Here in Maine, a special legislative study committee has been at work on recommendations in regards to a proposed bill to compensate landowners if the potential resale value of their property is diminished by regulations. It's a controversial issue on which a fair bit has already been written about in the press and blogosphere.
In this week's Portland Phoenix, I focused on a matter of process: how could it be that the Pierce Atwood takings attorney who wrote the original "takings" bill and is said to be the driving force in the study committee hasn't ever registered as a lobbyist or revealed who she has been hired to represent? And what's up with this 2008 rule change allowing lobbyists to avoid disclosure when serving on commissions, task forces, and study commissions? (Source.)
A few readers have asked what the next step would be in pursuing this matter. The answer: an interested party would ask the state ethics commission to investigate the issue; the body would presumably communicate with Pierce Atwood, evaluate their rationale, and determine if they believed the firm was in compliance. No word as yet as to whether anyone has done so.
"Woodard persuasively argues that the origins, spread, and clash of “Yankeedom,” “Borderlanders,” and the “Midlands,” along with eight other regional “nations” that he identifies, explain a great deal about how we arrived at our current pass and raise serious questions about our union’s future prospects," writes TNR senior editor Alec MacGillis, who was assigned to review the book for the Washington Post.
The book is in good company. The TNR list also includes the new titles from Adam Hochschild, Michael Kazin, Jeffrey Eugenides, and the late Ellen Willis. Thanks again, TNR.
A reminder for those of you in midcoast Maine: I'll be meeting readers and signing books in Boothbay Harbor this evening from 5:30 to 7:30. The event is at Studio 53; come by if you can.
I was also a guest yesterday on Inside Maine with Phil Harriman on Portland's own WGAN. (Phil kindly plugged the book as well.) Our conversation is now online at their website. If you happen to live in central Midcoast Maine and want to take Phil or the News & Observer up on their recommendations, I'll be meeting readers and signing all of my titles in Boothbay Harbor this Wednesday, Dec. 21, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. The event is at Studio 53. (At last report, there were also signed copies still in stock at Longfellow Books and the Maine Historical Society in Portland and the Maine Coast Bookshop in Damariscotta.)
I argue that Huntsman differs from the rest of the GOP pack not in political moderation -- he's extremely conservative in most respects -- but in that he does not share the belief that government is inherently evil (and must be destroyed) or that big oil, big banks, and bigtime lobbyists are inherently virtuous (and, therefore, should be deregulated.) It's an argument that will get a fair hearing in Yankeedom and Utah, though its likely to win him few friends among Deep Southern primary voters.
The Maine Sunday Telegram -- the Sunday edition of the Portland Press Herald - reviewed my new book, American Nations, yesterday.
"One sure sign of a good book is that you can read it straight through enjoyably," writes reviewer Bill Barry of the Maine Historical Society. "The sign of a superb book is that you find yourself debating its propositions and arguments weeks after reading it. American Nations... is a superb book."
My feature in the current issue of Washington Monthly argues that the Tea Party is doomed to failure in large swaths of the country, due to the underlying regional values I've identified in American Nations. Since the piece appeared in mid-October (the Monthly is no longer monthly), various polls have showed declining support for the movement, which experienced setbacks in November's off-year election.
ABC News interviewed me yesterday for their digital story on these developments -- "Is the Party Over?" -- which you can read here.
Meanwhile, The Globalist -- the online magazine on global culture, politics, and economics -- published an excerpt today from the book's epilogue describing the (re)emergence of what I call First Nation, with special focus on Greenland, a nearly-independent nation I reported from in 2007.
GlobalPost is pleased to invite you to a Webinar with Colin Woodard, author of the best-selling "American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America."
On the cusp of the 2012 election year, few books provide more insight into the complex riot of American politics than American Nations, which delves into the country's entrenched regional cultural mosaic.
Newsweek calls Woodard's book "a triumph," and the Washington Post hails it as "compelling and informative ... a bracing corrective to an accepted national narrative that too often overlooks regional variations to tell a simpler and more reassuring story. "
Woodard is a writer, historian, award-winning journalist and occasional contributor to GlobalPost. He will be interviewed by GlobalPost Senior Editor David Case, and will take questions from the audience.
Space is limited, and priority for this call will be granted to GlobalPost members. To ensure your attendance, you can join GlobalPost for less than $3 per month, at www.globalpost.com/members/information.
(Important note: Everyone — including members — must register for the call at least two hours before it begins.)
Free Webinar: American Nations — The Eleven Rival Cultures of North America
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
12:00 PM - 12:30 PM EST
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.
System Requirements PC-based attendees Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server
Macintosh®-based attendees Required: Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer
(A footnote for Maine media watchers: MPBN has a new president, one who has extensive experience in public broadcasting, having headed Vermont Public Radio for years. VPR, like MPBN, is based in a rural state, and has transmitters that extend across state boundaries and on into Canada.)