Wonk’s Saturday Reads: State-by-State, in Solidarity

Aaron Foster, Reclaimed License Plate Map. Click to view at uncommongoods.com

Good morning, news junkies! This will just be a quick rundown of a few domestic headlines I’m following. There’s a lot of other news breaking inside and outside of the US these days. So as always, please use the comments to share whatever stories you’re tracking this Saturday.

TEXAS: I miss Ann Richards and Molly Ivins every day of politics, and every day I wake up to the ongoing nightmare of Rick Perry. But, the way our state demographics are trending, I can’t help but dream of a day when I can say I live in a blue state. Or, at least a really, really purple one! Here’s the big bold headline that the Houston Chronicle led with in its print edition yesterday:


*Population of the 10-county Houston metropolitan area, according to the new census figures

The byline that ran underneath (and the title of the article as it appears online): Trends show state increasingly urban and Latino.”

The Chronicle reports that,Texas’ largest cities grew larger and more diverse, as did many suburban counties, part of what Rice University sociologist Stephen Klineberg calls ‘this accelerating demographic revolution.’ According to Steve Murdock–another sociologist from Rice, as well as a former director of the Census Bureau–“the idea of predominantly white suburbs” no longer holds true.

Do you hear that noise? It sounds like Glenn Beckistan weeping in its sleep.

WISCONSIN: This is the state where I was born, with a deep progressive tradition that I’ve always felt personally drawn toward — a tradition that is now rising up to challenge the social darwinism of the tea party. Here are the two reads I recommend on the developments out of WI:

This next one is a headline out of Eau Claire, WI, attached to an AP report…

  • Leader-Telegram:Jesse Jackson, Feingold rally protesters in MadisonApparently the protesters broke into chants of “Feingold for Governor.” Oh how I love the sound of that.
  • Amanda Terkel has more on Feingold’s efforts over at Huffpo. From the link: “‘I just feel enormous pride in the people of Wisconsin who are coming together — whether union or anti-union — for the rights of workers,’ Feingold said in an interview with The Huffington Post. ‘This state is one of the originators of many of the workers’ rights and protections on child labor, unemployment compensation, and almost all kinds of workers’ rights. The fact that our governor is trying to destroy those rights is something worth fighting against. And I, of course, as a citizen of Wisconsin, somebody who knows the state very well, was proud to just show up and keep my support.’ While President Obama has criticized Walker’s proposal, which would strip away the collective bargaining rights of public employees, he has yet to make an appearance. Wisconsin Sen. Herb Kohl, the state’s one remaining Democratic U.S. senator, has put out a short statement on the protests but has not taken a visible role. […] Feingold said he believed any politician who purports to be pro-labor should be out in Madison. ‘I can’t imagine somebody who has supported labor and has the support of working people in the state wouldn’t want to at least appear at some point,’ said Feingold. ‘It’s a very meaningful and very difficult effort against one of the most mean-spirited things I’ve seen in a long time. I know people are busy, but to me it was gratifying to see everyone working this hard against something that’s really terribly wrong. It’s very inspiring.'”

Wisconsin’s progressives aren’t your johnny-come-lately career progressives like Arianna or Kos either. Wisconsin’s progressives are the real deal, with a history that goes way back.

In solidarity with them, I’m turning to one of my all time favorite quotes about politics and policy:

“In legislation no bread is often better than half a loaf.”

“Half a loaf, as a rule, dulls the appetite and destroys the keenness of interest in attaining the full loaf. A halfway measure never fairly tests the principle and may utterly discredit it. It is certain to weaken, disappoint, and dissipate public interest. Concession and compromise are almost always necessary in legislation, but they call for the most thorough and complete mastery of the principles involved, in order to fix the limit beyond which not one hair’s breadth can be yielded.” –-the late Robert M. “Fighting Bob” La Follette, Wisconsin governor and U.S. senator

You guys from Wisconsin fighting the good fight–don’t yield one hair’s breadth beyond that limit. Ordinary Americans are behind you every step of the way. Your fight is our fight.

From Wisconsin to Texas, and from Texas to Wisconsin…

OHIO: And, from Wisconsin to Ohio. Is the Speaker crying yet?

I’ll let the headlines do the talking…

WASHINGTON, DC: As usual, our DC gang is up to shenanigans… a possible government shutdown, more of the K-Street/C-Street armageddon on women’s civil rights as a means to avoid doing anything substantive for ordinary people struggling in this economy, but at least activists in the area are pushing back and showing up at Boehner’s doorstep….

  • From Thursday in DC, via Wapo DC Wire: DC Vote activists protest outside Boehner’s houseMembers of the group DC Vote have gone to the Ohio Republican’s office before to complain about GOP bills. But with the House now considering a spending bill that would cut roughly $80 million in federal payments to the District and prohibit the city from using its own money for abortions or needle-exchange programs, the activist group decided to raise the stakes. ‘Speaker Boehner is coming to our home telling us how to spend our money,’ said DC Vote head Ilir Zherka. ‘We decided to come to his house to tell him to leave D.C. alone.'”
  • From Friday, via Raw Story: “House votes to cut off funding for Planned ParenthoodAuthored by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), the amendment would eliminate all $327 million in funding for Title X, a family planning program that began 40 years ago under President Richard Nixon. And while Planned Parenthood receives millions of dollars from the program, Title X funds cannot be used for abortion services. Instead, the money is to be used for noncontroversial family planning services such as contraceptives, reproductive health counseling and cancer screenings, mostly for low-income families. Pence said he supports the use of Title X funds for those purposes, but insisted the government must not fund any organization that provides or promotes abortions. The Democratic-controlled Senate is unlikely to approve the controversial measure.

The Onion News Network had a report earlier this month that was downright prescient — “Congress Forgets How to Pass a Law” (youtube to the right):

FLORIDA: Of course, there’s that deeply flawed Romney-Obama Care that “Democrats” did manage to pass and that wingnuts want to see undone by hook or crook for all the wrong reasons. We live in perplexing times to say the least. A quick link on the HCR lawsuit front…

POTUS: Commenter paperdoll left a pithy observation about Obama at my blog the other week that I wanted to share with you as well, and this seems like as good a place as any to highlight it:

Obama is currently hell bent to prove his truly heartless GOP creds to the upper crust so they will install him in 2012. But that’s the one thing he doesn’t have to put on an act about….his heartlessness . …no ” um” ..” er” …” well let me be perfectly clear” …groping for buzz words there…just sub zero temps

Whether you think Obama is heartless or not, Obama has never had trouble telling any of us that his political heart belongs to the zombie daddy of the GOP, Ronald Reagan.

Glen Ford at the Black Agenda Report had this to say on Wednesday: “Obamaland: Where Right meets Center-Right […] From community block grants to Section 8 housing vouchers to child care to Pell Grants to home heating oil for the poor, Obama has preemptively savaged all that decent people hold dear in the social safety net, and is in enthusiastic, principled agreement with the Republicans that the big cuts are still to come, in Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. Obama has arrived in his element, and he has nothing to be ashamed about. Way back on the campaign trail, he told everyone willing to listen how much he admired President Reagan. So, why be surprised when you get a Reagan-type budget? No, the shame is not Obama’s. The people who should be scandalized by the president’s budget are the enablers on the Left who abrogated their political responsibility to the people – and to Truth – by inventing an Obama that did not exist, back in 2007 and 2008.”

Politico ran this silly headline on Friday night: “Obama’s Wisconsin remarks ease labor’s doubts.” But, remember, Obama hasn’t shown in Madison, and Feingold says anyone who is a friend of working people should be there. I’d further that and say anyone who is a friend of working people would already be there in spirit, if not in the flesh. Whether Obama has truly “eased” labor’s doubts or not, whether he drags his heels on over to Madison eventually or not, those kinds of questions have all become increasingly moot. Obama continues to prove himself a laissez-faire leader that may or may not “show up” at the 11th hour, depending on whether his permanent campaign permits his doing so. He’ll never be at the frontlines fighting with or for us — on any issue. He’s not a champion of the middle or working class. Whether it’s in the Mideast or the American Midwest, the wheels of authentic hope and change are moving in spite of Obama, not because of him.

Obama is not the “liberal” version of Reagan. He is the version of Reagan that could only exist once the left in this country was rendered (selectively) mute. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the showdown happening in Wisconsin is paving the way for the American left to regain its voice and political relevance.

Sept. 2010: Hillary at the UN attending the "Every Woman, Every Child" event.

This Saturday in Women’s and Children’s Health headlines

Propaganda alert! This is what page four of Friday’s main section in the Houston Chronicle looked like:

Is it just me or does the above read something like, ‘It doesn’t take a village or a nanny state, it only takes mommy, who should stay at home and breastfeed her babies. In her free time, mommy should also shop for items to beautify her house at Macy’s with the allowance her honey gives her or with her Monopoly money, since she can’t work unless she wants her kids to end up sick in the hospital.’ (That’s dripping with sarcasm, btw. For the snark-impaired.)

I really felt like I was trapped in the 1950s or something reading that page. It all seems to go against the concept of “Every Woman, Every Child.”

In Beijing, 1995, a wise woman spoke these words:

What we are learning around the world is that if women are healthy and educated, their families will flourish. If women are free from violence, their families will flourish. If women have a chance to work and earn as full and equal partners in society, their families will flourish. And when families flourish, communities and nations do as well. That is why every woman, every man, every child, every family, and every nation on this planet does have a stake in the discussion that takes place here.

This Day in Women’s History (February 19th)

In 1963, Betty Friedan published The Feminist Mystique. Two good reads:

Bollywood flick I’m watching tonight: No One Killed Jessica (trailer to the left), based on the murder of Jessica Lall. The movie’s two big stars are two fabulous women–Rani Mukerji, as reporter, and Vidya Balan in the role of Jessica’s sister. I’ll leave you with a review of the movie on Counterpunch from Charles R. Larson: Bollywood Noir?


What’s going on where you are and what’s on your blogging list today?

[originally posted at Let Them Listen; crossposted at Sky Dancing and Taylor Marsh]


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