Sunday marks the ten-year anniversary of one of the greatest tragedies known to our nation. We’re encouraging folks to donate to the 9/11 Memorial. Here’s your Roundup:
American Jobs Act: President Obama urged Congress to “stop the political circus and actually do something” last night. His $477 billion plan will extend the payroll tax cut, which will provide families with approximately $1,500 extra in their pockets, and provide tax incentives to businesses who hire the long-term unemployed. He also proposed money to infrastructure repairs and aid to municipalities so that they can retain teachers and first responders. He asked Congress to pass this bill immediately, but Republicans balked saying it was too much, and that stimulus doesn’t work, while top economists said it was not enough. Read here.
Another Victory: One of the most publicized cases against the Affordable Care Act came to a close yesterday, when the Virginia Federal Court of Appeals threw out the case filed by AG Cuccinelli, as well as a case filed by Liberty University. The court dismissed both cases for lack of standing. This marked the second Court of Appeals to leave the law intact. Both cases challenged the individual mandate. Read here.
Invented Support: Yet another astroturf group has set itself up in Nebraska, created by oil lobbyists scraping for grassroots support for the KXL, and they’re coming up with dirt. The front group Partnership to Fuel America has joined the Nebraska Energy Forum to spread misinformation that Nebraskans support this dirty oil coming through our aquifer. Read here.
Celebrating Diversity: Five of Omaha’s top employers will be putting on their third annual diversity celebration next week. It is part of a larger effort being made by businesses in Omaha to recognize diversity in the workplace and encouraging a welcoming environment to all. Read here.
Thursday, Sept 8th
This day in 1504 marked the unveiling of Michelangelo’s Statue of David. President Obama’s will be unveiling his job plan for the United States tonight at 6pm (CT). Here’s your Roundup:
Who Really Controls Oil Prices: The common belief has long been that the cost of oil was controlled solely by supply and demand. This belief led to the slogan “Drill Baby, Drill” and caused the lifting of drilling moratoriums. But this was before confidential documents were released, showing that the price of oil could be largely controlled by big name speculators like Goldman Sachs. The leaked documents show these financial players held millions of barrels of oil in 2008, the time when gas prices soared to $4/barrel. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission is supposed to have issued new rules on speculation of gas and oil by January, but they still have failed to do so. Read here.
A State Divided, Does Not a Strong State Make: The Daily Nebraskan calls for a state united against TransCanada, arguing that state organizations like the UNL Athletic Department and the State Fair were wrong to take advertisements and money from the foreign oil company, especially in light of our state’s leadership opposition to the KXL. Read here.
State Agency Taking More Fire: State Auditor Mike Foley’s report on Nebraska’s controversial child welfare program has caused at least one organization to call for a halt on the privatization of the program. Foley’s investigation reveals that costs have risen due to the privatization of the program and that it’s not been in the best interest of children in our state (surprise, surprise). Read here.
Debate Debacle: The Republican Primary debate last night showed the divide between ate Debacandidates and further illustrated that no policy position is too extreme. Perry all but announced that he would abolish Social Security if he were to take office, calling it a Ponzi scheme and unconstittutional. Read here.
New TransCanada Foes: Nine Nobel Prize winners have jumped into the fight against the KXL by writing a letter to Obama demanding that he say no to TransCanada. Read here. Author and activist Naomi Klein says it all in a powerful speech about unethical tarsands oil. Watch here.
September 7, 2011
It’s not a good morning to be Michelle Bachmann. There’s a Republican Presidential Debate tonight, and two of her top campaign staffers have jumped ship. Here’s your Roundup:
A Submerged Danger: The Fort Calhoun nuclear reactor and one in Alabama are the most dangerous plants in the country. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission took issue with Fort Calhoun for multiple reasons but focused on its lack of flood planning. The report did say operations ‘’preserved public health and safety,’’ but that come the end of the flooding, many long term problems and damages to equipment could become evident. Read he
Keeping his Word: Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta requested an extension of troops in Iraq, setting up a challenge for Obama to stick with his word or give his approval. The request is smaller than an earlier one by a senior commander to keep 14,000-17,000 troops present. Panetta said the 3,000-4,000 troops he’s asking for would serve strictly in training capacity. Read here.
Fire Rages On: About 5,000 people have been forced to evacuate, and 1,000 homes have been consumed by the Texas wildfire that continues to burn relatively untamed. Dying winds give hope that fire crews can get an upper hand. The entire state remains at risks of wildfires as it copes with its worst drought in 60 years. We will watch tonight if Texas Governor Rick Perry attends the debate or tends his elected duty by staying in Texas to serve the citizens. Read here.
Daily dose of Good: Students at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln are taking giant steps to promote green energy solution around the world. Recognizing the dependence on fossil fuels that plague this country and the difficulties in committing to any significant change to renewable resources, the students have focused their attention where it will have the greatest impact: developing nations. The World Energy Project has already traveled to Mali where the students installed solar panels at a school and a women’s and children’s hospital. View future projects here or check them out on facebook.
Tuesday, Sept 6th
Labor Day’s over which means so is summer. The weather’s been gorgeous so we can’t really complain. Here’s your Roundup:
Bachmann the Bully: Michelle Bachmann not only wants to be President of the United States, but she wants to be the biggest bully on every kid’s playground, too. Her most recent attempt to find something valid to run on has led her to propose completely axing the Department of Education. Yes, at a time when American children are falling behind, let’s nix a major source of funding for their education and evaporate the organization that attempts to create equality in the education standards across the U.S. Read here.
Cracking the Koch Brothers’ Secret Seminar: Despite the Koch brothers’ penchant for secrecy, their involvement in swaying politics with money and using their power to hide truth about climate science has been exposed, and the picture keeps getting clearer. An audio recording of one of the Koch seminars brought, with perfect clarity to our ears, comparisons that would never be said in public, and a list of previously unknown million dollar donors. Read here.
Shared Prosperity: President Obama’s Labor Day speech said nothing of the debt ceiling deal and nothing of deficit reduction–because those have nothing to do with creating jobs. In fact, rather than the focus being on austerity measures, Obama promised an ambitious plan to get Americans back to work. We’ll be tuning into his address Thursday night to see if the hype is true. Read here.
Lessons on Health Care: Two Presidential contenders have starkly different records on health care in their state; both want to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Texas ranks last in the nation in the number of citizens covered by health insurance, while Massachusetts ranks first. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has had no qualms leaving his constituents out to dry, leaving it up to the free market to ensure the health of his state. Mitt Romney’s plan for Massachusetts, however, served as the blueprint for the nationwide health care law. Lesson learned: health care reform works; repeal would be a setback. Read here.
Cancer Patients Suffer for Big Pharma: Here’s a story that would have slipped through our cracks without the work of the blog “Flag on the Play.” Apparently America has a major drug shortage problem for cancer patients. The reason is enough to churn your stomach: drug companies aren’t producing generics because of low profit margins. Yes, while Big Pharma’s enjoy record dividends, they’re complaining about profit margins on drugs that will save lives. Read here.
Local Food: Open Harvest invites you to meet local farmers and see where their produce comes from. If you haven’t visited their store yet, we highly recommend it. Read here.
Monday, Sept 4th
Happy Labor Day to everyone! Americans across the country try to enjoy the ending of a long weekend while Washington scrambles to remedy what could be a slide back into recession, and the Keystone XL protests wrap up in front of the White House. Here’s your Roundup:
Shameless: While also sponsoring the stage at the State Fair, TransCanada paid for an video spot during the first Husker football game on Saturday. The video, mentioning the word ‘pipeline’ in any way possible, was met with some audible boos. What’s worse, we heard TransCanada compared themselves to the ’95 Husker team. We think the Callahan Era is a more appropriate comparison (destroying a cultural legacy and breaking 40 year records in the worst ways possible).
Snail Mail in Trouble: The US Postal Service is facing default before year’s end without intervention after already grueling cuts to staff and services. USPS is hampered by increased spending and revenue loss, with wages operating at a 80% of expenses compared with 53% at UPS and 32% at FedEx. If we’re going to keep public, affordable mail, then Congress must take action. Read here.
Worse than Expected: East Africa’s most disastrous famine in 60 years continues to put more and more people at risk of starvation. The UN says 12 million people are now in need. In war-ravaged Somalia the situation seems to be worst with 750,000 people now at risk of dying. Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda are also feeling the effects of drastic food shortage. The UN’s Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit is doing what it can but you can help by visiting the Red Cross online and various other charity organizations. Read here.
Arrest Wrap-Up: Exactly 1,252 people have been arrested in front of the White House for the past 2 weeks to send President Obama the message that we don’t want or need the Keystone XL pipeline. On Saturday, 7 Nebraskans were part of the biggest day of arrests (243 arrestees). The Sierra Club, 350.org, and Interfaith Power and Light hosted a massive rally across the street in Lafayette Park. We were so proud to be there and take part in one of the biggest civil disobedience demonstrations. Read here.
For something more light hearted, Google released a video doodle in memory of Freddie Mercury and what would have been his 65th birthday was he still with us. Watch here.