This week at progressive state blogs: Gianforte keeps lying about assault; TX voting machine trouble

At MN Political Roundtable, MN Central writes—Fiscal Fraud Erik Paulsen Warped Record: Lodging Expenses Explode:

For years, the Paulsen public record was for the need for fiscal discipline, evoking the mantra “Washington needs do more with less.” […]


Now, President Trump has asked his cabinet to cut their budgets by 5% … so what about Congress … will they do this?

For years, the MN Political Roundtable has featured commentaries on questionable spending and Erik Paulsen’s failure to support efforts to cut his own budget … instead he voted to increase it.

The most recent Members Disbursement report for the April 1 through June 30, 2018 reveal that the first half of this year spending for Erik Paulsen’s congressional office was $628,877.32. […]

He just didn’t remind the taxpayers that they were paying for these mailings. […]

“Washington needs to do more with less ?

Clearly, Congressman Paulsen does not believe “Washington needs to do more with less”  when he spends so much more than most of the Minnesota delegation. […]

New mantra “Washington will do more with less Paulsen”

At Bleeding Heartland of Iowa, desmoinesdem writes—Seven ways Mary Mosiman helped bury ISU’s airplane scandal

A year ago this week, State Auditor Mary Mosiman released the findings from her office’s only examination of the wide-ranging scandal surrounding former Iowa State University President Steven Leath’s use of university-owned airplanes.

Bleeding Heartland

To say the self-styled “taxpayer’s watchdog” failed to properly investigate Leath’s personal trips on the taxpayer’s dime would be an understatement.

Mosiman did not try to find out how many times Leath misused ISU’s airplanes or how much his personal travel cost the university. Because the auditor looked the other way, Iowans will never know the scope of a top official’s misconduct at a large public institution.


Although Leath’s use of ISU’s planes was a major news story for months, beginning in September 2016, Mosiman opted not to conduct a special audit of the matter. Instead, her office folded a brief discussion into the following year’s routine audit of ISU. At the end of this post I’ve enclosed the full text of that section, barely longer than a page.

Even the Iowa Board of Regents internal audit of Leath’s airplane use, which left many important questions unexplored, was eleven pages long. […]

stateblogs, state blog, The Montana Post

Don Pogreba at The Montana Post writes—Greg Gianforte is Unbelievably Still Lying About the Night He Assaulted Ben Jacobs:

Buried away in the excellent Missoulian editorial endorsing Kathleen Williams for the Congressional race was an interesting detail: Congressman Greg Gianforte is still, more than a year after his assault on Ben Jacobs, lying about what happened that night. From the Missoulian:

The Missoulian initially endorsed Gianforte for that race, with strong reservations, but was forced to take the unprecedented step of rescinding our endorsement immediately after Gianforte lost his temper and physically attacked a reporter, and then issued statements to police and through his staff that directly contradict his own official admission of guilt.

Asked about that discrepancy in a meeting with the Missoulian’s editorial board last week, Gianforte maintained that the police statement accurately reflects his “recollection of what occurred” and said he has taken full responsibility.

That’s simply unbelievable. The night of the unprovoked assault, Gianforte lied to the police about his attack on Jacobs, claiming that the reporter had grabbed him by the wrist before pulling Gianforte to the ground. […]

It wasn’t until Fox News reporters who witnessed the attack came forward with statements and audio showing that “Jacobs [didn’t] show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte” and the election results were in that Gianforte half-heartedly and apparently disingenuously came forward with a weak apology for his actions. […]

Gianforte is a violent jerk. We all knew that the moment he endorsed violence against the press or the moment when that desire overpowered his reason and his ideas turned into vicious action. Now he’s compounding that original sin by a refusal to admit what he has already admitted under oath in court, that he, without provocation attacked someone for simply doing his job.

Cory Allen Heidelberger at Dakota Free Press writes—Rep. Noem Tired of Losing Gov’s Race, Invites Ag Sec Perdue for School Lunch in Brandon:

Congresswoman Kristi Noem appears to be getting tired of her gubernatorial campaign. She hasn’t thumbed out a happy campaign tweet for over two days. I hear she missed the planned debate coin toss at the end of tonight’s 6 p.m newscast and thus ceded two minutes of prime air time that should have been pure sporting yuckety-yuck to uninterrupted promotion time for a Democratic opponent on whom she just can’t get a handle.

Dakota Free Press

And Thursday, she’s polishing the last crown she gets to wear to play Congresswoman with Trump Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue to “rally around school lunch reforms” in Brandon […]

Or is that school brunch? Rep. Noem continues to lack a sense of school timing. After hosting a “parent-teacher conference” at 2 p.m. on a workday when no working teachers could attend, she’s now hosting a lunchtime event at 10:30 a.m., almost two hours before some of the kids eat.

Well, at least this time, she’s managing to find a school building.

Of course, since Congresswoman Noem is advertising this event via her official U.S. House e-mail, using her formal federal title, and appearing alongside a chief official of a federal agency, we may assure Brandon kids, teachers, and parents that this event will include no campaigning for state political office whatsoever.

Emily Higgins at Alliance for a Better Utah writes—March for Our Lives and march to the polls:

From hundreds of school walkouts to peaceful protests, young high school students from all over the US demanded the attention of politicians and proved themselves to be more than “just a bunch of kids.” This backlash not only brought light to much needed policy changes, but also created a shift in the way some of us see young protestors and grassroots efforts. The original March for our Lives, which was held in Washington DC this past March, spawned hundreds of smaller student-led groups across the US. […]

state blogs, stateblogs, Alliance for a Better Utah

March for our Lives Utah has hosted voter registration events at local schools, partnered with local politicians with the goal of better implementing gun control at a state level, created outreach programs for high schools that are not yet involved, and is completely student-led.​ ​Just this passed year, March for our Lives Utah has partnered with local politicians and candidates such as Lee Castillo, Derek Kitchen, Dan Johnson, and many others. These students are our future leaders, voters, and politicians, and now is the time to inspire them to make their voices heard.

There has always been an unspoken yet seemingly impenetrable line between the government and our citizenry. As a young student myself I know that it can feel as if you are screaming into the void when trying it implement any kind of positive change in both local and federal government. These groups, solely led by young activists, are giving hope to the rest of us that it is indeed possible to have your voice heard.

One of the greatest disappointments of our country is the failure to emphasize the importance of participating in our democratic process to the next generation. So many of my fellow peers are not even registered to vote, simply because they believe their voices and opinions do not matter. We need to appreciate and remember the importance of small grassroots organizations like March for our Lives Utah, that are making big differences and a positive impact. The sum of our efforts is greater than its parts. Let’s make this November’s turnout one of the best for young and first-time voters.

A staffer at Colorado Pols writes—Reminder: Don’t Feed The Trolls:

For those who don’t know, Jovanni Valle is a well-known New York-based conservative “Youtube activist” whose specialty appears to be goading unsuspecting Democrats into saying and doing, and there’s no nice way to say this, stupid things on camera. At one point or another Valle was in fact assaulted “for wearing his MAGA hat,” making him a modest celebrity among the Breitbart-loving “alt-knight” set.

Colorado Pols

In this case, Mr. Valle was trolling for reactions to a widely-discredited smear campaign against Democratic candidate Jared Polis, springing a particularly incendiary version of the false story on people after they express their support for Polis. It’s all done for lowbrow shock value, and the fact that the accusation ranks among 2018’s most thoroughly debunked is obviously very irritating to Polis’ staff and supporters.

At that point, Mara Sheldon, Polis’ campaign communications manager, steps in to say his accusations about Polis aren’t true. The video picture goes dark briefly but a Denver Post photographer caught the moment as Sheldon grabbed for Valle’s phone.

But with that, this self-described internet “troll” gets exactly what he wants. Now the story isn’t about a right-wing usual suspect trolling co-eds with lurid slander against Polis, it’s about a Polis staffer “grabbing” for the guy’s phone! It is a more or less universal rule in tech-ubiquitous politics that you never intervene with a “tracker” or even in most cases a camera-equipped troll, because the resulting interaction is worse than whatever was being recorded before. And if you must confront someone, TV interview rules apply: hands at your side, calm and delivered straight at the camera.[…]

Mark Hefflinger at Bold Nebraska writes—Nov. 1: Nebraska Supreme Court Hears Landowners’ Appeal of KXL Route Approval:

Stand with us in Lincoln on Thursday, Nov. 1st as the Nebraska Supreme Court hears landowners’ appeal of the Public Service Commission’s approval of the “Mainline Alternative” route for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline in November 2017. (More background on the case here). If the Justices side with landowners’ arguments, TransCanada will be forced to file a new application for a prospective pipeline route through Nebraska for KXL.

Bold Nebraska

Note: The courtroom at the State Capitol where the Nebraska Supreme Court meets is tiny — we don’t expect many folks aside from landowners will be able to be seated inside. But there will be an additional overflow room where folks can watch a live video feed from the courtroom. (The hearing will otherwise not be broadcast at all.)

After the Court hears our arguments, Bold will host a press conference with landowners and attorneys that we will broadcast live on Facebook. A decision from the Court is expected sometime in early 2019.

Juanita Jean Herownself at Juanita Jean’s of Texas writes—Heads Up, Texans:

Oh yeah, voting machine troubles.

The Secretary of State has issued a rare announcement that the Hart eSlate voting machines in Texas are screwy.

Here’s what happens, when you vote a straight Democratic ticket and then go through the rest of the ballot to get to the screen to cast your vote, sometimes the first race on the ballot rolls over and overrides your straight ticket.  So, you vote for Cruz instead of O’Rourke.

We’ve had three people catch it in my county.  No telling how many more didn’t catch it.

Specifically, the Hart eSlate system uses a keyboard with an “Enter” button and a selection wheel button. The “Enter” button on a Hart eSlate selects a voter’s choice. The selection wheel button on a Hart eSlate allows the voter to move up and down the ballot. It is important when voting on a Hart eSlate machine for the voter to use one button or the other and not both simultaneously, and for the voter to not hit the “Enter” button or use the selection wheel button until a page is fully rendered. A voter should note the response to the voter’s action on the keyboard prior to taking another keyboard action. It is also important for the voter to verify their selections are correct before casting their ballot.

Seems to me like they should fix that.

Jason330 at Delaware Liberal writes—Polls Show Colleen Davis Poised to Knock Off Creepy Ken Simpler:

Polls don’t really matter much in this race. It is all going to be turnout. And it is going to be tough for Ken to manipulate the usual GOP turnout dials without snuggling up to Trump-brand racism, sexism, and stupidity. So, I’m leaning toward upgrading this race to a Dem-Pickup.

Delaware Liberal

That said two polls provide good news for team Davis. BlueDelaware discussed a U of D poll that showed Simpler with a meager 36% favorable vs. 64% unfavorable/don’t know the guy rating. That’s a little surprising for someone who works so hard to get his creepy mugshot in the paper.

The other poll is a much discussed, but unreleased poll from a Dem candidate that shows Simpler and a host of incumbent Trump-loving GOPers in trouble. Being an internal, that poll should come with a grain of salt.

But again. Polls mean nothing. Incumbency is a tall mountain to climb. TURNOUT, TURNOUT, TURNOUT.

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