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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.
At Blue Virginia, lowkell pounds GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli again in Cuccinelli's Extreme Contributors #2: "Father's Rights" Activist Who Compared Divorce to Slavery:
Today, we turn our focus to one Ronald K. Henry, who donated $1,000 to Cuccinelli on 9/24/13 (and $1,200 to date). Who is Ronald K. Henry, you ask? Here are a few "highlights" to give you an idea:

*He is a so-called "fathers'-rights activist." According to this article in the Huffington Post, the "fathers' rights" movement—to which Ken Cuccinelli has close ties, "contends that men are frequently the victims of false domestic violence accusations, and its activists have lobbied against no-fault divorce, which allows a woman to divorce her spouse without having to prove adultery or physical abuse." The article also notes that "Cuccinelli offered two bills as a state senator in line with the movement's objectives: one that would have prevented a parent from obtaining a no-fault divorce if the other parent objects, and another that would have encouraged judges to penalize a woman who asked for a no-fault divorce in custody and visitation battles." Lovely, eh?

*Henry wrote that Men suffer slave-era cruelties.

At Appalachian Voices, Rory McIlmoil writes How the Government Shutdown Effects Rural Energy Efficiency Programs:

Appalachian Voice state blog
While many rural electric cooperatives are waiting eagerly for the government to get back to work, others are moving forward on energy efficiency.

While some rural electric cooperatives are large and have the ability to provide valuable services to their customers, others are smaller, cash-strapped, and face administrative and financial challenges on a daily basis.

To reduce electricity costs for the customers, some co-ops look to federal funding to support programs that they see as beneficial to their customers.

The general consensus among co-ops is that federal funds are a vital source of support for providing reliable electricity and helping their customers pay their electricity bills — especially in rural areas where those bills tend to be higher and constitute a greater portion of a family’s income.

At Hillbilly Report, Hillbilly writes Senate Conservatives Fund Critical Of Mitch McConnell's 'Kentucky Kickback' In Debt Limit Deal!:
Jim DeMint founded the Senate Conservatives Fund and is now President of the Heritage Foundation. It appears that Jim DeMint's Senate Conservatives Fund and the Heritage foundation aren't too happy with Senator Mitch McConnell's efforts to raise the debt ceiling and end the government shutdown.
Senate Conservatives Fund
The Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF) criticized U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) Wednesday for allowing a $2 billion Kentucky earmark to be added to the debt deal he negotiated with U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV). SCF Executive Director Matt Hoskins made the following statement: Read more.
The Hill
The conservative Club for Growth and Heritage Action announced Wednesday that they opposes the Senate deal that raises the debt ceiling and ends the government shutdown. Read more.
Just in case you don't know, Jim DeMint is Elaine Chao's boss (they both work at the Heritage Foundation) and Elaine Chao is Senator Mitch McConnell's wife. I wonder how Elaine feels about Jim DeMint, her boss, picking on her husband?
You will find more links to and excerpts from progressive state blogs beneath the fold.

At Blue Cheddar of Wisconsin, Party like it’s 1776:

Is Representative Griffith’s tricorner hat so tight that it restricts blood flow to his head?

"Griffith suggested the House should reject an unfavorable agreement from the Senate, even if it resulted in a debt default that severely damaged the economy. […]

“I will remind you that this group of renegades that decided that they wanted to break from the crown in 1776 did great damage to the economy of the colonies,” Griffith said. “They created the greatest nation and the best form of government, but they did damage to the economy in the short run.”

At Blue Hog Report of Arkansas, dave suggests LET’S BROADEN OUR CIRCLE – WORST SPEECH AT THE VALUE VOTERS SUMMIT OF 2013:
Blue Hog Report
As the Tony Perkins annual event winds down, most of the buzz surrounds Ted Cruz.  But Mark Levin (a.k.a. “The Great One”) gave the faithful a stirring cry on how best to “take our country back”.  Mr. Perkins introduced the Great One as “one of the top constitutional lawyers in America today”, and that his new book “lays out a path to restore America’s founding principles”.

In a (very small) nutshell, Levin would use Article V of the U.S. Constitution to call two-thirds of the state legislatures together to propose new amendments to our founding document. Levin outlines his ideal amendments in his book, which range from a balanced budget to the repeal of the 17th amendment to a nationwide mandatory voter ID law. The procedural maneuverings would be too tedious to describe here; suffice it to say that even serious conservative constitutional scholars disagree over some of the details.3 Since this route has never been successfully navigated before, we can be certain there would be some “glitches” along the way.

So after listening to Levin, I did a little research. I started by reading Article V. Guess what? Article V requires something a little extra after two-thirds of the state legislatures call for the amendments — something Levin neglected to inform his listeners in this speech he made alongside Perkins.

At The Daily Kingfish of Louisiana, bucktownpirate comes out swinging in Oil Thicker Than Water:
Daily Kingfish, state blogs
Unless you’ve been asleep for the past several months, you’ve no doubt heard about the unfolding drama coming out of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority’s decision to sue 97 oil and gas companies to call them to task for their contributions to the degradation of Louisiana’s coast. The move by the SLFPA was as unexpected as it was paradigm-changing. Perhaps not since Huey Long have oil companies been accused, publicly and by a independent, non-partisan entity, of being anything more than our lord and saviors. Oil has always run Louisiana, like the blood flowing through our state’s veins. The rule of big oil has always been assiduously concealed by the great companies themselves. It’s the great web of influence that operates with a hush behind closed doors.

It’s not the product of ham-handed lobbying or gratuitous campaign contributions. Sure, there’s some of both, but that’s not why oil runs Louisiana. No, oil runs Louisiana because it has captured the cultural, rhetorical, reflexive order of things. You just don’t question it. It’s jobs! It’s our culture! It’s freedom! It’s free enterprise! It’s American energy security! And you don’t say a word. The tyranny of political correctness in Louisiana is that no one may speak ill of oil.

At The MountainGoat Report, MountainGoat suggests A Great Place To Start:
In the debate about where Idaho Democrats go from here, Dave Neiwert provides a great starting point at Crooks and Liars [emphasis added].
The profile of the kind of candidate Democrats should be seeking as they work to return to full power in Congress should be someone modeled after a politician like Cecil Andrus rather than a Walt Minnick: A proud liberal who was skilled at explaining and standing up for liberal positions and policies to rural and suburban audiences because he understood that, at the bottom, these are common-sense positions—and, if explained and marketed to voters that way, will win voters over to supporting Democratic positions instead of regurgitating Fox propaganda talking points, which is about all Republicans are capable of these days.
Amen.  Otherwise, as Dave says, it's just "lather, rinse, repeat."
At Blue Oklahoma, DocHoc finds that the GOP Sets Sights On State Pension Plans:
The latest manufactured crisis by the GOP surrounds the state's pension plans. According to Republicans, the  current $11.6 billion liability of these plans for teachers, state workers and first responders are creating a crisis that must be dealt with during next year's legislative session. Essentially, that means cuts in benefits for new employees, if not, eventually, for longtime workers.

But is there really a crisis? Haven't the fiscal foundations of these plans actually improved in recent years?

In a recent blog post, David Blatt, director of the Oklahoma Policy Institute, argues, "It should now be time to officially declare the 'Crisis in the Oklahoma State Pension Systems' to be over." Blatt carefully points out recent legislation that has actually made the state's pension plans more solvent.

Blue Oklahoma, state blogs
At Blue Oregon, Kari Chisholm asks rhetorically Did Greg Walden lie to voters?
Blue Oregon
We're having lots of interesting discussion about Congressman Greg Walden's decision to join the lunatic caucus and vote against ending the government shutdown and against raising the debt ceiling.

Among the comments was this, from former Labor Commissioner Jack Roberts (the last Republican to hold a statewide office in Oregon):

I think it's fair to say that Greg knew how the vote was going to turn out before he cast his. Sort of like Obama's vote against raising the debt ceiling when he was a senator.

Of course he did. Everyone did. Certainly, everyone in leadership did. [...]

The bottom line? Walden is being disingenuous. That he is, essentially, lying to voters about his motivations.

At Raging Chicken Press, Aaron DiDonato sends a media alert in Attention MSNBC: Corbett Medicaid Restriction Plan is NOT Expansion Under Obamacare:
Raging Chicken Press
It’s not unusual for part of a political narrative to be over-simplified to better fit the whole, but when a Republican governor proposes using federal funds from Medicaid expansion under Obamacare for private health insurance instead only if the federal government agrees to restrictions they want to put on the Medicaid program, reporting that as proposing Medicaid expansion under Obamacare is not an over-simplification, it’s a falsehood. But that is Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s Medicaid proposal, and MSNBC has nonetheless reported it as Medicaid expansion under Obamacare on multiple occasions.

Governor Corbett’s Medicaid restriction proposal is the most conservative alternative to Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare) in the United States. Arkansas recently became the first state to get approval from the federal government to spend Medicaid expansion funds from Obamacare on private health insurance, allowing those who would have been newly eligible for Medicaid to shop for private health insurance on the new state-based insurance exchanges. Of course that’s better than a state completely refusing the Medicaid expansion funds for any kind of health insurance for its uninsured people, but it’s not the same as Medicaid expansion under Obamacare.

The amount of money a state receives for Medicaid expansion or an alternative to it doesn’t change depending on the particular plan. Since private health insurance is more expensive than Medicaid, using the funds on private plans rather than the public Medicaid program means you can’t give as many people health insurance. The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center has estimated that Medicaid expansion under Obamacare would allow 600,000 – 800,000 currently uninsured people to get on the program.

At BlueNC, scharrison scoffs Meadows attempts to rewrite history over shutdown fiasco:
If you're going to lie, you might as well go for broke:
Despite being portrayed by CNN as an “architect” of the federal government shutdown, Congressman Mark Meadows said Thursday he fought up to the final hours to prevent it from occurring and worked hard over the last 16 days to stave off its impact on his district.

“My concern was two-fold,” Meadows said, explaining his vote. “One, we should've funded the government for a year. To have to go back through this in 90 days is not what any of us want to do. And we should've gotten rid of the congressional subsidy.”

This man is some piece of work. He's been courting the most radical elements of the Tea Party during this whole fiasco, and gladly taking credit for shutting down the government. But now that a super-majority of voters have condemned such recklessness, he's trying to weasel his way back out of his own mess. But you can't shove bullshit back into the bull
At Eclectablog, Amy Lynn Smith weighs in with her own praise as Michigan State Rep. Sam Singh named a top pro-growth progressive leader:
Eclectablog logo
This is the kind of leadership Michigan—and America—needs more of.

Let’s have a round of applause for State Representative Sam Singh (D-East Lansing), who was selected as one of twelve rising leaders from across the country to join the NewDEAL. This national network is committed to highlighting innovative ideas from state and local elected leaders who are pro-growth progressives.

Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland and U.S. Senator Mark Begich of Alaska, Honorary Chairs of the NewDEAL, recognized Representative Singh’s efforts to launch a technology business incubator that connects entrepreneurs with training and local university researchers to create new jobs.

Governor O’Malley had this to say:

Senator Begich and I have joined the NewDEAL because we believe we need to look for fresh ideas not just from the top down in Washington, but also from the bottom up, where innovative leaders like Sam Singh are developing and testing their ideas out on the ground.
In communities throughout the country, rising state and local leaders such as Sam Singh are proving that you can be both pro-growth and progressive, said Senator Begich. “The NewDEAL is designed to foster these types of ideas and these types of leaders.”

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat Oct 19, 2013 at 08:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Virginia Kos.

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