Read today’s news from around the state and country. Each day in the Roundup we cover politics, always with a side of bold humor. We think politics should be fun, informative and encourage us all to take action.
Tuesday, May 8th
Take a tip from Mitt, when your campaign isn’t doing so well just take credit for your opponent’s accomplishments. Romney noted yesterday that he will take credit for the auto-industry’s bounce back. Romney notes that the Obama administration took the companies through a structured bankruptcy and surprising enough, that was Mitt’s idea all along. Here’s your Roundup:
Nebraska Farmer in Esquire: If you’ve been on our site for more than four minutes, there is a 90% chance you have come across a reference to Randy Thompson. Randy is a small town farmer who never had much interest in politics, but when TransCanada threatened to cross his land with the Keystone XL pipeline and jeopardize his way of life, Randy became extremely interested. Esquire Magazine highlighted Randy’s story yesterday in a wonderfully written cowboy expose rivaling such figures as Clint Eastwood and the Marlboro man. Randy addresses the pipeline in his classic small town farmer paradigm; he doesn’t go off on rants about the environment or big corporations and their disproportionate power. Randy simply notes that his goal is to protect his land and continue living his way of life. When asked about how other Nebraskan’s think about the pipeline, he notes that if people knew the real facts and not just what big oil and politicians owned by big oil tell them then Nebraskans are sensible enough to know that we are getting the short end of the stick. Read here
Nuclear Woes around Pine Ridge: Western Nebraska is home to many uranium rich mines that are still in use today. Recent studies have focused on the impact the mining operations are having on the local communities, especially the Pine Ridge Reservation in south-central South Dakota. Generations of residents are finding themselves with disproportionately adverse health effects, many of which are being traced to uranium exposure. The causal connection between the uranium exposure and the residents’ diminishing health is hidden behind the fact that this area is home to the countries three poorest counties. Research is being conducted in the area to try and understand the problem and possible solutions a little more. Read here
Parade of Equality: Residents and interested parties spoke to the Lincoln City Council about their position on a new city ordinance that would provide protections for gay, lesbian and transgendered persons, which was modeled after the ordiance recently passed in Omaha. Attonery General Jon Bruning voiced concern that Lincoln would be infringing upon a state’s right to decide this issue and that residents should be able to vote on the measure. The Lincoln City Council heard testimony from several individuals, including a city attorney and other lawyers, who spoke against the the Atty. General. While America is a democracy, basic civil rights and civil liberties should not be determined by a vote of the populous. Ensuring basic freedoms for all Americans should be a basic protection in our society. Read here
Where the Wild Things Are: On a sadder note, Maurice Sendak, influential children’s book artist and creator of Where the Wild Things Are, passed away early this morning. A man who contributed to and enriched the lives of not only children, but also of adults who fondly look back on his stories, we are certain that Sendak will be sorely missed. Proving his talent transcends on medium, Sendak amused us on the screen just this Janauary with a segment on the Colbert Report. Sendak died of natural causes. Read here.
Monday, May 7th
May 5th was Climate Change Impacts Day and we want to thank all those who showed their support around the world. Here is a picture of a few supporters in Omaha, NE showing just one example of how climate change has changed their way of life. Here’s your Roundup:
New Pipeline Application: The State Department sent out a press release Friday noting that TransCanada has finally applied for a new permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline. The press release can be found here. The new application is for a pipeline that would cross the U.S./Canadian border and end in Steele City, Nebraska. The State Department now has a website up that contains the new application along with 4 attached exhibits; that website can be found here. The State Department will conduct their own review of the application but they have noted that they will work with state and federal agencies, as well as the State of Nebraska, in determining whether or not to suggest to the president that the permit be granted. The main question that the State Department is concerned with is whether the proposed pipeline is within the national interest. This is a large and quite complex criterion that should likely be decided on the totality of all circumstances affecting the project along with weighing all direct, indirect and spurious effects of the construction of this pipeline.
Clinton Stands Against Amendment One: North Carolina residents will have the opportunity tomorrow to vote for or against a new Amendment that would ban gay marriage, civil unions and any legal recognition of non-married couples. President Clinton stated that the main problem with this measure is that it changes nothing but has the potential to harm the economy, children and families of North Carolina. Amendment One would do nothing more than constitutionally codify the already present practices in North Carolina. The President noted that this would drive away future business and cause harm to families and children within the state. Proponents of the amendment claim that these worries are a complete fabrication. One thing that the amendment would do is preclude cities and municipalities from making their own decision on the issue, much like what has happened here in Nebraska. Passing Amendment One in North Carolina would mean that, without a legal battle, cities and municipalities would not be able to afford protections against discrimination to their citizens. Omaha has recently passed an amendment to their city ordinances which protect individuals from being discriminated against because of their sexual orientation and/or identity. Read here
Political Attack Ads: The Obama Campaign has released a new video that debunks false claims promulgated and paid for by the Koch Brothers. The original ad was in support of Mitt Romney and made many false claims about the Obama administration. After the ad aired, media outlets began attacking the ad for its way of stretching, manipulating, and twisting the truth to such an absurd level. One example the Obama campaign’s video gives is the claim that the Obama administration gave money to China to build traffic lights. This is simply incorrect. The administration invested money into a company manufacturing traffic lights here in the US. These US made products could have made their way overseas to places like China, but isn’t that what we want? An economy that makes good products and sells them to the rest of the world? The problem with ads like this is that rather than simply presenting harmful facts about the Obama administration, they are taking the liberty of thinking for the people and delivering their own conclusion of the facts. The video released by the Obama campaign shows a great example of how to respond to such absurd claims like those contained in the Koch Brother’s ad. Read here