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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 be watching. Inclusion of a diary does not necessarily indicate my agreement or endorsement of its contents.

At The Mudflats of Alaska, Jeanne Devon writes—My Militia Weekend:

Mudflats blog
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. [...]

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:
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.

Please read below the fold for more progressive state blog coverage.

At NH Labor News, MaryLou Beaver writes—Granite State Rumblings: A Workplace That Works For All Families:

NH Labor News
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 Intelligent Discontent of Montana, Don Pogreba writes—Tim Fox Attacks Abortion Providers, Explains to Women What Their Real Issues Are:
Intelligent Discontent, state blogs
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 Bleeding Heartland of Iowa, desmoinesdem writes—No one could have predicted... "Superweed" edition:
Bleeding Heartland
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 BlueNC, Posmo writes—The dance of legislation, NC GOP style:
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 Nevada Progressive, atdnext writes—Variations?
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 Burnt Orange Report of Texas, Natalie San Luis writes—Texas Organizing Project Endorses Wendy Davis for Governor:
Burnt Orange Report
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."

At Calitics, Brian Leubitz writes—With SF Ellis Act Bill dead, local housing advocates forced to look elsewhere:
Well, after a lot of drama getting out of the Senate, the SF Ellis Act reform legislation died in the Assembly:
Calitics logo
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)

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.

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.

At MN Progressive Project, Dan Burns writes—SCOTUS enables sick, vicious harassment:
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.
MN Progressive Project
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…
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.

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 Cottonmouth of Mississippi, Matt Eichelberger writes—So, what does last night mean for Travis Childers?
Cottonmouth of Mississippi
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.

At Nebraska Appleseed, Jeff Sheldon writes—Film shows how Nebraska schools Stand Up To Poverty:
Nebraska Appleseed blog
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.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I Love Michigan♥ (7+ / 0-)
    2014 Midterm Elections Action Alert/Even More Political Activism Needed ♥ A Very Busy Year
    Updated ♥Bring Abby Home♥ Reward Increased To $60,000 New Hampshire 15yr old-Missing Over 7 Months

    Please, keep sharing and spreading awareness about Abby!

    Someone, somewhere, could see her and recognize her.

    Share Abby's Info With At Least One Person You Know. E-mail, Tweet, Or On, Any Social Media Web Site/Forum etc.

    Bring Abby Home Facebook

    Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

    by rebel ga on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 08:17:59 AM PDT

  •  Be careful Jeanne. (7+ / 0-)

    I'll tell you right out, I am a man who likes talking to a man who likes to talk. - Kasper Gutman

    by rasbobbo on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 08:24:56 AM PDT

  •  That Alaska piece is great (10+ / 0-)

    Really a fine piece of reporting, a bit of humor, good pics, and she really caught the spirit of the event. It's a long piece, but go take the time to read it.

    Any group with the word "Patriot" in its name, probably isn't.

    by Senor Unoball on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 08:42:22 AM PDT

  •  The Bleeding Heartland piece is a good read. (6+ / 0-)

    Seems we are always painting ourselves into the same corner
    with the agricultural practices that bring high yields in the short term and huge bummers down the line.

    Life begins at incorporation.

    by jnhobbs on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 08:45:27 AM PDT

  •  A long read at the Mudflats story but interesting (5+ / 0-)

    middle parts seemed predictable until they weren't and they're an important part of the article.

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 08:46:27 AM PDT

  •  My favorite line from the Mudflats article, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mimi, Eric Nelson, Aunt Pat
    You can see a cigarette from a mile away, and “that gives the enemy a head shot.” So there’s another way that smoking can kill you.
    A good read, if a bit disturbing at times, but then, I'm just an average person who doesn't see the need for a militia. But, if I did, these guys seemed pretty nice:)
    ...We have seen the enemy, and they are us, only now instead of just the camo they left in, they sported bright blue berets on their heads ...
    “Damn! I knew it was gonna be the blue helmets!” someone in Bravo Company said laughing.
    It struck me after a second that the “blue helmet” reference was a political one.
    “Well, I don’t know what you mean!” said Gunny, feigning ignorance of the reference. “Why, blue is a symbol of peace throughout the world!” This was perhaps for my benefit. There was chuckling.

    "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass... it is about learning to dance in the rain." ~ Vivanne Grenne Shop Kos Katalogue!

    by remembrance on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 09:17:52 AM PDT

    •  Many of the guys & gals involved in these.. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      remembrance, Aunt Pat

      ..kinds of groups are probably just nice people and not deranged fringe RWNJ's

      From the author, Jeanne Devon:

      So, I’ll never know how much of what I heard was for my own benefit. And I cannot know what happened when I wasn’t around, and I don’t know who didn’t come to this event. I have no doubt that there are scary people out there in the woods, and they are likely not the ones to show up and socialize at a public event where they have to sign in, and there are people with cameras around.

       - emphasis added

      A friend of mind invited me to a 4-wheel trip on the Rubicon.
      I brought my backpacking fishing rod (it breaks down into short packable sections) and some of my mechanics tools and my welding skills and had a good time, although not nearly as fun as backpacking/fishing away from the grind of gears and revving engines

      This of course was not nearly as organized as these para-military groups that Jeanne Devon was with but they had many of the same views, but weren't crazy; more like playing a role; a "just in case the Federal govt. becomes..something oppressive" type role. There were three women and about 15 guys in all. It was like a weekend jaunt to get away, drink beer and tell stories around a camp fire

      Only the so called organizer/leader seemed kind of off. His nick name was "Whitey".
       Other than that it was like noisy camping, with hours spent watching 4-wheel challenges: climbing over rocks; getting out of deep pits. That sort of thing.

      It seem to me that most of the people that make up these groups aren't dangerous, it's the leaders that have the dangerous goals, that they don't fully share with most of the group.
       eclectablog covers it - arrgh:

      “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.”
      So, good :
      Meanwhile, the outstanding reporting by the Free Press is getting attention
      And this from Cottonmouth:
      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.
      ..turning the south Blue or at least not red sounds like progress to me :)

      Thx MB for this weeks progressive blogs roundup

  •  Competence and Leadership (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, Aunt Pat
    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
    I don't blame Mississippi Democrats for doubting the competence of Democratic party leadership and voters in general either.

    Until Democratic party leaders set an example and get fire in the belly and begin fighting tooth and nail for Democratic ideals and values the way FDR Democrats did during the great depression, rank and file Democrats of today will continue to do whatever they need to do to protect themselves.

    And if that means voting for the lesser of two evils in a red state republican primary, so be it.

    •  I completely support (0+ / 0-)

      doing absolutely everything possible to keep open racists out of public office.

      If that means voting for a Republican, so be it.

      McDaniel would likely have beaten Childers.

      Precedent: In 1980 Tom Metzger, a KKK leader, managed to win a 3 way Democratic primary with 37.1% of the vote. Every Democratic figure everywhere pulled out the stops to re-elect conservative Republican Clair Burgener, who ended up winning 298,815 votes -- 86.6% of the vote. (How big a deal was that -- I could only find one 2012 congressional election where anyone got that many votes, despite the substantially increased US population.)

  •  Difference between Childers and Cochran? (0+ / 0-)

    I can't find one.

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