December is one hectic month.  Yesterday was the last day of Hannukah, Christmas is 15 days away and Kwanzaa starts Dec. 26.  We know most college students in Nebraska are pulling their hair out preparing to take finals next week.  Take a break from the holiday and school stressors to watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”  Here’s your Roundup:

A New Perspective: The spin war over Obama’s decision to concede to/compromise with/outmaneuver Republicans over the Bush tax cuts is still a-ragin’.  We really don’t know who will win this one folks.  But Charles Krauthammer of WaPo have brought a new perspective to the spin war (and it’s going viral).  He argues that Obama won the showdown, House Dems had no plan and the GOP got played into passing another stimulus.  Krauthammer turns the narrative that the White House is clueless on its head and shows the potentially brilliant maneuvering that they pulled off.  View Here

DREAM Act Still Has a Chance: The Senate’s vote on the DREAM Act yesterday is badly in need of clarification.  The Senate voted to table debate on their DREAM Act bill.  They did not fail to pass the DREAM Act.  It’s expected that the Senate will now debate the House’s version of the bill, thus bypassing the lengthy reconciliation process.  If the Senate passes the House’s nearly-identical version, the bill will go straight to President Obama to sign into law.  WaPo’s got more details explaining what went down.  View Here

The Tea Party’s War on School: We already knew some tea partiers took umbrage with education when they marched in DC with misspelled signs.  Now, their distaste for federal regulation and grammar are manifesting in a “parental rights” movement which seeks to expand homeschooling and reduce federal oversight.  They also don’t want the US to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which means the US and Somalia would be the only countries who haven’t signed it.  We understand that local officials usually have a better idea than the federal government about what programs work in their schools.  But we also think kids in Broken Bow deserve the same quality of education as kids in Grand Island, Omaha and San Francisco.  View Here

DADT Drama: A vote to end debate on the Defense Authorization Act that also included the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell fell short with only 57 senators voting for cloture.  Centrist Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) was the only Republican who voted to end debate.  Collins has expressed outrage over the negotiation process between Dems and moderate Repubs over DADT.  Senate leaders are hoping to introduce the repeal of DADT as a standalone bill before the end of the lame duck session.  C’mon Santa, this one’s at the top of our wish list.  View Here

 Good news for ethanol: NASCAR’s going to use E15 in all three of its racing series.


Thursday, December 9th’s word of the day is “farouche” which either means sullenly unsociable/shy or fierce.  Malinda will now try to use it in a sentence: Colby Coash speaking out against Arizona-style immigration legislation in Nebraska is totally farouche. Here’s your Roundup:

Anomalies Make News: The anomalies in the Keystone I pipeline that we mentioned yesterday on Twitter and facebook have made news.  TransCanada is digging up the pipeline in 10 places — 3 in Cedar County alone.  Why?  TransCanada says they’re complying with PHMSA regulations because of anomalies appearing along the pipeline.  We won’t have more specifics until TransCanada finishes their digs.  But as Jane told the OWH, this proves that Nebraskans’s concerns about the Keystone XL have merit.  View Here

Making Healthy Kids a Priority: The Nebraska Medical Association is leading a coalition to make legislative recommendations to state officials that would help fight childhood obesity.  One of their first proposals: protecting the rights of women to breast feed in any location they have the right to be.  Considering Jane got in a Twitter fight over this a couple weeks ago, we’re really proud to see a group bringing this up.  The coalition is also proposing ways to curb sugary drinks. Go childhood health initiatives, go!  View Here

Johanns Defends Food Safety: Senator Johanns defends his vote for the Senate’s food safety bill in yesterday’s York News-Times.  The senator explains that while he generally opposes expansion of the government, food safety scares (spinach, peanut butter, etc.) were wrecking havoc on businesses.  He also points out that the bill won’t add more burdens to small farmers and growers.  Well done, sir.  View Here

Immigration Perspectives: A new group called Liberty Nebraska has a video up asking a Nebraska college student what he thinks of Arizona-like legislation coming to Nebraska.  Even better, there’s a twist!  We can’t wait to see more videos from Liberty Nebraska.  View Here


Wednesday, December 8th

The Senate will consider START today and DADT will probably come up for a vote with the defense budget.  The DREAM Act is scheduled for a House vote and a Senate cloture vote today.  Now that the president and congressional Republicans have finally struck a deal regarding the Bush tax cuts, expect a vote soon.  We’re not sure even Santa could deliver this entire wish list, but we’ll keep writing him (and our elected officials).  Here’s your Roundup:

Wikileaks, Congress & the Pipeline: The Wikileaks dump of cables from US foreign officials is now part of the fight over the Keystone XL.  Yesterday, Nebraska Watchdog dug up a cable from a US official in Ottawa raised questions to the president about the environmental dangers of tar sands in Canada.  Congressional leaders are already pushing the environmental angle to the State Department.  Yesterday, 28 lawmakers publicly released a letter they sent to Secretary Clinton on Dec. 3 which requests a supplemental environmental impact statement.

Infamous Adrian Smith: Adrian Smith’s initiative to have citizens vote on the worthiness of grants handed out by the National Science Foundation is getting more backlash.  We already pointed out Smith’s ad inviting citizen input on Monday and the glaring inaccuracies USA Today said it contained.  Now the scientists behind the projects are speaking out.  They’re none too pleased that Smith grossly misrepresented their work.  Don’t anger the nerds Congressman, their revenge can be brutal.  View Here

Spills Get Closer to Home: We’ve now learned that there was a small oil leak at the Keystone I pumping station near Hartinton, NE on Aug. 19.  It’s one of four documented spills along TransCanada’s first pipeline.  We’ve already commented on the leak near Roswell, SD.  Was this leak just the result of another test?  It did occur at another pump station, and the cited cause was equipment failure.  We’re unnerved that TransCanada’s having so many equipment failures when the pipeline’s less than a year old.  View Here

Somos Republicans: We are very intrigued by this new Nebraskan political group.  Hispanic republicans are joining together in Nebraska to oppose the Fremont ordinance and Arizona-like legislation that will be introduced by State Senator Charlie Janssen.  In their latest news, the Somos Republicans have proposed creating a Nebraska Compact which would lay out basic principles to guide the immigration discussion.  They’ve also got a great video about the DREAM Act on the right of the page.  View Here

A Look At Millenials: UNL’s PoliSci department conducted a campus-wide survey on the student body’s political opinions.  There was majority support for repealing DADT, allowing same sex marriage and providing a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants living in the US.  Students were split about equally amongst liberals, moderates and conservatives.  Anderson Cooper and the president had some of the highest favorability scores, while Glenn Beck and the tea party ranked in the lowest.  Learn more about millenials


Tuesday, December 7th

Social conservative groups are lining up a push against repealing the military’s disrimintary Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy that institutionalizes dishonesty.  So take a minute out of your morning to call Sen. Nelson’s office, 1-202-224-6551, or tweet @SenBenNelson and remind him that he’s doing the right thing by supporting repeal. Here’s your Roundup:

Nebraskan Launches Centrist Movement: Solomon Kleinsmith, a Nebraskan, has one of the fastest growing blogs that targets centrists on the political spectrum.  He recently flew out to NYC to check out the formation of a new non-profit called “No Labels” which seeks to unite centrist Democrats, Republicans and Independents.  Are you a disenfranchised centrist in Nebraska? We’re always looking for more contributors to our blog.  Just email to get started.  View Here

The Importance of Distinctions: Kinder Morgan Construction has been getting calls asking if they have anything to do with TransCanada.  Kinder Morgan is replacing an old natural gas pipeline in Hastings and has nothing to do with the Canadian oil company.  Natural gas pipelines and oil pipelines are two completely different beasts.  Nebraska currently has one oil pipeline running across our state, and that’s the Keystone I.  We love that Nebraskans are watching out for any of TransCanada’s shenanigans, and you can always call the TransCanada abuse hotline, 1-866-363-4648 if you see anything shady.  View Here

Mom Makes a Difference: Barbara Kowalcyk has been one of the biggest advocates for food safety in Washington, DC.  She began her political activism after her son, Kevin, died from a food-born illness.  Kowalcyk exemplifies a primary rule we’ve learned working in politics: you don’t mess around with moms.  Do you hear us, Governor Heineman?  DON’T MESS WITH THE MOMS.  View Here

We Agree With Jeb Bush: The former governor of Florida, Jeb Bush says he doesn’t agree with Arizona’s immigration law.  Tell us more!  Bush says he’s not considering a run for office because he disagrees with most of his Republican colleagues.  All the more reason to run, sir!  Jeb Bush is concerned that his wife, who is Mexican, could be discriminated against.  He supports integration rather than deportation for immigrants.  We never though we’d embrace another Bush, but we agree with Jeb on this one.  View Here

Governor, Your Partisanship is Showing: Last week, Governor Heineman appointed Dave Bloomfield to replace State Senator Bob Giese who resigned to serve as Dakota County Treasurer.  Giese was a Democrat; Bloomfield is chair of the Wayne County Republican Party. Mike Stoakes voices his disappointment in a LTE to the Journal Star.  We’ll be watching to see if Bloomfield’s a unique voice in the legislature, or if he’s pawn for the Governor.  Mr. Bloomfield, we certainly hope you’re the former.  View Here


Monday, December 6th

To the college students across Nebraska, we know most of you are prepping for finals, and we wish you the best of luck.  We’ll miss you for the next couple weeks while you hunker down in the library with a food supply of granola bars and espresso (we’ve been there or are there, right now).  We know eating properly during exam time is tough, so here’s a few suggestions from the BBC on how to get the right nutrition during this stressful time (healthy food=healthy minds=better grades).  Here’s your Roundup:

Save Paris Hilton: This seems to be the slogan of the emboldened GOP is Washington.  They voted down two bills over the weekend that would have extended the Bush tax cuts, one for those making under $250,000 and the other for those earning less than $1 million.  As Rep. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) said, “The GOP is holding everyone’s tax cut hostage until Paris Hilton gets hers.”  Obama is promising that a compromise will be reached before the cuts expire on Jan. 1. It’s expected that Paris Hilton will be able to dress her chihuahua for another 2-3 years.  View Here

Heineman’s Bullying Goes National: Heineman’s attempts to pit health reform against education is taking on a national flavor.  Conservatives have made it clear that they’ll try to kill reform either through repeal (which they won’t get) or by defunding programs.  It’s now expected that they’ll try to pit public health against Medicare.  Sen. Orrin Hatch’s (R-UT) comments about fiscal responsibility and the deficit would have made us laugh at his hypocrisy if the issue of people’s health wasn’t so serious.  View Here

A DREAM Deferred or Realized?: It looks like the Senate will vote on the DREAM Act this Wednesday.  In a sprint to the right, conservative senators are expected to vote against this common sense piece of immigration legislation.  Even military leaders have said the DREAM Act would help us in terms of national security.  Not to mention, sending more kids to college means a more educated work force that can earn higher incomes (which equals higher tax revenues, does it not?).  We just don’t see the logic in complaints against the DREAM Act, and elected officials can’t expect to keep short changing immigrant populations without repercussions.  View Here

Let Them Eat Crap: In an excellent Sunday posting, Kyle Michaelis over at New Nebraska Network condemns Lee Terry’s vote against the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.  Michaelis points out that Terry’s totally out of touch with his claims that the federal government is overstepping its bounds because almost all the funding for school lunches already comes from Congress.  We’d also point out that the bill includes funding for farm-to-school programs which the Omaha metro has already embraced.  Once again, Terry reveals that he’s out of touch with his constituents and reality.  View Here

Smith Ad Debunked: Our hats go off to a hardworking reporter over at USA Today who dug into science research programs that Nebraska’s Rep. Adrian Smith has proposed de-funding.  A soccer study he criticized is actually analyzing how remotely connected teams conduct research and engineering work.  And a study about the acoustics of things breaking which Smith framed as funding for video game effects will actually be used to create more accurate combat simulations for troops.  We know conservatives like Smith aren’t that fond of science (most of them still deny climate change) or intellectualism, but this really takes the cake.  View Here

TX Gets a TransCanada Hotline: Following Nebraska’s lead, Texas activists have been fighting TransCanad for several months now.  In the latest development, they’ll be sharing our TransCanada Abuse hotline (1-866-363-4648) which anyone can call and anonymously report corporate strong-arming.  We’re not alone in this fight, Nebraskans.  Even in Texas, where the tar sands oil would be refined, they think the pipeline is a bad idea.  View Here

Paul Fell has a great cartoon about the pipeline today.  We hope Cecil floors it.