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.
Friday, September 28th
Behind LB 1161, and Why We Are Fighting It: InsideClimateNews has one of the best articles written about LB1161, why it’s bad for Nebraskans, and the lawsuit brought against it. The lawsuit is the ultimate example of citizens standing up for their fellow Nebraskans and their state–Randy Thompson, Susan Luebbe, Susan Dunavan, and Domina Law Group deserve a tremendous thank you for their dedication to protecting our state’s land and water. Currently, we are waiting to find out if the lawsuit will be heard in court, and hoping that not only will it get heard, but that the Public Service Commission will be given the job the legislature gave it during the Special Session. Read here
OWH Profiles LD 31: Candidates for Omaha’s Legislative District 31 are profiled in the Omaha World Herald, as well as in our New Energy Voter Guide. Rick Kolowski, a democrat, was able to win more votes that Acela Turco, a far-right Republican, during the primaries in a district that is two-thirds Republican. Turco outfundraised Kolowski by almost 2 to 1. Part of the reason Rick was still able to come out ahead is because he is so well liked in the district after having served as the principal of Millard West High School. Another part of the reason could be because Turco is just too far right–she has vowed to “devote every ounce” of her “to stop socialism and communism from spreading,” which makes us wonder when she would have time to serve Nebraskans. She was appointed to the State Foster Care Review Board by Gov. Heineman in 2010, overseeing what has become a million dollar failure. Read here
A Must See Video: The Jewish Council for Education and Research (JCER) was established to be a hub of information for issues of concern to the Jewish community. They endorsed Obama in 2008, and are rooting for him to win again this year. JCER gets their message across through hilarious social media and videos, like this one featuring Samuel L. Jackson. We highly recommend you watch it here, it is not to be missed.
Thursday, September 27th
A Legend Retires: Tom Osborne has retired as Nebraska University’s Athletic Director, ending a lifelong career of service to Nebraska. He not only coached for 25 years, bringing in 255 wins and three national championships, he served Nebraska’s third district in Congress, and started the TeamMates Mentoring program. As Congressman, he was an independent and strong voice, as he was in everything he did. He will be missed as A.D., but his legacy will undoubtedly live on. Read here
Another Tar Sands Permit: As KXL blockaders are getting pepper sprayed, tasered, and put in chokeholds to prevent a tar sands pipeline from coming through Texas, a decision will be made on a tar sands mine in Utah within the next month. The decision will come from the state Water Quality Board, whose director had already signed off on the proposal last year, without requiring a groundwater-pollution permit. Activists protested that decision, and forced the decision to be re-evaluated. Read here
After first standing by his speech to a group of wealthy donors in which he said it was “not his job” to worry about 47% of Americans, Mitt Romney is now running a new ad in which he tries to show concern for these Americans. The DNC has already put together a great ad in response. Watch here
Tuesday, September 25th
GOTV!: Today is National Voter Registration Day. In 2008, 6 million Americans didn’t vote because they didn’t register in time or they didn’t know how. Organizers around the country are working to make sure that doesn’t happen again, that everyone will have the chance to vote this year. You can register to vote online at our New Energy Voter website. Studies have shown that musicians have an impact on getting out the vote by writing songs encouraging civic engagement, which is why the Dave Matthews Band released this updated version of their song “Mercy.” Check it out here, and don’t forget to register to vote here!
“What is Smith Thinking?”: The York Times has published a great editorial on Congressman Smith’s failure to work for his constituents when it comes to the KXL. Smith has said he wants to go by the science of the issue rather than the politics, but all his actions (or lack thereof) so far have shown that he is disregarding science. Not only has the National Safety and Transportation Board issued a scathing report on the Enbridge dilbit (diluted bitumen, product of tar sands) spill, but Congress has also classified dilbit as something other than oil, indeed, as something other than even a petroleum product. Congress has also ordered that an intensive study be conducted on dilbit and pipeline leak detection systems. This study will not be completed until the summer of 2013, but Smith has already voiced his resounding support for the KXL and has not even called for the utmost safety precautions to be used. In doing so, he has ignored the science, and he has ignored the needs of his constituents. Read here
Building the Natural Gas Boom: The natural gas boom we are seeing now has been perceived as this amazing free market success story, an idea promoted by industry executives and various think tanks in Washington. But this is not exactly true…at all. Over the last 30 years, the natural gas industry has benefitted from over $100 million in government funding for research and development, and billions of dollars more in tax breaks. Those who were involved in getting natural gas off the ground noted that the government stepped in at key points, and even after huge mistakes and failures that nearly stopped the industry’s development. Additionally, key figures who helped in the research and development that has led to the natural gas boom link its success to what could be accomplished with renewable energy, saying that “serious support for renewable energy research makes sense, too.” We agree, and that’s why we are working so hard to get New Energy Voters into Nebraska politics. Read here
Monday, September 24th
The big news today is eight blockaders currently blocking the KXL from 80 feet above ground. They are sitting in the trees on David Hightower’s land, in the path of the southern leg of the KXL. These blockaders have the resources to stay up there indefinitely, and they plan on staying up there until the pipeline is stopped. Read more and see updates on the blockade action here. Here’s your Roundup:
What Climate Change Debate?: UNL climate scientists say the debate is over—climate change is real. They have issued a statement supporting the conclusions and policy positions of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union, the two most prominent U.S. scientific societies whose members are studying the climate system. In addition to adding their support to these positions, the UNL climate experts note that human caused climate change will drastically affect Nebraskans. Nebraska’s average temperature will increase by 4 to 10 degrees Farenheit, and rainfall patterns will be less defined. Drought will be more pronounced, and extreme flooding will be frequent. They end their letter with a call to action: “The time for debate is over. The time for action is here.” Take action with Bold Nebraska and vote in New Energy candidates who will proactive in reducing Nebraska’s contribution to climate change, promoting economic development in the process. Read more about what you can do here
Paying More for Electricity: NPPD expects to increase its rates for the 6th year in a row. NPPD’s media relations specialist, Mark Becker, notes that there was a heavier demand on electricity due to this year’s hot and dry summer, putting a demand on NPPD that they hadn’t expected to occur for another 19 years. Given that climate experts have agreed we will be seeing more hot and dry summers with extreme weather events, it can be expected that this year’s demand was not an anomaly, and NPPD will have to take a serious look at their generation capacity. The increasing cost of coal is driving these prices upward, and the Gerald Gentleman Station coal power plant that Becker highlighted as being a source of cheap electricity is facing either billions of dollars’ worth of retrofits or being shut down. We need to let NPPD know that it is the wrong path to continue our dependence on coal. Nebraska is rich in many renewable resources like wind, solar, methane, and biofuels. Read here
A recent poll by the Omaha World Herald shows Bob Kerrey trailing Deb Fischer by ten points–that’s a much narrower gap that we saw a couple of months ago. In our New Energy Voter Guide, we explore how Fischer has performed on energy issues that concern our state, and we were quite disappointed by her record–or lack of a record–on promoting renewable energies that would be good for Nebraskans. Check out the New Energy Voter Guide here for details.