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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.
At MN Progressive Project, The Big E gives an acid send-off to a bad journalist and takes on bad journalism in general at Good riddance to bad rubbish:
MN Progressive Project
Nancy Barnes is leaving the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She is the editor. She’s moving to the Houston (TX) Chronicle. But I doubt the Strib’s failure at political journalism will end with her departure.

In a Star Tribune report, publisher publisher Mike Klingensmith is quoted as saying, “While we accept this resignation with great regret, we offer nothing but our very best wishes to Nancy as she embarks on the next phase of a very successful career.”

“Under her leadership, the Star Tribune has made tremendous gains in the quality and depth of the news and information we present and innovative ways we deliver that content to readers,” Klingensmith continues. “She leaves behind a world-class news operation that is well-positioned to achieve even greater successes thanks to her efforts.”
I beg to differ. The Strib, and Barnes as Editor, believes in quality political journalism like I believe in Santa Claus. In other words, I’ll play along with my young daughters. At some point they’ll figure the truth out for themselves.

The Strib’s failure to do political journalism is endemic to journalism in this country.

At ProgressNowNM, one of the staff writes Meet the secret Republican infrastructure buying Albuquerque's elections:

What happens when you get caught hiding a Republican political-hack firm inside your non-partisan global public relations firm? Albuquerque's DW Turner/Agenda Communications is about to find out.

Weeks ago we started asking questions about big money donor Jerry Ginsburg who gave $40,000 to start a special interest PAC attacking progressive City Councilor Isaac Benton.

That PAC reported using Ginsburg’s money to hire a shadowy California business to run the campaign. Yesterday, Benton’s campaign shed some light on the shadowy group supporting his Republican opponent.

The California firm the PAC hired, the Barbarosa Social Club Inc., isn’t really a club and its not really in California either. It’s a company run by former GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Turner’s brother, Adam, and it’s California address is really just a mailing address that forwards to the offices of Republican Doug Turner’s non-partisan PR firm, formerly DW Turner now called Agenda.

We dug further and found that DW Turner/Agenda’s staff signed the paperwork to start Ginsburg’s PAC and that PAC hired Barbarossa for "consulting" "mailing" and "design." Barbarosa turned around and hired DW Turner/Agenda to design those the negative attack mail coming out of the campaign, all without Republican fingerprints on it.  Pretty slick, huh?

At Cottonmouth of Mississippi, Ryan Brown takes note of the fact that the state Senate Conservative Coalition Opposes: Haley Barbour:
A mouthpiece for the Senate tea party caucus has broken Ronald Reagan's 11th Commandment: speaking ill of another Republican. This time, the Senate Conservative Coalition Opposes: Haley Barbour.

The same Haley Barbour who led the Republican rise in Mississippi has now drawn the ire of Senate conservatives. One of their arguments is that Barbour spends his time flying around the country hosting high-dollar fundraisers with his "cronies," "like clowns for hire," raising money for candidates who will work against those who can't afford to attend such fundraisers. I don't think anyone is surprised that after his service as the Republican National Committee Chairman, lobbyist, candidate, Republican Governors Association Chairman, SuperPAC consultant, and another round as a lobbyist that he isn't an expert on political fundraising.

Additional links to and excerpts from progressive state blogs can be found below the fold.

At Bold Nebraska, Mark Hefflinger gives us Jane Kleeb's Testimony Before Congress on Keystone XL:

Bold Nebraska
I’m Jane Kleeb, the executive director of the grassroots group Bold Nebraska. As a great Republican President once said, “no man may poison the people for his private profit.” I believe President Teddy Roosevelt was right. In Nebraska, we are fighting to keep the Keystone XL pipeline from crossing the delicate Sandhills and risking our critical water resource, the Ogallala Aquifer.

When Keystone 1 was built across our state, Nebraskans didn’t know much about oil pipelines or tarsands. As a state, we did not see a huge economic boom. As a nation, we did not see a huge employment boom. The $1.8 billion dollars that TransCanada claims our state will see must have been paid in Monopoly money because the majority of counties along Keystone 1 actually lost tax revenue during the construction period. [...]

At Blue Hampshire, Matt Murray writes The Working Poor Are Becoming Homeless and Congress’ Response Defund The ACA:
Blue Hampshire
Today The New York Times posted an article “In New York, Having a Job, or 2, Doesn’t Mean Having a Home” and if you have not already read it, you should.  It tells the stories of people who work in NYC and are forced to live in a homeless shelter. [...]

Why are more people not outraged that over one-tenth of the people living in America are living in poverty? We should be screaming at our legislators to create policy to help these people lift themselves out of poverty by increasing the federal minimum wage.  Instead they are work to repeal Obamacare and cut SNAP programs. With all of its faults, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is already showing signs of progress when it comes to helping the uninsured.  

At the Madville Times of South Dakota, caheidelberger writes what good it may do Senate candidate Rick Weiland [to] Get Help from Anti-Nuke Council for a Livable World:
Madville Times of South Dakota
No more nukes! You don't hear that campaign slogan in South Dakota much. But maybe Rick Weiland is adding that line to his list. David Montgomery reports that the anti-nuke Council for a Livable World is endorsing Weiland in South Dakota's U.S. Senate race. [...]

South Dakota's nuclear missiles are gone, and Ellsworth AFB appears to be packing only conventional heat. [...]

But the CLW advocates on issues well beyond nuclear weapons. They support reducing military spending on low-/no-return projects like missile defense in favor of a more expansive, "robust" array of security projects that include law enforcement, intelligence, immigration policy, border security, foreign assistance, economic development, and diplomacy. CLW digs diplomacy even with Iran and North Korea. They responded with deep concern (as did Weiland) to President Obama's threat to bomb Syria; they'd likely see Republican candidate Annette Bosworth's call for a larger U.S. war with Syria on behalf of Israel for what it is: crazy. [...]

As Mr. Montgomery notes, CLW spends some serious money on elections, so Team Weiland should be glad of the help.

At Texas Kaos, Libby Shaw writes Earth to Senator Ted Cruz: Texas Needs Obamacare. Big time.:
TX Senator Ted Cruz, apparently in an effort to woo the rabid right of the Tea Party base for a potential candidacy in the Presidential Republican primaries in 2016, has been raving about the need to repeal and/or de-fund Obamacare.

Dude. It isn't going to happen. And you know it. Well-known and nationally recognized conservatives have said as much.  

Obamacare will not be repealed or defunded. Deal with it.

And yet the Senator continues to tell lie after lie about the Affordable Care Act. Of course, like most members of the GOP, Cruz will run to the opened and willing arms for right wing corporate propaganda, Faux Fixed News where hosts will let him say anything, whether or not true. Which is why Ted Cruz would never appear on Martin Bashir, Rachel Maddow or Lawrence O'Donnell's news programs. First question out would have been: "How does Obamacare kill jobs?"

At Scrutiny Hooligans of North Carolina, Tom Sullivan turns the spotlight on the latest in an old scam in This Week In Privatization:
Scrutiny Hooligans
You know the joke about the con man who tries to sell some sucker the Brooklyn Bridge? Of course you do. It’s an obvious con because everybody knows the Brooklyn Bridge is public property. Now listen up, pal, or the next joke may be on you.

Investors that failed to privatize Social Security under the Bush administration and who got badly burned in the crash of 2008 are looking to get their hands on public property at bargain prices. Even the Brooklyn Bridge is not out of the question.

Public private partnerships are a hot, new investment vehicle. PPPs are a way for getting public infrastructure—that you, your parents, and their parents’ parents paid for and maybe even built with their own hands—out of public hands and under the control of private investors who are more than happy to sell your own property back to you at a tidy profit. A turnpike here, an airport there, or your city’s water system.

Psst. Hey, bud. C’mere. I got this bridge in Manhattan…

At Eclectablog of Michigan, Eclectablog writes Michigan unemployment up 3 months in a row. Is it possible screwing over schools, cities, & workers isn’t working?:
Eclectablog logo
As I mentioned yesterday, Donald Trump was all “Heckuva job, Ricky” on Twitter a couple of days ago, complimenting Governor Snyder on Michigan’s “great progress”.

I’m thinking he wasn’t aware that today the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget would be announcing that, for the third month in a row, Michigan’s unemployment rate went UP. It’s now at 9.0%, up 0.2% from last month. The national unemployment rate is only 7.3%.


I asked this question last month and I’ll ask it again today: now do we get to ask where all the jobs are?…

At R.I., Bob Plain writes Gist won’t meet with students, will meet with GOP:
The Providence Student Union, a group of inner city high school students who have made national news organizing against high stakes testing, have begged [Rhode Island Commissioner of Education] Deborah Gist to engage them and she has systematically rebuffed their requests. She’s even has gone so far as to publicly encourage others to ignore them.

On the other hand, she’ll gladly make time for the Rhode Island Young Republicans.

Ignoring student activists and engaging conservative politicians is just one of the many ways Gist continues to be a divisive force in public education. On Friday, she claimed to have not read a report that was critical of teacher evaluations, a major initiative of hers and, not to mention, the subject of her PhD thesis.

At Montana Cowgirl, Cowgirl reveals a little something happening Again in Butte, The Titans of Industry:
Cowgirl of Montana logo
Max Baucus is starred in his own show this week, the Economic Summit in Butte, with headlines describing the firepower he’s brought in, the impressive list of CEOs. It makes Baucus look powerful, and of course a big event in a Montana city is good for the city, fills up hotel rooms and bars and restaurants and rental cars and so on.

But a few observers, including the Helena Vigilante and the New Republic, have observed that the conference is not all that it seems, and is much more than one might immediately realize. They have noted that these captains of industry have come at a price. They have agreed to come kiss Baucus’s ring because he is the man that, as chair of the Senate Finance Committee, doles out corporate tax breaks and statutory loopholes in federal law, which allow major American corporations, and CEOs, to pay an astonishingly low tax rate, the lowest in American history, and to screw consumers and citizens.

At Show Me Progress of Missouri, Michael Bersin writes Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R): You really know who your friends are:
No, we don't make this stuff up. Today, from Representative Vicky Hartzler (R):

I rise today to speak against the discriminatory practice of the Southern Poverty Law Center, through the use of so called hate mapping and its proliferation of intolerance. While the group claims to be dedicated to fighting hatred and bigotry, the Southern Poverty Law Center has instead placed itself at the forefront of Christian persecution and religious intolerance. Because of its misplaced hate mapping, on August fifteenth of last year Floyd Lee Corkins entered the Family Research Council and shot and badly wounded building manager Leo Johnson who stopped Corkins' intended killing spree. The SPLC's radical intolerance of traditional values is not only hyper polarizing but spurred on this violence. Spreading discrimination against those who believe in traditional values is not, in fact, fighting hatred. Rather, it is espousing further bigotry. Our country was founded on the principles of religious freedom. When the SPLC demonizes any group or person who remains steadfast in their religious convictions it only increases the amount of intolerance in our society. So, I ask my fellow members to join me in fighting against religious intolerance in the world today by calling for an end to religious intolerance against all groups, including those with Christian beliefs [...]

Is this about gun control? Just asking.

Show Me Progress
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