At The Left Hook of California, Louise Auerhahn writes—The Hourglass Economy is Real, Now What Do We Do About It?
Acknowledging the extremes of poverty and wealth in Silicon Valley may have been radical 15 years ago, but today even the business community issues reports highlighting the social and economic problems generated by the growing hourglass economy.At Blue Hog Report of Arkansas, Matt Campbell writes—The Disgustingly Self-Serving Hypocrisy of Rep. Josh Miller:
The question is no longer “Is the hourglass economy real?” We know that a third of households in the Valley do not earn enough to meet a basic self-sufficiency standard, and nearly a third of jobs in the Valley pay less than $16/hr. With homelessness spilling out from garages and car campers into riverbanks and public parks, the triple epidemics of underemployment, inadequate pay and soaring rents have become the Valley’s worst-kept secret.
The real question is: “What can we do about it?” At the community level, many of the reforms needed are out of our hands: establishing a national full employment policy, closing tax loopholes that favor outsourcing, reforming labor law, passing comprehensive immigration reform, transforming our trade policy into one that supports job creation rather than job destruction. Certainly we can advocate for our representatives to lead on these issues, but for most the real action is at the federal (or even global) level.
Excerpts from more progressive state blogs can be found below the orange gerrymander.When I saw that the Arkansas House of Representatives voted yesterday, 76-24, to fund the Private Option for another fiscal year, I halfheartedly hoped that the extra “yes” vote might have been Rep. Josh Miller. After all, the filing period had ended, and Rep. Miller had neither a primary challenger nor a challenger in the general election. Maybe, I thought, a lack of fear of losing his seat meant that Rep. Miller had finally come to his senses and had seen the hypocrisy in his “Medicaid for me, not for thee (at least if thee is poor)” position.
Instead, Miller remained a “no” in the final tally.
Now, just for all of the reasons detailed here, at the Arkansas Blog, and on MSNBC, Rep. Miller’s position would be troubling enough on its face. But I could think of some things that would look even worse. Say, for example, using your position as a legislator to make blatantly self-serving changes to the Medicaid law so that it’s easier for you to get the same coverage that you would deny to others.
At Burnt Orange Report of Texas, Joseph Vogas writes—Extreme Social Conservatives Lead In All Races for Republican Nomination of Statewide Offices:Check out this interactive map of all the oil and poison water spills that have happened and been disclosed in Western North Dakota over the past 13 years. You can zoom in and out on the map; I use the wheel-roller thingy on my mouse to zoom in and out. If you use your mouse to hover over the dots, you'll get a little information on each spill. If you click on a dot, you'll get even more information. Click on the link in the information box, and get even more information. [...]
Notice how close some of these spills are to Lake Sakakawea. Some are even IN the lake. Many are near tributaries to the lake and river.
If you live in Williston, Bismarck, Mandan or pretty much any other city along the lake or river, your drinking water likely comes from that water.
Kill some time poking around on the map while Wayne Stenehjem's oil company buddies kill the fish in our lakes. And us.
On Wednesday, The New York Times declared the Republican establishment beat the TEA Party because John Cornyn and Greg Abbott won their primaries. While Greg Abbott, John Cornyn, and George P. Bush cruised past minor league opponents to secure their own nominations, they were the exceptions to the overall trend across Texas. In truth, the most extreme social conservatives, often backed by Michael Quinn Sullivan and Empower Texans, lead in their races for statewide office.At Keystone Politics of Pennsyvlania, Jon Geeting writes—#PAGov: Can Tom Corbett Really Spend His Way Out of Trouble?
The race for Lieutenant Governor had establishment favorite, incumbent David Dewhurst finish in a very distant second place to State Senator Dan Patrick. Sen. Patrick, a conservative talk radio host, has been a constant advocate against most progressive issues but has taken his strongest stances towards privatizing the education system and against immigration and gay rights. Despite pleas from his hometown Houston Chronicle to vote for anyone but Dan Patrick, Patrick lead the Republican field with 41.45% of the vote. Dewhurst finished in second with 28.31% of the vote. Also-rans Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples got 17.76% of the vote and Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson got 12.47%.
The other major statewide offices, Attorney General, Comptroller, Agriculture Commissioner, and Railroad Commissioner, followed the precedent set by the Lieutenant Governor's race where the most extreme social conservative lead in Tuesday night's voting.
At SC Prog Blog, Rev. Pat Jobe writes—Why did I get arrested?So in our race for Governor, you sometimes hear people say “Yeah Tom Corbett looks weak now, but wait til he starts spending all that Gasland money.”
And yes, that’s going to bring a lot of fake “independent” Republican voters home, but look at the fundamentals and you’ll see that he’s facing major headwinds.
Private sector job growth has been stalling out under the Republican policy regime, and public sector job growth looks even worse. Corbett closed a bunch of schools and forced local school districts to make up for his education cuts with property tax increases, because of unfunded state mandates and such. Even the bloody natural gas jobs are in free fall, and Corbett’s been trying his very best to make those. It’s all bad, and he’s gonna lose even with the cleverest ads.
The young, Latino police chief, Ruben Santiago, could not have been more polite, more professional, more thorough. “I’m giving you one more chance to get out of the road and back on the sidewalk. You understand you are breaking the law and are about to be arrested?”At Plunderbund of Ohio, David DeWitt writes—What ALEC Has Planned For Ohio In 2014: Hurt School Districts And More Tax Cuts For The Wealthy:
I will not soon forget the anger and frustration on the faces of the Capitol police, the black Smokey The Bear hats whose job it is to protect and assure smooth operations to the members of the General Assembly as they photographed us and ignored me when I said, “Thank you for being here. Thank you for your service.”
Had we chosen to disrupt the immoral actions of the General Assembly on its property, on the jurisdiction of the men in the black hats, we would have faced a possible $5,000 fine and three years in prison. By blocking the driveway on a Columbia city street, we faced a traffic ticket, handcuffs, a ride in a police car and about an hour of processing in police headquarters. We also have a court date of March 28.
There are so many vignettes, so many questions, so many stories to tell but I think I’m out of bed at five in the morning because of the questions. Why did we do it? The refusal of the legislature and the governor to take billions in new Medicaid money is dooming tens of thousands of poor people to less than the best medical care available to their wealthier neighbors. We have medicine that saves lives. In many cases, an estimated 1,300 this year in South Carolina, the result will be death.
People are going to die.
Well it sure is nice of the radical right to provide a blueprint of at least part of their agenda this year. This way we know exactly what the crazy-and-dangerous soup du jour shall be in 2014.At Uppity Wisconsin, Man MKE writes—What the hell's wrong with Paul Ryan: Now dissing parents of poor kids who get free school lunches:
Koch Brother Industries’ pet model legislation agency, ALEC, over the last couple of years, has given us through our various state legislatures everything from attacks on collective bargaining (Senate Bill 5), to the Stand Your Ground laws, to “right-to-work,” to disenfranchisement bills, to moves to privatize schools andprisons, to anti-environmental protection legislation.
In fact, when one thinks of the attacks in recent years on teachers, minorities, science, homosexuals, unions, consumer rights, and those struggling with poverty, it becomes much harder to think of an initiative in our various states without ALEC’s fingerprints on it somewhere.
This year, however, ALEC’s State Policy Network was kind (or, at least, incompetent) enough to leave us a little list.
In Ohio, ALEC’s initiatives are typically a somewhat toned-down version of whatever horrible tripe they are pushing in other, more-amenable states like North Carolina, Arizona, or Kansas.
Forwarding an email from the Democratic Party's 2014 congressional campaign committee. Makes my tummy ache:At ColoradoPols, Colorado Pols writes—Ain’t No Party Like a Tea Party Party: Gardner Really Needs Hill to Drop Out:
Paul Ryan At CPAC: Free School Lunches Mean Poor Parents Don’t Care About Kids
We see Republicans say dumb stuff all the time—but what Paul Ryan said this morning really ticked us off:As you know, the national school lunch program provides meals to kids who might otherwise go hungry. But according to Paul Ryan, it’s proof that poor families don’t care enough about their children to feed them.
Ryan’s despicable comments about poor families are a perfect example of Republicans’ backwards philosophy. It’s that kind of disregard for the poor and middle class that gets us radical Paul Ryan budgets that sell out seniors, the middle class, and the poor for more millionaire tax breaks.
But if you don't believe the Democratic Party, read the independent dispatch from Raw Story at the URL below. UPDATE: And now it turns out that the specific little-kid-with-a-lunch-bag story Ryan told to make this point at the CPAC session wasn't even true. See new, additional link below.
So, Congressman Grinch, tell us this: When you were receiving Social Security benefits as a teenager after the death of your father (god rest his soul), did that mean your mother didn't care about you? I'm serious. There's a logic thread in there, somewhere -- if you're serious, that is.
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll released this week has some useful information on the Tea Party that may play a significant role in Colorado's GOP Senate primary.At Delaware Liberal, Delaware Dem writes—Chris Coons is a coward.:
Sean Sullivan at the Washington Post breaks down the relevant numbers. Yes, you've see this movie before, but it's worth noting that the Tea Party continues to be a problem for Republicans:
This data is particularly relevant in the U.S. Senate primary between Rep. Cory Gardner and state Sen. Owen Hill. Prior to Gardner's entry into the GOP field last week, Hill had been racking up some pretty strong Tea Party endorsements. Of course, Gardner has been a darling of the Tea Party as well since his 2010 campaign for Congress in CD-4, and he has enthusiastically voted with Tea Party positions during his time in Congress. [...]
By nearly 2-1, Republicans say a candidate's tea party affiliation makes it more likely they will vote for them, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. But by about the same margin, the broader pool of Americans is less likely to vote for that candidate.In short, it's generally a good idea for GOP candidates to embrace the tea party in a primary. But in swing districts and states, it's typically a bad one to do it—or at least to do it too much—in the general election.
All of this leads to a fairly obvious conclusion: Gardner really needs Hill to drop out of the U.S. Senate race. Sure, Gardner would be favored to beat Hill in a GOP Primary, but at what cost?
In one week, he has expressed an opinion about the Ukrainian crisis that should have come straight out of the mouth of Dick Cheney. [...]At Cottonmouth of Mississippi, Matt Eichelberger writes—Mississippi Baptists working legislators to pass "Turn the Gays Away" bill:
On Ukraine: “I frankly think this is partly a result of our perceived weakness, because of our actions in Syria.”Yeah, you can go fuck yourself, Senator Coons. And that is my opinion before we even get to this:
You, Chris Coons, are a coward. You face no opposition in your race for reelection. None. Literally. No one is stepping up to challenge you. And even if they did, and attacked you over this vote to approve this nominee, all you had to do is say that Adegbile is well qualified for the position and that his representation of Mumia was on constitutional issues after he was already convicted. And even still, are you not principled enough to stand up for the AMERICAN and CONSTITUTIONAL notion that every citizen, no matter what they are charged with, no matter their alleged crime, deserves a day in court and deserves representation by legal counsel? Are you that chickenshit to deny this basic right?
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), who is facing reelection this year and whose state sits within the Philadelphia media market, said he thought Adegbile was well-qualified for the position, but was concerned that he would face “visceral opposition from law enforcement on his first day on the job,” citing the opposition to his nomination by several law enforcement organizations.
I am ashamed to have voted for you.
Dr. Jimmy Porter, director of the Mississippi Baptist Convention-affiliated Christian Action Commission, wrote legislators this weekend asking them to pass SB2681, the Mississippi copycat of Arizona's "turn gays away" legislation.At Progress Illinois, Ellyn Fortino writes—New Report Finds Gaps In Educational Supports For Illinois Homeless Students:
The email, reproduced below, was accompanied by a letter endorsing the bill from a few law school professors to Speaker Philip Gunn (R-Clinton). The letter stands for the highly conservative position that since the state constitution already provides the protections established by SB2681, passing another new law couldn't hurt. (If there was a sarcasm font, I'd have used it in the preceding sentence.) By the way, the letter was written on the letterhead of University of Virginia law professor Douglas Laycock, who has done everything from defend the right of religious leaders to sacrifice small animals during ceremonies to advocate for same-sex marriage. I wonder if Dr. Porter knew all of that before he shared the letter?
Anyway, here's the email. WWJD, y'all?
[...]In fact, the Bible states "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" and that "God is not one to show partiality" (Gal 3:28, Acts 10:34). Furthermore, the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title II, clearly prevents any discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin in hotels, motels, restaurants, theaters, and all other public accommodations. Anyone who says this bill is about discrimination is not being honest, even deceptive, or they do not fully understand the intent of this bill. The days of denying the legality of a person's civil rights is over and should have never have happened in the first place.[...]
The number of homeless students in Illinois has ballooned over recent years with many of these children and youth unable to access vital educational supports, according to a new survey and report from the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.
Given the recent findings, housing advocates say it is crucial that the state restore funding for the education of students with unstable homes.
"We’ve got this exploding population, but yet districts don’t have sufficient resources to adequately serve them," said Patricia Nix-Hodes, associate director of the law project at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.
Updated figures from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) show that public schools across the state identified 54,892 homeless students during the 2012-2013 school year. That is up 109 percent since 2009, according to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless' report, “Gaps in Educational Supports for Illinois Homeless Students.”
Nix-Hodes said the uptick is likely tied to the sluggish economy and the high rate of foreclosures in the area.