|Each Saturday, this feature links and excerpts commentary and reporting from a dozen progressive state blogs in the past seven days around the nation. The idea is not only to spotlight specific issues but to give readers who may not know their state has a progressive blog or two a place to become regularly informed about doings in their back yard. 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 and inside information we don't get from the traditional media. Those blogs deserve a larger audience. Let me know via comments or Kosmail if you have a favorite you think I should know about. Standard disclaimer: Inclusion of a diary does not necessarily indicate my agreement or endorsement of its contents.
writes Detroit’s creditors decline to witness the mess they helped enable
This past week, Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr announced that he was sponsoring a bus tour for Detroit’s creditors who are in town to have discussions regarding the state of the city’s crushing debt. The idea is that they would spend a few hours traveling around the most impoverished parts of Detroit so that they could get a real sense of just how bad things have gotten in this once proud city. Orr presumably thought this would help them to come to grips with the fact that the city isn’t reneging on its debt obligations lightly. It’s doing so because the situation is desperate.
Two days ago, however, the creditors blew Orr off completely and declined to participate, forcing Orr to cancel the bus tour.
At Intelligent Discontent of Montana, Don Pogreba writes Terrible D.C. Journalism and Anonymous Sources Attack Governor Schweitzer:
By the time you read this, you will have no doubt read the truly terrible piece in Politico by Manu Raju, which suggests that Governor’s Schweitzer will struggle to win over Democrats in Montana because of his personality and failure to support Democratic candidates.
It’s the epitome of lazy Beltway journalism, laden with anonymous sources and a clear misunderstanding of Montana. It takes a journalist based in D.C. to write that Butte is a “copper mining town” or that Governor Schweitzer was somehow motivated by the ass-kicking he gave Roy Brown to campaign against him in a subsequent Senate race. It also takes a D.C. “journalist” to title his piece “Brian Schweitzer’s challenge: Montana Democrats” without mentioning that the last polling showed Governor Schweitzer has an 86% favorability rating in his own party. There aren’t too many politicians in the country who can claim those kind of numbers.
It wouldn’t surprise me if there are people in Montana who’ve had their feelings hurt by the Governor. People who tell the truth, bluntly and without hedging, often do hurt people’s feelings. But to imagine that Democrats won’t wholeheartedly support Schweitzer in a race against the likes of Steve Daines is nothing more than Republican fantasy.
At The Mudflats
of Alaska, Jeanne Devon
writes Begich on a Palin Senate Run
Remember that line from Brokeback Mountain, “I wish I knew how to quit you?”
Well if Sarah Palin were Jake Gyllenhaal and Alaska were Heath Ledger, she’d have been all, “I’m outta here!” And now that she’s considering a run for the Senate in the very state she quit, the Senator whose seat she’s looking to fill had a few things to say about that. “I don’t know if she’s a resident. She’s been away from Alaska a lot and has probably lost touch with what’s going on… “Most Alaskans I see on a pretty regular basis, but I haven’t seen her for a long time,” Begich told Politico on Wednesday. As a matter of fact, he questioned her residency status FOUR times in the interview. He also questioned her ability to win a primary.
At CalBuzz, Jerry Roberts asks Why Isn't Darrell Issa in Jail?
As we watch U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, whom Calbuzz first got to know during the 1998 Republican primary for U.S. Senate (won by Matt Fong, who later lost to Sen. Barbara Boxer), we keep wondering why our colleagues in the Washington press corps have not figured out the truth about this guy: he’s a thug.
Having landed by hook and by crook as chairman of the House Oversight Committee, he has used his position to investigate the Obama administration’s every move from Benghazi to Cincinnati, coming up empty at every turn and, along the way, embarrassing himself, the Republican caucus, the House of Representatives and, oh yeah, the state of California.
Issa is a wealthy bully and proven liar with a checkered personal history featuring criminal and civil legal proceedings that involve car thefts, concealed weapons charges and allegations of insurance arson, among his other sterling qualifications for high office. A reasonable man might imagine a less wealthy person perched in Stony Lonesome rather than on the dais of a prestigious and powerful congressional committee.
None of Issa’s past, um, indiscretions are a secret, at least since May 1998, when Lance Williams, then of the San Francisco Examiner, began reporting on the guy.
At Nebraska Appleseed
, Becky Gould
writes Split of Food Assistance from House Farm Bill a serious concern for thousands of Nebraskans facing hunger
In response to the passage of the House’s version of the Farm Bill, Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Rebecca Gould, issued the following statement:
“It is unfortunate that today the House passed a Farm Bill that did not include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provisions. This raises serious concerns about the future of SNAP, which is a critical support for thousands of hard-working Nebraskans and the 80,000 children in our state who use the program to access nutritious food. For years the Farm Bill has included provisions relating both to agriculture and food and nutrition programs, ensuring stability for our farmers and ranchers and vital nutritional support for our low-income families. This historical unity is sensible because our agricultural policies affect the cost of food and people’s access to it through nutrition programs.
“While the Farm Bill is clearly very important for Nebraska, SNAP is a vital support for thousands of Nebraskans who struggle with food insecurity. When Congress returns its attention to SNAP, they must ensure its continued vitality and avoid cuts that would harm our state. We call upon them to protect the Nebraska families that are helped by this program.”
At Blue Hampshire
, Liz Iacobucci
writes Sen. Andy Sanborn’s ‘plane crash’: slips of the tongue can reveal politicians’ ‘inner lives’
The things I learn while blogging! Turns out there’s a whole field of study about politicians’ “inner lives”. “Your inner life is the realm of who you really are, on the inside … Your inner life drives what you do … your decisions, commitments, and the responsibilities you take on; and the goals you want to achieve.” In other words, what you believe determines what you do – and that’s something we should pay attention to, when it comes to our elected officials. Here’s what happened this week: state Sen. Andy Sanborn “laughingly compared Obamacare to the San Francisco plane crash while guest-hosting a radio show.”
Yes, yet another New Hampshire Republican gets to issue a public apology for something he said. “If I offended anyone I am sorry.” Looks like the “slip of the tongue” syndrome has been going around, up at the State House.
• Just three weeks ago, Rep. Stella Tremblay resigned after suggesting the U.S. government was behind the April 15 bombings at the Boston Marathon.
• And Rep. Kyle Trasker didn’t exactly apologize for an on-line Facebook posting – but had to clarify that he “does not believe black women are unfit parents.”
• In April, Rep. Peter Hansen apologized “to those who took offense” when he referred to women as “vaginas” in an email to his House colleagues.
•And Rep. Romeo Danais compared hungry New Hampshire families to “wild animals” – but there wasn’t any apology; instead, Rep. Dan Itse actually defended the choice of words.
• In February, Rep. Mark Warden apologized “to those whom may have been offended” for remarks suggesting that people may "like being in abusive relationships."
• In 2012, Rep. John Hikel livened up a picnic by asking a former GOP official if she was a "pole dancer," and a "stripper."
At Blue Jersey
writes Hillary Beats the Bully
Because our world isn't complete unless we ignore the problems of today and focus almost wholly on elections 40 months in the future, Quinnipiac University did a poll pitting Hillary Clinton against Chris Christie for President in 2016.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leads New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie 46 - 40 percent among American voters in an early look at the 2016 presidential election, compared to her 45 - 37 percent lead in March, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.
At MN Progressive Project
, THE BIG E
writes Bachmann opposes immigration reform, demands border fence
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) appeared on Glenn Beck’s radio show yesterday. She restated her opposition to any immigration reform and espoused the conspiracy theory that immigration reform is just a plot to make sure a Republican never gets elected President again. This particular conspiracy theory shines a beam of light into the warped reality in which Bachmann resides.
Unlike global climate change, Bachmann at least acknowledges that the changing demographics of our nation endangers the Republican party. In a decade or so, America will have a majority of non-whites. Unlike the not-quite-so-insane wing of the party, she will not tolerate any moderation of the party’s Southern Strategy to appeal to minorities.
She frames immigration reform as amnesty. So instead of any moderation, Bachmann doubles down — immigration reform is a plot by Obama to guarantee Democratic electoral dominance.
At Nevada Progressive
writes SNAP Out of It
Yesterday, we looked at what seems to be the start of the gruesome death of comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) legislation in Congress. Even though it's crystal clear that House Republicans are going out of their way to kill reform, they're nonetheless looking for someone else to blame (for their own inaction).
Unfortunately for Congressional Republicans, most Americans are not believing them. According to the latest Quinnipiac national poll, 51% blame Republicans in Congress for obstructing President Obama's agenda while only 35% blame President Obama for not cooperating with Congress. And on top of this, 54% support the kind of CIR that House Republicans are now blocking while only 28% (!!!) support the Mitt Romney/House G-O-TEA extreme deportation agenda.
At Blue in the Bluegrass
of Kentucky, Yellow Dog
writes Government Regulations Saved Lives in One Crash; Lack of Them Killed Dozens in the Other
On Tuesday night, Chris Hayes asked why we don't apply the same pressure on government to make fertilizer plants and freight trains carrying explosive petroleum products more safe.
Silly Chris. Rich people fly on planes. Rich people don't work in fertilizer plants or live in the path of runaway freight trains.
At Show Me Progress
of Missouri, Michael Bersin
writes Bill Signing Kabuki
Yesterday morning in Warrensburg, on the campus of the University of Central Missouri, Governor Jay Nixon (D) signed SB 381 into law. The bill "officially defines in state statute an Innovation Campus as an educational partnership comprised of one or more Missouri public community colleges...one or more Missouri public or private four-year institution of higher education, one or more Missouri high schools or K-12 school districts, and at least one Missouri-based business." In the scheme of things everyone involved in supporting the bill is patting themselves on the back that this is a good thing for education in the state. The amount of good varies with who you ask.
These kinds of public self-congratulatory exercises are a magnet for state legislators in or near the districts where the bill signing takes place. [...]
Here's the all too familiar Kabuki element in Missouri politics: on one hand they'll show up for the photo op and glory in the credit for one bill which supports an institution in their district, all the while, voting for a more far reaching bill which seriously screws that same institution. They can get away with it because most of their constituents usually aren't paying attention when the screwing actually happens. And that occurred with HB 253.
At My Left Nutmeg
of Connecticut, ctblogger
scratches his head over the Wall Street Journal's bizarre editorial on Bridgeport and Vallas
When you hear the words, "The Wall Street Journal", one might think of the term pro-business or pro-advanced American capitalism or even right-wing, but most people also want to believe that their articles and editorials are fact-based.
But yesterday, Wall Street Journal Editorial Board member Jason Riley wrote a column about the Vallas situation that was so factually inaccurate it makes one wonder if he took the time to even read up on the facts before he started pontificating on the issue.
The Wall Street Journal's editorial began by exclaiming, "Paul Vallas is one of the country's premier education reformers, with a track record to prove it. So it's only natural that the teachers unions and their political supporters in Bridgeport, Conn., want to run him out-of-town." [...]
The indisputable fact is that under Connecticut law, Paul Vallas lacks the qualifications necessary to serve as Bridgeport's superintendent of schools - period - end of story.