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Bold Roundup: Sept 12-16

A planet with two suns was discovered, no longer making Luke Skywalker’s home of Tatooine a place of fiction. Here’s your Roundup: 

Stopping Handouts for Oil: It looks like President Obama is finally getting serious about cutting ridiculous tax loopholes. Yesterday, he proposed cutting certain tax benefits to the fossil fuel industry. It’s about time. Fossil fuels are a well established industry and continuously rake in record profits. The end of fossil fuel tax subsidies will help pay for Obama’s jobs plan, which includes benefits for schools. Thank you Obama, for choosing education above handouts to oil companies. Read here

Will Green Voters Sit Out 2012? : Unfortunately for Obama, cutting subsidies might no longer be enough action for his base. The Nation reports on the environmental decisions Obama has made in his presidency and questions whether these decisions will hurt his prospects for a second term. There are times when he can blame the GOP in Congress, but there is one decision that is his alone, and his choice may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. He has the decision on whether or not to allow TransCanada to build their pipeline across the American/Canadian border. Read here

Protection Parallels: TransCanada is coming under even more scrutiny for their proposed KXL route, but this time it’s not from Nebraska. A famed dinosaur fossil ground lies in western South Dakota and Southeast Montana, directly in the path of the pipeline. There are concerns that the company won’t do enough to protect the fossils, and will end up tearing them all to shreds. However, others are comforted by the fact that there are state and federal guidelines in place to protect the fossils, and TransCanada has promised to move the pipeline route if it breaks fossil protection regulations. According to a consultant for TransCanada, “The company has already rerouted the pipeline by several miles…If we know there’s a significant resource there already … the preference has been to go around…and leave it undisturbed.” This should come as a wake up call to Governor Heineman: if other states are telling TransCanada they must re-route the pipeline to protect one of their state’s most valuable resources, Nebraska has that right and responsibility as well. It’s time to take action and protect Nebraska, Governor. Read here

Importance of NE Youth: Nebraska’s rural areas have been losing thousands of their youth in the past year to more urban areas. This migration has caused concern in small-town communities that there will be less and less access to hospitals, schools, and health care for rural dwellers. State Senators heard ideas on how to keep the youth in the rural areas, including giving tax waivers and student loan repayments to young people who move back to designated counties. Read here

EnergyNow presents the Keystone XL controversy, covering all sides of the debate. Watch it this weekend, here. 

 

Thursday, Sept 15th

We’ve been watching Rachel Maddow’s interview of Elizabeth Warren from last night on a loop. C’mon, Massachuesetts, get this woman in Congress! Here’s your Roundup:

SACKED: The TransCanada ad that fans have had the misfortune of viewing on HuskerVision has been trashed. The Nebraska Athletic Department pulled the agreement with TransCanada, ending their “Husker Pipeline” advertisement that seemed to be a feeble attempt at subliminal messaging. We have only thanks to give to the AD Tom Osborne and the rest of the Athletic Department for listening to the public and their concerns. Read Here

A Lifeline: Medicare and Medicaid continue to endure assaults and attacks from the right wing who’s calling for slashes to the programs’ funding. These programs are important to many Americans, we all know that. But they play an even larger role in the lives of rural families. Nearly 40% of children under 18 are on Medicaid’s of Childrens’ Health Insurance Programs and 1 in 4 seniors are on medicare in rural areas, compared to 1 in 6 in urban areas. Read Here

Solar Scuffle: Solyndra Solar panel company’s collapse has become a hot talking point for analyzing. However, there are some myths that need dispelled. First, Solyndra is an exception, being only the first company that received such a loan to go under. And solar is not an already dying industry, as panels drop the market competitiveness of solar energy is expected to soon be competitive. However, that is not a reason to stop investing in green energy. The American Energy Innovation Council says that the private market investment in research and development is far bellow what is needed or what is even average for other market sectors. Read Here

 

Wednesday, Sept 14th

The weather’s cooling down, but the GOP primary continues to heat up. If the Tea Party debate made you disgruntled because sanity seems to be fleeting from the Republican Party, we have some local news that may cheer you up. Here’s your Roundup:

Huskers Take Out TransCanada: Negative public opinion and a strong effort led by the UNL student newspaper, the Daily Nebraskan, has nearly achieved a victory in the fight to stop the pipeline. The DN confirmed the the UNL Athletic Deparment is in talks with the national ad agency that represents them to pull the TransCanada ad that football fans have seen at home Husker games, and it could be pulled as soon as this Saturday. Kudos to the Daily Nebraskan and the UNL student body for voicing their displeasure and forcing action on the issue. Read here

A Fighter In Our Corner: If you are aware of Elizabeth Warren’s work creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, then you most likely support her. She created an agency designed to rein in Wall Street’s urge to take advantage of the American consumer. You were also probably, like us, upset by the fact that the right wing has consistently tried to strip the agency of its power and block her from heading the bureau. Well good news, Elizabeth Warren is not giving up the fight. She’s launching her campaign for the Massachusetts’s Senate race today, giving us a battle-tested, consumer advocate in Washington. Read here

Beach Front Fishiness: Bad news keeps piling up on Jon Bruning’s beach front getaway. New pieces are falling together about a beach front cabin that Bruning purchased with two Nelnet employees. The NDP has filed a formal ethics complaint against Bruning. For three years after the purchase in 2007, he failed to disclose the property as required by Nebraska law. Bruning bought the $675,000 vacation home with Nelnet execs right after a settlement between Nelnet and the state of Nebraska. How nice to see a Nebraska politician who’s willing to toe every ethical line. Read here

Perry’s Perks: Rick Perry is all about smaller government on the state and federal level. Or so we thought. Last year the Governor cut Texas’s volunteer fire department by $17 million, nearly 75% of its total budget, and $34 million from Texas Forest Services. Now, given the fire that has ravaged his state, Perry is asking for federal money. What about state accountability or all the programs Perry says he would cut if elected president? That’s one question the Tea Party favorite is refusing to answer. Read here

Harming Our Real Friendly Neighbors: We’ve drawn a lot of attention to the harm that would be inflicted on Nebraska’s Sandhills if the Keystone XL went through. But it’s time we highlighted the damage the tar sands industry is already wreaking on the Canadian ecosystem. TransCanada may have the country in its name but it doesn’t speak for the entire nation. A National Geographic article gives good perspective on the scope of the destruction caused by tar sands excavation. If this is how TransCanada treats it’s homeland, we shudder to think what they’ll do to us. Read here

 

Tuesday, Sept 13th

Just one week remains until DADT becomes an ex-law! Check out next week’s cover of the Marine Corps Times. Here’s your Roundup:

Presidential Prospects: Last night’s GOP Tea Party debate set the tone for the rest of the GOP primary race: who can prove they will dismantle the federal government the fastest? Perry had to defend his statements calling Social Security a ponzi scheme (however, being careful to not utter any defense of the program) and his implementation of the DREAM Act for Texas (which we think is is pretty cool, if out of character, for Perry). Romney took some more heat for his state’s health care law. But perhaps the most disgusting moment of the night happened when a question was directed at Ron Paul, asking “What do you tell a guy who is sick, goes into a coma and doesn’t have health insurance? Who pays for his coverage? “Are you saying society should just let him die?” Amid cheers of “Yeah!” from the crowd, Paul’s response was that that is “more or less the root choice of a free society.” Read here

A Sad Morning: A pipeline burst in the poverty stricken neighborhood of Sinai, Nairobi Kenya, killing over 100 people. Leaked fuel is not an uncommon sight in the slum, and residents take the opportunity to gather as much of the gasoline as possible so that they might make a little money. Unfortunately, explosions aren’t so rare either. The affected area is an illustration of the relationship between poorly constructed, poorly operated pipelines and poverty. Read here

Attack in Kabul: As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 drew near, warnings of a potential attack were made public. A sigh of relief apparently came too soon when the day passed and no attacks had been made. This morning, however, a small group of insurgents did make their way to the U.S. Embassy and NATO buildings to mark the continued presence of the Taliban. Thankfully, no casualties have been reported. Read here

Thanks! Not: Republicans successfully blocked a bill that would have replenished the FEMA budget, providing disaster relief aid all over the nation, from areas affected by Hurricane Irene to the Midwest and South, affected by tornadoes and flooding from the Missouri and Mississippi. Read here

A Valuable Asset: A helpful blog connects the path of the KXL to the path of the famed cranes that migrate through Nebraska every year. The author mentions the risk posed to these birds who, for reasons unknown to us, only use a narrow path across the U.S. for their migration. These birds are not only beautiful, but they are a major attraction, bringing people from all over into Nebraska, including Jane Goodall. Read here

 

Monday, Sept 12th

It was an emotional weekend as we paid our respects on the 10 year anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks. What transpired on that day and the lives that were lost is something that we will never forget. Here’s your Roundup:

Some Explaining To Do: It hasn’t been a great last few days for Governor Heineman. Information has come to light that has us questioning his leadership. Take his support of GOP Presidential candidate Mittens Romney. Before Heineman came out against the pipeline he was very fond of telling pipeline opponents in the state to talk to their ‘friend’ President Obama. We have. Many of us were even arrested for it in the largest environmental civil disobedience act in history right in front of the President’s house. So we’re asking the same from our Governor. Mittens has called for the immediate approval of the pipeline as planned while providing fabricated numbers on the jobs that would be created. If Governor Heineman is serious about standing up for Nebraskans, and we hope he is, than perhaps he should address his pal before he writes another letter to Obama. Read here

Not Done Yet: While he’s in the hot seat, maybe Heineman can explain why he was unaware of an audit report from State Auditor Mike Foley that showed efforts to privatize state child welfare programs resulted in a a 27% spending increase at NE Health and Human Service. Heineman attacked Foley for not releasing the report to him before the media. The State Auditor pointed out that he released the findings to HHS on July 25. Do the Governor and HHS chief Kerry Winterer not communicate? Perhaps more blame can be placed on Winterer who admitted that he hoped to persuade Foley to alter the report before its release to the public. Winterer and Heineman should stop playing political games that are hazardous to the health of many Nebraskan children. Read here

Why We Should Be Worried: Most of us already knew how dangerous allowing Keystone XL through our state is, but perhaps we were unaware of the danger presented by all existing pipelines in the US. The New York Times published a must read report showing that most pipeline regulation is based on an honor code because the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is vastly understaffed and underfunded to properly protect us from spill, breaks, and leaks. Richard Kuprewicz, a former pipeline engineer and current member of an advisory committee on the pipeline agency, says the current system is not suitable to deal with the Keystone XL pipeline. Read here

Not Buying It: The TransCanada ad aired once more in Memorial Stadium during last Saturday’s Husker victory. This time the boos were more audible, especially from the students section that’s become more aware of the issue thanks to a Daily Nebraskan editorial. If you watched the game at home you, like us, probably wanted to throw your nachos and/or drink at the TV during a TransCanada ad that mislead viewers with claims that the pipeline would be without danger and provide benefits to Nebraska schools and families. Even ads that try to appeal to our sense of human compassion are selfish attempts at raising the profits of the oil juggernauts. Take for instance new ads from the Ethical Oil Institute, a front group for Big Oil. Read here

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