At Eclectablog of Michigan, Eclectablog writes—For-profit charter school corporation’s Detroit media ad buy now has a price tag: several hundred thousand dollars:My strategy reminded me of when I went to France as a teenager and my host family kept wanting to barbecue everything all the time. Americans like barbecues, so we barbecue! You want to jog, yes? When will you jog? Well, I assume that militia guys like guns. So, I just brought one. “Hey, guys! Anybody want to see my Luger?” It seemed like as good a conversation starter as anything. Heck, I didn’t know. I was grasping at straws at this point.
I’m heading to the Alaska Militia/Prepper/Survivalist Rendezvous about an hour and fifteen minutes north of Anchorage, in the little community of Sutton. I’ve been there several times, hunting the plentiful fossils of ginkgo leaves, and cinnamon, and ferns and petrified wood that erode out of the bluffs. There are also many dirt roads and trails that wind up and down the hills, and back into the woods making it a popular spot for those with dirt bikes, and four-wheelers.
I covered the Day of Resistance Tea Party rally in Fairbanks this past winter, and the organizer David Luntz, who is the commander of the Central Alaska Militia, said I should come to the Rendezvous. And so I am. I have absolutely no idea how a female, liberal blogger is going to be received here, and I cannot help but feel a little squinchy as I drive north into the unknown. I can always leave, I think to myself, if things are bad. [...]
Please read below the fold for more progressive state blog coverage.It’s Day Four of the explosive Detroit Free Press exposé of Michigan charter schools and also Day Four of the National Heritage Academies complete takover of the websites of Detroit’s two biggest newspapers with a monstrous ad buy. NHA is Michigan’s largest for-profit charter corporation. Like yesterday, when you open the webpages of the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News today, you’re greeted with an overwhelmingly large NHA banner ad. [...]
My friends at Progress Michigan did some research and found that the typical price for just one day of this type of advertising is $37,500. Multiply that by four days at two newspapers and NHA has spent roughly $300,000, over a quarter million dollars, on this ad campaign. [...]
“For years, critics of Michigan’s charter school laws have pointed to the same issues that the Free Press is reporting on this week,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “The response by National Heritage Academies and other charter operators show that they are not interested in talking about real charter school reform. Education should be centered around making successful students—not profits.
“One day of advertising like this could put a teacher in the classroom and one week of ads would fund an entire classroom,” Scott continued. “The use of education dollars for internet advertising is further proof that Michigan’s charter schools lack proper oversight. Clearly, NHA is more concerned with their reputation than they are about educating Michigan’s children, which is precisely the problem.”
Meanwhile, the outstanding reporting by the Free Press is getting attention.
At NH Labor News, MaryLou Beaver writes—Granite State Rumblings: A Workplace That Works For All Families:
At Intelligent Discontent of Montana, Don Pogreba writes—Tim Fox Attacks Abortion Providers, Explains to Women What Their Real Issues Are:As I write this week’s newsletter, I am listening to the White House Summit on Working Families. The Summit, hosted by the White House, the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Center for American Progress (CAP), was held on Monday to set an agenda for a 21st century workplace that works for all Americans, with a special focus on women and their families.
The Summit was designed to explore how, as the demographics of our workforce change, our workplaces can change with them to support working families, boost businesses’ bottom lines, and ensure America’s global economic competitiveness in the coming decades. The Summit convened businesses, economists, labor leaders, legislators, advocates and the media for a discussion on issues facing the entire spectrum of working families – from low-wage workers to corporate executives; from young parents to baby boomers caring for their own aging parents.
A new report from The National Partnership for Women and Families states the following: [...]Workers and their families urgently need public policies that give them a fair shot by helping them meet the dual demands of work and family while holding on to and advancing in their jobs, getting paid fairly, and providing for themselves and their loved ones. Yet the United States is failing to adopt the programs and policies that would help them meet these basic needs. For expecting and new parents in particular, the failure to provide adequate workplace policies means that the birth or adoption of a child— which ought to be a glorious event — often marks the beginning of a family’s financial struggles.
At Bleeding Heartland of Iowa, desmoinesdem writes—No one could have predicted... "Superweed" edition:In a speech hosted by the Montana Federation of Republican women on Friday, Attorney General Tim Fox decided he was best positioned to tell women about the “war on women,” telling the crowd that the real practitioners of the war are those who provide access to legal reproductive health services in Montana:+
Fox said the real war on women is being waged by what he called “the abortion industry.”
“It’s a well-financed special interest that fights to preserve taxpayer-funded subsidies,” he said. “In the United States today, more than 3,000 children are aborted every day,” Fox said. “How many of those are girls? These children are the most vulnerable, the most defenseless among us and they’re killed in the womb.”
Fox, seeming to ignore the special interest money that funded his own campaign in 2012, also attacked the idea of contraception mandates, asserting the bizarre right of insurers and corporations to not include contraception coverage.
In particular, Fox attacked reproductive rights advocates for working to overturn parental notification laws, going to far as to argue that parents needs to “consent” to their daughter’s decision to have an abortion. [...]
Parental notification laws have long been used by the right wing as an effort to undermine legal access to abortion, because even those who support abortion rights are tempted to think it’s reasonable to require parental notification. What those people ignore—and what politicians like Fox try to exploit is the fact that some teens absolutely cannot seek consent [...]
At BlueNC, Posmo writes—The dance of legislation, NC GOP style:Sunday's Des Moines Register carried the latest journalistic exploration of herbicide-resistant "superweeds" on Iowa farmland. The story's not new: agronomists at Iowa State University anticipated this problem and have been warning farmers for at least 15 years. Various published studies have shown the connection between widespread corn and soybean farming practices and the "rapid selection of 21 species of glyphosate-resistant weeds."
Industry groups representing conventional growers have repeatedly accused advocates for clean water and sustainable farming of threatening rural Iowans' way of life. Yet the dominant practices of corn and soybeans growers have accelerated the spread of resistant weeds through natural selection, potentially putting many Iowa farmers out of business in the coming years.
After the jump I've posted excerpts from Donelle Eller's story for the Sunday Register and more background on the herbicide-resistant weed problem. The 2013 Union of Concerned Scientists briefing paper on "The Rise of Superweeds-and What to Do About It" is an excellent starting point.
At Nevada Progressive, atdnext writes—Variations?During the current legislative short session, it's become quite apparent that the NCGA is barely controlled chaos run by just a few powerful people.
Yeah, I know, it's been that way in North Carolina for as long as anyone can remember. But consider:
• Budgets are developed by a very few people behind closed doors then rolled out all at once to other legislators, the media and the public.
• Bills are put on and taken off legislative calendars with no notice. Most legislators have no idea what to expect each day when they report to work.
• Most legislators don't have time to read the bills they're expected to vote on.
• Public input is scarce.
• Lobbyists and special interest groups get notification about bills that legislators don't get. • Often they get to participate in drafting the bills.
• Committee meetings are called with no notice, often at odd hours.
• Legislation is gutted and completely replaced with unrelated legislation.
• Parliamentary tricks are used to cut off debate and quash amendments that might improve bills.
All of this, and more, serves to push legislation through that has not been carefully considered, thoroughly vetted, modified based on legislative/legal/expert/public input or held up to enough light to see the holes in it. [...]
We've seen the results. Forget for a moment the policy implications of the awful NC GOP legislation -- the laws themselves are poorly written, ambiguous, incomplete, don't hold up in court and are difficult to interpret and enforce.
At Burnt Orange Report of Texas, Natalie San Luis writes—Texas Organizing Project Endorses Wendy Davis for Governor:Today marks a major anniversary. Just a year ago today, the US Supreme Court issued its ruling on US v. Windsor. And ever since then, we've seen a flurry of federal court rulings throughout the nation in favor of marriage equality.
Earlier today, Rep. Dina Titus (D-Paradise) took to the House floor to celebrate the anniversary. [...]
However, she didn't stop there. In recent weeks, Rep. Titus has also been speaking up and demanding full equality for LGBTQ veterans. [...]
LGBTQ families still face difficulties in securing the veterans' benefits they earned. And while "Don't Ask Don't Tell" may be over for gay, lesbian, and bisexual soldiers, trans* soldiers still can't serve their nation openly. There's still plenty of unfinished business in and out of The Pentagon when it comes to LGBTQ civil rights...
So why can't Rep. Joe Heck (R-What?!) and Senator Dean Heller (R-Why?) see this? Rep. Heck still can't serve anything other than a tossed word salad. And Senator Heller? Well, he... He... He...
Now we'll give credit where credit is due. Last November, Senator Dean Heller did ultimately vote for ENDA. He has made some progress in accepting LGBTQ civil rights. So why is it so difficult for Senator Heller to accept what Rep. Steven Horsford (D-North Las Vegas) now celebrates, Senator Harry Reid (D) cheers on, and most other Nevadans now strongly support?
At Calitics, Brian Leubitz writes—With SF Ellis Act Bill dead, local housing advocates forced to look elsewhere:On the week commemorating her 11-hour filibuster, Sen. Wendy Davis received a key endorsement from the Texas Organizing Project PAC.
Texas Organizing Project, or TOP, is a statewide grassroots organization working toward improving the lives of low-income and working class families in Texas.
TOP has nearly 50,000 members and supporters.
"It was crystal clear to us which candidate truly cares about hardworking Texans," said TOP community leader Patricia Gonzales. "After the many failures of Rick Perry, and considering that Greg Abbott would simply continue Perry's policies, we need the type of smart, uniting leadership Wendy will provide."
Well, after a lot of drama getting out of the Senate, the SF Ellis Act reform legislation died in the Assembly:At MN Progressive Project, Dan Burns writes—SCOTUS enables sick, vicious harassment:
The bill took a couple tries to get it through Assembly, and ultimately trying to make law for one county at the state level was just too high of a hurdle to clear. The bill only applied to SF because of the unique housing conditions, something of a perfect storm. Rising housing costs in both the rental and ownership markets, combined with a complicated rent control system leave a lot of loopholes to exploit and a lot of incentive to exploit them for speculators.The Ellis Act reform bill introduced by Sen. Mark Leno, D-S.F., will not be moving forward this year, according to his office. The proposed legislation, Senate Bill 1439, sought to limit evictions in San Francisco by requiring new property owners to wait five years before invoking the Ellis Act, a state law that allows a landlord to evict their tenants if they intend to leave the rental business. ...
"I am profoundly disappointed that the Assembly Housing Committee failed to pass critical legislation that would help mitigate the negative impacts of a recent surge in Ellis Act evictions in San Francisco," said Leno in a statement following the Assembly Housing Committee vote. (SF Examiner)
But ultimately, this was never any sort of silver bullet. It dealt with a small, but high-profile, loophole. San Francisco needs to look at a kitchen sink approach to try to bring housing costs under something resembling control, or the beautiful City by the Bay will lose the diversity that helped make it great.
I am so f*cking sick and tired of g*d-damned right-wingers, whose need to screw others over is as pathological as their ethics are base and their intellects feeble.At Cottonmouth of Mississippi, Matt Eichelberger writes—So, what does last night mean for Travis Childers?
It was 9-0, and I don’t know why the moderate wing went along with anything so despicable. Apparently the decision itself is kind of mealy-mouthed and open-ended. I don’t concern myself with those intricacies, but rather with the probable practical effects. Also, SCOTUS loves to issue unanimous decisions, presumably especially now, when it’s held in the lowest public esteem since polling of that started.The Supreme Court, which has very large buffer zone to keep protesters away from the building, has just unanimously ruled that Massachusetts’ buffer zone of 35 feet at abortion clinics is unconstitutional…
If people have a problem with abortion law in this country, they should try rational persuasion to get it changed. Not screaming at women, as up-close and personal as can be, seeking to exercise their rights. But anti-choice “protesters” tend to be a narcissistic, gutless, and, most of all, exceedingly irrational bunch.
If you’re pro-choice, and your blood isn’t on high boil already: “12 Horror Stories Show Why…Big Supreme Court Abortion Case Matters.”
At Nebraska Appleseed, Jeff Sheldon writes—Film shows how Nebraska schools Stand Up To Poverty:It's no secret that a McDaniel victory last night would have been a boon to Democratic senatorial nominee Travis Childers. He would have begun as a favorite in the polls, and would have become the prohibitive favorite within a week or so as Thad-supporting Republican voters recoiled at McDaniel's rhetoric. National money would have flowed in like manna from heaven. And it certainly appeared like that was all about to take place.
Then Democrats rushed to the polls to vote for Cochran, and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. The fact that they did that speaks volumes about how a sizable chunk of Mississippi Democrats feel about the competency of the Mississippi Democratic Party and the electorate as a whole. But contrary to what some are saying, it doesn't say anything about the character of those crossover voters. They simply don't think a Democrat can win a federal election statewide, and I don't blame them for feeling that way. Democratic candidates not named Jim Hood haven't exactly given them much to believe in lately.
Now that we have the table set for a Cochran-Childers race, does Travis Childers stand a chance? I haven't completed my analysis of the numbers from last night, but it appears to me that the answer is yes. Here's why: If the Democrats who put Cochran over the top last night come home, and if McDaniel voters split away from the Cochran camp, then we have exactly the same statistical scenario Democrats were counting on to beat McDaniel, which was a splintered Republican vote and a strong Democratic turnout.
Nebraska Loves Public Schools is a special project from the Sherwood Foundation that has produced a number of short films on the state of our public schools. They have shot thousands of hours of footage and conducted more than 300 interviews with students, parents, teachers, and administrators.
“I think if people knew the truth of what some of our kids were going through they would completely get knocked off their socks,” said Cara Riggs, former principal of Omaha South High School. “And I always say ‘look what they tell me. Imagine what they’re not.’ How could they function? Because I couldn’t.”
We wanted to highlight one particular film, “Standing Up To Poverty” which shows the impact of poverty on a child’s ability to learn and the important roles our schools and our communities play to make sure these Nebraska kids have every opportunity to succeed.
The film discusses the importance of school meals to the learning process. When kids don’t have access to nutritious meals, it hurts school performance and child development. We must do more to increase participation in school breakfast and lunch – through new models like Community Eligibility – and explore alternative ways to keep kids from going hungry in schools.