Friday, August 29, 2014

Cartoon of the Day Extra

Thought of the Day

Republican Governor's Association Takes On Hassebrook

In case you haven't seen it, the Republican Governor's Association is out with an ad, 'They'll Support It', that reveals the real liberal Chuckie Hassebrook and his support of Obamacare.   No doubt this is just one of many to come revealing this ultra-liberals belief that government can afford to address every issue with its financial largesse (your tax dollars).

OPS - A Bond Issue that May Not Pass And Might Not Deserve To

Well, the Omaha School Board has decided to give voters in its district an opportunity to raise their taxes.   Yes, a first shot of $421 million which we're told will be followed with a booster shot of $377 million in May of 2017.   The board passed the spending measure by a vote of 9-0.    Most of those folks owe their allegiance to the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce which helped elect many of them so the vote is no surprise.

We opined in the past that the disastrous state of the Omaha Public School system was the result of years of inattention by the business community so we weren't necessarily unhappy to see the organization involved in the 2013 school board races.  

Maybe, there is a realistic need for upgrades and new buildings in the district and there hasn't been a major OPS bond issue since the $254 million one in 1999 or thereabouts.

Given the size of the issue, we have real doubts about the timing of it.    At this point we'd predict that the issue will fail.    Somehow, it strikes us as incongruous that the mayor of the city has to fight for a 2% reduction in property taxes while the school district wants to spend that and a whole lot more.  

When so many candidates are running on plans to reduce property taxes, asking voters to raise them seems overly zealous.

And what about 2017 and another $377 million?   Planning on a May city council and mayoral election with its terribly low turnout may not make sense.   If you recall, there was an initial effort to put a $50 million bond issue for the Crossroads revitalization on this last May's primary ballot. That was pulled for several reasons but certainly those in the know knew it was going to have a difficult time passing given the demographics of those who turn out in primary elections.

Just as troubling is the potential that the voters will be told by this school board and its administrators that $377 million in 2017 won't be enough.  

We're told that the cost to the owner of a $150,000 home will pay only $90 a year more in property taxes and presumably that will be the same estimate come 2017.  We're told that this isn't an extravagant plan, that money will go to:
  • Technology upgrades including fire, security, central air and internet - $131 million
  • Replacing four older elementary schools, building additions for a couple of middle schools and renovations and repairs at others - $259 million
  • Purchasing land for two elementary schools and two high schools, plus closing a couple of elementary schools by moving students to other schools while 'repurposing' the two closed schools for 'alternative' programs -  $30 million
The Greater Omaha Chamber and the Omaha 'establishment' will do their best to pass this (these) bond issues.   But will the tax payers buy in?   We're not so sure and frankly we think turning this system lose with those kind of dollars and projects will bring lots of unexpected problems and consequences.

Pre Labor Day Election Analysis

The so-called political season begins with Labor Day although we'd assert that most citizens who vote don't start thinking about elections for another month.   With that said we thought we'd share with you Larry Sabato's (Crystal Ball) appraisal of what the battle ground looks like at this point.    We'd agree that if the Republicans don't take the U.S. Senate this time it is their own fault.

Our pre-Labor Day midterm assessment, and a handful of Senate, House, and gubernatorial rating changes
By Larry J. Sabato, Kyle Kondik, and Geoffrey Skelley
U.Va. Center for Politics

"The overall picture is this: A Republican Senate gain of four-to-eight seats, with a GOP Senate pickup of six-to-seven seats the likeliest outcome; a GOP gain of somewhere around a half-dozen seats in the House; and little net party change in the gubernatorial lineup even as a few incumbents lose. So what could shift these projections in a significant way, beyond candidate implosions that move individual races on and off the board?

For Democrats, the road to a better result than what we’ve sketched out is Republicans’ ideological disunity and their refusal to march together tactically and strategically. (The destructive sideshow over potentially impeaching President Obama is a prime example.) Last October, Democrats saw, briefly, how the government shutdown boosted their numbers. When Congress returns next month, Democrats hope Republicans will act foolishly just before the election, perhaps during consideration of a
short-term continuing resolution to fund the government that Speaker Boehner will have to get through the House.

For Republicans, a further curdling of President Obama’s approval ratings would be welcome. Foreign crises haven’t really moved the needle yet, but one wonders if the racial passions unleashed by the events in Ferguson, Missouri, combined with international strife, could have some cumulative effect. The president’s approval rating -- though low -- has remained fairly stable in 2014, ranging between about 41% and 44%. That could change as crises develop and partisan rhetoric escalates in the campaign’s concluding months.

For political junkies, the election season never ends. But Labor Day, the traditional starting point of the general election for most normal people, draws near. The state of many key races, including enough Senate seats to decide the majority, remains fluid, and it is the Senate that will define this midterm. Given electoral conditions and the red-leaning geography of the map, Republicans have few credible excuses if they don’t take Senate control in January. GOP hopes in the Senate have been dashed in the previous four elections; if there’s a fifth this November, Republicans will have only themselves to blame."

Cartoon of the Day

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cartoon of the Day Extra

Thought for the Day

Is Nebraska Football in a Death Spiral??? -- From the Bleachers

13 years ago or so, political football Genius and Guru Harvey Perlman decided that he wouldn't let Nebraska football fall into mediocrity.   So he hired a great new athletic director and a great new coach ushering in an accelerated decline, and worse, disregard for the program and the fans.    When Harvey's feared mediocrity-decline continued, his two hires were swept away (with considerable expense and embarrassment)  and a new coach, Saint Bo, re-appeared on the scene (after a several year hiatus)  to stop the downward spiral (death spiral?).   

But has the downward spiral stopped?  For many fans, the 9-win season that defined success in the past is still magic.   But winning 9 out of 10 or 11 games isn't the same as struggling to win 9 out of 12 or 13 games.   A performance-based company could easily make that conclusion and perhaps some fans are beginning to realize that as well.  Some might dare to suggest that the mediocrity decline continues.......

Apparently, Harvey and the new athletic director are happy with the direction of the program as Saint Bo continues in his seventh year after a not uneventful sixth.   In fact, the university has extended his contract for several more years based on its hope, expectations or happiness with his performance.   One might ask whether a high-performance company would do the same?

But, despite the team's performance decline, the stadium building boom has continued with more seats and luxury boxes and ever-increasing costs to purchase them along with a requirement that virtually all of them (excluding a paltry number) pay an additional 'donation' to the athletic fund for the honor of securing season tickets.

Now, 13 years later the university has a stadium that will seat 5% of the population of Nebraska and a team that, as it is every year, is hyped with new, the same optimistic
expectations for reversing the downward spiral that has left Nebraska football in the bottom of the top 25 or below in rankings for past years as well as anticipations for this year.  

A team/program in a downward spiral, not surprisingly, doesn't recruit the same caliber of players that a top 10 team does so despite the hype realistic expectations tell fans that shoveling out nearly $600 to get a base season ticket may not be the wisest investment of their time and money when they can simply turn on their television and see the game in the comfort of their man caves.

And surprise, not all of the 5% of Nebraskans who thronged to games in the past and offered their first-born for season tickets have stepped up to buy them.  In fact, there are still tickets for sale for Nebraska's first game on Saturday, threatening the long line of sell-outs--this after publicized attempts since April to sell un-renewed season tickets.... Of course the feared end to the sell-out record won't materialize this weekend because if the tickets aren't sold through normal channels, they will be picked up by some major business or donor to prevent the end of the longest sell-out record in college football and the resulting embarrassment.

A mediocre football program will not continue to fill the seats and egos of the university or satisfy fans who expect more.   It's hard to reverse a downward spiral.   Let's hope (pray) that Saint Bo can turn the program around into an upward trend this year and for years to come.   Otherwise, the death spiral into mediocrity will continue and once again Genius Harvey and associates will have to take action.....

Cartoon of the Day

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cartoon of the Day Extra

Thought for the Day

Hamas is attacking.  Israel is defending.
Russia is invading.
The Middle East is smoldering.
Boko Haram is massacring.
ISIS is marching.
Iran and N Korea are threatening.
American cities are crumbling.
Our southern border is dissolving.
Our debt is skyrocketing.
Americans are hurting.
Our enemies are laughing.

Obama is fundraising.

Cartoon of the Day

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Cartoon of the Day Extra

Thought for the Day

The Obama-Dowd Version of the Gettysburg Adddress

We're not fans of columnist Maureen Dowd, but when a liberal like her takes on her president for his inattentiveness, we have to pass on to our readers.   Have fun with this one:
FORE! Score? And seven trillion rounds ago, our forecaddies brought forth on this continent a new playground, conceived by Robert Trent Jones, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal when it comes to spending as much time on the links as possible — even when it seems totally inappropriate, like moments after making a solemn statement condemning the grisly murder of a 40-year-old American journalist beheaded by ISIL.
I know reporters didn’t get a chance to ask questions, but I had to bounce. I had a 1 p.m. tee time at Vineyard Golf Club with Alonzo Mourning and a part-owner of the Boston Celtics. Hillary and I agreed when we partied with Vernon Jordan up here, hanging out with celebrities and rich folks is fun.
Now we are engaged in a great civil divide in Ferguson, which does not even have a golf course, and that’s why I had a “logistical” issue with going there. We are testing whether that community, or any community so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure when the nation’s leader wants nothing more than to sink a birdie putt.
We are met on a great field of that battle, not Augusta, not Pebble Beach, not Bethpage Black, not Burning Tree, but Farm Neck Golf Club in Martha’s Vineyard, which we can’t get enough of — me, Alonzo, Ray Allen and Marvin Nicholson, my trip director and favorite golfing partner who has played 134 rounds and counting with me.
We have to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for my presidency, if I keep swinging from behind.
Yet it is altogether fitting and proper that I should get to play as much golf as I want, despite all the lame jokes about how golf is turning into “a real handicap” for my presidency and how I have to “stay the course” with ISIL. I’ve heard all the carping that I should be in the Situation Room droning and plinking the bad folks. I know some people think I should go to Ferguson. Don’t they understand that I’ve delegated the Martin Luther King Jr. thing to Eric Holder? Plus, Valerie Jarrett and Al Sharpton have it under control.
I know it doesn’t look good to have pictures of me grinning in a golf cart juxtaposed with ones of James Foley’s parents crying, and a distraught David Cameron rushing back from his vacation after only one day, and the Pentagon news conference with Chuck Hagel and General Dempsey on the failed mission to rescue the hostages in Syria.
We’re stuck in the rough, going to war all over again in Iraq and maybe striking Syria, too. Every time Chuck says ISIL is “beyond anything we’ve ever seen,” I sprout seven more gray hairs. But my cool golf caps cover them. If only I could just play through the rest of my presidency.
ISIL brutally killing hostages because we won’t pay ransoms, rumbles of coups with our puppets in Iraq and Afghanistan, the racial caldron in Ferguson, the Ebola outbreak, the Putin freakout — there’s enough awful stuff going on to give anyone the yips.
So how can you blame me for wanting to unwind on the course or for five hours at dinner with my former assistant chef? He’s a great organic cook, and he’s got a gluten-free backyard putting green.
But, in a larger sense, we can dedicate, we can consecrate, we can hallow this ground where I can get away from my wife, my mother-in-law, Uncle Joe, Congress and all the other hazards in my life.
The brave foursomes, living and dead, who struggled here in the sand, in the trees, in the water, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or subtract a few strokes to improve our score. Bill Clinton was Mr. Mulligan, and he is twice at popular as I am.
The world will little note, nor long remember, what we shot here, or why I haven’t invited a bunch of tiresome congressmen to tee it up. I’m trying to relax, guys. So I’d much rather stay in the bunker with my usual bros.
Why don’t you play 18 with Mitch McConnell? And John Boehner is a lot better than me, so I don’t want to play with him.
It is for us, the duffers, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who played here have thus far so nobly advanced to get young folks to stop spurning a game they find slow and boring.

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us of getting rid of our slice on the public’s dime — that from this honored green we take increased devotion to that cause for which Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy gave their last full measure of devotion — and divots.
We here highly resolve that these golfing greats shall not have competed in vain, especially poor Tiger, and that this nation, under par, shall have a new birth of freedom to play the game that I have become unnaturally obsessed with, and that golf of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.
So help me Golf."

Cartoon of the Day

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Cartoon of the Day Extra

Thought for the Day: The Odds

The odds of winning the Florida lottery are 1 in 22,957,480. 

The odds of winning the Powerball is 1 in 175,223,510. 
The odds of winning Mega Millions is 1 in 258,890,850. 
The odds of a hard drive failing in any given month are roughly one in 36. The odds of two different hard drives failing in the same month are roughly one in 36 squared, or 1 in about 1,300. The odds of three hard drives failing in the same month is 36 cubed or 1 in 46,656. 
Now here is where you have to pay attention:
The odds of seven different hard drives failing in the same month (like what happened at the IRS when they received a letter asking about emails targeting conservative and pro Israeli groups) is 37 to the 7th power = 1 in 78,664,164,096. (that's over 78 Billion)
In other words, the odds are greater that you will win the Florida Lottery 342 times than having those seven IRS hard drives crashing in the same month.
Any more questions??? Kinda stretches the imagination doesn't it??

Cartoon of the Day

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Cartoon of the Day Extra

Pathetic Ben Gray Wants To Spend Your Property Tax Cut When He Pays None

Yes, the pathetic tax-evader Councilman Ben Gray wants to eliminate the tax cut for Omaha property owners so he can spend it on projects like a North Omaha Black Museum.   Sadly, that idea is just pie-in-the-sky as there are not even any real plans for such a museum.   Of course, seed money could be spent creating a job for one of his cronies.

What is even more amazing is that this federal and state income tax evader is a renter and pays no property taxes directly himself.   No wonder it's so easy for him to deprive others, including his constituents, of a small tax reduction in their property taxes.  

Thought of the Day

Cartoon of the Day

Cartoon of the Day