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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, inside information and often an edgy voice that we just don't get from the traditional media. This week in progressive state blogs is designed specifically to focus attention on the writing and analysis of people focused on their home turf. Let me know via comments or Kosmail if you have a favorite state- or city-based blog you think I should know about. Inclusion of a diary does not necessarily indicate my agreement or endorsement of its contents.

At Left in Alabama,  leehedgepeth writes AL Representative Hurst to Reintroduce Human Castration Bill:

Left in Alabama logo
Alabama’s 35th District House Representative Steve Hurst has vowed to reintroduce a bill next legislative session that would provide for the physical castration of convicted child molesters whose victim was younger than twelve.

Representative Hurst attempted to pass the bill the last session, as well as twice more before that, but it did not make it out of committee review.

While Hurst admits that the bill is of questionable constitutionality, he has made unequivocal statements that a possible court challenge is not a detractor for him. [...]

Many civil and human rights groups are outraged. In March, Amnesty International released a statement condemning chemical castration as “inhumane treatment” “incompatible with human rights.”

The specific type of castration required by the proposed legislation, however, is even more invasive. As Hurst himself explained, instead of chemicals being used to prevent libido and sexual efficacy, under the proposed law “they would take [the offender’s] testicles out.”

At The Mudflats of Alaska, Jeanne Devon Militia Documentary Off Target?

state blogs: the mudflats
There has been a little flurry in the news about an upcoming documentary in the works featuring Schaeffer Cox, and the Alaska Peacemakers Militia. The film about “Plan 241″ is spearheaded by filmmaker Joshua Ligouri, but any reporting on it so far has been brief and peripheral. [...]

To some, Schaeffer Cox is a domestic terrorist, who conspired with members of his Alaska Peacemakers Militia to murder employees of the federal government including a judge, and amassed an arsenal of illegal weapons he’d use to foment bloody revolution in the streets of Fairbanks. He is a violent, mentally unstable criminal who is better in the hole than on the streets.

To others, he is a visionary, a brave and outspoken idealist, father and family man, son of a preacher, persecuted and prosecuted by a government gone out of control, which no longer represents the will of the people, and is willing to destroy lives in order to keep dissent at bay. He is the voice of resistance, and the patriotism of our founders, who stood against tyranny at the risk of losing everything, including their lives.

After a trial spanning six weeks in the summer of 2012 in Anchorage, the 28-year old Cox was found guilty and sent to prison for 26 years on a host of weapons charges, and conspiracy to commit murder of federal employees. A Sergeant in Cox’s militia, Lonnie Vernon, received an identical sentence. A third militia member, Major Coleman Barney, an electrical contractor from Fairbanks was the only one of the three charged, not to be convicted on the conspiracy charge and was sentenced to five years in prison, including time served which was almost two years at that point.

At Dirigo Blue, Gerald Weinand writes Was campaign contribution behind Collins’ plan to repeal medical device tax?
As the Republican shutdown of the federal government dragged on, Sen. Susan Collins proposed a scheme to end it. Her plan was for the President Obama and congressional Democrats to delay the implementation of a tax on medical devices (pace makers, artificial knees, catheters, and the like) for two years in exchange for enough Republican votes in the Senate – and presumably in the House – to pass a temporary spending measure to bring furloughed government workers back to their jobs.

The tax – 2.3% on sales of the devices – was similar to new taxes on hospitals, medications, and other health care items. With all the new patients and customers that the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) would bring to the industry, the tax is meant to help pay for the subsidies used to provide health insurance to the working poor.

Collins scheme failed, and the temporary spending bill passed without any concessions from Democrats.

It how comes to light that in June of this year, industry lobbyists hosted a fundraiser lunch for Collins [...] It is not clear how much was raised for her campaign at the time.

You can find more progressive state blogs beneath the orange gerrymander.

At Voice of OC, Adam Elmahrek writes Anaheim Neighbors Confront Police:

state blog
Anaheim police officers are met with confrontational crowds every time they answer calls for service at West Guinida Lane, a poor Latino neighborhood wracked with gang violence, police spokesman Sgt. Bob Dunn said in an interview Wednesday.

The acknowledgement confirmed that nearly a year after back-to-back fatal police shootings ignited a downtown riot and shattered the Latino community's trust in the police department, relations between the two groups have remained sour, if not worsened.

At a Wednesday news conference in Anaheim, one activist publicly warned that rising anger could lead to more riots.

At Burnt Orange Report of Texas, Natalie San Luis Here We Go Again: Deep Ellum Tries to Shame BOR for Calling Out Rape Culture:
Burnt Orange Report
I'm a feminist beer nerd with a sense of humor that involves 50% sex jokes and 50% puns about bodily functions. I'm not a "feminazi" (what is that even?). I laugh at funny jokes and can appreciate wordplay, and I've never considered the feminist community to be humorless. Quite the opposite, actually — the people most in touch with reality can frequently craft the most clever and quick-witted remarks.

That's why I found the Deep Ellum Brewing Company blog post defending their "Goes Down Easy" van to be as offensive as the van itself, if not more so.

The blog post was peppered with accusations that women simply can't take a joke — that they're too politically correct, that they take themselves too seriously. John Reardon, the Deep Ellum owner, told the women and men who criticized his marketing choice to "accept being an asshole and move on." He even tried to push the responsibility for rape culture on BOR: "If anyone is to blame for promoting such thoughts, it should be those interpreting the phrase to that level. Shame on you."

In his post, Reardon displays a complete inability to see past his white male privilege and understand the implications of his own joke. If he thinks it's funny to rate sexual experiences in terms of how "easy" or "hard" it was to pressure a woman to perform, he may want to revisit his partners' definitions of consent.

At Above Average Jane of Pennsylvania, AboveAvgJane writes Return of the Gun Boys:
There was another school shooting this week. That is worrying for many reasons but some of those reasons hit very close to home. Years ago there was a gun incident at my children's elementary school. No one was hurt but the parents were, as you can imagine, very concerned. The gun boys (as I think of them) seemed to disappear from the school, rumors abounded but nothing was known for certain. One of my children was in the same classroom as one of the gun boys so I took it all very much to heart.

Fast forward to today. Guess who's back? Yes, at least one of the gun boys, and yes, he's sitting in a class with one of my little snowflakes.  This pulls me in two directions.  I believe in redemption, though it does not sound like this gun boy is any more mentally stable now than he was then. I believe everyone deserves the chance for a good education, something the schools in my area provide. I also understand how disruptive the presence of one or more "acting out" students can be in a group. I know that as just a parent volunteer; teachers can probably tell a lot more alarming stories.

At R.I., Bob Plain writes Angel is in!
Providence Mayor Angel Taveras makes it official on Monday as the Providence Journal reports he’ll announce he’s running for governor next week. WPRI also reported the news last night.

Taveras, the “Head Start to Harvard” first Latino mayor of Providence is a champion of progressive values and local liberals are inspired by his candidacy in the same way we were with Barack Obama in 2008. A key difference is Taveras has executive political experience as mayor of the Capital City. He averted a financial crisis in Providence by negotiating compromises with organized labor and local tax-exempt nonprofits.

Taveras will likely square off against General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, who has come under fire lately for cutting public sector pensions and then reinvesting those savings in volatile alternative investments with high fees for money managers. Pundits anticipate a bruising primary, with Taveras receiving grassroots support from local labor unions and other Providence political activists while Raimondo will benefit from anonymous super PAC donations from wealthy Wall Street special interests.

At South Dakota Madville Times, caheidelberger writes GOP Old Guard to Rounds: Save Us, Obi-Wan! You’re Our Only Hope!:
Madville Times of South Dakota
Economist Simon Johnson recaps the immediate and the long-term damage the Tea Party has done to the American economy and concludes the only thing that can save us from the ideological excesses of the Republican Party... is the Republican Party:
In the American system, with its carefully conceived checks and balances, an organized and well-funded minority can do a lot more damage—as we have just been reminded. The only force that can rein in Tea Party extremism—and get the nation off the road to fiscal ruin—is resurgence among Republican moderates. Unfortunately, their recent performance has not been impressive [Simon Johnson, "A Very Expensive Tea Party," New York Times: Economix, 2013.10.24].
That's the plan of Karl Rove, deftly skewered this week by Jon Stewart as an effort to undo the very crazy conservative activism he helped ignite. The National Journal includes South Dakota's U.S. Senate race as one of the contests where establishment Republicans are planning to spend big money to beat back the ultraconservative ideologues who have upset the old order.
At Green Mountain Daily of Vermont, jvwalt asks Is this the best they can do?:
Green Mountain Daily of Vermont
Well hey, the race for chair of the Vermont Republican Party is heating up. So says our political media, which (following up on an initial post by Paul "The Huntsman" Heintz, although only VTDigger gave him any credit) has jumped on the emergence of two candidates like a house cat on a wounded bird. (After all, it's a rare day when there's any relevant, or even halfway relevant, news about the VTGOP. And the political media desperately want to cover the Republicans whenever they can, to "prove" their objectivity.)

Said emergence came, not coincidentally I'm sure, at the same time as sidelined party chair "Angry Jack" Lindley's recovery from a grave illness. (And I am truly happy to hear he's doing better. Get well soon, A.J.) After all, it would've been unseemly to launch a candidacy to replace a guy while he's still in intensive care.

But time's a-wastin', with the VTGOP set to elect a chair on November 9. And so, we have two candidates—plus, Angry Jack himself has not ruled out a re-election bid. (I seriously doubt he'll actually run. His health is too big an unknown, and his leadership was in question even before his illness.) I can categorize them as: The No-Hoper, and The Alleged Fresh Young Face.

The No-Hoper is our friend, John "Mr. MacGoo" MacGovern, last seen trying desperately to dig himself out of debt from his failed candidacy for U.S. Senate. You know, the one he lost to Bernie Sanders by a nearly 3-1 margin.

At Nevada Progressive, atdnext writes Action v. Obstruction:
Nevada Progressive
It happened again today. President Obama called on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) and do so soon. After all, they've been talking about it for how many years?

This past summer, the Senate took action. But instead of following suit, the G-O-TEA led House instead manufactured a crisis in order to please their crazy, "TEA" powered base. And Congress had to waste an entire month on finding a solution to the unnecessary manufactured crisis.

But now, conservative and business groups are applying pressure to the House in a last ditch effort to get CIR moving there this year. A critical mass has already developed across the political spectrum for CIR's passage. So why isn't the House moving?

We got the answer back in August, when town hall attendees asked Rep. Joe Heck (R-??!!) on CIR. He hemmed and hawed and mentioned piecemeal bills that have gone nowhere fast. But when he was asked about fictional "OBAMA SCANDALZZZ!!!", he lit up and went into detail on the "accountability" he's been demanding.

At OhioDaily, Anastasia Pantsios writes JobsOhio Not a Raging Success, Says Policy Research Group. Go Figure!:
I downloaded and have been perusing a study just released by D.C.-based policy research Group Good Jobs First titled "Creating Scandals Instead of Jobs.' [...]

Subtitled 'The Failures of privatized State Economic development Agencies," the report is a followup to one they did in 2011 that warned about the potential for lack of transparency and corruption in such "public private partnerships." It finds that these agencies are fulfilling that potential.

They begin,

Three years ago, newly elected governor in several states, most notably Wisconsin and Ohio, decided that the best way to create jobs was to transfer economic development business-recruitment functions to "public-private partnerships." The experiments in privatization have, by and large, become costly failures.

They continue,

We concluded in 2011, as our title suggested, that the real agenda behind these PPPs was not to make economic development efforts more effective but rather to more tightly concentrate the control over—and credit for—job creation events in the hands of governors and their appointees.

NO! Really?

At Delaware Liberal, jason330 I never thought I could like Terry McAuliffe…:
Delaware Liberal
mostly because I never thought a dyed in the wool, liberal hating, DLC simp like McAuliffe could ever be reformed. Times change.
WHY THE VIRGINIA GUBERNATORIAL CAMPAIGN MATTERS: Ron Brownstein has an interesting look at how Dem Terry McAuliffe’s embrace of liberal positions on social issues, gun control, and immigration highlights the Democratic Party’s larger increasing reliance on its new coalition of minorities, young voters, and college educated whites. Other red/purple state Dems are following this trend, and if McAuliffe wins, it will cement the emerging consensus that Dems should continue embracing liberal positions and rely less and less on the culturally conservative whites Dems used to fear alienating.
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