|Each Saturday, this feature links and excerpts commentary and reporting from a dozen progressive state blogs in the past seven days around the nation. The idea is not only to spotlight specific issues but to give readers who may not know their state has a progressive blog or two a place to become regularly informed about doings in their back yard. Just as states with progressive lawmakers and activists have themselves initiated innovative programs over a wide range of issues, state-based progressive blogs have helped provide us with a point of view and inside information we don't get from the traditional media. Those blogs deserve a larger audience. Let me know via comments or Kosmail if you have a favorite you think I should know about. Standard disclaimer: Inclusion of a diary does not necessarily indicate my agreement or endorsement of its contents.|
Senator Hollis French, and Rep. Les Gara will be gathering signatures on the “Repeal the Oil Wealth Giveaway” referendum Friday, May 10th from 12-1pm at the Barnes and Noble on Northern Lights Blvd in Anchorage.At Rum, Romanism and Rebellion of Arizona,
“Reversing the $1-2 billion giveaway will give us the chance to write a better law. Alaskans want a law that encourages production and does not take Alaska off the fiscal cliff,” said Representative Gara.
Democratic Legislators offered a tax solution that would have required investment in Alaska, and increased production from companies to qualify for tax breaks. The Republicans’ idea, SB 21, gives billions of dollars in tax breaks to the Big 3 oil companies with no requirement to invest in Alaska or produce more oil. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, or a petroleum engineer to figure out what’s going on here.
Recent chatter among folks who are ostensibly smarter than you and I tells us that Republicans are making an effort to appeal to “Hispanics.” An inter-party chingazo reported in Sonoran Alliance gives us some insight into why such efforts may be doomed.At Utah Political Capitol, Eric Ethington writes Senator Mike Lee Offers Amendment to Allow Hiring of Illegal Immigrants as Butlers and Maids:
Though no one has yet declared for the 2014 Republican primary for Secretary of State, everybody already knows that the race is between Representative Steve Montenegro (R-Litchfield Park) and Senator Michelle Reagan (R-Scottsdale). Because they have both accumulated solidly partisan and conservative voting records, there is little to distinguish the two of them other than personality and style, so it seems inevitable that things would get personal and nasty early on. In this case, some in Reagan’s camp have already resorted to race-baiting.
Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee has introduced an amendment to the bipartisan “Gang of 8″ immigration bill that would make it legal for employers to hire undocumented workers as butlers or maids.
It was only a matter of time because of the recent cool temperatures here in Oklahoma, but U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, the world's most infamous global-warming science denier, has now weighed in on the issue with a typical dose of snark.At Bluestem Prairie of Minnesota, Sally Jo Sorensen writes Fish sticks: DFL controlled legislature caves in to industrial sand industry special interests:
Last week, Inhofe issued a press statement titled, "Global Warming Alarmists Should Send Some of Their Hot Air to Warm Up Oklahoma," that, as the title indicates, essentially argues that the abnormal, cooler temperatures in the state are proof that climate change is, well, simply "hot air."
The argument is obviously nothing new for Inhofe, and, to his credit, he even referred to his "climate awareness friends" in the release. Good natured fun, right? Well, it's only fun until you realize that Inhofe has cherry picked the science and used cold weather events throughout his career to argue there is some type of left-wing conspiracy among scientists to bring down the fossil-fuel industry.
The DFL legislature is prepared to sell out Southeastern Minnesota to industrial sand mining interests, despite widespread grassroots appeals for relief.At Southern Beale of Tennessee, SB writes WTF, Time Magazine?
The Star Tribune's Tony Kennedy reports in Dwindling frac sand legislation rests on trout stream setbacks:Environmental activists who pushed ambitious legislation to slow the advance of frac sand mining in Minnesota have been soundly defeated on their central proposals and, with less than two weeks left in the 2013 legislative session, are clinging to a fragile game and fish amendment as their last hope for a substantial breakthrough.
The amendment, which would block excavation within a mile of any trout stream in southeastern Minnesota, is strongly backed by Gov. Mark Dayton as a way to prevent an explosion of sand mining in a region where the state has invested millions of dollars over decades to nurture a blue-ribbon fishery.
Apparently the residents of Burkesville, Ky., where a little boy is experiencing the thrills of My First Accidental Shooting™, want those of us who have recoiled in horror at this tragic incident to mind our own beeswax:At hummingbirdminds of Wyoming, Michael Shary writes Do women feel safe from online threats in The Equality State?
"I think it’s nobody else’s business but our town’s,” said a woman leaving a store, who like many people here declined to be interviewed. A woman who answered the phone at the office of John A. Phelps Jr., the chief executive of Cumberland County, whose seat is Burkesville, said, “No, I’m sorry — no more statements,” and hung up.
After the funeral service, two men advanced across North Main Street toward a single television crew present, from the German network RTL, and punched the cameraman, bloodying his face and knocking him down.
Two other men told a newspaper reporter, “If you had any sense, you’d get out of here. You’re next, buddy."
Wyoming's small community of liberal bloggers has been challenged by the controversy surrounding one of our own, Meg Lanker-Simons of Cognitive Dissonance. We are challenged to stand up for our friend and colleague as she is viciously attacked by those on the right. But we also are perplexed by he reports from the University if Wyoming campus police alleging that Meg has perpetrated a hoax regarding a hateful post on the UW Crushes Facebook site. After a quick investigation of Meg's computer and a two-hour grilling, they charged her with interfering with a police investigation. It carries a penalty of a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Meg hired a lawyer and said she will plead not guilty when the case goes to court May 13.At horsesAss of Washington, Carl writes Fucking Over Workers Is Its Own Reward:
Wyoming liberal bloggess Sarah Zacharias wrote a piece for The Big Slice that sums up some of the tangled feelings being experienced by progressives in our conservative state. Go here: "My Friend Meg-Lanker-Simons—Not Who the Right Thinks She is."
At 4&20 Blackbirds of Montana, jhwygirl writes Will Montana’s Rep. Steve Daines Vote to Weaken Dodd-Frank?Goldy points out that any push to dismantle Worker’s Comp as part of the budget will be disingenuous.
In other words, Republicans are attempting to impose hardship on workers in order to fix a problem that doesn’t exist. Kinda like Rodney Tom’s campaign to eliminate the GET program, or the Republicans’ broader efforts to end state pension programs that are among the best funded in the nation.Of course that’s true. But fixing the budget was never the GOP goal. Weakening our workers comp system is good enough for them. Putting the state further on the side of employers over employees has always been the goal. It’s the reason for the existence of the modern GOP.
It will be tempting for Democrats to give in to the Republicans’ anti-worker demands in order to craft a compromise budget, but one hopes they have the smarts and the courage to call bullshit on this bullshit when bullshit it is.
Passing out of House financial services on Tuesday and coming to a vote tomorrow is the Full Faith and Credit Act coming to a vote will prioritize U.S. debt and interest over the priority of running the government. Things like keeping the lights on, paying soldiers, social security & disability payments. You can see how willing to negotiate the House GOP Republicans are going to be for the upcoming debt ceiling discussion, estimated to come to Washington DC sometimes during that oh-so-pleasant month of August.At California Progress Report, Mark Naison writes "Other People's Children": The Corollary of Bad Policy:
Six other bills which also passed out of financial services yesterday will weaken derivatives regulations within Dodd-Frank. [...]
This’ll infuriate people who thought Dodd-Frank was weak to begin with. Pretty sure that both Lizard and JC fall into that category. I know I’m there.
For some time, I have argued that School Reform is the most destructive bi-partisan initiative we have suffered in the United States since the Vietnam War, a policy which has, and will continue to inspire mass movements to limit the damage it inflicts through universal testing of the nation's children, and the humiliation and micro-management of the nation's teachers.At The Daily Kingfish of Louisiana, bucktownpirare writes Voucher Oucher:
Some have argued, correctly, that people have not lost their lives as a result of School Reform even when schools are closed, teachers are fired, communities destabilized, instruction has been reduced to test prep, and young people's minds have been reduced to mush by relentless testing. That is certainly true. But one thing does seem similar. Both produced PTSD.
At Michigan Liberal, Eric B. writes House GOP declares war on the chronically ill, private medical insurers:Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, Louisiana, because Bobby J’s crackpot voucher scheme just took a death blow from the Louisiana Supreme Court. By a vote of 6-1, the Supreme Court invalidated the voucher payment plan, citing the fact that using MFP funds to pay private school tuition was unconstitutional. Read more:
The key issue is whether the source of public school aid — it is called the Minimum Foundation Program, called MFP — can be used to pay for vouchers, which finance tuition and some mandatory fees.
The ruling struck down the MFP funding mechanism that the Louisiana Legislature overwhelmingly approved last year.
State Superintendent of Education John White said earlier that the voucher aid alone costs about $22 million per year.
On what planet, I would like to know, do House Republicans reside on, because it ain't Earth. [...] What possible logic exists to warrant capping Medicaid benefits at four years? The entire point of expanding Medicaid is to keep people on some kind of insurance and not pushing the costs for their care onto private insurance in hospital emergency rooms.
Also, in what world do people's chronic health conditions just go away after four years? Further, this creates costs by eliminating a way to manage a heath problem that is not yet disabling by taking away health care until a recipient's health declines to the point of it disabling them. Under Rep. Lori's Michigan, if a person on Medicaid develops diabetes that is managed successfully so that it doesn't become a disability, after four years his or her coverage disappears until it gets so bad that it becomes really expensive to treat.
Are these people really that dumb, or are they just mean spirited?