I’ll have a $14,000 vacation with my lobbyists, please.

Democratic lawmakers from California recently took a break in the midst of “intense state budget negotiations” to travel up to a wine-country lodge complete with gourmet food, rooms, and cocktails with a trio of interests footing the $14,000 bill.  read more »

Proposed Obama Cuts Will Impair Maintenance and Expansion of Nuclear Energy

The days of the nu-cu-ler presidency may be over, but nuclear energy continues to be a hot-button issue, even if pronunciation isn’t the problem.

As it stands, President Obama plans to “slash the budgets of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the national nuclear waste facility at Yucca Mountain, Nevada,” reports eco-watcher Paul Taylor.  read more »

How About a Betty Ford Bottled Water Rehab Clinic in San Francisco?

From late-night refrigerator raids to splurging on a new wardrobe, everyone is prone to the occasional overindulgence. For San Francisco Mayor, Gavin Newsom, that overindulgence meant nothing more than a plastic water bottle.

In June 2007, the mayor “issued an executive order directing city government to no longer purchase bottled water,” to cut down on waste in the city landfill and to utilize the pristine Sierra Nevada reservoir’s resources.  read more »

Auto Bailout: Follow the Money to House Votes

This probably won't shock you, but MapLight is reporting today that those House of Representatives members voting for the auto bailout received 65% more in campaign contributions from the auto industry than did those who voted against:

House Democrats voted overwhelmingly in favor of this bill, 205 voting Yes and 20 voting No (11 not voting). Democrats voting Yes received an average of $74,846 each, about 19% more than those voting No, who received an average of $63,140.  read more »

Here They Go Again

Recent soundings from Washington suggest that neither party has a solid idea of what to do about the deepening economic crisis. It makes me cringe to hear Barney Frank, Chairman of House Financial Services Committee, talking about a big stimulus to “prop up consumption”.  read more »

Campaign Money and the House Bailout Vote

The late Jesse Unruh, longtime speaker of the California Assembly, was a giant of a man, both in accomplishment and girth. But he will be forever remembered for having said that “Money is the mother’s milk of politics”.  read more »

Is the heartland the economic armpit of America?

Writing in the Wall Street Journal last week, native Kansan Thomas Frank isn't too complimentary on the state of affairs:

...you will find that small-town America, this legendary place of honesty and sincerity and dignity, is not doing very well. If you drive west from Kansas City, Mo., you will find towns where Main Street is largely boarded up. You will see closed schools and hospitals. You will hear about depleted groundwater and massive depopulation.  read more »

The new political donor class

Do you know who is funding your local candidate? Most of them are probably not from your district, as Lee Drutman at Miller-McCune points out after looking at the results of new report by two University of Maryland professors. Lee writes:  read more »


Demography of the Battleground States

William Frey of the Milken Institute and Brookings Institution breaks down the race demographics of the presidential battleground states in this month's Milken Institute Review. Frey groups the states into what he calls the Fast Growing Battlegrounds, Slow Growing Battlegrounds, and Fast-Growing South Longshots.  read more »

Should Obama Trade Chicago for Phoenix?

Invoking Studs Terkel, Oprah Winfrey, and Barry Goldwater, Tristam Hunt of the Times Online suggests that Obama needs to trade in Chicago's "progressive European tradition" for the "Wild West, libertarian ethos" of Phoenix. What he's really suggesting is that Obama needs to nail down the sprawling periphery to win it:  read more »