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.

Wednesday, November 28th

Don’t forget to get your tickets to attend the Do the Math Tour this weekend in Omaha. Join us at the Joslyn for a night filled with energy and the building of a movement to fight climate change. Get your tickets here. Find out more about the Do the Math Tour here. Here’s your Roundup: 

Medicaid Expansion Benefits: Yesterday the state legislature heard testimony on the costs and benefits of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion — whether or not to expand Medicaid will be a big issue coming before the Unicam in the 2013 session. Governor Heineman remains adamantly opposed to the expansion, and did not sent anyone from the Department of Health and Human Services to the hearing, marking the second time no one from the Department was present for a discussion with the legislature on the health care overhaul. Heineman has focused on the perceived high cost of the expansion in his opposition, but at yesterday’s hearing a policy director for the National Conference of State Legislatures (a bi-partisan organization that advocates for states’ interests) argued that the state can actually see savings from expanding Medicaid. She also said Nebraska can see many more benefits in the form of boosting economic activity in health care and the health of the workforce. Read here

A New Strategy: Since no Democratic efforts since the birth of Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge have seemed to work in convincing Congressional Republicans to raise the tax rate on income over $250,000 (which only 2% of Americans earn), President Obama is going to the American people to garner support for saving 98% of Americans from having to pay more in taxes. Some Congressional Republicans have started to defect from their party line on the issue, and are urging Republican leaders to allow the tax cuts for the wealthy to expire. But most Congressional Republicans are still insisting on tying the middle class to the wealthiest of Americans. Read here

Dirty Oil Money: Although the election season is over, the campaign ads are not. That is, campaign ads for the oil industry. Since November 6, the American Petroleum Institute has spent $3 million on ads. A bulk of the money has been spent targeting Senators over continuing oil subsidies, calling up the common refrain that these subsidies are necessary to provide work for Americans. But alas, they are not. In fact, major oil companies have shed jobs while making record profits. It is the ending of these subsidies that Bill McKibben has been calling for. Money isn’t the only thing on the table when it comes to oil industry subsidies–so is the future of our planet. Join us in Omaha this Saturday for Bill McKibben’s Do the Math Lecture, where we will learn more about how to stand up to the fossil fuel industry.


Monday, November 26th

Don’t forget to get your tickets to attend the Do the Math Tour this weekend in Omaha. Join us at the Joslyn for a night filled with energy and the building of a movement to fight climate change. Get your tickets here. Find out more about the Do the Math Tour here. Here’s your Roundup: 

Gov. Heineman Supports Wind: We are proud Governor Heineman is behind wind energy development in Nebraska. Not only has he urged for the continuation of the wind production tax credit, but he recently heralded the benefits of wind energy in his weekly column. Noting that wind energy brings economic development, Heineman brought up the jobs wind farms create, and the revenue they can generate for Nebraska. We think it’s important to point out that the jobs Heineman says one wind farm can create is about the same number as the jobs TransCanada is saying will be brought to Nebraska for the KXL. The difference, however, is that jobs for the KXL will not be filled by Nebraskans, and wind farms are made by Nebraskans for Nebraskans–not by outsiders for the foreign market. We agree with Heineman that “this is an important step forward for energy independence and for economic development in rural Nebraska.” We just hope that his apparent current support for wind energy means that he will push for more wind to be developed in Nebraska. Read here

Climate Change Curriculum: We included in the Roundup a couple weeks ago that the Nebraska State Board of education was looking at improving our state’s education standards by adding climate change to the curriculum. Climate change is something that we are already starting to deal with (just in this past year we experienced Hurricane Sandy, extreme drought across the United States, and more intense wildfires), and it is a challenge that will be even more present in the lives of children today and in the future. So, we are pleased to see that the State Board of Ed wants to teach our kids about it. But there are those who would rather have our children growing up to believe that either climate change is not real, or that if it is real, human activities have nothing to do with it. A coalition of conservative groups have sent a set of replacement standards to the State Board that they would rather see be used in our state’s schools–and climate change would be eliminated. Read here  

Record High for GHGs: While some remain in denial about climate change, climate change will continue on its course. A World Meteorological report states that we are now at a record high for concentration of greenhouse gases (GHG) in our atmosphere, and in the last 20 years there was a 30% increase in these GHG’s warming effect on our climate. Carbon dioxide contributes to about 80% of this warming. This is because the amount of carbon dioxide that we have been pouring into the atmosphere stays there, and the Earth’s carbon sinks are either being depleted or losing capability to absorb all of the CO2 we are emitting. The #1 emitter of carbon dioxide? — electricity generation. And while it is clearly time to “move beyond coal,” investment in new coal fired power plants continues across the world. In Nebraska, we have the potential to use wind energy for electricity generation–but NPPD is toying with the idea of investing billions into a retrofit of coal fired Gerald Gentleman Station instead of investing in wind. We hope that Nebraskans can change the utility’s mind, since 94% of us have a favorable view of wind.