In light of another Virginia Tech tragedy, our sympathies go out to those deeply affected by yesterday’s shooting. The snow keeps coming down in Nebraska, and we hope you will have a safe and happy weekend. Here’s your Roundup:

True Allegiance: Mike Johanns has met a tax cut he doesn’t like. Senator Johanns said today he’s voting against any moves to extend the payroll tax cut because it “puts Social Security further at risk.” Yet, along with many other Republicans in Congress, he is an advocate for keeping taxes on the richest 1% at a minimum. Nelson plans to vote to extend the tax cut for working Americans, saying if Congress doesn’t extend the tax break American workers will shoulder a bigger tax bill next year – estimated at $1,000 to $1,500 per family. We think it’s clear whose loyalties are with the working people of Nebraska. Read here 

More Political Nonsense: Senate Republicans made good on their promise to block the effort to confirm Richard Cordray as the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. They didn’t even let the typically procedural move  open for debate. This move prevents the newly formed agency from supervising some of the same non-bank entities that triggered the financial crisis. Essentially, because most Congressional Republicans don’t agree with the existence of the agency, they will block all efforts to make it operational. Read here  

The Farce to Protect the Rich: For the second week in a row, the Senate on Thursday voted down proposals to extend the payroll tax holiday through next year. In the case of the Democrats’ proposal, Republicans objected to the “millionaires surtax” that would be used to pay for it. The reasoning was the same as it has been, Republicans cite that small business owners would be hurt by the tax and that would in turn reduce hiring in an already rough economy. NPR decided to contact these small business owners who would be hurt by a millionaire tax, but couldn’t find anyone that would back up Republicans’ argument. Instead, they found many small business owners who said an increase in taxes wasn’t in the top 20 of the list of things they look at when deciding to hire. It’s time for Republicans to stop using small business owners as a shield for the uber-wealthy. Read here 

Saving Democracy: Senator Bernie Sanders has introduced a resolution to amend the U.S. Constitution. In light of the Citizens United case, which gave corporations personhood and the ability to anonymously donate millions of dollars to campaigns, Sanders has decided to save our democracy. His amendment would declare corporations are not people with equal constitutional rights. They are subject to regulation by the people. Corporations may not make campaign contributions, and Congress and states have the power to regulate campaign finances. Read here

Thursday, December 8

Happy belated birthday to Willa Cather. The Nebraska author would have turned 138 yesterday were she still alive. If you’re looking for a good Christmas gift for the Willa Cather fan in your family, check out the Willa Cather Foundation’s online store. Here’s your Roundup:

Inevitable Death: An unusual confluence of environmental, political and economic events are colliding to take down the coal-fired power plant, shifting American power generation from the country’s historically dominant fuel source. While some in the industry and many politicians would have us think they are being shut down due to EPA regulations and will have to build new plants to meet demand, a closer look shows the regulations are only accelerating what was already necessary to maintain maximum efficiency. Many power plant operators are already moving towards shutting down 30-50 year old plants and investing in better technology, such as greener coal plants and renewable sources which will meet our energy needs. Read here

Tar Sands Delay: In another demonstration that Canadians and Americans alike are opposed to the development of the tar sands, Canada announced the decision over the permit for the Northern Gateway pipeline, which would run to Canada’s west coast, has been delayed until 2013. The delay is largely because of the opposition of First Nations groups to the project, and indeed, most British Colombians. Our friendly neighbors to the north don’t want oil in their soil, either. Read here

Working Against the People: Instead of working to put Americans back to work, Republican Representatives in Congress are passing bills giving themselves the power to veto any government regulation which exceeds $100 million. The bill was passed along party lines, and unsurprisingly, is expected to fail in the Senate. Majority leader Boehner also attempted to attach an amendment to the unemployment and payroll tax extension bill–only to have the President announce he will veto a bill that has such political ploys attached to it. It represents yet another day wasted in Congress, passing bills that are doomed to fail while ignoring the real factor hindering the economy–unemployment. Read here

Not So Politically Red:  A poll of UNL students shows the student body holds very diverse political views. Most striking is how very un-red the campus is compared to the state in terms of support for the Republican party. A large majority of students said they would support President Obama and Senator Ben Nelson in the 2012 elections. Read here

“Partisan Showboating”: In response to Heineman’s suggestive comments about running for Senate, Senator Nelson said that not only would Heinman’s flirtations bear no weight on his decision to run, but that Heinman would only be catering to his party and not the desires or needs of Nebraskans if he were to run for the seat. The Governor, per usual, had no comment. Read here


Wednesday, December 7th

Today we are taking the time to look back and reflect on the solemn anniversary of Pearl Harbor. We honor the bravery of those who lost their lives 70 years ago today at Pearl Harbor, all who perished in WWII, and every service man or women who has risked their life for our nation throughout its history. Here’s your Roundup:

Middle Class in Jeapardy: In the town where President Theodore Roosevelt laid out his New Nationalism, Obama laid out his goals and plans to move America forward. Delivering a speech that acknowledged many of the issues taken up by the nationwide Occupy movement, Obama spoke of a need to extend the payroll tax cuts, to make education affordable, and to stop the growing income inequality. The President also addressed ways of lowering the deficit that protected Medicare and Medicaid. It was a matter of priorities for Obama, as he posed the question of whether to invest in education, research, and high-tech manufacturing or to continue to fund tax breaks for the wealthiest of Americans (many of whom pay a lower rate than middle class workers). Watch here

 Whom Do They Serve? Some GOP Presidential candidates are coming out in support of continuing the payroll tax cut for middle class Americas, but they are mum on how pay for it. No candidate has embraced a raise in taxes for Americans earning millions of dollars a year. How then do they expect to continue the tax cut? With cuts to programs that would make the tax cut extension void by raising the price of social programs most important to students, the elderly, and the middle class. Some candidates–like Gingrich, Perry, and Bachmann–don’t support an extension of the payroll tax cut at all. The term gets thrown around frequently nowadays, but you have to wonder whose interest are these candidates serving? All of America? Or only a select group…perhaps the 1%? Read here

Like a Disease: It looks like the baffling antics of the GOP primary are spreading. Months after Huntsman notably tweeted that he trusted scientists and believed in global warming, he’s flip-flopping faster than Mitt Romney. Speaking to the Heritage Foundation, Huntsman questioned the work of scientists and brought up the often debunked conspiracy theory that scientist are secretly promoting untrue climate data. What is it about this Republican presidential field that leaves no room for moderate or well-informed beliefs? Whatever it is, it has caused Huntsman to take a big step to the far right. Read here

Starting Somewhere: As we all know, climate change poses a significant risk for us now and for future generations. A dramatic shift to renewable and clean energy is needed, as well as a dedication to protecting our land and water. This is the concept that has fueled many to stand with Randy and what has motivated a group of UNL students to take actions into their own hands. The student run organization, the World Energy Project, is focused on bringing renewable energy systems to places in the world where it can have the greatest impact. Last summer students installed solar panels in one of the few hospitals in Mali, making it possible to provide adequate health care to many more Africans. They are planning similar trips this summer and are holding a fundraiser at Noodles and Company in downtown Lincoln today from 4-10pm. Part of all proceeds go to WEP. Information here


Tuesday, December 6th

Today, Whole Foods will be donating 5% of their sales to the Nebraska filmmakers of Growing Cities, a documentary about sustainable agriculture. Go to Whole Foods in Omaha today, and get yourself some groceries, coffee, lunch or anything else…5% of anything you purchase will go to two young Omaha filmmakers who are working to make the city and country a healthier and more sustainable place to live. Here’s your Roundup:

Horror Stories: Many examples of human trafficking in Nebraska were presented to Nebraska lawmakers yesterday as they considered what more Nebraska could be doing to deal with human trafficking. Omaha Police Chief Alex Hayes commented many people don’t believe prostitution and trafficking happens in Nebraska, in fact, the biggest hurdle to dealing with the issue and helping those who have been prostituted is convincing people of its reality in our state. Read here 

Not-So-Secure Communities: In another report by Nebraska Watchdog, Omaha Deputy Police Chief Todd Schmaderer reinforced an opinion widely held by police officers around the country–anti-immigration laws requiring local police to check immigration status hinders the ability of the police to do their job. Even the Obama Administration’s “Secure Communities” program is causing problems. Although an Arizona Immigration look-a-like bill introduced by Sen. Janssen was a hot issue last year, it is unlikely it will be again this year. Read here

Watching the Polls: Election fraud in Russia was captured by the shakey camera of a young election observer yesterday. Although videos of voter fraud in Russia have been recorded in the past, this is the first time it has resulted in widespread scrutiny of the election and of current Prime Minister Putin, who benefits from the ballot stuffing. Read here 

TC, “No Permit Needed”: Six experts say TransCanada’s new ploy to circumvent the review process and due diligence will likely result in a lawsuit. They refer to TransCanada’s effort to build the southern portion of the Keystone XL, the extension from Cushing to the the Gulf, without the project having presidential approval. TransCanada continues to have blatant disregard for the United States’ decision to delay the answer to their request for a KXL permit. Read here 


Monday, December 5th

The inevitable has happened, the Cain train came to a halt. Herman Cain says he may soon endorse a candidate because when Herman Cain quits a campaign, Herman Cain doesn’t just quit a campaign. Sayonara to SNL’s favorite third person speaking candidate. Here’s your Roundup for a fresh new week.

Worth a Second Look: If you missed it or if you watched it live, give our director Jane Kleeb’s testimony during a House hearing on the Keystone XL pipeline another watch. One more viewing to see Jane’s excellent stand for Nebraska and one more viewing to see the appalling disrespect by Rep. John Shimkus. Shimkus is a shameless promoter of false statistics and showed that, like others, he is snuggled up nice and cozy in the back pocket of Big Oil. It is because of Representatives like Shimkus that people like you who’ve helped us come so far are necessary, and it is another reminder why we must not stop now. Watch here

Another One Bites the Dust: Shimkus isn’t alone, subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield also managed to disrespect Nebraskans in the course of the House hearing. Rep. Whitfield said that the extension of the review of KXL has nothing to do with Nebraska. To the contrary, the State Department stated that the goal of extending the review process was to “specifically look at alternative routes through Nebraska.” Whitfield may refuse to acknowledge all of your brave efforts, but we do not. Millions around the world join Bold in thanking you. Read here

The Wrong Road: It is important that Nebraska doesn’t follow the examples of some U.S. states in passing unjust immigration laws. Immigration is always a salient issue, but it is sadly becoming an issue of discrimination. Oppose “show me your paper laws” in Nebraska and tell the Judiciary Committee to oppose such laws well. Help the Nebraska ACLU email committee members here

Not Tough Enough: Maricopa County of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio has become a hero for the far right. Arpaio’s hero status stems from his support of the very discriminatory immigration policies listed above. Arpaio’s department is disgraced because of new information showing that he has ignored over 300 sex crimes. Many victims have been the children of illegal immigrants. The department failed to investigate many cases and neglected the collection of evidence or didn’t follow up on numerous others. It is obvious that Mr. Arpaio’s priorities are tremendously mixed up. Our leaders or law enforcement should never promote the investigation of immigration infractions while ignoring more heinous crimes such as sexual abuse and molestation. Read here

Film and Food: 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.