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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. Let me know via comments or Kosmail if you have a favorite you think I should know about. Inclusion of a diary does not necessarily indicate my agreement or endorsement of its contents.
Every week, throughout the nation, there are tales from legislatures and governor's mansions and the corporate world that make us all double over in laughter or pain. Henceforth, one of those tales will be highlighted in the new feature that I've named:

Priceless

Plunderbund blog logo
At Plunderbund of Ohio, Joseph fumes as Lobbyists get special ID card to bypass new statehouse security:
We reported back in May that the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board (CSRAB), under pressure from the Kasich Administration, was planning to implement tighter security at the Ohio Statehouse—including screens of almost every very visitor with security wands prior to entering the building.

The security wand initiative was presented as a compromise to an earlier proposal by Kasich to install metal detectors at every statehouse entrance. Kasich’s proposal came shortly after he tried to lock large crowds of protesters out of the Ohio Statehouse during an anti-Senate Bill 5 rally.

Under the new rules all visitors to the Ohio Statehouse, including teachers, firefighters and even police officers, like those who protested Senate Bill 5, will now be forced to go through security screening prior to entering the building.

Lobbyists will not.

At Politics North Carolina, Alex Jones writes Ad Man:
Politics North Carolina
Referring to JFK, Hubert Humphrey warned “Beware of these orderly campaigns. They are bought, ordered and paid for. We are not selling corn flakes or some Hollywood production.” Fifty-two years later, Pat McCrory sold lots of corn flakes. Regardless of the benefit of sugar-free cereal to obesity-stricken voters, McCrory shows that politics-as-entertainment must be reined in.

There’s no denying that Mayor Pat made a great ad man. Unlike Walter Dalton, he looked loose and likeable in front of the camera. He delivered lines like “we need a trustworthy government that treats us like customers” like the uncle you wished was your father. Nor has he lost his touch. McCrory, who sometimes golfed at Myer’s Park Country Club (join-up fee: $40,000), really does seem like the he’d shun the fashionable set to talk to middle-class parents.

Just like Arnold Schwarzenegger, this compelling actor has made a remarkably bad governor. He’s let bureaucracies run out of control. Like Ronald Reagan, he struggles to distinguish fantasy from reality, fudging the facts to make them a fun story. He contradicted a previous casting to become a new, “family” (“values”)-friendly character. In the McCrory administration, the cinematic collided with the real, and real people lost.

At The Mudflats of Alaska, Jeanne Devon writes Palin Disappointed by Potential Clinton Nomination:

Red Alert! We have a potential political situation here, people.
Perennial thinkin-about-it candidate and Fox News on-again off-again noisemaker Sarah Palin is at risk of being disappointed. Disappointed in YOU, America. That’s right. You may not live up to the expectations of the ex-half-governor. Sit with the shame for a moment. Sit silently.

Palin has announced via her megaphone at Fox News that she would be “disappointed” in the American electorate if Hillary Clinton becomes a serious candidate for president in 2016. The woman on whose shoulders Palin stood with her Naughty Monkey pumps, humbly thanking her for putting “16 million cracks in that glass ceiling” is now in her Disappointment Doghouse. Because… Benghazi.

state blogs: the mudflats
There are a bunch more of these below the fold.

At Left in Alabama, countrycat writes Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III Takes Sides In The GOP Civil War:

Left in Alabama logo
Those in the country who still wax nostalgic for the Civil War might turn their attention toward "The Late Unpleasantness" that is ongoing in the Republican Party.  The battle lines are drawn between the TEA Party and business wings, and the mainstream party leadership must surely be rueing the day it caught that TEA Party tiger by the tail.Tea Party GOP clowns

As we wrote just over a year ago after the primary party purges:

While it's entertaining to watch the GOP slowly self-destruct and race happily down a rutted path that leads inexorably towards the cliff of political irrelevance, it is bad for the country in the short term.

Far too many people just don't believe how extremist these guys are.  It's not just a clown car, people!  It's an armored clown bus filled with unstable extremists hostile to civil liberties, Social Security, public education, compromise of any sort, and civil society.  They're the clowns of your nightmares:  they're in charge in many statehouses and running the US House of Representatives.

At Blue Cheddar of Wisconsin,  bluecheddar writes Another half-baked front group with most favored wingnut status: Choose Life Wisconsin:

blue cheddar blog of Wisconsin
Welcome to yet another post on yet another anti-abortion piece of legislation taken up by our state despite the fact that Governor Scott Walker says nobody talks to him about these issues and alllllll he cares about are jobs.*

Yesterday I attended the latter half of a hearing on a bill to allow a Wisconsinite to voluntarily select a “CHOOSE LIFE” vehicle license plate, the proceeds of which go to an organization called “Choose Life Wisconsin”. [AB 206] [...]

Choose Life Wisconsin may sound like a suicide prevention group but it is in fact a corporation with Julianne Appling acting as president. You may know Ms. Appling from her attempts to fight all things gay such as when she urged members of her group Wisconsin Family Action to shut down a drag show in Appleton due to its “shameful display of sexual immorality”.

At Blog for Arizona, Bob Lord writes Phoenix CD4: When Honesty Is Not The Best Policy:
Honesty generally reflects favorably on a candidate.

Except of course when it unmasks a worldview that by itself is a disqualifier.

On that front, this statement reportedly made by Justin Johnson in the Phoenix CD4 race is a doozy:

Q: Starting with Justin, which City Council and mayoral candidates have you financially supported?

A: (Johnson): I would say, every single council member that’s on the City Council today. I’m in the construction business. I’m a general contractor, and we often submit plans to the City, and it’s nice to have people to call down there, to ask for help on what the process is, how we can make it smoother, how we can make it better.

No commentary necessary on this one, huh?
At Blue Oklahoma, DocHoc inquires Is It Time For Medical Marijuana In Oklahoma?:
It should be increasingly clear by now that popular support for the so-called "war on drugs" declared by the late President Richard Nixon in 1971 has been waning while more and more people back the outright legalization or decriminalization of marijuana use.

This is confirmed by a new Sooner Poll, commissioned by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), which shows state support for the legalization of medical marijuana and the elimination of the possibility of jail for people charged with minor marijuana offenses. [...]

The poll found that 71 percent of voters here were in favor of allowing physicians to treat patients with marijuana. As NORML points out, 20 states and Washington, D.C., have already enacted such laws. Could Oklahoma become a medical-marijuana state? I believe it's not only possible but could lead a mini-economic boom here as growers and sellers set up shop and start to pay taxes.

Blue Oklahoma, state blogs
At Nevada Progressive, atdnext writes Hickey's Honest Hiccup:
Nevada Progressive
While most of our attention has been focused on Washington lately, we can't completely ignore recent rumblings from Carson City. One, in particular, is quite disturbing. And of course, it's the one from everyone's favorite Nevada G-O-TEA bomb thrower, Assembly Member Pat Hickey (R-Reno).

In a recent conservative talk radio interview, Assembly Member Hickey experienced some diarrhea of the mouth got candid about Republicans' plan to win the 2014 Election cycle. In short, they're hoping you don't vote.

At Frying Pan News of Los Angeles, Gary Cohn writes Exclusive: Pension-Cutting Ballot Initiative Revealed:
Frying Pan News
In a move to slash the retirement benefits of public employees in California, a group of mostly conservative policy advocates has been working behind the scenes on a possible 2014 ballot initiative. A copy of the still-secret draft initiative, which could dramatically impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of Californians and send a signal nationwide, has been obtained by Frying Pan News. [...]

If enacted, the proposed law would allow the state and local governments to cut back retirement benefits for current employees for the years of work they perform after the changes go into effect. Previous efforts to curb retirement benefits for public employees have largely focused on newly hired workers, but the initiative would shrink pensions for workers who are currently on the job.

“This initiative defines that a government employee’s ‘vested rights’ only applies to pension and retiree healthcare benefits earned for service already rendered, and explicitly empowers government employers and the voters to amend pension and retiree healthcare benefits for an employee’s future years of service,” the private draft states.

In other words, current state and municipal workers’ retirement benefits will only be partially guaranteed by the number of years they have already worked; from the time the initiative becomes law, the accrual of those benefits will be drastically curtailed.

At Taking a Left Turn in South Dakota, M Larson writes Help Daugaard Make the Right Choice:
state blog Taking a Left Turn in South Dakota
[Gov. Dennis] Daugaard seems a bit confused about what to do with expansion of Medicaid, but he is leaning to his right against the expansion and making tens of thousands of South Dakota citizens eligible for insurance coverage under Medicaid. I would like to offer him some advice to Mr. Daugaard on why he should lean towards the citizens and away from party politics.

Reason #1: The expansion would have a large benefits to many young, working citizens (voters) in South Dakota. According to South Dakota Medicaid Opportunities and Challenges Task Force

61% of the uninsured population up to 138% FPL is between the ages of 18 and 34. 54% of people up to 138% FPL are working, and 57% of working individuals are employed full time.

These members of our society are the ones trying to raise a family, trying to establish themselves for further growth and become the future leaders, trying fulfill the American dream by having a better life than their parents. These are also able-bodied adults (many of them) that despite working full-time still can not afford health care.  This is a point that Cory Heidelberger made and showed that it would be very cost beneficial
At Blue Virginia, lowkell writes KABOOM! That Was the Sound of Ken Cuccinelli's "Narrative" Exploding:
Bye bye Cuccinelli "narrative."
Fairfax Chamber's NOVABizPAC Endorses in Virginia Statewide Races
PAC Endorses Terry McAuliffe for Governor, Senator Ralph Northam for Lieutenant Governor and Senator Mark Herring for Attorney General
Keep in mind that this is one of the major business groups in the state, one that endorsed Republican Jerry Kilgore for governor in 2005 and Republican Bob McDonnell for governor in 2009. Unlike the overwhelmingly Republican NOVA Tech Council PAC and its absurd endorsement of Ken Kookinelli, the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce actually knows where its own interests lie: in maintaining a healthy business environment, including a healthy transportation system, so Virginia businesses can actually...conduct business! (I know, what a concept) This endorsement really demolishes whatever "narrative" Ken Cuccinelli was trying to create off the NOVA Technology Council PAC endorsement. The fact is, business does better under Democrats like Mark Warner and Tim Kaine (and Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, under both of whom the stock market boomed and the economy recovered from Republican recessions), rather than under right-wing ideologues like Bush/Cheney, Bob McDonnell, or (god forbid) Cuccinelli/Jackson/Obenshain.

Speaking of Jackson and Obenshain, the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce most certainly did NOT endorse those wackos either.

At Bleeding Heartland of Iowa, desmoinesdem writes Will Branstad fix the mess his mental health funding veto created?:
Bleeding Heartland
Iowa's constitution allows the governor to line-item veto provisions in appropriations bills, and Governor Terry Branstad has used that power to overrule legislative decisions on many spending proposals, large and small. Among this year's line-item vetoes, perhaps the most controversial was Branstad's surprising decision to ax $13 million for mental health services. That line item was intended to cushion the blow for counties as Iowa reorganizes its mental health care delivery system. (In the past, available care depended greatly on a patient's county of residence.) Despite broad bipartisan support for this appropriation and a large state budget surplus, Branstad decided that counties didn't need extra help with mental health services.

This week four Democratic state senators and one Republican asked Branstad to help fix the mess he created, which has already led to some service cuts.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 08:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Your Government at Work.

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