It’s going to be a busy, busy weekend. Saturday is Earth Day, and we hope to see many of you at the Lincoln and Omaha celebrations. Sunday is Easter and Passover wraps up on Monday. Whether you’re hugging a tree, eating chocolate bunnies or still searching for that Afikomen, here’s your Roundup:
Hard Heads: In yesterday’s Roundup, we highlighted issues that Montana ranchers are having with a natural gas pipeline built by TransCanada. There are major reclamation problems with the sandy soils of Southeast Montana. Art Hovey of the LJS asked Sen. Langemeier, the chairman of the Unicam’s Natural Resources Committee, if the pictures of the scarred Montana landscape moved him at all. Langemeier still feels comfortable leaving common sense protections up to the federal government. You tell us: After seeing the pictures of the damaged landscape, do you trust TransCanada to restore the Sandhills? Read Here
Ranchers Go Green: The Matthewson family of Potter, Nebraska received this year’s Leopold Conservation Award. The award is given to private landowners who practice responsible land management and stewardship. Gov. Heineman presented the award and touted the work of landowners who preserve the natural beauty of Nebraska. Like Heineman, we’re also proud of the stewardship and conservation work of Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers. We hope that those efforts are not thwarted by a foreign company that wants to build a dirty oil pipeline through the Sandhills. Read Here
UNL Talks Immigration: On Monday night, the UNL School of Journalism and Mass Communications hosted a panel to discuss illegal immigration in Nebraska. The most notorious panelist was State Sen. Charlie Janssen who introduced Arizona-style immigration legislation this year in the Unicam. Unfortunately, Janssen had to leave early to finish filing his taxes (a level of procrastination that’s impressive even on a college campus). UNL’s journalism students have the highlights. Read Here or Watch Here
The Unicameral is taking applications for the Youth Legislature until May 15. If you’re 14-17 years old (or know someone who is), this is a stellar chance to step into a state senator’s shoes for 4 days. We need more young people in politics! Application Here
Thurs, April 21st
Early this morning, the Beastie Boys premiered Fight For Your Right Revisited, a tribute to their early work starring Seth Rogen, Elijah Wood, Will Ferrell and Will Arnett, who gives a nice Arrested Development shout-out. With the Beastie Boys covering the fight for our party rights, we at Bold will keep fight for all those other important rights. Here’s your Roundup:
Obama Plays Clean: With energy, that is. Yesterday at an event in San Francisco, President Obama remarked that, “We’ve got to strive for energy independence in this country. We’ve got to invest in solar and wind and electric cars, and it’s time we stopped giving the oil companies $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies — take that money and put it into clean energy. That makes no sense. We’ve got to change it. Instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s energy. It’s good for our security. It will grow our economy, and it will leave our children with a safer and cleaner planet.” If the President means what he says (and we know he does), then he simply cannot approve a permit for TransCanada’s tarsand pipeline. Read here.
Get Your Protest On: If you like music with a purpose, then let us direct you to Public Domain Protest Song, a website for modern protest songs. The site comes from a surprisingly funny source: Adam McKay, who wrote both Anchorman and Talladega Nights. Through the site, McKay aims to spur social change by giving people free and unlimited access to songs that call for that change. Anyone interested in writing a Keystone XL ballad? A rap, perhaps? Read here.
Trump Card: Lately, it seems the everyone and their mother has been buzzing about the possibility of Donald Trump running for the highest office in the land. Many, including Bill O’Reilly, have speculated that Trump will actually make the plunge and run in 2012. Between his crazy birther antics, his plan to lay a 25% tariff on Chinese goods, and a promise to “sieze Iraqi oil fields,” the GOP should look for a different trump card because this one will play more like a joker. Although, we will admit it would have been great to watch Trump fire Gen. McChrystal instead of the private manner in which Obama did it… Read here.
Double Double, Land in Trouble: Montana landowners report that spring has revealed some serious problems with the 97 mile Bison pipeline that TransCanada recently built through the southeastern part of the state. Wide fissures and trench collapses, some as deep as three feet, have opened above the pipeline, which carries highly pressurized natural gas. Many of the landowners believe the problems and bad workmanship stem from the rushed manner in which TransCanada built the Bison pipeline. Read here.
Twitter-aid: For those of you who are intimidated by the sheer number of people you could follow on Twitter, fear no more. Tweet Topic Explorer, a data visualizer, allows you to type in a Twitter handle and then creates a bubble graphic that shows you what the account tweets about the most. Our biggest bubbles are “state” “roundup” “pipeline” “health” and “p2.” Read here.
Wed, April 20
It was one year ago today that the Deepwater Horizon exploded and began leaking oil into the Gulf Coast, leading to one of the greatest ecological disasters in modern memory. BP promised to pay to fix the Gulf, but today they are taking citizens to court and trying to weasle out of their obligations. The same story could be repeated if TransCanada builds the Keystone XL through the Sandhills without any strong state regulations in place. Here’s your Roundup:
TransCanada Sues: Our “friendly” neighbor from up North is suing our neighbors in South Dakota. TransCanada has opened up 21 eminent domain lawsuits against landowners in the Mount Rushmore State. A TransCanada spokesman tries to explain that they’re not really suing landowners, they’re just “requesting a hearing on (compensation).” TransCanada can call it organic waste matter, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a cow pie. Read Here
Facebook Townhall: President Obama is hosting a townhall on facebook today at 3:45 CT. The president will be answering questions posted on the townhall’s event wall. We encourage you to head on over and ask about the Keystone XL. Will Obama protect the Ogallala Aquifer? Will he keep his promise to make America more energy independent and foster energy innovation? Isn’t the Keystone XL a direct threat to all that?
LJS Kicks A-S-S: Once AGAIN, the editorial board at the LJS is rocking our socks off. They’ve stayed on top of the pipeline issue and come down on the side of landowners and natural resources time and time again. Now, they’re weighing on the State Dept.’s supplemental draft environmental impact statement (SDEIS). The new editorial scolds the State Dept. for expressing more concern about corporate profits than Nebraskans’ livelihood. The tour de force piece ends by calling on timid state senators to use their authority and protect our state from a catastrophic oil spill. LJS, we could just kiss you for being so wonderful. Read Here
Chicken Little: Remember when Chicken Little scared the beejezus out of everyone because she thought the sky was falling? Turns out, it was just a stray acorn that hit her on the head. Well, Gov. Heineman’s pretty much doing the same thing, but he’s screaming about the Humane Society of the United States. The Gov and his friend Turkey Lurkey (aka the Farm Bureau) are all freaked that HSUS is going to trample the rights of Nebraska ranchers. Their HSUS scare campaign is a smoke screen to distract us from Heineman’s poor leadership on issues that REALLY matter to farmers. Nebraskans won’t play Ducky Lucky in this absurd political tale. Read Here
Watch This Space: Remember when we challenged you to “Mouth Off with Bold” by reaching 1,500 likes on our facebook page? We promised to send Gov. Heineman a special gift if we reached our goal by April 30. You, of course, blew us away by meeting our challenge in just a week. So, we’re making good on our promise very soon.
Somos Republicans is telling the Tea Party to move over and make room for the Tequila Party. We have to admit, that is pretty damn catchy.
Tues, April 19th
Chag Pesach Sameach! Or, in English, Happy Passover! The seven-day holiday, which commemorates the history of the Exodus in the Jewish faith, started yesterday and runs through next week. Here’s your Roundup:
Brewer Battles Birthers: In a move that surprised many, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (avid proponent of SB 1070, Arizona’s controversial immigration bill) vetoed a different controversial bill that would require presidential candidates to present their birth certificates or other “permitted documents” (which range from a baptism certificate to a circumcision certificate… yes, you read that correctly) to get on the ballot in the state. Brewer stated that the bill went too far while simultaneously “failing to do anything constructive for Arizona.” Brewer vetoed a “guns on campus” bill similar to one proposed here, as well. If this is the new Jan Brewer, we’ll just say that we don’t hate it. Read here.
Give Us Some Credit: In a surprising move, Standard & Poor downgraded America’s credit outlook rating from Stable to Negative. The downgrade caused mild chaos on Wall Street, as it’s the first downgrade the US has received since WWII. While the rating seemed to have no impact on major creditors like Japan, South Korea, and India, the word is still out on the Chinese reaction. If China reacts poorly and decides to ditch some of its US bonds, the American markets could take another hit. Domestically, there is much speculation as to why the S&P downgraded us, but most agree that the current state of congressional gridlock doesn’t help. Read here.
Misplaced Priorities: Yesterday, the Unicameral advanced Sen. Utter’s LB535, which would license and regulate vendors who specialize in portable electronics (ie. your cell phone). Apparently regulation for electronics is good policy, but regulation that protects our state’s natural resources from a dangerous oil pipeline is just obstructionist. We’re glad that the Unicameral is focusing on the issues that really threaten Nebraskans. Read here.
Presidents and Pulitzers: Yesterday, the winners of the illustrious Pulitzer Prize were announced. In a historical twist, the winner of prize for biography was Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow. Chernow’s knack for capturing the psychology of his subjects (who include Alexander Hamilton and J.D. Rockafeller) really comes through in this work. Definitely worth a read for you American history buffs out there. Read here.
Post-Tax Day Blues: In case you’re feeling a little down after filing your taxes yesterday, we have something that puts the whole experience into perspective. We agree that our tax system needs some work, but that doesn’t mean that all taxes should be demonized. Shout out to the women of Feministing for reminding us about all the worthwhile programs and services that our taxes fund. Read here.
Also, the opening scene of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 was recently released!!
Monday, April 18th
We may not agree often (ever?) with State Senator Tyson Larson. However, we’d still like to wish the freshman lawmaker a very happy 25th birthday. Thanks to health care reform, he could stay on his parents’ insurance for another year! Maybe Larson was celebrating and that is why he didn’t show up for the pipeline forum in his neck of the woods yesterday. The senator he defeated was there. Here’s your Roundup:
Ticking Clock: The big news on Friday was the Dept. of State releasing a supplemental draft environmental impact statement (SDEIS) on the Keystone XL pipeline. We joined local Nebraskans and national organizations to ask for this supplemental report after the first one was deemed “inadequate.” We’ve got a mixed reaction to this one. We’re please that the State Dept. appears to be listening to us. However, they aren’t getting the whole message. Our disappointments with the SDEIS reinforce our position that our Unicam and Governor have primary responsibility to protect Nebraska’s landowners and natural resources. Read Here
Tax Day: It’s that time of year again, tax day. We know the Tea Party is going bonkers on this one, but we’d like to put things in perspective on this infamous day. You’ll hear the stat that almost half of American households don’t pay federal income taxes. However, income taxes are less than half of federal taxes. Between federal payroll, gas taxes, utility taxes and so on, no one escapes paying taxes. What’s worse, millions of poor Americans pay a disproportional amount. The fact is, our current system is a mess, and it’s time to fix it. Read Here
Oh SNAP: The more we learn about Rep. Ryan’s (R-WI) proposed budget, the more we dislike it. Ryan’s budget would slash funding to SNAP, the food stamps program. On Friday, House Republicans pulled out Ryan’s proposal and passed it as an individual bill. They would turn the SNAP funds into a capped block grant for states that would make aid contingent on work or job training. Omahan Connie Downey is interviewed for this piece. She was diagnosed with lung disease and currently relies on Meals on Wheels because her $3,000 in savings disqualifies her from SNAP. Read Here
Compromise: Politics is the art of compromise. Well, we’re pleased with the compromise State Senator (and Unicam hearthrob) Steve Lathrop has reached on reforming the CIR. The CIR settles disputes between public unions and their employers. It’s been conservatives favorite punching bag this year. Lathrop’s bill expands the data the CIR can use when ruling on cases. Mayor Chris Beutler has indicated his support for the bill saying it’s incremental and meaningful reform. We know Heineman doesn’t agree, and he probably won’t unless the CIR is completely abolished. As governor, we still don’t think he knows the art of compromise. Read Here
We <3 the CFLA: We stand with Nebraskans for Civic Reform when we say that Nebraska’s Campaign Finance Limitation Act has been good for our state. The CFLA triggers public financing for a candidate when her opponent hits a certain spending threshold. This provides an incentive to keep public campaigns affordable. State Senator Lautenbaugh has tried to abolish the CFLA several times, saying it forces money into independent expenditure groups. If Lautenbaugh is so concerned about independent money, why doesn’t he push for the kind of transparency that Sen. Avery’s stalled LB606 would create? Read Here
Flash mobs encouraging students to vote are sweeping Canada. Like the Canadians, we too love encouraging youth to get their vote on.