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.
The Perfect Crime: GOP Kills Diamond Nomination
June 05, 2011
Peter Diamond, the Nobel-winning economist from MIT, will not be serving on the Federal Reserve. Therein lies a story about our dysfunctional Senate and our even more dysfunctional economics debate. President Obama first nominated Diamond in April, 2010. At the time, the choice prompted almost universal acclaim. Nobody in his generation may be better at applying theory to real-world problems like the design of social insurance or the nature of unemployment.
June 04, 2011
Some of the most interesting developments in health care policy these days aren’t taking place in Washington. They’re taking place in Sacramento and the rest of California, where public officials, private sector leaders, and activists are working to implement the Affordable Care Act. Remember, under the terms of the law, states must must do everything from setting up new insurance exchanges to slapping regulations on insurers.
Turning FEMA Around
May 28, 2011
It’s not exactly the Rapture, but the tornadoes that have been tearing through the Midwest and South this year certainly have an end-times feel to them. Just this past Sunday, an EF-5 level tornado (that’s as fierce as it gets) plowed through Joplin, Missouri, killing at least 125 people, flaying the bark off trees, crumpling cars like aluminum cans, and basically flattening everything in its six-mile path.
Cicadas Confounding Scientists!
May 10, 2011
While some parts of the South are dealing with (or bracing for) record floods, others are anticipating another kind of flood: a flood of cicadas. A brood that emerges every 13 years started appearing late last month in southern Alabama, and the insects have since appeared in Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, and a number of other southeastern states. The cicadas will mate with each other en masse before dying, which frankly seems like a pretty hasty end after 13 years underground. But why every 13 years (or, with some other species, 17 years)?
How Conservatives Tax The Poor
April 01, 2011
Ezra Klein the other day posted an analysis of state taxation that deserves more attention than the issue gets. Although he didn't quite put it this way, what he showed -- based on Katherine Newman's book, "Taxing the Poor" -- is that Republican states tend to raise a far higher share of their taxes from the poor, and less from the rich, than Democratic states. Here's the graph: The South is the most reliant upon regressive sales taxes, followed by the West, followed by the Midwest, followed by the Northeast.
Free Peter Diamond!
March 09, 2011
Few political spectacles depress and alarm me right now more than the stalled nomination of Peter Diamond. For those of you who don't already know, Diamond is the MIT economist whom President Obama has nominated to serve on the Federal Reserve Board. Diamond is widely considered among his generation's most brilliant economists.
Governor Bentley Is Interested In Your Soul
January 18, 2011
Alabama Governor-elect Robert Bentley has some unusually blunt words for non-Christians: "There may be some people here today who do not have living within them the Holy Spirit," Bentley said. ''But if you have been adopted in God's family like I have, and like you have if you're a Christian and if you're saved, and the Holy Spirit lives within you just like the Holy Spirit lives within me, then you know what that makes? It makes you and me brothers.
Get Used To It
January 06, 2011
We’ve all heard that Democrats are in for a very difficult two years. The new GOP majority in the House of Representatives will wage a campaign to disable health reform, financial regulation, and the EPA; stonewall executive and judicial appointments; slash nondefense discretionary spending (thus undermining the economic recovery); gut Social Security and Medicare; and launch investigations into every possible White House indiscretion—potentially leading to a vote for impeachment.
Shelby to Nobel Committee: F*** Off
October 12, 2010
As you may know, Senator Richard Shelby voted against putting MIT economist Peter Diamond on the Federal Reserve Board and is, presumably, among the senators who have blocked that nomination via anonymous hold. Shelby, a Republican from Alabama, has questioned the qualifications of President Obama's nominee, suggesting the country can't afford a Fed governor who is "learning on the job." And while a lot of people were impressed with yesterday's announcement that Diamond had won the Nobel Prize for Economics, Shelby was not among them: ...while the Nobel Prize for Economics is a significant re