On the eve of President Bush's State of the Union address, leadership from Hollywood and Capitol Hill converge in Park City at a private dinner to discuss the foremost issues on the national agenda. VIP guests included talent, executives, national opinion leaders, former White House officials and 2008 Presidential Campaign insiders and advisors.
The Creative Coalition was formed for the charitable and educational purposes of bringing together artists and entertainers to learn about pressing issues so they can better inform and influence the community and nation.
Eric Alterman is distinguished professor of English at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York and professor of journalism at the Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, as well as the liberal columnist for The Nation and Altercation blogger for Media Matters for America(formerly at MSNBC.com) in Washington, DC, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC, where he writes and edits the "Think Again" column, a senior fellow (since 1985) at the World Policy Institute at The New School in New York, and a history consultant to HBO Films.
Alterman is the author of seven books, including the national bestsellers, What Liberal Media? The Truth About Bias and the News (2003, 2004), and The Book on Bush: How George W. (Mis)leads America (with Mark Green, 2004).
The others include: When Presidents Lie: A History of Official Deception and its Consequences, (2004, 2005). His Sound & Fury: The Making of the Punditocracy (1992, 2000), won the 1992 George Orwell Award and his It Ain't No Sin to be Glad You're Alive: The Promise of Bruce Springsteen (1999, 2001), won the 1999 Stephen Crane Literary Award, and Who Speaks for America? Why Democracy Matters in Foreign Policy, (1998).
His newest book is Why We're Liberals: A Political Handbook to Post-Bush America, (2008).
The Creative Coalition (TCC) appointed Robin Bronk Executive Director on July 7, 1998. TCC is the leading nonprofit, nonpartisan social and political advocacy organization of the arts and entertainment industry. As Executive Director, Ms. Bronk is dedicated to educating and mobilizing the arts community on issues of public importance, particularly the First Amendment, arts advocacy and public education.
John Paul DeJoria
John Paul DeJoria's rags-to-riches biography exemplifies the American dream: he is a first-generation American turned entrepreneur, philanthropist, government servant, and pillar of the business community. Once homeless, he has struggled against the odds to achieve success and pay it forward, living by his motto, “Success unshared is failure.”
In 1980, Mr. DeJoria and hairstylist Paul Mitchell converted a partially borrowed $700 into what is today the largest privately held salon haircare line. Mr. DeJoria and Mr. Mitchell had a vision to found a company for hairdressers—one that would provide tools of success for haircare professionals, their salons, and the entire beauty industry. Although Mr. Mitchell tragically died of pancreatic cancer in 1989, the dream he shared with Mr. DeJoria has flourished; the company currently produces more than 100 products, available in over 80 countries.
Mr. DeJoria has made philanthropy paramount, insisting “corporations can and should change the world for the better.” In addition to other works, Mr. DeJoria recently launched a solely-funded philanthropic venture, Grow Appalachia. The organization aims to empower the hunger-stricken people of Appalachia by providing the skills and resources they need to grow organic, nutritious food, and teaching them how to prepare and preserve it in a healthy way. Grow Appalachia has fed more than 7,000 people since its inception two years ago.
Mr. DeJoria steers the company according to its original vision, keeping his vow to stand by the professional beauty industry.
Lawrence O'Donnell is an MSNBC Senior Political Analyst and a panelist on "The McLaughlin Group."
O'Donnell is an Emmy-winning producer and writer of NBC's The West Wing. He also served as the creator and Executive Producer of NBC's drama Mister Sterling. The West Wing episode he co-wrote on the death penalty won the 2000 Humanitas Prize for writing that "communicate(s) those values which most enrich the human person."
During the election year 2000, O'Donnell was a contributing editor of New York magazine with a column on national politics.
Joseph Pantoliano is former president of the Creative Coalition. He is an American actor and sometimes referred to as Joey Pants.
Pantoliano is also known for his role as "Eddie Moscone", the bail bondsman, in the Robert De Niro comedy Midnight Run and a police officer of dubious credentials named John Edward "Teddy" Gammel in Memento. He also played "Deputy Marshal Cosmo Renfro" in The Fugitive along with Tommy Lee Jones and reprised the role in the sequel U.S. Marshals.
In 2003, Pantoliano won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his portrayal of "Ralphie Cifaretto" on The Sopranos.
Gene B. Sperling
Gene B. Sperling is Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy. Upon his appointment on January 7, 2011, Mr. Sperling became the first person to serve as NEC Director and principal economic policy advisor for two presidents: first under President Clinton from 1997 to 2001, and now under President Obama.
In the Obama Administration, Sperling has played a key role representing the White House in budget negotiations with Congress as well as in designing several of the President’s economic initiatives including the American Jobs Act, the extension of Transition Adjustment Assistance, the universal dislocated workers program, and the small business tax credit. He also serves as the White House point person on several of the President’s top priorities including manufacturing policy, housing, and economic assistance for veterans.
During his eight years at the White House in the Clinton Administration, Sperling helped negotiate the 1993 and 1997 Deficit Reduction Acts and the increase in the earned-income tax credit and a champion of Saving Social Security First, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Hope Scholarship Tax Credit and the Direct Student Loan program.
Mr. Sperling’s work extends beyond economics. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Mr. Sperling was a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution where he focused on education in poor and conflict-affected nations. He was the founder and Director of the Center for Universal Education at the Council on Foreign Relations and co-authored a book entitled What Works in Girls’ Education: Evidence and Policies from the Developing World.
Mr. Sperling was also Senior Fellow for Economic Policy at the Center for American Progress, where he authored The Pro-Growth Progressive: An Economic Strategy for Shared Prosperity.
Prior to his current appointment, Mr. Sperling served as Counselor at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. In that role, Mr. Sperling served as a lead policy advisor on fiscal, budget, tax, job creation and small business issues.
Mr. Sperling graduated from the University of Minnesota and Yale Law School, and attended Wharton Business School. He is a native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, where his parents still live.
What an amazingly candid discussion. Truly documents the polarizing intensity that has defined W's presidency. It's nice to see a lefty getting so riled up though - I think Joey was channeling Ralphie Cifaretto there for a minute.