The new unemployment figures have come out while our government is still debating how to reduce the debt and prevent a government shut-down. Repealing health care reform is still on the minds of GOP members, including our Jon Bruning, and skepticism and lies still shroud the Keystone XL Pipeline. Here’s your roundup:
Unemployment on the rise: The new unemployment figures have come out, and they show that the unemployment rate has gone up to 9.2%, up from the 9.1% it was at in May. The figures also show that what new jobs that have been created were created by the private sector, though the private sector’s job growth has also gone down. Government jobs have also decreased as the government continues to struggle with budget pressures. Read details here.
Debt Ceiling Still Looms: Debates continue around the budget and debt ceiling, but no agreement has been made. After a talk from Timothy Geithner describing the consequences if an agreement to increase the debt ceiling wasn’t reached, both sides supposedly realized this isn’t an option and that they would have to make concessions to make sure the government wouldn’t default. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are seen as concessions to be made by the Dems, while a change in the tax policy is a possibility for the GOP—however, nothing is final. Read Here.
Healthcare Hot Air: The NE GOP candidates on the Senate side love to talk about repealing health reform law. Attorney General Bruning travels all over the United States touting his involvement in dismantling reform. Turns out Bruning and other GOP folks bet that repealing health reform was a winning issue are about to lose one of their main talking points. I guess this means the boot metaphors and all the yammer about the so called Cornhusker Kickback will take the back seat to more serious issues. Read Here
Yellowstone Spill: The rupture of the Silvertip pipeline in Montana has brought growing skepticism there of the Keystone XL pipeline, which will also cross the Yellowstone River. The recent spill has given Montanans even more reason to make sure their land and water is protected, and hopes are that their representatives will take a more critical stance on the project now that they have seen the initial effects of a spill coming from a much smaller pipeline than the proposed Keystone XL, including not voting for Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE2) bill to rush approval for the Keystone pipeline. Read Here.
Misplaced confidence continues to swirl around TransCanada’s promise (lie) to bring 100,000 jobs to the United States and be the one-shot solution to our unemployment problem. TransCanada CEO Russ Girling tries to make the case that opposition isn’t actually about the pipeline as much as about the “mythical” harmful process of excavating tarsands oil. He also claims that most Nebraskans are in support of the pipeline and undermines the importance of landowner’s opposition. Nebraskans, Stand with Randy, take part in the August 5-7 events to show TransCanada that we are NOT in favor of risking our key agricultural industry to a company that bullies landowners, will NOT provide the jobs it promises, and continues to LIE to gain “support.”
Thursday, July 7
In Nebraska, the Gov finally breaks his silence. In Washington, the deficit-reduction deal is still leading the news today. WaPo’s Ezra Klein takes a look at budget deals under past presidents, and wonders why Republicans haven’t taken the current plan and if Obama and the Dems have conceded too much already. Here’s your Roundup.
Heineman Breaks His Silence: For months Gov. Heineman has remained silent and given the “no comment” line when it came to the pipeline. Well, yesterday he spoke! “It does raise issues that I think we are all concerned about,” he told the LJS. Thank you for finally speaking. Now, actions speak way louder than words. So, if Heineman is really concerned than we can’t wait for his press conference where he demands the Unicameral pass specific legislation, where he demands Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE2) pulls his bill that would speed up the approval timeline of the pipeline and where he demands the pipeline be re-routed from the Sandhills. After all, Heineman has control of all of those things. He needs to stop saying “not it” and get to work protecting our land and water. Read Here.
Changing the Rules: Conservatives in the House continued their relentless attack on the EPA yesterday, and it was a doozy. They unveiled a fiscal 2012 spending bill that would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and refineries for one year. In addition, the bill would speed air pollution permits for Shell to drill in offshore Alaska, prevent the agency from regulating coal ash and mountaintop-removal coal mining pollution in streams, and exempt some agriculture activities from greenhouse-gas reporting requirement. We’re glad proposals like these never get anywhere. Read Here.
All Work and No Play: The economic recovery has been uneven. Although economic output has rebounded (corporate profits are up 22%), the jobs haven’t. For those who still have jobs, the number of hours they spend working is skyrocketing, while wages continue to stay flat. But this is not just a product of the recession; it’s been happening for the last decade. “Americans now put in an average of 122 more hours per year than Brits, and 378 hours (nearly 10 weeks) more than Germans.” Read Here.
Trash to Treasure: The Energy Department will provide a $105 million loan to expand an ethanol factory in Emmetsburg, Iowa, that plans to make motor fuel from corn husks, leaves, and cobs. This will be the first commercial-scale plant to make ethanol from a non-food plant source. Read Here.
More Videos: A new ad from Bachmann hits the airwaves in Iowa today. It’s a pretty standard face-to-face ad; you can tell Bachmann’s team is trying to run a professional campaign and push her to the top of the Ames Straw Poll on August 13th. Take-away moment: She “will-not-vote-to-raise-the-debt-ceiling.” Watch Here
Face Time: Facebook unveiled a new video chat feature yesterday, right on the heels Google launching its new social networking site, Google+. Read Here.
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Wednesday, July 6
It’s all about the Benjamins today, baby. Budget negotiations are the main topic as the window continues to close on getting an agreement passed before the default deadline. GOP nonsense and flip-flopping with some strange news about climate change, all in today’s roundup:
Obama Steps Up: President Obama has revoked the idea of drafting a short term debt plan, telling lawmakers instead to come to an agreement now to avoid a default on the government debt. We applaud the more direct stance Obama has been taking lately on making the budget agreement comprehensive and effective. Obama’s rejection of a short term deal tells members of Congress to get serious and come to an agreement. We hope he takes a similar approach to his requirement that any plan must address both cuts and revenue.
Why Compromise?: Some conservatives in Congress don’t seem to think raising the debt ceiling would be so bad. It’s time for a fact check. Here is a good article, explaining the repercussions if we default on our debt. America can’t simply claim bankruptcy and start over. The consequences of default would start at the top and work through the populace, negatively affecting nearly every American. Social security payments totalling $23 billion are due to go out the day after the default (Aug. 3). This payment alone would not be covered by the $12 billion the American government expects to collect on that day. Wasteful spending must be cut and corporate loopholes closed, but let’s not forget to protect critical social safety nets that most Americans rely on.
Wait! We Can Save the Environment By Hurting It!? Here’s something you can expect our favorite climate change deniers to jump on. Turns out, coal consumption lowers global temperatures. So much for global warming right? Wrong, while this will surely be used misleadingly by the right in denying climate change, coal use is not a viable option to fight global warming. The sulfur emitted does not stay in the atmosphere long, soon dropping out and causing faster increases in temperature as the carbon dioxide still exist. Fighting carbon dioxide induced warming with coal fire sulfur could also result in acid rain, a hotter and dryer Africa, and even more extreme weather. Read here.
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Tuesday, July 5
We hope you all had a relaxing July 4 with family and friends. The weather was perfect for BBQ and fireworks, but also for mosquitoes (who attacked me endlessly). Here’s your Roundup:
Changing Country, Changing Values: When released earlier this year, the newest census figures gave us a glimpse at the rapidly shifting demographics of United States. States like Nebraska, Iowa and Utah have seen a huge growth in their minority populations, especially Hispanics, in the past few decades. While 80 percent of American seniors are white, 47 percent of Americans under 18 are non-white. These groups have different views about the role of government — an issue that has caused tensions in many states and will continue for decades to come. When looking at the numbers, it’s no surprise that so many Republicans are trying to make it harder to vote in states across the country. To read more about the impact of demographic change on politics, check out this article over at NPR.
Shrinking Divide: Results from a new UNL poll show that rural Nebraskans are plugged in and engaged online, with 91 percent saying they have a cell phone and three quarters saying they have internet access at home. In addition, rural women and youth use internet and cell phones at higher rates. The “digital divide” now seems to be more about demographics and socio-economics than access to technology. We are always glad to see more and more Nebraskans gaining access to the web and the wealth of information it provides. To read more about the research, check out this article (it’s filled with tons of great statistics).
From the Tarsands to the Sandhills: A new article over at Yale’s Environment 360 site takes a look at the battle against the Keystone XL in Nebraska and across the country (and even in Canada). The article is a great read; it highlights how little is known about diluted bitumen pipelines, the alarming number of spills happening in the Midwest, and Big Oil’s plans for further developing Canada’s tarsands. In addition, the article features quotes from John Hansen of the Nebraska Farmers Union, and our very own Jane Kleeb. Read Here.
Mitten’s Double Flip-Flop: When it comes to the GOP presidential candidates these days, their rhetoric often doesn’t resemble reality. If you’re Mitt Romney, you usually just say something false and stick to it (“government takeover of health care”, “we are only inches away from ceasing to be a free market economy”). But over the last few days, Romney first admitted that he was wrong in saying that Obama had made the economy and recession worse, and then yesterday told a crowd at a July 4 parade that Obama had in fact made the recession worse. Read Here.
Complicated Cleanup: After more than 42,000 gallons of oil leaked into the Yellowstone River Friday, rising water will now complicate the clean-up effort — possibly causing already cleaned areas to be fouled again with oil. The reports coming out of this spill shows what can and will happen to our water and land if the Keystone XL in built in our state. Read Here.
Because We All Love Fireworks…: Check out this video of the NYPD Bomb Squad detonating 5,000 pounds of confiscated fireworks on July 1st.
Monday, July 4
GOP continues to shut down the American Dream, oil flows into our rivers and get ready for big-oil to fight big-breaks for our families at the pumps. Here’s your Roundup:
Shutdowns Shutting Down the American Dream: Politics has become so red vs blue that state and federal governments can not function without tantrums being thrown. Gone are the days where we had political balance. We criticize and keep elected officials accountable at Bold, but we don’t act like cry babies and throw up our hands or walk away. We discuss the issues at hand. The Lincoln Journal Star and the St. Louis Dispatch both issued editorials this past week about the need for the GOP to stop the whining and get back to governing. More importantly, the GOP can not continue to live in a fantasy world where you can balance budgets by cuts alone. Wealthy Americans are willing to do their part–just like Nebraska’s Buffett, Holland and Peterson have all said before, they can and are willing to shoulder more taxes because they understand what it takes to build the American Dream. Read Here.
An Ominous Sign: We continue to see warning after warning of the dangerous affects of pipelines across the U.S. Yesterday’s ExxonMobile pipeline rupture in the Yellowstone River was detected relatively quickly at 30 minutes. However despite the early detection nearly 750-1000 barrels (or 42,000 gallons) of oil spilt into the river. This is a telling example that no matter the level of technology used to detect leaks, a leak is extremely damaging each minute that oil spews out. Leaks such of this, both smaller and larger, are bound to occur in the proposed TransCanada pipeline. Are we will to accept that risk? Are we as a state prepared for the clean-up process? Read Here
But Santorum said Global Warming isn’t real?: New estimates say the ice caps are and will continue to melt faster than earlier thought because of the increase in ocean temperature. A report by the Associated Press states that increased water temperature has a much larger effect on the ice caps than air temperature. Let’s wait and see how GOP climate deniers can refute the increased oceanic temperature. Read Here
A Dime a Dozen: Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) announced his candidacy for President campaigning on (get ready to hit the snooze button) far-right issues as overturning health care reform and the myths of global warming. McCotter seems as though he will exist merely as a less interesting version of Bachmann and Cain (Cain’s ‘Gingrich’ problem). The state of current conservative politics means you have to be so far-right that you fall off a cliff, in order to be a viable GOP-primary candidate. At least we can look forward to cheesy guitar solos at the end up every stump speech for as long as McCotter stays in the race. Read Here.
The Right Fight: The Obama Administration is beginning talks that seek to raise fuel efficiency standards to as high as 56.2 m.p.g. by 2025. This addresses key aspects of President Obama’s energy policy by reducing emissions by as much as a million tons and cutting oil imports by the billions a year. The increased efficiency would also result in significant consumer savings at the pump while creating the first global car market as U.S. standards would finally be on par with Europe and Japan. Big-oil lobbyists are already out in full force to reduce the standard that will ultimately be agreed upon. Auto-companies like Chrysler and General Motors agreed to work for higher efficiency in m.p.g. as a caveat to their bailout 2 years ago. But as the auto companies have become more successful they have also become more emboldened in their negotiations. We can only hope the current Administration will not back down as they take these steps in the right direction.
Happy Fourth from your friends at Bold: We would like to wish you all a safe and enjoyable July 4th. President Obama will celebrate with a barbecue at the White House just like over 80 million Americans nation wide. If you are one of those partaking in a cookout to celebrate our nation’s birthday, chances are that steak you are grilling is from good ole’ Nebraska. Despite the day by day political banter and fight that can at times seem overwhelming, let us be thankful we have that ability to work for those issues that we know to be right in this great country.
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