once around the statehouse lightly

High Noon for Civility | 11-22-2019

It’s not news that our political and social discourse has taken a turn toward the crude, rude and – in years past anyway – socially unacceptable. It’s easy to blame he who shall not be named, but he’s hardly the only one...

They Are Definitely On...Something | 11-22-2019

You have to give South Dakota credit for knowing how to get the public’s attention, even if it can be for the wrong reasons. As the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reports , Gov. Kristi Noem has unveiled the state’s new anti-meth campaign, and it’s...

Geaux Tigers | 11-22-2019

If you wonder how important football is in certain parts of the country, I submit the recent razor thin re-election of Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards. Some folks credit that win to a general sense of good feeling in the Pelican State over the ascension...

Not Right Enough | 11-15-2019

How bad is our current political discourse? Oh, it’s bad. Case in point today comes from California, where Donald Trump Jr. tried to have a promotional stop for his new book. (I know what you’re thinking – wouldn’t it better if...

Diggity Dank Diplomacy | 11-15-2019

In his effort to become an American citizen, Canadian-borne rocker Neil Young figured honesty was the best policy. That included answering truthfully about his marijuana usage. But as the Los Angeles Times reports , honesty may not actually have been...

Speaking of GMC | 11-15-2019

One would presume that includes not spending money that isn’t yours to spend, a lesson apparently lost on former California Assemblymember Joe Canciamilla. As the East Bay Times reports , Canciamilla – the county’s top elections official...

East Coast Stupid | 11-15-2019

For all of its positives, there’s no denying that California also has its share of problems. It’s expensive to live here, the ground moves a lot, water can be scarce and, as the last few years have shown, wildfires are a constant threat. All...

Fakebook on Steroids | 11-08-2019

The world’s most popular social network is coming under a lot of criticism these days for, well a lot of things. But top on the list is Facebook leader Mark Zuckerberg’s response to claims his network fosters and even encourages a daily gusher...

Bring On the A-Team | 11-08-2019

Celebrities inserting themselves into political debates is nothing new. And on occasion it even helps! Case in point comes from the Land of LA, where the Hollywood Reporter informs us that a simple-retweet from A-list actor Josh Brolin has helped a Santa...

So, There’s That | 11-01-2019

With all the hubbub over Ukraine, one can be excused for missing this little nugget. Early last month, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky took time off from his busy schedule to hold a press conference. Big deal, you say. Well, it was if you...

President Thrifty | 11-01-2019

Back in the 1970s much was made of then-California Gov. Jerry Brown living in an unfurnished apartment near the Capitol rather than in the opulent Governor’s Mansion he had occupied for a bit as a kid while his dad was governor the decade before...

You Don’t Say | 11-01-2019

If you think political language has become coarser and less dignified over the last few years, you’re right. But what about out there in the real world? An argument could certainly be made that things have always been a little vulgar out on the...

Jerry Brown in Spaaaaaace | 10-18-2019

By now we all know that former California Gov. Jerry Brown received his famous (or infamous if you ask Brown) nickname “Governor Moonbeam” from the equally notable – and equally curmudgeonly – Chicago newspaper columnist Mike Royko...

Birds of a Feather | 10-18-2019

Speaking of the late Mike Royko, it’s no secret that part of his indifference toward Jerry Brown was his even more pronounced disdain for California and what he saw as its goofy politics. Royko was nothing if not a grouch, the living embodiment...

Bird-Brained | 10-18-2019

Memo to anyone and everyone that is not African-American: using the N-word is strictly forbidden at all times and in any context. Just don’t do it. And yes, we’re looking right at you, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who, as the New York Daily...

A Memory Like an Elephant | 10-11-2019

The last time California Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins was acting governor, she took advantage of the opportunity to declare it “Tony Gwynn Day” in the Golden State to honor the late, great Padres Hall of Famer. As the Capitol Morning Report...

Some Things Never Change | 10-11-2019

President Donald Trump loves him some rallies: the adoration, the blind acceptance, the leaving without paying. Wait, what? Yes, as Politico reports , since 2016 the Don of Mara Lago has stiffed at least 10 American cities out of a cumulative $840,000...

Where Are We Again? | 10-04-2019

Former California Congressman Darrell Issa announced last week he would seek to return to Congress by challenging embattled fellow Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter – who is facing a lonnnng list of ethics and legal challenges – to represent the...

All Topped Off | 10-04-2019

A federal court may have struck down a Colorado city’s ordinance banning women from going topless, but ladies ought not to think they can get all half-nekkid in Oklahoma. As the Oklahoman reports , Attorney General Mike Hunter announced last week...

Paid in What? | 10-04-2019

As noted elsewhere in this issue, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill last week that allows college athletes to profit from the use of their “name, image or likeness.” But someone glancing at the following headline from Reuters –...

Vroom, Vroom, Vroom | 10-04-2019

No state has a car culture quite like California, where the mythology of the hot rod still reigns supreme. Which may be why Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation last week that overturns a law which allowed police to issue a ticket carrying a hefty fine...

A Checkers Past | 09-20-2019

The legacy of the speech then-Vice President Richard Nixon gave on Sept. 23 rd 1952 is pretty profound. Accused of campaign improprieties, Nixon took to the airwaves to defend himself. Over the course of 30 minutes he showed his profound ability to spread...

And Now It’s Personal | 09-20-2019

Illinois state Rep. Jaime Andrade is tired of all the mess pigeons make at the Irving Park Blue Line train station in Chicago. Admittedly, some problems are harder to see than others. Uh, not this one. While talking about the issue to TV reporters last...

Let Me Tell You, Them’s Good Eatin’ | 09-20-2019

If you kill it, you must grill it! Well, not quite yet but maybe in the future. As CalMatters reports , California lawmakers endorsed a bill last week intended to pave the way for folks to harvest critters smushed on Golden State highways. The bill originally...

Bridesmaid Again | 09-20-2019

In spite of screeching from some quarters, America is now and always has been built on diversity. And as the personal finance site WalletHub reports , based on a wide range of measurements no state is more diverse than California. This is likely not a...

New Rule | 09-13-2019

Things at the California Capitol have been anything but peaceful of late, with controversial legislation dealing with the gig economy, rent control and vaccinations ensuring that folks on all sides have made their presence felt every day. Loudly felt...

That’s One Way to Go Out | 09-13-2019

Some folks leave quietly; others go with both middle fingers flying. Put Jennifer Kent, director of the state Department of Health Care Services, in the latter group. I should say former director, as Kent recently announced she was leaving her post. And...

Who Is That Tall Man? | 09-13-2019

Riders on the Boston subway might have done a double take last week at the site of the tall, distinguished guy who looked a lot like the governor. But why would he be on the T? Doesn’t he have a car and a driver to shuttle him about town? Yes, he...

Corn Dogs and Cotton Candy | 09-06-2019

The biggest question awaiting an answer in the annual rush to the end of the California legislative year doesn’t actually involve legislation. As the Capitol Morning Report notes, the race between Sen. Scott Wilk and Assemblymember Tom Lackey to...

Shame, Shame, Shame | 09-06-2019

A former North Dakota gubernatorial candidate has had it with the secrecy of his fellow lawmakers. Had, had, had it! Now, Rep. Marvin Nelson is going to do something about it. as the Bismarck Tribune reports , Nelson said he will livestream legislative...

And Then They Charged for Air | 09-06-2019

There isn’t anything in this universe that someone somewhere won’t try to package and sell. Case in point comes from California, where a company is leveraging the DMV’s notorious appointment backlog by offering expedited appointments...

Trouser Wildfire | 08-30-2019

Some people believe we’re officially in a post-truth world. That’s the only rationale I can come up with for California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recent claim that “the vast majority” of the homeless folks in San Francisco migrated...

Sleepless Nights Ahead | 08-30-2019

Speaking of things that defy logic...Rick Perry. Nobody will ever accuse the former Texas governor and current U.S. Secretary of Energy of being, uh, a rocket scientist. As AFP reports , Perry recently fell for an Internet hoax dealing with the sharing...

Florida Man Times Two | 08-30-2019

We’ve all seen the tales of “Florida Man,” i.e. news stories of egregiously stupid criminality or other moronic behavior from men who reside in the Sunshine State. But this one really takes the cake. As Reuters reports , Florida man...

Corndogs and Recall Petitions | 08-30-2019

Visitors to this year’s Alaska State Fair had more than the usual fried food, cheap carnival games and livestock to peruse. As KTUU in Anchorage reports , fairgoers could also sign a petition to recall Gov. Michael Dunleavy. Or...they could sign...

An Army of One | 08-15-2019

Rhode Island has a number of distinctions. It is the smallest state, but also has the longest official name: Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. It is the home of the Tennis Hall of Fame, the birthplace of author Cormac McCarthy, and the site of...

Now That’s Embarrassing | 08-15-2019

In theory, facial recognition programs are supposed to be another close-to-infallible tool that helps police ferret out the bad guys. In reality...not so much. As a pair of California lawmakers pointed out last week, said programs can actually be off...

Love Me, Love My Dog | 08-15-2019

Okay, if you’re the governor you figure that in these polarized times half the voters don’t love you no matter what you do. But even the hardest hearts have to acknowledge the awesomeness of dogs. Case in point this week comes from Michigan...

The Wrong Bill | 08-09-2019

Legendary singer and songwriter Dolly Parton has always had a profound impact on the people around her. And it didn’t take long at last week’s opening event for the National Conference of State Legislatures Annual Summit in Nashville to see...

The Right Dolly | 08-09-2019

As I mentioned already, nobody alive owns a stage more or better than Ms. Dolly Rebecca Parton of Sevier County, Tennessee. Among the gems from her talk with Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee: attributing her large family growing up to the folks in her region just...

Blue is the New Orange | 08-09-2019

California’s Orange County has been the ultimate GOP stronghold, so much so it long ago earned the moniker “the Orange Curtain.” But California’s Republicans are in a freefall, with their statewide popularity falling somewhere...

No Man, No Way | 08-02-2019

If you happen to be perusing the many fine things to see and do in Berkeley, California and come upon a street access point to the city’s sewer system...please don’t call it a manhole cover. As Curbed San Francisco reports, the City Council...

Bueller? Bueller? | 08-02-2019

Things are certainly different for kids these days. As NBC News reports , Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed a bill last month that allows students to take “mental health days” the same way they would for a case of the flu. Now hold your nasty...

Blue No More | 08-02-2019

By the time you are reading this, North Dakota’s blue laws, the most restrictive in the nation, will be no more. After years of slow but steady erosion, the Flickertail State Legislature this year passed a bill to eradicate them once and for all...

Governor Pinocchio | 08-02-2019

It used to be that getting caught in a lie was a bad thing. But with the patron saint of fibbery in the White House these days, lying is in vogue even when your lie can be easily disproved. Case in point comes from Arizona, where Gov. Doug Ducey last...

THE OLD BOYS CLUB | 07-19-2019

Famed evangelist Billy Graham might be dead, but his grip on Magnolia State politics is apparently still pretty strong. As Mississippi Today reports , a second gubernatorial candidate – former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. –...

The Cheapest Lobbyists in Town | 07-19-2019

A bill working its way through the California Capitol that would make most gig workers into employees has got the major rideshare companies all a tither. So much they’ve been pushing their drivers to publicly oppose the bill. That effort took an...

STRESSED OUT, STRESS FREE | 07-19-2019

If you live in Detroit, Cleveland or Newark, odds are good the stress level in your world is pretty high. Conversely, if you reside in Fremont, California or Bismarck, North Dakota, life is likely a much smoother ride. Those conclusions are according...

All Hail Lady Soul | 07-12-2019

Drivers in Detroit have been singing along to Aretha Franklin tunes since the 1960s, but now they can honor the late, great Queen of Soul without massacring one of her classic songs in the process. As the Detroit Metro Times reports , Michigan Gov. Gretchen...

Nice Try, Bucko | 07-12-2019

You have to admire the chutzpa of Wisconsin Sen. Chris Kapenga. As the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports , in order to get his vote on the recent state budget bill, his GOP colleagues had to insert an amendment to allow carmaker Tesla to sell their vehicles...