Read today’s news from around the state and country. Each day in the Roundup we cover politics, always with a side of bold humor. We think politics should be fun, informative and encourage us all to take action. The Roundup is brought to you by Bold’s Interns Jack and Aaron.
Friday, April 27th
The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality announced a series of public meetings where citizens and landowners can see detailed maps and learn about next steps in the pipeline route certification process. We encourage you to attend a meeting to let your voice be heard. We still have a chance to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline! Here’s your Roundup:
Food Changes: Consumers looking for transparency from the food industry have won again. Burger King, the world’s second largest fast-food hamburger chain, announced that by 2017 all the eggs and pork the company serves will come from cage-free animals. The cage-free movement, purchasing from producers who do not confine their animals to cages or crates, has picked up significantly over the last few years. Consumer-backed campaigns have been able to force major food companies to think again about caged animals. And they’re winning. It is great to see companies listening to the consumers and making changes to provide animals more comfortable living conditions. Read here
Farm Bill: A group of Midwest Senators, both Republican and Democrat, came together in the U.S. Senate to support the Agriculture, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012. The approval of this message shows just how vital agriculture is to our area; lawmakers displayed how farm politics are more important that partisan politics. This measure will change federal crop subsidy programs by ending direct payments that go to farmers based on historical production without regard to current prices or yields. From Iowa to Arkansas to Nebraska, Midwest lawmakers came together to ensure this agriculture bill’s approval. Read here
Romney in the Big O: GOP Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney will be in Omaha just a few short days before Nebraska’s May 15 primary elections for, you guessed it: a fundraising event. Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman, the first Republican governor to endorse Mitt, will host the event. The event is by invitation only. Read here
The Cost of Gas: While Americans are stuck with paying high gas prices at the pump, ExxonMobil, one of the world’s most profitable oil companies, continues to make significant amounts of money. ExxonMobil is currently making about $104 million each day and they pay a tax rate of 13 percent, lower than the average American family. Over one million dollars were given to political campaigns, of which 91 percent were Republicans. Is this clear enough? The time has come for our nation to develop a cleaner, more affordable, and more efficient way of energy. See the numbers here.
Just in case you missed it, President Barack Obama slow jammed the news with Jimmy Fallon about the looming student debt interest rate increase. President Obama is pretty talented on the mic! Watch here
Thursday, April 26th
The Nebraska Public Power District began its series of public open houses, seeking input on future energy needs. NPPD hosted an open house in Kearney yesterday, and plan to host more in Norfolk and Lincoln within the next week. We encourage you to go and push for clean and renewable energy like wind power. Here’s your Roundup:
Postal Service: Nebraska Senators Ben Nelson and Mike Johanns were split on a postal service reform bill that cleared the U.S. Senate recently. The measure would maintain vital postal services in rural America by placing a five-month moratorium on post office closings. The moratorium will allow officials to look into other ways of saving money. Senator Johanns was disappointed in the approval because it is just like “kicking the can down the road.” The measure will now head to the U.S. House of Representatives. If the measure is not approved by the House, some 3,700 post offices will close in rural areas, including 90 in Nebraska. Read here
Lincoln Debate: Lincoln City Councilmember Carl Eskridge plans to introduce a measure to the Lincoln City Council to ban discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, just as Omaha recently approved. The Lincoln Independent Business Association has questioned whether or not the measure should be voted on by the public because it would be changing the city charter. However, according to the Lincoln city attorney, Lincoln may pass a measure to include LGBT individuals through an ordinance by state law. Mayor Chris Beutler supports the proposal because it will make citizens feel more welcome. Here at Bold, we’re behind this measure too. No one needs to be discriminated upon based on his or her sexual preference or gender identity. Read here
Climate Campaign: In a recent Rolling Stone magazine interview with President Barack Obama, Obama broke his self-imposed silence on climate change. Obama revealed that climate change is a major issue he has had to deal with and slammed the GOP for moving so far to the right on the issue. According to Obama, much more needs to be done to combat climate change. And with the millions of dollars pouring into the anti-science disinformation campaign against science and the idea of climate change, President Obama foresees this issue coming out in the presidential campaign. Read here
Obamacare and Rebates: The Kaiser Family Foundation, a national health policy think tank, recently reported that under the Medical Loss Ratio rules in the Patient Coverage and Affordable Care Act, which require insurers to spend at least 80% of their premiums on actual medical care, consumers and employers in Nebraska stand to save almost $2 million in rebates from their insurers. We’re wonderingif Bruning and Heineman, two vocal critics of Obamacare, will send back the rebates that state receives on its insurance programs. Read here
Wednesday, April 25th
GOP Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney swept yesterday’s Republican primaries and declared a race against President Obama. Romney took Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Romney says a better America is on its way; we’ll see about that. Here’s your Roundup:
First Lady Obama: First Lady Michelle Obama was in Omaha yesterday to speak at a Girls Inc., luncheon to raise funds for services in north and south Omaha. The First Lady extended a hand to struggling girls who may be living in broken homes or difficult financial circumstances. About 2,500 individuals were in attendance. Mrs. Obama served as a great inspiration, encouraging women to remain active within their communities and pointing out just how valuable women are to America. The Girls Inc. luncheon has hosted many officials over the years. Then-Senator Barack Obama spoke at the lunch in 2005 and both former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Read here
Continued Controversy: Despite plans by Nebraska’s top officials to reopen some of the Douglas County polling places for the general elections in November, the controversy is not over. Nebraska Watchdog and a possible federal investigation into state officials is taking a closer look at how Governor Dave Heineman has the power to appoint county election commissioners in the state’s three largest counties. Nebraska State Senator Russ Karpisek introduced a bill in the Nebraska legislature that would have stripped the governor of that power, but the bill did not make it very far. Funny how Heineman opposed that bill, huh? This power ought to be looked at more closely. Obviously, it has been abused. Just look at Dave Phipps, the Douglas County Election Commissioner. Read here
Student Loans: President Barack Obama spoke to students yesterday the University of North Carolina pitching his support of cheaper student loans. Student loan costs have skyrocketed across the country and students have racked up some $900 billion in student debt costs. President Obama gave a personal recollection of how he and his wife had a significant amount of student debt and how it took them a long time to pay it off. Obama’s personal story contrasts that of Mitt Romney, who also supports the idea, coming from a very wealthy family. Congress has until July 1 to act or student loan interest rates will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. Education is extremely valuable; students should not be shackled by debt for wanting to learn and contribute to society. Read here
With much media scrutiny coming from the green energy industry, check out this short video of a shining example of how green energy benefits the economy and the environment at the same time.