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Hahn to Announce Bid for Governor

For those of you who don't read the newspaper, the "story of the day" is pretty big:

Hahn to Announce Bid for Governor

Hahn to Enter Governor's Race

and last but certainly not least from the Omaha World Herald:

Democrat Hahn to Enter Governor's Race

Be sure to check back throughout the day as we add more details about David Hahn and his candidacy for a new Nebraska.

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Recap on YDA Phoenix Meeting

This is a guest post from Jeff Leanna, National YDA Vice President for Students and Youth. You can contact Jeff at

This past weekend, Young Democrats of America and the DNC held their respective National Committee meetings in sunny (and yes, warm) Phoenix, AZ. This was the first of many future joint meetings of YDA and the DNC. In fact, the YDA Executive Committee will be joining forces again with the DNC when they meet together in New Orleans on April 20-22, 2006.

Exciting things happened for YDA in Phoenix. The YDA National Committee approved the charters of three new state chapters, bringing YDA's total to 40 Unit (state) Chapters, more than 900 local chapters and more than 50,000 members nationally. The YDA High School Caucus and the YDA College Caucus were officially recognized, bringing the number of recognized YDA caucuses to 8.

YDA announced that immediately following the DNC/ YDA meeting in New Orleans, YDA members from across the country will converge on Mississippi to build a new playground in acommunity devastated by Hurricane Katrina. I'm very proud to announce Nebraska's own UNO College Democrats are the very first organization to donate money to the playground effort and will be organizing a road trip down to Mississippi in April to help build the playground.

Nebraskans played a big part in YDA's meeting. Third Congressional District candidate Scott Kleeb spoke to more than 40 YD's at the YDA Rural Caucus about his candidacy for office and answered questions from caucus members and visitors. DNC At-Large member Frank LaMere attended the YDA General Session Saturday evening and captivated many YD members he spoke with after the YDA General Session had ended. The UNO College Democrats were a huge hit in Phoenix with there well-known activist buttons and have been asked to attend future DNC and YDA meetings.

Finally, YDA unveiled its Chapter Revolution and 2006 in 2006 program, an innovative and challenging plan to increase local YD chapter membership in 2006. With more than 1,100 new chapters yet to be formed, every YDA chapter, including the Nebraska Young Democrats, will be doing their part to reach the goal of 2006 local chapters in 2006.

Warmest Regards,

Jeff Leanna

YDA National Vice President for Students and Youth

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Scott Kleeb Creates a Buzz at Meeting - by Vince Powers

This is a post from Nebraska's Democratic National Committeeman Vince powers:

Third Congressional District Scott Kleeb created a buzz at the Democratic National Commitee Meeting in Phoenix when the Nebraska Democratic Party hosted a reception for Scott.

The reception on Thursday, November 30, 2005, was well attended by 75 to 100 DNC members and state chairs and executive directors.

Scott challenged the DNC to make the promise of Howard Dean to have a 50 state strategy beginning in 2006 come alive.

Scott in his remarks said to the DNC members present, "You folks voted for a 50-state strategy. Well, I am the 50-state strategy. I am running in the 3rd CD of Nebraska and I need your help."

Scott's message at the reception was well received. I overheard a number of well-known Democrats commenting favorably on Scott's candidacy. The next day, Friday, December 1st, Scott's reception was the talk of the meeting. Scott then spoke eloquently at the Rural Caucus where again he was well received and he spoke at the Native American Leadership Council where his remarks hit home.

Sharing a cab to the airport after the meetings, I had a political consultant tell me that the reception for Scott demonstrated that things were happening in Nebraska.

Scott's decision to hold the reception at the Wyndham Hotel in Phoenix was a brilliant beginning to his campaign. The only other candidate who held a reception was the Arizona Candidate for Senate. And Scott's good planning resulted in his reception beginning immediately after that reception.

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What about that $20,000, Jeff?

How about an open thread on everyone's favorite rubberstamp, Jeff Fortenberry?

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Great Job Everyone!

Congrats everyone. Jeff Fortenberry says he is going to give the $4,000 in campaign contributions he received from Duke Cunningham to the Lincoln People's City Mission. You can read about it in this Omaha World Herald article.

I know several reporters who called Fortenberry's office yesterday after getting our press release about the petition. They were asking him repeatedly if he was going to donate the money. Your efforts led to his donation to a worthy charity!

Even though Fortenberry complied with our request, there is still more to be done. He still has not given up the $20,000 in contributions from Tom Delay. Please continue to sign the petition and tell your friends to as well!

You made a difference yesterday. Not only did your actions bring attention to Fortenberry's connection to the culture of corruption in the Republican Party, but it ended with the People's City Mission receiving a plump donation just in time for the holidays.

For those of you who don't know much about the mission, it is a homeless shelter that is filled to maximum capacity. One of my last stories as a reporter was at the Mission this summer. The Director told me requests to stay there were skyrocketing, in part due to an increase in the number of women and children leaving domestic abuse situations with nowhere else to go.

Because of you, those families in need will have a better holiday season. Great job!

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Donate the Dirty Dollars

As you might have noticed on our homepage, the NDP has created a new online petition asking Rep. Jeff Fortenberry to donate $4,000 to charity. Four-grand is the amount of money the 2004 Fortenberry campaign received from Rep. Duke Cunningham's American Prosperity PAC. Cunningham's money is contaminated by the more then $2 million dollars in bribes he took.

Cunningham was near tears as he admitted how appalling his behavior was. "The truth is I broke the law, concealed my conduct and disgraced my office," Cunningham told reporters.

Fortenberry should make the same acknowledgement by donating the $4,000 he received from Cunningham's dirty money to a charity right here in Nebraska.

Use your voice and tell him to do so by signing our petition:

You can also check out the NDP Press Release by clicking here.

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Thanksgiving Open Thread

What are you thankful for? Favorite Recipies?

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Open Thread - Intelligent Design or Evolution?

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Health Care Cure

This is the sixth in a series of guest blog posts touching on various aspects of health care. Maryjean Lyon is the Universal Health Care Chair for the Omaha Branch of the American Association of University Women.

There is no sound reason for the scandalously expensive and inadequate health care system in the U.S. A "landslide" percentage of Americans want a government administered system that would cover all citizens. We already have the money. It only needs to be redirected.

Models for national health systems have been working for decades in all other industrialized countries in the world. They protect their entire populations at half or less of our per capita cost and have better health outcomes. Our own "pre-drug-law" Medicare is another usable model. We don't need to reinvent the wheel.

The steadily increasing cost of health care is undermining our nation's physical and economic well-being. The number of uninsured stands at 45 million and rising. Health connected bankruptcies are growing. Companies are cutting back employee insurance coverage, reducing numbers of workers and/or moving overseas. Eighteen thousand people are dying each year for lack of insurance. Even young millionnaires worry about the effects of health care costs on their futures.

Compounding the problems, the solvency of Medicare, our popular health program for seniors and the most effectively administered part of our entire private/public health care system, is endangered by the nefariously complicated 2003 Medicare drug law now going into effect. The Bush White House insisted it would cost "only" $400 billion, but Medicare's chief actuary now estimates it will cost $1.2 trillion ($720 billion from taxpayers) over the next ten years. Much of this is a giveaway to drug and insurance corporations. Since the law does nothing to curb drug prices, the one thing for which seniors were pleading, that estimate is most likely low. Some think the intent of this law is to destroy Medicare.

The drug law should be repealed and replaced with "Medicare for All" legislation that would include power for negotiating lower drug prices, as other countries have, and extend the program to cover all citizens just as it now covers all seniors.

It is time for compassionate common sense leadership on this issue.

-Maryjean Lyon
Universal Health Care Chair for the Omaha Branch of the American Association of University Women

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Health Care That Is Always There

Richard Lombardi was the Kansas/Nebraska Coordinator for the National Health Care Campaign in 1993 and 1994. The slogan was "Health Care that is always there."

The National Health Care Campaign, proposed by President Bill Clinton, was the last 50 State-Campaign by the Democratic National Committee. From the Fall of 1993 through the Summer of 1994 the Democratic National Committee operated a national field campaign known as the National Health Care Campaign to support President Clinton's Health Care Security Act, which if passed, would have provided every American citizen with ‘health care that would always be there'. To date, this bill was the most heavily lobbied legislation in the history of the United States. Somewhere between $150 million to $225 million was spent primarily to stop this legislation from passing. A majority of those funds were expended for the most comprehensive grassroots campaign short of a Presidential election this country has ever seen.

This fight for America's hearts, minds and votes on America's most precious issue…health…continues 10 years after the defeat of the national health care proposal. All the fear that was sowed by opponents of national health care coverage has actually come to pass even without the passage of national health care. More employers than ever don't provide health care: employers providing health care plans fell from a high of 85% in 1988 to 59% in 2004. The current Health Care Finance System delays care and shifts costs to more expensive medical expenditures. This has become the major factor in our lack of competitiveness in the international marketplace. General Motors will tell you that the cars produced in Canada are produced for $1500 cheaper because Canada provides a rational health care system for their citizens. America ranks 22nd in the world in life expectancy rates despite spending the most on the business of health care. Statistics prove a basic fact: if you don't have health care coverage, you die sooner. Currently, 45.8 million Americans do not have health insurance coverage. This is equal to the cumulative population of twenty-four states.

Universal health care in the United States is an issue worth fighting for. Even at the lowest point of the national campaign to discredit the Clinton Plan, over 50% of the people said they still wanted some kind of universal health coverage. The National Democratic Party should have stayed the course on this issue because this issue is about our soul. It is the fundamental test of all of us as a community. Although some may see this as a right, I see it as an obligation we have to one another. To provide the opportunity for all citizens to access the essential health care services is an act of justice. Too many politicians got scared away from this issue, when we needed them most.

"Health Care that is always there" is the only direction on health care that America hasn't taken yet, thus fulfilling the Winston Churchill observation: "Americans will ultimately do the right thing, but only after they have tried everything else."

-Richard Lombardi

This is the fifth in a series of guest blog posts touching on various aspects of health care. Lombardi worked as an advisor on President Clinton's 1993 Healthcare Initiative.

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