Since we don’t post the Roundup over the weekend, we want to wish all the moms out there a happy Mothers’ Day. If you’re still looking for that perfect gift for mom, we recommend scoping out Grow Nebraska. They’ve got all kinds of great products made right here in the Cornhusker state. Here’s your Roundup:
Al-Qaida Confirmation: We knew backlash would come after bin Landen’s death was announced Sunday night. A statement from the “general leadership” of Al-Qaida was posted on the Internet and confirmed that Osama bin Laden is dead. The statement warns of retaliation, saying America’s “happiness will turn to sadness.” It opens the door for the group to name a successor and calls on the people of Pakistan to rise up against their government. It has not yet been independently authenticated. We know Americans will not cower in the face of such threats. Read Here
Always Buy Both Names: If we’ve learned one thing from working on politics on the web, it’s that you always buy the most obvious variations of your domain name. Smart politicians buy their name, their name + the campaign year and their nickname. Web campaigning 101 tells you to AT LEAST buy the .com and .org versions of your domain name. Unfortunately, New York Congressional Jane Corwin candidate didn’t do that. She owns janecorwin.com but didn’t think it was worth the cash to also grab janecorwin.org. The latter has been bought and published by Ian Murphy, the guy who called Gov. Scott Walker pretending to be David Koch.
A Billionaire’s Bogeyman: The president is enjoying a surge in his poll numbers after he announced the death of Osama Bin Laden. But there’s still a billionaire there who refuses to give Obama any props. Extreme conservative and tea party financier David Koch says Obama contributed zip to bin Laden’s death. Apparently Koch wouldn’t have blinked over the decision to risk American lives to potentially take out a high risk target. He’s more determined that Obama’s a socialist. We’re a little nervous that Koch might be a sociopath. Read Here
CIR Reform Advances: It was a late night at the Unicameral on Wednesday. State senators spent seven hours debating the merits of LB 397 which reforms the Committee on Industrial Relations. The CIR mitigates disputes between public unions and the municipalities they serve. The bill was introduced by Sen. Lathrop as a compromise. Rather than abolishing or gelding the CIR, Lathrop’s bill allows the committee to also consider pension and health insurance benefits in labor disputes. We know Lathrop has been burning the candle at both ends to reach a fair deal for all parties affected by this bill, and we think he’s reached that goal. Read Here
Thurs, May 5th
Happy Cinco de Mayo! But even more importantly, we a wish a very happy birthday to our fearless leader, Jane Kleeb. As a gift to her, please sign this petition to stop the pipeline. Or just toast her along with this guy. Here’s your Roundup:
Nelson’s Questions: Sen. Nelson stated yesterday that he would like to see a Senate investigation into the death of Osama bin Laden to determine whether Pakistani officials were shielding him from discovery. Nelson explained his concern over the billions in aid the US has given to Pakistan in the past decade. “We need to know how much of that aid has been used for counterterrorism and to what effect, as well as how bin Laden’s presence could have possibly escaped notice by Pakistani officials.” Read here.
State Control: In a recent statement, Sen. Johanns disagreed with the State Department’s most recent report on the Keystone XL Pipeline and said he believes that the pipeline will cause environmental harm to the Sandhills. However, we need him to go one step further to advocate for the state’s role in regulating the pipeline and deciding its final route. To learn more, watch the NET interviews with John Hansen of the Nebraska Farmers’ Union, who explains the need for routing regulation, or Chris Langemeier, Chairman of the Natural Resources Committee. Read here.
I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T: You know what that means! A new Pew Research Center poll reveals that an increasingly large number of Americans are choosing not to identify with either political party. But don’t mistake this for an increase in moderates. Many of these “new” independents “hold extremely strong ideological positions on issues such as the role of government, immigration, the environment and social issues. But they combine these views in ways that defy liberal or conservative orthodoxy.” To find out where you fall, take this quiz from the Pew Center. Read here.
TV Generation: The Social Security Administration has released the most popular baby names of 2010 (we won’t harp on the irony of the SSA monitoring baby names) and while the Twilight-inspired Jacob and Isabella remained number one, the names at the bottom of the list are telling as well. The two names with the largest increase were Maci and Bentley, the name of a teen and her newborn son on MTV’s Teen Mom. And we thought that Emily and Malinda’s generation would be shaped by television… Read here.
With Obama and Osama only one letter away from one another, we all knew this was bound to happen. But knowing that doesn’t make it any less funny…
Wed, May 4th
A big “thanks” goes out to everyone who came to the Pipeline Education & Action forum last night in Omaha. You asked great questions, and your enthusiasm was spectacular. Before we dive into the Roundup, we want to wish you a happy Star Wars Day. May the 4th be with you!
Alberta Spill: A rupture on an Alberta oil pipeline that was discovered on April 29 has turned into the largest oil spill in 36 years for the region. Enbridge’s Rainbow pipeline (what an awful name) has leaked 28,000 barrels of oil. The spill is bigger than the one in Michigan last summer, though the Kalamazoo spill was from a tar sands pipeline, and so far we don’t know if the old Rainbow pipeline was pumping traditional crude or tar sands. Either way, Canadian pipeline companies are quickly squandering any minuscule hopes that they can prevent disasters. Read Here
Infringing on Choice: America is the land of the free and home of the brave. Patrick Henry said it best when he proclaimed, “Give me liberty or give me death!” Well the liberties and individual freedoms of Nebraska women are being limited once again. State Sen. Beau McCoy’s LB22 which bans private insurance companies from covering abortion through health plans passed its second floor vote yesterday. If the bill becomes law, women in Nebraska will have to buy abortion coverage as a rider to any insurance plan. Aren’t conservatives like McCoy all about limited government? And why not focus on preventing the need for abortions by restoring prenatal care to Nebraska moms? This one continues to baffle us. Read Here
Flow in the MO: The flooding in Missouri has been intense over the past few days. Just yesterday the Army Corps of Engineers blew a two mile hole in a levee to protect the town of Cairo. The concern is that water levels upstream could rise again and more flooding is in the future. Right now, whole farms are under water. The NY Times has a slideshow that’s stunning and chilling. Read Here
Chris Beutler won his re-election bid for Lincoln’s mayor last night. He beat tea party challenger Tammy Buffington 65-35.
Don’t forget to keep commenting on the SEIS for the Keystone XL! Invite Sec. Clinton to visit the Sandhills before she makes a final decision.
Tues, May 3rd
Today are the Lincoln city elections, which will decide the mayoral, city council, and several other races. Lincolnites, make sure you get out and vote! Here’s your Roundup:
Sticker Shock: It’s no secret that gas is expensive these days–28% more expensive than it was last year, in fact. The Big Five (BP, Chevron, Conoco Phillips, Exxon Mobile and Shell) made a staggering 38% more profit, and then used it to buy stock for their boards of directors, senior managers, and CEOs. The corporate cherry on top is the $40 billion in tax loopholes that these companies are fighting to maintain while the cost of gas gets passed on to American consumers. Thumbs down. Read here.
Rural Dems, Unite: Newsweek explains that rural voters are the battleground for the presidency in 2012. On the senate side, four Democratic senators who represent rural constituencies (Nebraska, Montana, Missouri, and West Virginia) are facing tough re-election prospects. “If Democrats can’t connect with small-town voters, they will lose the Senate next November—and make it difficult for President Obama, who held his own among rural Americans in 2008, to recapture states like North Carolina that put him over the top last time around.” Read here.
Brennan’s Briefing: Yesterday, White House counterterrorism advisor John Brennan delivered a detailed brieifing on the mission that killed Osama bin Laden. Brennan explained that the mission was designed to take bin Laden alive if possible, and provided a lot of great detail about the operation. Definitely worth a read. Read here.
Tar Sand Troubles: Canadian officials seem to be tip-toeing towards a trade dispute with the European Union (EU). In a strongly worded letter to the EU that was recently leaked, Canada bemoaned the EU’s plan to rate oil sands as having a larger carbon footprint as “unjustified discrimination.” No, Canada, that’s actually called “science.” And it’s science that raises even more flags about building a pipeline that carries oil sands across one of the most valuable natural resources in Nebraska. The EPA agrees, stating that it’s “not convinced that this pipeline is needed in the absence of making far more aggressive efforts to reduce America’s oil dependence.” We hear that. Read here.
Tweet Overload: As Americans across the country shouted “USA! USA!” in parking lots, on campuses, and in front of the White House, their countrymen were doing the same thing on Twitter. Sunday night, Twitter recorded the highest ever number of tweet per second, hitting 5,000 at one point in the evening. Now that’s American. Read here.
Mon, May 2nd
For those of you living under a rock, let us update you on an insanely eventful weekend. Things kicked off Friday with a beautiful royal wedding, continued Saturday with the beatification of Pope John Paul II, and then in a HUGE unexpected turn of world events, and ended with President Barack Obama’s emergency press conference on Sunday evening in which he announced the death of Osama bin Laden. And with that, we jump into May. Here’s your Roundup:
“Justice Has Been Served”: With those four words, President Obama delivered the world-shaking announcement that US troops had killed and recovered the body of Osama bin Laden, leader of Al Qaeda and the world’s most-wanted terrorist. Bin Laden, who was killed in a US military firefight, orchestrated the 9/11 attacks that killed thousands of American citizens and was responsible for thousands more civilian and military deaths around the world. American authorities are reporting that Osama’s body was buried at sea early this morning in accordance to Muslim law. While it remains unclear what this means for both the Middle East region and American foreign policy, Republicans and Democrats alike have come together to praise the Obama administration, CIA, and the brave troops who won this major victory for America in the war on terror. We will bring you more on this story as officials from Nebraska and the world issue their statements. Read here.
Mouthing Off Continues: Today’s LJS contained yet another letter to the editor asking Gov. Heineman to break his silence and speak up for Nebraskans on the Keystone XL Pipeline. Silence will not protect our state’s most valuable resources, and silence will not help protect landowners from a foreign company threatening to take their land. Read here.
Take Action: May 3rd (tomorrow) starting at 7:00pm is the Omaha Pipeline Education and Action Forum at the First Unitarian Church on 31st & Harney. If you want to learn more about the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline, TransCanada, or you want to take action to stop the pipeline, this is the place for you. We hope to see you there! RSVP here.
Talking the Talk: After his meeting with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on Friday, Gov. Heineman gave a nice statement that was chock-full of double talk. Heineman may like to call himself the “education governor” but in our eyes, cutting the education budget at time when we should be investing in our schools makes him anything but. Serving the leaders of our schools with ultimatums doesn’t seem too education friendly, either. Watch here.