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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, countrycat writes—GOP Supermajority Adds Another "G" To Agenda With Anti-Gay Vote:

Left in Alabama, state blogs
The party who promised a legislative agenda consisting of God, guns, & girl parts, added another "G" to the list in an unexpected vote yesterday.  After privately promising Alabama's only openly gay legislator that he wouldn't allow the a bill calling for a constitutional convention to ban marriage equality in the US to come up, well..... surprise! Speaker Mike Hubbard lied.
One Alabama lawmaker is crying foul after the Alabama House today approved a resolution calling for the United States Congress to convene an Article V constitutional convention to ban same-sex marriage.

Resolutions are frequently passed en masse, and lawmakers rarely pay them much attention. The description of the resolution on the House Rules Committee report did not specify what the convention would address.

So, they passed it without reading it, but Rep. Todd knows that if she asked for reconsideration, the assembled spinless sad sacks would fall all over themselves to approve it all over again.

Speaker Hubbard, who is well aware of his power to kill any bill he dislikes (because he does it frequently), has his spokeswoman describing him as impotent:

... the House speaker does not control the state House Rules Committee, she said.
At The Mudflats of Alaska, Jeanne Devon writes—GOP Leader Threatens Sexual Assault Council:
Speaker of the House Mike Chenault (R-Nikiski) is throwing rape victims under the train to get the governor’s out-of-state buddy on an Alaska gasline board. You’ve got to hand it to him; the lengths to which he will go to demonstrate his lack of common decency are not half-assed. In a state where 37 percent of women report having experienced sexual violence, and where rape statistics are three times the national average, Mike Chenault proves that for those like himself, there are more important things. Like getting the governor’s Texas buddy on the gasline board.
Mudflats blog
The premise of Chenault’s latest legislative effort is controversial in itself – he wants to specifically change the law to allow Outsiders from the Lower 48 to serve on Alaskan boards. Of particular interest to Chenault is the board governing Alaska’s proposed natural gas pipeline. It falls right in line with former Conoco lobbyist and current Gov. Sean Parnell’s illegal appointment of Dennis Mandell, who currently lives in Salinas, California, to the Trans Alaska Pipeline Services Assessment Board. That board is made up of folks that decide exactly how much the pipeline is worth, and how much the oil companies will pay in taxes. After public outcry, Mr. Mandell withdrew his own name from consideration.

But the governor, and the Speaker of the House are not easily dissuaded from welcoming invasive species into the halls of power.

So, if you’re Mike Chenault, and you want to get such a bill past the sentries at the gates of the State Senate, what might you do? You might stuff it inside something else that everyone else likes—like putting a distasteful pill inside a meatball, or a bomb inside a stroller, or the ever-popular “they never saw it coming” shit taco.

Check out more excerpts from progressive state blogs below the orange gerrymander.

At Delaware Liberal, cassandra_m writes—The Good News About Governor Markell’s Downtown Development District Initiative:

Today, Governor Markell has visited Wilmington, Dover and Bridgeville to announce the Downtown Development Initiative. You’ll remember that he discussed this in the State of the State Address and it is one of the multiple revitalization initiatives proposed by the Governor this year. The goal of this plan is to have 3 municipalities (to start, one in each county) propose and apply for a Downtown Development District, where development
Delaware Liberal
projects in line with the plan would be eligible for up to a 20% grant-in-aid rebate on investment. Investments could be for a single home — or for larger, transformative projects. The pool of funds available for this is proposed at $7M, shared by those doing the development. If the pool is oversubscribed, then developers would get a smaller share, but all developers would get some rebate. In addition, the Governor proposes to reserve $1.5M in the state’s Historic Tax Credits for use in the Downtown Development Districts, adding some additional incentive to help re-create the State’s Downtowns. [...]

Most of our regular readers know that I am a fan of cities and city living, and that I live in Wilmington. Full disclosure too–I live in an area that is going to try to be a part of Wilmington’s first Development District. So I see this as really hopeful. So do quite a few of my neighbors—both residents and businesses. The Wilmington announcement was standing-room only—with many members of the business community, the non-profit community, the development community, some of the Governor’s Cabinet, state legislators, Mayor Williams, some of his cabinet and city councilpeople. There was a good deal of excitement in the room and a good energy around an opportunity to build on some of downtown Wilmington’s successes and extend them westward. The trend to urban living is real all over the US and it is well past time that Delaware took advantage of the assets that its cities really could be.

At My Left Nutmeg of Connecticut, Larkspur writes—Is Gov. Malloy helping national GOP keep the House and take the Senate?:
At today's State Board of Education meeting, Governor Dannel "Dan" Malloy's appointees will vote to re-commit Connecticut to the Common Core and then vote to divert scarce public funds to new charter schools in Connecticut. [...]
My Left Nutmeg
One of the leading contenders in the effort to grab Connecticut taxpayer dollars is the Newark, New Jersey based charter school chain that proposes to open the Great Oaks Charter School in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Yes... Newark is where Stefan Pryor, Malloy's Commissioner of Education, worked before coming to Connecticut.

Pryor's Chief of Staff, Adam Goldfarb, also came from Newark and Goldfarb still sits on the board of directors of a New Jersey charter school company.

Initially the Great Oaks Charter School company proposed that they would be ready to open a charter school in Bridgeport in time for the 2015/2016 school year.

But in a sure sign that the fix is in, just last week, the Great Oaks Charter School quietly "amended" their application claiming they would now be ready to open this coming September.

The change appears to be part of a broader strategy by the Malloy administration to approve some charter schools for this coming year and then return after the election to approve other applications when fewer parents, teachers and public school advocates will be paying attention.

At Bold Nebraska, Mark Hefflinger writes—Study Shows Keystone XL Crucial to Tarsands Growth:
Bold Nebraska
Proponents of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline have long argued that the project would not significantly exacerbate climate change because Canadian tar sands will find its way to market with or without this pipeline.

This assumption was echoed in the State Department’s oil-soaked environmental impact statement, and has been repeated often by Canadian government officials like Transport Minister Lisa Raitt, who recently argued that tar sands expansion is inevitable and that the only question is how safely and efficiently it is moved. But a new study from Berkeley Professor Maximilian Auffhammer shows that Keystone XL is, in fact, necessary for the oil industry to meet its tar sands expansion goals, and without this particular pipeline, a significant amount of Canadian tar sands will stay in the ground.

Based on an analysis of current rail capacity and other existing and proposed pipelines, Auffhammer found that, without Keystone XL, roughly one billion barrels of tar sands crude would stay in the ground. By any standard, this represents a significant contribution to carbon pollution, leaving little question that the pipeline fails President Obama’s climate test.

At LeftWingCracker of Tennessee, Steve Steffens writes—I see what you did there, Commissioner Ford:
LeftWingCracker state blog
Commissioner Justin Ford is in a tough re-nomination fight for his re-drawn County Commission seat. During the redistricting, the parts of South Memphis surrounding the family funeral home at Florida and South Parkway were taken from him and given to Commissioner Walter Bailey.  Now, Ford's seat is primarily composed of Whitehaven and Westwood; while he is certainly known there, his strength is not as solid there as it was in South Memphis. [...]

My phone blew up this morning with news that the Commissioner was planning to challenge Congressman Steve Cohen—as an INDEPENDENT. This would have enabled him to avoid a primary; however, it would not have looked good if he were a sitting Democratic elected official who was undermining another Democratic nominee, regardless if it were the incumbent, Steve Cohen, or one of his challengers..

Then, it turns out that the petition was pulled but never filed, and by what Ford described as a "community group" that was not happy with the list of Democratic candidates for TN-09 and wanted him to run. Ford was later quoted as saying that he may consider a Congressional run in two years.

At BlueDaze, TxSharon writes—OMG! I am so shocked (not) that Texas lied about the cancer cluster!
Bluedaze
Um, hell yeah the state lied. This study sat in Governor Rick Perry’s office for months before they released it. [...]

The report concludes that there is a 95 percent likelihood that there were increased rates of leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in children in Flower Mound between 1997 and 2009 as residents questioned a possible link to natural gas drilling sites.

But let’s get real here:

Who thinks you can breathe hydrocarbons and not get sick?

Now, would someone (besides Earthworks) please study the Dish blood and urine study conducted by the state? Because, as I’ve been saying, the real results of that study are entirely different from the state’s spin.

At Keystone Politics of Pennsylvania, Colleen Kennedy writes—#HD182: Babette Josephs is disappointed. Me too:
I was present at the hearing today that ended in Former Representative Josephs’ removal from the May 2014 ballot. [...]
Keystone politics
Chris Brennan of the Philadelphia Daily News, who I was overjoyed to meet today, posted an article about this story, and with it, a quote from Former Representative Josephs:

“I’m disappointed of course,” Josephs said after the hearing, getting one more dig in on Sims. “I think it was important for the state representative there now to understand that this is not about him. It’s not about me. It’s about the people of the 182nd District and the people of Pennsylvania”

Does she mean that it’s about the people whose signatures were forged en masse? Does she mean it should be about the gentleman whose identity was impersonated as a circulator of petitions, meaning that someone not only forged his signature, but signed on an affidavit that he was holding accountable those who also allegedly signed the petition? If that’s what she meant, I completely agree. It’s not about a famous blogger who happened to be one of the forgery victims, and it’s not about settling old scores with political nemeses, no matter how much they may have earned that role in previous elections, which Representative Sims may have. I’m not the arbitrator of that political decision.

It’s about elections being the bedrock of our democratic republic. It’s about those who we elect to represent us actually getting there by legitimate means. We already know our politicians can be bought, that politicians can and have blocked our access to exercise our right to vote….but is it so idealistic, so naive to assume that our right to our own identity is a right that cannot be deferred, infringed, or denied?

At RI Future.org, Dave Fisher writes—SCOTUS McCutcheon ruling further erodes US democracy:
Prior to the McCutcheon decision, there was a limit as to what I could donate to any and all political campaigns within an election cycle. That cap was $123,200. I could spend that total in any way I saw fit, as long as  I abided by current FEC guidelines of  $2,600 per federal candidate in each primary and general election or $32,400 per PAC in each cycle.
R.I. Future.org
While the Supreme Court’s decision did not eliminate the $2,600 or $32,400 guidelines, it did declare the cap of $123,200 unconstitutional. This means I can donate $2,600 to any candidate in any state, and $32,400 to any PAC in any state, without restrictions, up to infinity dollars.

If I had the money to do this, I would, but therein lies the rub.

I don’t.

You don’t.

98 percent of the people in the U.S. don’t.

The McCutcheon decision has basically told big time donors that they can start buying candidates and PACs throughout the country, and in turn buy legislative influence.

At Blue Jersey, Rosi Efthim writes—Almost 1,000 Newark students walked out of school today. They want your attention:
It's a risky thing, to walk out of school to mount a protest. I've only done it once, the morning after Martin Luther King was killed after a black kid was roughed up by police for no reason. When word got to school, everything stopped, the older kids called assembly and not only was there no stopping them, the administrators, teachers and parents backed them. We surrounded the police station. I learned so much that day. About organizing, about taking responsibility for what you see is happening.

Today's students in Newark did something bigger, though they also took the risk that you may argue walking out of school is counter-intuitive and dangerous, particularly when the issue is their education.

But I'm in awe of them. They have plenty arrayed against them; their state government, some of their leaders, the press, corporations who want to profit off of them. But they intend for us to listen, and they're out front now.

At Louisiana Voice, tomaswell writes—Jindal health plan shows he wants to be POTUS in worst way—apparently the same way he has been LA. governor:
Louisiana Voices state blog
Presidential candidates are usually expected to exhibit voter empathy and to be spellbinding orators who are capable of mesmerizing of voters en masse. John Kennedy comes immediately to mind. So do Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. I mean, when Clinton took two steps toward that audience member in his debate against President Bush the First in 1992 and said, “I feel your pain,” Bush never had a chance. Clinton looked that voter dead in the eye and spoke one on one as Bush was checking his watch.

Jindal has all the empathy of Don Rickles, but without the charisma.

As for oratory skills, to borrow a line from a recent Dilbert comic strip, he should be called the plant killer: when he speaks, every plant in the room dies from sheer boredom.

So much for his strong points: let’s discuss his shortcomings.

Jindal believes—is convinced—he is presidential timber. The truth is he has been a dismal failure at running a state for the past six years and he’s already written off the final two as he ramps up his campaign for POTUS.

At Scrutiny Hooligans of North Carolina, Jeff Mclarty writes—The Union Business:
Scrutiny Hooligans
“The union business.” Americans Against the Tea Party put a Target corporate video up online that purports to help their employees protect themselves from the wolves of main street, those nasty union business guys. In it, unions are portrayed as just another business. One that is intent on stealing your money, taking your job, and ruining your prospects for employment. In exchange for your casual signature on a perfectly innocent-looking form. The trouble is that most people already believe this crap. It has become apparent to me, and I hope to the “union business,” that if the social and political ignorance peddled by corporations to prevent the resurgence of collective bargaining is to be fought and neutralized, it will have to involve a massive re-think of the organizing, funding and representational processes. The old model of how a union works, and how it serves its members has been killed. Short of a massive amount of overreach by corporations and a resulting wave of public resentment, there will be no way to make unions what they once were, and I doubt it would work even then.
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tennessee Ernie Ford (8+ / 0-)
    Commissioner Justin Ford is in a tough re-nomination fight for his re-drawn County Commission seat. During the redistricting, the parts of South Memphis surrounding the family funeral home at Florida and South Parkway were taken from him and given to Commissioner Walter Bailey.  Now, Ford's seat is primarily composed of Whitehaven and Westwood; while he is certainly known there, his strength is not as solid there as it was in South Memphis. [...]

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 08:03:55 AM PDT

  •  Jindal like many wannabes wants to fail up, (3+ / 0-)

    Must be on the contract when they sell their souls to the devil.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 08:12:57 AM PDT

  •  Jindahl can't kindle. (5+ / 0-)

    He repeatedly demonstrates that he's a non-presence, but like so many GOPpers he just wants a high enough profile to get a high paying lobbying job or RW radio gig.

    Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

    by judyms9 on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 08:32:49 AM PDT

  •  Coffman(R) vs Romanoff(D) in Colorado (6+ / 0-)

    Andrew Romanoff is a great democrat here in Colorado. He is giving incumbent republican Mike Coffman a huge challenge in Colorado's congressional 6th district. Hoping Kos will give this seat more exposure. Andrew would be a great voice for we the people in Washington.

    If we lie to the government, it's a felony...but if they lie to us it's politics.

    by rmb on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 08:44:00 AM PDT

  •  rust never sleeps (5+ / 0-)

    a really really good compilation here, congratulations.

    It's encouraging to see so much local people on the job, people we recognize even like TXSharon......that local people are organized, articulate, and calling them on their bs

    Thanks for this...thanks very much!

    This machine kills Fascists.

    by KenBee on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 11:17:36 AM PDT

  •  Thanks again (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, BMScott, oceanview

    Just posted a diary on a tax scam Scott Walker just put in place to fool people into voting for him.

    We need to keep our eyes on the states and the people who run them (into the ground).

    There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

    by Puddytat on Sat Apr 05, 2014 at 12:01:07 PM PDT

  •  Yes governor Malloy IS helping GOP.. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oceanview, Meteor Blades

    ..even as his advocacy for a higher minimum wage is a good thing, charter schools (many of them for profit and the advancement of the testing industry) is a bad move - imo - and could be a very strong issue that too many Dems seem to have let the GOP get away with, and even helped to further weaken  public education (and eventually re-segregate education itself.)

    I think of all the ways that the republican meme "I want my country back" could be neutralized and made to work for Dems and back-fire against the GOP by targeting the corporate take over of education if Dems would get ON IT and quit goofing around with privatizing/commoditizing our schools and the whole educatin system

    Expose what Diane Ravitch is working so hard to make people see. The"conservative" movement/GOP is turning education into a testing industry; a commodity for profit. Why are Dems on board with that?

    Daine Ravitch on Connecticut: Pelto: A Very Bad Day in Connecticut - April 3, 2014

    The State Board of Education voted to hand out $80-100 million over five years to privately managed charters, most known for excluding the neediest kids.

    And they voted full steam ahead on Common Core, pet project of the corporate elite, guaranteed to increase testing and costs of hardware, software, and materials with no known benefit to children.
    [...]
    Pelto concludes:

    “But whatever his reasoning, it is worth repeating again and again… Dannel “Dan” Malloy has become the most anti-teacher, anti-public education Democratic governor in the country.”
    New Yorkers would disagree. We accord that title to Andrew Cuomo
    We Dems could have a real electoral winner if we reminded folks that the good things that made it possible to earn a good living are being systematically stripped away by Big business "interests".

    And one of those institutions that we all built together was public education. It is now being gutted.

     Dems could add a new plank to their platform:

     'Let's get back to the days when education including college was free for anyone who applied themselves to study, not just for the those who can afford it'

    If people knew that there was a guarantee, no matter  what, that they could send their children to school including college as part of the American Dream again - wow - and that is what this blue collar worker would be supporting - out loud

    Thx MB for this weeks round-up

    And yes I'm sort of ranting but Pollution and health risks and union busting with stories from republicans that are opposite of the truth needs to come form more than just the progressive caucus. I'm hoping all Dems get on this too.

    So it's good to see Dems doing more of this -> taking the initiative and creating jobs by doing it - people are drawn together and towards that kind of action.

  •  Blue Jersey for Christie News. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson

         Of course, DK, as well.

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