It’s International Hug a Vegetarian Day, so Malinda’s bracing for an onslaught of hugs.  Ever thought about being a vegetarian?  Ever thought about never being a vegetarian?  Either way, check out this sweet vegetarian recipe for jambalaya.  Here’s your Roundup:

Bold Roundup

 Congress and Pipeline Safety: Plains Justice reports that the House Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment held hearings yesterday about pipeline safety.  The only testifier who was not an industry rep is Rick Kessler of the Pipeline Safety Trust.  Plains Justice also shares a few handy articles about the growing concern of pipeline safety.  View Here

50 States/50 Stories: The White House is compiling a list of health care stories from each of the states.  Emily’s story will be used for Nebraska.  The audio isn’t up yet, but you can read her summary and check out stories from the other 49 states.  View Here

Colbert before Congress: Stephen Colbert will be testifying before the House Judiciary Committee today about immigrant labor and farming in America.  Colbert participated in the United Farm Workers campaign this summer called “Take Our Jobs” which encouraged U.S. citizens to work in the fields for a day or more.  Word on the street is that he will be in character.  This is a hearing you won’t want to miss.  View Here

GOP Can’t Stop Small Biz Aid: Yesterday the House passed a small business bill that will now head to Obama to sign.  The legislation will create a small lending fund to help small businesses that are still struggling to get loans from big banks.  It won’t add to the deficit, and estimates say it will create 500,000 jobs.  Republicans say it’s a smaller version of the bank bailout.  Except this time we’re helping American entrepreneurs, not Wall StreetView Here

Kids and Food: The House is considering a vote on a Senate bill designed to improve school lunches.  The irony is that it’s funded in part by cutting funding to SNAP, the federal food stamps program.  This is even more disturbing because just last year a report from the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine said almost half of US kids will be on food stamps at some point in their childhood.  Need we mention the growing obesity epidemic caused by cheap, calorie-dense, nutritionally-empty food?  View Here

Fahleson Goes to Court: The chairman of the Nebraska Republican Party is part of a lawsuit to derail Justin Cook’s petition-candidacy for Saunders County Attorney.  Oh, and Cook’s a Democrat.  Fahleson will probably argue that people need to follow the rules of the process, and we’d agree with that assertion.  But they really couldn’t find one other attorney who isn’t a leader of the opposition party to take the case?  We’d say that means no more GOP griping about the Dems wanting to investigate Heineman for bullying education groups.  View Here


Thursday, September 23rd

It’s here!  More provisions from health reform kick in today.  We’ll be celebrating the aptly named “Patient’s Bill of Rights” this afternoon with a press conference in Lincoln.  Here’s your Roundup:

Where the Party At?: The Sunlight Foundation has solved the constant problem of tracking down all the fundraising parties for politicians.  You can search all previous and upcoming parties on their site called “Party Time.”  We took the liberty of looking up the 3 Amigos (that’s NE reps Fortenberry, Terry and Smith).  They don’t have any upcoming parties listed in DC, but Lee Terry does seem to like the Capitol Hill Club.  To refresh your memory, that’s where he was overheard asking a lobbyist, “Why did you get me so drunk?”  View Here

Contract With America 2.0: The GOP unveiled their updated version of Newt Gingrich’s infamous “Contract with America.”  This time they’ve dubbed it “Pledge to America.”  Several House GOPs unveiled Contract 2.0 at a small business in Virginia.  Looks like everyone got the memo to dress in button-up shirts.  Just check out those freshly dry-cleaned, rolled up sleeves ready to get to work!  View Here

What about the Children: Lawmakers listened to heartbreaking testimony yesterday from families who’d be affected by potential Health and Human Services budget cuts.  Following orders from Heineman’s office and the Appropriations Committee, all state departments had to submit lists of programs they’d cut if their budgets were reduced by 10%.  For HHS, that meant family-to-family help services that were created after the safe haven fiasco in 2008.  It’s appalling to see the Governor’s priorities are his next campaign commercial (“I balanced the budget without raising taxes”) and not Nebraska families.  View Here

Middle East Peace Plan: Obama addressed the United Nations this morning, speaking on the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine.  Most notably, the president appeared to strongly endorse the creation of a separate Palestinian state.  Obama also called on Iran to prove that it’s nuclear program is peaceful so that diplomacy can move forward.  View Here


Wednesday, September 22nd

Only one more day until the majority of Patient’s Bill of Rights goes into effect!  No more rescinding coverage for kids with pre-existing conditions or lifetime limits.  Young adults can stay on their parents’ plans until they’re 26!  There’s more, but we know you also want your news.  Here’s your Roundup:

Voting, There’s an App for That: Not just yet, but maybe in the near future.  The Federal Election Assistance Committee is looking for input on how to incorporate new technology and voting.  Brian Siebel from the Fair Elections Legal Network has suggested using mobile devices with touch screens.  Reducing costs and errors while making voting easier?  We dig it.  View Here

Good Lookin’: The Kaiser Family Foundation gave their website a makeover in anticipation for the effects of health reform that start tomorrow.  They’ve got all kinds of handy information to answer your burning questions.  We recommend starting with the video on their homepage called “Health Reform Hits Main Street.”  It’s got the triple benefits of being super informative, adorably animated and narrated by Cokie Roberts.  View Here

Politics Daily Finds a Unicorn: He strongly resembles Lee Terry.  Really, this story’s more about the uniquely competitive race between Tom White and Lee Terry for the House seat in the 2nd district.  The story builds on buzz we’ve been hearing: Repubs are doing well on the national, generic ballot but not so much in actual races.  Say it with us deceased Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, “All politics is local.”  View Here

What Buzz?: Just to prove we’re not a bunch of insiders who are using anonymous sources when we say “buzz we’ve been hearing”, we got the NY Times to back us up.  They also noticed that Repubs are doing better on the generic ballot than in polls for individual House districts.  This one’s for all you wonks who care about polling methodology.  View Here

Why Senator Mello, We Were Just Talking About You: Yesterday we touted the awesome leadership style of State Senator Heath Mello.  In a truly random happenstance, Silicon Prairie News posted a video of Mello discussing Nebraska, innovation and entrepreneurship with the Omaha Chamber.  We wish we had planned this.  More importantly, is this the beginning of a Heath Mello fan club?  View Here

What Entrepreneurs?: Just to prove we’re not just using hypothetical rhetoric when we talk about entrepreneurs, the LJS tells us who are the emerging entrepreneurs in Nebraska.  Hispanic business owners have increased by over 50% in the last 5 years.  Their receipts saw an 80% increase over that same period.  Good to see that the American dream is alive and well.  View Here


Tuesday, September 21st

Happy birthday to Leonard Cohen, Stephen King, Bill Murray, H.G. Wells (even though he’s dead) and anyone else lucky enough to be born on September 21st.  Two days until more health care reform goes into effect!  Get answers to your reform questions at  Here’s your Roundup:

More Paperwork: The Republicans will be unveiling their new “Contract with America” this Thursday in Virginia.  After two years of the Party of “No”, we’re eager to see alternative ideas come from the GOP.  Will they suggest privatizing social security again?  Or what about more unfunded tax cuts like the Bush ones which the majority of Americans agree should expire for the rich?  Or maybe something brand new and costly?  View Here

Letters in the Sand: Students in Miami spelled out a message supporting the DREAM Act in the sand with their bodies.  DREAM has been proposed in almost every session of Congress for the past 10 years.  It’s finally going to the floor for a vote as an amendment to the defense authorization bill which will repeal DADT.  This should get the youth vote activated.  View Here

Kids These Days: Speaking of the youth vote, one of the major provisions of health care reform that goes into effect this week will allow young adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance until they’re 26.  Our savvy intern, Emily, shared her story with KPTM.  Don’t be shy, we’d like to hear how you or someone you know will be affected, too.  Email  View Here

Pipeline Jobs: TransCanada keeps saying that the dirty oil pipeline that they want to build over the aquifer will create jobs.  That may be so, but a vast amount won’t go to locals.  Their spokesman specifically told us that only 10-15% of the jobs in Nebraska will go to Nebraskans. Plains Justice backs that up with evidence from the previous pipeline TransCanada constructed. View Here

Rage Against the Pipeline:  Guardians of the Good Life are holding a rally in Omaha tonight, protesting the pipeline.  They’ve been really creative with their protests, like a flash mob oil spill in Memorial Park in August.  You’re sure to have a good time with them.  Details Here


Monday, September 20th

We’ll be celebrating all week as we prepare for major provisions of health care reform to go into effect this Thursday!  No more caps on annual limits, and kids can stay on their parents’ health insurance until they’re 26.  So future educators who do their student teaching in the fall won’t lose coverage between Christmas and August.  Tell us how the new provisions will help you, email  Here’s your Roundup:

Food Fear: It’s quite mind-boggling to watch an Oklahoman and misinformed ragtag activists fight common sense legislation like the food safety bill.  Once again, it’s stalled in the Senate. Last week we were celebrating because of buzz that it would finally go up for a vote.  But now the bill that would update food safety regulations from Teddy Roosevelt’s presidency might not come up until after midterm elections. So, conservatives are, once again, holding up a bill that keeps our families safe.  Ben Nelson’s cosponsoring the bill, but Johanns will not commit to a vote.  View Here

Ding Dong the Well is Dead: It’s official, BP’s leaking well that’s wrecked havoc in the Gulf is dead.  The government’s point man, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, made the big announcement after all the regulatory tests concluded that the well had indeed croaked.  But the restoration of the Gulf Coast is just beginning.  View Here

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em: Nibble around the edges.  At least that’s what Repubs are planning to do to health care reform, according to Politico.  There’s no way the GOP can repeal the law without the White House.  So they’ve got plans to block funding and bring implementation to a halt. Johanns’s defeated amendment that would have repealed 1099 requirements and gutted funding for preventative care is just the start folks.  As we look into our crystal ball, we see Republicans doing a lot of talking and no walking.  View Here

VA Hops on the Social Media Bandwagon: The Department of Veterans’ Affairs will start sharing health care information on Facebook.  Their facebook page says it’s part of an effort to generate more two-way dialogue with vets.  If it helps our men and women in uniform, we’re all for it.  View Here

Knowledge is Power: There’s more than just a 20-week wall in LB 1103 which passed the state legislature last spring.  Not only will the bill ban abortions performed after 20 weeks, but doctors who perform abortions will have to report the fetus’s age.  Dr. Carhart, who performs the procedure in Bellevue, doesn’t see the benefit.  The law goes into effect October 15, unless there’s a legal challenge.  View Here

Sanity/Fear: Jon Stewart wants to restore sanity, but Stephen Colbert want to keep fear alive. We’ll be joining the fray by pointing out news stories that toe the line between the two.  Today, the Journal Star editorial board has a piece called “Americans Fearful of China’s Focus, Energy.” Are they restoring sanity or keeping fear alive?  View Here