Santa Barbara

How John Edwards Could Get Cornered By the Prosecution in His Campaign Finance Trial
April 23, 2012

As a card-carrying member of the Betrayed by John Edwards Alumni Association, I’ll admit that my initial response to his federal indictment for violating campaign laws was skepticism. Yes, Edwards was an egocentric, lying, baby-denying cad who betrayed his dying wife. I doubted, however, that he had committed a crime. But now that the Edwards trial is getting started—opening statements will be heard today in Greensboro, North Carolina—I have begun thinking that things are a bit more complicated.

Western Civilization
November 23, 2011

Pacific Standard Time: Los Angeles Art 1945-1980 An Initiative of The Getty Foundation I. The bohemian luxe of a big white room full of Beatrice Wood’s ceramics, with dozens of fantastically shaped bowls, teapots, and chalices clothed in shimmering metallic glazes, is one of the capital impressions from “Pacific Standard Time,” an extravaganza involving exhibitions at more than sixty southern Californian cultural institutions.

Oh, the Humanity
June 16, 2010

Take your pick on what's most infuriating about the oil crisis in the Gulf. There's the growing evidence that the platform blowout that caused all that crude to erupt out of the ocean floor was entirely preventable and should never have happened in the first place. BP cut corners on safety to save money, and regulators barely seemed to care.

Tanking Hard
May 07, 2010

Early on Monday, BP’s boyish CEO, Tony Hayward, sat in an open-collared white dress shirt and, rocking back and forth in a studio chair, submitted to a series of four network interviews about his company’s catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The questions from NBC, CBS, ABC, and the BBC differed slightly, but to all the anchors, Hayward delivered a similar line: “This is not our accident.” In other words, it's not BP's fault.

Outsourced Drilling Isn't Pretty, Either
May 03, 2010

It's quite possible that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will put an end to further offshore drilling in the United States—at least for awhile. Florida Senator Bill Nelson is already calling for a stop to all new exploration and drilling in the Gulf; he's called any new energy bill that has support for new offshore drilling "dead on arrival." The Obama administration, meanwhile, is sounding a lot more circumspect about its earlier plans to expand drilling off the coasts.

Obama on Offense
April 22, 2010

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- What does President Obama's visit to California this week on behalf of embattled Sen. Barbara Boxer have to do with passage of the financial reform bill? Far more than you'd imagine. That Boxer is in any trouble says much of what you need to know about this year's election. California has become a Democratic bastion and Boxer has been a liberal institution who never before faced a serious re-election challenge. Now she is seen as sufficiently vulnerable that Obama will come to the state for another fundraiser for her next month.

End State
October 26, 2009

California is a mess, but I love it all the same--especially the Bay Area, where I lived for 15 years. I went to Berkeley in 1962--a refugee from Amherst College, which at that time was dominated by frat boys with high SAT scores. I didn't go to Berkeley to go to school, but to be a bus ride away from North Beach and the Jazz Workshop. In a broader sense, I went to California for the same reason that other émigrés had been going since the 1840s. I was knocking on the Golden Door. Immigrants from Europe had come to America seeking happiness and a break with their unhappy pasts.

Water Your Lawn With A... Dishwasher?
October 13, 2009

With California now facing its third straight year of drought, pretty much any conservation idea out there—no matter how icky it may sound at first glance—gets a hearing. For instance, as Melinda Burns reports for Miller-McCune today, the state has finally decided to legalize "gray-water" systems, which divert wastewater from dishwashers, laundry machines, sinks, and showers (but obviously not toilets) to irrigate lawns and shrubbery.

Enough With The Campus Inquisitions!
April 29, 2009

William I. Robinson teaches sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Describing himself as a "scholar-activist" on his website, Robinson deals with recent economic trends such as globalization. He does so in a manner reminiscent of the leftism once so popular in the 1970s as if, no matter how much the world changes, academic fads should never go out of style.

Blacklist Whitewash
January 05, 1998

On October 28, 82-year-old screenwriter Paul Jarrico was driving to his home in Ojai, east of Santa Barbara, when his car veered off the Pacific Coast Highway and crashed into a tree. Jarrico was killed. "tragedy," read the headline in The Los Angeles Times. "crash kills hollywood blacklist victim paul jarrico the day after historic apology was made." Almost 50 years ago, Jarrico refused to tell the House Committee on Un- American Activities (huac) whether he had ever been a member of the Communist Party. Jarrico was, in fact, a party member, from the early '30s until 1958.