Post 593: NIMBY, the Nebraska Sandhills

By one vote in the US Senate yesterday, the Keystone XL pipeline bill failed to pass. I don’t kid myself. Of the three ways of transporting this sludge across the Sandhills — truck, railroad, or pipeline — the pipeline is the “safest”.

The people charged with representing Nebraska’s interests in the US House of Representatives and the US Senate support the pipeline and voted for it. The current Governor of Nebraska and the Unicameral, ostensibly “nonpartisan”, but actually very Republican, support it.

The ones who don’t want it are the ones who live where this pipeline threatens to take productive pasture out of use and poses a threat of spills to damage the Ogallala Aquifer, that vast underground lake of water thickest under most of the state of Nebraska.

Western Hemisphere's largest stabilized sandbox, kitties' delight!

Western Hemisphere’s largest area of stabilized sand dunes, a great ranching country.

NIMBYU: “Not In My Backyard”.  Cattle country. Proud, hard-working conservative people with an almost religious connection to the land live there. Cowboys, if you will. Ranchers. People who put three Representatives and two Senators in Congress to vote for a pipeline they can’t imagine spoiling their paradise.

For the time being, the pipeline is a pipedream, but this November Nebraskans repeated their standard practice of putting the same old people back in Congress, with one exception for the fellow representing the 2nd District. He misspoke and pissed some people off. Amazing, but that district is largely in the urban east. Four conservative Republicans and one Democrat will represent the state in the next Congress.

What about the 3rd Congressional District, the largely rural, agricultural part of the state, the part where the Sandhills are? Yes, by a wide margin– 75.39% to his opponent’s 24.61% of votes cast — Representative Adrian Smith won re-election. NIMBY. People vote by habit, not by any rational process I can discern. People don’t want the pipeline to spoil the Sandhills and the aquifer, which are the source of their income, but they put characters like Smith back in Congress.

The sky dominates the plains...and mice can't hide no matter how hard they try!

Those bumps beyond the field of corn are the start of the Nebraska Sandhills, east of Alliance. The Ogallala Aquifer provides irrigation water that makes growing corn possible in what was once characterized as “The Great American Desert”

As much as I hate to take this attitude, because I definitely don’t support the pipeline or the transport of this sludge across the Ogallala Aquifer states, but the people of the states and places most affected by this pipeline vote scarlet red Republican: They put the people who support this travesty in the seats of power, and they and their progeny will reap the whirlwind.

I’m almost two-thirds of a century old, so will be dead soon enough. Though it is in remission, I have a disease that has the potential to kill me well before the 90+ years that both parents lived. I chose not to have children, so none of my own are threatened. As far as I’m, concerned, I can no longer respect nor be concerned about the fate of the people of the Sandhills because they largely haven’t the sense to support politicians who respect their way of life and the land on which they live and work.

Besides, any spill plumes will spread east toward Lincoln, NIMBY.



Post 299: Again? I’m watching you, Adrian. I’m watching.

Guess what time it is, again! Yes, time for Congress to vote to raise the debt ceiling!

Remember last time? An element in Congress forced the entire Federal Government to shut down at a cost of an estimated $24,000,000,000 hit to the economy. The country came so close to a notch down in its credit rating that you wondered which foe, foreign or domestic, paid off these clowns in the US House of Representatives and US Senate to bring America to her knees.

Remember what the whole business was about, what the hang-up was on voting to pay for US bills already authorized by Congress? No? Well, it kept changing because one variety of clowns in Congress continued not to understand that the President wasn’t backing down, he wouldn’t negotiate on the debt ceiling vote, that “no means no”.


Well, they are loading up the clown car again, just in case. You know, that tiny car that rolls into the chambers of the US House of Representatives and the US Senate, the doors open, and out pop a sufficient number of clowns to gum up the works. Yes, it is debt ceiling time again, and there is talk again by one party of holding the nation hostage for something in exchange.

“They think they should get something out of it,” I heard the television guy say. I was half asleep in my glider, but that woke me up!

“Yeah,” I thought to myself, “a swift kick in the butt and another one to remove them from office for any Congressman or Senator who puts us through last Fall again!”

The television guy used an analogy: “If you pay off your credit card (that is, pay for what you’ve already spent), you shouldn’t expect to be rewarded (that is, get handed some political deal you seek for doing your Constitutional job, which is to authorize money to pay for what you’ve already spent!)”

US Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew says the window to vote to raise the debt ceiling or risk national default is narrower than last time. Will our dysfunctional Congress step up and pay for what they’ve already spent, or will there be another round of clowns popping out of the clown car? I’m not sure. All I know is there are only three potential clowns from Nebraska that I have any control over.

It’s time again to keep my eyes on how they handle this round, maybe remind them even Republicans in a scarlet state can make the mistake of popping out of the Congressional clown car, that they can’t run fast enough in clown shoes to avoid a swift kick in the butt if they play last Fall’s debt ceiling game again.

One is running again in 2014. I always vote. That isn’t a threat. It’s a promise. I’m watching you, Adrian. I’m watching…. Don’t be a clown!


I must admit, this was my favorite clown from last Fall, the most clueless of the most clueless:

>honk! honk!<

>honk! honk!<

Congressional Loyalty Test

Lots of nasty, disparaging comments flying around just now…!

The loyalty of the various factions within the US Congress is a concern for Wee [sic] the People. Who the blank do these characters represent anyway? Where are their loyalties? Can we trust them?

Below, my Congressional Loyalty Test can sort out the backdoor agents, the patriots, the wackos, the poseurs. It is direct. It is simple. All each member of Congress needs do is match the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America to, erm, the correct flag of the United States of America.

This test isn’t be too hard, and it will show their constituents where their Congressman sleeps and with whom.

Please wait till the proctor gives you the signal to start. Mark the box next to your answer with a No. 2 pencil. For those of you voting in Florida, the answer box is on the left side of the flag image.

loyalty test

p = .125 (That is, if a Congressman or Senator takes a wild guess, he or she has one chance in eight of getting it right. I think that’s fair enough, eh?! Yes, there is one trick answer.)

US governmental shutdown crisis

When I tried to understand the dysfunctional Belgian parliament a couple of years ago, my Belgian friend Anthony posted a video that made a very complex situation perfectly clear!

When I tried to explain the dysfunctional US Congress and the probable shutdown of the US government, yesterday, I realized my explanation for why he, Anthony, (and the rest of the world) should be concerned fell well short of a clarification.

Here is a pictorial explanation, Anthony, starting with the Democratic Party point of view of the probable US governmental shutdown crisis: viewed by Democrats

…as viewed by Democrats

There. Keep that image in mind when comparing the Republican point of view with that of the Democrats: viewed by the Republicans

…as viewed by the Republicans

Of course, there is a significant subset within the traditional (rational) Republican party, the Tea Party. Here is their point of view: viewed by the TPers

…as viewed by the TPers

There! Though it seems desperate, the three political elements of this crisis actually aren’t all that far apart in their respective points of view!

I hope this is more clear, Anthony. (As a guy who appreciates his maths, I hope you like how I threw in a little maths jargon for your amusement!)