Here’s a new device could be especially useful in Nebraska–an air conditioner that also squeezes out the humidity! This year’s sweltering summer has been more than enough to get us interested. Here’s your Roundup:
Who Are They?: Nancy Pelosi filled in the blanks on the deficit reduction supercommittee, adding Reps. Xavier Becerra (CA), James Clyburn (SC), and Chris Van Hollen (MD). Now that we have a complete picture of the committee, speculation can begin on how they will decide upon the future of our country. A couple of news agencies have come up with profiles of the committee members, read here and here to see who these members are and where they stand on the big issues.
Competence an Issue for Republicans: Last night’s Republican debate in Ames, IA highlighted some issues that will likely shape the Republican Primary Race. Ron Paul and Rick Santorum got into it over isolationism vs. intervention, and Bachman was asked if she is “submissive to her husband,” showing that gender will be an issue. But one buzzword might just beat the rest in this Republican campaign for President: competency. Read here.
Bi-partisan Support on Pipeline Regulations: It seems leaders at the federal level have noticed the almost daily stories about new spills coming from pipelines and are doing something about it in a bi-partisan manner. Congressional members are stepping up to increase safety regulations on pipelines and holding pipeline owners responsible for damages, as well as studying the effects of diluted bitumen on the structures. Why can’t all of Nebraska’s elected officials take such a strong stance and do their job to exercise our state’s right to route the pipeline? Leaders who aren’t even from Nebraska are concerned about the safety of a pipeline going through our valuable aquifer and land. It’s time Heineman, Terry, and Smith do their part. Read here.
Corporation = Person?: Mittens is getting major flack for a comment made in Ames on Thursday: that corporations are people, too. Well that’s news to us, because last time we checked corporations exist beyond–and despite–their members. The comment was made in defense of low taxes for corporations. Corporations that, by the way, have continuously been making record profits despite unemployment and economic downturns that have caused the rest us to tighten our purse strings.
LJS Lays Bruning Out: The Lincoln Journal Star editors are calling Bruning’s comparison of welfare recipients to raccons more than just “inartful.” They say his comment is a downright embarassment. “It’s almost inconceivable that the remark came from a lawyer who makes his living by adroit use of the English language.” That’s why we’re calling on Bruning to resign as AG and atone by helping us collect 100 sleeping bags for homeless teens in Lincoln. Read here.
Thurs, August 11th
Now that the near crisis over the raising of the debt ceiling is over (for now) and disappeared from the media, the GOP presidential candidates are clamoring to get back in some of that sweet, sweet spotlight. With the Ames Straw Poll just a few days away, the candidates will take the stage (and the Fox News screen) at Iowa State University tonight from 8-10pm CT to try to win over some Iowan hearts. Here’s your Roundup:
Super Group: In making their picks for the “super committee,” Congressional leaders left the unruly freshman behind and turned to seasoned veterans. The nine that have been announced so far are Republican Sens. Jon Kyl (AZ), Rob Portman (OH), and Pat Toomey (PA), Republican Reps. Jeb Hensarling (TX), Dave Camp (MI) and Fred Upton (MI), and Democratic Sens. Patty Murray (WA), Max Baucus (MT) and John F. Kerry (MA). Of these nine, eight voted for the debt ceiling deal. Read here.
Don’t Tell the House Freshman: In 2004, Gov. Mitt Romney lobbied the rating agency S&P to raise Massachusetts’ credit rating in part because the state had raised taxes during an economic downturn two years earlier. S&P raised the rating, giving Mitt a perfect talking point: “When I was governor, S&P rewarded Massachusetts with a credit rating upgrade for our sound fiscal management and the underlying strength of our economy. That didn’t happen by accident.” This is problematic because Romney’s case to S&P is a far cry from the anti-tax frenzy of the party he hopes to lead. Read here.
Gridlock: Wapo’s Ezra Klein thinks Washington is too polarized to tackle the big issues America faces in the coming year. He writes, “It’s going to be hard to innovate our way out of the energy crisis with a broken patent system, flat research and development budgets, and an underperforming education system. We’re not going to be the best place to do business if our roads are thick with traffic and our broadband speeds lag behind those elsewhere in the world. We’re not going to get health-care costs under control if Republicans, having failed to repeal the health-reform law, refuse to allow it to be effectively implemented. We’re not going to attract the best talent from around the world if we can’t make it easier for the skilled and educated to settle in the U.S.” Read here.
Tweet Tweet: Do you love Twitter? Well even if you don’t, you’ll like 2012 Tweets, which uses a simple interface to display the tweets of 2012 candidates and their staff, pundits and media, and grassroots organizations. Read here.
She Won’t Stop: The Palin bus saga continues this week at the Iowa State Fair, and she’s got a new video out about her love for small towns. She happens to show up at the most opportune times, don’t you think? Read here.
Wed, August 10th
Stocks rally and then fall this morning. London police start to squelch protesters, only to have them spread throughout England, and we finally get mild temperatures this week in Nebraska. But hey, Nebraska’s very own wannabe-senator made national news yesterday! Just wait until you hear the reason. Here’s your Roundup:
Fake Support: Commend yourselves ladies and gentlemen for your genuine passion and efforts in our fight against TransCanada’s Keystone XL. What makes this issue so encompassing of all people is that it knows no political ideologies. The pipeline is bad news in nearly every way for Nebraska and any possible ‘benefit’ is quickly foiled by a much more dangerous cost or negative. That is why we’ve seen such strong grassroots support in this fight. Pipeline supporters have noticed this, and they’re a tad jealous. That is why they have stooped so low as to create fake supporters on Twitter. How pathetic. Read here.
A Burden on our Future: We all know the importance of protecting our seniors and struggling lower class. That is why there is such outrage at the possibility of scaling back Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. However, throughout the debt negotiations, what seems to get left out of the picture is our youth, struggling to pay for college. This negligence coupled with soaring tuition costs have forced students to take out large loans. The neglect may have caught up with us. Moody’s made a statement that the student loan bubble may be the next to burst. There are millions who would be effected, and an implosion of this market could cause a shock very similar to the housing market crash. Read here.
Foot in his Mouth: Or should we say a raccoon? Wrong Way Jon Bruning found himself in the midst of the national, political discourse yesterday, even landing himself on the front page of the Huffington Post. Why? Because to him, raccoons with access to an easy meal is a good analogy to welfare recipients. No doubt Bruning will apologize, say he didn’t mean it, and try to move on. We think he’s just sorry it was caught on tape. A big thank you goes out to American Bridge 21st Century for capturing the moment and showing us why we cannot afford to let this man win election into the Senate chambers. Read here.
Not Funny: As we learn more about Michelle Bachmann, so many of her political positions just seem like bad jokes. Well this is not a joking matter. In 2002 Bachmann’s website offered a must-read list. This list included the book Call of Duty: The Sterling Nobility of Robert E. Lee. In this horrible account of U.S. history, the author states that African Americans were “better off” under slavery and that slavery “bred mutual respect” between slaves and slave owners. This is no gaffe, this is despicable. Bachmann already signed a vow that claimed slavery was good for families. This second piece of information shows that she has some serious misunderstandings not befitting of a Presidential candidate. Read here.
Definitely Funny: Now for something that is actually funny. We’re all angry at the banks that played such a large role in the financial collapse and subsequent recession. That is why this is ever so satisfying. Do enjoy and watch here.
Tues, August 9th
Wow, the news has been horrible over the past few days. Riots continue in London, world markets plunged their deepest since the ‘08 financial crisis, and violence in Syria has pushed the death toll to over 2,000 since the unrest began 5 months ago. Here’s your Roundup:
Shakin’ Things Up: After months of flirting with the idea of a presidential run (and with some Republicans actually begging him to join the race), Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he will announce his candidacy in New Hampshire and South Carolina on Saturday. Coincidentally, Saturday happens to be the Iowa Straw Poll, but Perry’s name will not be on the ballot. It probably won’t matter though, because the Texas Gov. has been polling very well for weeks, coming out ahead of Michele Bachmann and right behind Mitt Romney. For a GOP field that many feel is a little weak, Perry’s entrance will be sure to shake things up a bit. Read here.
Record-Breaking: Wisconsin voters will head to the polls again today for another round of State Senate recall elections, which appear to be breaking huge records in the sheer amount of campaign donations flowing into the race. Outside groups on both sides have spent more than $25 million, and the candidates themselves raised more than $5 million. Compared to the 2010 election, outside groups only spent $3.75 million, or 15-percent of this year’s total. What could have made these recall elections so contentious? Oh yeah, probably Gov. Walker and Wisconsin Repubs supporting legislation cutting Medicaid, slashing state education aid, requiring voters to show ID at the polls, refusing to raise taxes to close budget gaps, and curtailing collective bargaining rights for state employees. Read here.
NCLB Is Left Behind: The Dept. of Education is considering granting waivers to states who aren’t on track to reach the Bush era No Child Left Behind mandate of 100% of students test proficient in math and reading by 2014. The waivers will also allow states to create their own accountability systems with higher standards instead of measuring “adequate yearly progress” by raw performance instead of growth. In exchange, the schools will have to agree to certain yet-to-be-announced reforms. Read here.
Still Unequal: New data from Georgetown University shows that when it comes to lifetime earnings, women with a Ph.D. make as much as men with a B.A., while men with no degree make about as much as women who have completed college. Read here.
Town Halls: The debt debate has got Nebraskans all riled up – especially those who think tax increases should be part of debt reduction. At a town hall meeting in Lincoln yesterday, Sen. Johanns was met with shouting constituents urging him to make the wealthy pay their fair share if they themselves had to bear the burden of some of the cuts. Johanns said he is open to reforming the tax code, but is staunchly against ending the Bush tax cuts. At another town hall meeting, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry revealed yesterday that he no longer supports an anti-tax pledge he signed in 2004, and is also open to tax reform. Read here.
Mon, August 8th
Thank you to everyone who attended and supported the Stand With Randy events across the state this weekend. You all helped show that Nebraskans refuse to be bullied, and we expect our Governor to take a stand as well. Here’s your Roundup:
A-tumbling Down: Markets are reacting to the S&P downgrade of the US’s credit rating from AAA to AA+. Some argue that the effects of this downgrade will initially be bad but will level off as investors realize America is still the best place to put their money. Regardless, GOP presidential candidates and the party as a whole were very quick to paint this as Obama’s failure. Democrats, however, wasted no time in referring to this as the “Tea Party downgrade.” Is this just political mudslinging by both sides? To an extent, yes. But in its report, S&P specifically claims the Repubs’ inability to raise taxes and revenue as a reason for the downgrade. Read here.
Some of the Blame: Even if you refuse to acknowledge that tax increases must be a part of real debt restructuring (and you would be wrong), it is still obvious that the Tea Party ‘no new taxes’ pledge is a large reason for the growing fracture in our government. Inability to compromise and an outlook for a dysfunctional Congress may be all S&P needed to downgrade the U.S. credit rating. But don’t think this fringe group has learned its lesson. President Obama must take a stronger stand because he will definitely face a barrage of attacks in the coming year from the Tea Party agenda. Read here.
Enduring Sacrifice: Thirty US service men died in Afghanistan on Saturday when their helicopter crashed due to enemy fire. The team was on a mission to save other troops. Many of those dead were a part of the elite Team 6 unit of the Navy Seals, the same unit that killed Osama bin Laden. This is the largest total casualties for one day since 2005 and a stark reminder that despite the problems that consume our minds here in the States, thousands of soldiers are out there fighting for us. Read here.
Fool Me Once: TransCanada would love for you to believe their techniques are state of the art and very safe. But as many of the speakers at the Africans Stand With Randy event in Antelope Park on Sunday stated, a leak will happen and when it does–then what? Oil execs say that fracking is a safe way to obtain natural gas. As more information comes forward, this doesn’t seem to be the case. Why has it taken so long for the information to surface? Because it has been suppressed by Big Oil and the money they have thrown at Americans to try and conceal their problems. The oil companies misleading statements are akin to the information we get from TransCanada. Read here.
Electric Feel: It is now possible to travel throughout the UK with your electric car and feel secure that you will have a station to recharge your vehicle. There are two things that make this news even better: the electricity from these stations will be from green energy sources only, like wind turbines, and it’s free! This is a giant step for energy independence in the United Kingdom. We admire their Bold action. Read here.
A final big thank you to all the Stand With Randy supporters. We showed that we are a force to be reckoned with. But we’re not done yet. We need your continued support and passion as we near the State Dept. hearings in September. Keep writing your lawmakers on all levels of government and keep standing with Randy!