Archive: 02/2011

West Antarctic Ice: Slip-sliding Away

BY BRUCE E. JOHANSEN

It’s the end of winter here, but summer along the coast of West Antarctica, with ice melting in ominous ways that may reshape coastlines around the world for coming generations.

Read more

Gross Pentagon Waste Subject of Documentary

The Lincoln chapter of Nebraskans for Peace, in collaboration with the UNL NFP chapter, is sponsoring a free showing and discussion of the film Ethos at the Ross Film Theater in Lincoln at 3:00 PM on Sunday March 6.  The film has as its narrator Woody Harrelson, two time Oscar nominee and one of the stars of the sitcom Cheers. It raises the question of what the ordinary citizen can do to reform a society in the grips of the military-industrial complex and other global destructive forces at a time when our instruments of government seem paralyzed.

The film will be followed by a discussion by people knowledgeable in the area of our budgeting for education and social services on the one hand and the military on the other.  We wish to invite a discussion of national budgetary priorities at this time when the total military budget proposed is about 700 billion dollars, when most people are taking serious cuts to the military off the table, and when cuts are being proposed for HeadStart, Pell grants, Social Security, support for education, Medicare and a variety of other 'civilian' programs.  We do not think that the issue of the military budget should go undiscussed.

If you are unable to attend this event but are still interested in seeing this important film, you can go to the website and download this film or just click HERE!

Read more

Waste abounds at the Pentagon

The following opinion editorial by UNL Associate Professor of Accountancy (and NFP State Board member) Linda Ruchala was published in the Friday, February 18, 2011 Omaha World-Herald as a “Midlands Voices” contribution and is reprinted with permission. 

On the day before the terrorists attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld admitted that the money wasted by the U.S. military posed a serious threat to our security. He noted that some $2.3 trillion in transactions could not be traced — an amount larger than the current annual deficit.

That news quickly became lost in the events that occurred one day later. However, to at least one group, it was neither news nor forgotten in the run-up to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Read more

DREAM Act Repeal Bill Killed in Committee

Nebraska’s DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act), providing in-state tuition rates for the children of undocumented residents, survived a repeal attempt when the Legislature’s Education Committee voted 6 to 1 to kill Fremont Senator Charlie Janssen’s bill LB 657. The legislation is now dead for the remainder of the session unless Janssen can muster 30 votes to pull the bill directly onto the floor of the Unicameral. The following article from the February 15, 2011 Lincoln Journal Star provides a fuller account of this critical committee vote, which constitutes a setback for the voices of intolerance in the state. 

Yet to be decided this session is the fate of LB 48, Janssen’s bill to create an Arizona-style anti-immigrant law in Nebraska.

Visit the Journal Star for more.

Read more

350.org Addresses OPPD Board

On the Danger Coal-fired Energy Poses to the Midwest Climate

The Omaha Public Power District prides itself on serving more customers than any other power district in the state. Governed by a non-partisan, eight-member board of directors who are publicly elected to six-year terms, OPPD is required by law to deliver the most affordable and reliable electricity to the rate-payers in its 13-county service area.

Well over half (57 percent) of that electricity is currently generated from coal mined from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin and transported by the Union Pacific Railroad to OPPD coal-fired plants in North Omaha and Nebraska City. Oil and natural gas (27 percent) and nuclear energy (15 percent) constitute the other two major power sources in OPPD’s generation portfolio. Only one percent of OPPD’s electricity is derived from renewable energy, though the board of directors has set a goal of producing ten percent of their energy from renewables by 2020.

Read more