This week at progressive state blogs: Scott Walker's revisionism; LA senator's crackerbarrel 'isms'

Juanita Jean Herownself at Juanita Jean’s of Texas writes—Numbers:

I walked out to pick up the mail yesterday and my Republican across-the-street neighbor ambled over to smirk at me.  “What happened to that blue wave y’all were expecting?”

Okay, now picture this—a slightly chubby old white man on social security and socialized medicine, thinks Trump won the mid terms.

state blogs, Juanita Jean's

I looked at him with that “Have you had a stroke?” look that – not to brag – but, I’ve kinda perfected with this guy.  In a county that had not even one county wide elected Democrat now has them all. We won every race where we ran a Democrat. It wasn’t a wave, it was the earth shifting poles.

And now there’s this:  “The Cook Political Report shows that the Democratic lead in the U.S. House popular vote for the 2018 midterms is now up to 8.5%.”

“For comparison purposes, note that in 2010 – which was widely seen as a GOP ‘wave’ cycle – Republicans won the U.S. House popular vote by 6.6%. In 1994, which was seen as a Republican ‘revolution,’ the GOP won the U.S. House popular vote by 7.1%.”

I’m putting that on a poster board in my front yard right across from his mailbox, dammit.

Peter Athas at The Bayou Brief of Louisiana writes—Neelyisms: Translating Louisiana’s Junior Senator:

I’m surely not the only one to remember Slate’s Bushisms feature. It was compiled by Jacob Weisberg who started it when he covered George W. Bush 2000 campaign. Weisberg was among the first to note W’s weird use of the language and penchant for malaprops. Weisberg kept at it for Bush’s entire presidency and even produced a successful book of Bushisms.

The wit and wisdom of [Republican Sen.] John Neely Kennedy isn’t quite as spontaneous as your basic Bushism. It’s part of a carefully, albeit mysteriously, calculated image to portray a well-educated professional politician as a cracker barrel philosopher; a character straight out of the long-running teevee show, “Hee-Haw.” In short, our senator and former state treasurer thinks he’s Grandpa Jones only without the banjo and the droopy mustache:

Neely may be a born-again Republican but his wisecracks are reminiscent of one of the most colorful politicians in Louisiana history: Three-time Democratic Governor and brother of the Kingfish, Earl K. Long. He was known in his later days as Uncle Earl. I use the term Gret Stet of Louisiana as an homage to Uncle Earl who knew his way around a colorful country wisecrack. As you will see directly, his favorite foil was New Orleans Mayor Delesseps (Chep) Morrison who he called Dellasoups. […]

The difference between Uncle Earlisms and Neelyisms is that Earl was being real whereas Neelyisms reflect a carefully crafted persona. At First Draft, I’ve called it “hicking it up.” I don’t recall as many hickified aphorisms from Neely’s long tenure as state treasurer, but he was a chronic kibitzer and soundbite machine for the Gret Stet political media. The wave of Neelyisms seems to have started during the 2016 campaign and exploded when Neely hit Capitol Hill.

[This is followed by 20 selected Neelyisms from Athas, the seventh of which specifically refers to Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch but apparently has been used in reference to others as well]:

“I guess what I want is a cross between Socrates and Dirty Harry and I believe you just might be that person.”

scharrison at BlueNC writes—$34,310 debt owed by Harris campaign for fraudulent ballots:


Buying a Congressional seat can be costly:

In a filing with the Federal Election Commission, Mr. Harris’s campaign listed an obligation of $34,310 for “reimbursement payment for Bladen absentee, early voting poll workers; reimbursement door to door.” The disclosure form said the campaign owed the money to Red Dome Group, the Charlotte-area consulting firm that Mr. Harris hired for his campaign.

Red Dome, in turn, contracted with L. McCrae Dowless Jr., a Bladen County political operative who has been accused of collecting absentee ballots from voters in a potentially illegal effort to tip the election toward the Republican nominee.

Which exposes an exceptionally nasty side to this story: A lot of those small donors, squeezing fifty bucks out of their family’s budget in support of an evangelical pastor, only to have their money used to steal or stifle the votes of their fellow citizens.[…]

You may have also noticed Dallas Woodhouse taking a surprising new stance, signaling a new election might be acceptable. But here’s the thing: He wants *two* new elections, a Primary and a General Election. Why, you might ask? It’s painfully obvious. Mark Harris is tainted, and will likely lose if he runs against McCready again. Dallas wants to change the players in the middle of the game, get Pittenger in there instead, because not only is he innocent, he’s also a victim as well. Dallas sees that scenario as the only way the GOP can retain that seat, and he’s probably right.

James Rowen at The Political Environment of Wisconsin writes—Walker begins the revisionism to justify more lame-duck revision:

Yeah, that’s not the braggadocio he tossed the fake David Koch’s way. “Yep. This is our moment. “Is there anything Walker will not spin?

@MollyBeck Scott Walker says he regretted acting quickly with Act 10. He may do it again on lame-duck legislation. via ⁦@patrickdmarley 

He is going out in full contradiction to what he demanded [former Democratic Gov. Jim] Doyle not do eight years ago.

state blogs, The Political Environment

He enjoys the back-stabs and the stealth.

He is incapable of empathy and honesty.

There is a reason why PolitiFact has found his “false” and “pants on fire” statements total more than twice those rated “true.”

He regrets nothing.

Trish Nelson at Blog for Iowa writes—Sinclair Must-See Segments Intended To Create Fear And Influence Elections:

Have you ever thought about what it would take to make you want to run out of the United States on foot to Canada taking nothing more than what you could carry?  And what if you had only flip flops for shoes or no shoes at all?  We in the United States can’t even imagine it. What circumstances would be bad enough to make you not only think about fleeing the country, but actually do it?

Blog for Iowa logo

News stories do not tend to focus on what exactly is going on that is causing people to run for their lives. It’s always, “oh look at the violence and drama going on at the border!”  Looping video of people running, American soldiers, making it look like a war scene. Then little to no information laying out what the circumstances are that are causing people to choose to flee their country on foot.

And that’s the mainstream media. The right wing propaganda outlets show pretty much the same pictures and video. But they use the scene to stir up fear and anger in viewers by calling people fleeing for their lives an “invasion.”  Now we not only have right wing radio blanketing the publicly owned airwaves around the country and in Iowa, Sinclair Broadcasting has taken over the parallel television markets, and their corporate CEO is requiring local stations to broadcast right wing narratives.

from Media Matters for America:

Sinclair Broadcasting, an arm of the right wing propaganda machine, focusing on swing states in rural America is characterizing a large group of poor, desperate, barefoot families  running for their lives as an “invasion.”  Sinclair’s latest “must-run” defends tear-gassing migrant children, warns of an “attempted invasion”

Sinclair’s Boris Epshteyn: “The fact of the matter is that this is an attempted invasion of our country. Period.”

On November 26, Sinclair chief political analyst and former Trump aide Boris Epshteyn released a new “must-run” segment for the company that defended the use of tear gas on these families and attempted to stoke fear, saying the group of migrants is “attempting to storm” the border in an “attempted invasion of our country.”

Watch the video here

Louis Fowler at The Lost Ogle of Oklahoma writes—A Cold Day in Hell: Brigadoon Army Surplus vs. The Oklahoma Winter:

Oklahoma winters are, to me at least, always so post-apocalyptic. It doesn’t help matters that, around this time, the local news channels begin their yearly holiday of frightening the populace with the latest in ratings-grabbing theories of a fully winterized Armageddon of sorts.

state blogs

Fearing a sudden sheet of permafrost descending upon me very soon, I preeminently made a trip to Brigadoon, 1805 S. Sunnylane Rd. in Del City. Advertised as the last “genuine” military surplus store left not only in town but in Oklahoma, it was a good time and a great place to get a jump on avoiding this year’s ultimately frigid death by using and abusing the best of the best of military trash and treasures.

A budget-minded survivalist’s wet dream—well, I guess more frozen than wet—Brigadoon is really the only place that those of us who dwell in the shacks, lean-tos and shanties that are sprinkled throughout Oklahoma City can go to find the gear needed to survive another winter in this Okie Hell; from thermal blankets to formal rations, the goods at Brigadoon can really take the edge off as you breathe your last few visible breaths, all for just a couple of American greenbacks.

Now, whatever philosophical disagreements I may have with the owners or customers—per the vehemently pro-Trump discussion overheard as I was scouring the aisles—they are immediately put to the wayside because in this one moment, right or flight aside, we are all bonded in one common goal: to make it out mostly unscathed to a far more first-worldian season of a virgin mother’s vernal warmth in a couple of months.

Trump, schrump…pass the Hot-Hands […]

Cory Allen Heidelberger at Dakota Free Press writes—Deutsch Plans No Potty-Panic Bill for Noem—What Changed?

I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. If radical right-wing theocrat Fred Deutsch says he won’t use his triumphant return to the Legislature to push an anti-transgender potty bill, I should just say, “Thank you, Fred!” and let it be. I should be thrilled that I don’t have to waste the entire Legislative Session beating down (again) stereotypes and paranoia and outright liesabout my transgender neighbors and can focus instead on the budget, nepotism, and crony corruption.

Dakota Free Press

But something doesn’t ring right here in Deutsch’s denial of an opportunity for Kristi Noem to fulfill one of the key fundagelical promises on which she campaigned. An issue that Deutsch and his extremist colleagues saw as an urgent matter of child safety two years ago suddenly requires no Legislative attention:

Incoming Republican Rep. Fred Deutsch told The Associated Press this week that he doesn’t see the urgency under President Donald Trump. Deutsch said he proposed the bill in 2016 to push back against federal overreach during former President Barack Obama’s administration.

“I’ve not heard of anybody else that’s going to bring a bathroom bill. I hope not,” said Deutsch, who is coming back to the House after deciding not run for re-election in 2016 [“‘Bathroom Bill’ Sponsor Won’t Try Again During 2019 Session,” AP via Education Week, 2018.12.07].

I don’t recall in 2015 and 2016 hearing Deutsch and friends emphasize that the primary threat was federal overreach; they insisted that children were in peril of peeping pervs. In 2017 and 2018, Deutsch and the radical right didn’t cite the ascent of Trump as the reason they could hold off on potty-panic legislation; they said they’d wait until mean old veto-crank Daugaard would be replaced by someone more amenable to their fundie agenda.[…]

Colorado Pols

A staffer at Colorado Pols writes—Democrats To Dominate State House Committees:

As the Denver Post’s Nic Garcia reports, Republicans in the Colorado House of Representatives are set to be less influential than they have been in decades, with the 2019 lopsided Democratic majority resulting in big Democratic majorities on every House committee:

The consequences for Colorado conservatives following stinging losses in November are coming into sharper focus at the statehouse.

Democrats will have a three-vote majority on state House legislative committees, which vet, debate and amend potential bills before the full body deliberates them, leadership in the lower chamber announced Sunday.

The increase in power means Republicans and the right-leaning interest groups that rely on the GOP to advance their agendas will be at a significant disadvantage in January.

A three-vote majority on committees for Democrats effectively mutes House Republicans, but also gives House Democratic leadership a comfortable margin within their own caucus to ensure that one or two holdouts are not able to stall priority legislation on behalf of special interests. As Garcia reports, this is the largest majority that Democrats have enjoyed in the Colorado House since 1959—which we shouldn’t have to remind readers was a very different Democratic Party than today’s. […]

To the victor goes the spoils–and when you win this big, there are plenty of spoils to go around.

Don Pogreba at The Montana Post writes—Republican Legislative Priorities: More Guns in Schools:

There’s one thing observers of the Montana Legislature can count on: faced with important budget decisions and policy questions, Montana Republicans in the Legislature will spend time every session pushing bills to rile up that small part of their constituency who believe that more guns in more places will, despite all the available evidence, make Montana safer.

stateblogs, state blog, The Montana Post

And they’re already back at it. A quick look at the bill draft requests shows that a number of Republicans have once again come to the Legislature armed with bill requests that would undermine local control of schools while drastically reducing student and teacher safety. Chief among these proposals are two requests are those from Senator Keith Regier, who has one draft likely to replicate his badly-named 2017 “Montana School Safety Act” and another to hold a referendum on the same when it inevitably fails to become law.

Assuming Regier’s proposal hasn’t changed substantially since the 2017 session, it would not only make it easier for school staff to bring weapons to school, but it would prohibit school districts from setting their own policies prohibiting guns on campus. State law already lets school boards permit concealed carry on campus, but as of 2017, only three very small districts had any armed teachers. A story from the Billings Gazette in 2017 illustrated a likely reason why:

In Cut Bank, self-described “gun nut” and superintendent Wade Johnson has been on both sides of the debate. A few years ago, he asked school trustees for permission to carry a gun. They said no. And after reviewing research that showed New York City Police had hit their target 18 percent of the time in shootouts, he now agrees.

“That’s unacceptable in a school,” he said.

Despite the macho posturing of Republican legislators who imagine they’d calmly stop a mass shooting on a campus, the presence of more guns would likely only create more chaos in an actual shooting situation and the Parkland tragedy demonstrates that even trained law enforcement on the scene is no guarantee that a shooter would be stopped.

Continue reading...