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Bold Roundup: Jan 30-Feb 3

Tommorrow will be the 223rd anniversary the first United States president being elected. George Washington, commander of the Continental Army, received a unanimous approval by all 69 presidential electors while John Adams was elected vice president. Here’s your Roundup:

Long Overdue: In light of Nebraska’s broken and inefficient child welfare system, State Senator Kathy Campbell introduced LB 821 that would create a state Children’s Commission and a new Department of Children’s Services. Too many families and children are experiencing living nightmares with the current system that is dysfunctional and difficult to navigate. Under Campbell’s bill, child welfare will be streamlined and more efficient through evidence-based programs and practices. We stand behind Senator Campbell’s efforts to ensure the safety and health of our Nebraska children. Read here 

Energy Incentive: Under a bill introduced by State Senator Abbie Cornett, companies building wind energy farms in Nebraska would be eligible for tax refunds if 25% of their expenditures are spent in the state. LB 1033 will make Nebraska more competitive with other states, attracting new businesses and economic development. Cornett’s bill fits right in with Bold’s commitment to clean and renewable energy. Read here

Proven Benefits: A recent report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, shows Nebraska citizens with Medicare are benefiting from the new health care reform law. Over 24,000 Nebraskans saved an average of $630 on prescription drugs in 2011, totaling more than $15 million. In addition, Medicare Advantage enrollment is up, allowing Medicare-eligible citizens to receive health care benefits from private insurance plans, as opposed to the traditional Medicare program, while premiums have decreased. The list of benefits will only continue to grow as incentives will increase in the coming years. At Bold, we realize the importance of these benefits and remain committed to health care reform. For more details on the progress, read here.

Off Track: Several recent news reports have suggested the “Oracle of Omaha,” Warren Buffett, and friend Dick Holland persuaded President Obama to deny the Keystone XL export pipeline because its rejection would result in more oil shipments through the railroad. As owner of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroads, Buffett reiterated the fact that he has no qualifications to give such opinions on the proposed pipeline project. Once again, TransCanada resorts to character attacks when the facts and public aren’t on their side. Read here

Bang for Your Buck: If you are considering donating money to a presidential campaign, you may want to think twice. The battle for Congressional races will be more competitive this year, with the majority control of Congress in the balance. If you want your money to matter, consider giving to any campaign other than the presidential race–local, state, Congressional or Senate–for the officials we elect on these levels are the ones actually producing legislation. Read here for the entire article. And if you’re interested in running for local office, we encourage you to attend an upcoming workshop to make the process a little easier.

Bipartisan Support: Yesterday, the U.S. Senate passed a measure that would ban insider trading by members of Congress, their top staff and executive branch officials. While insider trading is already illegal for all citizens, approval of this legislation will close loopholes that currently allow lawmakers to benefit from political intelligence. Many Senators saw this legislation as a way to reestablish trust with the American people by holding elected officials to the same standards as everyday citizens. Read more

Due to the wintry weather forecast, Nebraska State Legislative hearings scheduled for this afternoon have been postponed to allow lawmakers the opportunity to travel home safely. 

 

Thursday, February 2nd

Tomorrow, bold landowner Randy Thompson, will testify in front of the Energy and Power Subcommittee on the Keystone XL export pipeline. This hearing is a continuation of last week’s events, as the committee continues to explore options to force construction. We’ll livetweet the hearing from @BoldNebraska. Here’s today’s Roundup:

Nebraska Tourism: Double-Talk Governor Dave Heineman was at it again yesterday, speaking at an Agri/Eco-Tourism Workshop in North Platte. Heineman highlighted the importance of remaining competitive in the tourism industry, especially in agricultural and ecological tourism. While Heineman cited the increased interest in the Nebraska Sandhills as tourist destinations, why put our state’s economic potential and environmental safety in jeopardy with a risky tar sands pipeline? Read here 

Komen Fallout: Following the announcement that Susan G. Komen for the Cure is ending its funding of Planned Parenthood, supporters have denounced the actions of America’s largest breast cancer awareness organization. Regardless of an individual’s or organization’s stance on abortion, it is wrong to politicize women’s health by ending funding that provides life-saving breast health screenings. Since Komen severed ties, Planned Parenthood has seen a significant increase in financial donations. Read here and Donate here to keep the breast cancer screenings going

Allies and Adversaries: The Canadian government has working hard to get stalled tar sands pipeline projects back on track, like the KXL pipeline. As of late, increasingly bizarre tactics are being used to undermine the efforts of environmental groups. Perhaps most peculiar is that the Canadian government was anticipating complications on these dangerous projects and thought ahead. In documents obtained by  Greenpeace, the Conservative government laid out the battle, labeling certain groups as allies and others as adversaries. If defending our land and water makes us adversaries of the Canadian government, bring it on. Read here

Merger Talks: A bill introduced by State Senator Brad Ashford would create a commission to review and plan for a merger of governmental services in the Omaha metro area. LB 344 would make a more efficient government process with consolidated agencies. According to Ashford, the Unicameral needs to be involved to ensure elected officials take a serious look at the possibilities. Read here

The Matter with Kansas: Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, is facing opposition from his own people after he helped draft legislation in Kansas, Arizona, and Alabama taking extreme measures against illegal immigration. Kobach was even involved in Fremont’s recent 2009 immigration measure. In Kansas, business leaders and organizations are asking legislators to implement a new program offering undocumented workers hard-to-fill jobs in the agriculture, landscaping and construction industries. Although opposed by several Republican lawmakers, Kansas legislature will discuss the proposal. Read here

Free Press Arrest: The director of an Academy Award-nominated documentary, Josh Fox, was arrested yesterday after attempting to film a House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment meeting. ‘Gasland’ takes a strong stance on hydraulic fracking, a process in which several tons of pressurized water and chemicals are pumped into the ground, allowing valuable natural gas to escape. Concerns were raised by House Republicans about Fox’s presence in the hearing, which are typically open to all citizens, and regulations only bar the use of cameras. In most cases, cameras are confiscated or disabled during the remainder of the meeting, but in this extreme case, Fox was arrested. Read here

 

Wednesday, February 1st

As expected, Romney delt a harsh blow to Gingrich in the Florida primary last night. Why are Romney’s scare tactics are winning over voters? The BBC stopped at UNL to examine research analyzing factors that motivate conservative and liberal voters. Somehow, we’re not completely surprised by the findings. Here’s your Roundup:

Hollywood, NE: Director and Nebraska native Alexander Payne and actor John Beasley stepped into the Capitol to testify in front of the Urban Affairs Committee yesterday. Fresh off an Oscar nomination for his latest film The Descendants, Payne testified in favor of a bill to give the film industry more incentive to shoot productions in Nebraska. The bill could be a simple adjustment that could produce huge benefits. Beasley says he would like to shoot his next film in Omaha, but tax incentives in Michigan make it difficult to convince the studio to do so. Payne testified with buzz about his next film, Nebraska, just beginning to unfold. Read here

Bowing to Pressure: News that Susan G. Komen for the Cure, America’s largest Breast Cancer charity, is pulling its funding of Planned Parenthood caused pro-choice, women’s rights, and breast cancer awareness advocates to cringe all at once. Komen’s grants were used to give breast cancer screenings and other breast health services to women. It’s sad and upsetting to see a cancer group give up the fight to help women prevent and diagnose cancer because of extremist pressure. Read here 

RTW vs Super Bowl: Indiana is currently trying to pass ironically named “right-to-work” laws that cripple unions and can halt the ability for non-union labor to get job training. Occupy the Super Bowl has seen growing support, from the 150 that protested yesterday to the players themselves coming out on the side of the occupiers. DeMaurice Smith, president of the NFL Players Association, voiced his opposition to “right-to-work” initiatives. Read here 

Zombie XL: Keystone XL, the export pipeline that just won’t die, is being revived by Republicans over and over again. There are a couple avenues forward that the pipeline could take before it finally keels over. Two involve action from TransCanada, either by resubmitting a new permit request for another review or rerouting through Canada and avoiding the U.S. TransCanada hopes not to even get to that point with their minions in Congress doing their bidding. KXL could be attached as a rider to the payroll tax cut extension, an infrastructure bill or it may live on by crafting legislation that gives approval authority to Congress. We’ll be keeping you posted as events move forward so we can stop pipeline for good and all. Read here

 

Tuesday, January 31st

The Florida primary is here, and all signs point to a Romney triumph. In Nebraska we’re lucky to be detached from all the negative campaigning and instead left to enjoy the record setting temperatures. Still, we must remember that much like the GOP primary, winter is far from over. Here’s your Roundup:

Super PAC meets Grassroots: If you aren’t Credo Mobile is going beyond their cell phones and awesome online campains to start their own Super PAC. Though organization is firmly against the idea of Super PACs and has even championed a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, they’re not going to sit out the 2012 campaign. But instead of relying on millionaire donors and corporations like traditional Super PACs, Credo wants to raise $3 million from their 2.5 million supporters. Instead of spending their multimillion dollar budget on attack ads, Credo plans to stick with grassroots organizing like holding rallies, door knocking campaigns and get out to vote drives. Their goal this year: eliminate to horrible Tea Party 10 in the House. Read here

Globally Green: Renewable energy is seeing significant increases in investment around the globe. Solar, wind and energy efficiency outpaced hydropower investments to help drive renewable energy deals up 40% to $53.5 billion. Solar accounted for 79% of this increase as lowering prices are making the industry more viable and profitable for private market initiatives. However, the uncertainty that faces 2012 could be a bad sign for renewable energy. It is important that America, like all other nations, doesn’t let the risky Eurozone and other economic factors deter them from taking significant steps to ensure continued renewable energy growth. Not doing so would mean that the U.S. gets left in the dust of a budding new world economy. Read here

Down with Coal: Coal power remains a blight on our energy record, accounting for more than a third of America’s pollution. Long a standard of Appalachian economy, new coal deposits around the country show America may possess enough coal to last 200 years. Luckily, that doesn’t seem to be the route we are on. Studies on the unrelated cost of coal production show that states like Kentucky and West Virginia are plagued with a net loss in their coal industry, and these studies didn’t even include environmental costs! Tightening emission standards show that coal production and consumption has peaked. Financial institution analysis even have our consumption at 20% of total energy in 2030, instead of the projected 39%. Want to make sure Nebraska’s on board? Join our “Put the Public Back in Public Power” campaign. Read here 

Dirty Business: Remember those Ron Paul newsletters–the racist, homophobic writings bearing the presidential candidate’s name that never seem to go away? Paul has long denied knowledge of the content of these letters, and instead said it was his staff producing the junk. However, a former employee of Paul’s business says it was all a financial ploy. Paul possessed debt of over $750,000 in 1984, so he decided to make his newsletters more provocative in order to draw more attention and more revenue. The former employee has said he doesn’t think Paul believes the newsletters, but that he definitely played a part in their formulation. Whatever his role, it seemed to work. By 1995, Paul’s debts were gone, and he reported a net worth of $3.3 million. Read here

 

Monday, January 30th

As we near the Republican Primary in Florida, Romney’s lead is rapidly growing past the 10% margin. Newt Gingrich is promising to fight until the bitter end. Pundits think he’s serious, but considering his track record with commitment, we’re not making any early predictions. Here’s your Roundup:

Behind the PAC: We don’t often get to peek behind the curtain of the Super PACs that are dumping tens of millions into races. Thanks to Citizens United, people like Foster Friess can have extensive influence because of their massive wealth. Mr. Friess, the main funder of a Santorum Super PAC sat down with Bloomberg to offer his thoughts. He spoke on some pretty interesting ideas if Santorum were elected president, like putting the entire economy under Romney’s control and handing the keys to Air Force One over to Herman Cain so that he may market America to the rest of the world like a cheap infomerial. As far as the final Republican candidate, Friess says he has an open wallet to defeat Obama. Watch here 

¿Una Pregunta? Obama has a question for the important Latino voting block: do you still like me? After record deportations and failing to pass comprehensive immigration reform in his first term, they’re less than thrilled with the Obama Administration. However, recent reforms like a focus on criminal deportation (so fewer families are separated) has helped ease some of the tension. Obama has been making an appeal to the Latino population for months, something the English-speaking media has rarely picked up on. Despite the strained relationship, the anti-immigrant rhetoric in the Republican primary means Obama’s got a hefty lead in the polls. Read here 

What’s a Million Anyway? For all Don Stenberg’s critiques of Jon Bruning’s financial history, financial disclosures show Bruning isn’t the only millionaire running for the Republican nomination for Senate. Stenberg, Deb Fischer and Bruning all disclosed assets above a million dollars. Stenberg says he’s not against rich people but says there’s a real difference between himself and Bruning. Stenberg continues to claim that Bruning made his millions while serving as Attorney General, using his public position not as a public servant but as a means to generate personal wealth and make backdoor deals. Read here

Did Someone Say Money: Candidates’ wealth isn’t only an issue in Nebraska politics. The same is true nationally. Mitt Romney has the misfortune of facing critiques on how he earned his wealth through Bain Capital and the amount of taxes he currently pays on his fortune. Mitt, like John Kerry, paid just over 13% on his massive fortune. President Obama paid much closer to the “Buffett Rule” he often champions. His rate of 27.9% on his considerably lower income was much closer to rates paid by middle class Americans. Read here

Stop the Injustice: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is calling on the nations of Africa do end their discrimination against gays. Ki-moon’s speech to the African Union did not immediately generate a response from any nation. The Secretary said ending such ingrained discrimination would be difficult in many countries, especially since some still have laws banning homosexuality. Read here 

Looking for a healthy dose of parody to start off your morning? How about a look into the mind of Newt Gingrich. 

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BOLD Nebraska
208 S. Burlington Ave., Ste 103, Box 325, Hastings, NE 68901