|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.|
While we normally do not delve into national politics (we have quite enough to do to keep up with the jesters on the fourth floor of the State Capitol), we have decided to offer up our solution to the impasse in Washington, aka the federal government shutdown.
If the board of a larger corporation like, say, Wal-Mart disagrees with the company’s CEO or president, there are no closures of Wal-Mart stores. That would be self-defeating in every respect. Corporate profits would plummet, consumers would buy elsewhere and the stockholders would elect new board members and new officers.
So how is it that Congress—America’s corporate board—can shut down company operations because of disagreements among themselves and with the President—the country’s CEO? Is our national company that near bankruptcy, financial collapse, that hysteria is now the order of the day when it comes to running the store?
At Mississippi Economic Policy Center, Sara Miller writes Racial Disparities Persist in Poverty and Median Income:
At Show Me Progress of Missouri, Michael Bersin asks Uh, isn't that the point of civilization?:Last week, we posted on updated poverty data for Mississippi from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2012 American Communities Survey. It showed that in 2007 one in five Mississippians lived in poverty and in 2012, just five years later, the number grew to one in four. The graphic below shows what the 2012 poverty data means for Mississippians of difference races.
The latest data show the percentage of African-American Mississippians living in poverty is over twice the percentage that of White Mississippians. Median income among African-American Mississippians is over $20,000 lower than that of White Mississippians.
One key to addressing these disparities is investing in K-12 and higher education. Educational attainment impacts the economic success for all Mississippi families and the competitiveness of our state’s workforce.
There was a story on one of the morning infotainment shows early today about a restaurant chain franchise donating one day of profits to help make up some of the loss in survivor benefits for military casualties which have been suspended due to the government shutdown. The person representing the franchise stated (paraphrased), "If enough people contribute it can be taken care of..."Please drop below the fold to read additional progressive state blogs.
I believe that's the point of taxes in a representative democracy.
I await the arrival of a giant asteroid.
At Dirigo Blue of Maine, Andi Parkinson writes Federal Government Shutdown Having Major, Immediate, Widespread Effect On Maine:We didn’t get to this impasse in Washington, D.C. in the last two weeks. The situation has been developing since the passage of two versions of a budget back in March, 2013. The timeline so far looks like this:
January 1, 2013: House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announces that he is no longer going to negotiate directly with President Obama. [The Hill]
January 18, 2013: The Republican Retreat at Williamsburg, VA reported as yielding recommendations that a short term debt extension could be a bargaining point, but the “full faith and credit of the U.S.” should not be risked. However, conservatives were divided about the debt limit. [NY]
February 14, 2013: Freedomworks publishes guidelines for a coalition letter including: “Conservatives should not approve a CR unless it defunds Obamacare. This includes Obamacare’s unworkable exchanges, unsustainable Medicaid expansion, and attack on life and religious liberty.” ”Conservatives cannot support a CR that is above the sequester level of $974 billion annually. While many conservatives would prefer reprogramming defense cuts to other areas of discretionary spending (dollar for dollar cuts in the same year), the current sequester savings are better than none at all.” And noting that a “date change” is not accceptable. [...]
Maine Democratic leaders, who had faced similar gridlock and a potential shutdown locally earlier this year but managed to come together with enough Republicans to avert that situation by overriding Governor LePage’s budget veto (LD 1509) for our state were quick to respond: [...]
“The people of Maine and millions of Americans across the country woke up shaking our heads this morning,” said Speaker of the House Mark Eves. “We are tired of Tea Party politicians who are more interested in running our government into the ground than making it work. Now, more than ever, we must collaborate to move our state and country forward. Democrats are committed to doing so as we head into the next legislative session.”But when it was Governor LePage’s turn to respond, he minimized the effect of the Tea Party fueled shutdown ...
At Blue in the Bluegrass, Yellow Dog writes Too Misogynist Even for Eastern Kentucky:The government shutdown is one week old with no sign of stopping. Congressman Tom Latham is refusing to budge, standing with the Tea Party in demanding a delay in health care for millions of Americans just to re-open the government.
If only Latham could be reasoned with. But who could convince him? Perhaps … Tom Latham should listen to … Tom Latham.
In late August, Congressman Latham appeared at a town hall in Atlantic, Iowa, and said a shutdown would be “irresponsible” and have a “huge, negative impact.” He even opposed a shutdown as a way to stop Obamacare.
Join Progress Iowa and Daily Kos—tell Tom Latham to listen to… Tom Latham. He had it right in August, and he’s got it wrong now. Iowans and Americans can’t afford to live with his flip flop [hypocrisy] much longer.
At Blue Mass Group, Steve Grossman, the Democratic state treasurer who is running for governor, writes All employees deserve paid sick leave:No, that headline is too mild. This motherfucker went out of his way - multiple times—to say nearly outright that 13-year-old girls deserved to be sexually abused by an adult.
He's protecting child rapists so enthusiastically you'd think he was a catlick bishop.
He should be thrown off the bench and stripped of his law license.
Valerie Honeycutt-Spears at the Herald:The Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission on Monday public[ally] reprimanded an Eastern Kentucky judge for comments he made about juvenile girls during the sentencing of an male teacher convicted of sexually abusing the students.
Frank Fletcher, chief circuit judge for the 39th judicial circuit of Breathitt, Powell and Wolfe counties, commented that the defendant "was not blind and only human" and that some of the victims did not look their age, an order said. The victims were five 13- and 14-year-old girls who were the defendant's students, the order said.
At Blue Hampshire, you can almost see Hannah shaking her head as she writes Republicans cannot follow their own advice:People with the flu go to work sick because they worry about being fired. Parents send their children to school sick because they worry about losing their jobs. Others, too afraid to ask for time off from work, watch their aging parents suffer, unable to shuttle them between doctors’ appointments.
This is morally wrong and economically unwise. It’s wrong when we force our citizens to choose between economic security and physical or emotional well-being. We may never create equal outcomes, but together we must do all we can to provide equal opportunity.
That’s why I testified before the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development this month in support of a bill providing earned sick time to workers across this Commonwealth, a common-sense policy I first testified in support of seven years ago.
At 4&20 Blackbirds, lizard discusses Harry Reid’s Letter to Boehner: Ignore Your Base like We Do:To listen to Republicans is to listen to people who are seemingly at war with themselves, as if their subconscious were out to do them in. How else to explain a sentence such as this one from the mouth of R. Ted Cruz?When we look at the unemployment rate of African-American teens of 38.2 percent, the fast food industry has been such a great avenue for advancement for minority teenagers.That’s right up there with Barbara Bush opining that citizens being stuffed into the Super Dome after hurrican[e] Katrina blew through New Orleans was an improvement for the already “disadvantaged.”
Harry Reid is having trouble understanding what’s going on with House Republicans. Why can’t reasonable Republicans do to their base what reasonable Democrats did to theirs after the 2006 elections? I mean, it’s not like Democrats pulled this kind of hostage taking extremism when it came to the Iraq war, right? Charles Davis, in this op-ed, makes a good point about that. Why the hell not, Harry?At Nebraska Appleseed, Darcy Tromanhauser promotes a March and rally in Omaha Saturday for updated immigration laws:
When Democrats swept back to power in 2006, and took control of both houses of Congress, they promised to end a bloody and unpopular war in Iraq that bankrupted the country both morally and financially. And then, of course, they didn’t.Sure, stopping a war that was started on false pretenses would have really screwed up America. Devastating, to use Harry’s word.
In an October 2 letter to House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reminds everyone of that. In the correspondence, Reid notes that while he “hated the Iraq war” – after voting for it – his opposition never manifested itself in anything more tangible than a press release, much less a government shutdown.
“There were many gut-wrenching nights when I struggled over what I needed to do to end the carnage,” Reid writes, claiming to have hated the war he voted for “as much as you hate the Affordable Care Act,” the health care law popularly known as “Obamacare” that mandates the purchase of health insurance while requiring insurers to cover preexisting conditions. That law is at the center of the budget fight that recently led to a partial shutdown of the US government, with national parks closed and federal employees taking mandatory unpaid vacations to catch up on “Breaking Bad”.
“I could have taken the steps that you are taking now to block Government funding in order to gain leverage to end the war,” Reid continues. “I faced a lot of pressure from my own base to take that action. But I did not do that. I felt that it would have been devastating to America. Therefore, the Government was funded.”
At Calitics, Brian Leubitz writes PPIC's New Report Cites Voter Desire for Initiative Reform:Saturday is a huge day for Nebraskans who think NOW is the time to fix our outdated immigration system!
We want you to join hundreds of Nebraskans from across the state in Omaha Saturday afternoon as we march and gather to tell Congress now is the time to pass updated immigration laws that strengthen families, businesses, communities, and the future of our state.
The “Families’ March and Rally for Dignity and Respect” will bring together Nebraska families, faith, community, youth, labor, and immigrant leaders for a peaceful and passionate march in downtown Omaha, which will culminate in a rally at Heartland of America Park.
The Public Policy Institute of California is out with a new report on the California initiative process (PDF). The quick takeaway: voters love it, but want to change it. In fact, the percentage of voters saying that they like the system has stayed about the same over the past ten years. In their most recent poll, 72% of voters supported the system. Despite the fact that most voters spend a few spare minutes about the proposed changes, about six in 10 adults (57%) and likely voters (60%) say that the decisions made by California voters are probably better than those made by the governor and state legislature. All that positivity despite the fact that 63% of likely voters think that special interests have too much control over the initiative system and 67% feel that there are too many initiatives. So, there's that.
But, in the end we do pay those legislators to become experts on public policy, so why not use them? And it turns out that the voters aren't actually against that, and favor two common sense reforms that would align the use of the plebiscite with our representative democracy:Three in four adults say that the initiative process is in need of either major (40%) or minor changes (36%), while only 17 percent say it is fine the way it is.
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Eight in 10 (79% adults, 78% likely voters) favor having a period of time during which the initiative sponsor and the legislature could meet to look for a compromise solution before an initiative goes to the ballot. ... Overwhelming majorities of adults (76%) and likely voters (77%) support a system of review and revision for proposed initiatives to try to avoid legal issues and drafting errors. ... Lowering the vote threshold for the legislature to place tax measures on the ballot has solid majority support among adults (61%) and likely voters (60%). (PPIC Report)