Being our (twice-delayed) semi-regular weekly survey of what's going down in the several states where, as we know, the real work of governmentin' gets done, and where everybody knows she's the brains behind Pa.

Our reading this week comes from the 18th Chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, Verses 8-9:

Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

Therefore, if he's truly living by the Gospels, this guy running for governor of Mississippi should have plucked out his eyes the first time he went to the beach. From the Jackson Free Press:

Larrison Campbell with the online publication Mississippi Today wrote that she requested to "shadow" Robert Foster to report about his campaign before the Aug. 6 primary, and his campaign director told her Foster wouldn't ride in a vehicle alone with her because people could insinuate Foster and Campbell are having an affair.

My dude. The plaid shirt? The nondescript ballcap? The public Christomania? Don't worry about it, OK?

Foster said Wednesday that he won't be alone with any woman other than his wife, even while working or campaigning, because of the possible public perception that he was doing something to hurt his marriage. He said being alone with a man is no problem. Foster told The Associated Press he has hired women to work for the agricultural tourism business that he and his wife run in northern Mississippi, and that he would hire women staffers if he is elected governor. He said, however: "It's unprofessional to be alone with a woman who's not my wife."

Subsequent to this peculiar announcement, Foster apparently saw an opening among the Bible-bangers because he leapt to the electric Twitter machine to declare himself the bravest of the brave. Political gold, Jerry! From Mississippi Today:

“Once again, the liberal left and Hollywood are attacking someone for their integrity, professionalism, and Christian beliefs,” Foster wrote on Facebook Wednesday morning. “They aren’t just attacking me. They are attacking the countless Mississippians who also share these values. All the more reason we need someone leading Mississippi who will safeguard our traditional and conservative values.”
“I am confident that a majority of Mississippians understand that this isn’t about gender discrimination, rather a personal conviction,” Foster told Mississippi Today on Wednesday afternoon. “I am a God-fearing man devoted to my wife and even though having a ride along with me wouldn’t be in itself immoral, the Bible teaches us to refrain from the appearance of impropriety. That’s what I did, and I’m sticking to my guns.”

The groundbreaking documentary, My Penis Terrifies Me: The Robert Foster Story, will be debuting at Cannes next year.


We move a few degrees north and...holy schnikes! Tennessee is still out of its mind! Our good pals at The Tennessee Holler have been tracking the latest manic episode, which involves a state legislator accused of molesting his players when he was a high-school basketball coach, and the great lengths to which people have gone to keep the guy in office.

As you all know by now, here in Tennessee we have a state representative named David Byrd who apologized on tape to one of 3 women who say he sexually abused them when he was their basketball coach in high school. Despite hearing the tape, and hearing Byrd apologize for what he had done, Speaker Glen Casada helped Byrd get re-elected by attacking the victims as “fake news”, and then promptly made Byrd chair of an education subcommittee after he won.
Casada would later remove him, only after a group of brave women relentlessly pointed out that it was a disgusting thing to do (and only after Byrd went against Casada on a key vote to help Governor Lee privatize public schools dollars through his school voucher program). During the ordeal, Speaker Casada lied to The Holler about meeting with the victims. Governor Lee actually did meet with one of them, and then finally, 70 days later – only after Speaker Casada went up in flames and agreed to stop being speaker – Governor Lee said he believed the victims… but stopped short of asking Byrd to resign.

We good so far? OK, hang in there.

That brings us to just this week, when brave Tennessean Anna Grabowski confronted Lee, asking him to get Byrd out of the legislature. Lee told her it would happen “soon”, seeming to imply Byrd would be expelled at the upcoming special session to remove speaker Casada in August. Wonderful! Better late than never, right? Finally it seemed Governor Lee was going to do the right thing and get the Tennessee Republican supermajority to expel David Byrd ... during the special session in August.
Not so fast.
The same day we posted that video (yesterday), Governor Lee then spoke to the Tennessean and told them he wasn’t asking Byrd to resign, and Byrd wouldn’t be expelled at the special session. Instead, Lee told them he had called David Byrd and asked him not to run again…in 18 months. In other words, Governor Lee believes the victims, and believes David Byrd did sexually abuse those children, but he’s willing to let him stay in office for nearly TWO MORE YEARS. Not only that, but Lee also told channel 5 news that when Anna Grabowski asked him to get the “child molester” out of office, Lee thought she was asking him about Speaker Casada, and he says he was talking about removing him as speaker, not expelling Byrd.

Wait. What? The walkback is that the governor thought he was being asked about the other alleged sex fiend?


We move along to Kansas, where the recovery from having been transformed into a trickle-down lab rat by former Governor Sam Brownback continues apace, at least according to CNBC.

The Sunflower State finishes a respectable No. 19 overall in this year’s CNBC America’s Top States for Business rankings. That is a 16-place jump from 2018, making Kansas this year’s most improved state. One year ago Kansas was still nursing a hangover from a disastrous tax-cutting experiment by former Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, who slashed individual income-tax rates and eliminated taxes on “pass-through” income from certain businesses.
Even though a bipartisan super-majority of the state legislature had repealed the Brownback program over his veto in 2017, the state was still dealing with a residual $351 million revenue shortfall for fiscal 2018, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. In addition to its No. 35 overall ranking last year, Kansas finished a dismal No. 45 in the Economy category. This year the full force of the repeal has taken effect: The state is running a budget surplus. In addition to the 16-point improvement in its overall ranking, Kansas rises 16 points in the Economy category.
“We are returning to our roots as a very progressive, thoughtful, forward-looking state,” Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, told CNBC in an interview. Kelly was elected last year as part of the backlash over the Brownback plan. “Kansas for years now has been at the low end of all economic metrics,” Kelly said. “That’s changing.”

Kelly still has some work to do, but the days of patients in the state mental health facilities attacking each other because there was no effective supervision are gone.


We move on to New Orleans, where bad things were already happening before the torrential rains and the possible tropical storm came to call this week. Along with its other problems, the city's levee system, without which New Orleans would be known as Baton Rouge Bay, is sinking. From Scientific American:

But now, 11 months after the Army Corps of Engineers completed one of the largest public works projects in world history, the agency says the system will stop providing adequate protection in as little as four years because of rising sea levels and shrinking levees. The growing vulnerability of the New Orleans area is forcing the Army Corps to begin assessing repair work, including raising hundreds of miles of levees and floodwalls that form a meandering earth and concrete fortress around the city and its adjacent suburbs.
“These systems that maybe were protecting us before are no longer going to be able to protect us without adjustments,” said Emily Vuxton, policy director of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, an environmental group. She said repair costs could be “hundreds of millions” of dollars, with 75% paid by federal taxpayers. “I think this work is necessary. We have to protect the population of New Orleans,” Vuxton said.
The protection system was built over a decade and finished last May when the Army Corps completed a final component that involves pumps. The agency’s projection that the system will “no longer provide [required] risk reduction as early as 2023” illustrates the rapidly changing conditions being experienced both globally as sea levels rise faster than expected and locally as erosion wipes out protective barrier islands and marshlands in southeastern Louisiana.

This system cost $14 billion. It became fully functional 11 months ago. It will be utterly obsolete in four years. You simply can't stay ahead of those crafty Chinese climate hoaxsters, can you? As we generally say about stories like this, the ocean simply doesn't give a fck whether you believe in the climate crisis or not.


And we conclude, as is our wont, in the great state of Oklahoma, where Blog Official Alkaline Spokesmodel Friedman of the Plains brings us some undeniable political wisdom from local law enforcement, via the Tulsa World.

Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado and County Commissioner Ron Peters reiterated their support for the Sheriff’s Office’s participation in the Immigration and Customs Enforcement 287(g) program on Tuesday, with Regalado saying those who oppose the partnership are “anti what’s right.”... Regalado said 2% of those held at the county jail fall under the 287(g) program. “Two-eighty-seven-g is not anti-immigrant,” Regalado said. “It’s anti-criminal.” Regalado seemed particularly steamed about a letter to the editor of the Tulsa World that asked whether deputies might join in the “pre-dawn raids” on suspected illegal immigrants promised by President Donald Trump.

And, hey, what's the big deal? We've got our own criminal class to worry about.

He said women are sometimes reluctant to report abuse by a partner for fear that the partner will be deported, but he said there are support services for women and children in such situations. In any event, he said, they should not remain in unsafe relationships. “I hear we are tearing families apart,” Regalado said. “Every day at Tulsa County jail, we have families torn apart. American citizens, families, being torn apart because of crime, … mental illness, substance abuse. … It’s not us tearing them apart, folks. People have to take responsibility for their actions.”

This is your democracy, America. Cherish it.

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