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Bold Roundup: Oct 4-8

Our beloved Huskers soundly beat the KSU Wildcats last night, 48-13 (but many of you probably already knew that).  Taylor Martinez is quickly earning his nickname “T-Magic.” But the game last night means our weekend can be devoted to other things like catching up on sleep.  We’ve lost quite a bit working late on the voter guides.  You can see standardized versions at Ballot.org.  Or you can wait for the stellar new site, VoteBold.org, which will be launched very soon.  Here’s your Roundup:

Roundup

Thanks Joe Jordan: We may not always agree politically with Joe Jordan, but we certainly tip our hats to his impressive investigating skills.  Jordan’s digging into TransCanada’s contributions to Heineman and Bruning even further.  Turns out, Heineman and Bruning both put the same street address for TransCanada on their filings, but Bruning didn’t list a city, and Heineman said “Omaha, NE.”  The kicker: the street address is for the company’s Alberta, Canada headquarters. View Here

Playing With Fire Will Get You Burned: Ezra Klein predicts how attempts to repeal health reform will burn the GOP.  He believes that once Republicans have to get specific about repealing or modifying reform, they’ll run into a wall of public opposition.  Why?  Because ultimately the bill does a lot of good things for people who really need it.  And pulling the rug out from good people in desperate situations doesn’t look good any way you spin it.  View Here

Who Will Get Burned in NE: Yesterday lawmakers (we assume state senators) heard from hospital officials and other groups like AARP about the implementation of health reform in Nebraska.  Hospital officials complained of rising costs.  AARP pointed out that costs were already ballooning and reform should slow cost increases.  We’d point out that Governor Heineman has been fighting implementation tooth and nail, and Attorney General Jon Bruning is suing the feds over reform.  While other states are building foundations that can lead to successful implementation, our leaders are throwing temper tantrums.  View Here

How Free is Free Speech: The Supreme Court opened its doors this week to hear the case of Snyder v Phelps — a case that will likely go down as a landmark battle over free speech.  Albert Snyder is suing Fred Phelps, leader of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church, for emotional distress caused by their protest of his Marine son’s funeral.  The group is most well-known for protesting soldiers’ funerals with “God Hates Fags” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” signs.  But while most people find the WBC’s speech repugnant, this is a case about whether or not they have a right to that speech.  View Here

God Loves Poetry: Looking that closely at the much hate, we had to follow it up with some love. Enter, GodLovesPoetry.com.  It’s a website run by a couple from Florida who takes press releases from the WBC and turns them into blackout poetry.  Their art takes messages of hate and turns them on their head, visually and contextually, into messages of love.  NPR’s got the full story.  View Here

 

Thursday, October 7th

The Huskers play KSU tonight so Go Big Red.  In tech news, the Wall Street Journal says Apple is getting ready to release an iPhone for Verizon.  The Droid and the iPhone offered by the same provider?  Let the business and tech blogging commence!  Here’s your Roundup:

The Gloves Are On: Tom White’s taking Lee Terry to task for protecting big banks at the expense of Main Street.  Terry voted for TARP (the bank bailout) then voted against TARP reform and financial regulation.  We think Terry’s votes show a pattern of irresponsibility and favoritism for big banks.  Terry says he supports fiscal responsibility and the average American, but we have yet to see much action backing that up.  Kudos to Tom White for calling Terry out.  View Here

The Final Cost of the Bailout: The Treasury estimates that the final costs of TARP will be around $29 billion, far below the summer CBO estimates of $350 billion and even lower than the original budget of $700 billion.  Of course, TARP Reform passed in 2009 helped to reduce fraud and waste in the program (we’re not economists, but one would think that helped lower the price tag).  Lee Terry’s the only Nebraska rep who voted for TARP but against reform that kept our tax dollars from going to big bank bonuses.  View Here

Teens Rate DHHS: The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is distributing a survey to 17-year-old state wards.  They want to gauge the quality of their care.  Considering the disaster the child welfare system is dealing with because Heineman pushed for privatizing services, we doubt DHHS will be getting rave reviews.  View Here

Legislature Braces for Budget Cuts: The Nebraska Legislature submitted it’s operating budget yesterday.  If forced to cut their budget by 10-percent, the Legislature would reduce administrative staff, reduce operating expenses like maintenance and internet access, and slashing the number of pages by 85% (among other things).  As a former page, Malinda wishes luck to the two unfortunate individuals who will have to get coffee for 49 senators and serve 14 standing committees.  View Here

 

Wednesday, October 6th

We didn’t plan it, but today’s Roundup is all about health reform.  It’s getting a second wind as a hot campaign topic, and the stories are just too juicy not to dish.  After more reforms were implemented Sept 23, the general public is starting to like what they’re seeing.  Oh, and October is Health Literacy, Breast Cancer Awareness, Down Syndrome Awareness and National Physical Therapy Month (among others).  Go figure.  Here’s your Roundup:

Repeal “ObamaCare” PAC: We wish we were making this up, but there’s actually a Repeal Obamacare Political Action Committee.  They’re endorsing any candidate who pledges to vote to repeal the new health reform law.  So far they’ve endorsed Tea Party darlings like Michelle Bachmann, Sharon Angle and Marco Rubio.  If we get so much as whiff that they’ve endorsed a Nebraska candidate, you can bet we’ll be raising hell.  (Warning: the following post contains extreme conservative writing, read at your own risk.)  View Here

E.J. Dionne Jr. Wins Our Love: There’s a national sense that Democrats are running against health reform (even our dear Jon Stewart reiterated the sentiment).  And while the first round of health reform ads from embattled Dems may have opposed reform, more are surfacing that tout reform.  Why the second wind?  Major provisions didn’t kick in until two weeks ago, like protecting kids and letting young adults stay on their parents’ plans longer.  View Here

Turns out Voters Like Health Reform: The Public Religion Research Institute found that 54% of voters (note to candidates: that’s a majority) say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who voted for health reform.  Twenty-three percent of respondents said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who voted for reform while 19% said it didn’t matter.  With these numbers, we hope Lee Terry’s keeps running on an anti-reform platform.  View Here

Meanwhile, at Politico Pulse: Politico offered a sneak preview this morning of an impending report on group purchasing agreements for buying prescription meds.  GPOs buy in bulk to save on costs rather than negotiating prices.  The kicker, it’s costing us $37 billion each year:

SNEAK PEEK: HOW HOSPITALS CAN SAVE $37 BILLION – The Medical Device Makers Association releases this morning a report arguing that group purchasing organizations, rather than negotiating better prices, actually cost health providers $37 billion each year. The findings in “Do Group Purchasing Organizations Achieve the Best Prices for Member Hospitals? An Empirical Analysis of Aftermarket Transactions” will certainly bolster Sen. Grassley’s GPO suspicions: He requested proof last week that the purchasing agreements save Medicare and Medicaid money.

 (The Huffington Post also tears GPOs a new one.)

 

Tuesday, October 5th

We had a blast registering voters and collecting voter pledges at the Jimmy Eat World concert last night in Omaha.  Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth and got their civic engagement on.  We’ll see you at the polls November 2!  Here’s your Roundup:

Polls, Polls and More Polls: Gallup’s latest generic ballot finds Republicans and Democrats breaking even at 46% and 43% respectively.  But in the first estimates among likely voters, Republicans are showing a 53% to 40% advantage.  To make things even weirder, a Rasmussen (a conservative polling group) survey shows Repubs and Dems at 45% to 42% on the generic ballot.  We’re considering a fast from polls until after November 2.

Tea Party Gets Social: They’ve got a reputation as a fiscally conservative movement that shied away from social issues, but the Tea Party might be breaking their tradition.  There’s buzz that the movement might be going anti-abortion.  Of course, taking on extreme views of social issues is a good way to scare off moderates and independents.  View Here

Sure, It Worked so Well for Arizona: Heineman’s motto for immigration reform is starting to wear on our nerves.  He really seems to believe that everyone’s excited about the draconian law in Arizona that has local police arresting undocumented immigrants.  C’mon guys, it’s only tying the state up in costly legal battles and incensed a boycott by performers and vacationers. Heineman campaigned on this issue in 2006, its been 5 years and he has done nothing to crack down on the businesses who break the law.  How about we start there?  View Here

Run With It: One state senator is taking the baton of health care reform and running with it.  Not only does state senator Jeremy Nordquist think reform is a good idea, he wants your input on where we go from here.  To get your story, he’s launched a website where you can share your priorities.  He wants to know what you consider the most important parts of reform, how you access health care and your health care story.  We want to see more initiative like this in the state government. Nordquist is a leader and has vision, more please! View Here

 

Monday, October 4th

We collected around 100 voter pledges this weekend in Hastings and Gage County, an impressive show of civic engagement from the 3rd Congressional District.  We’ll be registering voters and collecting voter pledges at the Jimmy Eat World concert tonight at Sokol in Omaha.  Here’s your Roundup:

Cato Gives Heineman a “C”: The libertarian think tank gave Nebraska’s governor a “C” on libertarian leadership.  They say Heineman hasn’t cut enough taxes or spending recently to warrant a “B” or “A.”  Guess that culture war agenda was bound to show sometime.  Don Walton also says there’s a “Nebraska Mafia” in the USDA.  We hope he doesn’t get any deliveries of dead fish wrapped in LJS newspaper because of this.  View Here

Vise-Grip Workers’ Reunion: Two years after the Vise-Grip plant in Dewitt closed, employees are having a reunion.  The town of 600 lost 330 jobs after the parent company, Newell Rubbermaid, shipped them to China.  We noticed Governor Heineman wasn’t invited or in attendance.  Meanwhile, conservatives in the Senate keep filibustering legislation that would close tax loopholes for companies that ship jobs overseas.  View Here

Dictator Gets Nebraska Award: Sure, it’s a gag award, but do we really want a man accused of human rights violations associated with Nebraska?  Yahya Jammeh, president of Gambia in Africa, was given an admiralship to the fictitious Nebraska Navy.  The admiralships are a quirky tradition that started in the ‘30s, and are now handed out by the Governor.  Some other “admirals” are Mikey Mouse, General Douglas MacArthur, FDR, Ronald Reagan, Johnny Carson and Mari Sandoz.  View Here

Child Welfare Fail: The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is making headlines once again.  This time, they’re cancelling a contract with Boys & Girls Home that privatized part of the foster care system.  There have been reports of delayed payments to foster parents and subcontractors.  Leaders at DHHS are saying it’s for the best.  No comment yet from Governor Heineman. Privatizing the system is not the answer, maybe Heineman has finally learned that lesson?  View Here

Johanns Tries To Expand Bad State Policy: Senator Johanns has introduced legislation called the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act.  The bill would require doctors to inform women seeking abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy that the fetus feels pain.  It’s eerily similar to the Nebraska law that was recently passed which completely bans abortions after 20 weeks because of fetal pain.  The Center for Reproductive Rights has hinted that it will challenge the Nebraska law.  View Here

Lee Terry’s Fairytales: Lee Terry’s most recent mailer is full of misinformation, the most blatant of which is a claim that thanks to the health care reform law, federal money will be used to pay for abortions.  Thus, Terry’s mailer argues, because Tom White supports health care reform, he supports abortions.  A) Federal funding will NOT be used to pay for abortions.  It’s in the law, and it’s also an executive order.  B) Tom White is pro-life and has made that clear on many occasions. Guess Terry figured he had to start making stuff up if he has any hope of beating White.  View Here

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