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UPDATE: 5:00pm Thursday - Just spoke with Governor's Press Office. There are items Governor wishes to articulate that they believe have not been reported. We are working on getting the Governor LIVE in-studio next week to discuss further. Stay tuned!
On Thursday's show, we spent over an hour discussing and taking calls on the Keystone XL Pipeline controversy. You can listen to the podcast (sans commercials) below.
I am reminded of a seminal moment in my life when I hear Governor Heineman proclaim that the pipeline issue rests solely with the Federal Government (aka "The Obama Administration") and that he fears the state is powerless. The most surprising thing was that the Governor cited the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution as the primary reason what our state is at the mercy of Washington.
The same Commerce Clause that Nebraska is fighting in regards to Health Care Reform (aka "ObamaCare.")
The hypocrisy is galling and sad.
Let me retrace my steps to the seminal moment. It was on my grandparent's farm near Blair, we were having a family get together. All the uncles, aunts, cousins and the like were there and we were getting ready for a family picture near Grandma's garden. My cousin and I were jostling around, as cousins do, and I fell back into Grandma's flower garden. Grandma immediate admonished us and told us to "quit horsing around." At that moment I did what a lot of kids try to do and deflect blame on my cousin for pushing me into the flowers. That's when Grandma grabbed my cheeks and told me something that has stuck with me to this day.
I don't remember the exact words, but the message was clear....I was responsible for my own actions. Nothing is gained by deflecting blame on to others when my own actions could have prevented the problem. Was my cousin to blame, too? Sure. But I failed to take responsibility.
The amazing thing about this incident was that Grandma wasn't really that angry and it lasted all of 10 seconds. But to this day I remember the message and though I will still lapse from time to time into finger pointing, once there is time for reflection I always go back to Grandma's message and what actions I could have taken to improve the result.
And that's what the Governor needs to do in the case of this pipeline. It is not acceptable to just point the finger at Washington and say "Obama is doing this", "Hillary Clinton is forcing the pipeline to go through the Sandhills." Nebraska needs it's leaders to act in their best interest and if what the Governor and some lawmakers are saying is genuine, then that act is to prevent TransCanada from building the pipeline over the Sandhills and Ogallala Aquifer.
But what about the Commerce Clause, they might say?
Yeah, what about it!?! Not even one of Nebraska's leading and most respected constitutional lawyers, Jo Potuto of the University of Nebraska knows that for certain. Which is usually the case with the Commerce Clause. You end up having the courts decide. That is, if TransCanada wants to take the fight that far and they might, which means a decision has to be made. Is the cost of a lawsuit worth the price to save our Aquifer?
But first you have to get to that level. There is no reason Nebraska cannot pass a law similar to Montana or South Dakota, which requires companies to file for permits with a state-level environmental department and then stand on the principles of denying the permit on environmental or safety or health concerns if you deem it so. But Nebraska has no such law. Instead, they cede the power of eminent domain to oil companies to take land! While Montana and South Dakota work in their citizens' best interests, Nebraska rolls over and plays dead to Big Oil. No matter what you think about the need for cheap gas or buying products from friendly nations, that is a power that no government should cede to private companies.
So why won't our Governor and Legislature (save for a small cadre of senators like Ken Haar) work to do anything? Is it because they fear Big Oil? Is it because they are afraid to look like they are siding with "environmentalist wackos?" Is is because they really don't care where the pipeline goes and they are just giving lip service to concerned constituents? Is it because no matter which way they go, they will be seen as not catering to one or more of their beloved special interests? Republicans afraid of angering Big Oil and looking like they failed to create jobs? Democrats afraid of failing environmentalists and/or unions?
We are only left to speculate why because while their words say "we don't want the pipeline going over the Aquifer", their inaction speaks in much higher and clearer decibels.
And frankly, this issue falls more on the backs of the Governor and the Republicans in the Legislature. Because even if the Democrats - some of whom are equally as scared to take a firm stand - were united in an effort to create a law protecting Nebraska's interests, their small numbers cannot overcome a three-fourths GOP majority at the state capitol. Anyone who knows anything about Nebraska politics knows that if something is going to get passed, it's going to need a majority of Republicans to get it passed.
Nebraskans are too far divided on this issue and its many dynamics to satisfy everyone. Someone is going to be upset at the end of all of this. But inaction, combined with playing the "blame game", is not the way to responsibly deal with this issue.
We elect leaders to lead. Leading is not pointing fingers. Grandma taught me that many years ago.
Ok, I don’t know if you are talking about these new roundabouts and I won’t get to hear if you have any reaction to my comments but I’m guessing you are and I have to give my observations to someone!
So I went up and watched the stadium drive roundabout from the pedestrian bridge for a ½ hour tonight. Lincoln drivers have a lot to learn! It’s bad. Hilarious but scary. I would say over 75% of cars either straddled 2 lanes at one point or crossed lanes without knowing or needing to. No kidding. It looks like people enter the roundabout and spot where they want to exit and just head that way, not looking at lanes at all. Not even beginning in the correct lane, just sitting in both lanes pretty much and crossing into whichever one they want. And if there are no other cars around they just figure why stay in this lane when I can drive down the middle of the lane just as easy. It just shows nobody is looking at the lanes and just thinks its one big lane. Well technically that is reckless driving and most every driver on the roundabout would get a ticket for it. Where else in town do you see people straddling the center lane or sitting in a turn lane half in one lane and half in the other? You don’t. I sincerely hope this activity doesn’t continue when these things are loaded with cars during game days!!
Some more observations:
-Drivers coming off 10th street come flying down that road and the shape of the road makes it look like they can just continue to go straight and continue on to salt creek roadway without having to make any kind of circle on the roundabout. But the bridge to the left of them sort of blocks the roundabout and cars driving on it coming from their left. So it looked like people didn’t even think it was a roundabout but it was just a through lane on to salt creek road and didn’t yield at all and flew right through the roundabout.
-Also most cars never yielded. Maybe it was because there were no cars coming, but I seen one girl not even look to her left and just flew right into the roundabout. Then on the other hand there are people that stop before entering and there are no other cars even at the intersection.
-I saw one car that entered the inside lane so then they were unable to exit the roundabout at their turn and had to drive around it again. How often will this sort of thing happen?
-Ohhhh and the blinkers. One car came up to the intersection with their left blinker on, I thought are they really going to turn left here?. No they went around, still with their blinker on, and then as they approached the next roundabout they turned on their right blinker to enter that one; both incorrect uses. Other than that I saw NO blinkers used in 30 minutes of watching. NONE!
A listener on Drive Time mentioned something I thought about awhile back. Can you just drive around and around or is that illegal? Is it considered cruising after awhile? What if 6 cars decided to just go around and around not letting anyone on, is that illegal?
Another mentioned that there weren’t enough signs. Are you kidding me? Go look and it looks like a forest of signs already. There are yield signs all over the place not to mention arrows on the pavement. There are arrows when approaching that show if you are in a certain lane you can turn left or right! Ummm, shouldn’t it motion you to go straight into the roundabout or right to turn right? You can’t turn left at the entrance!!
Have I confused you enough yet? Good. After 30 minutes I had seen all I needed to.
I recommend you go watch from this birds-eye view. From the street you can’t see all the people crossing center lines riding in both lanes before, in, and after the roundabout.
Oh and while I was there football practice was letting out. One player had 2 or more tickets on his intrepid. He left them in his wipers, drove up over the curb, and drove down the sidewalk to get to stadium drive. Ah, Coach can take care of those tickets right? Another player made laps around the roundabout squealing his tires. Gotta love them kids!
Hear Coby's response to the LJS article from Jack & John in the Morning.
While it would be natural to rush to the aid of a co-worker, I choose to let Coby defend whatever he feels needs to be defended and he did that on our program and will on his as he sees fit. Rather, I would like to ask two fundamental questions in regards to this story:
1) How much money is too much for one to make before they lose their right to lobby government over what they spend?
2) Why is the state chairman of the Nebraska Democratic Party asked to react to the story?
We all like to whine about special interest groups and their influence over our elected officials. The NRA, AARP, unions, Move On.org, you know the names. In Lincoln, LIBA probably gets more attention than others. And like many of the nationally known lobbying groups, LIBA is allowed by law to be politically active. They exist to be a collective voice for their members. They are funded by their members. Their leaders are paid by the membership. If the membership is unhappy with the leadership they can choose how much to pay and whether or not to employ their services.
That's why this article makes little sense to me. It is not an apples-to-apples argument being made. We all pay our city officials and city employees. Only LIBA members pay Coby Mach. Many of those members probably cleared more than Coby last year. Our tax dollars are not involved.
To extrapolate out Hicks' implied point, Coby's voice on city affairs - specifically on how many people to employ and how much to pay them - should be muted because he makes too much. So where should that line be drawn? Should I be silenced on whether or not to cut a $15-dollar-an-hour city parks department worker because I cleared more than he did last year? Does the small business owner who made $125k last year be allowed to criticize a mayor who makes $90,000?
By the way, if Coby (or somebody else) volunteered their time to LIBA to lobby in front of the city council, would it make any difference in your mind? The message of smaller government, controlled spending, reduced city services and the money and power of the membership behind that message would still be the same.
From where I stand if you pay local taxes you have the right to question where that local tax money is spent and I don't care how much you make.
Then, at the end of the story, Hicks gets the obligatory reaction quote. But not from the mayor whom LIBA has, at times, questioned. Not from a city council member who may have been influenced or infuriated by something Coby said. And not from a city employee whose job may have been on the line by a proposed cut LIBA wanted to have passed. But from the state chair of the Democratic Party?!?!
It was this decision by Hicks that makes this article look like a blatant smear piece. You can point out what the man makes. You can point out perceived inconsistencies in the subject's argument. But who the Hell cares what some party hack thinks about a story that doesn't involve him? Did I miss something? Did we elect Vic Covalt to the county board? Is Vic Covalt making city budget decisions? As far as I'm concerned, I don't care what any party hack has to say about anything. Forcing a quote (an ignorant one at that) from Covalt just smacks of gotcha-journalism.
Hey! I got a great story about a guy who makes $106,000 a year and is advocating for city budget cuts and how hypocritical it is and now I'm gonna pull out my exclamation point to drive the whole thing home......and here he is.....VIC COVALT! BOOM!
Finally, the timing of this story is rather interesting considering the budget times we are in. Local governments are dealing with shortfalls and hard decisions are about to be made. What is the motivation behind doing such a story? It's another interesting question worth asking. I have my theories, but I'll let you discuss among yourselves.
Stay tuned, folks. I have a feeling Coby isn't going to let this one do without a fight.
Summer is nearly here, and while most people are excited for the weather, vacations, days at the lake, etc., there are also those of us in the news/talk radio world who think of it is the 'slow season'. The legislature is out of session, there's not big elections right on our doorstep, Husker football is still a couple months away, so we needed something extra to pass the time this year. Enter the Fantasy Guest Booking League. John and I have (or will), with the help of our listeners, each come up with a list of ten celebrities (or quasi-celebrities) we'd love to have on the show. We've swapped our lists, and now we'll each try and book as many of the guests on the other guy's list as possible before Labor Day. Whoever books fewer of the guests is going to have to sport full Iowa Hawkeye gear while standing on O Street doing the show next fall.
So, without further delay, here are the interview targets for this summer:
John's List (Jack has to book)
1. Gus Johnson, Sports Play-by-play for Fox, Big Ten Network & Showtime among others
Given our entry into the Big Ten and Gus' status as the most talked-about and Youtube-worthy sports broadcaster of the last several years, Bish thought this summer would be the perfect time for the guys to meet Guy.
2. Mene Gene Okerlund, WWF/WWE interviewer and announcer
There was no question John's list would involve professional wrestling in some fashion, and Mean Gene seemed like the best option in that he's 1) alive and 2) a good interview.
3. Bo Pelini, Nebraska football head coach
This seems a little too obvious, but he's never been on the show with the guys before, even though they've had multiple head coaches of other Big Ten/Big XII schools in the last several years.
4. Guy Fieri, Food Network host of Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives
Guy hosts what is, in a collective sence, probably the favorite TV show of Jack & John in the Morning. John's talked about getting him for years.
5. Tom Arnold, Actor/Comedian
This was a listener suggestion, and since he's an Iowa guy, given the shame the loser of this competition will have to endure, Bish thought Tom's inclusion appropriate.
6. Tony Stewart, NASCAR Driver
I'm not sure why Bish would pick this level of a driver and not go with his actual favorite racer, Dale Jr., but whatever.
7. Ted Nugent, Musician
This was suggested by several listeners since the guys use the hook from "Stranglehold" to start their show, and Bish has always been a fan.
8. Adam Richman, TV Host of the Travel Channel's Man vs. Food
I think we've all wanted to ask him what "the day after" is like.
9. Frank Oz, Director, Actor, Puppeteer
Of course the Star Wars geek is going to make me make a phone call to the voice of Yoda.
10. Steve Perry, former lead singer of Journey
Bish did this one in honor of his wife, who is a huge Perry/Journey fan.
Jack's List (John has to book)
1. Lynda Carter, Actress, Singer, Wonder Woman
Lynda Carter in the '70s is the most attractive woman in history.
2. Huey Lewis, Singer
I've always thought this guy didn't get his due for putting out some great music. I'd like to give it to him personally.
3. Mary Pat Pelini, wife of Bo Pelini
After Bish took Bo, I drafted his wife, just because I'm always fascinated about what the life of the spouse of a major college football coach is like.
4. Flavor Flav, Rapper/Realilty TV Star
Yes, part of this is just forcing John to book a rapper, but I'm pretty sure Flavor Flav could be the most interesting interview out of this whole group.
5. Bo Jackson, Former Football and Baseball Star
Still probably my all-time favorite athlete. I've always had tons of questions I've wanted to ask him.
6. Todd Burpo, Father of Colton Burpo, subject of the book Heaven is For Real
He's a Nebraska pastor and the story of his then 4-year old's near death experience and consequent detailed descriptions of the afterlife has been turned into a best-selling book.
7. Danny Bonaduce, Actor
I've had multiple people in my life claim I'm a dead ringer for Bonaduce. I don't see it. In any case, this was a big listener request, so I went with it.
8. Jim Cantore, Reporter, The Weather Channel
If there's a hurricane going on, I'm turning to channel 25 and watching Jim Cantore stand in the middle of it. He's got to have hours of amazing weather-related stories.
9. TBA--We ran out of time, so I'm taking one final listener suggestion, send yours to JackandJohn@klin.com
10. Wife Selection--John made one of his picks for his wife, so I decided to do the same, plus we've got waaay more men than women on our list, so we probably should balance that out.
We'll update my list early next week, but be listening all summer to hear interviews from the Fantasy Guest Booking League!