Monday, August 27, 2007
Immigration is never easy, and my wife has run into delays in her legal ability to have an internship. At the suggestion of a cousin, who is a professor of law, we called the local congressional in South Dakota and Nebraska offices to see if they can help. The delay in processing is a minor headache that may cause my wife to lose a good opportunity and a great Lincoln company to lose an excellent opportunity. Yet she is a very smart woman and her permanent residency (presumably) processes in November, anyway.
We contacted the offices of Senator Hagel (R-NE), Senator Johnson (D-SD), Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE), Senator Thune (R-SD), Representative Fortenberry (R-NE), and Representative Herseth Sandlin (D-SD). We received polite treatment from everyone except Senator Nelson's Lincoln office. My wife was hung up on, and when I called back factually incorrect information and curt treatment from April Dunning, who informed us that all requests for constituent services in Nebraska goes through her desk.
We next called Senator Nelson's Washington Office (who Ms. Dunning had told us not to call, because they could not help us), and Christine, who answered the phone, was very patient and helpful. She gave me the phone number of Senator Nelson's Omaha Office, as well as an email address that this blog post is being forwarded to.
Senator Nelson's services link at this website returns a not found (404) error, as does the "contact me" link from his website. A different contact link at his page reveals an electronic mail form, which I will also use.
I assume that Christine is typical of the wonderful people on Senator Nelson's staff, and April (who's performance at an earlier job performance was criticized in a city council agenda (google cache, pdf) is an exception.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Hoegh, P. (2007). Senator criticized over move to restrict alcohol in church. CNSNews.com. January 19, 2007. Available online: http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewCulture.asp?Page=/Culture/archive/200701/CUL20070118a.html.
The news is so incredible that I thought it was fake:
Democratic State Sen. Lowen Kruse has introduced a bill that would eliminate two provisions to Nebraska's underage drinking law which allow
in their own homes or at places of worship during religious ceremonies.
While saying the primary goal of the bill was admirable, Catholic League President Bill Donahue worries about the implication for Mass. Catholics and some Protestant denominations use wine in their communion services.
I immediately tried to check this out by going to Senator Kruse's webpage.
Kruse provided a link to the , where I found the proposed law. The strikethrough (
53-180.02. Except as provided in section 53-168.06, no minor may sell, dispense, consume, or have in his or her possession or physical control any alcoholic liquor in any tavern or in any other place, including public streets, alleys, roads, or highways, upon property owned by the State of Nebraska or any subdivision thereof, or inside any vehicle while in or on any other place, including, but not limited to, the public streets, alleys, roads, or highways, or upon property owned by the State of Nebraska or any subdivision thereof. ,
except that a minor may consume, possess, or have physical control of alcoholic liquor in his or her permanent place of residence or on the premises of a place of religious worship on which premises alcoholic liquor is consumed as a part of a religious rite, ritual, or ceremony.
It actually gets worse than this. Not that not only are the religious service excemption revoked, but other exemptions stay on the books.
53-168.06. No person shall manufacture, bottle, blend, sell, barter, transport, deliver, furnish, or possess any alcoholic liquor for beverage purposes except as specifically provided in the Nebraska Liquor Control Act. Nothing in the act shall prevent (1) the possession of alcoholic liquor legally obtained as provided in the act for the personal use of the possessor and his or her family and guests; (2) the making of wine, cider, or other alcoholic liquor by a person from fruits, vegetables, or grains, or the product thereof, by simple fermentation and without distillation, if made solely for the use of the maker and his or her family and guests; (3) any duly licensed practicing physician or dentist from possessing or using alcoholic liquor in the strict practice of his or her profession, any hospital or other institution caring for the sick and diseased persons from possessing and using alcoholic liquor for the treatment of bona fide patients of such hospital or other institution, or any drug store employing a licensed pharmacist from possessing or using alcoholic liquor in the compounding of prescriptions of licensed physicians; (4)
the possession and dispensation of alcoholic liquor by an authorized representative of any religion on the premises of a place of worship, for the purpose of conducting any bona fide religious rite, ritual, or ceremony; (5)persons who are sixteen years old or older from carrying alcoholic liquor from licensed establishments when they are accompanied by a person not a minor; (6)(5) persons who are sixteen years old or older from handling alcoholic liquor containers and alcoholic liquor in the course of their employment; (7)(6) persons who are sixteen years old or older from removing and disposing of alcoholic liquor containers for the convenience of the employer and customers in the course of their employment; or (8)(7) persons who are nineteen years old or older from serving or selling alcoholic liquor in the course of their employment.
This blog has a "health mullahs" to point out over-zealous health laws. However, this isn't a health law. It keeps the exemption allowing 19 year olds to sell and serve alcohol, it keeps the exemption that allows 16 year olds to handle alchol, it keeps the provision for people making their own moonshine.
This is not a health law. This is hate speech in legislative form, designed to harrass Catholics and criminalize Catholocism. Senator Kruse, a Methodist minister, should be ashamed of himself. Like all other bigots.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Yesterday the Nebraska Cornhuskers (Big 12 North Champions) and the Oklahoma Sooners (champions of the Big 12 South) fought for the conference championship in Kansas City, Missouri. To dreams of Sean Meade and others came true, as the Sooners bested the Cornhuskers 21-7.
However, in spite of CG's gloating:
The SOONER you can update this the better. After tonight's game rest easy world: The New Order has been preserved.
The game was fun. Oklahoma is the ancient rival of Nebraska, though we've been separated ever since the Big Eight moved on to the bigger and better Big 12. Since that time, Nebraska has been stuck with hick schools like Colorado and Kansas State as "rivals." It's nice to have such a big game against such a great school -- and such an ancient foe.
A similar dynamic is occurring in my home state of South Dakota, where the South Dakota State Jackrabbits tried to become "big-time" by moving up to Great West Football Conference -- leaving the ancestral North Central Conference to the wolves... or to the South Dakota Coyotes as the case may be. However, there too the old becomes new, as USD will be joining SDSU in NCAA Division I.
Traditions and football, like beer and pretzels, go together.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
This weekend, Lady of tdaxp and I visited South Dakota, and (taking a cue from Father of tdaxp) avoided the I-80/I-680/I-229 hubbub in Nebraska and Omaha by traveling from Lincoln to Sioux City on beautiful U.S. Route 77
While writing this short post I came across a website dedicated to the history of the U.S. (non-Interstate) Highway System. The history of the highway sign and the Highway
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
"LPS mulls best Native books," by Margaret Reist, Lincoln Journal Star, 3 October 2006, http://www.journalstar.com/articles/2006/10/03/top_story/doc4521bf0c8a4b7965832929.txt.
Recently, my blog friend Adam of The Metropolis Times highlighted Banned Book Weeks. Ironically, the day after Banned Books Weeks Ended, Lincoln Public Schools set to work banning some more
And in addition to seeking out the best Native literature it could find -- 128 new recommended books -- it took the unusual step of recommending school libraries remove 12 books from their shelves.
Here is a list of the books:
- “The Indian in the Cupboard” (1980) and the sequel “The Return of the Indian” (1986) by Lynne Reid Banks
- "Indian School: Teaching the White Man’s Way” (1999) by Michael L. Cooper
- "The Courage of Sarah Noble” (1954) by Alice Dalgliesh
- "The Matchlock Gun” (1941) by Walter D. Edmonds, illustrated by Paul Lantz
- "Brother Eagle, Sister Sky” (1991) by Susan Jeffers
- "Sitting Bull and His World” (2000) by Albert Marrin
- "The Place at the Edge of the Earth” (2002) by Bebe Faas Rice
- "My Heart Is On the Ground: The Diary of Nannie Little Rose, A Sioux Girl, Carlisle Indian School, Pennsylvania, 1880” (1999) by Ann Rinaldi (from Scholatics “Dear America” series)
- "Millie Cooper’s Ride: A True Story from History” (2002) by Marc Simmons, illustrated by Ronald Kil
- "The Sign of the Beaver” (1983) by Elizabeth George Speare
- "The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow: The Diary of Sarah Nita, a Navajo Girl, New Mexico, 1864” (1999) by Ann Turner
- "Wounded Knee” (2001) by Neil Waldman, illustrated by the author
Writes Doris Seale, co-editor of “Through Indian Eyes: The Native Experience in Books for Children”
The best justifications are those that are explicitly racist, such as
Misrepresents Lakota spiritual beliefs and cultural practices. Relies too heavily on research by non-Natives.
for Sitting Bull and His World and
Misunderstanding of Navajos’ strong oral storytelling traditions (no child would take notes while an elder told a story). Pathetic attempts at Native humor. “Whitewashing” of Native experiences.
for The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow: The Diary of Sarah Nita, a Navajo Girl, New Mexico, 1864
"Books to avoid" about Thanksgiving from the same group that inspired this censorship list -- Oyate -- are available below the fold. A shorter version is also available.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
"Some at H.P. Knew Early of Tactics," by Damon Darlin and Matt Richel, New York Times, 20 September 2006, C1.
Long-time tdaxp readers will note that I was an early nemesis of the executive staff of H.P. Among other things I've accused them of
- cataclysmic disaster
- complete failure
- destruction of morale
- foolish pedagogy
- refusing to communicate
and other ills. Like all lovers of sanity, I was delighted when former CEO Carly Fiorina was fired. Yet the epic H.P. spying debacle has shown that Fiorina was just the tip of the ice-berg... and that H.P. wickedness extends all the way to my temporary home of Nebraska.
The disclosure came Tuesday as investigators examined the role of a man in the Omaha area who may have obtained private phone records on Hewlett-Packard's behalf, according to people briefed on the company's review of the operation.
California and federal prosecutors are exploring whether laws were broken in the investigation, particularly in the use of pretexting - a technique in which an investigator masquerades as someone else to obtain that person's calling records from a phone company. The prosecutors are also trying to determine who in the company knew of the possibly illegal activity.
The Hewlett-Packard investigations were initiated early in 2005, around the time of Carleton S. Fiorina's ouster as chairwoman and chief executive, and then resumed in January 2006. The two phases -- each initiated after accounts of board members' discussions appeared in news articles -- were code-named Kona I and Kona II, according to several people who saw the company's investigative records. The names are intriguing: Ms. Dunn's vacation home is in Kona, Hawaii.
In addition to Hewlett-Packard directors, nine journalists and two employees, those whose phone records were obtained in the investigation included Larry W. Sonsini, the company's outside counsel, a spokeswoman for his law firm, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, said Tuesday, confirming a report in the Wall Street Journal.
The San Jose Mercury News reported Tuesday that the records of Ms. Fiorina were also scrutinized.
At this is just one of several recent scandals involving Corporate Spying (remember the Sony/EMG's espionage on the Department of Homeland Security?), I wonder what corporate resiliency planners think of this.
And as the HP scandal keeps getting weirder -- they also wanted to subvert newsrooms -- this has implications for political theorists such as Purpleslog and Curtis Gale Weeks.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
"Omaha superintendent fearful of harm to district," Associated Press, 3 September 2006, http://www.siouxcityjournal.com/articles/2006/09/03/news/nebraska/7c7e5940d7c7495b862571de000f1aab.txt.
John Mackiel, Omaha's power-hungry and incompetent public schools superintendent, is in the news again. Earlier I reported how Omaha Public Schools' attempts to annex small, neighboring districts led to the break-up of OPS into three smaller districts. But while the tripartition of Omaha Public Schools winds its way through the courts, Mackiel and OPS already see their power vanish in another direction
Omaha Schools Superintendent John Mackiel says his district favors the concept of a Douglas County-Sarpy County "learning community."
But his district opposes the community's official implementation, Mackiel said Friday.
Under the new law, council action requires majority vote of the 11 district representatives. Also, at least a third of the total Douglas and Sarpy County enrollment must be represented in the votes for approval.
Critics say the smallest of the districts, Bennington, would have the same voting power as Omaha, the largest.
Mackiel said politics play too big a role in the interdistrict discussions.
Add in South Dakota's mini-Mackiel, and it's clear that superintendents are not the most politically attuned of all professionals...
Monday, May 01, 2006
"Let Them Eat Cake!," by Nathan Shock, Fresh Blue, 30 April 2006, http://www.freshglue.com/fresh_glue/2006/04/let_the_eat_cak.html.
Earlier, tdaxp reported on the insane powergrab of John Mackiel, Superintendent of Omaha Public Schools, that ended with the Nebraska legislature dismembering OPS. Now Pam Homan, Sioux Falls School District superintendent and noted grinch, is seeing what she can achieve.
The first public misstep was to continue defending a hopeless lawsuit from teacher Barbara Wigg, who had sued when Homan's predecessor told Wigg she could not help lead an after-school Christian activity for children at her school. Wigg won, but not before the district appealed multiple times. When the school board finally decided to drop the suit, the Argus Leader savaged them in a Dec. 17, 2004 editorial saying it's "the first smart thing the district has done since this mess started." The school district was also forced to repay Wigg's court costs and their total bill (not covered by insurance) for the suit was $154,000.
There have been other smaller miscues (rules were changed to allow Homan to reside outside the district, the football bus scandal, etc.), but the latest public relations blunder takes the cake. It's almost too much to comprehend. The school district is barring two high school seniors, Jake Wampler and Nick Kelly, from participating in graduation ceremonies later this month. Why? Because they failed too many classes? Were caught with illegal substances? Had too many detentions?
Not even close. Kelly is one credit short after missing almost a year of high school due to a battle with leukemia. Wampler, who is five credits short, had his heart stop last year during football practice and he's been undergoing treatment for a brain injury. Sounds like a couple of slackers, huh?
Friday, April 14, 2006
"Omaha Schools Split Along Race Lines," by Scott Bauer, Associated Press, 13 April 2006, http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=1841310 (hat-tip: The Corner).
"Omaha Public Schools," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 14 Apr 2006, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Omaha_Public_Schools&oldid=48371184..
"Winter came to Omaha
It left us looking like a bride
A million perfect snowflakes now
And no two are alike
So it's hard for me imagining
The flaws in this design"
Theme from Pinata, from "Digital Ash in a Digital Urn," by Bright Eyes
"We create a new people.
The next stage,
you will see!"
Yasser Arafat, sampled in "Hezbollah Radio Advert," by Muslimgauze
The big news is the end of the Omaha Public School District. The secret news is the triumph of complex adaptive systems.
On June 6, 2005, Omaha Superintendent John Mackiel decide to increase his power by annexing 25 schools currently part of the Elkhorn, Millard, and Ralston public school districts. Using an obscure Nebraska doctrine called "One City, One School district," Dr. Mackiel planned to increase the centralizing influence of the Omaha Public Schools, the Office of the Superintendent, and, least of all, himself.
What he didn't count on was complex adaptive systems.