At Eclectablog of Michigan, Eclectablog writes—Detroit school teachers vow to fight yet another pay cut, increased class sizes, and 24 school closings:
At NC Policy Watch, Rob Schofield writes—The great coal ash blunder:When Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager Jack Martin put together the Detroit Public Schools budget for the coming year, it included revenue from a $14.8 million county-wide school millage that did not pass in the August primary election. Because of this blunder, now the district finds itself having make huge changes. In an updated budget and deficit-elimination plan to the Michigan Department of Education last week, we found out just how huge:
• DPS teachers, who took a a 10% wage cut in 2011, will see their wages cut by 10% again
• The district will lay off people to eliminate 1,381 positions from this year through 2019
24 additional schools will close starting next year
• Teachers will pay as much as $13.1 million more for their health insurance coverage
• Golf and tennis will be ended for both boys and girls
Unsurprisingly, teachers are not taking this sitting down, not especially surprising since they are facing a loss of a fifth of their salary while working in one of the most difficult and challenging teaching environments in the entire country.…
There are more excerpts from progressive state blogs below the fold.Big money, ideology and egos conspire to leave one of North Carolina’s greatest environmental threats unaddressed.
The seemingly endless 2014 “short session” of the North Carolina General Assembly is not yet over as of this morning. More than six weeks after the start of the new fiscal year – i.e. the date that lawmakers traditionally target for wrapping up the second year of each General Assembly—things are still limping along toward an uncertain and unsatisfying conclusion. Despite huge partisan and ideological majorities and a compliant governor of the same political party, legislative leaders have been unable to reach agreement on numerous key issues that they themselves had identified as top priorities just a few months ago.
At the top of just about any “unfinished business” list has to be the issue of North Carolina’s downright frightening coal ash problem. Six and half months ago, North Carolinians were awakened to what had been a long-simmering (and long-neglected) environmental crisis when the bottom literally fell out of a giant Duke Energy coal ash pit next to the Dan River in Rockingham County. Suddenly, millions of people who had never even heard of coal ash became painfully aware that millions of tons of the toxic sludge are actually stored in leaking, temporary pits and “ponds”—many of them perched precariously adjacent to the drinking water supplies of large population centers.
At Calitics, dougbob writes—A Battle Over Increasing the Minimum Wage in San Diego:
At Progress Illinois, Ellyn Fortino writes—Chicago Activists, Progressive Aldermen Call For Reopening Of Mental Health Clinics:A City Council veto override on Monday has set the scene for a showdown between local and national business interests vs. a labor-community coalition over San Diego's Earned Sick Day / Minimum Wage ordinance.
Following months of public hearings and invitations (mostly declined) for local businesses to hammer out a compromise, the city council passed an ordinance providing access to five earned sick days and setting a local minimum wage increasing to $11.50 over three years.
This action makes San Diego the largest city in the nation to raise the minimum wage.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer--said to be one of the bright new faces in the GOP-- then turned thumbs down on the bill on Friday, August 8th. Although the council was slated for vacation for the rest of the month, a special session was called by president Todd Gloria. The 6-2 vote upholding the ordinance surprised nobody.
At Rural and Progressive of Georgia, Katherine Helms Cummings writes—“Guns Everywhere” results in first reported death:Chicago's public health commissioner got grilled by activists Tuesday afternoon at a long-awaited informational council hearing on mental health services in the city.
Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) and other members of the council's Progressive Reform Caucus requested the hearing back in April to gather expert and public testimony on “the future of the Chicago Department of Public Health mental health clinics and the need for expanded mental health services within the city."
Ahead of the hearing, Progressive Reform Caucus members vowed to get increased funding for the city's mental health clinics included in the city's 2015 budget. They also promised to keep the fight alive to reopen six mental health clinics that closed two years ago.
In 2012, six of Chicago's 12 mental health clinics shut down as part of a city strategy to modernize and enhance mental health services, with a focus on serving the uninsured.
At Plunderbund of Ohio, Joseph writes—Ohio Has Lost 4,648 State Union Jobs Since John Kasich Took Office:The Atlanta Journal Constitution and Raw Story are reporting that a Texas woman visiting Helen, GA was killed by a stray bullet outside a bar over the weekend. According to Raw Story, 53-year-old Glenn Patrick Lampien, from Jasper, GA was outside the Old Heidelberg bar and restaurant on Helen’s crowded Main Street when he accidentally shot himself.
Police arrived after a call was placed concerning gunshots to discover that a woman across the street had been struck by Lampien’s bullet. She didn’t respond to first aid and was pronounced dead at the scene. Lampien will be charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Georgia’s HB 60, known as Georgia’s “Guns Everywhere” law, went into effect less than two months ago. This bill, which drew strong opposition from law enforcement officials and ministers, allows guns in public places including bars, government buildings, TSA lines at Atlanta’s Jackson Hartsfield airports, and schools.
At The Seminole Democrat of Florida, Independent Thinker writes—Rick Scott: Endorsed by Human Trafficker!:According to the Ohio Department of Administrative Services (DAS), Ohio had 40,516 bargaining unit employees working for the state in January, 2011, when John Kasich first took office. As of July, 2014, three and a half years later, we are down to 35,868.That’s a loss of 4,648 union jobs—or 8.6%! Nearly half—2,318 in total—were corrections/prison-related positions.
Some of these losses came when the Kasich administration privatized Ohio’s prison food service. Kasich pitched the idea as a way to save the state money, but the contract with Aramark to provide meals to Ohio’s inmates has ended up causing nothing but problems as the company’s low-paid, poorly-trained workers have failed to show up for work, been caught having sex with the inmates and, again and again, can’t keep maggots out of the food.
Just this week, nearly 1,000 inmates at a women’s prison in Ohio dumped their lunches in the trash after they heard those pesky maggots had again been discovered in food preparation areas. The growing number of incidents involving fly larvae are part of a larger problem with Aramark’s performance. An investigation by the AP found at least 116 incidents where Aramark “has fallen short by running out of food or providing unapproved substitutes” in Ohio’s prisons since Aramark has been in charge of food service.
We’re lucky this week’s incident did not result in larger security issue. One of these days, a small scale act of disobedience at a women’s prison is going to be overshadowed by a large scale riot, putting inmates, staff and food service workers in danger. The clock is ticking.
At Blue Oregon, Michael O'Leary writes—Yakama Nation to Coal: And Stay Out.:While our host gives you the lowdown on who he endorses in various races, you might like to know that Rick Scott has been endorsed by a human trafficker.
Actually, it's also the second time Scott's campaign has had to pull an ad because Scott featured himself with an ex-con. Once more he's the gift that keeps on giving to his opposition.
Tea Party loons won't care about this, of course. They're more concerned that Scott has endorsed "Common Core 2.0." But maybe this will get some higher-morals Independents off Scott's side if the horn is blown loudly enough.
At South Dakota Madville Times, caheidelberger writes—Rounds Loses Debate by Attacking Howie’s Fiscal Conservatism:"The Yakama Nation will not rest until the entire regional threat posed by the coal industry to our ancestral lands and waters is eradicated." ~Yakama Nation Chairman JoDe Goudy.
Yakama Chairman JoDe Goudy asserts his rights under the Treaty of 1855 to fish traditionally on the Columbia River
Governor Kitzhaber's Department of State Lands has issued a landmark denial of Oregon's only proposed coal export terminal, keeping millions of tons of coal right where it belongs—buried in the ground.
Back in May the Yakama Nation protested that the coal terminal proposed for their traditional treaty recognized fishing grounds up on the Columbia Rover, near modern day Boardman, was an attack on the water, the salmon, their way of life, and a contradiction to the idea of living in balance with our surroundings.
The Australian coal mining company in question, Ambre Energy, denied the tribal claims in comments to the media and in filings to state regulators.
Evidently the claims by the coal company about where tribal fishing rights do or don't apply were not p[e]rsuasive.
In their findings released on August 18th the Department of State Lands had the final word on the matter:
"The agency record demonstrates that the project would unreasonably interfere with a small but important and and long-standing fishery in the State's waters at the project site."
At The Mudflats of Alaska, Zach Roberts writes—Joe Miller & 20 Million Mexicans:It's hard to tell who won yesterday's Senate debate at Dakotafest. But Mike Rounds lost. You know how you can tell? The Republican frontrunner took time to attack Tea Party conservative Gordon Howie, the candidate who places fourth in every poll that bothers to mention him, the man with the least chance of beating him in November.
This telling exchange came in Question #4 of the Dakotafest debate, on the Affordable Care Act. Rounds said repeal and replace. Independent Larry Pressler said more fuss over ACA repeal wastes time better spent getting things done in Washington. Weiland said the Affordable Care Act, while good, didn't make health care affordable enough and pitched his Medicare-as-public-option plan. He also said Rounds was lying in an earlier response when he said that the ACA was robbing Medicare. Howie said nuke the ACA and complained that Rounds killed his bill to nullify the ACA in 2010.
Oooh, that Gordy! Oooh, that Gordy! He makes me so mad! I'll fix him—I'm gonna write him a mean letter....
While Howie spoke, Rounds leaned over and whispered something to moderator Jerry Oster from WNAX. When Howie finished, instead of moving on to the next question, Oster announced that Rounds would get a chance to respond. No such rebuttal had taken place in either debate Wednesday, but evidently and happily, the rules allowed such responses. Rounds opened his rebuttal by attacking Howie. He said, quite reasonably, that Gordon (Rounds said Gordon) can't change federal law with state law.
But then Rounds took another swing at Howie. He said that as a legislator, Gordy (Rounds said Gordy) voted on four budget bills to spend $66 million more than the Rounds Administration had requested. Rounds went on to say Medicare means government controls your health care and mentioned Sarah Palin's death panels.
At Louisiana Voices, tomaswell writes—New ‘Friends of’ web page leads to speculation of PSC member Scott Angelle’s entry into 2015 governor’s race:“I’m sure you saw this last week in the [Anchorage Daily News], or you might have even seen it in your mailbox. Joe Miller claiming that Mark Begich wants these tattooed Central American ‘gang’ members to not only become citizens but also vote.
"And if 20 Million illegals vote, you can kiss the 2nd Amendment goodbye. I am the only candidate who favors Voter ID.” —Joe Miller
Let’s break this down, Joe. First, according to the US government and the Pew Hispanic Trust numbers, there are 11.7 million immigrants living illegally in the country. So I’m not sure where the 20 million comes from, other than the insane racist mind of another Joe, Joe Arpaio, who runs a tent prison in Sarah Palin’s new state of Arizona. Both she, and Arpaio just endorsed Joe Miller for US Senate.
Let’s also take into consideration that there are only 40,000 hispanics in the state of Alaska – half of which are eligible to vote—and half of that number actually do. Pew Research also points out that there are: “nine states whose Hispanic eligible voter samples (U.S. citizens, ages 18 and older) in the 2010 American Community Survey are not large enough to generate reliable estimates for the profiles: Alaska, Delaware, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and West Virginia. So clearly Joe doesn’t have to worry about losing any votes by putting out an ad that portrays immigrants as violent tattooed gang members.
But I get it – Joe’s not concerned with the hispanics that are here, but the droves that are coming over the border, buying a car, driving the 4387 miles from Reynosa, Mexico to Anchorage, Alaska to vote for Mark Begich. Right. Because that’s something that happens.
At Bluestem Prairie of Minnesota, Mike McFadden writes—Bircher questions Emmer and Mills' purity, but willing to live with expediency to win elections:Does Scott Angelle have his eye on the 2015 governor’s race?
The Public Service Commissioner, Democrat-turned-Republican, former interim lieutenant governor, erstwhile Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources and one time member of the LSU Board of Supervisors would seem to be rounding out his resumé while carefully moving up the pecking order in Louisiana politics.
The governor’s race isn’t until 2015 and Angelle isn’t up for re-election to a new six-year on the PSC from the Second District until 2018. He was first elected in 2012 to succeed Jimmy Fields who retired after 16 years.
But an Internet web page created by an outfit calling itself Friends of Scott Angelle and apparently chaired by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s favorite fundraiser Allee Bautsch certainly looks like that of a candidate considering his options for higher office as opposed to that of one running for re-election to the PSC this far out. In other words, just another political opportunist who ducked out of his DNR responsibilities at the height of the Bayou Corne sinkhole crisis.
There is some speculation that Angelle may opt to run for lieutenant governor instead of governor.
It's not just DFL state chair Ken Martin who is calling Republican congressional candidates like Tom Emmer and Stewart Mills III Tea Party extremists.
They're also being hailed for their extremism by the Washington Examiner's national reporter Betsy Woodruff in Six House candidates who want to be the next Justin Amash.
Readers may remember that the National Journal reported in January that the Michigan Republican Congressman helped Conservatives Form Their Own Caucus Because the [Republican Study Committee] Isn't 'Hard-Core' Enough.
These are the folks in the Beltway who worry about not being extreme enough.
Not so fast, the Birchers at The New American say in GOP Congressional Hopefuls Look to Join Amash's Liberty Caucus. Joe A. Wolverton, II, J.D., a correspondent for The New American, raises some yellow flags on both Emmer and Mills ...