Our bold leader Jane Kleeb will testify about the Keystone XL to the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power at 9:30am CT today. If you want to watch, check out the C-SPAN livestream. Here’s your Roundup:
Scooby-Doo, We Don’t Need You: The mystery has been solved as to how right-wingers come up with their messages that completely morph whatever idea was originally in place into an attack catchphrase that can be used in any situation. Frank Luntz is the guy who teaches Republicans how to kill things. When Democrats introduce a bill and Republicans decide that they’d like to kill it, they ask Luntz to come up with a couple of phrases to reiterate hundreds of times a day, so as to terrify the American people. And now he’s trying to convince millionaires and billionaires paying their fair share is a bad thing. For laughs, read here. To watch Luntz try and try Stephen Colbert, watch here.
Great Event: On the first Tuesday in December, Whole Foods will be donating 5% of their sales to the Nebraska filmmakers of Growing Cities, a documentary about sustainable agriculture. All you have to do is shop, and you can support two young filmmakers, good food activists, and sustainable farming! Simply go to Whole Foods in Omaha on December 6th, and get yourself some groceries, coffee, lunch or anything else…5% of anything you purchase will go to the two young Omaha filmmakers who are working to make the city and country a healthier and more sustainable place to live. Funds will go to help finish the film–everything from hiring a professional editor and licensing music to designing graphics. Join the Facebook event here so the guys knows they can count on you.
Is a Victory for Average Americans in Sight? Changing the debate from simply whether or not to allow the payroll tax cut for mostly middle-class Americans expire in 2012 (which Republicans in Congress were prepared to allow), to the message that Republicans are willing to sacrifice 160 million working Americans for the benefit of 350,000 millionaires may do the trick to keep more money in the wallets of the middle class. The vote on the measure to further reduce Social Security payroll taxes ended in an impasse last night, but there are signs some sort of benefit will come through to middle class and low income Americans, even if it’s simply a Republican effort to avoid political suicide. Read here
Good Question: Thank you, Jon Stewart, for asking “How the #@%$ is it that Martha Stewart Went to Jail,” while those responsible for creating the ‘08 financial crisis of were able to not only walk away scott-free but made a profit. Watch here
Thursday, December 1st
President Obama started World AIDS Day by announcing new efforts to help an additional 2 million people worldwide get the drugs they need by the end of 2013. Find what you can do to help fight AIDS in Nebraska and where you can get tested over at the Nebraska AIDS Project. Here’s your Roundup:
Angling Aerospace Engineer Reports Oil Leak: A fisherman wading in the water of the South Platte river in Colorado noticed a toxic smell and soon detected an oil spill Sunday, likely coming from a pipe running from the Suncor Energy refinery to one of its underground storage tanks. However, the source of the spill is still unknown, and they have not stopped it yet–to say response has been slow would be an understatement. The company has a history of pollution violations, and documents show the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment officials have known about hazardous leakages in the area for at least a month. Read here
Changing How We Eat: Farm-to-table restaurants serve great food that can be traced to its roots. The philosophy of Egg restaurant in upstate New York “has sustainability at its foundation,” and is “a restaurant that takes great, well-sourced food and loving service as a starting point, not an achievement.” Bread & Cup in Lincoln is another great example of a farm-to-table restaurant, an establishment we hope will become the norm of the future, taking fast food by storm. Read here
Keeping it True: Canadian citizens rallied against their right-wing Prime Minister’s effort to repeal a law forbidding lies and misleading information to be spread through the airwaves, and thus effectively kept Fox-style news and talk radio out of Canada. This law has been the only thing keeping the “civility, modesty, honesty, collegiality, and idealism that have pretty much disappeared on the U.S. airwaves” in Canadian media. Read here
Desperate Times call for Desperate Measures: Central banks of several countries, including the United States, announced a plan yesterday that will hopefully help bolster the Eurozone, so it can overcome its debt crisis. The markets rallied, but the plan is seen as a band-aid to try to hold off a much-feared collapse. Hopefully this action will prevent a global crisis. Read here
Things to be Thankful For: Though Thanksgiving is over, there’s still plenty to continue being thankful for, including exercising our freedoms and not allowing a foreign company to dictate what we should do with our land. Nebraskans’ successes and much more to be thankful for–Read here
Wednesday, November 30th
We’re livetweeting the Nebraska Banking, Commerce and Insurance committee’s hearing on creating a state health insurance exchange as mandated by the Affordable Care Act. Here’s your midweek Roundup:
World Stands With Randy: Canada’s likely move to pull out of the Kyoto Protocol is meeting opposition and pressure from leaders around the world. Why? Because Canada’s wishes to became a massive polluting state by mining tar sands in Alberta. Leaders around the world know that embracing this production is, what James Hansen of NASA called, “game over for our climate.” Both the U.S. and Canadian government shamefully refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol. However, to completely turn its back on the treaty would be a truly scary sign from our northern neighbor. Read here
Pathetic Paulson: Nearly every day more news leaks that vindicates the demands of Occupiers around country. It has come to light that former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson warned hedge-fund managers of the impending collapse of Fannie May, Freddie Mac, and other financial intuitions, all the while purporting to the public and Congress that the situation was salvageable. To a round table of Wall Street execs and Goldman Sachs alums, Paulson relayed the message he hid from everyone else. How much more proof do our government leaders need before action is taken to prevent these transgressions and punish the offenders? Read here
About Time? For too long America’s big banks could do what they wanted in part because of the confidence in them. But now it appears Standard & Poor’s is taking the risky gambles of big banks seriously. Stocks have tumbled after S&P downgraded many large lenders, but perhaps this is a necessary, albeit temporary, negative result. Many hope this means more money will be transferred to smaller community banks. Barney Frank stated on Rachel Maddow that the downgrade was a result of S&P realizing that the Dodd-Frank bill indicates that the U.S. government is no longer going to back up the risky investments of big banks or rescue them when they mess up. Read here
An Open Hand: Governor Heineman continues to oppose insurance exchanges, a key part of health care reform that would make health care cheaper and more readily availability. Still he is willing to accept $5 million for research and analysis in planning a Nebraska exchange. Nebraska is one of 29 states to receive the funding, but if Heineman is so opposed, what then does he desire the money for? Having already done initial research on the exchange, it appears that Nebraska can move ahead with insurance exchanges. Why then is our governor dragging his feet? Read here
Buffett World-Herald: News broke this morning that Warren Buffett will purchase the Omaha World-Herald. Fun fact, William Jennings Bryan once owned the paper. Read here
Tuesday, November 29th
Yet another allegation of a Cain affair, he denies it, same ol’, same ol’. There’s a lot of other news to cover today, so here’s your Roundup:
Green is Sexy: According to a recently released report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, renewable energy production in the United States is growing, but nowhere near fast enough. Despite the environmental and economic benefits to investing in renewable energy, particularly wind energy where the U.S. is concerned, it remains a small fraction of what the U.S. produces and consumes. Nebraska still does not hold a spot on the list of top wind energy producers, despite being in the top five states for wind energy potential. Check out Grist’s charts, graphs, and helpful links, as well as our energy page.
Way “Too Big to Fail”: New information released by Bloomberg, from documents it attained using the Freedom of Information Act, show that the massive bank bailout of 2007 was larger than anyone had thought. On the single neediest day, the banks that were “too big to fail” received $1.2 trillion, ultimately paid by taxpayers. Perhaps most groundshaking is the realization that over the course of the bailout, the banks were able to make a $13 billion profit off of the Fed’s lower interest rates. Even Congressmembers didn’t know about these Wall Street shenanigans when creating the Dodd-Frank Act, a supposed fix for financial-industry excesses. Read here
Black Americans Hit Hard: When looking at unemployment rates, it’s easy to ignore the differences in gains/losses experienced by the public and private sectors. Though the recession has hit all middle class Americans hard, the unemployment rate for blacks is twice that of whites. This is largely because blacks are much more likely to be employed by the public sector, which has been shedding jobs while the private sector gains. The public sector has been beneficial to African Americans who have historically depended upon it because of private sector discrimination. This dependence is now proving to be devastating, especially in light of Congress’s current focus on cutting government spending, which will inevitably create more public sector job loss. Read here
Green Gadget: Though renewable energy is typically the first thought that pops into our heads when we hear “go green,” there are other techniques out there which help us become more energy efficient. At Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, windows are all the rage. At the lab’s Molecular Foundry, Delia Milliron is developing a smart window that can change based on the weather with the help of nanocrystal technology–letting in heat and light during the winter, but only light during the summer. Read here
2012 News: Another Democrat is in the race for Tony Fulton’s open seat in the State Legislature. Susan Scott, an educator, will contend for District 29 with Kate Boltz. Scott ran against Fulton in the last election cycle. Read here
Monday, November 28th
Didn’t get enough money saving madness on Black Friday? Well Cyber Monday is here to give you that fix, and all in the comfort of your own home (or office cubicle). Here’s your Roundup:
Queuing for Democracy: Long lines are beginning to form as Egyptians prepare to begin their election. However, these lines don’t necessarily include protesters who continue to occupy Tahrir Square. Demonstrators say that the military council’s recommendation for Prime Minister is not acceptable. Meanwhile, the council is urging Presidential contenders to support the nomination. Read here
Spitzer Speaks Sense: The Greene Space provided the back drop for a discussion on the ever growing and evolving Occupy movement. Present was former New York Governor Elliot Spitzer, and he provided some slightly unexpected support for the movement. Spitzer acknowledged key points, such as the need for a tax increase on the wealthiest Americans and problems that arise when the very changes needed to fix corporate greed and crimes are dictated by those who should be punished. When our society feeds corporate desires because our government is so susceptible to intense lobbying efforts, we are left to exist in a downward spiral. Read here
We Barely Knew Ye: Poor Newt, that’s the last time you ever sound moderate again. You know what they say: When in doubt at a GOP debate, throw in some fear and hate. The fact that Gingrich asked for a “humane” approach to the immigration issue in America is making him a target for other presidential contenders. This has forced Newt to retract some on his statements, clarifying that he doesn’t support amnesty for anyone. It appears that compassion has no room in the far right base. Read here
Green Leadership: Obama’s unwillingness to champion environmental reform has been frustrating to those who understand the need to do so. However, even the most green-friendly President would have a hard time given the partisanship in Congress. Well that, and the fact that a large cohort doesn’t even believe in global warming. This polarization and refusal to acknowledge science has caused America to disappoint on a world stage, not holding up to its climate goals while carbon emissions are at an all time high. Climate talks in South Africa are beginning, and the U.S.’s role as a leader is certainly arguable. Even if America refuses to take the lead, will we listen when the world tells us to get out act together? Read here
Plus, we think we’ve found the perfect stocking stuffer.