Wednesday, April 02, 2003


Nebraska's legislature managed to move one step closer to approving concealed carry permits for handguns. It's questionable whether the law will make it all the way, however.

I want to applaud one senator in particular: Arnie Stuthman of Platte Center, Platte County. Platte County is a hard-drinking county and the cops and sheriffs in the area have their hands full with domestic assaults, shotguns, bombs (the first day I worked in the County Attorney's office there, some lunatic threatened his wife with a bomb) and god knows what else. The cops managed to talk some sense into Stuthman, and I say good for you, Arnie. Now go up the road to your neighbor from Norfolk, Gene Tyson and remind him about those other idiots who shot up the bank in his town -- and how much worse it could have been if some goofball had started shooting at random.


Arnie Stuthman is not quite as wonderful as I might hope. He was in Vegas last weekend with the gang being wined and dined (but not "lobbied" -- honest!) at private gambling interest's expense for a conference. Arnie, you did quickly figure out that rank hath its privileges.


Senator Jim Bunning, R-KY, says Peter Arnett should be tried for treason for "aiding and abetting the Iraqi government during a war."

Fair enough. Let's try Geraldo Rivera for espionage for revealing the position of the 101st Airborne Division and its future operational plans to the Iraqis via TV -- the same medium Arnett used for his "treason."

Both are capital offenses. Bring 'em on.


I like Lincoln City Council candidate Patte Newman. She's an unashamed liberal. We need more of that. She's got a lot of integrity. We need more of that.

So why does the revelation that she just accepted some $30,000 from relative and software company owner Steve Kiene leave me feeling a bit queasy? (Story appears on page 3B of the April 2nd, 2003 Lincoln Journal Star print edition but not online). Because that smacks of the sort of thing I rant against the GOP for: big businesses buying politicians, politicians buying elections, etc., etc.

$30K ups the stakes for the city council race substantially. Jerry Shoecraft is amazed and "wants to know what's going on." Well, as I think about this, with the GOP dumping that amount of money into the races in Lincoln this year to try to control Lincoln city government, the amount of money is not unique -- seems to me I read somewhere that Strand (running against incumbent Jonathan Cook) scraped up an even larger amount, allegedly from many individual donors.

I would be frothing at the mouth about that. So shouldn't I be frothing at the mouth about Patte Newman getting this huge chunk of mazooma from Kiene? Shouldn't I call for her to give it back?

On page 5B of the same paper, Steve Kiene speaks for himself. He points out that Patte Newman won't take "special interest money." He says he is
fortunate enough to be in a financial position where I can help . . . . I feel like I HAVE won the lottery. I was raised by good parents. I grew up in Lincoln where the crime was low . . . . When I was in my early 20s I was very lucky in business and I started to make good money. . . That's when I started to realize all the good I could do with some of that money. . . . I did not want to see Patte Newman lose because she refused to accept special interest money. Patte won't do that, so I knew she would lose if I didn't help. I believe with all my heart that Patte is the best candidate for the Northeast district
{. . . .}
So what makes me different than the "big business" money? Everything. $35,000 may sound like a lot of money. It is, no question about it. So what's in it for me? Our future. The future of our city. A city where I want to someday raise a family. A city that I want to call my home for my entire life . . . I want a city that is not controlled by a few select rich people, but by all of its citizens. And that's worth more than $35,000. That's why I am supporting Patte Newman. . . .
Heartfelt, certainly. And I have to confess that I am more likely to believe a guy with a business of 37 people than the CEO of a major stock corporation like ConAgra. It's also worth noting that he's given money to Glen Friendt, so I guess he's not monolithic. Whatever that means.

Still, it might go down with me a little better if Patte (or Steve Kiene) would spread it around a little. Jonathan Cook could use a few grand, and he represents the same things that Patte does. So could Annette McRoy. It's not illegal; I don't think Patte is subject to being bought (based on the several conversations I've had with her). It's the bane of being a liberal: we complain about not having money, but if we have money, we feel ashamed about it.

I guess if it's honestly come by -- and this is certainly honestly come by -- 'taint nothin' wrong with it. It just surprises me.

Use it wisely, Patte. And if you have any left over, save it for Terry Werner in two years. He'll need it.

Monday, March 31, 2003


As in Vietnam, a partial version of this quote has shown up at "pro-USA" marches. Here's the entire quote by Sen. Carl Schurz from 1898:
“My country, right or wrong. When right, to be kept right. When wrong, to be put right.”
Let's put our country right and call a halt to this disaster of a war before we have the entire world marching against us.


And SATAN, being very like unto the Republicans, took Ben Nelson unto an high mountain, and shewed him the nation, and the kingdoms of the nation, and the riches thereof, and said, All this shall be yours if you shall bow down and worship me,

And Ben Nelson said, Go to hell, for I have seen thy educational program, and behold, it stinketh, and profiteth no one, and verily, it leaveth many children behind, especially here in the plains;

And I have seen thy war plan and methinks it goeth not as well as thou thinkest, and I would not be part of thy party when the shit hitteth the fan, but would fain be far away.

Where wast thou when my grainfields did lie parched and dying in the sun?

Where wast thou when the toilers in my graineries and in my workshops did cry out for silver to feed their families withal?

Get thee behind me, GOP, for the day of thy reckoning cometh, yea, verily, not as a thief in the night but as a kick in in the ass, and I would not be kicked with thee, for I am smarter than thou thinkest, or even as those upon the Barricades thinketh.

And Ben Nelson came down from the mountain amidist cheering and laughter and flowers and waving of palms by the Democrats, but a great wailing and gnashing of teeth by the Republicans.