means that every word spoken by White Christian conservative males at the school will be excruciatingly scrutinized against the backdrop of the new Vice Chancellor’s extremist progressive worldview. For instance, any student who dares to suggest that marriage should be defined as the union between a man and a woman will quickly find himself being beaten down by a torrent of LGBTQ complaints followed by psycho-analysis and reprogramming. If the student doesn’t understand the underlying reasons for his stereo-typical beliefs, one will be provided for him.
http://news.legislature.ne.gov/dist47/2018/07/20/straight-talk-from-steve-63/
MY GOD. Sure, it could happen. Than again, maybe not. Actually, probably not. 

This is the demagogic, academia-bashing version of an old Southern tactic for getting rednecks and white trash all riled up . . . just in time for a political Great White Hope to "defend their way of life" at election time.

Southerners had a term for that. I'll not use it.

We wouldn't want to encourage Sen. Erdman to use that word in his next "straight talk" session -- no doubt justifying himself with "Black people use it all the time in rap songs."

Besides, they're all just commies, anyway. No, really:
Recent Left-wing movements, such as Black Lives Matter and #MeToo, have undoubtedly put tremendous pressure upon the administration to do more about diversity and inclusion. While nobody I know advocates for racial, gender or sexual orientation discrimination, we should still ask why NU needs a Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion, if not to impose favoritism upon these groups.
#MeToo? Being against sexual harassment and sexual assault is an ideological stance?

Outstate Nebraska sure ain't what it used to be.

Like much of rural America, it's emptying out. The young are leaving. The brains are draining. And the remnant is content to imagine itself superior to the citified sinners vilified by bumfuck mediocrities who imagine themselves leaders.

Increasingly, even in states like Nebraska, contempt is a two-way street. If rural Nebraska sees cranks like Erdman as features and not bugs, the day will come when it will end up with the short end of its own shtick.

Big time.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Your precious-feet pin won't get you into heaven anymore


Here's what it means to be a "pro-life" Republican politician these days in a most Republican state like . . . say . . . Nebraska.

(And, yes, I'm looking at you, Gov. Pete Ricketts, and especially you, Attorney General Doug Peterson.)

First, you make a lot of noise about "the sanctity of life." Then you advocate laws you damn well know will be shot down about 3.2 seconds after they land before a federal judge. This is fine with you, because then you can keep flogging the same ol' same ol' and keep raking in knee-jerk votes from knee-jerk voters. (Secretly, though, you worry that folks might realize someday that you and yours have accomplished absolutely nothing substantive on abortion since it became law of the land in 1973.)
 
After talking a good pro-life game about mamas, babies and the evil lib'ruls, you gut all the social programs that might make it easier for women to have and raise their children. Because pro-life.

Pro-life?

Forget it, they're rolling.

Then, you make sure Nebraska's gun laws are loose enough so folks can kill one another as easily as possible. After all, you're pro-life, and assault weapons are, too. Because God, constitutional rights and freedom.


Freedom!

After pro-life criminal elements commit pro-life homicides, pro-life law-enforcement officers catch the perpetrators. Then pro-life judges impose pro-life death sentences, all to demonstrate the sacredness of the sanctity of life. Because thou shalt not kill.

http://www.omaha.com/news/nebraska/nebraska-ag-sues-lawmakers-to-stop-death-penalty-questioning-of/article_5167cd28-0c49-5d75-899f-b69ff741187e.html
FINALLY, you have your corrections department try to buy lethal injection drugs on the black(ish) market because drug companies don't want your money -- or blood on their corporate hands. This is because they, no doubt, are anti-life pussies.

On your first foray into "Psst . . . you got the stuff?" you waste almost $28,000. Alas, the FDA was against you. So was UPS -- it sent your stash back to India for lack of proper paperwork.


Several years later, when you finally come up with the ingredients for a toxic cocktail, you find a legislative committee is wary enough to subpoena the corrections director to a hearing.
 

So, in the name of the rule of law and the sanctity of human life, you sue the legislative committee to keep the corrections director from appearing . . . or answering any questions about where he got the drugs. Or even what drugs the state bought.

Pro-life means never having to say you're sorry -- or anything at all, actually.

This all makes complete sense to me. Then again, I've been dropping a lot of the brown acid lately, man.


Pay no attention to the Mexican gorilla bench-pressing a cow. The socialist baby-killers sent them here to distract you. And the air tastes like Jesus. Squirrel!


God Bless America.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Get the hip boots and clothespins -- it's kinda deep in here

http://www.omaha.com/news/nebraska/ricketts-budget-plan-would-end-state-funding-to-health-clinics/article_2dbefe26-f4ca-11e7-8beb-3fb9246c159d.html
Today's Omaha World-Herald

“Nebraska is a pro-life state, and the state’s budget should reflect those values.”

Says the state's Republican governor in the latest Orwellian smoke signal he's trying to blow up our collective butts.

It's just bullshit. Bullshit so fragrant it could have come from America's bullshitter-in-chief, Donald J. Trump.

The state's budget under Gov. Pete Ricketts and his predecessor NEVER has reflected pro-life values, from wasting $50 grand in a botched attempt to illegally acquire execution drugs to cutting services for the disabled to (for a time) banning government-funded prenatal care for undocumented women (which actually increased both abortions and birth defects).

A pro-life state doesn't waste money on maintaining the death penalty, money that could go toward caring for "the least of these." A pro-life state doesn't have cops so ignorant of how to deal with unarmed but unruly mentally ill people that they end up tasing and beating them to death.

A pro-life state doesn't elevate to the governorship a rich-boy Dr. Evil impersonator who has no clue about governing apart from throwing his fortune behind initiatives repealing the unicameral's abolition of the death penalty and electing GOP legislators in his own misanthropic image.

SO DON'T HAND ME this hoary old horse hockey about "pro-life values" just because the dominant political party merely is foursquare for getting infants out of the womb just so it can find ways to abort the poorest ones by other means at a future date.

http://www.omaha.com/news/legislature/ricketts-announces-million-in-budget-vetoes-we-don-t-have/article_ba36577c-39aa-11e7-85bd-6f2370ce493e.html
Omaha World-Herald, May 2017
"Pro-life" is not some political zero-sum proposition. Pro-life is affirming that somebody doesn't have to die for somebody else to flourish. A pro-life state isn't just against abortion, but also is for helping women through hard times and bad situations in a way that affirms the life of both mother and child.

A "PRO-LIFE STATE"  fights hammer-and-tongs against poverty, and it guarantees every resident adequate health care. And a pro-life state doesn't skimp on funding for education at any level.

A pro-life state -- the kind the governor is talking about -- is all about the ironic air quotes, and it elects right-wing bullshit artists like Pete Ricketts to spout self-serving, self-righteous bromides as he kicks the poor and the inconvenient to the curb. To be aborted postnatally when nobody is looking.

No, you can't say Nebraska is pro-life. You sure as hell can say that Pete Ricketts is pro-death.

This isn't brain surgery (which I'm sure Ricketts wouldn't want state money going for, either). Don't pay for abortions . . . and don't use abortion as an excuse to cut health-care funding while simultaneously scoring cheap political points with the booboisie.

What a tool is our Gov. Evil.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Coincidence? I think not



Of all the things Nebraska's bazillionnaire governor could throw his fortune behind that actually might benefit his state, what does Pete Ricketts choose to bankroll to the tune of $200,000?

Education initiatives for the state's poorest residents? Nope.

Higher education?  Nope.

Job training for the chronically unemployed? Nope.

Food banks? Nope.

After school programs for underprivileged kids? Nope.

Antiviolence efforts in north and south Omaha? Nope.

A petition drive to restore the death penalty, which was eliminated by the Nebraska Legislature over the veto of the governor, who likes to tout his pro-life Catholicism? Bingo!

Proceed to "GO" . . . and pick up a batch of black-market execution drugs on your way there. Gov. Pete still has hope.

FROM Saturday's Omaha World-Herald:
Gov. Pete Ricketts has doubled his monetary backing of the petition drive to restore the death penalty in Nebraska.

A report filed Friday shows the governor gave $100,000 to Nebraskans for the Death Penalty in early July, which comes on top of the $100,000 he gave to the campaign in June.

His donations account for nearly one-third of the funds raised by the group, which has less than a month left to gather signatures on a petition seeking to put the fate of capital punishment on next year’s ballot.

The referendum petition would ask voters whether they want to undo legislation repealing the state’s death penalty. 
Ricketts’ role in financing the petition drive appears to be a first, at least in recent decades. Past governors have signed petitions or thrown their political support behind them but have not been top contributors to the drives.
PERHAPS the governor's parish priest needs to have a loooooooong talk with hizzoner. For a "pro-life" kind of guy, Pete Ricketts surely does seem to be quite enamored with killing.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
2266 The efforts of the state to curb the spread of behavior harmful to people's rights and to the basic rules of civil society correspond to the requirement of safeguarding the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict punishment proportionate to the gravity of the offense. Punishment has the primary aim of redressing the disorder introduced by the offense. When it is willingly accepted by the guilty party, it assumes the value of expiation. Punishment then, in addition to defending public order and protecting people's safety, has a medicinal purpose: as far as possible, it must contribute to the correction of the guilty party.
2267 Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are very rare, if not practically nonexistent."
AUSTIN POWERS, call your office. Nebraska needs your help.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

You gotta kill somebody


Yesterday, Nebraska had the death penalty. Today, it doesn't.

Be that is it may, the execution executive branch of state government isn't taking the unicameral's override of Gov. Pete Rickett's veto of legislation abolishing the death penalty lying down. On the question of making murderers dead -- despite Nebraska not executing anyone since 1997 and its problems obtaining the proper drugs for lethal injection -- Attorney General Doug Peterson's attitude can only be described as "never say die."

Because he wants to kill. Kill! KILL! KILLLLLLL!
Doug Peterson
One day after state lawmakers repealed the death penalty, Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson is questioning a portion of a repeal law dealing with the fate of the 10 men currently on death row.

But State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha, the sponsor of the repeal law, said Thursday that the attorney general doesn’t have a case.

"There’s no legal issue here," Chambers said.

Peterson, in a press release, said its office, "at the appropriate time," will seek a court decision to resolve the state’s ability to execute those currently on death row.

He pointed to language in Legislative Bill 268 that states: "It is the intent of the Legislature that in any criminal proceeding in which the death penalty has been imposed but not carried out prior to the effective date of this act, such penalty shall be changed to life imprisonment."

"We believe this stated intent is unconstitutional," Peterson said.

Only the State Pardons Board, under the state constitution, can change a criminal sentence, he said, the Legislature cannot do that.

Chambers, in an interview, said he knows that and reflected that in drafting the bill. He said he also made it clear during floor debate on LB 268 that while the Legislature’s "intent" was that death-row inmates get life sentences, the body has no power to do that.

"Courts have always said that intent language has no legal effect," the senator said. "We recognized that the bill would not change the (death) sentences."

However, Chambers added, LB 268 removes the state’s method for carrying out a death sentence.

Because of the new law, the 10 men on death row would continue to have death sentences, he said, but the state would have no way to execute them unless the Legislature enacted a new method of execution.

"And the Legislature is not going to authorize any method of execution," Chambers said.
NOW, BEING that Nebraskans deserve full disclosure from its elected officials, Peterson should immediately reveal whether he ever sat on the Group W bench and, if so, for how long.

Friday, March 27, 2015

And the English ate Irish babies
because of Jonathan Swift's essay

"I believe this has crossed the line where we are endangering lives of those who wear a uniform to protect us. How can we expect a criminal – a potential criminal – who might want to commit a gun crime or any kind of crime against law enforcement, to read a transcript and try to understand context or hyperbole? Words matter. And Sen. Chambers said these words."
-- Nebraska Sen. Beau McCoy

Chambers' controversial remarks run from 51:06 to 58:36

Nearly a week after he said it, Nebraskans have decided to be outraged, horrified and morally offended by Sen. Ernie Chambers, who pointed out in a legislative committee meeting that ISIS wasn't a threat to ordinary folk in his district, but the police were.

In more than one case recently, this has been demonstrably true.

But something being demonstrably true in a nation that's seen a spate of unarmed civilians -- many of them black -- being killed by heavily armed police is no deterrent to Nebraskans when it's yet again time to hate on the outspoken man who for decades was the state's only African-American legislator, and now is one of only two.


And did I mention that it took people almost a week to get outraged over widely reported "outrageous" comments?

What people are saying is that Chambers said he'd shoot a cop because the cops are the equivalent of the worst sort of Islamic terrorists. What Chambers actually said is quite different.
State senators confronted Sen. Ernie Chambers Thursday during an extraordinary two-hour discussion about his remarks last week comparing police interaction with black citizens to ISIS treatment of its victims in the Mideast.

One freshman legislator, Sen. David Schnoor of Scribner, demanded the Omaha senator resign from the Legislature.

But Chambers dismissed insistent calls that he apologize or retract statements he made during a committee hearing last week.

His critics focused their criticism on a brief remark by Chambers that if he carried a gun -- which he doesn't -- and found himself confronted by a police officer, he'd want to shoot first and ask questions later, "like they say the cop ought to do."

Gov. Pete Ricketts weighed in on the discussion from outside the legislative chamber by issuing a news release urging Chambers to "issue a full apology for his remarks (and) condemn all violence against law enforcement."

During an interview after the Legislature adjourned for the week, Chambers said "there's not a person in my (legislative) district who thinks I would want to shoot a cop."

"The kids in my community are too smart to put that interpretation on those words," he said.

During the debate, Chambers said he's "used to be being piled on" after growing up as a black youth in a white culture and later during a public career of confronting senators in a Legislature in which he usually was the sole black senator. Two of the 49 current senators are black.

"I don't expect you to understand what I'm talking about," he said.

A number of senators who took exception to Chambers' comments last week defended his right to express his views even if they disagreed with him.

"It's a wonderful opportunity to pile onto Sen. Chambers," Sen. Dave Bloomfield of Hoskins said after the flood of criticism had begun.

"I do not condone what Sen. Chambers said, (but) let those among us who are without sin cast the first stone."

Chambers, he said, has "done a great service to this body for 40 years."

Sen. Bob Krist of Omaha said he now regrets that he didn't "nudge Senator Chambers and express my disappointment" when he made the remarks during last week's Judiciary Committee hearing, but he said he also needs to be prepared to call a colleague to account the next time he hears a reference to "a retard."

Sen. Ken Haar of Malcolm said he has heard a senator refer to people who receive public assistance as "leeches," and he reminded colleagues that Sen. Beau McCoy of Omaha, who initiated Thursday's debate, dismissively knocked a bobblehead doll rendition of President Barack Obama off a fence post in one of his 2014 gubernatorial campaign TV ads.


THIS AD.  I wonder whether McCoy regrets his symbolic act of violence against the president of the United States.

I wonder whether he wonders whether he planted a seed in the fertile soil of a future assassin's warped mind. Because, after all, actions matter. And Sen. McCoy whacked that Obama bobblehead.

I'm seeing people from politicians to regular slobs on Facebook demand that people like Ernie Chambers "walk a mile in cops' shoes." Bullshit.

You don't get to say that unless you equally insist that cops -- and Republican politicians, for that matter -- walk a mile in the shoes of Chambers' north Omaha constituents. So far, I haven't heard anybody meekly suggest that cops might, if they have time someday, and if it really isn't too much trouble, walk a block in the shoes of ordinary black folk in the 'hood.

Like people say, "Fair is fair." Unless that depends on what the definition of "is" is.

FOR THE RECORD, here is what Chambers actually said a week ago. Unedited for political effect or for outrage generation in the Internet age:
My ISIS is the police. And you know what the county attorney said, Don Kleine: If the officer makes a mistake, if he's wrong but he had reason to think that he was right, then he's clear. I cannot get away with that and shoot you and say, well, I thought he was going to do something. They say, uh-uh, buddy, that doesn't work. 

Well, now we presume that these officers are trained. To show how little their training means and how they hide behind it, some guy out east was fired because he was dealing with a guy who had a mental problem and wound up...he was on duty, shot the guy 14 times, and he was fired. Now he's trying to get his job back. And you know what the lawyer is arguing? And he's justified in view of the not finding any fault in what these cops are doing. He said, yes, he shot the man 14 times, but it was within his training. 

So now, if the police are trained to shoot somebody in the back, then the cop who shoots in the back says, it was pursuant to my training, and he's home free. That's what's happening. I would tell young people: If you tell somebody to go across the world to fight for ISIS, they can put you in jail if you just talk about it. If you want to fight injustice, don't...you don't have to go around the world to find the ISIS mentality. Your ISIS is in America and you're likely to die over there, one way or the other. So if you're going to die, die making your home safe. My home is not threatened by ISIS. Mine is threatened by the police. The police are licensed to kill us, children, old people. 

They showed a guy on a highway. The highway trooper, he had this elderly black woman down on the ground, just beating the stew out of her, and nothing was done to him. That's what I see. Now suppose somebody told me somebody from ISIS did that. Then everybody is up in arms: See what cowards they are? They beat women in broad daylight. But when a cop does it, it's all right. I don't feel that way. 

And if I were going to do something -- but I'm not a man of violence -- I wouldn't go to Syria, I wouldn't go to Iraq, I wouldn't go to Afghanistan, I wouldn't go to Yemen, I wouldn't go to Tunisia, I wouldn't go to Lebanon, I wouldn't go to Jordan. I would do it right here. 

Nobody from ISIS ever terrorized us as a people, as the police do daily. And they get away with it and they've been given the license now. And people don't like me to say this. Then you rein in your cops. And you know what they say, the racism of the cops is merely reflective of the racism in this society and they accept the existence of racism to excuse the cop. 

But then when I say there is racism in the society, they say, you're playing the race card, your talking about it makes it happen. But when they want to justify the cop, they say, he's merely reflective of the community where there is white racism. And that's what I look . . . you don't have to deal with that. You're privileged. You're free of that. You don't have to think about it every day. If I was going to carry a weapon, it wouldn't be against you, it wouldn't be against these people who come here that I might have a dispute with.

Mine would be for the police. And if I carried a gun, I'd want to shoot him first and then ask questions later, like they say the cop ought to do. But could I get away with it? You know I couldn't get away with it. They'd better hope I never lose my mind and find out that I'm on my way out of here. 
(Laughter)
NOW, WOULD I have made this point in the manner the senator made it? No. No, I wouldn't have.I always get into trouble when exercising my right to hyperbole. On the other hand, I suck at attracting attention, too.

But I will say this. If somebody shoots Ernie Chambers because of this latest God 'n' country "two-minute hate," I hope that when people riot, they burn city hall and the police headquarters in Omaha, and then the state capitol in Lincoln rather than lay waste to their own neighborhoods.

You never want to be your own ISIS.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The smoking lamp is off

Click on ad for a higher resolution view

The black eye the Pillsbury Doughmagogue got Wednesday from the Nebraska Legislature means that babies will live.

That Medicaid money will be saved.

And that, here in this beautiful corner of the Great Plains, the founders' words mean a little more than they did the day before.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Not white men. Not Anglo-Saxon men. Not American men.

All men . . . and women. And children in the womb.

ONCE AGAIN in this state, future American citizens in the wombs of their mothers -- whether those mothers be poor, undocumented or both -- won't be regarded by the state as throwaway stepchildren of a lesser god. No thanks to our petulant and Mexican-baiting governor, Dave Heineman, who consistently has seen feeding on the bottom as a sure path to coming out on top.

God don't sleep, and this time neither did the unicameral, which ended its session with multiple political bitch slaps for the Doughmagogue. The
Omaha World-Herald was there for the festivities:
Teary-eyed supporters predicted Wednesday that the Legislature's decision to restore taxpayer-funded prenatal care for illegal immigrants will result in fewer newborns with birth defects and fewer expenses for intensive care stays and delivery room complications.

“For the women, it means they won't have to worry anymore. They can come and get care,” said Andrea Skolkin of South Omaha's One World Community Health Center.

Lawmakers voted 30-16 to override Gov. Dave Heineman's veto of Legislative Bill 599.

The governor predicted that the 2012 legislative session will be remembered most for providing free health care for illegal residents while allowing cities to raise sales taxes on legal residents — referring to the lawmakers' override of another veto.

“I strongly disagree with their decisions,” Heineman said in a prepared statement. “Providing preferential treatment to illegals while increasing taxes on legal Nebraska citizens is misguided, misplaced and inappropriate.”

The vote on the prenatal care bill came at the end of the session's last day, providing an emotional finale to what has been a rough-and-tumble session.

“I like soft landings,” said State Sen. Mike Flood of Norfolk, the speaker of the Legislature. “We had to foam the runways this year. But any landing you walk away from is a good landing.”


(snip)

A similar prenatal care bill was withdrawn from the agenda two years ago, lacking enough votes to pass. This year, a new estimate of the expected fiscal impact of providing the care placed the state's annual cost at about $560,000.

That was less than the cost to taxpayers and hospitals for just two cases of extended neonatal intensive care for babies born to women lacking prenatal care. One case cost more than $800,000.

Sen. Kathy Campbell of Lincoln, a leading supporter of LB 599, said charities and private donations cannot be counted on to finance the care.

Clinics in Omaha and Columbus reported dramatic increases in the number of women seeking free prenatal care, but also several cases of women skipping the care or coming in too late to address early developing problems in their babies. Health professionals have said that for every $1 invested in prenatal care, savings of up to $4 is expected.

“Fiscally, this makes sense,” Flood said. “This is an innocent child in the middle of a red-hot debate about immigration.”

Despite lobbying by Heineman and other foes of the bill, only one previous supporter — Sen. Tom Seiler of Hastings — switched from supporting the measure to opposing the override.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Twinkle, twinkle little bat-s***. . . .


This is how you run a state today. Please take notes.

First, you buy a copy of Through the Looking Glass. Pay for it with a check from a bank you just made up in your head last week. Sign the check "Alice."

Then commit yourself to believing "six impossible things before breakfast" every day, nine days a week, and twice on Gloopday.

Third, vow never to make sense again. Coherence, consistency and commonweal are the three K's to avoid at all costs -- they will just mess you up when, as The Man, you're trying to gin up popular outrage against The Man as a means of sucking up to the booboisie.

Fourth, if the public pays for it, the public owns it and the public benefits from it, convince the public that's just "socialism," a nefarious plot conjured up by pointy-headed geeks to steal taxpayers' money.

And finally, tell people there is such a thing as a free lunch, that they can get something for nothing . . . and that nothing is really Something, because when you're paying for something, that's not as good as getting nothing, which is Something, for nothing. Make this point to voters twice every Gloopday.

NOW THAT we've completed our overview of Political Science 1001, I think we're ready for a look at the latest public-policy pronouncements by Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman, the Pillsbury Doughmagogue. (Envision the Mad Hatter, only closer in appearance to Poppin' Fresh and prone to go "Hoo hooooooooo!" every time a state employee gets his pink slip.)

In today's edition of the
Omaha World-Herald we observe Flippin' Nuts (which I think is the governor's Twitter handle, but I could be wrong) compare the state university to "a wealthy 'special interest group' with its hand out for taxpayer dollars while the state's citizens want tax relief."
Heineman, in an interview Friday, said that his top priority remains passage of his proposed tax-cut package and that the university needs to reprioritize its spending or use private dollars from its foundation to finance the $91 million in new construction spending it is requesting from the state.

The university is seeking funds to expand nursing classroom space in Lincoln and Kearney, do design work on a new veterinary laboratory in Lincoln, and build a $370 million cancer research tower at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

"Here's what the average Nebraskan tells me: 'The university has over a billion dollars in their foundation, and they can't afford $400 million to $500 million to afford that (cancer tower) project?' " Heineman said. "They're offended, and they have a right to be offended," he told The World-Herald.
THAT'S BECAUSE there's nothing more offensive than cancer research. Unless, of course, it's the resulting economic development that would plague Omaha as a result of any major enhancement of the med center.

Everybody making money long-term -- or lives saved through cancer research -- doesn't change the fact that nothing says "socialized medicine" like a state med school and a state hospital run by a state university.
Go Big Red, indeed!


MEANTIME, to borrow a quote from next semester's POLI 1002 required text, "Pay no attention to that comsymp behind the curtain!"
Ron Withem, an NU spokesman, said the university has worked well with the governor in the past and hopes to do so again this year. Withem said, however, that 30 "average Nebraskans" were among those testifying Thursday in support of NU's spending priorities before the budget-writing Appropriations Committee.

"There were nurses, students, medical professionals and cattle producers telling legislators that they should invest in economic development and health initiatives at the university," he said. "We think the average Nebraskans did speak yesterday."

Withem added that the state's largest business groups, including the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, also support the NU requests.

Several members of the Appropriations Committee have voiced support for the university project, although they doubted NU would get the entire $91 million. Much, they said, would depend on the health of the state economy and competing demands for state dollars, including the governor's tax-cut proposal.
IT'S A TERRIBLE thing when the chamber of commerce has been infiltrated, I'll tell you what.

Some people just don't get --
to put it mildly -- that today's best practices for state governance do not include investing taxpayer money in public institutions. Especially education.

The most recent literature in political science clearly indicates that the only message Nebraskans need to hear is "Lie back, have another cigarette, and think of Reagan."

Of course, it's an entirely different thing if we're merely
not putting money into state coffers in the name of non-socialistic private economic development. I mean, that money wasn't there in the first place, right?

Not putting money in isn't the same as spending taxpayers' money,
right? It's just giving a tax cut to future corporate citizens. Tax cuts are good. And if we have enough tax cuts, maybe more state employees will get pink slips.

"Hoo hooooooooo!"

STILL, one has to have standards and procedures -- even when it involves not making future corporate citizens pay taxes . . . so that Nebraska is the state to which they won't be paying taxes.

For one thing, you have to recognize the devil you know
(like the University of Nebraska), you know damned well is a devil. The devil you don't know -- like a secretive bunch of investor types who may or may not be from the West Coast -- you don't know is the devil at all. Really, they're probably great guys.

But we can't talk about it. Hell, we can't even know it. "N" stands for Nebraska, but it also stands for "no nowlege," which is always the best policy because "noing nothing" means there's one less thing you have to lie about.

In running a state's affairs, honesty, remember, is always the best policy. Unless, of course, it isn't.


And before we can move heaven and earth in the Legislature to give secretive investors massive tax breaks so that it's here they come to not pay taxes and build this really cool thing that might or might not be something that's really big and really high-tech, we have to know a few things. Like, we need to know that we only know their first names.

This, again, is consistent with best practices in the state-government racket. (See "no nowlege" above.)

We also need to make sure that the 30-something executives who want to not pay taxes here don't leave any business cards with anybody. And, like I said, we need to know that we don't know where they're from -- that's important.

Then, we need a fancy code name for whatever it is they won't be paying taxes on. The
World-Herald said something about "Project Edge." Ooh! That's got kind of a certain je ne sais quoi to it!

Again, it's pretty important that
je ne sais squat about quoi. Except that We Don't Know Who from We Don't Know Where are promising us a lot of Mystery Quoi.
But the potential economic impact of their project is no secret among state leaders: a projected $1.2 billion data center that could grow even larger.

It could bring a major high-tech business, one that would become the single-largest consumer of electricity in Nebraska.

The state is in hot pursuit of Project Edge, which is looking at breaking ground in May with an initial investment of $500 million.

State lawmakers are acting quickly to land the economic big fish, swiftly advancing two bills from committees last week in hopes of sweetening Nebraska's tax and electric-rate incentives to better compete with the reported main competitor for the project, neighboring Iowa.

"It's quite an extraordinary investment," said Gov. Dave Heineman, who has been involved in the recruitment effort. "We're one of the finalists, and I think we have an outstanding opportunity to have this occur."
[Emphasis mine.]

State Sen. Abbie Cornett of Bellevue, who is championing one of the data center bills, used the words "huge" and "unprecedented" to describe the business opportunity.

The first phase of the proposed Project Edge data center would be nearly three times larger than the $140 million, 175-job Yahoo data center lured to La Vista in 2009.

Project Edge is projected to become twice as large as the $600 million center that Google located in Council Bluffs in 2007. Nebraska officials say the proposed new center comes with the potential to expand even more than the $1.2 billion projection used by state officials.


WHAT WE
can take away from this is the absolute importance of distinguishing between a wealthy special-interest group with its hand out for taxpayer dollars and a wealthy special-interest group with its hand out for taxpayer dollars.

Providing state funds for a wealthy special-interest group affiliated with the people of Nebraska is bad --
offensively bad -- when it would further medical education, target a deadly disease that kills millions, enhance the prestige of the state university, eventually add to the state's tax revenues and be an economic windfall for the state's largest city.

Indirectly providing state funds for a wealthy special-interest group affiliated with men who
(as far as we know) have no last names and (as far as we know) have no permanent address is good -- the best thing ever!!! -- when whatever the hell it is they're promising just might be big. Really big. Bigger than that Google thing those damned Iowans have.

We think.

At least that's what they're saying. You know . . .
them.

But at least these Them aren't greedy public-university thems.
And that's good.

Because the guy who runs the state -- the guy in charge of the government -- says government is bad. And we believe him because he's a good guy.

Go ask Alice. I think she'll know.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cut them taxes! Fill that cash reserve!

The Pillsbury Doughmagogue is at it yet again.

The man who proposes to cut Nebraska inheritance and income taxes some $130.8 million a year is peeing all over a $91 million construction proposal from the University of Nebraska because the state's highest priority in the whole wide universe is . . . that $130.8 million tax cut. That and
rebuilding the state's cash reserves.

Being a Republican governor who's obviously running for something else means never having to admit you make no sense. Or that you're contradicting yourself.


Or that your thinking might be a little . . . magical?

I DON'T KNOW whether the Omaha World Herald's political writers ought to be getting hazard pay or have to pay the city's entertainment tax. (And would the Omaha entertainment tax even be an issue for Lincoln-bureau peeps, anyway?)
The University of Nebraska will have to overcome opposition from Gov. Dave Heineman to win approval for its four-part construction initiative.

The governor said Thursday the state's highest priority should be passing tax cuts, followed by rebuilding the cash reserve fund.

"The university may have some good ideas about some future projects, but their request is very bad timing," Heineman said. "It would be fiscally imprudent to steal money out of the cash reserve."

University officials have said they plan to seek $91 million from the cash reserve for the projects. A University of Nebraska Medical Center initiative to build a cancer center is the main component of the NU legislative proposal, which also includes a $17 million nursing facility in Lincoln, a $19 million health care training facility based at the University of Nebraska at Kearney and $5 million to plan a veterinary diagnostic center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The governor's position adds to the difficulties that the university plan faces in winning approval from the Nebraska Legislature, where it will have to battle myriad other ideas for state spending or tax reduction.
THIS IS the point in the blog post where I usually ask "How stupid does he think we are?" But that seems pretty unnecessary whenever the political subject is Gov. Dave.

I fear I know
exactly how stupid the Pillsbury Doughmagogue thinks we are.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

A kiss to build a rap sheet on

Steal a kiss, go to jail.

Ah, the ineptness of being earnest.

Ah, the importance of bewaring the earnest who troll the halls of government -- as we learned today in the Nebraska Legislature.


Some freaked out parents in Sen. Bill Avery's Lincoln district were appalled, appalled that a local pervert grabbed their adult daughter on the mean streets of our state's capital and gave her an unwanted kiss. The earnest lawmaker was shocked, shocked that the only thing the cops could nab the guy on was disorderly conduct.

THUS, we today have Legislative Bill 797, otherwise known as the unicameral's latest complete waste of time and paper products. From the Omaha World-Herald:
Avery's bill would add mouth-to-mouth kissing without a victim's consent to conduct that could be charged as second- or third-degree sexual assault.

It would be up to a prosecutor's discretion whether charges should be filed in a particular situation, he said.

"I admit that it would be a difficult statute to enforce," he said. "Everybody that claims they were kissed without consent is not going to have charges filed."
NOW THAT sounds like a game plan (not) -- enact "a difficult statute to enforce." Clog up the cops, the courts and the sex-offender rolls with matters best handled A) by the sudden appearance of fireworks, tingles down the spine, more kisses and eventual nuptials or B) a slap in the face and/or a knee to the groin.

Of course, I am not being earnest. I am making sense.

This is why I am fundamentally unfit for American politics. This also is why I'd be phenomenally unsuccessful at it -- telling paranoid parents to quit wasting my time and instead buy their daughter a can of pepper spray is no way to win the ninny vote.

Hell, I understand capsaicin is all the rage nowadays; why not try using it on Lincoln horndogs instead of peaceful political protesters?

I'm sure Sen. Avery would be shocked,
shocked by this notion.