Read today’s news from around the state and country. Each day in the Roundup we cover politics, always with a side of bold humor. We think politics should be fun, informative and encourage us all to take action.
Friday, May 18th
Tomorrow, the Open Harvest Cooperative Grocery and the Nebraska Farmers Union is hosting a Family Farmer Barbecue! Grassfed, organic, and locally-raised burgers will be provided for free! In addition, you will have the opportunity to meet the people who produced your food, and you will be able to pick up information on how to get involved in the local food movement! We encourage you to come on out for this great event! Here’s your Roundup:
The Campaign Begins: The campaign for U.S. Senate is really starting to pick up as Jon Bruning, Don Stenberg, and Governor Dave Heineman joined Deb Fischer in Omaha and Democrat Bob Kerrey is touring the state. According to Deb Fischer, voters are seeking “something different.” A little general, wouldn’t you say? Already, Fischer’s inexperience is beginning to show. This is Fischer’s first statewide campaign. For Kerrey, he has been successful in three statewide campaigns. In the videos through the link below, the difference is pretty clear. Fischer and her fellow Republicans are determined to defeat Kerrey, using it as one of their main running points. As Heineman, Bruning, and Fischer all said in the video, they will defeat Bob Kerrey. Shouldn’t we have a candidate that is willing to leave behind all the cross-party bickering and put country first? In the video, Bob Kerrey approaches issues with common sense, practicality and intelligence. We encourage you to really educate yourself on the candidates; the choice should be crystal clear. Read here
Attack Ad Plan: Billionaire Joe Ricketts was thrown into the national spotlight as the New York Times reported the Nebraska native was involved in proposing an advertising campaign that would attack President Obama by highlighting the president’s incendiary former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The news came just after Ricketts gave last minute support to Republican Deb Fischer that assisted Fischer in winning the Republican nomination. According to Ricketts, he did not give any approval to the advertisements. However, according to the authors of the 54-page plan, Ricketts gave preliminary approval. Some of the plans for the advertisements are pretty nasty. Read here
Voting Complaints: After Tuesday’s primary election, several north Omaha community activists and politicians are crying foul. Douglas County Election Commissioner, Dave Phipps, a Republican, closed over half of the polling places in Douglas County, many in north and south Omaha where the populations are predominantly low-income minority citizens. The issues ranged from inaccurate polling information to untrained poll workers. Despite all the issues, voter turnout in north Omaha was up nearly 42 percent. Our only hope is that Phipps does the right thing and make voting easy, accessible and practical. All citizens need to be able to vote, free from confusion about the location or process. The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating claims of voter suppression in Douglas County. Read here
Thursday, May 17th
The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality will be holding another meeting today from 4:00 to 7:00 pm at the Central City Community Room on the TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline. We encourage you to attend and raise your concerns over the pipeline. Here’s your Roundup:
NYC: It sure didn’t take long for the GOP to begin firing off an attack on Nebraska Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Bob Kerrey for his residency in New York City for the past dozen years. Not even a day after the primary election, Governor Dave Heineman, State Senator Deb Fischer, and a mirage of other GOP figureheads were claiming this November’s U.S. Senate race is down to “East Coast vs. Midwest.” Have these people forgotten Bob Kerrey was born and raised in Nebraska, served our country in the military, and led Nebraska to some of its most successful times? Bob Kerrey is a Nebraskan and always will be. Why don’t we focus on some of his ideas and proposals instead of where he lived for the last few years? Kerrey has proposed numerous bipartisan ideas, including crediting both parties. The GOP members can’t even come up with a single Democratic member of Congress they would be willing to work with. Read here
To-Do List: Nebraska Watchdog, in an exclusive video interview, learned about a few more items on Bob Kerrey’s to-do list if elected to the U.S. Senate. Kerrey mentioned anyone who will not consider higher taxes, but only after major spending cuts, is part of the problem not the solution. Major spending cuts followed by a tax rate increase would ensure financial stability and soundness. We’re going to have to get out of this financial mess somehow, and anything will help at this point. In addition to the financial items, Kerrey hopes to outlaw the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision allowing super PACs. Also, he hopes to end Congressional caucuses and begin Congressional term limits. Watch here
Good Advice?: Former President George W. Bush will be sharing his strategies for economic growth this summer for $24.95. Bush will be releasing a book in two months covering economic strategies. Funny thing is… Growth in investment, GDP and employment all posted their worst performance of any post-war expansion. Oh, and overall monthly job growth was the worse of any cycle since at least 1945 and household income growth was negative for the first cycle since 1967. Sounds like a great summer read to us! (Ha!) Read here
Wednesday, May 16th
Today’s Roundup is the Primary Election Edition! Yesterday was an eventful day as the Nebraska Primaries were held. We hope you practiced your civic duty and made your voice heard! Here’s today’s Roundup:
Fischer vs. Kerrey: State Senator Deb Fischer pulled off an upset to Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning in yesterday’s primary election. The race was very close, but Fischer came out on top. For some reason, (and we’re still trying to figure it out) the endorsement from Sarah Palin gave Fischer a boost. Already, the U.S. Senate race is shaping up to be an interesting one. We have two candidates going head to head, Deb Fischer with very little experience and Bob Kerrey with a strong record of putting state and country first and working with both parties. Oh, and by the way, Deb Fischer was one of the state lawmakers that voted to give eminent domain to TransCanada. Hmmm…. She really sounds like a Nebraskan that puts Nebraskans first. We could go on and on. Our biggest hope is that Nebraskans really educate themselves on the candidates; when comparing Fischer to Kerrey, the choice should be crystal clear. Bob Kerrey knows what he is doing, has a strong record of working with both parties, and is willing to put his citizens first. Read here
Voter Turnout: Voter turnout numbers were once again typical. The disappointing thing? Typical is in the 20 to 30 percent in most counties across the state. The state’s average was 26 percent. Roughly, that means about one in four people went to the polls to cast their ballot. While this is typical, this is also embarrassing. We need to mobilize the people, encourage voting, and ensure a stronger participation in our democracy from our citizens. In Omaha, there was more confusion than usual. Douglas County Election Commissioner Dave Phipps, a Republican, made some pretty drastic changes in polling places in north and south Omaha, areas where the large majority of the population is low-income. Read here
Terry vs. Ewing: Congressman Lee Terry, yes, the one that has cuddled up to TransCanda, will be facing John Ewing, Jr., a democrat many GOP members fear. While Lee Terry easily handled his GOP opponents, he will face a difficult battle in November. Ewing is a strong candidate who looks much better when compared to Terry and his questionable actions in Congress. We’ll be keeping an eye on that race! Read here
For all primary election results statewide, visit the Nebraska Secretary of State’s website.
Tuesday, May 15th
In the spirit of democracy, make sure you get out and VOTE in today’s primary elections! Nebraska is selecting final candidates for important seats in the State Legislature, as well as for the House and the Senate. Visit this site to find your polling location. Here’s your Roundup:
Failings of KXL: Yesterday, the Washington Post layed out some truths about the Keystone XL pipeline, which include the fact that “It would not endow the United States with ‘energy security’ in the sense that most Americans understand the phrase and that many pipeline advocates wield it. It would not significantly lower oil prices.” Furthermore, the article highlights a critical point from a recent report on KXL from the Congressional Budget Office which explains that adding to an extensive network of pipelines only further ensures that world oil price prevails. “In fact, the best way to insulate Americans from oil-price volatility and other drawbacks of oil use would be to use less oil. The price would still move around, but it would matter less. Such an approach would also help achieve the most important energy priority: slowing climate change.” Read here.
A More Equal Lincoln: Monday, the Lincoln City Council voted 5-0 to adopt the non-discrimination ordinance that extends employment discrimination protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. The ordinance passed unanimously, with two members of the council abstaining due to conflict of interest due to the ordinance’s potential violation of state law. We are so proud to say that our capital city is now a fair employer for ALL people and can’t wait to see what the next step towards true equality in Nebraska looks like. Read here.
Nebraskans Taking Lead: Today, Nebraska Senators Mike Johanns and Ben Nelson took the lead in the Senate by pushing leadership to address the 2012 Farm Bill, known this year as the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012, a critical piece of legislation that affects everything from agriculture to school lunches. The current Farm Bill with expire in September, and its replacement is important for farm-based communities. The current version of the 2012 Farm Bill aims to reduce federal spending by $23 billion. If you’re affected by the Farm Bill, visit these sites to give valuable feedback to the House and Senate committees working on the bill. Read here.