Just as states with progressive lawmakers and activists have themselves initiated innovative programs over a wide range of issues, regional, state- and city-focused progressive blogs have helped provide us with a point of view, inside information and often an edgy voice that we just don't get from the traditional media. This week in progressive state blogs is designed specifically to focus attention on the writing and analysis of people focused on their home turf. Let me know via comments or Kosmail if you have a favorite state- or city-based blog you think I should know about. Inclusion of a diary does not necessarily indicate my agreement or endorsement of its contents.

At Calitics, Brian Leubitz writes—Demographic Doom for California Republicans:

Calitics logo
If you look at the composition of the legislature, or the voter registration numbers, you'll quickly see that we are in a pretty gloomy era for Republicans. But, wait, darker days are just around the corner: a LA Times poll shows just how poorly the CRP is situated in front of the demographic wave.

Already those younger and minority voters - 38% of the voter pool - are propping up Democrats in California. Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown has a positive job approval rating of 55% overall. Among white voters the rating is 51%. Among black voters, it is 61%, Among Latinos, it is 67%.

Other poll findings suggest no end to that imbalance. Asked their political ideology, 52% of those ages 49 and younger describe themselves as liberal, to 40% who say conservative. That is close to the opposite of those over 50, only 47% of whom say they are liberal to 58% conservative. (LA Times)

As the Times points out, there is hope for the GOP that younger voters will gradually shift to the right, a process that has occurred in previous generations. But if you look at who today's Republicans are, here is what you get: a middle aged, upper middle class, white man.

These are not the demographics for future electoral success. Minorities continue to grow as a percentage of voters, and broader participation in statewide elections could simply exacerbate these problems for the CRP.

At Blog for Iowa, Dave Bradley writes—Sunday Funday – Retailers Declare November Doesn’t Exist Edition:
Blog for Iowa logo
Funny, isn’t it? Seems like October and Halloween barely exist on the calendar any more. If it wasn’t for those billions in candy sales all the myths and stories and fun of Halloween would be thrown in the trash so more time/ floor space/ advertising could be devoted to the Big Kahuna. And November? It may as well start writing its résumé and start looking for jobs on some of those new planets that are being discovered.

“Former autumn month that acted as a lead in to December and Christmas. Relieved of duties to create more Christmas sales. Was great for football.”

I can give it a little work raking the lawn.

At HorsesAss of Seattle, Carl writes—A Socialist in Office:
horsesAss blog, state blogs
Darryl wrote about it when Kshama Sawant took the lead in the ballots. Now that lead is looking pretty insurmountable, it will be interesting to see how she governs. As 1/9th of one branch of one city’s government, this is hardly a socialist takeover.

Hopefully, she can be an effective voice for something other than market based solutions. Hopefully, she can figure out ways to work with the majority of the council to get things done and won’t be isolated. Most of those colleagues spent the last 4 years trying to isolate Mike McGinn for being too out there, so um, that doesn’t bode well. Still, she’s charming and some of her policies overlap the rest of the council, so maybe she can accomplish some things.

It’s so rare that someone in government is to my left, it’ll be interesting to see what it actually looks like.

Look beneath the orange gerrymander for more links to and excerpts from progressive state blogs.

At Burnt Orange Report of Texas, Ben Sherman writes—Leticia Van de Putte Will Announce Lt. Governor Campaign on November 23rd:

Burnt Orange Report
The slate of Democrats running for statewide office in 2014 is about to gain a very strong new candidate. State Senator Leticia Van de Putte will make known tomorrow that she will announce a run for Lt. Governor on Saturday, November 23rd. Sources close to the Senator told the Houston Chronicle that she will definitely run for the second-highest office in Texas. The Texas political world is abuzz.

Sen. Van de Putte, 58, has represented large parts of San Antonio and Bexar County in the Texas Legislature since 1990 (she was elected to the Senate from the House in 1999). She chairs the Senate Veterans Affairs & Military Installations Committee, has pushed ardently for increased education funding, and has fought ardently against human trafficking in Texas and the suppression of women.

As soon as Wendy Davis began considering a run for governor, Texas progressives have hoped Sen. Van de Putte would join her on the ticket. Now we know that a Governor Davis - Lieutenant Governor Van de Putte administration is possible. And what a possibility that is.

At R.I. Future.org, Bob Plain writes—ALEC, SPN are batting .600 in Rhode Island:
Rhode Island may be down to just five card-carrying ALEC members left in the legislature, but the Ocean State is still doing an exemplary job of implementing ALEC’s agenda.

R.I. Future.org
A new report that links the American Legislative Exchange Council with the State Policy Network (which funds the RI Center for the Freedom and Prosperity) cites five examples of how the “SPN Pushes ALEC’s Corporate-Sponsored Legislation.”(page 7 here)

Rhode Island is a national leader in three of the five policy proposals cited by the report, specifically: “Privatizing Public Education”, “Privatizing Public Pension Systems” and “Disenfranchising People of Color, the Elderly, and Students” (aka voter ID).

At NorthDecoder.com, Chet finds another example of one-sided reporting pretending to be balanced in—Journalism 102:
North Decoder
There!  Do you see what [Bismarck Tribune reporter Nick Smith] did there?  Nick smartly got the radical, crackpottish, teabaggy, right-wing view on property taxes, and then he got the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce right-wing corporatists, polluters and poisoners perspective.

All bases covered, right?

Nice work, Nick.

Crazy idea for you next time, Nick. When you're trying to do a political story and are going to try to pretend to present a balanced view in the Teabune, if you're doing a story about some right-wing crackpottery, call someone from the left to respond. And vice versa.

Sure, it sounds crazy.  But it just might work.

At Nebraska Appleseed, Jerusha Hancock writes—Safety Net Hospitals Face Crippling Cuts without Medicaid Expansion:
Nebraska Appleseed blog
One of the cost-saving measures in the Affordable Care Act was the reduction in disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments to the states. DSH payments are federal money that goes to hospitals serving a large (or disproportionate) number of uninsured or underinsured patients, to offset those costs.

The ACA was constructed so DSH payments wouldn’t be needed anymore because nearly everyone in the U.S. would be covered either through the private insurance market as a result of some of the new consumer protections, or as a result of the Medicaid expansion.


If the Nebraska Legislature votes to accept the new Medicaid program, it will bring more than $2 billion back to our state, helping to sustain our hospitals and provider networks so they can ensure that all Nebraskans have access to affordable, quality health care.

At MN Progressive Project of Minnesota, The Big E writes—David Hann’s incompetence to continue unabated:
I have noted Sen. David Hann’s incompetence over the years. From botching simple tasks like dumping a nominee to demonstrating his mastery of failed messaging to boasting he increased spending (doesn’t the MNGOP want to reduce it?) to leading the fight against marriage equality, his reputation is becoming legendary.

And that’s setting aside his corruption. He works for the health insurance industry and is the ranking Republican on the Senate committee that oversees the industry.

As Senate Minority leader in the Minnesota Legislature, he gets to hire a staff to help him. His new hire may cement his incompetence as legendary. Even his fellow conservatives are not impressed with his hires.

At Keystone Politics of Pennsylvania, Jon Geeting writes—PA’s Black Democrats Love Charter Schools:
Keystone politics
Reading only the progressive PA politics Internet, you might get the idea that Anthony Hardy Williams is going to be in bad shape for the Philadelphia Mayoral race in 2015, since he’s made school reform his signature issue for years, but recently everyone in the Democratic base has become radicalized in opposition to Corporate School Reform™ policies like vouchers and charter schools. After all, everybody I read on Twitter who cares a lot about this issue seems to have very strident left wing views on the topic.

Except it’s mainly just white liberals who feel this way! Black Democrats lopsidedly support vouchers:

Overall, voters opposed “providing financial assistance to help parents in low-income families send their children to private or charter schools,” aka vouchers, by a solid 54% to 31% margin.

But respondents had widely different views based on race. White Democrats oppose vouchers 63% to 23%. But black Democrats support vouchers, 58% to 30%.

It’s remarkable how not in trouble Anthony Williams’ candidacy is on this issue. It turns out he’s actually just been delivering what his voters want.
At Louisiana Voice, tomaswell writes—Neil Riser turns back on constituents in land use dispute; accepts beaucoup PAC contributions for state campaigns:
Louisiana Voices state blog
The election in the hotly contested 5th District congressional race between State Sen. Neil Riser and Vance McAllister is less than 36 hours away and as Riser ramps up his negative campaigning, LouisianaVoice has come up with a bit more history on Riser the public servant.

We have already seen how he loves to spend campaign funds for personal expenses but his betrayal of landowners in his district and a list of campaign contributors to his previous state senate campaigns reveals a lot about Riser the man.

Less than a year ago, a group of unhappy landowners approached State Sen. Neil Riser (R-Columbia) for assistance with a problem involving the fencing of 55,000 acres of land in the parishes of Winn, LaSalle and Caldwell.

At Blue Cheddar of Wisconsin, Worley Dervish writes—Who’s Unintimidated? A Tale of Two Books:
I participate as often as I can in the Solidarity Sing Along, which has been singing songs of protest at the Wisconsin State Capitol every weekday from noon to 1 since March 11, 2011 (toward the end of that little uprising we had going on at the time). And many of you are no doubt aware that our ignominious governor, Scott Walker, has presidential aspirations, and like many such hopefuls he has written a book (with the help of a ghostwriter) titled Unintimidated: A Governor’s Story and a Nation’s Challenge.

According to the Wisconsin Gazette:

Gov. Scott Walker’s new book isn’t exactly a tell-all. In fact, it glosses over or leaves out many of the most important pieces in the story related to his successful drive to destroy public unions and his subsequent recall battle. …

“I’ve never met anyone who wants to be president more,” said U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, a Democrat from Madison who served in the state Assembly during the union fight. “We knew the book was coming. We know he’s traveling all over the country. It would be nice if he put even a portion of that energy into creating jobs in Wisconsin.”
In fact, Walker is seldom even in Wisconsin, and when he is, he keeps his appearances brief and well guarded, lest he should suffer the indignity of being confronted by his singing detractors. Walker and the state Department of Administration have gone to great lengths to silence the singing and stifle dissent, all to no avail. As we like to sing, “Until that day when justice holds sway, we’re not going away!”
At the Hillbilly Report, Berry Craig writes—The NRA and the union haters love Mitch McConnell:
Sen. Mitch McConnell is up for a “Defender of Freedom” award from the National Rifle Association.

No doubt the senate minority leader figures the attaboy from the gun group, plus an all but certain NRA endorsement, might help him con some gun-owning union members into voting for him next November.

Naturally, he hopes union men and women who enjoy hunting and shooting sports won’t find out how tight NRA bigwigs are with the union-haters who run the National Right to Work Committee, a group which has been waging unholy war against us for years.

The NRTWC loves the anti-union McConnell. He even wants a national right to work law patterned after state right to work laws, which allow hourly employees in unionized companies to enjoy union-won wages and benefits without paying dues to support the union.

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