|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.|
Moments ago, the Alaska Division of Elections announced that they had received enough valid voter signatures to put the question of repealing SB21, the massive giveaway of state money to oil companies, on the primary ballot in August of 2014.
After achieving his stated goal of a Republican majority in the State House and Senate (albeit using redistricting lines later found to be unconstitutional), Governor Sean Parnell got the vote he wanted in the 2013 legislative session. The vote in the Senate was made possible by two legislators who are literally employed by ConocoPhillips.
Last month, Parnell signed into law Senate Bill 21 (SB21) giving billions from Alaska’s coffers to BP,Exxon, and ConocoPhillips. Alaska got the short end of the stick, and is now beginning the hemorrhage of billions of dollars from education, public safety, parks, roads, and bridges. The oil companies, the most profitable corporations the world has ever known, stand to gain those billions, with no strings attached.
The governor, his supporters, and the oil industry lobbyists’ rationale for the massive giveaway is that it will “incentivize” more production of oil on Alaska’s North Slope. Hopefully. Maybe. If they decided to. Or not.
At The Orange Juice Blog of California, Ricardo Toro writes Solitary Men: “Jesus and the Prisoners Hunger Strike”:
When celebrities like Jay Leno sign a letter supporting the California’s prisoners hunger strike, it calls into question the general public’s lack of sympathy for people behind bars. Although some are wrongly convicted, they are all considered criminals, many of them sentenced for killing someone. The families of the victims, and the victims of non-lethal crimes, have a legitimate disdain. So why is that celebrities, intellectuals, religious and community leaders signed the letter sent to Governor Brown, and some of them will fast on Wednesday in solidarity with the strikers?
The strike, which enters on its 4th week, is basically demanding an end to the long-term and indefinite solitary confinement, which they consider a form of torture. [...]
Let’s hope that Governor Brown read the letter of the hunger strikers, and stop this inhumane practice.
At ColoradoPols, Jason Salzman writes This time Gardner says he’s ready to allow government shutdown to repeal Obamacare:
Below the fold you can read excerpts from other progressive state blogs.Last month, Rep. Cory Gardner [of the 4th Congressional District] said he'd block an extension of the federal debt ceiling to "reduce the size and scope of government."
Today, Gardner stated on the radio that he'd allow the government to shut down, by holding up annual budget negotiations, in order to repeal Obamacare, explaining that "if the government gets shut down, it's going to be the President's decision to do so."
A remarkable thing happened on Friday, July 19th 2013. Our President ambled into the press room, joked with reporters and then made a statement that, sadly, rose out of the heartbreaking aftermath of the theft of a young life.At 43rd State Blues of Idaho, Serephin has a solution to two problems in Hey, Lizzie -- forget Wyoming, run in Idaho!:
I began to write an article addressing all the political ramifications of Obama’s speech; all the ways the media was getting the story wrong, how the other side would react. But, after two sentences, I stopped. I couldn’t do it. The speech was too personal, too beautiful and raw to soil with crass politics. I can, and will, do exactly that in a companion piece. But this moment in Obama’s Presidency was so unique that one has to acknowledge its strangeness, its humanness before beginning to theorize about what it will mean for anyone. To play politics now would be like watching the Moon landing and wondering if the first person to speak would be a Republican or a Democrat.
This may seem like hero worship, but I can assure you it is not. Only twice in my life have I felt stunned in this way while listening to a politician. The first was a rebroadcast of John Kerry’s demand that the Senate answer an impossible question: “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” The second was when President Obama described watching his daughters with their friends and, smiling, reminded us “They’re better than we are.”
At NorthDecoder, Chet writes Fargo Judge Enjoins State From Enforcing Another Draconian Law:Open Letter to Liz Cheney:
Pssssstttt! I’m over here... just across the border in Victor, Idaho. Can we talk?
You’re causing quite a ruckus over the pass in your new state of Wyoming. The GOP establishment is not very happy with you at the moment. You’re coming off a bit brash and aggressive.
I've got a suggestion: move over the border to Victor and run against Senator Risch. Why be persona non grata in Wyoming when you could be a hero in Idaho? Seriously.
Also interesting is [Judge] Corwin's discussion of the requirement, in North Dakota's new law, that doctors have admitting privileges at a local hospital, and that they have privileges to perform abortion procedures at those hospitals. Then he discusses how there are only three hospitals in the Fargo/Moorhead area. One is a Catholic hospital where no abortions can be performed. Another is the VA hospital, that's barred (by federal law) from performing abortions. The third — presumabely Sanford — only bestows admitting privileges to doctors who "generate a specified minimum volume of business — the provision of inpatient services to a minimum of five patients in the last twelve months." Well, of course, the Fargo Women's Clinic hasn't provided Sanford with five patients in the last twelve months, so its physicians wouldn't qualify. (And the law's drafters surely knew this.)At Bleeding Heartland of Iowa, desmoinesdem writes IA-Gov: Democrat Pam Jochum declines for family reasons:
At Hillbilly Report, Hillbilly writes Daniel Logsdon Chairman And Executive Director Of The Kentucky Democratic Party Needs To Go!:Iowa Senate President Pam Jochum has decided against running for governor in 2014, she confirmed by telephone yesterday. Although she has been "overwhelmed by encouragement from people" across Iowa, she sad her most important priority is her daughter Sarah. Jochum is the primary caregiver for Sarah, an adult with developmental disabilities, and she decided it would be difficult to balance her daughter's needs with an "18/7" statewide campaign for governor. Jochum added that she greatly enjoys being president of the Iowa Senate, a position to which she was elected last November.
Similar considerations prompted Jochum to opt out of the first Congressional district race earlier this year. Raising money for a Congressional bid and campaigning across 20 counties would have been almost as time-consuming as running for governor. Jochum is not up for re-election in the Iowa Senate until 2016, and her Dubuque-based district 50 is safe as long as she desires to serve.
In 2007 while many of us were working very hard to defeat Senator Mitch McConnell in his upcoming 2008 re-election bid. Daniel Logsdon the current Chairman and Executive Director of the Kentucky Democratic Party was, according to Bluegrass Politics, handing out money to Republicans. $1,000 to Republican Governor Ernie Fletcher, $250 to Republican Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer and let's not forget the $500, according to Bluegrass Politics, in September 2005 to McConnell’s re-election committee.At BlueNC, BlueNC writes DHHS closes another abortion clinic:
So here we are again in 2013 working hard to defeat Senator Mitch McConnell in 2014 with Daniel Logsdon at the helm of the Kentucky Democratic Party. I believe the Kentucky Democratic U.S. Senatorial candidates deserve better and so do all of Kentucky's Democratic Congressional candidates.
It appears, at this point, that Alison Lundergan Grimes will emerge as the Democratic challenger to Senator Mitch McConnell and she will need every tool in in the tool box, including unwavering support from the Kentucky Democratic Party leadership to defeat Senator Mitch McConnell. It's my opinion that Daniel Logsdon, the current Chairman And Executive Director of the Kentucky Democratic Party is not the best person to help Alison Lundergan Grimes defeat Senator Mitch McConnell. Why? Because I still remember Daniel Logsdon placing his, what I consider, bets (money) on Republicans, including Senator Mitch McConnell!
At The Pennsylvania Progressive, Stephen Herzenberg writes Diversion Politics and Factual Errors with 'Americans for a Tiny Sliver of Rich People':And this is the only one that would have remained open under the original bill:Wednesday’s action against Asheville’s Femcare came after similar sanctions earlier this year against clinics in Charlotte and Durham. Each of those closings came under current health laws. The new law, among other things, calls for DHHS to draw new standards for abortion clinics. Under an earlier version of the bill – which McCrory threatened to veto – Femcare would have been the only clinic to meet the more stringent standards.This is not a coincidence, and it's not evidence that abortion clinics are "more dangerous" than other health care facilities. But it is evidence that Aldona Wos is mismanaging her resources in order to achieve a political agenda:DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos has said her department lacks the staff to adequately inspect the state’s health facilities. The Asheville suspension came about as a result of a routine inspection.When you're understaffed to this level, the (apparent) focus on abortion clinics means you're not inspecting other clinics, or even hospitals, where people die every single day. If that is your "routine," it needs to change.
“My obligation is to ensure the health and safety (of) the citizens of our state,” she said Wednesday. “And when presented the evidence, the one and only decision was the one that was made.”
Jennifer Stefano, the Pennsylvania director of Americans for Prosperity, published an op-ed in the Harrisburg Patriot-News Friday - the latest salvo in an organized right-wing assault on nutrition assistance and other safety net spending.At Green Mountain Daily of Vermont, Sue Prent writes VY Pinches Pennies while Duke Waves Bye-bye:
The op-ed claims that the number of Americans who receive some kind of subsidized food assistance is at more than 101 million and "has surpassed the number of full-time private-sector workers in our country." Actually, there are 114 million private-sector workers in the United States, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data for June 2013, but who's counting.
Americans for Prosperity is a conservative advocacy group funded in part by the Koch Brothers. It is the 1% looking out for the interests of the 1%.
At Taking a Left Turn in South Dakota, Gant Wants You to Vote Unless You Are Native American:These are troubled times in the nuclear club.
While Entergy has confirmed that it will, indeed, cut thirty jobs at Vermont Yankee by year-end, a 4% reduction from current staffing levels; Duke Energy has thrown in the towel altogether on two of its Florida nuclear facilities.
Duke announced its intention to close its Crystal River facility last February, following "botched" repairs to the containment vessel and escalating costs to undo the damage. It hopes ultimately to stick it to the ratepayers rather than shoulder the full burden of its $1.65 billion investment in Crystal River.
The plant, which began operating in 1977 was close to its "sell-by" date, but like Entergy with VY, Duke thought they could squeeze another couple of decades of profit from Crystal River. They were sadly mistaken and apparently ill-prepared to suck it up.
Now Duke says it will not replace the Crystal River facility, and it is scuttling plans for a new Florida nuke in Levy County; one for which Florida ratepayers have already made considerable investment.
We all know that Jason Gant, Secretary of State, uses the office to play favorites for Republicans against Democrats running for office. Now it seems that Gant and the Republicans want to make sure that Native Americans can't have access to vote.The South Dakota Board of Elections on Wednesday declined to endorse a proposal from an advocacy group that called for using federal funds to establish satellite voting centers in three predominantly Native American towns.The vote ended up being 4-3. That means that Gant was the deciding vote. [...]This doesn't come as a shocker. Jason Gant has always feared the Native American vote. When he first ran for the position he used fear to gain support
Four Directions Inc. of Mission requested that the board endorse its plan to use money from the Help America Vote Act, which Congress passed after the contentious 2000 presidential election to modernize voting procedures and administration. The state has about $9 million remaining in HAVA funds, and for less than $50,000 an election, HAVA funds could be used to establish satellite voting centers in Wanblee, Eagle Butte and Fort Thompson.