July 24, 2014

Two good and one bad and creepy

El Cabrero has been trying to focus whenever possible on positive things in WV. One such example is the effort to make sure that kid not in school can enjoy good nutrition. Another is the effort to build a grassroots and grasstops ground game to fight child poverty in the state.

AS FOR THE CREEPY, check out this New Yorker article about how the private corrections industry has taken vampirism to a new level. Not in a good way.

July 23, 2014

A ground game

I'm in the midst of traipsing up, down and across the state of West Virginia these days going to and presenting at a series of regional policy workshops organized by the Our Children Our Future Campaign to End Child Poverty in West Virginia. Over the last two years, our campaign has won quite a few victories, which just leaves us hungry for more.

Here's some coverage of the campaign and policy workshops by WV Public Broadcasting. If you take a look, you'll notice that the campaign got some pretty powerful endorsements from state Senate President Jeff Kessler and House Speaker Tim Miley, both of whom have been champions on many of our issues.

In a nutshell, the campaign tries to work on winnable issues that are impactful and engage those families most affected by the policies in question. It's nice to be  part of an effort to build a statewide ground game that can make its presence felt as needed any time, whether at the capitol or in the community. But it does require that you put in the time. And the miles.

July 22, 2014

Hit or miss?

You may have heard of Tuesday's split court decisions regarding aspects of the Affordable Care Act. Here's coverage from the Charleston Gazette. The good people at the DC-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities don't seem too worried about it. All I know is that it is amazing, sad and disgusting to see the lengths to which some people will go to keep other people from having health care.

July 21, 2014

Another good thing

As part of Goat Rope's continuing "It's not all bad" on again/off again series, here's another positive step for West Virginia these days. Gov. Tomblin recently announced the formation of a task force to deal with problems in the state's juvenile justice system, which are myriad. One of the major goals is to reduce the incarceration of youth and promote community-based corrections while also protecting public safety.

If that sounds familiar, Tomblin and the state legislature did something similar in 2012-2013 with the state's adult corrections system. That effort was assisted by the evidence-based research of the Justice Center of the Council of State Governments--and it's working. This one will be assisted by similar expertise from the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Say what you want about Tomblin, and I often have, he's actually dealt with things like this that others kicked down the road. And he's also made some big positive decisions like the one to expand Medicaid. I wish this effort every success.

July 20, 2014

Words to live by

El Cabrero is a big fan of Japanese author Haruki Murakami's novels, which can sort of be described as postmodern magical realism. Or maybe like a weird long dream. I'm in the middle of one of his newer works, the massive 1Q84.

One can often find nuggets of wisdom in works like this. Here's one for today:

Life is so uncertain: you never know what could happen. One way to deal with that is to keep your pajamas washed.
Duly noted.

AND ONE FOR THE ROAD: worshipers of the market god are not going to like this, but it looks like job growth is bigger in states that have raised their minimum wage. I'm glad to say that WV joined the ranks earlier this year, although the raise hasn't taken effect yet.