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Bold Roundup: Sept 19-23

There is a lot to look forward to this weekend and in the upcoming week. Check out our events page to see what events you would like to attend. We hope you are enjoying this first day of Fall. Here’s your Roundup: 

The Real Cost of Regulation: Every day brings more rhetoric that government regulations kill jobs and hurt the economy. But according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the director of policy research for the free-market-oriented Mercatus Center, the effects of regulations on jobs is null. There are some jobs lost, and some jobs gained–the effect is a shifting of jobs in the economy. In the end, a regulation should be judged by how well it does the job it’s supposed to. Read here

Shaky Ground: The House passed a stop-gap spending bill after the GOP debacle of Wednesday. Forty-eight Republicans opposed Wednesday’s version of the bill because it didn’t provide enough cuts to offset the disaster relief spending contained in the bill. An additional spending cut of $100 million to a Department of Energy loan program (which promotes alternative energy programs and boosts the economy) and threats from Speaker Boehner were enough to persuade 23 of those Republicans to switch their votes and pass the bill. However, the Senate acceptance of the bill will require getting rid of the offset. Read here

Selective Amnesia: Remember that time Gov. Heineman shifted the blame for his lack of knowledge on the draft audit of the privatisation of child welfare in Nebraska? Well it turns out that three high ranking public officials in Heineman’s office had the document six weeks before it was released to the public. Two conclusions can be made from this realization: either Heineman’s top staff didn’t keep him in the loop, or he was not being truthful when he was asked about the report. Hmm… Read here

For the Kids: Obama has proposed changes to No Child Left Behind because of Congress’s inaction on the policy. Teachers and parents welcome the suggested improvements, and reform is necessary. Obama suggests improvements to assessments as well as more funding to help schools reach the standards expected of them. Read here

Hunger Action Month: There’s still 7 days left of September which is Hunger Action Month. Hunger is a problem in America, including Nebraska. Over 10% of Nebraskans are food insecure. There are many organizations in our that help to abate this hunger by feeding those who are unsure if there will be a meal on the table. Help your local food bank here

 

Thursday, Sept 22nd

We woke up this morning to find that Facebook has changed it’s design once again. The requisite status updates and tweets complaining about the new system have already begun. Hey, there’s always Google+. Here’s your Roundup:

NWF Wants You: The National Wildlife Federation Action Fund is asking for your help contacting Barack Obama and the State Department. They’re asking all concerned citizens to send an email. The NWF shares the concerns of Nebraskans who realize that our water and natural resources are at risk. They’re also concerned about how the pipeline could negatively affect the migration pattern of the Sandhills crane. Without a doubt, this would be an ecological. Beyond that, losing the natural wonder of these cranes converging on Nebraska’s landscape twice a year would also mean millions in lost tourist revenue for the state. Send you emails here

Bright Future: After the failure of Solyndra, the U.S. solar industry is facing an upward battle to find favor in Washington. This scrutiny is unfounded however because a recently released report shows a growing and prosperous solar industry. Installation of solar panels grew 17% from the first to second quarter of 2011 and 69% from the second quarter of 2010. This coupled with the fact that prices continue to drop makes solar energy a more viable option for many Americans. So let’s not give up on solar energy, the outlook appears sunny after all. Read here

Action Is Better Than None: The Economist rarely appeals to any party or partisan game, more often attacking both sides for inhibiting progress. However, when it comes to avoiding a double-dip recession it appears that Obama’s plan to combat this is “better than nothing.” The publication would like to see more done, but the President’s plan accomplishes some very key goals such as providing funds to keep teachers, police officers and firefighters employed, to rehabilitate schools, and to build infrastructure. If passed in full the plan is estimated to raise GDP by 1.25% and add 1.3 million jobs. Full implementation is unlikely however, as Republicans so called ‘’compromise’’ points, do little to achieve significant goals. Read here

Shameful Judiciary: If you are familiar with the Troy Anthony Davis case, what is scheduled to happen today is completely heartbreaking and spells out a giant failure for Georgia’s judicial system. Davis is convicted of murdering police officer Randy Robertson. The problem is that Davis was convicted solely on witness testimony, not DNA or other physical evidence. Worse however is the fact that in the past few years most of these witnesses have recanted what they have said. Many relate intense pressure put on them by the police department to say they saw Troy Davis commit the act. The Pope, former President Jimmy Carter, 50 members of Congress, and hundreds of thousands of people across the globe have called upon Georgia to commute the sentence. Sadly, Georgia’s parole board has not listened and denied clemency. Read here

 

Tuesday, Sept 20th

This day will go down in history as the day DADT was officially abolished. Thank you, Washington, for listening to the people and promoting equality. Here’s your Roundup:

A Pipeline in the Sky and Other Fallacies: Union workers in Illinois are excited about the Keystone XL since many of the jobs that may (or may not) be created by the pipeline will go to non-Nebraskans that will fill positions like like pipefitters, electricians, and iron workers. Citizens who have experienced the over-exaggeration of companies like TransCanada before were skeptical of the job numbers. But the piece de resistance was the executive director of the Illinois Petroleum Council says the pipeline will be located 1,000 feet above the Ogallala Aquifer. In that case, we can expect weather to be cloudy with a chance of oily rain. Read here

A Bright Red Line: Lee Terry’s primary opponent Brett Lindstrom writes that support of of the KXL is both bad policy and bad politics. His scathing remarks on TransCanada’s pipeline and Terry’s support of it show that Lindstrom is truly listening to Nebraskans. You couldn’t ask for a clearer distinction between the two candidates. Read here

Bold Moves: Big time businesses are taking savings and upgrades into their own hands and plan to use green tax credits to do so. In the past three years, half the states have passed legislation allowing retrofits funded by property tax surcharges. Now a business consortium plans to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade old commercial buildings in Miami and Sacremento to make them more energy efficient. Retrofitting these buildings will cut their energy use and bills by a third, ultimately saving these buildings much more money than it will cost to remodel. Perhaps the biggest selling point of this plan is that it also promises to create thousands of jobs through the initiative of private companies. Read here

Free to Serve: Don’t Ask Don’t Tell became history this morning at 12:01. After a long battle against the bill signed into law in 1993, gays and lesbians are free to be open while serving in the military. While this is a major win for equality, there is still work to be done to enable gays and lesbians to receive the same benefits and entitlements as heterosexuals serving in the military. Read here

Plus One: Students at the University of Nebraska are pushing for “Plus One” employee benefits. A Plus One system would cover domestic partners of university employees. One of our own board members Emily Schlichting is helping to lead the renewed effort. The new push comes from our switch to the Big 10. Nebraska is the only member of the conference that does not have domestic partner benefits. Time to fully integrate. Read here

 

Monday, Sept 19th

The Emmys aired last night, giving us time to immerse in pop culture for awhile before jumping back into the political turmoil growing as budget talks once again heat up in Washington. Here’s your Roundup:

Taking Voices Away: Nebrakska’s unique system where we split our state’s electoral votes is under attack, again. GOP State Senators have tried to change us to a winner-take-all system after Omaha gave a point to Obama in 2008. They’re doing it again, and they face a familiar obstacle. Bold Nebraska sincerely thanks State Senator Paul Schumacher for standing up for all Nebraskans. He’s refusal to follow his fellow party members to bully him into voting for WTA shows his commitment to the belief that the unicameral “belongs to the people not the parties.” Thank you for being BOLD, Senator Schumacher. Read here

Power to the People: A wave of activism is sweeping through the Unites States. The peaceful Keystone XL protests at the White House were a shining example of this. And the wave continues to spread and become more influential. Protesters are digging in for a long stay in lower Manhattan as they seek to occupy Wall Street. Fed up with a government they feel is run for the interest of the wealthy while neglecting a large segment of the country, the protesters of all parties and ideologies are acting on their inspiration from the participants in the Arab Spring. The Government would be keen to listen since they aren’t leaving until Obama forms a committee to address their concerns. Read here

In the Name of the Wealthy: After Obama laid out a plan to raise tax rates on millionaires so that they pay the same tax rate as middle class Americans, the Right Wing instantly lashed out. However, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) took it one step further, calling for the expiration of the payroll tax cut (effectively causing a 50 percent tax hike on workers making less than $106,000 per year) in the name of avoiding an increase on very wealthy Americans. President Obama’s is threatening to veto any Super Congress plan that includes entitlement cuts but no increase in millionaires and wealthy corporation taxes. Read here

Holding Everyone Accountable: The President is not without criticism from some usual allies. President Obama must be held accountable for everything, including his environmental record. As influential, progressive organizations decide whether or not to support the president, Rolling Stone lets Obama know where he can begin ensuring their support. Their top two ways Obama can protect the environment should strike a chord with Nebraskans. Number One, stop the pipeline. RS makes a rockstar out of UNL’s own Dr. Stansbury, citing his important findings on the danger of a possible spill in the aquifer. Number two, prevent oil spills. You should know what to do Mr. President. Read here

Bye Bye, Todd: Governor Heineman waved goodbye to Director of Child and Family Services Todd Reckling last week. State Auditor brought to light what a wreck the department was under Reckling as was shown. Foley’s audit showed major problems in the privatization of the state’s child welfare services. Now Reckling is stepping down due to “personal health reasons.” While we certainly wish no ill upon Reckling and hope for the improvement in the health reasons to which he is inferring, it seems odd to us to be stepping down at the height of such scrutiny. How coincidental. Read here

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