Cowboys, Indians unite in opposition to KXL

From the Omaha World-Herald:

The cowboys sported western hats and the Indians wore traditional feather headdresses as the sound of drumbeats and the smell of wood smoke filled the air Tuesday on the National Mall.

The band of protesters erected a large tepee among seven smaller ones already in place and vowed to defend their “sacred land” and “sacred water” against the Keystone XL pipeline.

It was the start of a weeklong series of themed demonstrations by the Cowboy and Indian Alliance, a group that represents landowners and tribal representatives opposed to the controversial pipeline.

Read more from the World-Herald.

Follow the weeklong protest at rejectandprotect.org

Nebraskans join Cowboy Indian Alliance in DC

From JournalStar.com:

Ten years ago, if you had asked retired school teacher and Antelope County farmer Art Tanderup if he wanted to fly to Washington, D.C., for a political rally on the National Mall, he might have said you’re a few ears of corn short of a bushel.

“I never thought I’d see myself doing things like this, but here we are,” he said during a recent interview.

Monday afternoon, he was on the road with Carol Smith of Plainview and Oakdale-area rancher Mike Blocher, headed to Eppley Airfield in Omaha.

They plan to spend the week taking part in a “Reject and Protect” demonstration against the Keystone XL pipeline organized by the Cowboy and Indian Alliance, a group of farmers, ranchers and tribal leaders.

Read more.

New delay on Keystone XL pipeline

From the Nebraska Sierra Club:

The US State Department today stated that it will delay a decision on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline because of the continuing litigation over the route through Nebraska. The Lancaster County District Court declared LB 1161 unconstitutional in February 2014. Part of that decision voided Governor Heineman’s approval of the proposed pipeline route. The case is currently on appeal to the Nebraska Supreme Court. It appears unlikely the Supreme Court will decide the case before November 2014.

Ken Winston of the Nebraska Sierra Club stated today: “Today’s delay is another victory for all the people who have spoken out against KXL in the past four years, the thousands who have attended State Department and legislative hearings, attended rallies, written letters, made phone calls and signed petitions. Your sacrifices, your voices have made the difference throughout this process. Every delay means that more tar sands will stay in the ground. The longer this goes on, the more people find out about KXL and its threats to our water, land and climate, the more likely they are to oppose it. To paraphrase my daughter Helen, TransCanada may have the money, but when people come together, we have the power.”

Read more at JournalStar.com.

The American oligarchy study, explained

From Vox:

Who really matters in our democracy — the general public, or wealthy elites? That’s the topic of a new study by political scientists Martin Gilens of Princeton and Benjamin Page of Northwestern. The study’s been getting lots of attention, because the authors conclude, basically, that the U.S. is a corrupt oligarchy where ordinary voters barely matter. Or as they put it, “economic elites and organized interest groups play a substantial part in affecting public policy, but the general public has little or no independent influence.”

Read an explainer of the study from Vox.

Read the full-text study from Princeton.

 

Celebrate Earth Day with Author Julene Bair

Celebrate Earth Day 2014 with Julene Bair as she reads from her new book, The Ogallala Road: A Memoir of Love and Reckoning:

Monday, April 21, 2014
7 p.m.
Unity Room
Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center at UNL

Julene Bair has inherited part of a large farm and fallen in love with a rancher from Kansas’s beautiful Smoky Valley. A single mother, she means to provide her son with the father he longs for and preserve the Bair farm for the next generation, honoring her own father’s wish and commandment, “Hang on to your land!” But part of her legacy is a share of the ecological harm the Bair Farm has done: each growing season her family, like many other irrigators, pumps over two hundred million gallons out of the Ogallala aquifer. The rapidly disappearing aquifer is the sole source of water on the vast western plains, and her family’s role in its depletion haunts her.

Nebraska LGBT Town Hall Meetings

From ACLU of Nebraska:

Join the ACLU of Nebraska, national partner the Human Rights Campaign, and community groups around the state for a community meeting close to you to discuss the results of the recent survey of LGBT people in Nebraska. The response was overwhelming. Thousands of LGBT people in Nebraska and across the country shared their lived experiences at home, school, work, and in their houses of worship. They told us what their priorities are for moving our community forward. You won’t want to miss out on the results of one of the largest surveys of LGBT people in the country. Come hear the results of the survey – and add your voice to the conversation.

Upcoming meetings in Scottsbluff, Kearney, Grand Island, Lincoln, Omaha, and Norfolk.

Read more.

Nebraska wind and solar bill signed

From Morning Ag Clips and the Nebraska Farmers Union:

Nebraska Farmers Union President John Hansen praised Governor Dave Heineman, State Senators Mello, Davis, Schilz, and Dubas, along with a diverse coalition made up of farm, business, environmental, conservation, and public power stakeholders for successfully updating the state’s C-BED (Community-Based Energy Development) law with the passage of LB402.

In addition to Governor Heineman, State Senator Heath Mello of Omaha, who sponsored LB402, Senator Ken Schilz of Ogallala, who co-sponsored LB402, and Senator Al Davis of Hyannis, who made LB402 his Priority Bill, participated in the LB402 signing ceremony. Senator Annette Dubas of Fullerton was also a LB402 co-sponsor.

LB402 updates and expands the criteria for use of the C-BED law to qualify for sales tax abatement including solar energy in addition to wind energy, allowing Nebraska content of labor, materials, professional services and components, allow corporations domiciled in Nebraska to meet the definition of “qualified owner,” and reduces the qualifying percentage from 33% to 25% to qualify.

Read more.

The National Water Dance Project in Omaha April 12

From UNO’s College of Education and College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media:

On Saturday, April 12, dancers from UNO’s The Moving Company and musicians from Ensemble 768 will be participating at this national event. Come view and support their performance highlighting the topic of drought.

The National Water Dance is an opportunity for performance artists to collaborate on forming a nationwide movement choir. It aims to inform and inspire participants and audience members to conserve and protect water resources. Participants from all over the country will perform at the same time connected through live streaming media.

Saturday’s event in Omaha will take place at 3 p.m. at the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge.