Archive: 05/2011

Solidarity! The Only Route to a More Just Society

by Hendrik Van den Berg
UNL Professor of Economics

Several bills that would eliminate collective bargaining rights for public employees worked their way through the Nebraska Unicameral this spring. This legislation was similar in spirit to the draconian bill introduced in the Wisconsin Legislature earlier this year. You no doubt remember the news coverage of the demonstrations of over 100,000 people outside the capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin, protesting that bill.

Unfortunately, the demonstrations had no effect on the final outcome, and the anti-union legislation banning collective bargaining by Wisconsin public employees was passed and signed into law. There was talk of a general strike to shut the entire state economy down in protest. But, instead, the demonstrators went home and, presumably, back to work. It seems that workers were not (yet) willing to take such drastic action. They were pacified, in part, by politicians and union leaders who called for a campaign to recall the governor and the Republican legislators responsible for the denial of their basic labor rights.

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The State of Nebraska set a June 14th execution date for Carey Dean Moore. Our friends at NADP are launching a state wide petition calling for an end to executions in Nebraska. Please take a moment today to sign this petition and to send it to your friends, family, and co-workers.

Nebraska has a long history of moving away from the death penalty. In 1979, the Nebraska Legislature was the first in the country to pass a bill to end the death penalty. Again in 1999, Nebraska was the first state to pass a bill placing a moratorium on executions. Both of these attempts to re-evaluate our state’s death penalty were met by a governor’s veto. These efforts to address the application and fairness of Nebraska’s death penalty were a good idea in the 1970s, the 1990s, and are an even better idea toda

Whether one supports, opposes, or is uncertain about the use of the death penalty, serious questions remain about the system's fairness, cost, and effectiveness.

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Dream Act Reintroduced in Senate

On Wednesday, May 11, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and 32 cosponsors reintroduced the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, or “DREAM Act,” legislation that, if passed, would provide undocumented youth who were brought to the U.S. as children a path to citizenship if they attend college for two years or serve in the military. This came only one day after President Obama gave a speech in Texas, saying “we should stop punishing innocent young people for the actions of their parents. We should stop denying them the chance to earn an education or serve in the military. And that’s why we need to pass the DREAM Act.”

Representatives Howard Berman (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced similar legislation in the House of Representatives. This legislation, which has been introduced in every congressional session since 2001, has received widespread support from the business, labor, education, and faith sectors, and enjoys high public approval ratings. 

This bill cannot come quickly enough for the young men and women - and children - whom it affects.  Every day, talented young people are deported away from the only country they know as home.

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Food for the Common Good

Tim Rinne
NFP State Coordinator

Growing organic foods… in an environmentally sustainable manner… for consumer members in the local community. That’s exactly the kind of socially responsible endeavor you’d expect from a couple of Nebraskans for Peace. Cooperation, community-building and sustainability are our watchwords, our peacemaking stock-in-trade.

Yet, even for someone like me (who’s worked in the peace movement professionally for 20 years), there’s still something powerful and heartening about seeing people live their convictions and actually put their beliefs into practice.

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Keystone XL-Pipeline Citizen Rally

Bold Nebraska has put together a Citizen Rally in Nebraska to make our voices heard. This is a very important time to act because so far our state elected officials have failed to pass any state regulations or to change the pipeline route. Also, Sec. Clinton is not holding a second round of hearings for citizens and state agencies to comment on the revised environmental study.  So, let's bring the comments not only to our state elected officials but also to the State Department.  If they won't act, citizens will! On May 12, Citizen Rally's are being held across all of the states potentially affected by the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline. 

Please save this date, Thursday, May 12, from Noon til 2pm, at the State Capitol in Lincoln, Nebraska and join with other concerned Nebraskans to gather comments to submit to Secretary Clinton and to urge the Unicameral, Governor Heineman & Attorney General Bruning to pass state-based oil pipeline regulations. This is a great opportunity to weigh in on the three landowner protectionary bills that have stalled in the Natural Resources Committee. 

There will be a bus carrying NE citizens coming from Stuart, NE, at 6:30am from Stracke Bar & Grille on the north side of Hwy 20.  The bus will head south through O'Neill on Hwy 281 to Grand Island.  Then it will head east on I-80 to Lincoln.  If you would like to ride the bus, call 402-217-5217 or Lynda Buoy at 402-684-2209. Leave a message & she will call you back. 

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