|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.|
At Blog for Iowa, Dave Bradley wonders—Will Branstad Get Credit For Jobs Created By Medicaid?While Gov. Chafee’s party affiliation flip-flop has been near-universally declared a political ploy, it’s also been near-universally declared that he is now in the party that matches his political ideology. But is he?
Chafee certainly has bona fide progressive credentials when it comes to non-economic policy. As our senator his principled and at-the-time unpopular stand against war against Iraq is one of the most commendable political positions of the so-called “war on terror.” And as our governor, he’s been a great champion for civil liberties, both on marriage equality and the death penalty [...]
All things being equal, I feel Chafee does belong under the big tent of the Rhode Island Democratic Party, but he also moves that tent even farther to the right. Remember, it’s been said the local Democratic Party tent is so big that it even lets all the elephants in!
At raging chicken press of Pennsylvania, Sean Kitchen writes—Philly.Com Owners Continue to Kiss Tom Corbett’s Ass with Free Campaign Advertising:Here is a question on irony. If a version of Medicaid Expansion passes the Iowa legislature that is close to the ACA version, will Gov. Banstad be able to count the jobs created by the expansion to his credit? Seems like Republicans are great at fighting tooth and nail against any progress, but when it comes time to cut the ribbon on the highway or building they are always first in line to have their picture taken and take credit. So I suspect Mr. Screw-the-Poor will be right there to count each and every job as a part of his brilliance as governor.
For more scintillating state pundits, please continue reading below the fold.Over the past week, Philly.Com has received criticism for giving Governor Tom Corbett a column at the beginning of his re-election campaign. For the past couple of years, columnists at the Daily News and Inquirer have been extremely critical of Governor Corbett’s failed policies and horrendous statements that attacked women, minorities and the unemployed. When pressed on the reasoning why the website is giving the Governor the time of day, Interstate General Media Vice President Lexi Norcross (who is conveniently the daughter of South Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania Democratic Kingpin and part owner of the news outlet, George Norcross) stated: 'Considering that The Inquirer and Daily News slam him every day, I think it’s actually equal, giving him a chance to speak'.”
Amidst the criticism Philly.Com has been receiving, the website decided to “double down” and kiss the Governor’s ass some more when they sent Maria Papadakis to conduct a cozy 6 minute long question and answer session with the governor. With an approval rating south of 40%, you can obviously see that the Governor is trying to make himself more palpable for the average voter.
At LiberalOC of California, Joel Smith writes Do disgraced politicians really deserve a second chance?:
[Former Congressman Anthony Weiner] believes enough time has passed and said “I hope I get a second chance to work for you.”
It’s a pretty gutsy move. You would think such a public scandal like this would be political suicide but the former Congressman is going to give public office a second chance. But we ask the question: does he deserve a second chance?
At NebraskaWatchdog.orgDeena Winter writes—Bold Nebraska branches out, will run local candidates:
The grassroots Nebraska group of oil pipeline fighters that has thrown obstacles in the path of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline plans to get more involved in politics by running candidates in local races.At Delaware Liberal, Delaware Dem writes—State GOP Chair John Sigler Resigns:
Bold Nebraska is joining the League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club and Nebraska Farmers Union to get candidates elected to local boards that support renewable and alternative energy. They will initially focus on getting the state’s public power energy boards and perhaps a couple of seats in the Legislature.
They also plan to train people to get local resolutions passed opposing “extreme forms of energy” such as tar sands oil from Canada, which would be carried by the Keystone XL pipeline that Bold has fought from the start. This summer and fall the groups plan to build windmills inside the proposed Keystone XL pipeline route to show their preference for local energy.
…. for personal reasons. The News Journal alert I just received described the decision as being abrupt. From the First State Politics blog over at the NJ, Sigler resigned via a letter to party leaders this morning, saying:
“It is with deep regret and a profound disappointment that I must inform you that, due to newly emergent and totally unexpected circumstances that are completely beyond my control, I am unable to continue to serve you as the Chairman of the Republican State Committee of Delaware,” said Sigler, a former National Rifle Association president who took over the party after the devastating 2010 elections. [...]
Nelly Jordan, the Vice Chair that was just elected last month as a tea party grass roots champion to shake up the RINO establishment, now takes over as Acting Chairman, and a special convention will be held in 60 days to elect a new chairman. Pass the popcorn. Because I suspect if Jordan is not elected or is challenged, the Sussex Theocrats may not be pleased.
At Better Georgia, Bryan Long writes—Chip Rogers’ GPB radio show: the lost tapes:
You will remember that Gov. Nathan Deal created a job at Georgia Public Broadcasting for his buddy Chip Rogers more than seven months ago.At Blue in the Bluegrass of Kentucky, Yellow Dog writes—Massie Votes to Double Student Loan Rates:
You’ll also remember that Gov. Deal didn’t have a job description for Chip at that time. He couldn’t say precisely what Chip Rogers would do at GPB.
But Gov. Deal was sure Chip would do a swell job at something to earn his $150,000 taxpayer-funded salary.
You’ll also remember that what little Gov. Deal did tell us about the job he created for Chip Rogers was that it would be “a statewide weekly radio program examining current economic development trends and highlighting companies that are growing and creating jobs.”
Well, a funny thing has happened since.
Cause anybody who doesn't have a Texan teenaged teabagging billionaire sugar daddy should have to put themselves into debt slavery for life if they want a college education. [...]At Blue Mass Group, laurel writes—Gabriel Gomez Answers My ENDA Question, Sort Of:
[Thomas] Massie's Northern Kentucky Fourth District includes some of the poorest counties in the state—both urban and rural. There's not a variety of poverty that doesn't exist in the Fourth—and very few high school kids who can afford a doubling of the interest rate on student loans.
But Massie doesn't give a flying fuck about that—he cares only about pleasing his teenaged teabagging billionaire from Texas so he'll bankroll Massie's reelection campaign next year.
This afternoon I had the opportunity to ask Republican senatorial candidate Gabriel Gomez his views on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA; HR 1397 / S 811), which is expected to come up for a vote in the Senate in July. [...]At Michigan Liberal, Eric B. writes Jack Lessenberry on the Legislature's contempt for the electorate:As he has done previously when presented with a question about LGBT civil equality, Mr. Gomez began by stating his opposition to discrimination of any kind. He then went on to talk about a friend and capable cadet discharged from the Naval Academy for being gay, something Mr. Gomez clearly found regrettable. In conclusion, he stated that 'I don’t think there should be any kind of discrimination anywhere under any kind of means, whether it’s race, gender, religion or political belief'.”
The general impression I was left with is that Mr. Gomez does indeed abhor discrimination. However, he still leaves me reading the tea leaves as to whether he would translate his personal views into decisive legislative action. Not only did he refrain from speaking to the ENDA bill specifically, but he never used any of the vocabulary key to it: sexual orientation, gender identity, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender.
In short, I found his answer to be positive in tone but frustratingly vague.
At Green Mountain Daily, jvwalt writes—Try again, Guv:For years, [wolves on the Upper Peninsula] were an endangered species. But careful wildlife management has brought their numbers back from only six wolves in 1973 to an estimated 658 today. The government took the wolves off the endangered species list in January—and hunters began to demand that the state allow them to be hunted as a trophy game animal.I think a wolf hunt is a spectacularly stupid idea, born of ignorance, prejudice and a lack of appreciation for the world in which we live. In this case, it was also beside the point: The way this has been done shows contempt for the people of the state, and the idea that the state's wildlife isn't the property of the state but the people who live here.
That provoked an outcry from the Humane Society of the United States. Jill Fritz, the society’s director, began a campaign to collect signatures for another referendum to protect the wolves.
But State Sen. Thomas Casperson (R-Escanaba) quickly introduced a bill to take the right to designate an endangered species away from the legislature and give it to the National Resources Commission (NRC), which is appointed by the governor.
The Jeremy Dodge land purchase threatens to become a political tar baby for Governor Shumlin—something that causes lasting harm to a politician's image. (Think John Kerry and windsurfing, or George H.W. Bush not knowing the price of milk.) The Governor apparently realized this on Friday, when he stopped issuing brief written statements and instead held a series of tete-a-tetes with selected State House reporters.At DirigoBlue of Maine, Gina Hamilton writes—Reporter with ties to this blog forced to leave House floor:
In those interviews, Shumlin gave some ground, opening the door for renegotiation of the deal -- this time, with a lawyer representing Dodge. But he hasn't gone far enough to unstick the tar baby. And the longer he waits, and the more iterations of his story come out, the harder it'll be to put this deal behind him.
So, what's he still doing wrong? Well, how about this classic bit of Shumlinia, combining narcissism, myopia, and a straw-man argument in a single brief statement:"He needed action right there and then," Shumlin said during his first interview since news of the controversial land deal broke Wednesday. "I could not in good conscience walk away. ... I just wasn't going to do it. Now, maybe some folks can do that. I don't have the ability to do that - that's just the truth."So, in Shumlin's mind, "helping a neighbor" means "buying his assets at a rock-bottom price when he has nowhere else to turn." No other options came to mind? Like, helping Dodge achieve the substantial tax relief he was entitled to?
New Maine Times statehouse reporter Andi Parkinson was caught up in a political skirmish during a heated floor vote late Tuesday night on LD 1546, when she was asked to remove herself from the floor of the House at the request of Rep. Ken Fredette, R-Newport.
Parkinson, whose video of Gov. Paul LePage’s appearance at the special Sunday work session of the Appropriations Committee where DHHS funding was being discussed made the rounds of television news throughout the state, was targeted by Fredette, although no other reporters were asked to leave. The Sun Journal and the Bangor Daily News also had reporters in the statehouse that night, and MPBN was filming.
Despite multiple requests, Fredette did not respond to a request for comment by presstime.
According to Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick and Majority Leader Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham, Fredette asked that Parkinson be removed because she had worked for DirigoBlue, a progressive news organization, in the past.