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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 R.I., Bob Plain asks—Is Chafee a Democrat on economic policy?
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 Blog for Iowa, Dave Bradley wonders—Will Branstad Get Credit For Jobs Created By Medicaid?
Blog for Iowa logo
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.
At raging chicken press of Pennsylvania, Sean Kitchen writes—Philly.Com Owners Continue to Kiss Tom Corbett’s Ass with Free Campaign Advertising:
Raging Chicken Press
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.

For more scintillating state pundits, please continue reading below the fold.

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.

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.

At Delaware Liberal, Delaware Dem writes—State GOP Chair John Sigler Resigns:
…. 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:
Delaware Liberal
“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.
Better Georgia
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.


At Blue in the Bluegrass of Kentucky, Yellow Dog writes—Massie Votes to Double Student Loan Rates:
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. [...]

[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.

At Blue Mass Group, laurel writes—Gabriel Gomez Answers My ENDA Question, Sort Of:
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. [...]
Blue Mass Group
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 Michigan Liberal, Eric B. writes Jack Lessenberry on the Legislature's contempt for the electorate:
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.

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.

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.
At Green Mountain Daily, jvwalt writes—Try again, Guv:
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.

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?
At DirigoBlue of Maine, Gina Hamilton writes—Reporter with ties to this blog forced to leave House floor:
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.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Gomez is fuzzy on everything (7+ / 0-)

    or so it seems

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Sat Jun 01, 2013 at 08:04:23 AM PDT

  •  Gomez would vote like the GOP - for a filibuster (4+ / 0-)

    to prevent ENDA from getting an up or down vote, and if the filibuster failed and it came to a vote, against ENDA because his business money-rollers oppose government regulations and requirements.  Take it to the bank - he refuses to answer yes or no because if elected, he would vote no (after supporting a GOP filibuster).

  •  Get Something from Chafee (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Old Sailor, Meteor Blades, Simplify

    If Chafee is going to save the rest of his political career (and family legacy - surely other Chafees will be in the family politics business) by becoming a Democrat, the party has to get something in return. After all, it gets absolutely nothing from a governor joining the Party - there's no caucus in which to make a majority (and elect majority leader or speaker, etc). In fact, Democrats lose the evidently valuable (to its leaders) claim of "bipartisan" when Chafee's agreeing but not a Republican (or "independent", which is what we call Republicans with shame). Chafee as Democrat only benefits him. While diluting the Party with someone who's really a Republican, unless he really changes materially.

    That's not how politics works (when it works). The Party should disclaim him until he does something the Party needs as much as Chafee needs the Party. Like more progressive judges in Connecticut. Or even, better, pulling the "Really a Republican" (fellow legacy) Governor Cuomo of New York into more progressive positions. Mainly Cuomo is a stupid Wall Street lawyer cursed with a family legacy of Democrats in New York, rather than somewhere else more consistent with his Republican values leadership. A Democratic Party with a progressive strategy would get Chafee to partner with Cuomo in leading the region in more progressive ways, from education to gun control to labor protections to environmentalism (like outlawing fracking). All of which would make each of them more popular, to say nothing of doing their jobs protecting their states and neighbors.

    Of course this is the Democratic Party that pulled out its biggest stars (eg. both Clintons) to campaign for Joe Lieberman against the Democrat who defeated him in the Party primary. But that was years ago, Lieberman at least is gone, and there's another chance for Democrats to stop blowing every chance at proper leadership that comes their way.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Sat Jun 01, 2013 at 08:16:51 AM PDT

    •  I have always been of the view that... (0+ / 0-) turncoats at high levels should be on probation for a period of time before being considered trustworthy enough for any plum assignments. Others disagree, arguing that sugar should be applied so more of them "will" become "us." Risky business that.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Sat Jun 01, 2013 at 09:22:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  More, Not Better, Democrats (0+ / 0-)

        When more Republicans beome Democrats without changing what they do, the Democratic Party simply becomes more Republican. It's already pretty Republican.

        "More and better Democrats" has shown that "more" isn't better; better is better than more - and makes more. Recruiting "ex" Republicans is only "more", and almost certainly not "better".

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Sun Jun 02, 2013 at 08:15:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Sean Kitchen (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bill W

    needs to learn the difference between "palpable" and "palatable".

    "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

    by nosleep4u on Sat Jun 01, 2013 at 08:27:18 AM PDT

  •  Keep up the good work, Meteor Blades. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gorette, Meteor Blades, Simplify

    Way to show some love and help some local blogs get noticed.  I like this feature since I get to read some good stuff that I would never be exposed to otherwise.  Thanks.

    As for Chafee, just what we need more economically conservative neoiliberals.  Loved the author's big tent line.

    "The working class mind is strange and unpredictable" -- Ty Lookwell

    by Illinibeatle on Sat Jun 01, 2013 at 08:32:19 AM PDT

  •  We Deserve a Second Chance Weiner (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    melvynny, Old Sailor, Meteor Blades
    [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?

    It's the wrong question. The right question is "does NYC have a better alternative running for  mayor?" Bonus question: can this other candidate win?

    Because Weiner could win. And the answer is that NYC doesn't have a better alternative among the candidates. Also consider that Weiner is very firmly in the Clinton camp, as she spends the next 3 years running for president (after using NY to become senator to run the last time). That would give Weiner a real pipeline back into the Federal government he was forced to leave when he was making a real difference there in progressive leadership.

    So the guy was a little loose with his slightly weird sex life on twitter, and really screwed up by accident. What real harm was done, other than to him? And then he resigned, unlike many of his contemporaries - and like most of the people who are running against him in NYC.

    Let's not pretend that anyone who runs for NYC mayor is going to be a normal, well adjusted person. After mayors Lindsay, Koch, Dinkins, 9iu11iani and the seemingly endless B$l$o$o$m$b$e$r$g, Weiner would be among the least disturbing in his weirdness. And let's stop acting like we should elect people to give some kind of reward to a nice person. They're never really nice, the office is a responsiblity and a challenge not a reward.

    It is the people who need to get something from the election. And NYC needs Weiner instead of the other people running, who are all either crooks or unelectable.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Sat Jun 01, 2013 at 08:33:41 AM PDT

    •  well said (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DocGonzo, Old Sailor

      Also--Weiner's scandal was private in nature--his photos--his money.  The only thing that should bother voters is his early cover-up attempt.  I can live with giving him a second chance--and do believe he would be a very good mayor.  Same for Elliot Spitzer's political career--what he did in his private life is none of the electorate's business.  JFK did worse--the media then knew how to separate  private and public "news."

      Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite. John Kenneth Galbraith .

      by melvynny on Sat Jun 01, 2013 at 08:45:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  He never should have resigned in the first place (0+ / 0-)

      And the rest of the Dems should've backed him up. It would'be showed that these kinds of scandals are bullshit, that they have nothing to do with his ability to serve in office. It would've solidified Dem solidarity and kept another halfway decent "D" in office. But no, run for the hills.

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Sat Jun 01, 2013 at 10:34:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Resigning Was Good (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        No, I think his resigning showed some integrity. He never would have been able to live it down in his district. My office is in his district, and the people who vote around there are idiots who read the NY Post. After he resigned they voted to replace him with a Teabagger (instead of an obvious placeholder, the neighborhood's NYC Community Board rep, whose father was a very well know US House Rep a main street is now named after). The district was redistricted less than a year later, and the Teabagger was voted out.

        So his resigning gave the district a chance to clean house, and Weiner too. In republics with some dignity and democracy the reps resign quickly, and come back "chastened". Otherwise everything they do is preempted by "but aren't you the sleazebag who...", and they can't serve their constituents.

        I know Republicans do worse and never resign. But none of what I said applies to them, because their constituents don't care about anything except their tribal brand and voting for whom they're told. Weiner resigning is part of what makes Democrats better.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Sun Jun 02, 2013 at 08:06:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Is there a FLORIDA blog? I think several (0+ / 0-)

    years ago I knew of one but lost track of it.

    With all that's going on here I need to get connected on what we can do to protest the insanity.

    "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

    by Gorette on Sat Jun 01, 2013 at 08:36:49 AM PDT

  •  I'm tired of the "moderate" goppers jumping to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Old Sailor, Meteor Blades, Simplify

    the Dem party now that the Republicans are batshit crazy. All they do is pull the Dems even further to the right.

    If they REALLY wanted to do some good, they would stay and take their OWN party back from the fruit loops.

    •  I was just writing the same thing... (0+ / 0-)

      when I saw yours. What the Democratic Party needs is more actual Democrats.

      The modern Democrat is one who promotes old GOP ideas and calls them progressive in comparison to new GOP ideas.

      by masswaster on Sat Jun 01, 2013 at 09:53:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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