Finals week is over!  Raise your hand if you survived.  Scratch that, you’re probably too tired to raise your hand so just take a nap.  Enjoy your Winter Break, students and non-students alike!  With the crazy election year we all had and the mayhem up ahead, it’s well deserved.  Here’s your Roundup:

Nelson Helps Out: The McCook Daily Gazette has an interesting take on earmarks from yesterday.  The Gazette points out that earmarks are a popular target but can also bring crucial funds to areas that struggle to increase revenue.  For example, Senator Ben Nelson secured supplemental funding for the new McCook Community College Events Center.  The Gazette dares to ask what’s the alternative for earmarks, and if vilifying them is really so fair.  View Here

Johanns Blasts Net Neutrality: Considering he can barely master the concept of appropriate hyperlinking, we’re surprised Senator Johanns is confident enough to comment on net neutrality. He signed a letter with other GOP senators to the FCC chariman which condemned his recent moves to enforce net neutrality.  Net neutrality is what lets the Bold Roundup reach your computer as fast as Snickers Heineman’s blog (yes, the Governor’s dog has his own blog).  Net neutrality’s pretty much why the internet is awesome.  View Here

Who Watches the Watchdog?: Joe Jordan over at Nebraska Watchdog is proving his mettle covering the Omaha recall debacle.  As if counting dead voters’ names wasn’t bad enough, there’s dischord among the pro-recall ranks.  Apparently Dave Nabity, of Omaha Alliance for the Private Sector, floated the idea of announcing he’d run for mayor during the recall petition drive. Even hyper-conservative commenter GeosUser (who we see just about everywhere) thinks Nabity’s ego has reached epic proportions.  View Here

N-E.coli: We hope you like E.coli in your food, because a new report shows that Nebraska cannot rapidly identify disease-causing E.coli.  The report comes from the nonpartisan Trust for America’s Health and blames severe budget cutbacks which have caused under-staffing in public health departments.  Yet, we can still hear Governor Heineman sharpening his budget-cutting hatchet over at the Capitol.  View Here

The computer nerds are REALLY pissed at Adrian Smith.


Thursday, December 16th

Happy Thursday, Roundup readers.  We know Christmas is just around the corner because Malinda’s switched her Pandora station to non-stop holiday music.  Winter break can’t come soon enough for those of us enduring finals week.  Students, we’re cheering you on to the finals week finish line!  Parents, we’re cheering you on as you gather the latest “hot” toy for your little ones.  Here’s your Roundup:

Double Flag: We already have a new blog crush over at Flag on the Play.  There’s a new post up confronting Governor Heineman, the Suttle recall crew and AG Jon Bruning.  Now that’s bold. We also agree with Preston (the blog’s writer) that someone needs to police Bruning’s facebook page better.  It’s a problem we see with a lot of politicians: they use social media to talk AT their followers instead of talking WITH them, so they don’t really care about the comments.  It’s a media cardinal sin that we REALLY can’t stand. (Update: as of 10:20am they took the post down, we tweeted about it this morning and posted it on FB, I guess they heard us.)  View Here

None of the Above: “There are people that are hoping that a candidate captivates them more than Jon does.”  These are the words of former NE GOP chairman David Kramer.  Ouch, that one’s got to hurt.  Politics may be a game for the thick-skinned, but it’s pretty damning when leaders in your own party are publicly disowning you.  It must be pretty serious because Kramer broke Reagan’s #1 rule: Don’t criticize other Republicans.  View Here

Sacrilegious: Republicans on Capitol Hill are throwing a conniption over Senator Reid’s suggestion that the Senate keep voting until the Christmas holiday and return before Jan. 5 if there’s still work to do.  Senator DeMint says Reid’s blaspheming Christians’ most sacred holiday. Excuse us, but Christmas is not the most sacred holiday for Christians.  That would be Easter.  A note to Thune and his ilk: you can’t be the Grinch all year and then defend Christmas before you’ve returned everything to the Whos.  View Here

New Music Festival: So this isn’t exactly political news, but we were stoked when we got the word last night that Omaha is going to hold a 6 day music festival with 50 bands this summer. The Red Sky festival will be held at the new TD Ameritrade stadium (where the CWS is moving) which is perfectly situated near the North Downtown nightlife like The Slowdown.  It’s forward thinking projects like this that will help grow Omaha’s economy and build on the city’s expanding music reputation.  View Here

Census Update: A new census report shows that life is a little cheaper in the Cornhusker state. Some data we expect to be highlighted during the upcoming immigration debate is the 67,000 non-citizens living in the state legally and illegally.  We don’t have high hopes that the state will continue to weather the national economic downturn if Arizona-style legislation is passed.  Also, music artists have boycotted Arizona, and a similar boycott would be a death knell to the new Red Sky festival (which we are totally, TOTALLY stoked about).  View Here


Wednesday, December 16th

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of facebook, was revealed as TIME’s Person of the Year this morning.  Facebook is closing in on 600 million users and probably knows more about us than our own mothers.  It’s also an awesome organizing tool that we can’t imagine giving up.  Here’s your Roundup:

POLITICO Pickup: POLITICO has picked up on the pipeline fight once again, and this time they’ve got three whole pages covering the controversy.  If you’ve been following us for awhile, you might already know most of the info.  Darren Goode does focus more on the State Department’s role and Secretary Clinton’s October remarks.  If you’re a newcomer to the pipeline debate, this piece hits on most of the major points.  View Here

County Court Squeeze: This may be our first article from The Chadron Record.  Nebraska faces a nearly $1 billion budget shortfall over the next two years.  The state government has asked state agencies to submit proposals that offer ways to reduce their budgets by 10%.  But the judiciary branch is also expected to feel the squeeze, and there are talks of shutting down certain county court houses because the judiciary is already operating on a bare bones budget.  You can only cut so much fat until you start to hit vital organs.  View Here

Afternoon Vote: The Senate is expected to vote on extending the tax cuts this afternoon.  The bill would extend all of the cuts for another two years and emergency unemployment benefits for a year.  It looks like House Dems will go along with the bill but want to lower the estate tax exemption threshold (to $3.5 million).  Nobody’s going to be completely satisfied with the final bill, but that’s government for you — the ultimate compromise.  View Here

40 Percent: That’s the amount of people eligible for Medicaid who aren’t signing up.  It’s ironic considering that Governor Heineman likes to cite a study that estimates 100% enrollment for his doomsday outlook.  In 2002, 60% of kids who were eligible for SCHIP, which offers Medicaid-style insurance for kids, were not enrolled.  Why are people passing up discounted health insurance? It turns out that states are trying to keep eligible people off the rolls.  View Here

The Washington Post has a great graphic on the status of all the health reform lawsuits.


Tuesday, December 14th

We start with some sad news this morning.  Richard Holbrooke, the president’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, died yesterday after he had surgery on a torn aorta. Holbrooke was a international relations giant and is given much credit for ending the war in Bosnia during the ‘90s.  Here’s your Roundup:

Losing My Religion: A couple weeks ago we learned that members of the House’s Tea Party Caucus had requested 764 earmarks totaling $1 billion in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.  Now news is breaking that many incoming GOP lawmakers are hiring lobbyists as senior aides and holding big-dollar fundraisers.  It’s ironic/unfunny because most of these candidates rode in on the anti-establishment wave of the Tea Party.  Aren’t you supposed to wait until you’re sworn in to office before breaking campaign promises?  View Here

Psst, Politico: In further proof that everyone’s certain Bruning will run for Senate in 2012 and that his whole exploratory committee is just a PR ruse, Politico’s David Cantanese wrote over the weekend that Bruning had announced his candidacy.  Sorry David, he’s only announced that he’s formed an exploratory committee to see if he should run for office.  Yes, we’re also baffled as to why he’s playing the tease with his candidacy when we all know he’s going to run.  View Here

Sunburn: Looking at some cool NASA maps, you’d think the earth had developed a sunburn between 2000-2009.  Well it’s not a sunburn or a weird rash.  The red areas actually indicate where temperature anomalies were warmer (blue means colder).  There’s a more detailed explanation if you click the link, but the gist is that the Earth’s getting warmer.  Go ahead climate change skeptics, refute our science with your anecdotal evidence of freak blizzards.  (P.S. All the abnormal snowstorms actually SUPPORT the theory of climate change.)  View Here

Flag on the Play: They’re the new blog on the street, but we are already intrigued by  Yesterday, they called out Senator Johanns for his most recent e-update. Johanns was lauding a Virginia judge’s recent ruling that the individual mandate in the health reform law is unconstitutional.  But he didn’t mention that several other judges have upheld the constitutionality of the mandate.  Well spotted, Flag on the Play.  View Here

Nelson’s Backup: Proving true to his boyscout training, Senator Nelson’s prepared if the individual mandate is struck down by the Supreme Court (the issue hasn’t reached them yet, but is expected to soon).  Nelson recognizes that the goal of the individual mandate is to cover everyone and drive down costs.  The senator isn’t sharing his plans at the moment, but we’ll keep our ears to the ground.  View Here

For Fun: CNN has the Top 10 YouTube videos of 2010.  Double Rainbow!


Monday, December 13th

The president signed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act into law this morning.  For the first time in 30 years, the standards for school lunches are being upgraded.  It’s a great day for the First Lady who’s made fighting childhood obesity her banner cause.  Sorry kids, fruit roll-ups will no longer count as fruit.  Here’s your Roundup:

No Labels Live: Last week we picked up on Nebraskan Solomon Kleinsmith’s trip to NYC to check out the head quarters of a new, centrist non-profit called “No Labels.”  The group seeks to shun the party divide and be a shelter for centrist Democrats, Republicans and Independents. They’re launching today, and you can watch the event live online.  We’re intrigued.  View Here

Heineman Changes Oversight Board: Governor Heineman has informed Alfredo Ramirez and Ron Albin that they won’t be reappointed to the Foster Care Review Board.  The Board has been critical of efforts to privatize the child welfare system in Nebraska (which Heineman’s been pushing).  Heineman’s team says the move is meant to incorporate more people.  We’ll maintain a healthy skepticism and keep an eye on who he appoints to fill the vacancies.  View Here

No Soda Exemption: The Nebraksa Medical Association is recommending closing the tax loophole for soda in the state.  Currently, soda and energy drinks are classified as “food” and so are exempt from sales tax.  Closing the loophole would bring $11.3 million in annual revenue to the state.  It looks like the vending industries are already being rallied to fight these efforts to increase public health. View Here

If You Give a Palin a Cookie: She’ll find a way to complain about federal oversight.  Apparently the Fox News darling thinks the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act will ban cookies and bake sales at schools.  Good lord, it’s the “death panels” all over again (just a friendly reminder that there are NO death panels).  You know it has to be a really good idea if Sarah Palin has to make up a criticism against it.  Scratch that, you know it has to be an idea.  View Here

If you want a really good blog about the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, check out this one from a mom at BlogHer.