The Huskers take on the Jayhawks this weekend at Memorial Stadium, so we’ll be taking a break from politics to enjoy a less cutthroat past time.  We’ve worked up some Turner Gill talking points for those in the office who are a little less football-savvy and rustled up some Big Red blankets because we heard it’s going to be frigid tomorrow.  But we know icy gusts can’t deter Husker fans.  Here’s your Roundup:


Total Dominance: If you haven’t added New Nebraska Network to your daily list of websites to read, we’d recommend changing that pattern today.  It’s pretty much a Daily Kos for Nebraskans. Today founder and writer Kyle Michaelis breaks down the NE GOP’s 2012 campaign goal: total state dominance.  We’d also echo Kyle’s suggestion to scrub your facebook account if you’re planning on running for elected office.  Unfortunately, our cultural and social rules of conduct haven’t caught up to our technology.  View Here

Healthy Lunches, Healthy Minds: It was the campaign platform of our director Jane Kleeb’s run for Hastings School Board (she won, by the way).  Now, a bill that would fund child nutrition programs may finally move through the House.  Key Dems who were opposed to the bill are now on board.  We’d like to see bipartisan support on this one, so contact your representative.  You can easily tweet @LeeTerryNE and @JeffFortenberry.  View Here

Hands Off Nelson, GOP: Empowered by last Tuesday’s election, Congressional Republicans are already planning how to repeal health reform, and they’re looking for Dems to help them do it. According to POLITICO, they think they can twist the arms of Dems in red states — enter Ben Nelson.  Nelson’s spokesman, Jake Thompson, says that Nelson would never support repeal but would consider some modifications.  Nelson’s not running scared, and neither will we.  View Here

International Relations at UNL: Chuck Hagel and the current Chinese Ambassador to the US, Zhang Yesui, had a Q&A with UNL students last night.  They both discussed the growing importance of economic ties between the two nations.  Hagel noted that engagement is not appeasement, and Zhang pointed out our mutually beneficial trade relationship.  If economic unity could bring France and Germany together, why not the US and China?  We also like seeing a Nebraska leader who promotes intelligent discussion and not baseless fear mongering about our international relationships.  View Here

Sarah Palin’s coming to Norfolk, NE to promote her new book that drops just in time for the holidays.


Thursday, November 11th

Good morning Roundup readers and a happy Veterans’ Day.  We offer our sincerest gratitude to the men and women who have served our country throughout the years. Your sacrifices are not forgotten.  Here’s your Roundup:

No Sacred Cows: The chairmen of the president’s bipartisan debt commission released their blueprint yesterday that aims to lower the national debt and balance the federal budget by 2040. The plan honored no sacred cows and proposed scaling back social programs like Social Security and Medicare as well as attacking spending for Defense.  The plan also proposes an epic restructuring of the tax code and several mechanisms for controlling the cost of health care.  Of course the proposal is not law and Congress and the president can choose to do what they wish with the plan.  View Here

The Wall Street Journal breaks down the proposed cuts, though the plan also proposes increasing revenue.

Cigarette Packs to get a Makeover: The handy little warning about the dangers of smoking that’s on every pack of cigarettes will get a makeover soon.  The FDA wants to replace the text-only warning with color images.  They’ve released 36 proposed warnings and plan to narrow them down to 9 after getting public input.  Some of the images include a man smoking through a tracheotomy hole and a body in a morgue.  View Here

Child Welfare Advocates Speak Up: Nebraska organizations that are fed up with the privatization of child welfare services are making their discontent known.  In the last year, three companies that the state was contracting with had to pull out of their agreements and declare bankruptcy.  Families and organizations have complained that the system has gotten worse in the past year, not better.  Bold Nebraska signed on to the letter with over 800 leaders and groups. Newly re-elected State Senator Amanda McGill also weighs in with her frustration.  View Here

Candidate Wins via King: A tie for the Scotts Bluff County school board was broken by a King of Spades.  The two candidates each had 459 votes before and after the recount, so they drew cards to pick the winner.  Your democracy at work, folks.  View Here


Wednesday, November 10th

Happy birthday to the Marine Corps who’s turning 235 today.  It’s the oldest and smallest branch of the armed services, but accounts disproportionately for wartime casualties — 11% of the current armed forces are marines, but 23% of those KIA in Iraq and Afghanistan are marines.  Today, we tip our hats to the men and women who have fought for their country from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli.  Here’s your Roundup:

Bush Tax Cuts with a Catch: Democratic Senators Evan Bayh (IN) and Kent Conrad (ND) are taking in a new tactic in the discussion of extending the Bush tax cuts set to expire at the end of the year.  While the argument so far has centered on who to extend the cuts for and for how long, Bayh and Conrad threw an overhaul of the federal tax code on the table.  They’d temporarily extend the cuts for all income brackets, IF the tax code is successfully renovated to reduce the federal deficit.  Now this is the kind of bold innovation we like to see from our elected leaders. View Here

Repub Fight Over Earmark Reform: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is resisting moves in his caucus to ban earmarks.  House Republicans banned earmarks in their caucus last year, but there’s been resistance in the Senate.  While earmarks only constitute a small percentage of the federal budget (1-2% according to Harvard), the public generally complains about earmarks — until they get some of the pork (hello to UNL’s new biofuels research center). Meanwhile, we’ll enjoy watching the political theatre as the Republican party fights over its new identity.  View Here

Lights, Camera, Recount: This story almost slipped through the cracks, but there’s a state legislature that’s too close to call.  Things are still neck and neck in the race for Legislative District 10 in Omaha.  State senator Bob Krist is outpacing challenger Tim Lonergran by only a few dozen votes.  The Douglas County Election Commissioner still has to count 2,200 provisional ballots. View Here

Untapped Resources: Peter Levine’s got a good blog post about how Dems should have tapped young African Americans for the midterm election.  His advice could easily be expanded to the multitude of left-leaning voters who didn’t get out to vote last Tuesday.  Levine touches on the need to engage this demographic through policy actions and grassroots movements.  It’s surprising at the amount of enthusiasm basic voter outreach can get you.  View Here

Ben Nelson’s still planning to run for re-election in 2012, but he’s more focused on governing than campaigning at the moment.  It’s a nice contrast to the conservative leadership in Nebraska.


Tuesday, November 9th

George W. Bush’s memoir Decision Points goes on sale today.  Pair it with Sarah Palin’s new book that’s expected to drop right before Christmas, and you’ve got the perfect stocking stuffer for the die-hard conservative in your family.  Here’s your Roundup:

To Compromise or Not to Compromise: That is the question facing leaders in Washington post-midterms.  Fortunately, USA Today and Gallup conducted a poll to answer that very question.  It appears an overwhelming majority of Republican constituents want their leaders to adhere to ideology and not compromise, Democrats prefer compromise to ideology and 49% of Independents prefer that things get done while just 24% of them want party leaders to be stalwart ideologues.   It’s like we’ve been saying for the past week, there’s a big difference between campaigning and governing, and GOP leaders will quickly relearn that the devil is in the details. View Here

Memo to Pete Ricketts: We recommend reading Ezra Klein’s latest post about rich candidates running for office, you might find some useful advice in there.  Klein points out that it’s a waste of money to follow the Meg Whitman path by dumping your personal wealth into your own campaign.  Klein adds (sarcastically, we believe) that it’s a heckuva lot cheaper to anonymously fund interest groups and candidates, and then just demand for a high appointment when your candidates win.  In other words, keep doing what you’re doing, Pete.  View Here

Spit Take: We nearly fell out of chairs when the LJS described Congressman Fortenberry as the “most independent Republican member of Nebraska’s congressional delegation.”  Yes, only voting the party line a whopping 92% while the other Nebraska Republicans vote with their party 93, 95 and 97% of the time is quite the achievement.  They also compare him to his predecessor, Doug Bereuter, which we consider an insult to Bereuter’s legacy as a moderate. Oh, and Fortenberry, thanks for using our line about Nebraska’s political diversity.  Good to know you’ve been reading our lit.  View Here

Meanwhile, nobody’s shedding any light on the progress of the recall petition in Omaha.


Monday, November 8th

Good morning, Roundup readers.  We hope you enjoyed your extra hour of daylight savings time sleep.  After a crazy election week, we certainly did.  Here’s your Roundup:

America’s Banana Republic: We’re not talking about the store on this one.  No, we’re talking about the countries with gaping economic inequalities.  The NY Times’ Nicholas Kristof wrote a riveting column this weekend about the problems and scope of the growing economic inequity in America.  The richest 1% now take home 24% of the wealth, that’s up from 9% of the wealth in 1976.  And while the rich get richer, middle class families are depleting their savings in an attempt to keep up with the Joneses.  But why are we worried?  That 24% will eventually trickle down to us, right?  View Here

Politics vs. Governing: Being a political success does not always translate to governing effectively and vice versa.  Unfortunately, legislative successes like health reform haven’t played well politically for the Democrats who supported them.  We’ve been shouting about the awesome effects of the bill from the rooftops, but it only seems to annoy the neighbors.  Froma Harrop points out that the Dems haven’t pushed a narrative touting their successes, and the lack of a perceptible PR strategy really hurt them.  View Here

Whatsoever you do to the Least of my People: Immigration and religion collided this weekend at the First United Methodist Church in Lincoln as 200 people gathered to discuss Arizona-like legislation being introduced in Nebraska.  Former state senator Lowen Kruse was there as well as one of our regular contributors (and moral beacon) Pastor Chuck Bentjen.  Participants seemed to agree that the immigration system needs reform, but interviewees seemed wary of legislation like Arizona’s.  We’re glad faith leaders are encouraging discussions on this issue, and hopefully elected leaders are listening.  View Here

“Ambidextrous Ambiguity”: It’s the new catchphrase Senator Nelson is using to describe Governor Heineman’s financial leadership style.  Nelson used the turn of phrase in a forum with the NSEA this weekend.  He also told the educators that despite what Governor Heineman may say, they don’t have to choose between education and health reform.  Does anyone else miss this kind of levelheaded leadership in our state-level politics?  View Here

Bruning Jump Starts His Senate Run: State Senator Brad Ashford, chairman of the legislature’s judiciary committee, is questioning Attorney General Jon Bruning’s involvement in defending Arizona’s immigration law.  Bruning recently joined in a legal brief regarding the draconian law.  Ashford expressed hesitation about the state’s lawyer spending his time on flashy lawsuits outside of Nebraska.  We wonder how Bruning’s time will be accounted for, will he be transparent and show taxpayers — who are paying his salary right now — when he is working and when he is campaigning?  At least it’s never too early to start on those Senate campaign ads, right?  View Here