The Senate has defeated a delay of the new swipe-fee regulations, Newt Gingrich’s campaign staff has abandoned ship, and Herman Cain wants to line the Mexican border with a moat full of alligators. Non-candidate Palin and actual candidate Bachmann have already begun to spar, Romney believes in global warming but doesn’t want to do anything about it, and Santorum sets himself apart from Mittens by declaring climate change to be junk science. Here’s your roundup:
GOP Senator tells kids to un-grow up: Iowa State Senator Shawn Hammerlinck told a number of concerned college students he doesn’t like it when they lobby him, and to go home, have fun, and not worry about what they’re up to in the government. We’ve know for a while that the GOP wants kids to be apathetic and to stay far away from capitol hill and the voting booth, but this straightforward approach is rather novel. We commend you Sen. Hammerlinck, for not beating around the bush and simply telling students that their time is better spent on drinking games than on lobbying their representatives in the legislature. We disagree of course, and hope that these cute and misguided little kids vote you out of office, end your political career and tell you, en masse, to go home. Read here.
Crying wolf about college: So there’s been a number of articles about a college degree no longer being worth the investment, and about the difficulties in the job market facing recent college graduates. With the benefits of a college diploma being called into question, we’d like first to refer to the story mentioned above. One sign that something of value is imparted by some universities is these kids trying to actively influence and participate in their government. That right there is worth something, and it makes you wonder who wants us to believe that college education just isn’t worth the time and money any longer. The New Republic chronicles the history of diminished diploma propaganda, exploring whether there’s any substance to all the sob stories about Rhodes scholars washing dishes. Spoiler alert: There’s not. Read here.
Heineman announces feelings for Mitt Romney: So Gov. Dave Heineman has endorsed Mittens. That’s neither here nor there. What’e especially concerning is that he is apparently too busy to come out and make any statement about the pipeline. Even though it will drastically affect the state he is governor of. Even though he’s not too busy to accept campaign contributions from Transcanada. Even though he finds the time to tell us to stop talking about it. He can’t seem to make a peep on the pipeline but his man-crush on Mittens gets rushed to the presses. Governor, get your priorities straight. Read here.
Three ring circus: It looks like there may be a third hat in the GOP senate primary. State Sen. Deb Fischer of Valentine has suggested she has both money and the inclination to make a go of it against Stenberg and Bruning. She is expected to announce soon, and this only latest in a long list of bad news for Mr. Bruning, who in addition to his campaign finance troubles stands accused of illegally importing drugs for an execution. Read here.
Johanns insists on Sandhills setting: Now that the State Department has agreed to hold six more meetings in response to public pressure, Sen. Johanns is pressuring them to actually hold the Nebraska meeting in the Sandhills. This seems like common sense to us, and we’re glad the Senator is trying to make sure the Department of State sees the delicate nature of the area most endangered by this irresponsible project. Read here.
Thurs, June 9
AFP’s “Running on Empty” tour makes a second stop in Grand Island today. Yesterday’s event was interesting (and poorly attended) to say the least, and we are proud of everyone who showed up with signs to push back against this Big Oil-funded charade. Find out how to get involved in today’s event below. Here’s your Roundup.
Falling Behind: This one made me pretty upset this morning. While conservative politicians have a hard time saying ‘no’ to big oil and are still trying to decide whether climate change is real or not, green jobs and profits have boomed in Europe, Asia and Latin America. Without investments and policy changes from the government, the United states is at a serious disadvantage globally, finds a recent Pew study. “This is a $5 trillion business and if we fail to be serious players in the new energy economy, the costs will be staggering to this country,” writes Standford engineer and advisor to both Clinton and the first Bush administration. Read Here.
-1% Unemployment Miracle: Alan Binder, the former vice chairman of the federal reserve, ran the numbers on Tim Pawlenty’s economic plan, and what he found is downright miraculous. Pawlenty’s plan alleges that after ten years, the unemployment rate will have fallen from 9% to -1%. Sounds impossible? That’s because it is. Read Here.
Bruning’s Back: Nebraska Democrats are filing a complaint with the FEC against Attorney General Jon Bruning for allegedly allowing donors to contribute illegally to his Senate campaign, as well as owing $230,000 in back taxes. The controversy is centered on his failed 2008 Senate campaign, in which Bruning transferred much of his unspent campaign donations ($610,000) to his exploratory committee fund without itemizing the contributions so he could get around the contribution limit, alleges the NDP. Controversy has become a common pattern for Bruning, and
it wouldn’t be surprising to anyone if this turns out to be true. Read Here.
More Videos: Mitt Romney was met with shouts and protests today in Detroit, Michigan for a 2008 NY-Times Op-ed he wrote titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt”. Romney called the bailout of GM and Chrysler “tragic” and “a very sad circumstance,” but now he feels a little awkward meeting face to face with workers who’s jobs were saved. After giving the cold shoulder to Detroit 3 years ago, he’s now trying to take credit for the auto recovery, but protesters are not convinced. To celebrate Romney’s visit to Michigan, the DNC has released this video reminding everyone of some of the finer points of his “plan” for the auto industry.
And if you didn’t get enough of the Sarah Palin “Totally Not A Publicity Stunt” motorcycle/bus tour, SarahPAC has released a video highlighting the ridiculous amount of publicity she received along the way. Also, the background music sounds suspiciously like a dirty song from the SNL group The Lonely Island… collaboration soon?
Don’t forget to show up at the second stop on Americans For Prosperity’s “Running on Empty” tour today from 11:30 am – 12:30 pm at Stolley Park in Grand Island. From the looks of yesterday’s event, I think AFP is already running on empty (check out pictures on our Facebook page). They want less regulation for the oil and gas industry. Let’s tell them we don’t.
Wed, June 8
The United Nations has declared internet access to be a universal human right while Ann Coulter advocates shooting liberal protesters, Herman Cain refuses to pay attention long enough to read anything longer than three pages, and Tim Pawlenty is officially classified by us as “not a serious candidate” with a budget proposal as problematic as it is radical. Here’s your roundup:
EPA sticks it to State Dept: After telling the State Dept. to shove their initial Environmental Impact Statement somewhere dark and lonely, the EPA has announced that the State Department can take their Supplementary Environmental Impact Statement, and well, you get the idea. In a letter the EPA explained its continued concerns of carbon emissions and the likelihood of risks to our groundwater. They pointed out that the State Department doesn’t even know what chemicals will be flowing through the pipe to help the tar sludge move along, and therefore there’s no way to adequately gauge the potential impact, as the State Dept. claims to have done. That’s like us saying, “Yeah, we put paint thinner or something like it in your milk, but we can’t tell you what exactly. Just trust me that it’s of the variety that won’t kill you.” Given Transcanada’s shady dealings with landowners and their at best misleading predictions regarding their first pipeline, the EPA is right not to take their word for it. Read here.
Unhappy birthday to the Bush tax cuts: The Bush tax cuts are ten years old, and it seems that the Republicans who want them to live to a ripe old age also want us to forget about a few things. That, as mentioned yesterday, there are even millionaires who insist the cuts don’t lead to job growth (spoiler alert: rich people buy boats with their tax break that are made overseas). At the very least, the Bush tax cuts seem to have done nothing to help combat the deficit, that scary thing the GOP is always crowing about. Americans United for Change lists a number of other neat little factoids as a birthday present to the Bush tax cuts. Read here.
Oil company lies, people world over nod heads knowingly: Apparently Enbridge’s initial estimate of a spill in the Northwest Territory was just a teensy bit off. The line has apparently leaked not four barrels, as was initially alleged, but somewhat closer to 1,500 barrels. Just a slight difference. This is Enbridge’s third major leak in less than 12 months, including 20,000+ barrel spill into the Michigan river. And now Transcanada’s trying to claim that their leaks actually mean their pipeline is safe. This is some interesting logic. I mean I’ve seen some acrobatics but I’m impressed this time. Alright Transcanada, let me get this straight. Because the federal government responded quickly to your mess, then the regulations are sufficient to protect us? Shouldn’t the federal government perhaps have been able to look at Enbridge’s project and say, “That seems incredibly dangerous and likely to spill enormous amounts of oil into Michigan’s water,”? Or do you think they took the lying Enbridge’s word as an assurance of safety? Just like you expect us to believe you, despite the fact that you vastly underestimated the potential for leaks on your first pipeline. As far as we can tell there’s little reason to trust your integrity more than Enbridge’s. Read here.
Rock the Vote scorecard: Rock the Vote has issued their first Voting System Scorecard for each of the fifty states. The scorecard is an analysis of laws and policies that affect young voters’ access to the political process. The bad news? Many young American are being excluded from our democracy by a number of factors. There even seem to be dozens of states that are actively trying to preclude people from voting. Nebraska seems to have ended up ranked an unimpressive 23rd, with a grade of 42% . We would like to see Same Day Voter Registration implemented to assist young voters who often move which means they are then not registered properly and can not participate in elections. To see the scorecard and a link to send the full report to our elected officials click here.
Public Pipeline hearings: The State Dept. has decided to make a small concession to the immense amounts of pressure being put on it by both constituents and politicians over the Keystone XL. After it issues the final draft of the Environmental Impact Statement, it has agreed to hold six public hearings, one in each state the pipeline will pass through and one in Washington D.C. Now there’s a thought. Actually holding meetings where landowners and constituents and attend and make themselves heard? It’s almost like we live in a democracy or something. Almost. But all sarcasm aside, this is an extremely positive development that Bold and other national and state groups worked on. We will keep you updated as the details roll in. Read here.
And don’t forget to show up at the Americans For Prosperity “Running on Empty” demagoguery convention tonight at six o’clock at Walnut Grove Park, 15050 Q St. in Omaha. They want less regulation for the oil and gas industry. Let’s tell them we don’t. Bring signs, and meet us 20 minutes beforehand in the church lot directly south of Walnut Grove Park.
Tues, June 7
Today is an interesting day for news. While “Weinergate” and the iCloud continue to dominate the airwaves, Americans in the path of“unprecedented” flood water along the Missouri River and fires in Arizona struggle to protect their homes and communities. We give you a link to volunteer locally below. Here’s your Roundup.
“Educating” Nebraskans: Americans for Prosperity, the fake grassroots organization that spends millions of Big Oil dollars to reduce regulation on the oil and gas industry, is bringing their “Running on Empty Tour” to Nebraska this week. The events aim to “educate citizens” about the Obama administration’s “war on traditional, dependable forms of fuel,” and word is they’ll be speaking in support of the Keystone XL Pipeline. So while these Big Oil-funded speakers claim to be here to support Nebraskan’s interests (and to blame Obama for high gas prices), we’d like to encourage people to go and question who they’re really here for. If you feel strongly about keeping Nebraska’s unique environment clean and oil-free, bring a sign and some serious questions to these events:
Wednesday, June 8th
Time: 6:00 – 7:30PM
Location: Walnut Grove Park, 15050 Q Street
Grand Island, NE
Thursday, June 9th
Time: 11:30AM – 12:30PM
Location: Stolley Park, 2103 Stolley Park Rd W.
Herman Cain Train: The election cycle produces some great campaign videos. This one is for Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain, and it’s a ‘rocking’ country music video complete with interviews, cowboy hats, and lots of trains. And yes, they do actually rhyme “Hurricane” with “Herman Cain”. Watch Here
Happy Anniversary, Bush Tax Cuts: Today, Rick Poore, one of our board members here at Bold Nebraska, had an op-ed published on The Hill’s Congress Blog. Rick is a small business owner in Lincoln, and he dissects one of Republican’s favorite talking points – that extending the Bush tax cuts will protect small businesses. He’s tired of being used by politicians so that hedge fund managers can get a tax cut. “I’m declaring a small business identity theft alert,” he writes. Check it out here, it’s a great read.
“I Put In A Dancefloor With My Tax Cut”: A group of millionaires who sent a letter to President Obama asking him to let the Bush Tax Cuts expire explain to the Huffington Post what they have done with all the money they’ve saved over the years. “I got a bigger boat than I used to have,” said Dennis Mehiel. But he admits his purchase didn’t create any American jobs; the boat was built in Italy. Read Here.
Dream Act Survives: The Supreme Court rejected an appeal to a California law similar to Nebraska’s “Dream Act”, which in effect affirms a state’s right to adopt such a policy. State Sen. Charlie Janssen is pretty disappointed, as he’s been trying to repeal the Dream Act in Nebraska. His last attempt failed 6-1 in the Education Committee this spring, but don’t worry, he’ll try again in 2012. Fun Fact: Kris Kobach, the Kansas attorney who drafted Fremont’s controversial immigration ordinance and from everything we understand gives Janssen talking points to use, is at the center of the Supreme Court decision. Read Here.
Extend A Hand: Volunteers are needed to fill sandbags to prevent flood damage in Sioux City and other towns along the Missouri River. The flood, which is potentially the worst in half a century, could affect the area for months to come. Today is the last day, so if you can help protect these homes and business, please do. Find out more here.
Mon, June 6
Rick Santorum is set to throw his hat in the ring with the other presidential contenders, Deb Fischer is getting closer to throwing her cowboy hat in the ring to challenge Bruning for the NE GOP Senate nomination, Rod Blagojevich and his hair are being cross-examined by prosecutors this week, and Boehner and Obama have reached one of their first and only agreements-a tee time. Here’s your Roundup:
The natural disaster in the room: Sen. Mike Johanns has been touring areas affected by the recent flooding and chastising the Army Corps of Engineers for not doing more to prevent damage–we appreciate and give major props to him being on the ground and asking for more government accountability. But Johanns went into evasive maneuvers when asked about the other phenomenon most likely culpable–climate change. Sen. Johanns admitted he is aware such “theories” exist and that people continue to debate them. Strong words, Senator. Way to put yourself out there. Don’t worry about the increase in terrifying vortexes of death and torrential rains. Read here.
Point of no return: No, not the awesome remake of Nikita with Bridget Fonda. We’re talking about something far more dangerous than the lethal assassin Maggie Hayward. Dr. James Hansen writes in the Huffington Post about how mining tar sands means heading towards the point when the planet will no longer sustain life, and we won’t be able to do anything about it. Seriously. Needless to say, he thinks this is a bad idea. Read here.
T-Paw sharpens his wedge: While some of the GOP shrieks about cutting social services, Tim Pawlenty is going with the classic mantras: abortion, abortion, God, Muslims, gays, terrorists, gay Muslim terrorists, God, abortion. In a speech on Friday he told the Faith and Freedom Conference the U.S. needs to “turn toward God.” T-Paw, your moral majority tactics are so out of touch it would almost be quaint, if it weren’t so disturbing that you seem to think we live in a theocracy. Why don’t you put away the wedge, stop trying to cultivate a gay Islamic marriage panic, and talk about, well, anything else (jobs and energy are always a good start). Read here.
Sara Palin-Media Martyr: We were really going to leave this alone. Really we were. We didn’t see any point in picking on her for harmlessly mixing up a bit of historical mythology. We even believed that the question may have been of the ‘gotcha’ variety that is uncalled for, even on some sort of mysterious media mongering mission. But, instead of admitting a minor gaffe, she insists that the media is wrong about her being wrong. Scratch that, not just the media. Everybody else. Read here.
Reminder: TODAY (June 6) is the deadline for commenting on the State Department’s Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS). Tell Sec. Clinton she must deny the permit to TransCanada, we have to stand together to protect our land and drinking water. Comment on the study:tinyurl.com/dearclinton and sign our petition: boldnebraska.org/june6