Meg Whitman = Goldman Sachs

Meg Whitman is currently spending a small fortune trying to win California’s Republican primary for governor. Her primary opponent, Steve Poizner, is out with a new, brutal ad tying her directly to Goldman Sachs. Poizner’s goal appears to be to make Californians think “Goldman Sachs” every time they hear the name “Meg Whitman.”

It is a sign of just how incredibly unpopular Wall Street is around the country that being connected to a big Wall Street firm is viewed as a huge liability in a Republican primary. Expect this “Meg Whitman = Goldman Sachs” attack against Whitman to continue, even if she beats Poizner in the primary.

A Quick Bulletin

The Fiscal Sustainability Teach-In Counter-Conference happened at The George Washington University’s Marvin Center on Wednesday. It was held in the amphitheater at The Marvin Center and was sponsored and given strong support by the University’s Department of Management and the wonderful Marvin Center Staff. Blogs on the Teach-In Counter-Conference have already appeared here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here, and others will be coming very soon covering different aspects of the event. Also, audio, video, presentation, and other web artifacts will be forthcoming over the coming days.

We want to begin to get these to you as quickly as we can, so that the answer to the Administration/Peterson Foundation message will be widely available. So, selise, a blogger on the team who contributed mightily to the success of the Conference, has kindly posted the first of these on her blog. Later, they will also be available at, when our web master and blogger, Lambert returns from live blogging the Teach-In.

(Cross-posted at All Life Is Problem Solving and

Congratulations Florida! You Now Have the Most Interesting Senate Race of 2010

Move over Kentucky, and congratulations Florida, because you have suddenly grabbed the title of Most Interesting Senate Race of the 2010 election cycle. Things were already pretty interesting in Florida when it was simply the tale of an insurgent Republican primary challenger, Marco Rubio, and his ever-increasing lead over popular Republican governor Charlie Crist in the closed Republican primary. A story about the battle for the heart and direction of the party. The classic tale of conservatives versus moderates, and an establishment figure against a fresh face. Yet, in the past few days, the race got a lot more interesting.

Yesterday, Crist officially left the Republican party primary to seek the Senate seat as an independent. He instantly turned what was likely to be a hopeless head-to-head primary race against Rubio into a rare three-way general election race that is currently anyone’s game. Just having a legitimate three-way race for an open senate seat is unusual enough in American politics to make the Florida Senate race very much worth watching. Since we don’t use runoff or instant runoff voting systems, we force people to make strategic voting decisions, like voting for only their second-favorite candidates in order to stop the candidates they hate the most from possibly winning. But the recently added entertainment value does not end there.

Billionaire Jeff Greene has decided to run for the Democratic nomination against Rep. Kendrick Meek. Greene plans to use his vast fortune to effectively self-finance the whole race, while pointing out that it frees him from the influence of special interest groups. Greene has a colorful past, but anyone with millions to spend on a media-heavy election like Florida, and has a top strategist as part of his campaign can’t be ignored.

In the past 24 hours, the state went from having a competitive Republican primary with basically an unopposed Democratic nominee, to having a competitive Democratic primary with an unopposed Republican nominee–plus a popular governor’s independent candidacy thrown into the mix.

To add extra interest to the race, there will be two important ballot measures that Floridians will be voting on that could affect turnout. One is a state constitutional amendment to relax a previous amendment from 2002 that put a limit on school class size. Kendrick Meek helped spearhead that effort back in 2002, and this Republican plan to increase class size should have the teacher unions fired up. The other is the “Florida Health Care Freedom Act,” which is meant to be a rebuttal to the new health care law and would ban an individual mandate to buy health insurance. The measure is, from a policy perspective, fairly meaningless because it would be preempted by federal law, but might be used to help drive turnout among conservatives, thus helping Rubio.

I suggest people fire up the popcorn and get a comfortable chair because the Florida Senate race is going to be interesting.

Gay Social Networking iPhone App used for gaybashing/murder

From the Phoenix Times via Gizmodo comes a story of a man using the Gay Social Networking iPhone App to make a date with man and then murder him.

A Murderous Gay iPhone App, or: How to Stoke Homophobes and Luddites With a Single Crime Story

Oddly, while the paper names the 19-year-old who allegedly did the stabbing and the beating, Tommy Reed, and the victim, 54-year-old Mark Woodland, it doesn’t name the app. It’s so unseemly, it goes unspoken.


Late Night: Artists as Environmentalists – The Spreading Gulf Tragedy Begs a Nationwide Call to Action

Commemorative ring on 21st anniversary of Exxon Valdez disaster (photo: Metal Riot via Flickr)

As the oil hits the reefs, offshore bars and beaches of the Gulf of Mexico, are we faced with another Exxon Valdez catastrophe? Yes. Can we learn from that disaster in how this ongoing tragedy is documented by artists? Absolutely. Here is some of how we can do it. You may add your suggestions, too.

I. In 1989, the internet did exist, but not many people had access. Graphic interfaces that led to the many free web browsers were limited, and didn’t do much. Few people had cell phones. The cable news paradigm as we now know it didn’t yet exist. CNN was there on Prince William Sound, but not in a big way. National and Anchorage newspapers were much healthier then than now, and made earnest efforts to cover events. The same was true of NPR and Alaska’s outstanding Alaska Public Radio Network. The influence of AM talk radio was much more primitive than it now is. Blogging was pretty much limited to what were called “newsgroups.”

In 1989, when local Alaskans and interested independent journalists descended upon the scene, they were limited in methods they could use to document the ongoing tragedy by technology, communication and basic logistics. The technology was bulky, and mostly analog. The communication grid at the sites of the spill was limited to VHF and Single Sideband maritime and aviation-based radio. The logistics of getting there in late winter, miles from the ports of Valdez, Cordova, Whittier or Seward, was convoluted, and most charter boats and planes were already chartered or overbooked for the cleanup by the third day of the spill.

Environmentalists were mostly limited to helping in efforts to save individual animals once the animals had been brought to Valdez, Seward or Anchorage. There was no real time coverage of the growth of the spill by any parties outside of the mainstream. From the beginning of the spill, Exxon and the USCG attempted to attenuate and spin how the outgoing flow of information was handled. Over half the people Exxon flew into Alaska or Valdez on the morning of the spill were attorneys.

From the moment of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, I was involved with artists who were or are also ecologically motivated. In the ensuing years, I’ve worked with several artists who documented aspects of the EVOS (Exxon Valdez oil spill) through visual, graphic and audio art. In the early 1990s, I toured with bronze sculptor Peter Bevis, as we presented his compelling castings of victims of that and other spills. We called our presentation “Artists as Environmentalists.” There have been tenth and twentieth anniversary gallery shows in Alaska that have looked back on this. The most recent, produced by Homer’s Bunnell Street Gallery, SPILL: Alaskan Artists Remember, toured several communities last year.

In this collaborative process, I’ve learned a few things that might help those who hope to create visceral, living art about all the dying that is beginning to occur. Here are some suggestions. . . . (more…)

Feeling the hate in New York/Max Blumenthal

"On April 25, over 1000 New York-area Jewish extremists gathered in midtown Manhattan to rally against the Barack Obama administration’s call for a freeze on construction in occupied East Jerusalem and to demand unlimited rights to colonize the West Bank. With Obama and top White House officials engaged in a charm offensive to repair their relationship with mainstream American Jewish organizations, speakers at the rally lashed out at the Jewish groups and Democratic politicians, warning that cozying up to Obama would endanger Israel and imperil their cherished settlement enterprise.

Charles Schumer and another major New York-area Jewish Democrat, Rep. Anthony Weiner, have scrambled to appease the extreme pro-settler elements railing against Obama. On the radio show of Nachum Segal, a right-wing Orthodox Jew popular among the demonstrators, Schumer called Obama’s demands to stop the construction of settlements in East Jerusalem "counter-productive" and boasted about warning White House aides that he would "publicly blast" them if the President did not relent.

But Schumer’s pandering appeared to be futile. At the rally, demonstrators waved placards reading, "Where’s Schumer?" and complained to me that the senator’s criticism of Obama was too little, too late."

Watercooler – Palin Explains Why We Should Keep Drilling, Baby, Drilling

Here’s an excerpt from Sarah Palin’s Facebook post on why the Gulf oil spill shouldn’t stop us from expanding our offshore drilling efforts:

Alaskans understand the tragedy of an oil spill, and we’ve taken steps to do all we can to prevent another Exxon tragedy, but we are still pro-development. We still believe in responsible development, which includes drilling to extract energy sources, because we know that there is an inherent link between energy and security, energy and prosperity, and energy and freedom. Production of our own resources means security for America and opportunities for American workers.

We need oil, and if we don’t drill for it here, we have to purchase it from countries that not only do not like America and can use energy purchases as a weapon against us, but also do not have the oversight that America has.

Any comments? What’s on your mind tonight?