Happy Chinese New Year!  Yesterday marked the beginning of the Year of the Rabbit.  In the Chinese zodiac the rabbit symbolizes tranquility and calm, so maybe things will calm down after the last two years of tumult.  Here’s your Roundup:

Bold Roundup

Not So Fast, Canada: Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is visiting the White House today.  Environmental groups aren’t missing the opportunity to pressure President Obama to tell Harper that America doesn’t need the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.  Bold Nebraska and 82 other groups sent a letter to the President expressing our concerns.  View Here

Flag on Johanns: After nearly a week of absentia, Preston Tsarev is back at the helm of “Flag on the Play.”  Yesterday, he called out Senator Johanns for reiterating the GOP party line about repealing and replacing health reform.  Preston then highlights the awesome parts of health reform like small business tax credits.  So if reform is repealed, taxes for small businesses will go up — unless we’re mistaken, that doesn’t jibe with their campaign slogans.  View Here

College Credit: Yesterday the Platte Institute (a conservative think tank funded by failed candidate Pete Ricketts) published a piece on the dangers of voter fraud, attempting to frighten readers about the dangers of letting the unwashed student masses vote.  We love young voters are were really offended.  Fortunately, Adam Morfeld of Nebraskans for Civic Reform posted a perfect response on his new Tumblr.  View Here

Groundhog Prom: Saturday marks the 33rd annual Groundhog Prom in Omaha.  Since the OWH has already printed articles about the alternative costume ball, we don’t think we’re breaking any hipster codes by promoting it here.  Malinda’s got a friend in one of the bands, and some activists have told us they plan to dress as oil spills.  Definitely a party that you don’t want to miss.  Facebook Page

Pipeline Woes: Last week ProPublica published a disturbing investigative story about an Alaskan oil pipeline that leaked.  The section of the pipeline that was leaking had been flagged for replacement 2 years ago.  Like the Enbridge leak in Michigan, the Alaskan leak was detected by a citizen — not the oil company’s software.  TransCanada can try to distance themselves from their oil peers, but we remain deeply skeptical.  View Here


Thursday, February 3rd

Monday evening, Emily’s friend Zach Wahls gave an inspirational speech to the Iowa House of Representatives about his two-mother family.  To sum up his eloquent speech in a few poignant words, “the sexual orientation of my parents has had ZERO affect on the content of my character.”  We encourage you to watch for yourselves.  With that, here is your Roundup:

Health Care #FTW:  Last night, the Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act in the Senate failed by a vote of 47-51, which means that every single Republican senator voted for repeal.  Our own Senator Nelson is standing his ground on the issue, stating yesterday that, “There are those who want to repeal the law, and I won’t support repeal when there’s a vote to do so. The repealers already have health care. But they’re ready, willing and eager to take it away from hundreds of thousands of Nebraskans.”  We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.  View Here

Guns and Accidents: Lt. Governor Rick Sheehy’s son, Joel, was accidentally shot in the face when he was handling a gun he owns in his apartment. Joel, 21, is in stable condition and underwent surgery to repair his facial features and has another surgery scheduled for today. Reporters and blogs are asking questions about involvement of alcohol and why he was handing a handgun at 2am.  Once we hear more details we will put them up on our Facebook wall. Sheehy and his family are in our thoughts and prayers.  View here

Rape Retains its Definition: After creating a media firestorm, the House Republican effort to redefine rape to include only “forcible rape” in a bill banning taxpayer subsidies for abortions is being called off.  The GOP is dropping the adjective “forcible” so that the abortion exemption covers all forms of rape, as well as cases of incest and endangerment of the life of the mother.  We thought that the term rape, meaning non-consensual, already implied force.  Good to see them come around. Score another one for Jon Stewart?!  View Here

Tweets and the Market: New research from Johan Bollen and Huina Mao of Indiana University-Bloomington: “Measuring how calm the Twitterverse is on a given day can foretell the direction of changes to the Dow Jones Industrial Average three days later with an accuracy of 86.7 percent.” Get rich by watching tweets all day?  Yes, please.  View Here

Career Advice:  All you future politicos out there, take notice.  New White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley shared a piece of advice given to him by his predecessor, James Baker, that his job is “the worst blanking job in the world.”  Looks like Rahm Emanuel’s legacy of lively language is still alive and well in the West Wing.  View Here


Wednesday, February 2nd

Brrrrr and happy Groundhog Day!  According to the AP, Punxsutawney Phil has predicted an early Spring.  We spent our morning rushing through the frigid wind to the AFL-CIO press conference on the TransCanada pipeline.  We’ll be posting updates on that event all day.  Here’s your Roundup:

 Quickly Devolving: The situation in Egypt is quickly desolving this morning.  Reports are coming in that pro-President Mubarak supporters are attacking journalists.  CNN’s Anderson Cooper and WaPo reporter Griff Whitte were roughed up.  CNN international corresspondent Ben Wedeman tweeted that a government-sanctioned mass lynch has begun in Tahrir Square.  View Here

Tech Savvy House: Reporters can now use their laptops in the House press gallery.  Tech in the press gallery is usually taboo, but now is a simple request is all that’s needed.  Since representatives are now allowed to carry their Blackberries and tweet from the floor, it made sense to allow the press to read those tweets while watching the action.  Ah, the beauty of technology.  View Here

Gallegly Say Wha?!: We’ve heard undocumented workers get unfairly blamed for all kinds of things: rising medical costs, low wages and gang violence.  But Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-CA), who is the chairman of the House subcommittee on immigration, went in a whole different direction: animal cruelty.  Gallegly blames undocumented workers for the rise in snuff films, a genre of erotic videos where women in heels crush small animals.  While Gallegly’s campaign for animal rights is unusually PETA-ish for a conservative, we have NO IDEA where the connection to illegal immigration comes from.  View Here

Slashed Tires: State Senator Abbie Cornett’s bill to revoke wheel taxes advanced from the General File yesterday.  Cornett’s bill is a reaction to Omaha expanding it’s wheel tax to commuters who live in the suburbs — many of whom are Cornett’s constituents.  Cornett, a moderate, found middle ground by allowing Omaha to slowly phase out its wheel tax and prepare alternatives to fix up its notoriously janky roads.  View Here


Tuesday, February 1st

It’s official: we’ve made it through the first month of 2011.  Today, we embark upon February, which is simultaneously Black History Month and the American Heart Association’s American Heart Month, and of course, the month of love.  Here’s your Roundup:

Lobbying for Schools:  A new bill introduced by Sen. Bill Avery proposes to bar school districts from using its state dollars to hire lobbyists to influence the state legislature.  While this bill seems like a good idea on face, when the schools’ wishes are different from those of the governor, this bill would prevent them from advocating for themselves.  Sounds to us like our “Education Governor” Heineman are attempting to silence any opposition in the name of saving money.  View here

Clinton and TransCanada:  Three environmental groups challenged a denial of their Freedom of Information Act request for the communications between the Department of State and TransCanada’s chief lobbyist.   We are concerned as to why the State Department seems to be slowwalking the request given all the concern around the Keystone XL Pipeline.  View here

Health Care Madness:  Yesterday Florida judge Robert Vinson overturned almost all of the Affordable Care Act in a ruling that caused quite the stir on both sides of the aisle. Neera Tanden of the Center for American Progress, who helped craft the law, compares the ruling to “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” The tally is now an even two to two, with two judges upholding the law and two striking it down.  The case is clearly headed for the Supreme Court, where legal experts are predicting that the law will be upheld.  View here

Bye, Bye, Ethics:  House Ethics committee Chairman Jo Bonner (R-AL) stated yesterday that the “vast majority” of House members want to disband the Office of Congressional Ethics that was established by Democrats in 2008 to serve as a independent watchdog agency.  Interesting that the GOP claims to have “zero tolerance for ethical violations” while attempting to eliminate the office that would handle ethical violations.  We’re having trouble seeing the logic in that one.  View here

Ready, Set, Redistrict:  The non-partisan Unicameral selected its redistricting committee, which consists of Lincoln area Sens. Bill Avery (D), Danielle Conrad (D) and Chris Langemeier (R) of Schuyler, the Omaha area’s Senators include John Nelson (R), Scott Lautenbaugh (R) and Heath Mello (D), western Nebraskans are represented by Sens. Deb Fischer (R) of Valentine, Ken Schilz (R) of Ogallala and Annette Dubas (D) of Fullerton.  We added the party identification to show the balance of the committee because even though this is non-partisan, party politics will be at play.  The committee will redraw districts to reflect population shifts recorded in the 2010 Census. We’ll be paying close attention as this politically sensitive task plays out.  View here

Speaking Up: Barbara Bush, daughter of former President George W. Bush, has openly endorsed gay marriage.  Bush is featured in the Human Rights Campaign’s newest video for the New Yorkers for Marriage Equality campaign. Sometimes the apple falls farther from the tree than we imagined.  This means the Cheney, Bush and McCain daughters all support gay marriage.  Go, Barbara!  View here


Monday, January 31st

We’re kicking off this week with a bit of history.  Exactly 146 years ago, the US House passed the 13th Amendment which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude.  It was fully adopted on Dec. 6, 1865 after Georgia was the 27th state (of the then 36) to ratify the amendment.  Nebraska became the 37th state in the Union two years later.  Here’s your Roundup:

Education Governor: Heineman likes to tout himself as the “Education Governor.”  At best, we find this laughable and at worst, an outright lie.  To add to the mounting evidence that Heineman is the Anti-education Governor, the University of Nebraska is facing a $13.2 million shortfall under Heineman’s proposed budget.  View Here

Udder Madness: Minnesota is considering a bill to legalize most sales of raw milk.  The debate over the health benefits and risks of consuming raw milk is a contentious one among dairy farmers.  Our good friend Jerry Gotschall from Atkinson is one of the few Nebraskans we know who will sell you raw milk (only on his farm, as state law currently permits).  Tell us Nebraska, what would you think about allowing more sales of raw milk in the Cornhusker state?  View Here

Deporter In Chief: Newsweek has a profile on Kris Kobach, Kansas’ new Secretary of State and the architect behind immigration legislation like Arizona’s SB1070 and the Fremont Ordinance. We’re ecstatic to finally see a news outlet publishing Kobach’s full profile — he’s part of the legal arm of FAIR which the Southern Poverty Law Center has defined as a nativist hate group. Kobach’s been peddling his snake oil Nebraska for years, and we’re working to end it this year. View Here

Somos Plays Hard Ball: The Somos Republicans have published their list of Nebraska politicians unfriendly to the Hispanic community.  We’d dispute their label of Senator Nelson, who only voted against the DREAM Act because he wants comprehensive immigration reform.  Nelson is on the “unfriendly” list with the rest of the federal delegation (including Johanns) and state officials such as “Wrong Way” Jon Bruning and State Senator Charlie Janssen.  View Here

Redefining Rape: As part of its extreme anti-choice agenda, the House Republicans are now trying to redefine rape.  For years, restrictions on using government funds to pay for abortions was restricted to cases of rape or incest.  House Repubs want to limit funding to just “forcible rape” which would exclude many cases like statutory and date rape.  Apparently just saying “no” isn’t good enough anymore.  View Here

Chris Beutler’s Republican challenger in Lincoln has lost her first campaign manager.  We haven’t heard a peep from NE GOP Chairman and notorious buttinsky Mark Fahleson.