On the 50 State Blog Network

Cross-posted from my blog on Open Left.

I have for some time been interested in the fate of the old 50 State Blog Network, and what could be done to help revive it.

At the moment there are two different projects going on that Open Left readers might be interested in.  One is the revival of the old manual 50 State Blog Roundup, which has been appearing weekly on Open Left and other progressive blogs around the country.  Thanks go to Eric Hoffpauir for all of his work on single-handedly getting that going again.  I think this is a great effort, but it brings up again what I had seen as the problems in the blog roundup in the first place.

50 State Blog Roundup July 13, 2010

The roundup is coming a day late and a dollar short this week, as I've been on the road. Since I've been away from regular internet access during this last week, I'm again abbreviating the roundup to the links that various state bloggers have e-mailed to me. Next week should see the roundup's return to its full former glory.

Also, a reminder. If you ever want to peruse state and local news through the eyes of progressive bloggers on the ground, you should definitely check out 50stateblognetwork.com. Steve Hanson of Uppity Wisconsin has created an aggregrator that pulls diaries from state and local blogs that have opted in, building a one-stop shop for local and state stories.

And now, the roundup!

All I know is what I read in the papers

Now I remember why they call it the Daily Disappointment.

The headline on today's Journal Sentinel story was promising: Wisconsin candidates' cost-cutting plans don't add up

Finally,it seemed, someone was going to ask the hard questions of the candidates for governor, like a number of people and organizations have been asking for some time.

Like asking the Republicans: "When there is already a $2.5-billion state budget deficit projected, how do you plan to fix that and the $2-billion to $3-billion more you've proposed in tax cuts, mostly for the super rich and corporations? What will you cut?"

That question will have to wait for another day.

Neumann OK with birth control; don't tell the missus

Despite his endorsement by the crazies at Pro Life Wisconsin, who oppose all abortions and all birth control, Mark Neumann says he does not oppose birth control. Who says he's not forward thinking? Welcome to the 20th Century, Mark. (Or the 19th, at least.)

Says Neumann:

“I do not agree with them on that issue. When it comes to birth control, obviously that’s something – I’d have two dozen children by now.

Not bad, even a little humor. But he should have quit when he was ahead. Instead, he continued:

Neumann, with his wife, Sue, by his side, spoke to reporters after turning in his signatures to get on the ballot.

Ron Johnson -- the Oil Man Cometh

Ron Johnson, defender of BP, is a BP stockholder, sees no problem with that, and doesn't plan to divest, the Journal Sentinel reports.

Johnson, the Republican-endorsed US Senate candidate, had criticized President Obama for requiring BP to set up a $20-billion escrow fund for damages, saying it was "bad for America."

Not to mention bad for BP's stockholders.

Johnson says it's the same as the state retirement fund, in which Russ Feingold is a participant, owning some BP stock. Good luck with that argument.

'Tax the rich'

Mark Dayton, a very rich man himself, is running for governor of Minnesota on a slogan of "Tax the Rich," which he says will solve the state's budget problems:

Dayton has offered the most complete budget plan to deal with the state's projected $6 billion shortfall, but his signature solution has also drawn the most fire: "Tax the rich." By taxing Minnesota's highest earners at the same rate as everyone else, Dayton figures he can raise an additional $4 billion.

In Wisconsin, the slogans are more like "Don't tax anybody, ever." Dayton's approach is gutsy and refreshing.

A little class warfare never hurt anybody. And the last I knew, there weren't that many really rich people -- especially really rich people who might vote for a Democrat.


Ernest J. Pagels Jr. - The Michele Bachmann of the Cheesehead Crowd

Or Maybe the Alvin Greene.  Rounding up the Republican Party candidates for Russ Feingold's seat is this - um -- dark horse candidate, Ernest J. Pagels Jr.  We know next to nothing about him except that he seems to have a penchant for being in court, either voluntarily or otherwise.  No web site, no visibility much of anywhere except for this mysterioso spot that has apparently been running in Milwaukee -- please excuse the 3rd-generation YouTube-ishness of this (and the Subway ad - it adds an extra surrealistic quality) but - it has to be seen to be believed.

H/T to Wonkette, Illusory Tenant, and the other gazillion people who have clogged up my inbox with this today.  To all the folks at the Feingold Campaign -- finally a candidate with the guts to stand up against equality, freedom, and reality.

Scott Walker has no clothes; His latest budget scam won't save a nickel

I can't believe Scott Walker thinks he can put this one over on the voters, let alone the news media, but never misunderestimate how gullilble people can be.

Walker's latest budget cutting scam is -- Ta-Da! -- to eliminate 4,000 state jobs.  He says it will save $284-million a year.

But it won't save a nickel, because those 4,000 jobs he want to eliminate are not filled now.  The Doyle administration is leaving them vacant to save money and reduce the state budget deficit.

Walker can't reduce the state payroll by eliminating those jobs, because there are no people on the payroll now.

Based on Walker's figures, the Doyle administration is already saving taxpayers $284-million a year. 

Any chance we'll see this in the news coverage of this non-idea?

(Apologies for the headline.  I know the vision of Walker naked will give some people hives.)

How to get Sensenbrenner to end the Afghan war

 After experiencing a near-collision on a plane in which he was a passenger, frequent world traveler Jim Sensenbrenner got on the phone with the Federal Aviation Administration to demand action, WisPolitics.com reports: 

"Upon landing at Reagan National Airport, I immediately called the FAA to alert them of the situation and requested that they examine the conditions that led to this near collision over a heavily populated area," Sensenbrenner said in a statement. "While no one ever wants to be in such a circumstance, I am pleased that the FAA acted quickly to identify the error with air traffic control operations."
Before anyone twists this, I don't wish Big Jim any harm.

But if he can get that kind of action when he personally intervenes, maybe we should consider sending him on a fact-finding mission to Afghanistan. If he came under fire, he might call the Pentagon and end the war.


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