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Obama Gets Standing "O" in Omaha

Senator Barack Obama lit up the Qwest Center in Omaha this morning as 1,500 people listened attentively to his remarks ranging from empowering girls to the federal deficit.
I was there with a large group of Democratic Divas that turned out to support Girls Inc. and listen to the popular Democrat.

The Senator talked about his two young girls and what it takes to be a good parent before delving into empowering all young women to exceed expectations and become leaders. He told the girls in the audience never to be satisfied with yourself just because you have satisfied someone else. Obama said often times, expectations for girls are lower then they should be. He told them to set high goals for themselves and only be satisfied when they achieve them.

Sen. Obama told the adults that women's issues need more attention beyond abortion and reproductive rights. Women should have the same rights and opportunities as men. He said society should not expect less from women than it does from men.

The Senator also took questions from some of the young women who participate in Girls Inc. One young lady asked if the deficit is real and what it will mean to her generation. Sen. Obama said that while Democrats need to be more realistic about some spending (i.e. entitlements), Republicans flat out lie about taxes. He told us that the Republicans are now asking for a tax cut to provide economic growth after the heavy cost of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Obama said the tax cuts would make absolutely no sense.

Obama also answered a question about how hard it is to work with Republicans and lobby groups. He admitted that it is tough because extremist lobbyists and operatives like Karl Rove feed on fears, and their efforts have worked on the America public. It is more difficult to inspire hope, Obama said. However, he feels it is possible to be firm, and respond to criticism quickly and effectively without stooping to the levels of people like Rove. Obama quoted Martin Luther King saying, "the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."

Obama presented a vision of hope and inspiration to those who attended the event, so it is unfortunate that the press stories I have seen so far focus on Girls Inc. and conservative backlash towards the group because it supports abortion rights. While it is a controversial subject matter, few organizations are so dedicated to improving the lives of girls and educating them so that they will hopefully never be in a situation where that kind of choice has to be made.

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What's He Smiling About?

I wonder what Tom DeLay thinks is so great? Sure, I didn't expect him to look sullen, but come on, he looks like he is posing for one of those tourist photos at Walt Disney World.

Maybe he is in denial about the state of the national GOP. Check out these talking points I have posted in the Communications Center for all the details on the not-so-happy week for the Republicans. With all the investigations and arraignments, it's hard to believe things are going to get much, much worse for them next week when the Fitzgerald investigation results in high-level indictments. (Okay, so it's not so hard for us to imagine, but I'm sure it's a nightmare for the President. Halloween could come a few days early for Mr. Bush.)

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Nebraska Democrat Puts Jeff Fortenberry on the Spot

Jamie Bachmann -- Nebraska Democrat -- puts Fortenberry on the
spot about his dirty money

"I had a little encounter with Mr. Fortenberry at a Medicare
Prescription Drug Presentation, aka. photo opt. The little ditty below describes how things panned out:

That's exactly how we take this state back: getting out of our chairs, hitting the road and asking questions of the people who need to give Nebraska answers.

You can read Jamie's complete recap here And remember, you can always freshen up on the latest issues at our Communications Center

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Tom DeLay Wanted for Arrest

A Texas court issued a warrant for Tom DeLay's arrest yesterday. That means DeLay is headed for a Texas police station today where he will likely be fingerprinted and have an official mug shot taken. (I bet he's loving the thought of that!) It looks like his first court appearance will be Friday morning.

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Open Thread

Check out this first post about a run-in with Rep. Fortenberry…

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You're Invited to Kearney!

I'm writing to invite you to join Democrats from across central Nebraska for a grassroots politics training on Saturday, October 22nd.

This free training is brought to you by the Nebraska Democratic Party and the local Buffalo County Democrats. It's geared toward Democratic Party activists, volunteers, and local candidates, and will cover the basics of building a local party infrastructure, political communications, and community organizing.

Join your neighbors and community leaders and sign up today.

The training will be held at the UNK Student Union, Oak Room,
1013 West 27th Street, in Kearney. It begins at 1:00 p.m. and will last for about four hours.

This event will be followed by the Buffalo County Democrats Fall Dinner. For more information on the dinner, click here.

I hope to see you in Kearney at the training and the dinner.

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Democrats Make Progress While Republicans Are Busy Cutting Ribbons

Our energy press conference yesterday received some great coverage in today's papers. The Lincoln Journal Star had a very comprehensive article on their front page. It's shocking to see that Governor Heineman cited his example of supporting renewable energy by showing up for a ribbon cutting at a wind farm. I suppose he doesn't know any better since he's pretty much been cutting ribbons his entire elected career. If any politician has been pushing for Nebraska to harvest wind energy, it is State Senator Don Preister. Over the last 10 years, he has repeatedly offered legislation that would require renewable resources to be used for electricity.

Nebraska Democrats are committed to the renewable energy industry and doing everything we can to attract more producers and grow our economy. The same goes for alternative energy sources like ethanol and biodiesel. Our Republican leadership seems to think they can show up for dedication ceremonies or support one ethanol initiative and that means they are committed to a stronger future for energy in Nebraska. They are wrong and it will cost Nebraskans in the future.

Democrats have real proposals to bring to the table that address a broad array of energy issues. You can check them out in yesterday's press release.

You can also ready more about the press conference in the Omaha World Herald.

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Nebraska Democrats Take a Stand on Energy Crises

This morning, the NDP held a well-attended news conference outlining a positive new vision for a more energy independent Nebraska. Nebraskans have been burdened this fall by high gas prices and await the looming threat of high heating bills as our temperatures drop. Nebraska's Republican leadership shows no interest in making the changes necessary to protect Nebraskans from these rising costs. In fact, our state's Republican leadership would rather sit around and watch as other states run laps around us in their attempts to cultivate new energy technologies. Nebraska Democrats are taking a stand on energy -- and propose new policies that will economic development to rural Nebraska, while making us a national leader in the production of alternative energies.

NDP Chairman Steve Achelpohl outlined a series of energy proposals that should be considered by state leaders. They include easing Nebraska's requirements for its Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, the creation of a price gouging standard, new incentives for the ethanol industry, a 10% ethanol mandate, and the development of biodiesel and wind as alternative energy sources.

State Senators Matt Connealy and Gwen Howard also shared their commitment to making Nebraska more energy independent. Senator Connealy is a strong advocate for the ethanol industry and is proposing the 10% ethanol mandate in the legislature.

Congressional Candidates Jim Esch and Scott Kleeb also shared their ideas for energy. Esch spoke about the need to be committed to alternative energy because the cost of oil will continue to rise in the future. Kleeb spoke about how the US needs to become more energy independent because the price of a tank of gas is too dependent on what is happening in other parts of the world.

To check out the press release for today's event, visit the Communications Center.

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State GOP Leadership at Its Finest...

Here is another example of the incompetence of the Johanns-Heineman Administraiton. Whle our neighbors in Iowa (led by a Democratic Governor/Administration) qualified for a $6.3 million federal government bonus for their excellent work in getting welfare recipients back to work, Nebraska gets bubkus. That's right, nothing. This is after just 2 months ago, it was reported that Nebraska's economic growth ranked #50 while Iowa's ranked #1.

Nebraska placed in the bottom nine states in a variety of categories used to determine the bonuses. We lost ground on measures of job entry, job retention, earnings gain and success in getting children from working poor families signed up for Medicaid. Nebraska's failing to provide enough child care, health insurance and other support for working parents likely factored into the poor rating as well.

The Nebraska Republican Record: Corruption and Incompetence

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Johanns Finally Puts Nebraska First?

The proposed closing of Farm Service Agency offices is upsetting farmers across Nebraska. Over the last few weeks, many newspapers have done stories that include dozens of local farmers who are opposed to the planned consolidation of 23 FSA offices in the state.

The FSA and Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns say the consolidation will improve service for farmers, but in reality, it will cause farmers to drive farther (and spend more on fuel) while taking away the familiarity farmers currently have with the workers in their hometown offices. Instead, it seems the FSA wants farmers to rely more heavily on the internet to file paperwork. That's a thought that leaves many farmers feeling unsettled.

Nebraska Democrats are ready to defend farmers from the FSA closings.

In today's Omaha World Herald, John Berge, a representative of Senator Nelson's office, said, "Sen. Nelson needs convincing that this is better for producers. FSA has had trouble delivering their programs, so it seems to the senator that they need to make a better argument. The Internet won't solve the consolidation problem."

At the end of last month, 3rd District Congressional Candidate Scott Kleeb criticized the FSA closings in a press release.

"As globalization puts growing competitive pressures on Nebraska farmers and ranchers, we need to strengthen and update our local FSA offices, not shut them down," Kleeb said. "These offices have supported agricultural innovation in Nebraska's rural communities since the Great Depression. That support is as vital today as it ever was."

"Modernized FSA offices at the county-level could be a powerful tool in helping our farmers take advantage of new opportunities in agriculture," Kleeb added. "They could and should play a central role in keeping Nebraska

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