Today is the last day of Bold Nebraska. We’re packing up shop, selling our domain name to Mark Fahleson and joining the Tea Party. Good luck to all the landowners trying to fight TransCanada, teachers trying to keep their jobs and mothers who need prenatal care. Your crusades for justice aren’t our problem any more. Here’s your Roundup:
In Case You Didn’t Guess: APRIL FOOLS. Like heck we’d throw in the towel, especially when we’ve got new grassroots support coming out of our ears. But we had to needle the conservatives who are just dying for us to tuck our tails between our legs and walk away. On to the REAL news…
A Little Bird Told Me: “Our elected leaders can protect our homes and water.” That’s been our slogan since Jan. 5, when we rallied at the Capitol to tell our state senators that they MUST protect our natural resources from oil pipelines. The CRS memo we uncovered last week and shared with the press Wed. makes it crystal clear that our Unicam can take action. We know local press has covered the story, but if you want a deeper look into the memo, check out Solve Climate News’ coverage. Read Here
Sokol to Run for Prez: Yesterday’s announcement that David Sokol was retiring from Berkshire Hathaway left us heart broken. Sokol said he was leaving the financial giant to spend more time with his family. This morning, we found out that was a load of crock when he announced that he’s going to run for President in 2012. We think Sokol’s a great choice. He’s loaded like Donald Trump but doesn’t have a weird comb over. What more could you ask for in a Commander in Chief? Ok, ok… APRIL FOOLS. (We couldn’t resist a second one.)
Taking On AARP: In their attempt to dismantle health care reform, House conservatives are taking on one of the country’s most powerful interest groups — the elderly. The radical right’s gripe? That AARP supported health reform because it could increase the demand for their supplemental Medicare policies. AARP’s President, Lee Hammond, said such claims are utter poppycock and that, “AARP has long maintained that we would gladly forgo revenue in exchange for lifetime health and financial security for all older Americans.” Read Here
Lee Terry Disses Vets: We heavily applauded Sen. Nelson’s announcement that the 54-year-old VA Hospital in Omaha would get a major upgrade. But now, Omaha own rep, Lee Terry, is standing in the way. Terry’s siding with radical right members on a budget proposal that would strip funding from this crucial project, even though officials have deemed certain parts of the facility as inadequate of even harmful to the 160,000 vets who rely on it. We’re getting BSDC deja vu, and we don’t like it. Read Here
Thurs, March 31st
A new study from the University of South Florida indicates that people bond more deeply when they have something to mutually dislike. Haters gonna hate, and apparently they’re gonna get along while they do it. Here’s your Roundup:
Oil and Water: In a pivotal speech on energy policy yesterday, President Obama called for a reduction of US dependence on foreign oil, primarily by reducing imports of foreign oil by one third. We could not agree more with this policy shift. In light of this call to reduce imports, building a pipeline that imports foreign oil and carries it directly through Nebraska’s freshwater supply seems a little silly, don’t you think? Cutting imports and building pipelines that import oil, much like oil and water, don’t mix. View here.
Young, Not Apathetic: Nebraska’s own Teresa Scanlan, the current Miss America, was featured on Politico’s CLICK talking about her future plans in politics, but also the importance to civic engagement for her generation, which she claims doesn’t care about politics. In reality, young Americans are more engaged than ever, and just need the politicos to listen to them. View here.
Pipeline Pushback: Sen. Johanns spoke up for Nebraskans yet again on the issue of the Keystone XL Pipeline. In part 1 of 2 in NPR’s newest series on the pipeline, Johanns stated, “[There] could not be a worse route in the entire state of Nebraska, maybe couldn’t be a worse route in the entire country.” Thank you, Sen. Johanns, for standing up for Nebraska landowners and our state’s most valuable natural resource. View here.
Washington Goes Western: In a melodramatic move, the Tea Party Patriots have declared “high noon” in the current budget negotiations on Capitol Hill and are calling for even deeper spending cuts. The rhetoric of obstinance over cooperation, in combination with the “high noon” rally being held outside the Capitol today, do nothing but create bad vibes in an already difficult budget process. These patriots would do a greater service to their country by urging the GOP to come to the table and compromise. View here.
Wed, March 30th
The Roundup’s a little late today because we had a roundtable for press about a memo that groups fighting the pipeline unearthed which says our state government has the authority to regulate pipelines. So no more excuses from the Unicam or Heineman! Here’s your Roundup:
Keystone XL Poll: NTV’s got a short public poll going on their homepage this morning. They want to know, “Based on what you’ve learned, do you think TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline is a good idea?” We’ve already voted “No.” Head on over and cast your vote, too. It’s the white box just above the most popular stories. Vote Here
Reforming the CIR: We’ve gotten a dozen google alerts with the same story from multiple writers about how the labor fight is coming to Nebraska. It looks like the Committee on Industrial Relations will be reformed this year. The big reform bill in LB397 which is the product of many negotiations and workshops led by Chairman Lathrop (we call him the George Clooney of the Unicam). What we still don’t understand is how Heineman can moan about public union contracts when he’s been in the Governor’s mansion for the last six years. What’s he been doing about the CIR during that time? View Here
Locavore’s Dilemma: For those of you who aren’t hip to the local food movement, a locavore is someone who eats primarily locally grown food. Over at the Fair Food Fight blog, we’re starting to see some divisions in locavore philosophy. There’s only one company that could pit locavores against one another: Wal-Mart. The Big Ag supermarket has promised to start using more local producers and reduce the use of animal antibiotics. The folks at FFF conclude that the Big Ag industry won’t and probably shouldn’t disappear, but it does need reform. What do our Nebraska locavores think? View Here
Sharia Showdown: It looks like Rep. Adrian Smith already has a 2012 primary challenger. His new foe is Dennis Parker of Columbus who wants to use his 12 months on the campaign trail to warn Nebraskans about Sharia law. We’re hoping to have the next Phil Davison on our hands. View Here
Tues, March 29th
For those of you out there who think you’re unduly stressed, now you can know for sure! A new product called Basis tracks your heart rates, temperature and (ew) sweat. Instead of a clip, like other fitness tracking technologies, Basis is a watch that records all the data, and then allows you to upload it to your computer. The ladies of Bold are content not knowing how physiologically stressed we are… and with that, here’s your Roundup:
The Michigan Example: In further support of what we’ve been saying all along about oil pipelines and potential spills, residents of Michigan affected by the Enbridge pipeline spill last July have not received the help they were promised from the Canadian company. Nearly 8 months after the spill, the situation has not improved. The damage to the wildlife and environment is even worse due to the more acidic and corrosive nature of tar sands. The Keystone XL Pipeline will face these same issues, but instead of polluting one river, it will touch the entire Ogallala Aquifer (Hat Tip: Allen Schreiber). View Here
Justifying Libya: Last night, President Obama addressed the nation to defend his administration’s choice to bomb Libya without the consent of Congress. Obama stated that to not act would have been against our national interest and also cited the brewing “massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.” New York Magazine’s Daily Intel compiled a pretty interesting word cloud of Obama’s speech. View Here
Dollars and Sense: Looks like Congress is running short on both these days. The administration and Congressional Republicans reached a final stopgap spending agreement earlier this week. The clock is ticking and time runs out on April 8th, at which point we will go into a government shutdown. With rumours indiciating that compromise is a pipe dream, we think it’s about time for real attempts at compromise on the Hill. View Here
Guns Galore: LB512, which would allow people with past mental health problems to access firearms, advanced in the Unicameral yesterday. The bill, proposed by Sen. Mark Christensen of Imperial, would give local mental health boards the power to lift existing bans on gun possession imposed for mental health reasons. While treating mentally ill people with respect is definitely important, increasing their access to guns is simply bad policy. Especially in the wake of the attempted assassiantion of Rep. Giffords by Jared Loughner, we’d hope our elected officials would seriously consider the dangerous consequences of greater gun access. View Here
Mon, March 28th
A GINORMOUS thank you to everyone who has liked our facebook page, posted on our wall, commented on the blog and/or emailed us in the last 10 days. You response to our “Mouth Off with Bold” campaign blew our expectations out of the water. We’ll let you know soon what we’re delivering to Gov. Heineman because of your support! Here’s YOUR Roundup:
Beutler in NY Times: Lincoln’s mayor, Chris Beutler, was quoted in the NY Times this weekend for a piece on state aid being cut to local governments. While some state governments have drastically reduced state aid to municipalities, Nebraska raced ahead of the pack by eliminating state aid COMPLETELY. While this looks good for Gov. Heineman’s bottom line, it passes the burden on to cash-strapped cities and towns that are facing their toughest year since the 2008 economic collapse. But hey, if Heineman can run on a national ticket (we hear he’s got his fingers crossed for VP or Ag. Sec.) with the slogan that he never raised taxes, it’s all good for Nebraska, right? View Here
Concrete vs Kids Bill Advances: We’ve been closely following State Senator Deb Fischer’s bill that would earmark .5% of the state’s 5.5% sales tax for road maintenance. Fischer’s bill is under the spotlight because Gov. Heineman, who usually walks in lockstep with Fischer, has objected to the bill (though he refuses to say if he will veto it should it reach his desk). The dark side of Fischer’s bill is that it diverts funding from education and human services. This presents an interesting dilemma to Heineman who loves to back radical, right-wing senators like Fischer but who also promised to maintain state aid to education in his State of the State address. Will he play the partisan hack or keep his promise? Will he choose concrete or kids? View Here
What Everyone’s Reading: Today, the national news is going to focus on a new Rolling Stone article called, “The Kill Team.” The 8-page piece is reminiscent of the magazine’s earth-moving piece on General McChrystal (who was in charge of Afghanistan efforts) that led to his termination. The comprehensive story asks how U.S. soldiers were able to murder innocent Afghan civilians and mutilate their corpses without their officers stepping in. Is it a long read? Yes. Is it worth the effort? Absolutely. View Here
Our Commander-in Chief: President Obama will address the nation tonight at 6:30pm CT. He’ll be breaking down our involvement in Libya. You can watch on C-Span.com and get all the details. View Here
Saving Babies: Nebraska’s shameful prenatal debacle, that has led to the death of 5 babies, is getting into national media. We’re appalled by the “pro-life for me but not for thee” attitude some state elected officials are embracing. When will our state’s policies back up the promise of saving, protecting and raising healthy babies? View Here