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Bold Roundup: Jan 17-21

It’s been a crazy week as the snow just keeps falling around our office in Lincoln.  The Republicans have announced that Rep. Paul Ryan (WI) will give their State of the Union response.  Don’t let Ryan’s mild manners and baby blues eyes fool you.  He’s a moderate like Chuck Norris is a pacifist.  Here’s your Roundup:

Bold Roundup

Right to Vote: Things may be rough for moderates and progressives in Nebraska, but New Hampshire’s may get tricky, too.  The new Republican Speaker of the New Hampshire House wants to disenfranchise young progressives (specifically college students) from voting.  We’ll be keeping an eye on NH, lest the conservative contingent in our state leg gets any ideas to propose similar draconian bills in the Cornhusker state.  We’ll protect young citizens’ right to vote, no matter what their political affiliation.  View Here

How They Could Do It: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell turned heads this week when he “assured” that the Senate would vote on health reform repeal.  There are 2 ways McConnell could force a vote.  First, he can dig his heels in and refuse to discuss any other legislation until a repeal bill is voted on.  Second, he could pull a procedural maneuver to “suspend the rules” and ask for a change to the Senate rules that requires a vote on repeal.  Either way, expect this to be more political theatre that needlessly ties up the Senate when we’re facing serious economic problems.  View Here

LJS and LB340: The Journal Star’s editorial board has officially weighed on State Senator Dubas’s pipeline bill (LB340).  The LJS editors support LB340 (not every facet, but hey it’s a start) even though they take a less aggressive position against the pipeline.  The ed board concludes, “It would be terribly disappointing if thesession ends with Nebraska still sitting on its hands.”  We couldn’t have said it better.  View Here

Nebraska Gets an “F”: The Center for Science in the Public Interest has given Nebraska an “F” for our ability to detect, investigate and report food-borne illnesses.  The CSPI says we have too few cases reported, which can be a major concern because it indicates underreporting.  Just because fewer cases are reported, doesn’t mean there are fewer outbreaks.  Food safety in our state is on Bold’s issue list this year.  View Here

 

Thursday, January 20th

Good morning, everyone.  Yesterday outgoing RNC Chairman Michael Steele explained that in light of his recent ousting, he now “knows how Caesar felt.” Someone needs a history lesson because last time we checked, Caesar wasn’t rightfully voted out of office. With that, here’s your Roundup:

Repeal in the House:  Yesterday, the House voted 245-189 to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that was passed last March.  Shortly after the bill was repealed, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell released this video promising a repeal in the Senate, as well. Aside from being a terrible idea, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has made it clear that a bill repealing health reform will not even reach the floor.  To understand what the GOP has in mind to replace the bill, watch Rep. Anthony Weiner’s explanation.  View here

A Stately Affair: Last night, the Obamas hosted Hu Jintao of China for a “quintessentially American” state dinner.  The dinner was meant to better U.S.-China relations, which have been eroding lately due to a range of issues from currency policies and trade barriers to nuclear proliferation and North Korea.  By no accident, there were a number of high-powered American CEOs in attendance.  Since Jintao was denied a state dinner under George W. Bush last time he visited, we think that the Obamas are already on the right track. And as a fashion side note, we loved the First Lady’s dress!  View here

Gabby Giffords Update:  Miraculously, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, shoot through the head last Saturday at a constiutent event in Tuscon, stood on her own for the first time yesterday.  Giffords is being moved to The Institution for Rehabilitation and Research in Houston for continued care. We urge you to keep her and the other victims in your thoughts as they work towards a full recovery.  View here

State of the Judiciary: Nebraska Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Heavican will give his fourth annual State of the Judiciary address to the Legislature at 10 a.m. this morning.  If you have a few minutes, tune in on NET Television’s live stream.  View here

Pro-Labor in a Recession: Washington Post favorite Ezra Klein posted an insightful article outling the three reasons that we need a pro-labor left: Workers need representation inside the workplace, corporations should not rule the economy on their lonesome, and the political system needs unions.  We have to say that we couldn’t agree more.  View here

 

Wednesday, January 19th

Today, the House will vote on health reform repeal while the Senate’s still on break.  Our state leg is still introducing bills, voting on a handful of resolutions and having hearings in 5 committees As a citizen you can go to any of these hearings and have your voice heard.  Here’s your Roundup:

Hot Mess: The Recall in Omaha continues to devolve.  Yesterday, Nebraska Watchdog reported that former MECA chairman David Sokol has given $50,000 to the pro-recall campaign.  It churns our stomach to watch political opportunists use the city’s financial crisis to act out their resentment from losing the 2008 election.  Sokol and Dave Nabity take being a sore loser to a whole other level.  View Here

More Guns is Reckless Solution: Conservative State Senator Mark Christensen of Imperial wants teachers to be able to carry guns in schools.  More guns is not a solution to a problem we face in our country.  Comprehensive mental health screenings and treatment, restrictions on high-capacity clips, closer communication and partnership with local law enforcement are all part of the solution.  More guns is not.  View Here

Morning Math: It’s may be 2011, but the political world is already focusing in on the 2012 elections.  If you haven’t already, you’ll hear increased chatter about President Obama’s approval ratings and what they mean for his 2012 run.  Save yourself the brain space and ignore the hype. As Nate Silver points out over at the NY Times, there’s no correlation between presidential approval ratings right after midterms and their share of the popular vote two years later.  At this point in his presidency, Reagan was running at a 37% approval rating, and he won in a blowout.  View Here

Ribbon Cutting: President Obama doesn’t have the friendliest of reputations in business circles, which is unfair since he has one of the highest rates in the stock market rebound under his presidency.  The business cold shoulder should soon change after the President signed an executive order yesterday to root out unnecessary red tape and conflicting regulations that hinder business growth.  In an op-ed, Obama emphasizes the importance of small businesses to grow our economy and the need to strike a balance between consumer protection and encouraging innovation.  View Here

So Long Joe: Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) is expected to announce that he will not run for re-election in 2012.  Several days before that Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) said he was retiring, and before him was Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX)  With the time ripe for retirement announcements, ABC News is speculating about who else may step down from the Upper Chamber.  Number 6 on their list?  Ben Nelson.  Of course, they point out that Nelson is fundraising and positioning like he’ll run in 2012.  We still think Nelson is in and that national pundits don’t really understand the political atmosphere or landscape in our state.  View Here

A Day No Jobs Would Die: The House Repubs aren’t backing off their claim that health reform is a “job-killer.”  It’s certainly a great headline.  If only it were remotely true.  Independent investigative journalists at ProPublica point out that the reports Speaker Boehner cites are misinterpreted and out-dated.  But don’t think for a second that will stop fact-averse conservatives.  View Here

Esquire’s got a must-read profile of Fox News’s CEO Roger Ailes.


Tuesday, January 18th

Good morning Roundup readers.  We wish you a jubilant Thesaurus Day!  Sanctify this day by traversing one of our favorite websites: Thesaurus.com.  Here’s your Roundup:

First Test: Students are back in school and the new Congress is getting in gear.  Now comes the first big test.  The House is getting ready to not only consider repeal legislation of health reform but may also offer an alternative.  Of course, all this comes after the call for more civility after the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.  It’s a fine line to walk, made all the more difficult trying to wrangle 435 individual House members.  View Here

You May Have a Pre-Existing Condition: Health and Human Services released a report this morning that shows 50-129 million non-elderly Americans.  Thanks to health reform, they can no longer be denied coverage starting in 2014.  We can’t imagine 1 in 2 Americans would be too pleased if the GOP ever succeeded in their plans to repeal the new law.  View Here

Issa Exposed: The chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is ready to cause big problems for the Obama administration.  Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has previously called Obama’s White House the most corrupt in history.  But Issa’s got his own shady past.  He has “among other things, been indicted for stealing a car, arrested for carrying a concealed weapon, and accused by former associates of burning down a building.”  View Here

Beutler’s Competition: Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler has an opponent in his bid for re-election. Local Lincoln businesswoman  Tammy Buffington announced her candidacy today.  Her reasons for entering the race are pretty vague.  Her press release simply says she has concerns with the city’s leadership.  We’re not really sure what that means, but let us know if you have any ideas. View Here

Cigarette Showdown: State Senator Gloor introduced a bill last week that would raise taxes on cigarettes to $1.99 per pack.  Gloor’s proposal would bring in $73 million in annual revenue at a time when we face a $1 billion budget shortfall.  Of course, Heineman is sticking to his mantra of “no new taxes,” even ones that could improve public health.  We’re not surprised, just frustrated to see the Gov. doesn’t take people’s health or the budget crisis seriously.  View Here

 

Monday, January 17th

Saturday night marked the first time a Nebraskan won the Miss America contest (not to be confused with Miss USA — lest you incur their wrath).  Teresa Scanlan of Gering won the crown  on her platform is “Eating Disorders: A Generation at Risk.”  Today marks legendary activist and leader Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday, it’s a day on, not a day off! Here’s your Roundup:

Ignore the Man Behind the Curtain: With the results of the 2010 Census in, one of the big tasks facing the state legislature will be redrawing the boundaries of congressional districts.  Officially, the job goes to a special legislative committee.  Unofficially, Gov. Heineman already has new districts mapped out.  Expect the NE GOP to put a lot of partisan pressure on behind the scenes in the nonpartisan state leg.  Consider it a part of their never ending quest to control Nebraska politics on every level.  View Here

Ezra Klein Writes History: One of the reasons we love bloggers is because they can break from the traditional rigidity of journalism and occasionally embrace more creative writing.  One of favorites from WaPo is Ezra Klein who took the opportunity this weekend to examine how health reform might look as history lesson in 2030.  One Klein’s greatest ironies: he imagines it will take Obamacare to achieve McCaincare.  Also, we’d love to get a pair of iGlasses in the future.  View Here

Healthy Food for Cornhuskers: LB200 already has 12 co-sponsors in our state legislature — impressive for any bill.  LB200 invests in Nebraska-grown food and expands access to healthy food.  The bill acknowledges that “access to healthy food is a basic human necessity,” and unfortunately at-risk populations have the least access.  We’re adding this bill to our watch list. Read the bill Here

Cornhusker in Trouble: If you run around the political circles in Lincoln, chances are you’ve been to a function at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel.  Little did we know, the hotel is facing major fiscal problems and may be auctioned off as soon as Feb 17.  Shubh Hotels Lincoln, who owns the Marriott, has lost most of its hotels nationwide because of financial issues.  This under-the-radar news was dug up by Deena Winter on her “Winterized” blog.  If you live in Lincoln, it’s a must-read.  View Here

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