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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 Eclectablog, Eclectablog writes Detroit’s creditors decline to witness the mess they helped enable:
Eclectablog logo
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.

state blogs: the mudflats

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:
Nebraska Appleseed blog
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’:
Blue Hampshire
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, vmars 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:
MN Progressive Project
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, atdnext writes SNAP Out of It:
Nevada Progressive
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:
Blue in the Bluegrass
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:
Show Me Progress
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:
My Left Nutmeg
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.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Where's Animal Nuz? n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    howabout, palantir, Eric Nelson
  •  RE: Issa's practice (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ichibon, Eric Nelson

    A member of Congress is immune to all prosecution for statements made while acting in professional capacity in the Halls of Congress.  This is how it came to be that the Pentagon Papers finally became public, when Sen. Mike Gravel used this privilege to read the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record.

    "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel" ~Dr. Samuel Johnson

    by ActivistGuy on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 08:19:23 AM PDT

    •  One more example of republicans using law.. (0+ / 0-)

      Speech or debate clause which worked for the better re Pentagon Papers, being used by a liar for the worst puposes.

      The clause states that members of both Houses of Congress

      ...shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony, and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their attendance at the Session of their Respective Houses, and in going to and from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

      Issa: the epitome of "malicious self indulgence"  his own words used when he actually accused of others of this
  •  So Detroit's creditors were evil for lending the (0+ / 0-)

    city money, and that's because they're evil old white guys.

    On the other hand, if they hadn't lent the city money, Detroit's collapse would be all their fault, and that's because they're evil old white guys.

    It's almost enough to make me feel sorry for the bankers, and that's saying something.  That's saying a lot, actually.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 08:24:09 AM PDT

    •  Investors assume risk when they invest (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Amber6541, Meteor Blades, Eric Nelson

      In this case, their investment was a loser, for many reasons.  Most of the manufacturing base picked up and left Detroit, and many of them left their buildings to rot.

      Those who most recently lent money were guaranteed a revenue stream from the Casinos.  Detroit needs that money for basic services and public safety.  

      To not be willing to face the reality that is Detroit is to ignore the real suffering of those who live there. The investors want all the return with none of the responsibility.  

      Who said the investors were evil old white guys? I just see typical Wall Streeters who care not at all for the rest of society, only for their profits.

      Imagine all the people, living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. John Lennon

      by GwenM on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 08:58:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes they do. (0+ / 0-)

        But the piece cited by MB seems to imply that the investors should not be trying to get paid for taking risks and trying to recover what they can.

        Just as investors assume risk when they lend, borrowers assume responsibility.  It is completely appropriate for the investors to try to recover what they can.  It's what they do and it's expected.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 09:28:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  If she comes back to Alaska (0+ / 0-)

    she says she could do 3 to 6 years in the senate, or maybe just 3 to 6 in general.

    Anyone still thinking that wanting to own a gun is normal? Wanting to own a gun is an immediate indicator that you should be the last person to have one.

    by pollbuster on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 08:29:01 AM PDT

  •  Sarah Palin says she is thinking about (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, Eric Nelson

    running for the senate. Everyone knows that can't be true, because that require something she couldn't do--thinking.

    Anyone still thinking that wanting to own a gun is normal? Wanting to own a gun is an immediate indicator that you should be the last person to have one.

    by pollbuster on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 08:32:53 AM PDT

  •  Schweitzer is not running. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson

    The first rule of government should be "Do no harm." The urge to act can frustrate the desire to help.

    by Common Cents on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 08:35:20 AM PDT

    •  Schweitzer won't run for Senate in 2014 (0+ / 0-)

      55 minutes ago - Updated 3:55 p.m. ET, 7/13

      In a surprising twist for the 2014 midterm elections, former Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana will not run for the U.S. Senate as expected, according to a source familiar with his decision.

      Schweitzer was widely considered to be the Democratic frontrunner to campaign for the seat and keep it in Democrats' hands after the current holder, Sen. Max Baucus, retires at the end of his sixth term.

      But:

      "We are urging him to reconsider," the group's co-founder, Adam Green, told CNN.
  •  Blue Binoculars (5+ / 0-)

    Thanks for showing us more closely the Blue Blogs of America  (and putting us in touch with them), something we just don't get anywhere else.

    In fact this is so far from the kind of national news coverage - if it's not a wildfire or a tornado or Sarah Palin's latest blatherings, we don't see it at all. It has to rise to the level of the Trayvon Martin/Geo. Zimmerman trial to get any state news, important as that trial is.

    This is becoming one of my very favorite DKos diaries. Tip o' the hat to all here and all the other we'll see in the future. How about making this a more regular feature?

    What stronger breast-plate than a heart untainted! Thrice is he arm'd, that hath his quarrel just; And he but naked, though lock'd up in steel, Whose conscience with injustice is corrupted. King Henry, scene ii

    by TerryDarc on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 09:12:18 AM PDT

  •  Too incompetent to organize a Slummung Tour? (0+ / 0-)
    Two days ago, however, the creditors blew Orr off completely and declined to participate, forcing Orr to cancel the bus tour.
    How bad can things be when the bluehairs efuse to go Slumming?

    Nuclear Reactor = Dirty Bomb

    by olo on Sat Jul 13, 2013 at 09:43:58 AM PDT

  •  Some pro- Keystone pipeline advocates have used.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades

    .the deadly trainwreck in Quebec as evidence of the need to approve of Keystone pipeline (and other lines) as a safer way to transport oil. I've heard this argument from various talks recently  
    Blue Cheddar - July 11, 2013

    The link between a Canadian train inferno and a toxic spill in Wisconsin: Ed Burkhardt

    Burkhardt was the head of Wisconsin Central railroad in 1996 when a major accident in Weyauwega, involving toxic chemicals, cause the entire town to be evacuated for more than two weeks.
    [...]
    He’s also a notorious union buster, buying small railroads, getting rid of the union contracts, and then reducing crew sizes to levels some said were unsafe.
    Edward Burkhardt, president and CEO of the railway's U.S.-based parent company, Rail World Inc., is the man in charge in both these train wrecks.

    Blue Cheddar asks:

    Will this story ever surface in Wisconsin?
    I sure hope so. Both these wrecks were avoidable with decent management - and strong union involvement - imo

     There is also another point I heard recently that works against the whole 'pipelines are far safer' argument. When there are accidents, a train or trucking accident, while terrible, are far smaller in size, volume and environmental impact when an accident does occur than when a pipeline busts open somewhere, often times unnoticed for hours or days or even longer.

    P.S. I know that Blue Cheddar in on the 'Progressive State Blogs' list, but thought this story on Edward Burkhart needs some notice - slashing unions once again proven to be fatal and terribly bad idea for the environment.

    Thx MB - nice round up

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