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Bold Roundup: Jan 24-28

Happy, happy Friday Roundup readers!  In case you missed our wonderful Emily Schlichting testifying in front of the Senate yesterday, Campus Progress has the video and transcript.  We’re so proud to have her on the Bold Nebraska team.  Here’s your Roundup:

Bold Roundup

De-Nile: In an effort squash pro-democracy protests that are growing in scope and aggression, the Egyptian government shut down internet and cellphone services yesterday.  The mass demonstrations today are an event the organizers are calling “Angry Friday.”  Dissidents want President Mubarak to finally step down and hold elections for a successor.  Egypt is a major pillar of the Middle East, so these protests could have transnational consequences.  View Here

AFF Pushes Nelson: The American Future Fund is running ads this week calling on Ben Nelson to vote for health reform repeal.  AFF is based in Iowa but runs campaigns in multiple states.  We don’t know why they think Nelson will care what a non-profit from Iowa thinks (he’s never responded well to pressure from outside Nebraska).  The AFF ad doesn’t mention that health reform is fully paid for and reduces the deficit.  View Ad

Magic Number: The GDP grew 3.2% in the last quarter of 2010.  That’s an increase from 2.6% in the previous quarter.  Final demand, which economists say is a good indicator of underlying growth, increased by 7.1% — the strongest since 1984.  We’re sure the 1-month-old Republican House is fully prepared to take responsibility for the economic growth.  But we know these numbers won’t mean much until more people can get back to work.  View Here

We Don’t Need No Education: Once again, we’ve found a new blog that we’re excited to share with you.  “Running Chicken” is a tumblr (the latest trend in blogging platforms) from UNL associate professor Ari Cohen.  Yesterday Cohen pointed out that Nebraska has enough drugs to perform 166 lethal injections and only 12 men on death row.  Meanwhile, the Governor announced that he wants to cute state aid to local law enforcement.  Priorities, people.  View Here

Oh Canada: The former head of TransCanada is going to be sitting on an Alberta environmental panel to monitor tar sands development.  This certainly rivals the shenanigans at the former-MMS which was supposed to oversee oil development in the US.  They were accepting baseball tickets and sleeping with oil execs instead of watching BP drill in the Gulf.  We would’ve hoped our neighbors up north had learned from our big mistake.  View Here

Senate committee assignments are out.  View Democratic Assignments, View Republican Assignments

 

Thursday, January 26th

It’s everyone’s favorite time of year.  Oscar nods are out, and we’re pretty happy with the results (The King’s Speech, anyone?).  Also notable were Black Swan and Toy Story 3 for Best Picture — talk about opposite ends of the spectrum.  Check out the full list here.  Here’s your Roundup:

Senators Speak Up on Pipeline:  21 Nebraska state senators co-signed a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stating that they support the requests of Sen. Nelson and Johanns to reroute the pipeline somewhere other than the Sandhills.  We know a little birdie who wants to thank them personally.  View here

Ms. Schlichting Goes to Washington: We are so happy to not have Emily Schlichting at the helm of the Roundup today because she’s doing something far greater.  Today, Emily’s testifying in front of the Senate on the benefits of the new health reform law.  Emily suffers from a rare autoimmune disorder but won’t be bankrupted thanks to the young adult and pre-existing conditions provisions in the law.  We’re so proud of this Young Invincible from Nebraska!  View Here

Paint It Black: It’s the end of an era.  The Department of Homeland Security is phasing out the color-coded terror warnings by mid-April this year.  We never really were sure what to do when the threat level jumped from aquamarine to thistle.  More importantly, did the airport announcements ever change from orange over the last 2 years?  The White House will soon simply alert citizens when there is an unusual elevated threat via mass media.  View Here

State of the Union Recap:  The results are in: 91% of Americans had a favorable response the Obama’s third State of the Union address according to a CBS poll.  Pundits speculate that the positive reaction stemmed from looking to future and a push towards bipartisanship.  NY Magazine compiled a breakdown of address by numbers.  We recommend the 10 policy goals that Obama set for the nation. View here

Down in Africa: If you haven’t been tapped into international news for the past few days, welcome to Africa where one government has already been overthrown and another is desperately trying to quell riots.  In Tunisia, the government’s been ousted.  The political mood has seeped into Egypt where protesters are calling for greater political freedom.  It’s not clear where these demonstrations will lead, but they could have big implications for American foreignpolicy.  View Here

 

Wednesday, January 26th

We had a great time watching President Obama delivering the State of the Union last night with young progressives in Lincoln.  Missed it?  Here’s the video on C-SPAN.org. Lawmakers are giving their reactions today, and we’ll throw in our two cents.  Here’s your Roundup:

Suttle’s Safe: The votes from yesterday have been tallied, and it looks like Jim Suttle will remain the mayor of Omaha.  The final vote was “NO” to the recall 38,841 and “YES” to the recall 37,198 — that’s 51.1% and 48.9% respectively.  The tight results are still unofficial, but the big question facing Omaha now will be how to unite the city and move forward. The big question facing the state legislature is now that Suttle won, will they repeal the wheel tax so Suttle has to raise taxes even further?  View Here

Dine and Dash: Back when he was Secretary of the USDA, Mike Johanns left taxpayers with the bill for partisan campaign activity.  A new report from the Office of Special Council shows Johanns, along with many other Bush White House aides, violated federal law by billing taxpayers for campaign activity.  Johanns’ most egregious expense: a big photo op with the AZ Republican Party that he listed as a non-partisan, political event.  View Here

South Dakota Hold ‘Em: TransCanada is suing landowners along their SD route so that they can condemn land to build their Keystone XL pipeline which STILL hasn’t been approved.  Only 53% of the 313 landowners along the SD route have signed easements (funny that TransCanada said they had 98%, but we know they like to make up “facts”).  With opposition picking up in Texas and the recent lawsuit an Oklahoma family filed against TransCanada, Nebraskans are no longer fighting this pipeline alone.  View Here

Date Set: The Fremont immigrationordinance will finally have its day in court, March 15 to be exact.  The ACLU and MALDEF are suing Fremont over the ordinance that voters approved in June.  The trial will be heard in federal court in Omaha.  Kris Kobach, the snake oil salesman affiliated with FAIR (a nativist hate group), is defending the city and has a pretty poor track record in court.  He lost lawsuits defending similar ordinances in Hazelton, PA and Farmers Branch, TX. We still do not understand how he can do this while holding elected office as Kansas’s Secretary of State.  View Here

Heineman Not So Healthy: Gov. Heineman is continuing his crusade against State Senator Gloor’s bill that would increase the tax on tobacco to $1.99.  Just like Heineman thinks prenatal care is an immigration issue not a life issue, he thinks Gloor’s bill is about taxes not public health. Gloor’s bill is a logical win-win because it increases state revenue while discouraging unhealthy behavior.  We don’t expect Heineman to use a lot of logic about serious issues facing Nebraskans this year.  View Here

 

Tuesday, January 25th

Today is the day.  Voters in Omaha will finally get to weigh in on the recall of Mayor Jim Suttle.  Polls close at 8pm this evening, so make sure to vote if you’re an Omahan.  We have more details on the recall here, including how to find your polling location. And for the rest of us, here’s your Roundup:

Big Oil is at it… again: A report yesterday by National Wildlife Federation revealed more details about how the Keystone XL Pipeline would actually affect the Midwest.  By diverting Canadian oil through the Midwest to Texas to overcome what Canadian oil producers consider an “oversupply” of Canadian oil to the Midwest, Midwestern oil prices will rise roughly 15 cents per gallon.  We are also wondering what effect this has on our ethanol companies.  They did get one thing right.  We don’t need their oil.  View here

Serving Nebraska’s Kids: The Kids Count 2010 report, released today by Voices for Children, shows that Nebraska is not doing enough for its children with behavioral problems.  While we have seen improvements in graduation and infant mortality rates, poverty has increased.  The bad news is that impoverished children are at higher risk for a multitude of problems, including inadequate nutrition, low-quality child care, unsafe neighborhoods and schools, trauma, abuse, neglect, parental substance abuse, depression, domestic violence, exposure to environmental toxins, being uninsured and having more interaction with the juvenile justice and child welfare system.  We hear a clarion call to improve Nebraska’s behavioral services system, not one to put it on the state’s budgetary chopping block.  View here

Campaigning 101: An Illinois appellate court ruled yesterday that Chicago mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel is in fact not eligible to run because he does not meet a one-year residency requirement that lower courts said he did meet.  Emanuel, who stepped down as White House Chief of Staff for the race, is contesting the decision.  With election day just four weeks away, we wish him the best of luck and think this decision will be overturned since he has been paying taxes and owns a home in IL.  Also, a word of advice to anyone thinking about campaigning: make sure you can actually run before jumping into the race.  View here

Online Voting and Immigration:  Here at Bold, we continue to do our best to stay on top of political trends in the state and online voting and immigration are two topics covered in a local spot last night on KHAS.  Addtionally, Nebraska Appleseed is organizing a rally to protest Arizona-style legislation being introduced in Nebraska.  View here

State of the Union: Tonight is the President Obama’s third State of the Union address.  In an effort towards bipartisanship, members of Congress are reaching across the aisle and sitting with a member of the opposing party, including our own senators Nelson and Johanns, who will sit together.  For those of you not watching from the floor of Congress, make sure you check out the Bold Nebraska Watch Party or go here to find one near you.

 

Monday, January 24th

Fifty years ago, Bob Dylan arrived in New York City from Minnesota.  And so began the career of one of the most diverse musicians in the American pantheon.  Even though the times are a-changin’, we think Dylan’s music is still relevant and deeply moving.  Here’s your Roundup:

Michaelis FTW: Last week the LJS published a story about our good friend and the founder of New Nebraska Network, Kyle Michaelis.  Kyle’s indicated an interest in running for Lincoln’s City Council but hasn’t made up his mind just yet.  He’s put up a short post on NNN soliciting input from readers and writers.  We think Kyle’s got the brains and enthusiasm to make a great city councilman.  Our advice: “Run Kyle, Run.”  View Here

A More Tolerant Nebraska: Tyler White’s got a stellar Letter-to-the-Editor in today’s Journal Star.  White calls out Gov. Heineman for bullying Don Wesely to resign as the Humane Society of the US’s lobbyist in Nebraska.  White’s writing had several similarities with conversations we had about the issue in our office, and we appreciate that he tied in our state’s problem with tolerance. We also saw The Daily Beast article that ranked Nebraska the 47th most tolerant state and were mortified.  View Here

Terry Takes Down Democracy: Internet nerds and web techies everywhere are rolling their eyes at Lee Terry’s criticism of the FCC’s move to protect net neutrality.  So far, net neutrality’s been the unspoken rule of the internet that lets our website get to your computer as fast as Fox News’s.  It’s what made the Worldwide Web one of the greatest equalizing forces of the 21st Century.  So when the FCC tries to protect that equality by institutionalizing net neutrality, we find it incredibly dishonest for Lee Terry to say the FCC is stifling innovation.  View Here

Hotel Congress: A new CBS poll found that â…• of House freshmen are sleeping in their offices. Initially, this plays well.  Representatives look like they’re tightening their belts and not becoming permanent Beltway fixtures.  But consider this: a good night’s sleep is one of the most important factors to healthy living.  Sleeping on an air mattress or pull-out couch is likely harming the cognitive skills of our nation’s decision makers.  And feasting on frozen waffles every morning is not a nutritious way to start the day.  View Here

A Quick Note: You may have noticed that the Roundup has moved from the exclusive authorship of Malinda Frevert to the more general purview of Bold Nebraska.  That’s because the Roundup now has 2 authors.  Malinda and Emily Schlichting will be alternating writing the Roundup because of their busy student schedules.  We’re excited to be working together to bring you a product we’ve grown extremely proud of over the last 7 months.

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