|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. I now have a roster of 81 progressive state blogs, but I am always looking for more. Let me know in the comments or by Kosmail if you have a favorite you think I should add. Standard disclaimer: Inclusion of a diary does not necessarily indicate my agreement or endorsement of its contents.|
Time for some on the left to quit blaming President Obama for everything that happens like he’s God. Here’s a message From Americans Against The Tea Party. For more informed, wonky discussion about this issue and what really happened, click here and here.At OhioDaily, Anastasia Pantsios (who you may have seen hanging around Daily Kos under the moniker anastasia p) writes Governor Confused. What Else Is New?:
Thanks to Innovation Ohio for calling this to our attention:At Blue Virginia, lowkell (who you may have seen hanging around Daily Kos under the moniker ... uh ... lowkell) writes Koch-Funded Mercatus Center Embarrasses GMU Yet Again with Laughable Report on "Freedom":
"Baffling new video shows Kasich confused about impact of his budget."
Not that this is any big surprise. As Kasich said last month when his allocation of education money was questioning, he's all about "philosophy," not numbers. And that "philosophy" leads to some thinking that looks fuzzy and irrational in the REAL world — you know, the one most of us live in.
[I]t's not surprising that Koch-funded fellows at Mercatus have now produced a laughable, far-right-wingnut report that purports to measure "Freedom in the 50 States." Of course, it does no such thing, unless by "freedom" you mean "freedom for corporations, polluters, and the super rich to completely run amok, while the state tells you what you can and can't do with your body, who you can or can't marry, whether or not you can organize with other workers to demand better pay and benefits, etc." In short, this report is a Koch-brothers-meet-John-Galt wet dream of what America should look like. And that, my friends, is not a pleasant thought, in any way, shape or form.Please continue reading other state blogs below the fold.
Former U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” And right now, it appears that one of ol’ Tip’s leading disciples is Governor Pat McCrory. How else to explain the Guv’s repeated decisions to ignore national trends and double-down on far right policies that seem sure to alienate important constituencies to which his own party is trying to build bridges?At Montana Cowgirl, Cowgirl writes Wrong Side of History:
Last month, McCrory was doing his best to thumb his nose at the unemployed, the uninsured and the health care industry generally with his decisions to turn down billions in federal unemployment insurance and Medicaid dollars. He’s already made clear he has no real interest in reaching out to the African-American community with his statements of support for a mandatory voter ID law.
At 4&20 Blackbirds, lizard writes Missoulian’s Editorial Triumvirate Wants Obama To Approve The Pipeline:The nutjob wing of Montana’s Republican Party aren’t just wrong, they’re way out in right field, and soon to be there alone. Montana is one of only four states that has a law on the books that makes being gay an imprisonable offense. This fact alone is despicable, but when you consider what else the Montana Legislature has done you start to wonder if the Montana legislature isn’t among the most bigoted in America.
Consider this: During the past 21 legislative sessions least 32 bills have been introduced to make all Montanans equal under the law. Some, like Sen. Facey’s SB 107 attempted to repeal the “deviate sexual conduct” law, other would have prevent discrimination in housing, or stopped the bullying of young people in schools. Many have been introduced by Sen. Christine Kaufmann, of Helena.
Not a single one of these bills has ever passed in the history of this state.
But it’s worse than that. The Montana legislature isn’t content with blocking equality bills. They’ve tried year after year to make things worse.
The Editorial Board of the Missoulian—Publisher Jim McGowan, Editor Sherry Devlin, and Opinion Editor Tyler Christensen—want Obama to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.At Uppity Wisconsin, Man MKE fumes in Scott Walker: Dissing teachers, dissing Milwaukee, all for "better" education:
Though I have little doubt Obama’s state department will eventually do just that, it’s worth examining why our local editorial board decided to shill away their paper’s editorial voice supporting this disastrous project. [...]
First, I may need some help understanding something. How can a pipeline built by a foreign corporation for the ultimate goal of enriching its shareholders be construed as adding to America’s national energy infrastructure? Am I missing something?
Apparently, in the Walkerverse, teachers in the Milwaukee Public Schools are basically no damn good. They're unionized, dontcha know! So Walker wants to encourage more competition so that better teachers are attracted to teach in the system. And how would the school district best attract those primo teachers? Why, by letting them live outside the district, according to the logic of our college-dropout governor.At Burnt Orange Report, Katherine Haenschen writes Payday Lenders Buy Senator John Carona to Bargain for Weakened Reforms:
After all (again according to Walker), really good teachers are those who are so intelligent and smart and well-heeled that they prefer living in suburbs or rural communities, far away from the kids they teach. So, in Walker's highly active imagination, the state needs simply to force administrators to hire them if they're otherwise qualified and, why, a large group of really great though rather uninvolved teachers will flock to the doors of Milwaukee's struggling inner city schools! It's brilliant!
Payday lenders gave Senator John Carona $140,000 between 2009 and 2012. Now, he's pushing a weakened reform bill that fails to address some of the worst practices of these predatory lenders.At Blue Mass Group, progressivemass reports It's All About Elections:
Texans for Public Justice recently published a report highlighting the $3.7 million dollars doled out by predatory lenders to Texas politicians. At the top of the list? Rep. Joe Straus, Lt. Gov David Dewhurst, Governor Rick Perry, AG Greg Abbott, former Rep. and failed SD-10 candidate Mark Shelton, and Senator John Carona.
In a hearing on the bill, Carona basically admitted that lawmakers are on the take from the predatory lending industry, according to the Texas Observer:At a legislative hearing this morning, state Sen. John Carona, the Dallas Republican who's leading the payday "reform" effort in the Senate, basically said the industry had bought off lawmakers. Carona was defending the latest version of his payday loan legislation, which most advocates derided as unacceptably weak. Senate Bill 1247 would scuttle the efforts of most of Texas' big cities-Austin, San Antonio, Dallas and El Paso-to rein in payday loan excesses and codify the industry's loan products in statute.It's too bad the low income people of Texas who are preyed on by these establishments lack the same political clout in our Republican Legislature.
"You have to get the most you can get with the political support that you have," Carona said. "This industry is in business and this industry has amassed enormous political support at the Capitol."
Next Wednesday, the Joint Committee on Election Laws will host a hearing on a bill designed to improve the way we run elections in Massachusetts. That bill makes some substantive changes but it doesn’t go nearly far enough. It would be a travesty if Massachusetts did anything less than full-fledged election reform, when everyone from the President on down is acknowledging that “we have to fix that”.At Calitics, Brian Leubitz writes Transparency, or the Lack Thereof:
At Louisiana Voice, Dayne Sherman writes Gov. Jindal’s Immoral Tax Plan betrays his sanctimonious claims of Christian faith, concern for people:California is home to Silicon Valley, so you think we could bring some of that innovation to bear on our state government. But one look at the Cal-Access contribution information website will quickly disabuse any user of that notion. But more than that, the state lacks the kind of transparency tools that other states provide. That yields a failing grade in the US-PIRG's report on state government transparency.
The report describes California as a "failing state" because, even though it contains some checkbook-level data for contracts and grants, it lacks other important information to allow residents to monitor state spending, including checkbook-level data on non-contract spending and information about which companies benefit from economic development tax credits. California is also one of two states in the country without searchable vendor-specific spending information. California's transparency site does not link to tax expenditure reports or information on the intended and actual benefits of economic development subsidies. California also fails to provide information on "off-budget" agencies as leading transparency states have begun to do.
I am deeply disturbed by many of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent actions—his callousness toward the Bayou Corne sinkhole evacuees, his funding of state services by a “garage sale” of assets, his unwillingness to accept constitutional restraints on his pension and K-12 education policies, his ongoing assault on colleges and universities, and his rejection of the Medicaid expansion for 400,000 of Louisiana’s citizens.At NorthDecoder, Chet writes Anti-Choice Zealots Making Up Stories About Death Threats On ND Governor:
As if that were not enough, he currently is pushing a sales tax plan that will wreck retail businesses within a 50 mile radius of the state line and will tax groups such as the Council on Aging and Habitat for Humanity. The actual bill has not been filed yet out of deceit far more than building good policy and consensus.
The Fargo Forum has a story out today about all the contacts the Governor's Office has received. Apparently some people on both sides of the issue have been passionate, but none have been criminally inappropriate.
The governor’s office had not received death threats, Zent said Wednesday afternoon.
Well, that is if you live in the reality-based world. Those in the Fox News fiction-based partisan fantasy world have a different story for you. An anti-choice propaganda website called "LifeNews.com" has a story up this morning entitled "North Dakota Gov Faces Death Threats After Signing Abortion Ban." Another anti-woman propaganda website called "CharismaNews.com" has a story entitled "Report: Pro-Abortion Activists Issue Death Threats Against Pro-Life Governor." They're all based upon the same nonsense at "LifeNews.com," but another time-travel-back-to-1949 propaganda website called "FaithfulNews.com" parrots the same untruthful talking point. The propaganda gets parroted on other web forums like "GodlikeProductions.com" (even though bearing false witness doesn't seem very "godlike") and "TigerDroppings.com" and website "FreedomOutpost.com".
We've written about the radical right-wing echo chamber. This is another example of how it works. Tell a lie and then repeat it over and over in as many places as you can. Eventually, stupid people will start to believe it.