|The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is slated to roll out its annual "Rich States, Poor States" publication this week. The document, whose lead author is economist Arthur Laffer, is sold to the press as an objective, academic measure of state economic performance, but should instead be viewed more as a lobby scorecard ranking states on the adoption of extreme ALEC policies that have little or nothing to do with economic outcomes. This year, leaked documents revealed that the report is directly funded by the Kochs, on top of longstanding Koch support for ALEC itself.
Until recently, little information was available about the funders of Rich States, Poor States, but tucked in a cache of ALEC internal documents obtained by the Guardian in December was a spreadsheet (PDF pg. 40) that showed for the first time that Rich States, Poor States is funded by the Kochs' Claude Lambe Foundation, as well as the Searle Freedom Trust. […]
Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First in Washington, D.C., told theMilwaukee Journal Sentinel that Laffer's report evaluates and rewards states that are suppressing wages and moving their tax burden from the rich to the poor. "This is all about regressivity," LeRoy said. The non-partisan, non-profit resource centers Good Jobs First and the Iowa Policy Project issued a report in 2013 which took apart Rich States, Poor States on methodological grounds. Their analysis criticized Rich States, Poor States for its "primitive approaches" and for ignoring decades of academic peer-reviewed studies on economic development.
Moreover, the 2013 Rich States Poor States appeared highly politicized, ranking Scott Walker's Wisconsin 15th in the nation at a time the state was ranked 44th for new job creation by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Laffer and his colleagues, which included Stephen Moore (formerly of the Wall Street Journal, now at the Heritage Foundation), seem intent on rewarding Republican governors who pursue austerity agendas even if that agenda hurts economic growth. Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker is a former ALEC member who signed 19 ALEC bills into law in his first two years in office, slashed government spending and eviscerated state unions prompting mass protests in February 2011. […]
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2008—Pelosi, At Papal Mass, Demonstrates Pro-Choice Politicians Not Prohibited From Receiving Communion:
|Why is there a persistent belief among many that the Roman Catholic Church denies Communion to people—especially American politicians who are pro-choice and members of the Democratic party—who don't adhere to every tenet of Church doctrine?
Because many reporters are lazy and don't bother to figure out the facts. Four years ago American Bishops voted on a proposal to deny communion to politicians, and the proposal was rejected 183-6. And why has the issue come up? Because conservative political activists who are also Catholic have tried to make it an issue. For them, Church doctrine is only relevant on issues of the crotch. The Just War doctrine, economic justice, capital punishment, none of those things matter. No, the only things that matter for them are abortion, homosexuality and human conception. And they're trying to use the Church for their partisan political goals. And as seen by idiotic questions from reporters like this, they're at least succeeding with some dimwitted media types.
On today's Kagro in the Morning show, an extended conversation with long-time Netroots denizen (and former BLM employee!) Mark Brooks. Hear him recount his efforts to stay on top of issues of local governance in his rural VA county, and fight his way through the many (and familiar) obstacles that still hinder effective use of the Freedom of Information Act. Local? Yes. Unsexy? Maybe. But it's an issue with enormous impact on your everyday life. Come hear what he's got to say about it, and learn where you can turn if you're fighting a similar uphill battle. And the story I snuck in under the wire: U.S. appeals court finds conflict-minerals rule violates free speech.