This week at progressive state blogs: Uninsured kids; 'white men in chains' lie; climate crisis | Media Hard

This week at progressive state blogs: Uninsured kids; 'white men in chains' lie; climate crisis

Daily Kos

This week at progressive state blogs: Uninsured kids; 'white men in chains' lie; climate crisis

At The Progressive Pulse of North Carolina, Rob Schofield writes—New report: Progress on children’s health coverage reverses course

The good people at the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute Center for Children and Families are out with some sobering news on the health coverage provided to children in the U.S.

The Progressive Pulse of North Carolina

Here are the key findings from their new report:

  • For the first time in nearly a decade, the number of uninsured children in the United States increased. Recently released data shows an estimated 276,000 more children were uninsured in 2017 than in 2016. No state (except for the District of Columbia) experienced a significant decline in the number of uninsured children in 2017.
  • Three-quarters of the children who lost coverage between 2016 and 2017 live in states that have not expanded Medicaid coverage to parents and other low-income adults. The uninsured rates for children increased at almost triple the rate in non-expansion states than in states that have expanded Medicaid. […]
  • Texas has the largest share of children without health coverage with more than one in five uninsured children in the U.S. residing in the state.
  • States with larger American Indian/ Alaska Native populations tend to have higher uninsured rates for children than the national average.

In 2017, the number of uninsured kids in North Carolina climbed to 120,000 and the failure to expand Medicaid is almost certainly to blame.

Blue Mass Group

At Blue Mass Group, Charley on the MTA writes—National Climate Assessment drops; drastic action needed in MA:

After we’ve all had a chance to settle in after the holiday weekend, … will our overwhelmingly re-elected Governor or Speaker of the House hold forth on the new National Climate Assessment, the consensus view of thirteen federal agencies? The news is not good for the northeast (defined as West Virginia to Maine), as the Globe outlines:

  • Urban areas are at risk for large numbers of evacuated and displaced populations and damaged infrastructure due to both extreme precipitation events and recurrent flooding, potentially requiring significant emergency response efforts and consideration of a long-term commitment to rebuilding and adaptation, and/or support for relocation where needed.
  • High-tide flooding has increased by a factor of 10 or more over the last 50 years for many cities in the Northeast region and will become increasingly synonymous with regular inundation, exceeding 30 days per year for an estimated 20 cities by 2050 even under a very low scenario.

Etc, etc. There’s more, and none of it good.

And since our President* has decided that he “doesn’t believe it”; and is hell-bent on sending us head-long into disaster … the onus is on the states. Us. Here. Now. Baker, DeLeo and Spilka. As I’ve noted, we’re no longer the leaders in renewable energy ambition anymore, and I’m baffled at how our Governor intends to decarbonize the transportation sector without a major buildout of public transit; in other words, “making the thing work” won’t cut it.

So I echo 350Mass’s Craig Altemose’s call for a Green New Deal — right here in MA. We can absolutely maintain a decent, if different, quality of life and provide equity for people who are displaced and disadvantaged under the current trends.

At Bleeding Heartland of Iowa, desmoinesdem writes—Even in defeat, Peter Cownie’s better off than Iowans with bad shoulder injuries:

Money couldn’t buy a sixth term for State Representative Peter Cownie. Republicans spent more trying to hold his district than on any other Iowa House race, by far. Nevertheless, Democratic challenger Kristin Sunde defeated Cownie by nearly 1,200 votes in House district 42.

state blogs

The loss must sting. Cownie would have led the House Ways and Means Committeenext year, a powerful position as Republicans in full control of state government plan more tax cuts skewed toward corporations and wealthy people.

But in this season of giving thanks, Cownie can be grateful he will continue to be well-compensated. In contrast, Iowans with career-altering shoulder injuries are experiencing tremendous hardship under a 2017 law Cownie introduced and fast-tracked. […]

The law was designed to either exclude Iowans from the workers’ compensation system or dramatically reduce the benefits they could receive. A particularly cruel sectionreclassified shoulder injuries, the most common way workers get hurt in meatpacking plants. The concept was to slash payments for those injuries and shift the burden to a fund covered by insurance companies rather than by “self-insurers,” which includes meat industry giants like Tyson Foods.

Statehouse Republicans amended the bill before final passage to provide slightly less stingy benefits for shoulder injuries. However, the version Governor Terry Branstad signed into law, with full support from then Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds, left workers far worse off in many respects.

At Blue Jersey, Rosi Efthim writes—So, Mikie Sherrill’s joined the Blue Dogs. Simmer down. [And muscle up].

NJ Blue Dogs
The Blue Dogs are a coalition of two dozen fiscally conservative House Democrats. In the photo, the red squares surround New Jersey’s three Blue Dogs: Rep.-elect Mikie Sherrill (left) Rep. Josh Gottheimer (right) and Rep.-elect Jeff Van Drew (right front). 

This photo* – it got people riled up. Mikie Sherrill with her new pack, the Blue Dogs, that right-tilting assemblage that already includes Josh Gottheimer. There’s Jeff Van Drew, too! But he’s no surprise, we knew he was a DINO. But Mikie. Facebook is having a little nutty right now. Mikie sticker-shock. Buzzing about launching Mondays With Mikie, like the grassroots Fridays With Frelinghuysen that shamed the scion of a Jersey political family at the top of his game right out of the race. Buzzing about, Who can primary Mikie in 2020?

Mikie. A lot of good people’s work went into her election.

State blogs, Blue Jersey

Look. Mikie’s gonna be what Mikie’s gonna beTo a certain degree, I say she like all our newbies should have a chance to get there, find their voice in the House, maybe before we all pile on. Am I disappointed? Yes. Bigly. I expected better. Mikie was elected with the widest margin of any of our seat-flippers (56%-43% over Webber), racked up the most dominant war chest, got the most national press. Given all that, given it was activists who shamed Rodney off the stage, given that she capitalized on a movement they started, you’d think she’d spend some of that political capital. Test the wings of that win, show some progressive moxie. That’s if she had it in her. Maybe she doesn’t. Did anybody ask? Did anyone press her on which team she’d join?

I have a theory – some of you are not going to like it – that women candidates (white ones, not black ones) are often afforded more room to set their own course than male candidates are. Maybe because the hunger for women in leadership is palpable – and way overdue. Seems to me sometimes women candidates are exempted from criticism and hard questions even before they’re asked. This advantage does not extend to black women candidates (hey, Stacey Abrams and her voters were crapped on, while Mississippi just sent lily-white Cindy Hyde-Smith, who jokes about lynchings, to the goddamn U.S. Senate). But I digress. Call it the Hillary Clinton effect: Confronted with hard questions, or the corruption that tied her to the DNC, how often did that campaign cry sexism and misogyny? Often. And that had the effect of muddling right over the real sexism that was also directed against her. Her campaign used it as an intimidation tactic to shut down both the press and voters not in her corner.  Nothing like that is going on here, but I’m not convinced there aren’t vestiges of 2016 coloring both our expectations as voters, and how hard we’re willing to press our standard-bearers. Particularly women, because anybody with a brain knows we need more of them. In NJ-11, more than any NJ district, it was women who powered Mikie Sherrill to victory, not so much the Democratic Party, but women enraged by a colossally stupid, he-man-woman-hating, woman-screwer they feel in their bones snatched the White House from their hands. From her hands.

Jana Segal at Blog for Arizona writes—The Real Recycling 101:

After the city’s falsely named “Recycling 101” event turned out to be more of a budget meeting than a presentation on how to recycle, Sustainable Tucson hosted our own program, “Recycling and Beyond.” We stressed to Sherri Ludlam, Environmental Scientist in the Department of Environmental and General Services, that this time we wanted her to concentrate on the rules for recycling. Her chosen topic was “old and new challenges to Tucson’s recycling program.” One of the new challenges was that China wouldn’t be accepting all of our dirty recycling anymore because of the contamination. Contamination is all the trash that doesn’t belong in recycling – including plastic bags that jam up the machines. That same contamination is costing the company contracted to do our recycling truck loads of money. Our bad. Tucsonans put everything from dirty diapers to dead cats to Saguaros in our recycling cans. Sherri reminded us that there are actual people who sort through all that yucky trash. So don’t throw in anything that you wouldn’t want to find in your own recycling can


Present at both meetings was a bold young woman, Sharia Des Jardins, who gamely explained why you can’t recycle freezer boxes. (See reason below). Besides doling out much needed explanations for the new recycling rules, Sharia was there to ensure that conversation covered more that just the profit margin for the recycling company. Sustainable Tucson had it covered. After an enlightening presentation on the 5 R’s (Refuse Reduce Reuse Recycle Rot) by Zero Waste Maven Alex Kosmider, we had a lively discussion that led to forming a “Zero Plastic Waste” working team. We are already doing research to repeal the Arizona law prohibiting towns from banning plastic bags. […]

Of course it is still important to safeguard Tucson’s recycling program by following the new rules. Toward that end, I asked Sharia to clarify the recycling rules recorded at the meeting.

At Blue in the Bluegrass of Kentucky, Yellow Dog writes—Rising seas are 500 miles east and 700 feet down, but Global Warming will destroy Kentucky, too:

Everywhere on the planet, humanity’s days are numbered and the number is few.  Kentucky’s distance and elevation from the ocean is not going to save us.

Blue in the Bluegrass

It’s all here in Chapter 19 of the official U.S. Government report the Pumpkin Traitor tried to hide on Friday.

Regarding the Southeast, including Kentucky, the report reads:

While all regional residents and communities are potentially at risk for some impacts, some communities or populations are at greater risk due to their locations, services available, and economic situations. In fact, a recent economic study using a higher scenario (RCP8.5)11 suggests that the southern and midwestern populations are likely to suffer the largest losses from projected climate changes in the United States.

Yep, Governor I Got Mine Fuck You, by stripping Kentucky’s treasury, education system and support programs thus keeping us poor, sick and stupid, is making our suffering from global warming even worse than the coasts.

At Bluestem Prairie of Minnesota and North Dakota, Sally Jo Sorensen writes—Days before factchecks, GOP lawmaker defended Omar against “white men in chains” meme:

Conservative state representative Mary Franson, R-Alexandria, defended her Minnesota House colleague Ilhan Omar on Facebook days before an absurd meme was debunked by Snopes, Politfact,,  Roll Call and the conservative Weekly Standard.

state blogs, bluestem prairie

Why didn’t other conservative Minnesota activists pay attention? The answer seems rooted in how social media consumers trust the sources for news and images.

The meme–in this case a screengrab of an Instagram image shared on November 9 from the trumps_the_man account-(view here) was posted on Facebook by MNGOP consultant and activist Jonathan Aanestad on November 10, receiving 123 Comments and 268 Shares.


Aanestad told one commenter that the post was “kind of posted as an experiment” and “troll bait”:

Jonathan Aanestad Mary Ellen Moore – Hi Mary Ellen – I did not take it as disrespect 😘 I am simply amazed at how many people take the opposed position immediately – with out much thought. Kind of posted this as an experiment. And, also this is “troll” bait.

Franson stepped into the discussion that very day, commenting:

Betty Ann Sternal Doesn’t matter if the statement is true or false. FBI has shown both she & Ellison are affiliated with terrorists group

Jason330 at Delaware Liberal writes—So what is the Dem strategy on Border Chaos?

It is clear that the Republicans have decided that ever more chaos on our southern border is a winning issue for them, so what is the Democratic strategy to address this reality?

Delaware Liberal state blog

A standard Democratic response would be to agree with Republicans on most points while trying to explain that Democrats would do everything Republicans would do but do it with less asshole-ishness. That’s the “we are less bad” strategy centrists Dems love to lose with. I’d expect Chris Coons and his prayer breakfast buddies to come out with some statement shortly that concedes that Trump is right on border security, but they’d appreciate him being more kind or some similar shit.

My hope, however, is that the Democratic strategy manages to veer away from the tried and failed centrism of the past. And will be more proactive on the battle economic ground issues that won them their seats in Congress and governorships. If the new members of Congress manage to move Democratic away from the Chris Coons’ of the world, and the defensive crouch that is the go-to posture for Democrats, they will be fulfilling the mandate they won on election day.

At Washington Liberals, Don Smith writes—Can Rep. Adam Smith move the needle on military spending, secrecy, and adventurism?

Starting in January, Rep. Adam Smith (WA, D, 9th CD) will be the Chair of the House Armed Services Committee.

state blogs, washington liberals

Rep. Adam Smith is called a progressive, and a great hope for pacifists, in this Politico article Democrats going nuclear to rein in Trump’s arms buildup. (The title they chose for the article is rather unfortunate.)

Adam Smith also wrote an article in Defense One decrying Pentagon secrecy: The Pentagon’s Getting More Secretive — and It’s Hurting National Security.

Though Adam Smith is not as progressive as his opponent Sarah Smith, he is a smart, reasonable guy who “gets it” about military waste, secrecy, and adventurism.

Adam Smith is mentioned, more critically, in this Counterpunch article Will the new House Dems take on the War Lobby?. The article points out that Adam Smith received $ 261,450 in campaign cash from the arms industry in the 2018 election cycle.

Given the power of the Blob (military industrial complex) reining it in is a formidable task. But Smith gets it. He has been moving to the left with his district.

This is an issue where we can move the needle.  Of course, we need to do this responsibly!

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