Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Live-blogger Extrordinaire: Maril Hazlett PhD, of the Climate+Energy Project

Update below.
Original post:
We've mentioned Doc Hazlett a few times. In "Everything's Up to Date in Kansas City..." I said: for Topeka, er, you decide. I would lose my mind doing MH's job.

Here's Maril Hazlett, PhD, of the estimable CEP and CEP blog...

...I could not do this task. I could not do it behind a mask. I would Ebonic/Teutonic ax and ask.
("Yes your Honor, I pead guilty to legicide, and if I could ax the Court...)...

...How can you do it, write policy suggestions (demands, diktats, I don't know how far you push them) for a state legislature and then live-blog the results...
...For the proceedings as they - proceed (sorry, my brain’s not in gear yet, late night) - please read more. Once things get started around 9:00 a.m.

Ack! They moved straight to final action! Ack! MH was not ready....
It's a really good thing the post was headlined "Live Blogging: April Fools, a carbon tax proposal! — actually, not a joke " or I'd have thought the Kansas House and Maril were having some fun at my expense.

Nope. That's real, live state-house politics as can be seen at one of fifty-odd (and I mean odd) venues, if not now, coming soon to a Capitol near you .

For some reason I am reminded of this story from the New York Times:

SANG TO AVOID A FIRE PANIC.; Opera Company Members Showed Presence of Mind at Syracuse....
Anyhoo, that long and disjointed intro leads to this, from Kansas City's The Pitch, Best Of Issue:

Best Topeka Correspondent

Maril Hazlett
Climate and Energy Project blog

Starting with packed public hearings in 2007, the controversy over new coal-fired power plants in Holcomb galvanized Kansans like no other environmental issue. As the political drama played out in Topeka, outraged citizens followed all the twists and turns like celebrity devotees itching to know who was heading to rehab. Maril Hazlett was Kansas coal's Perez Hilton. On the Land Institute's Climate and Energy Project blog, Hazlett has continued to monitor the pulse of a legislative battle that's still going on, sitting in every public meeting, updating her faithful with live coverage of key votes and committee showdowns. She captures lawmakers' dialogue and translates, into a layperson's terms, all the complicated jargon and institutional wrangling that go into public policy. And unlike her snarky and partisan brethren on the Internet, she plays it straight. Just the facts, from a friend in the know.

Update: It's not just Maril getting a little recognition. From the Columbia Journalism Review:
Journalism in the Heartland

A shout out to the Kansas City Star and the Salina (Kan.) Journal
Good journalism doesn’t just grow on the right and left coasts. Two papers in America’s middle show that good reporting is still possible in this Age of Decline. So we offer another kudos to the Kansas City Star for further exploration of the individual mandate—the requirement that every man, woman, and child in America must carry health insurance....

...This is not the time for editors to say “we’ve already done that story.”

Kudos to the Salina Journal and reporter Duane Schrag for showing that the government’s “more data, more transparency” mantra needs more critical scrutiny. Schrag stumbled on to an important story about the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal watchdog for the Medicare program and the country’s nursing homes. They may not be doing much watching....