It turns out Mr. Obama shares our love for Harry Potter–yet another reason to love him. More reasons to Stand With Randy in your Friday Roundup:
Deal or No Deal?: There was immediate repudiation following a NY Times statement that the GOP and White House were “close” to a deal. A deal resulting in 3 trillion dollars worth of savings is the new proposal on the table, and our two senators have differing feelings about it. While Johanns seems to be throwing his support behind the effort, Nelson is more critical, waiting to see how the details will impact Medicare and Social Security. It was quickly made clear, however, that being “close” to deal is an overstatement, and John Boehner even took the time to get on Twitter to post a single word: False. Read here.
Like Stealing Candy from a Baby: While it might be easy to slash funding to education and other programs promoting the health and success of children, there’s an infinite array of reasons why it’s wrong. Although discourse surrounding the debt talks continues to demand that nothing should be left off the table, we can’t think of one valid argument to support putting our nation’s children and the foundation of our country’s future on the chopping block. Reflecting on two reports that came out yesterday, Bruce Lesley explains why choosing to invest in children’s programs is the most basic decision to make in order to ensure a successful future for our nation. Read here.
One step at a time: Today we expect the next step in the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. The Pentagon is set to certify that the military is ready to accept openly gay and lesbian members, and the 60 day countdown to full implementation of the repeal will begin. Read here.
“Mr. Fix-It”: While Heineman forgets about Lincoln County Nebraskans, Nelson seeks easier flood repairs. He also announced his improvements for the health care reform law before it becomes fully effective in 2014. Although “Wrong Way” Jon’s campaign tries as hard as it might to twist this announcement into a symbol of regret, Nelson’s support for the core of the bill (which has already benefited Nebraskans) doesn’t waver, and his experience pushes him to find the possibilities for improvement rather than rash removal. Read here.
More of ALEC Exposed: Last week, we reported on the exposure of the ultimate weapon used by the conservative Koch brothers to get laws into place that would favor their interests. More details have been revealed showing that 97% of donations from ALEC member corporations went to Republicans. Somehow we are not surprised. Read here.
Stand with Randy: As investigations continue in the case of the Silvertip Pipeline spill in Wyoming, it is confirmed that the pipeline was also used to transport tar-sands oil, contradicting claims by Exxon that the pipe was only used to carry light crude. Responders continue to search for the cause of the spill. Read stories from Montana land owners directly affected by the spill.
TransCanada’s poor reputation can put another notch on its belt. A natural gas pipeline owned by the company exploded in Wyoming, after only 6 months of existence. Read here.
Thurs, July 21st
The space shuttle Atlantis returned to Cape Canaveral this morning, bringing an end to NASA’s 30 year shuttle program and children’s dreams everywhere. Here’s your Roundup:
Fox and Friends: This week, the NYTimes published a scathing piece on Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., which has for years tried to spend itself out of lawsuits for anticompetitive behavior and corporate espionage (to the tune of more that $655 million). The phone hacking scandal that took down top executives, a police chief and an entire newspaper in the U.K. is not just indicative the culture of the British tabloid industry but of the corporate culture at News Corp. itself. The article delves deep into multi-million dollar settlements and buyouts of competitors in Michigan, New Jersey, and Minnesota, and shows that money can’t solve all your problems. Read here.
Pipelines? What Pipelines?: After an Exxon Mobile pipeline leaked 1,000 barrels of oil into the Yellowstone river weeks ago, lawmakers in both parties are now calling for more oversight of the largely self-regulated pipeline industry. Yet, they were shocked to hear that federal officials are unsure about how many pipelines that carry hazardous fuels across the nation’s rivers and streams exist or how deeply they are buried. And with high floodwaters not subsiding any time soon, regulators are scrambling to gauge what other lines could be at risk. Fun Fact: The Keystone XL would cross 1,904 water bodies, including 389 crossings in Montana, 354 in South Dakota, 160 in Nebraska, 368 in Oklahoma and 633 in Texas. Read here.
Sheen Namedrops Nelson: Don’t worry, Charlie Sheen isn’t back in the news again. However, Charlie’s father, who played the fictional President Barlet on “The West Wing”, thanked our real-life Sen. Ben Nelson yesterday for his support of programs that divert nonviolent offenders away from jail and into treatment at a rally on Capitol Hill. Nelson also spoke at the rally, which aimed to promote federal funding for drug courts. Read here.
Chump Change: Yesterday Wells Fargo agreed to pay the Federal Reserve an $85 million fine for illegally pushing more than 10,000 borrowers into costlier sub-prime loans and falsifying loan documents to make it appear as if the borrows were qualified. The company turned a $3.9 billion profit last quarter; it’s made $7.7 billion in profit thus far this year. Read here.
Satire?: Every once in awhile, the political discourse in this country becomes almost laughably ridiculous. The debt ceiling debate is one of those moments, and thankfully we have the Onion to remind us of this in this short “news brief” called “Congress Continues Debate Over Whether Or Not Nation Should Be Economically Ruined”. Read here.
Wed, July 20th
New plans, polls, and…pie? Yesterday saw some interesting news as Washington took steps forward and back on the debt ceiling debate, and one rock star decided to upstage our Governor. Here’s your Roundup:
People Prefer Protection: Richard Cordary may be slated to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau instead of Elizabeth Warren, but it wouldn’t be in the Republicans best interest to oppose his nomination like they did for Ms. Warren. Many consider the CFPB to be Warren’s brainchild, and from the beginning, the GOP has opposed the bureau that will protect Americans from being taken advantage of by big banks. As Republicans set out to oppose Cordary’s nomination, a new poll finds that Americans overwhelmingly support the bureau and that only 1 in 4 Americans say we need less government oversight in the financial sector. Read here.
Debt Ceiling Drama (contd): We couldn’t go a day without covering the debt ceiling soap opera occurring in Washington could we? Yesterday brought a couple of interesting highlights. First, when the Gang of Six became five because Senator Coburn (R-Ok) left the negotiating table, a plan was quickly drafted that is now gaining bi-partisan support in the Senate. Meanwhile, in the House, Republicans were busy as well, passing the ‘’cut, cap, and balance’’ act. While the Senate plan looks like it could stand a chance as a viable solution, the House budget is nothing but a ploy, a gimmick that exists only to cater to the fringe Tea Partiers. Their plan, thankfully, has no chance for becoming law. Read here.
Down with DOMA: President Obama made an even stronger statement supporting the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act yesterday, and we couldn’t be happier. You see, to us and many, the examples abound as to why this law shouldn’t be in place. It exists only to limit the rights of others, like a couple married in Iowa whose union was denied when they returned to Nebraska. Same-sex couples in Nebraska not only deal with the stress of being unrecognized in our state but deal with other prejudices in the workplace and through their daily lives. The repeal of DOMA would be an example we hope our state will follow. Read here.
Kid Rock Rocks: At least one person hasn’t forgot about the flood victims. While Governor Heineman decided to pick and choose who receives flood relief as we noted yesterday, leaving out Lincoln County, a rocker took a big step in helping all victims. Kid Rock will present a $10,000 check to the Red Cross to help victims today when he performs at the Red Sky Music Festival in Omaha. He will also run a text-drive to raise additional funds during the show. We thank Kid Rock for his philanthropy and hope Nebraskans show him their gratitude at the concert. Read here.
While the Murdoch scandal took a back seat in the U.S. to what was happening on Capitol Hill, across the pond it was the news of the day. While Mr. Murdoch sat stoic in front of Parliament hearings, a man snuck up and….well just watch for yourself HERE.
Tues, July 18th
All sorts of great news is happening today. Rupert Murdoch and his son are appearing in front of the British Parliament for questioning, House Republicans are taking a “symbolic” vote on the “Cut, Cap, and Balance” plan, and a deadly heat wave is continuing in the Midwest. Here’s Your Roundup:
Cain’s Muslim Problem: For some reason, GOP Presidential candidate Herman Cain can’t stop making ridiculous comments about Muslims. First, he said wouldn’t appoint a Muslim to his administration, then he said he would make them take a special loyalty test to the U.S. Constitution that wouldn’t be required of Catholics or Mormons. On Sunday, Cain said that U.S. communities should have the right to ban mosques. Read here.
Pick Up Your Feet: Former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt has publicily backed health care reform and urged states to move forward in adopting health insurance exchanges, calling them a “practical solution.” At a meeting of the National Governors Association, Leavitt warned governors who are reluctant to move forward with state-level exchanges that dragging their feet will only empower federal regulators. Which leads us to Gov. Heineman, who absolutely has been dragging his feet on the issue. Ironically, Heineman has endorsed Romney for president, and Leavitt happens to be a top Romney adviser. Heineman hopes he can hold out for repeal of the Affordable Care Act, but Leavitt said the problem of access to health insurance for individuals and small businesses will not disappear if a Republican president wins repeal. Read here.
Don’t Forget About Us!: In Lincoln County, Nebraska, residents are facing almost $1.3 miliion in private property damage as well as $625,000 in infrastructure damage from high floodwaters. Desperately in need of assistance, Lincoln County residents were shocked to find they were not included on Gov. Heineman’s request for federal aid and organized a protest against the governor yesterday. Read here.
The Recalls Begin: Wisconsin voters are heading to the polls today for the first of 9 recall elections happening throughout the rest of the summer. This election is a recall of Dave Hansen, one of the 14 Democrats who left the state to stop the passage of Gov. Walker’s union busting bill. But his Republican challenger is not considered a very serious candidate; he has $25,000 in unpaid property taxes and a history of arrests for domestic abuse. Read here.
Who Is Richard Cordary?: Elizabeth Warren, the mastermind behind the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, will return to her job at Harvard after President Obama announced the appointment of Richard Cordary, a former Ohio state treasurer, to run the agency. Who is Richard Cordary? Well, he was a 5-day Jeopardy winner in the late 80’s. Read here.
Mon, July 18th
Harry Potter fans are either inspired by the final movie or depressed that the franchise is over. We can only guess that Congress saw the film and is suffering from the latter, thereby making it even harder to find an agreement on the budget. How can can we expect lawmakers to negotiate with a broken heart!? Here’s your Roundup:
What else is new: Congress and Obama agree, a debt deal needs to be reached. Furthermore, both sides say they are confident one WILL be reached. That sounds just great, until you look at the current state of negotiations. No formal talks are scheduled this week. Rather, House Repubs are looking to pass a “cap, cut, and balance” proposal including a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget. However, the proposal has little to no chance of passing the Senate as it is another GOP bill that includes no compromises. Read here.
Have We Forgotten?: Debt talks have taken some of the negative attention away from banks, and they couldn’t be happier. They are left alone to throw millions in lobbying dollars attempting to defang the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman says this is no time to let the banks off the hook, especially since we still do not realize the extent that they took advantage of the American consumers in the mortgage crisis. Krugman says while Obama initially took action to fight back against these injustices, the Administration has done little to back those organizations set in place, and they are now feeling the sting from the barrage of attacks laid on by bank lobbyists. The president must stay focused on protecting the American consumer ,and we must all be vigilant to make sure that we do not let big banking take advantage of us all again. Read here.
Everything Bold is NOT: This week the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) was examined by the LA Times and The Nation. The profile for this so-called non-profit shows that ALEC has been involved with the drafting process of major state legislation on far-right issues. ALEC has pushed anti-union, anti-health reform, voter ID laws, privatization of public education, and anti-immigration legislation. So ALEC isn’t a non-profit so much as a private legislative body. By throwing millions of dollars at easily persuaded state legislators, ALEC has been successful in many of their recent attempts, including the Arizona Immigration bill. ALEC sets the example of what we do not want to be here at Bold, and we are glad that their non-profit status is being investigated. Read here.
A New Hat in the Ring: A legitimate competitor may have finally stepped into the ring to face Congressmen Lee “TransCanada” Terry. Terry will have to fight against former Chief Deputy of the OPD and current Douglas County Treasurer John Ewing. We will watch closely as Ewing lays out his political agenda in the coming months, and are hopeful that he can give Nebraskans a voice in Congress that looks out for Nebraska, unlike Terry and his unwavering support of the Keystone XL pipeline. Read here.