At Eclectablog of Michigan, Eclectablog writes—Banks & insurance companies ask Detroit to eat its seed corn, obtain bids for billions of dollars for DIA art collection:
At Calitics, Brian Leubitz writes—Bloom's SeaWorld Orca Bill Dies in Committee:The Detroit Free Press is reporting this afternoon that Financial Guaranty Insurance Co. has filed paperwork with the federal bankruptcy court overseeing Detroit’s bankruptcy showing that several four separate investors have made bids on the priceless art collection held by the Detroit Institute of Arts worth billions of dollars. [...]
Some would paint this as a choice between art and pensioners. I would disagree and it is my hope that both the art and the pensioners will be largely protected. The large banks and their insurance companies made a bad investment and it should be them that pay the price for that lousy investment. Not the innocent Detroit pension holders and not by forcing Detroit to eat its seed corn by selling the precious art that it holds in trust for the entire state of Michigan.
More excerpts and links to progressive state blogs can be found below the orange gerrymander.With the recent negative coverage from the movie Blackfish, activists from across the nation were looking to the Assembly today. The orca hearings in Sacramento got a lot of press coverage, but the bill will not move forward this year:In a move that effectively kills the legislative effort for the year, the legislation aimed at ending SeaWorld's killer whale shows was sent to interim hearings. The author agreed to the committee chair's request when it became clear that the votes were not there to move the bill. The action spares legislators and SeaWorld the uncertainty that a simple defeat of the bill in committee would have brought since bills sent to interim cannot be reconsidered. Presumably, hearings will be held after the close of the legislative session that could shape the debate in 2015.(IVN / Shawn M. Griffiths)As you might expect, SeaWorld was very, very opposed to the bill and brought out all the stops. Their argument is fairly well laid out in this Fox5 video, but the short version is that the whales are better off performing because that is the most stimulating part of their day.
At HorsesAss of Washington, Goldy writes—Five Proposals for Making a “Tip Credit” Less Worse:
At Burnt Orange Report of Texas, Katherine Haenschen writes—Republican SBOE Member Asks if Non-Mexican Americans Will Be Included in Mexican-American Studies:To be clear: I don’t endorse inserting a “tip credit” into Seattle’s minimum wage ordinance. It would incentivize wage theft, while setting a terrible precedent for other lawmakers following in our $15 footsteps. Furthermore, despite its deceptive efforts to use small businesses and their tipped employees as a sympathetic proxy, the restaurant industry has failed to make a compelling argument as to why a tip credit is either necessary or proper.
But unfortunately, I’m not Benevolent Dictator (yet!), so as long as the politicians are debating a tip credit, I thought it might be useful to talk about how we might make the tip credit better, by using it as a tool for combatting both forced part-time employment, and wage and tip theft—two employment abuses that afflict many low-wage workers.
At the South Dakota Madville Times, caheidelberger writes—Belfrage: Practical Conservative, But Local and Idealist Liberal?It looks like Republicans' Hispanic outreach efforts have hit another bump in the road.
Republican [State Board of Education] Member Ken Mercer asked during a hearing on Mexican-American Studies if Cuban-Americans Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz would be included in the curriculum.
The debate centered on the potential creation of a Mexican American studies course that could be offered as an elective to the entire state. The SBOE would need to develop and approve the new course's curriculum.
Hispanic students are the largest ethnic group in Texas public school systems. The overwhelming majority are of Mexican descent. It should be common sense that Texas public school students should be able to learn about leaders who share their heritage. After all, it seems to be working out just fine for the white kids.
The fact that Ken Mercer cannot distinguish between Cuban Americans and Mexican Americans suggests that this coursework is sorely needed.
At Progress Illinois, Ashlee Rezin writes—Immigrant Rights Activists Arrested While Protesting Deportations At Broadview Detention Center:I've seen this disjunction before between national-level political squawking and local community improvement: when we need to pay teachers, pave streets, and put out fires, all the hollering about socialism and Obama and liberal-foisted dependency doesn't amount to a hill of beans. We just want our city councils and school boards to get stuff done. We work together through those governments to fix problems.
[KELO radio host Greg] Belfrage defends his federal conservatism/local liberalism (that is what it is, isn't it, Greg?) dichotomy by saying we citizens can better hold our local governments to account than we can the federal government.
Is Belfrage's fine distinction really all conservatives and liberals have been arguing about? Belfrage seems to be saying, "Government is not inherently bad. At the local level, vigorous government is good! Liberalism is really a good model for managing a community; it's just tougher to ensure liberalism works in larger communities, like nations." Is liberalism superior philosophically, requiring only the practical check of conservatism at scale?
At Left in Alabama, countrycat writes—Empower Alabama's Micah Morris: "Organizing Is Hard, But We Can Win Here":Eleven immigrant rights activists were arrested in Broadview Tuesday morning after linking arms in the street and blocking traffic near a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center to protest deportations.
Before the arrests, a few hundred people picketed outside the detention center, located at 1930 Beach St., as part of the national "Not One More" deportation campaign, urging President Barack Obama to use his executive authority to halt deportations immediately. Nationwide, activists with the campaign took part in more than 80 immigration-related actions over the weekend.
On Monday, local immigrant rights advocates began to march from ICE's downtown Chicago field office to the Broadview detention center, making stops along the way for a prayer vigil and other actions.
The two-day event culminated with a rally in front of the detention center, where activists chanted “Two million, Too many” to raise awareness about the nearly 2 million people who have been deported under the Obama administration.
At Plunderbund of Ohio, Abe writes—Koch Brothers: Like Father, Like Sons?Empower Alabama Regional Field Director Micah Morris discusses how her life experiences led her to choose a life/career of activism & organizing. "I grew up in east Tennessee, and I saw my family work too hard for too little." Speaking at Sunday's Women's Rights Rally in Huntsville, she describes how a life on the margins—barely making it one month only to fall behind the next—gradually grinds down hope and faith in the future.
"The sense of resignation in my family... it was so normalized. Life just happens, you know? Life happens. And I remember feeling this sense of panic. Thinking like: I don't want life to just happen to me, like I want to happen to life!
I don't want to live in a world where I have to settle. Settle for jobs that don't pay me enough money, for housing I can't afford.... For me, the gateway to have a life where I didn't have to settle was to go to school.
I'm really blessed because I had great people in my corner and I'm the only person in my immediate family who has graduated from college. It changed the trajectory of my life, what I know, and where I come from.
At Nevada Progressive, atdnext writes—If It's Dirty, Why Not Clean It?Did somebody hurt Charles Koch’s feelings? You know, the CEO of Koch Industries, a vast enterprise big enough to be its own country managed by hand-picked servile Republicans.
It certainly seemed that the politically active billionaire felt bruised by villainous opponents as he spoke out hurtfully in the op-ed piece he wrote for the Wall Street Journal. Let him explain:“Instead of encouraging free and open debate, collectivists strive to discredit and intimidate opponents. They engage in character assassination ( I should know, as the almost daily target of their attacks). This is the approach that Arthur Schopenhauer described in the 19th century, that Saul Alinsky famously advocated in the 20th, and that so many despots have infamously practiced. Such tactics are the antithesis of what is required for a free society—and a telltale sign that the collectivists do not have good answers.”Hold it right there, Charlie.
I have a few probems with his mythiness on how government has cramped the swarming dollar-style of economic freedom and liberty, particularly as it arrives courtesy of a fellow who has done quite well amassing a fortune under the present oppressive government.
At BlueNC, scharrison writes—Another gut-punch coming for NC's unemployed:How many times have we confronted this? We've examined the shells. We've smelled the stinky juice. We've felt the shadows. We've even raced to catch up with the Speedway.
Yet through it all, we've become quite dizzy from all the rides on Nevada's notorious "Merry-go-round of Corruption". Sadly, we need to step back on that merry-go-round this morning to examine an aspect of Nevada politics that is often overlooked: our local judiciary.
We must give credit where it's due. "Newspaper" columnist Jane Ann Morrison (one of the few other reasons to even bother reading it) recently exposed the kind of bare knuckle political maneuvering that we typically don't expect on the judicial bench. There are now even accusations of what authorities in other states call bribery... But what we in Nevada just refer to as "politics as usual".
At Blog for Arizona, AZ BlueMeanie writes—Tea-Publicans in the Arizona Legislature cower before Cathi Herrod again:When faulty statistics cause real-world harm:
The maximum number of weeks that North Carolina’s jobless can receive unemployment checks is expected to decline significantly again in July because state law ties the benefits to the state’s declining unemployment rate. The prospect of four or five fewer weeks of unemployment checks for workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own is bemoaned by advocates for the poor.It's simply hard to understand the cold-blooded nature of Republicans in the NCGA. Not a single glance back at the families who are left behind in their rush to not only pay off the Federal debt, but build a billion-dollar "trust" fund to cover future claims. And the self-perpetuating nature of this law means, the sooner these benefits are cut off, the lower the unemployment rate will seem, resulting in even more cuts to the duration of benefits. It's a cycle, and not a good cycle, either.
“The fact that we are seeing a decline in the unemployment rate is really masking the persistent and high joblessness in our state,” said Alexandra Forter Sirota, director of the Budget & Tax Center at the N.C. Justice Center, an advocacy group for the poor and working class. “Many workers do not have employment opportunities despite wanting to work.”
At The Seminole Democrat, Vin FL writes—FL Legislature: Three Liberal Justices on FL Supreme Court Kicked Off If Rick Scott Wins:Cathi Herrod and her Christian Taliban at the Center for Arizona Policy (CAP), and its legal arm ally the Alliance Defending Freedom, have once again convinced Tea-Publicans in the Arizona legislature to enact yet another unconstitutional and unlawful abortion regulation permitting unannounced warrantless inspections of abortion clinics for purposes of harassment and intimidation of abortion service providers and their patients. Arizona lawmakers OK plan for unannounced abortion clinic inspections:
[S]tate senators gave final approval to HB 2284 Wednesday to allowing unannounced warrantless inspection of abortion clinics.The House previously approved the measure on a near party-line vote of 34-22-4, with Democratic Rep. Lydia Hernandez (LD 29) voting with the Tea-Publicans, and Republican Kate Brophy McGee (LD 28) voting no with the Democrats. The “mythical moderate Republicans,” including Rep. Ethan Orr (R-Tucson), voted for this unconstitutional CAP bill.
The 17-13 party-line voice vote came after extensive debate about not just whether the law is needed, but whether it is really designed to harass abortion providers and their patients.
Once again, the state of Arizona will be pissing away your tax dollars to defend yet another unconstitutional and unlawful measure on behalf of the extremist agenda of the CAP.
Rick Scott and our tea party legislature have been OBSESSED with kicking off the three liberal justices on Florida's Supreme Court.
Our Court is perfectly balanced right now. They have repeatedly thwarted the worst of the worst (the minority voter purge, the craziest of gerrymandering, kicking off misleading amendments, stopping the assault on our teachers, etc.) Pam Bondi, our crappy AG, is as partisan as they come so no citizen can expect justice from her. Nor any other Florida official.
The tea party has already done PLENTY to harm Florida--the only thing stopping our state from devolving into complete tea-laden anarchy is our Court.
And friends, they have tried, tried, and tried again. [...]
Rick Scott HAS to lose. No governor should get to pack the Court... let alone a criminal one. We've managed to defeat these underhanded bastards four times. If Rick Scott wins, there will be no one to stand in the way of the brazen assaults on those with no special interest power.