The Secret Service, as its name suggests, loathes being the center of attention. Nonetheless, the agency keeps finding itself in the spotlight: First, for an ill-advised rendezvous down old South America way, and now for taking an interest in crusty old rocker Ted Nugent, who recently predicted that if President Obama wins reelection, he “will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.” Hey, keep this up, Ted, and maybe you can be in jail ahead of schedule!
Lawmakers in Tennessee have passed a controversial new bill that would require the state’s teachers to allow discussion of creationism alongside evolution in science class. Though the bill was opposed by the governor, the ACLU, and the state’s largest teacher’s association, it nonetheless passed by a wide margin. Why has evolution suddenly reemerged as a hot-button cultural issue? According to survey data from Pew and Gallup, the controversy over evolution never really went away.
In remarks today, President Obama reiterated his support for the “Buffett Rule,” the idea that millionaires should not a pay a lower share of their income in taxes than middle-class families do. The Senate is taking up a bill that enforces that rule, though it’s not expected to go anywhere before the election, and Republicans have denounced it as a political ploy that would hurt small businesses and destroy jobs.
Today, the Miami Marlins suspended their manager, Ozzie Guillen, after he blurted out to TIME Magazine that he loves Fidel Castro. Guillen’s remark would have been bizarre and unpopular just about anywhere in the country, but it’s especially controversial in Miami, where local politicians are already calling for him to resign. Where does opinion on Castro stand today? According to a 2008 Gallup poll, Castro’s approval rating in the U.S. is 5 percent.
It was a hot one out there—over and over again, for 31 days: Last month was officially the hottest March in U.S. history. Not since officials started recording temperatures in 1895 have March temperatures been so high. What are the effects of these high temperatures so early in the year? According to one 2006 study, a major result of “warming and earlier spring” is increased wildfires. The study’s authors note in the mid-1980s, U.S. wildfires suddenly became much more frequent and started lasting much longer (with the average length jumping from one week to five weeks).
Noted intellectual and Twitter phenomenon Chuck Grassley has found himself in a bit of a dust-up after calling President Obama “stupid” in a tweet over the weekend. The Republican Senator was referring to Obama’s comments about healthcare reform and the Supreme Court, but his rudeness raises a bigger question: When it comes to brains, how does the president stack up against his predecessors? A survey of presidential scholars gives some insight. In a survey of 238 experts conducted by Siena College, Obama was ranked eighth among all presidents in the intelligence category.
The 2012 Masters Tournament is under way, and in keeping with The Study’s longstanding interest in sports economics, it’s time to ask: Besides controversy, what does the PGA’s annual trip to Augusta produce? According to a 2003 analysis, the Masters represents a substantial payday for the state of Georgia. But the Masters is just part of the golf industry in Georgia, which includes over 400 courses and clubs as well as a substantial manufacturing component (the vast majority of all golf carts are produced in the state).
It’s been a rough week for the General Services Administration, whose chief resigned on Monday after revelations that the agency had blown nearly a million dollars on a lavish conference in Vegas—complete with a comedian, a clown, a $2,000 loft suite party, and a mind reader. That last expense seems a little silly: After all, everyone knows that mind reading isn’t real.
If you’ve been reading The Study’s wall-to-wall Opening Day coverage today, you’ve learned that today’s baseball fans are a vengeance-hungry, price-sensitive bunch. But was it always that way? What about the fans of yesteryear? A fascinating 1990 study provides rare insight into the makeup of some of the game’s earliest fans—people who attended Cincinnati Reds games in the late 1880s.
Finally, it’s MLB Opening Day, kind of! Across the country, fans are gathering for America’s greatest sport, and they’re dropping serious cash to do so—not just on peanuts, hot dogs, and beer, of course, but on increasingly-expensive tickets. As the economy slowly recovers, people have slightly more disposable income to spend at the ballpark, but it bears asking: How much did the Great Recession cut into ticket sales? A 2011 paper suggests that the 2008 crash’s impact was substantial. While total MLB attendance fell slightly between 2007 and 2008, it tanked between 2008 and 2009.