16 August 2006

Unlimited Terms of Endearment, Part XI: As The Stomach Turns

Part of the value of a blog -- originally derived from the term "web log"-- is that it is simply a medium, like pencil and paper. As such, it is best to match manner to matter, i.e. style to fit substance.

Since this whole morass is beginning to resemble a soap opera so much, manner must follow.

Previously on "As The Stomach Turns": In far Spring Green, Wisconsin, Leslie Graves had created a petition gathering company to fulfill the contract that her husbands' organizations and friends were sending money through Montana and through Nebraska. The money was ending up on the other night table by the marital bed. What was previously not known was that the amount of money has been revealed to be far larger than previously reported: from the previously reported quarter of a million dollars to the now-released one and three quarters of a million dollars.

Oh. If you call the home of Eric O'Keefe and Leslie Graves in Spring Green, Wisconsin, you will get a phone message naming them both, and giving both cell phone numbers. One would presume that they're still married, and not -- Father Frank Pavone withstanding -- living in sin.

NewNebraska blog has done an exceptional job of covering this, and has graciously cited this blog, and Sandlapper's superb DailyKos diaries. Kyle Michaelis, the blog's author, has been on the Nebraska part of the story from the beginning. Kyle is a writer of passion and skill. He is worth a careful reading -- at the very least for his transcription of a story on the front page of the Lincoln (Neb.) STAR-JOURNAL on Sunday that WASN'T published on the web.

You can find the Nebraska report at:


and don't forget to check out:


And, if you want to see "America At Its Best" in black and white, donating $1,225,000.00 as reported to the Nebraska Accountability Commission:




Oh, and speaking of which, to see:

$83 dollars in small and local contributions to SOS Nebraska:


$860,000 in NYC via Montana AAIB Contributions to SOS Nebraska:


For "Nebraska Humane Care" you're on your own. We now pause for these commercial messages.

[FADE TO BLACK. Organ Music. Commercial BREAK. COMING BACK: The "As The Stomach Turns" logo: an Hourglass in the foreground in tight focus. Instead of sand, it is slowly filling with pink Pepto-Bismol. In the background, out of focus -- NARROW depth of field shot -- spinning globe of the Earth, colors muted, almost black-and-white.]

Organ Music FADES:

Sandlapper, meanwhile has traced the story of Howie Rich's man in Idaho, Laird Maxwell. And, using the Murray Rothbard archives at vonmises.org has shown the long-standing and intimate ties between the Brothers Koch, the oil-billionaires from Wichita, Kansas, who own the second-largest privately-held corporation in the USA.

And they detail the long and interconnected history of the Kochs, the Cato Institute, and its president, Ed Crane, and board member Howard Rich. The reader must decide how closely these old "friends" are linked.

Sandlapper's scholarship is deft and the writing superb. (Or is that the other way 'round?)

The Howie Rich/Koch Brothers story is at:


Read all of Sandlapper's coverage of the Koch/Rich/Cato gang at:


And if you REALLY want to take a detailed look at the whole Koch Conservative Kamp, it's a little tin-foil-hat, perhaps, but very detailed:


Sandlapper is in no wise connected with the aformentioned site, nor, for that matter, are we. Just offering the link. (Insert standard "opinions of" disclaimer here in really tiny type and spoken at a speed beyond human comprehension, you know, like car commercials).


With the ALG Convention starting in Chicago in only two days, many have expressed a hope that Chicago bloggers or media could cover/record the speeches and/or panels on mp3.

See yesterday's post for details.


Given that the junior Senator from Oklahoma, Tom Coburn, is ALG's "President Emeritus," and will chair the convention, this AP story from Oklahoma last year seems particularly fascinating in retrospect:

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Associated Press Writer

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - An organization once headed by U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn is among those backing a plan to roll back state government through Colorado-style restrictions on legislative spending.Oklahomans for Action was formed in Tulsa to lead an initiative petition drive after input from the Illinois-based Americans for Limited Government, according to state Sen. Randy Brogdon.

... Americans for Limited Government was formed in 2001 and is headquartered in Glenview, Ill., a Chicago suburb. Coburn, the conservative Oklahoma senator elected in 2004, is listed on the group's Web site as chairman emeritus. John Hart, the senator's spokesman, said Coburn helped form the group and was its chairman after leaving Congress in 2001 before running for the Senate last year. Hart said Coburn has no current role in the organization or the petition drive. Americans for Limited Government lists as "partners" the Club for Growth State Action, US Term Limits and two organizations that promote home schooling and tax credits for parents who want to send their children to private schools - the Parents in Charge Foundation and LEAD Action.

... Brogdon, R-Owasso, said Americans for Limited Government "showed interest in an initiative petition" after hearing his TABOR resolution had been sidetracked in the Senate. "From what I understand, that is a local issue," Heather Wilhelm, spokeswoman, said of the Illinois group's involvement in the Oklahoma petition drive.
Americans for Limited Government, meantime, is advertising for UNPAID "fall interns." (Guess they don't have the money to pay anybody. Poor impoverished Howie Rich.) Although there has been some confusion, with Ms. Wilhelm telling an Oregon reporter that the group is moving to New York City, the job posting suggests otherwise:

Development Intern

Americans for Limited Government | Posted on July 31, 2006

Interested in politics, development, and helping grassroots groups across the country? Americans for Limited Government is looking for development interns. Candidates should be enthusiastic with strong organizational skills and an interest in politics.

Responsibilities will include prospecting donors, internet research, filing and assorted office duties as needed.

This opportunity is open to current students and former students.

The type of internship is unpaid.

The number of hours can be flexible, ranging from 20-40 hours per week.

The location of the internship is downtown Chicago, Illinois.

If you are interested in the position, please email Nicole Burke-Likoudis at nicole@getliberty.org.
There is also a posting for a "communications intern" for a fall internship at:


Finally, as we will learn later from the mystery Nebraska editor,

The GOP nominee for the Third Nebraska Congressional District, "Adrian Smith got something like $300,000 from the Club for Growth."

Many have wondered what the connection between Americans for Limited Government and the Club For Growth - State Action is. Well, buy the coffee mug and find out:



And now, this faux newsbreak on the half-hour from CNN, MSNBC and FAUX NOOZ:
There has been an arrest in the Jon-Benet Ramsey Case. Jon-Benet, you will recall, was that little girl they dressed up in those pre-school beauty contests who was found dead in Boulder, Colorado ten years ago. We would like to tell you that the port of Seattle has been all but shut down after explosive-sniffing dogs went crazy over two containers from Pakistan whose customs seals had been broken. We would like to tell you that the port has been evacuated and a bomb squad has been brought in.

We would like to tell you that, but this whole necrophiliac Jon-Benet story is such a great soap opera that it's far more important to yak about a ten year old murder than it is about an immediate and occurring situation in a major North American port. You can probably read about it on the internet, of course, like the other day when CNN and MSNBC were so busy talking about the "war" in Lebanon that they didn't have any time to cover the primaries, most especially the shocking win of Democratic challenger Ned Lamont over Senator Joe Lieberman in Connecticut. Astonishing that the only 24/7 cable channels that covered it were CSPAN and FAUX Nooz, isn't it? It's like we're more into ratings than telling you the news, isn't it? We'll bet that you won't be able to tell when this news break ends, and the soap opera "As The Stomach Turns" returns. Now, these surreal images from the famous manufacturers of mysterious prescription pills that are purple and stop giant daisies from smashing tennis players. This has been news break.
[Commercials. Network promo. Local promo. LOGO. BLACK.]
ANNOUNCER: We now return to "As The Stomach Turns."

Laird Maxwell had been a busy boy. Not only did he meet his future sweetie at a National Taxpayers' Union convention last year. But they both worked the KELO petition drive together in Arizona this spring before Laird returned to Idaho to run the "This House is MY House" KELO petition drive in Idaho. Two weeks ago, they found time to rest. You can read the heartwarming story of two tax-cutters tying the knot near Yellowstone at:
And, finally, after a long and tortuous day of trying to decide whether to print the following responses from yesterday's mini-blog "What's The Matter With Nebraska?" we have finally decided to print it, but to hide the identity of the newspaperman who wrote it, not because he has any reasonable expectation of privacy, but because any publisher worth his salt would fire an editor for making a public statement like this about his perception of the newspaper's subscribers.

I received two letters from Nebraska newspapers this morning. This is the first one, and my response:
To: Hart Williams
Sent: Wednesday, August 16, 2006 7:37 AM
Subject: RE: What's The Matter With Nebraska?

[no salutation]

I've written an editorial on a related topic: the use of paid petition circulators and the influence of out-of-state money in Nebraska elections. There appears to be no legal means of stopping it. Adrian Smith got something like $300,000 from the Club for Growth, which opposes agricultural commodity support payments, and yet he's probably a lock for Congress in the 3rd District.

Unfortunately, more Americans can name two of the Seven Dwarves than can name two Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. If I thought all this would change anyone's mind, believe me, I'd run with it. I suspect most voters would head for the astrology column before they got through two paragraphs.

[no signature]
My response:

A mysterious group sends hundreds of thousands of dollars into Nebraska for two weirdly unrelated ballot measures and then virtually all of it goes right back out of state in the name of a company only incorporated in Nebraska in May. That company turns out to only be a Nebraska mail drop in Omaha.

The mysterious funding group's chairman of the board ends up being the husband of the woman who incorporated the mysterious company that gets all the funding.

That's too complicated? Nebraskans can't understand that?

You have -- as Kant called it -- a moral imperative to tell your readers where the money came from and where it went. And WHY only about $20k stayed in Nebraska, although the ugly aftermath of the looming ballot battle and the consequences will remain with Nebraskans for (potentially) generations to come.

I'll tell you what: you walk out on the street and tell any passing Nebraskan what I just told you in the first two paragraphs and see if THEY think it's newsworthy. I realize you're jaded and your readers are too dumb for you, but just try it, and see what happens. I'll bet Ma and Pa Main Street will get it, and it will make them more than a little hot under the collar to learn that you've been sitting on the story for ten days because it's "too complicated."

If you can't or won't do your duty as a journalist, then you are in the wrong profession.


Hart Williams
The other response was from a Nebraska journalism professional. And, professional courtesy applying here, I shall withhold further discussion of the subject.

But, having poked a stick into the Hornets' Nest of Nebraska newspaperdom, the hornets are starting to buzz.

This may not be good news for the Green Hornets.

In fact, 'round hereabouts, we've taken to calling this whole labyrinthine morass the "Green Hornet Affair." Because, it seems, no matter who it is, finally, behind the mask in the back seat, in the front seat, Cato seems to be behind the wheel.

And Cato, as we all know, has the chops.




Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can you expect Nebraska's largest newspapers to do investigative reporting when it might turn up some dirt on themselves, i.e. the OWH owning a piece of a voting machine company (which Chuck Hagel apparently also owned a part of at one point) and they can't possibly inquire in each county as to how many of these past Hagel/current OWH owned voting machines are used in each county? (google blackbox voting)
Yes, it's quite a tangled web they weave back here in the Cornhusker State....now if there was just a local angle to this whole petition thing; like some group the OWH hates set up Renewal Voter Outreach; they would be all over this gnats on a windshield.

8/17/2006 10:21:00 AM  

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