Showing posts from December, 2008

Why does public campaign financing matter?

An editorial in the Washington Post argues, counter-intuitively, that Barack Obama's fundraising success over the internet is not a death-knell for the public financing system, but rather all the more reason to reform it: According to an analysis by the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute of the fundraising totals through August 2008, the percentage of people whose total donations to Mr. Obama aggregated to $200 or less was 26 percent. That almost matches President Bush's 25 percent in the 2004 election. But Mr. Obama relied less on donors who gave $1,000 or more (47 percent) than Mr. Bush (60 percent). [...] Mr. Obama must lead a serious conversation about the role of the public financing system and how Internet fundraising should affect its structure. In an op-ed last month in The Post, Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer championed a new campaign finance system centered around the Internet. He proposed matching funds for small donations up to $200 per donor, incre

Illinois Governor Blagojevich arrested by the FBI: Obama's Senate seat for sale?

Wow - I knew that Gov. Blago had ethical issues and was under investigation, but this is just disgusting if true - he was just arrested this morning by the FBI on suspicion of trying to sell President-Elect Senator Obama's Senate seat to the highest bidder: From the complaint we have some details. Most intriguing, perhaps, those involving Blago seemingly trying to sell off President-elect Obama's Senate seat. (Read the complaint HERE and the press release HERE .) "The breadth of corruption laid out in these charges is staggering," said U.S. Attorney Patrick "The Untouchable" Fitzgerald in a statement. "They allege that Blagojevich put a 'for sale' sign on the naming of a United States Senator; involved himself personally in pay-to-play schemes with the urgency of a salesman meeting his annual sales target; and corruptly used his office in an effort to trample editorial voices of criticism." [...] Ultimately, it appears that neither PEBO n

Federal land ownership

This is a fascinating map of Federal land ownership percentages by state. I love how the states are rendered to scale to represent the proportion visually. I find the comparison between California and Texas quite interesting as well. For one thing I had no idea so much of CA was federally-owned; likewise I had no idea so little of Texas was. This is probably a reflection of the amount of protected land and natural resources between the two states. I think there's a lot more in Texas that should be protected but probably isn't.