As we begin the Labor Day weekend, new reports say zero jobs were created in August with unemployment staying at 9.1%. We hope Obama has some big, bold solutions in his jobs speech next week. Here’s your Roundup:
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: Ezra Klein shares the news that Rep. John Larson (CT) has proposed a good first step for Congress to finally promote job growth. His plan is to add job creation as a goal of the Congressional Super Committee. At the moment, their only goal is to reduce the deficit. Economists agree that deep cuts during a recession or recovery can reverse any recent gains. Americans have indicated over and over again that they care most about jobs, so why not help Congress’s sagging numbers by putting on the pressure to give people what they need. Read here.
Not feeling it: In Nebraska, we’ve weathered the 2008 Economic Collapse better than most. That seems to be continuing trend. A Creighton University analysis of Midwestern states’ economic conditions says that Nebraska’s economy shows few signs of economic weakness. This leads us to ask, if we are in the rare scenario where we possess a positive economic outlook, why do we need to add a pipeline to our state that could damage the natural resources that play such a large part in our successes? Read here.
Randy Goes National: People are beginning to take notice and Stand With Randy all over this fine country. Bloomberg Businessweek has a new piece out focusing on Nebraskans fight against TransCanada’s bullying. Keep up the great work, Bold Nebraskans! Read here.
Hypocrisy: Our state leaders continue to drag their feet as women in our state are denied prenatal care, and babies are dying. An undocumented women has taken a stand with the help of Nebraska Appleseed and filed a lawsuit to get what she feels her unborn child deserves. Their argument is that since the child will be a US citizen when he/she is born, the state does not have a right to deny him/her necessary medical care. Nebraska has a duty to restore prenatal care to all of its residents. Read here.
A cold, hard cell: Protesters have been making sacrifices in front of the White House for awhile now, risking arrest to show they are serious about stopping this pipeline and protecting our country’s environment. The sacrifice of the first day protesters required some added commitment however, as the activists were held in jail for two days. It wasn’t a pleasant experience for any of them, but it was one they were willing to endure for a cause they know is right. Read about one protester’s time in jail.
60-90 Days: Gov. Heineman told the Hastings Tribune he wrote his letter in opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline to Secretary Clinton because of mounting pressure over the last 60-90 days. Hmm… pressure like 500 people standing outside his mansion with flashlights? Read here.
Thursday, Sept 1st
A huge thanks to all of the wonderful volunteers who have helped fight TransCanada. Awesome activists in Omaha situated themselves across the street from a Tea Party Rally this week, and were met with lots of support! The hard work is paying off with awareness spiking and huge news yesterday. Here’s your Roundup:
A Change of Heart: Governor Heineman took a big step in the right direction yesterday when he wrote a letter to President Obama urging him to say “no” to the KXL. The focus of his letter was clear denouncement of the current route over the Ogallala Aquifer. He fortunately has the power to enable Nebraska’s state legislature to determine the route itself, even if the Obama administration says “yes” to TransCanada. Make sure to thank Governor Heineman for his support in protecting the aquifer. Ask him and your state senator to hold a special session–to do what is in their power to route and regulate oil pipelines in our state.
Executive Excess: For right wing radicals touting about the benefits corporations bring to the economy, a study done by the Institute for Policy Studies should come as a major blow. In the ideal world, the knowledge the report gives on just how much corporations don’t contribute to the United States would cause Congress to hold them accountable. Through the use of offshoring and “tax havens,” they have made dodging taxes into an art, charging themselves for property rights owned from their locations abroad, then getting tax deductions from the U.S. government for it. They pay an effective income tax rate of only 10.5% (while the rest of us pay around 35%). The kicker? They are breaking no laws, only operating under the rules (i.e. jumbled tax code) Congress has set. Read here.
Please Step Up: Exactly one week from today President Obama will unveil his plan to put Americans back to work. He has two options: Plan A which would restart the economy but require spending a trillion dollars to stimulate job growth, or Plan B which would be a list of mini-proposals that would do some good but not enough. Republicans will oppose any plan by the administration that puts average Americans back to work, so it’s up to Obama to be a leader for the people. Read here.
Heineman Won’t Defend Bruning: Wrong Way Jon’s mountain of unethical shenanigans may be too steep for members of his own party to climb. When asked about Bruning’s most recent mess, Governor Heineman declined to defend him and skirted the question of endorsing him in his Senate run. Read here.
Three Cheers for Iowa! : Our neighboring state now has 13 new turbines, built by MidAmerica energy. The turbines add more than 590 megawatts to MidAmerica’s portfolio, enough to power 190,000 homes. Read here.
Wednesday, Aug 31st
Hollywood continues to take notice to what’s happening in D.C. as actress Daryl Hannah joined in on the protest. More and more people are seeing the dangers of Keystone XL (EPA report on groundwater contamination). We can only hope President Obama is giving just as much attention to the issue. In case he needs even more reasons to oppose the pipeline, Bold has provided a great I Stand With Randy video collection! Here’s your Roundup:
The Time Drawing Near? Despite the continued unknown whereabouts of Moammar Gadhafi, rebel leaders expressed optimism that the dictator’s rule would come to a end in the span of a week. Searches continue for the leader as the death toll grew to at least 50,000 casualties. Interim UN leaders from Libya say they can provide necessary security and reject any United Nations offer of peacekeeping forces or military observers. The situation remains dire however as 60 percent of Tripoli is without water or sanitation services after pro-Gadhafi forces closed water pumping station amidst their retreat. Because of the uncertainty of when such services will be restored, the UN is preparing food and water aid packages for the nation. Read here.
Still War on Another Front: We also continue to acknowledge and respect our soldiers at war. August was the deadliest month in the 10 year history of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. Thirty of the 66 deaths this month were caused by the Chinook helicopter crash on August 6th. Read here.
Disaster on the Home Front: The death toll from Hurrican Irene is now at 40 people, and the damage from the storm is now expected to rank in the top 10 of U.S. catastrophes. Irene wrecked havoc from the cotton fields in the south to the unprecedented flooding scenario taking place in Vermont. National Guard helicopter fleets have already begun airlifting food and water to 12 Vermont towns that are completely shut off by any other means of transportation. Read here.
Bold Fixes: The Economist listed some beginning steps that western countries can take to ensure a successful economy. The article calls the 2008 stimulus bold action that saved the world from depression. A different message than the one the Tea Party would like you to believe. It acknowledges that the odds of a double-dip recession have spiked and says ore bold action is needed. The Congressional Super Committee can start by addressing entitlements and, here’s the kicker, new revenue as well! The article commends Obama on his trade policy but asks that in this time of hack-and-slash cuts, the President should take a stand and increase spending on such things as road and school improvement as ways to spur the economy. A balanced approach to our budget and recovery, who would’ve guessed? Read here.
To end with some good news, Hollenbeck Farms opened up a store at 28th and Pine Lake Rd in Lincoln, giving residents one more option for hormone, steroid, and antibiotic free beef that’s raised within 30 miles of Lincoln.
Tuesday, Aug 30th
Yes, we can do something about this stuff! Eleanor shares her experience with TransCanada along the bus-route to D.C., where hundreds of protesters are showing we still have the drive to beat TransCanada after that disgraceful State EIS statement. Here’s your Roundup:
Not Above the Law: Jon Bruning has found himself in yet another mess over his ethics. Although it was not easily found in his finance records (a sum of $675,000 is probably chump change when it comes to the millions that have found their way into his accounts), his purchase of a lake-house with two executives from NelNet has come onto the radar. What makes this Nelnet-coziness important is the that Bruning waived a $1 million settlement with the student loan company in 2007. This was after the company had donated $16,000 to his campaign. Read here.
Landowners Pick up the Slack: The Elkhorn river’s history of flooding has been the bane of landowners along its path for many years, but with the operation of TransCanada’s first Keystone Pipeline, they have become even more concerned about the effects of the wild Elkhorn. According to one landowner, last year’s flood was a near disaster as the water came close to pummeling the pipe that was buried 4 feet deep. But, unsurprisingly, TransCanada doesn’t share their concerns, and the landowners are spending $100,000 of their own funds to install flood-control structures. More evidence that TransCanada doesn’t care about anything other than TransCanada. Read here.
Disclosure Debate: WikiLeaks has gone farther than ever before in its most recent release of confidential documents. The anti-secrecy organization has previously removed the names of confidential diplomatic sources; this time they didn’t. This raises some serious concerns for the safety of those confidential sources, who may face job loss, prosecution, and violence. Read here.
Inequality Continues Despite Achievement: LPS has seen general improvement in their math and reading scores, which is great news. The Journal Star reports on some teaching strategies employed by the more successful schools. However, as is common, lower income schools’ scores don’t reflect the same level of success as the more affluent schools. Read here.
Good Crops: The USDA says Nebraska’s crops are in good shape. This is definitely good to hear after the devastating floods. Let’s thank our farmers and the Ogallala Aquifer for this one. Read here.
Built to Spill: Check out this great graphic about the KXL by the HuffPost here.
Monday, Aug 29th
The protest in DC continues to grow in support, participation, and coverage. The East Coast braces for what could be a long cleanup but still thankful for a hurricane that could have been much worse. Here’s your Roundup:
Escaped the Worst: While many of the doomsday predictions thankfully failed to occur, many of the East Coast is still floating in devastation. The storm surge spared many cities from the worst, but flooding is still a problem. Inland where rainfall has filled creeks and rivers it looks to continue for awhile. 21 people died and the destruction has already added up a bill of 7 billion dollars. Read here.
A Welcome Addition: James Hansen, NASA director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies has decided to join the pipeline protests and he has some pretty stern remarks for President Obama. He explains that if Obama doesn’t ultimately intervene to stop this that he has been practicing “greenwashing” and is merely a “well-oiled coal-fired politicians with no real intention of solving the addiction,”–like the majority of elected officials. Hansen’s frankness is appreciated, and we hope his position in the world of academia will add greater influence to the protest outside of the White House. Read here.
Getting the Word Out: If the protest have successfully done one thing, it is that it has spread the word about the fight against the resource threatening, environmentally dangerous, and economically senseless Keystone XL pipeline. The issue has been hitting national press around the world and we are happy to see this article in Al Jazeera. It ends by explaining how politicians’ arguments that the pipeline will aid in energy security is counter to recent U.S. military conferences that pinpoint global warming as a growing threat to our security. Read here.
NO FEMA, NO EPA, NO Social Security! What more does God have to do to get our attention? Another hurricane, a fire? All he really wants to tell us is we need to close the EPA, right? Michelle Bachmann staked out this position when she said this about the DC earthquake, “I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians.” She continues to stand by her statements that she would eliminate the EPA and has found somewhat of a friend in Ron Paul who says we should be like the 1900s and opposes FEMA. And finally, the new folksy Texan, Rick Perry says food stamps and social security don’t help the poor but are an ‘’illegal ponzi scheme.’’ Ladies and gentlemen, a few of your GOP presidential choices. Links: Bachmann, Paul, Perry.