Alabama

Does Romney Have a 'Southern Problem'?
March 07, 2012

After just barely pulling out a win in Ohio, Mitt Romney has “won Super Tuesday” by most media accounts. But even with his successes (wins in Virginia, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Idaho, and a decent shot in Alaska), you’ll likely hear some people echo a recent claim by Newt Gingrich: that Romney can’t be confident of the nomination if he can’t win anywhere in the South. This concern didn’t suddenly present itself: Mitt’s first real stumble in the race, of course, was in South Carolina, where he got righteously stomped by Newt.

Finally, One State Gets It Right On Immigration
January 13, 2012

There’s been no shortage of attention to the wave of recent laws in Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and elsewhere that have ordered police to check detainees for proof of legal residence, required school officials to check the legality of students’ immigration status and prohibited employers from hiring undocumented aliens and landlords from renting to them. According to the conventional wisdom, it’s Washington that’s ultimately responsible for these draconian laws: The federal government forced local government’s hand by failing to address comprehensive immigration reform.

The Forgotten Campaign
December 14, 2011

If the resurgence of Newt Gingrich is strange for voters to behold, it has been doubly so for David Worley, the man who at age 32 came within 974 votes of keeping Gingrich from becoming a world-historical figure in the first place. It’s easy to forget, but, before Gingrich presided over the Republican Revolution of 1994, he very nearly lost his seat—even though he was, at the time, a twelve-year veteran of Congress and the second-ranking Republican in the House.

Rick Perry's Texas-Sized Glass House
November 15, 2011

Rick Perry is giving a big speech today in Iowa on his plan to "uproot, tear down and rebuild Washington, D.C.

My Second-Favorite Republican Innovation ...
October 26, 2011

... was the introduction of the progressive income tax. My absolute favorite Republican idea, of course, was freeing the slaves. Both were the achieved during the greatest presidency in American history. In fairness, it should be said that Abraham Lincoln didn't take a strong interest in how the federal government would raise revenue to support the Union army. ("Money!" he said. "I don't know anything about 'money'!") He just needed some, fast.

The GOP’s Plan to Take Education Policy Back to the Early 1990s
October 05, 2011

Everybody hates the No Child Left Behind Act. In the last few weeks, both conservative Republicans and President Obama have announced plans to overhaul George W. Bush’s signature education law by sending power over K-12 schooling back to the states. On the surface, this might seem like a rare moment of bipartisan consensus. Don’t believe it. The two plans actually represent radically different views of the federal government’s responsibility for helping children learn.  To see why, it helps to understand some common misconceptions about NCLB.

Cheers and Jeers
September 16, 2011

It was an ugly moment at the September 7 Republican debate when the discussion turned to the death penalty. “Governor Perry, a question about Texas,” moderator Brian Williams began. “Your state has executed two-hundred thirty-four death-row inmates, more than any other governor in modern times.” Suddenly, Williams was interrupted by an outburst of applause and cheers from the audience. The point being made by the Republican spectators could not have been clearer: The death penalty was not just a policy they favored. It was something to celebrate.

Pull Yourself Together, D.C.! Perrymania Is Overrated
August 16, 2011

Like much of his career, Rick Perry’s entry into the presidential campaign was exceptionally well-timed. Announcing the very day that his main rival for the “electable conservative alternative to Mitt Romney” mantle, Tim Pawlenty, was driven from the race by a poor third-place showing at the Iowa Straw Poll, the Texan has a lot of open political space to occupy.

The MLB All-Star Game And The Sluggish Economy: Do Cities Benefit From Hosting?
July 13, 2011

Last night, the National League defeated the American League 5-1 in the eighty-second MLB All-Star Game, posting its second consecutive victory after more than a decade of losses to the AL. Last night’s game took place at Chase Field, the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. (For those of you questioning the wisdom of holding the All-Star Game in Phoenix at this time of year, remember that the field has a retractable roof and massive cooling system, which lowered the game-time temperature to a pleasant 72 degrees.) But what did the event mean for Phoenix?

The State of the States in Developmental Disabilities: It's Not Good, Especially in Red States
June 22, 2011

Pardon my excursion into graphs and scatterplots today. There is a broader purpose. Last Tuesday I hit the “send” button on a big grant concerned with intellectual and developmental disability (I/DD) policy issues. Last Wednesday, the bible of the field, State of the States in Developmental Disabilities, appeared in my mailbox. Such is life. State of the States is a periodic compendium of state policies, service patterns, and spending across the country.

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