State of Action

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I found this article in Forbes magazine via Progressives States Network. If you don't know about this organization, you should. They do an excellent job finding what's happening in out in the various states and sharing best practices far and wide.

What's notable in this piece is that a mainstream business publication is reading the political tea leaves and discovering where the action really is: in the states. They even have a blueprint for action for building a progressive majority starting at the grassroots level.

Raise the minimum wage. Attack global warming. Negotiate lower prescription drug prices. Extend health coverage to the uninsured. Protect consumers from identity theft. A to-do list for Democrats taking over Congress? Nope, a sample of what states are up to.

If you're the type who prefers that government do as little as possible, you might be heartened by the prospect of a divided Washington that will likely gridlock on significant issues. But watch your back.

The real action will be at the state level, already a hotbed of interventionism that is likely to grow more so now that Washington is split and Democrats have firmer control in state capitals. Next year Democrats will occupy 28 governors' mansions, up from 22. In 16 states, up from 8, they'll have the governorship and both legislative chambers. States moving to one-party Democratic rule include Iowa, Colorado, Massachusetts, Maryland, Oregon and New Hampshire, which was last a Democratic stronghold in 1874. Republicans will have one-party control in 10 states, down from 12.

Just in case there's any confusion, North Carolina is one of those states where Democrats control the government. This is not to say, however, that progressives are a dominant force by any means. Not yet anyway. Which is why BlueNC exists: to help build a powerful core of progressive leaders who will advocate for progressive policies.

As we gear up for the first legislative session in North Carolina history that will be blogged, it's time to get clear about what the best opportunities for progress really are.

The article talks about these issues bubbling up in other states:

Global Warming - California and Northeastern states have taken the lead. Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts is expected to do more and there is talk of big action in the Rocky Mountain West, an area likely to be hit hard by climate change.

Privacy and Identity Theft - The financial services industry is hoping the federal government will preempt state privacy laws, for fear that big states will force banks and others to protect privacy nationwide. Oh, the horror!

Prescription Drugs - States have been major leaders. Novack describes California's recent bill "should have pharmaceutical executives reaching for Valium."

Health Insurance
- States have already been leading and they aren't going to wait for Washington to continue sitting on its laurels.

Minimum Wage - In the last year, numerous legislatures raised the minimum wage and six more states followed suit through ballot measures. The momentum is predicted to continue to expand to more states in the near future.

I know each of us has our own personal interests, so let's see if we can reach some consensus around the top five initiatives that make sense for North Carolina. For example, I believe we have some very serious work to do around ethics and electioneering issues.

What's on the top of your list?


Campaign finance reform

Bringing some over from a comment on Greg's 527 ... hope it's not too repetitive.

Something like Maine

... of 399 candidates for state office in Maine last Tuesday, 317 were publicly financed, including 3 gubernatorial candidates

and Arizona

... Arizona steers clear of tax-payer dollars. Its clean elections are financed in part by fees on for-profit and commercial lobbysists and a surcharge on civil and criminal fines

have put in place would be nice.

[Got to state webpages linked above from this post at Progressive States.]

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Oh. Look at that.

My ignorance is showing. :( Looks like I'm asking for something Bob Hall is already on top of and the Lege is already trying out.

Concerned about the growing amount of money in state legislative campaigns, Democrats on a legislative panel endorsed yesterday the idea of using public money to pay for campaigns in four races.

Guess that's a good thing!! Trouble is the gov'mint haters are breaking out their big guns to kill it. Progressive States blog says:

Opponents of the measure, including some who are currently challenging the judicial version in court, argue that the public finance measures are a way of providing taxpayers' money to fund viewpoints with which they may not agree -- an amazingly vapid argument that could eventually be used to destroy libraries, schools, colleges, and anything else that aims to educate the public, not to mention almost every other government program.

Hmm. Can't imagine who in the world would try that argument. Oh, wait ... yes I can... From the W-S Journal:

"This is ... taxpayer money that will be used to promote the opinions of people I disagree with," said Rep. Paul Stam, R-Wake.

Boy, I tell ya, that Skip Stam is a real defender of democracy, no? You'll also be shocked to hear that Rusty Duke wants the Supreme Court to declare the pilot program unconstitutional. Progressive States goes on to say ...

The public financing measure appears to be caught in some partisan cross-fire, which is unfortunate as the experience in both Arizona and Maine indicates that conservatives, liberals, Democrats, and Republicans can all gain benefits from clean financing of elections.

The Winston-Salem Journal article (link above) is a good summary of the arguments. One R House Republican likes the idea. But the notion seems to be knotting some knickers in the Senate on both sides. Imagine that.

What would y'all think of putting some blueNC ass kicking behind this one to see it through. They are so close. Be a shame to leave it on the table because of the legalistic hallucinations of Rutsty Duke and Skippy Stam.

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

"This is ... taxpayer money

"This is ... taxpayer money that will be used to promote the opinions of people I disagree with," said Rep. Paul Stam, R-Wake.

I love this red herring. Because the fact is, Paul Stam is getting paid WITH TAXPAYER MONEY to be a legislator and I disagree with virtually everything he says.

We the People allow politicians to spend our money every day on thousands of things we agree or disagree with. If we want to spend some of that money on cleaning up the cesspool of electioneering that's bubbling up in this state, that's just fine by me.


PS You won't be surprised to find that Stam gets this talking point from the free-market fanatics at the John Locke Foundation, who have never met an expenditure of public money they didn't like.

I like the new look.

Sorry I deleted your comment, but it said "delete me."

Didn't you ask for lighter backgrounds for the blockquotes?

Or was that someone else.

I opted for yellow because it's sort of a "Web 2.0" convention for "something has changed here." That said, I liked the green better, too. Should I change it back? (We can also control the width of the darker bar on the left of new comments; I made it a bit thicker.)

More so than usual?

I have gaps on the right and left of about 2-5% of the screen width. What are you seeing?

The structure looks great to me.

I think Robert is liking yellow in comparison to gray. The green you tried on briefly this morning really worked for me. It was plenty bright and very easy to find. Plus it was more aligned with the overall color palette.

The width of the bar works for me. The amount of indentation is very good for showing nested entries.

Yellow + green

I'd vote for pale yellow background but with a green bar. The bright yellow bar is dominant when reading, especially with smaller font.

How about this?

Green and yellow.


We've got an existing blue (from the comments entry form) and a "hilight new content" yellow for the background. Add a nice pinot noir and a little candlelight and — voila! — c'est magnifique!

I'll tell you that the impetus for these changes was that, in long threads, scrolling through to find the new comments was a pain for me. I wanted to see something that would keep me from confusing every blockquote I passed with a new comment. I thought yellow would be a good way to do that, but there is some dissension among the executive ranks about that. Which is to say, more changes will undoubtedly be forthcoming.



There did so used to be

You're right. It was a gray that was only distinguishable from the blue blockquote background on close inspection. I've lightened and "blued" the blockquote boxes, but still....

The EE thread today has more than 120 comments on it, and people's new comments don't necessarily appear anywhere near the bottom of the page (depending on what comment they're replying to). Without some more differentiation, I find those long threads to be kind of annoying.

couple things

1. I agree.
2. I like the new "new" comment boxes
3. I like SOME background color
4. Aren't you supposed to be at work?

CountryCrats - my thoughts, my blog.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.

I'm sick.

My thanksgiving guests brought a bug with them. At home, I have my bed, my kleenex, and such. And my neighbors don't have to listen to me hork and hack as I try to clear my congested head.

You too, huh?

Traitors. Let's try on the green again. Give me a minute.


I always try to look on the bright side. That is b-r-i-g-h-t.
I was thinking something more like the green on the right table.

Also the Color Palette Generator is a cool tool but I wouldn't want Ted Haggard's picture dictating the color of the site.

it's see the green now.

I left and came back. (Did you miss me?)

Personally, I like the green better than the yellow. there's green and yellow...

Robin Hayes Hates Puppies

Ok, if you're seeing green and yellow...

It's time to consider rehab, because I'm pretty sure I haven't used that combination before. Right now it's the green from the right sidebar for the bar on the left, and a lighter shade of green for the background.

I like the blue and yellow combo from earlier. Once we are sure we have a green that pleases the greenies, we may just have to have ourselves a good old-fashioned poll.

How about..

How about using the bright blue, that you are using for the quote box, for the new comments and for the quote boxes, how about a yellow? LOL. Just kidding. ;)

I think this looks great.


The green and yellow combo shows up when I try to preview my comment. Or maybe I really do need rehab....

For the record, the blue and yellow was a little too 'new baby' for me.

Robin Hayes Hates Puppies

Maybe your screen settings

have the light green looking a bit yellow — it's not a pure green, so maybe that's it.

EDIT: Oh, oh — I see. I forgot all about the preview appearance. I kind of like the green and yellow. I just like yellow, obviously. (We're talking about the thing that appears when you hit "preview" after entering a new comment, for all of you (like me) who never preview.)

I need a drink

Between these colors and the damn recount...I'm losing it!

...and yeah, the yellow and green aren't bad...

Robin Hayes Hates Puppies


no color change that i can see. but font is different.


edit-- AHA amazing.

"Keep the Faith"


Looks great.

You musta changed it all back

...because it all looks the same to me.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

New comment has gray background

with a light blue sidebar. (I didn't like the yaller. I only saw it a couple of times this afternoon.) I agree with the need to change it somewhat. The gray works for me.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.