Alabama

Congressman Bill Delahunt of Massachusetts: Pompous, Pretentious, Ineffective. Going The Way Of Martha Coakley. Or Worse.
March 01, 2010

Republican Scott Brown beat Democrat Martha Coakley by five points in the senatorial contest to succeed Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts. But, in William Delahunt’s congressional district, Brown beat the lady by 20 points. This was not good news for Delahunt, not good news at all. He’s serving his seventh House term in a state delegation that is all Democratic (which, alas, it won’t be come Election Day 2010). The tenth C.D. has been Democratic since Gerry Studds won it in the seventies, and Studds held the seat for nearly a quarter-century.

This Won't Make You Smile
February 23, 2010

Harold Pollack is the Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago and a Special Correspondent for The Treatment. A great NPR story by Sarah Varney highlights the growing and sometimes dire consequences of state budget cuts to medical and social services. It also highlights the systematic neglect of dental care in health reform and public policy. Varney describes the deep cuts in California's Medicaid program brought about by recession and by the state's self-immolating budget process.

Change The Voters, Or Change The Rules?
February 16, 2010

As I've been saying, the procedural critique of the Senate that some of us have been making for years is starting, but only starting to make headway into the conventional wisdom.

More Calls To Fix The IPCC
February 11, 2010

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has done indispensable work over the years in assessing the vast amount of research out there on the Earth's climate system and putting it all together into an accessible summary for policymakers and laypeople. I'd very much recommend the IPCC's Working Group 1 report from 2007 to anyone who wants to delve deeper into the basics of how scientists know that humans are warming the planet. Still, the panel isn't perfect.

Has Sprawl Recovered Enough for the National Economy?
January 27, 2010

A new study conducted by researchers from the University of Alabama and University of Florida, sponsored by the Natural Resource Defense Council , shows that car-dependent communities have statistically higher rates of mortgage foreclosure than communities with multiple transportation options, such as transit, biking and walking. This also explains to some extent why across the country that “walkable urban” home values over the past two years have been flat or slightly down while fringe “drivable sub-urban” communities have suffered the worst price declines.  The average American household spe

Small Ball
January 19, 2010

In early December, the White House announced four finalists for the president’s Securing Americans Value and Efficiency (SAVE) Award--a competition that plumbed the depths of the federal bureaucracy for ideas on how the government could save money. One finalist proposed streamlining the way the Forest Service forwards campground fees to the government. Another suggested that the Social Security Administration allow people to book appointments online rather than only by phone.

The Hunger Artists
January 18, 2010

Dancing In the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression By Morris Dickstein (W.W. Norton, 598 pp., $29.95) Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits By Linda Gordon (W.W. Norton, 536 pp., $35) American Hungers: The Problem of Poverty In U.S. Literature, 1840-1945 By Gavin Jones (Princeton University Press, 248 pp., $38.50)   “Let me tell you about the very rich,” F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in a story of 1926, at the height of the economic boom and his own creative powers.

Parker Griffith Can Change Parties, But Not History
December 23, 2009

For southern Democrats, the news that freshman Rep. Parker Griffith of Alabama was switching parties brought back bad memories from the 1990s, when a goodly number of elected officials from the region who had been Democrats for no particular reason other than political convenience became Republicans for no particular reason other than political convenience. But the exodus of party-switchers back then was both natural and healthy, painful as it was. Jay Cost of RealClearPolitics seems to think,  or hope, that Griffith's flip-flop could touch off another wave of party-switching.

Missile Man
December 05, 2009

A Fiery Peace in a Cold War: Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate Weapon By Neil Sheehan (Random House, 534 pp., $35)   In late March 1953, a colonel named Bernard Schriever sat in a briefing room at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, listening as John von Neumann, the brilliant mathematician, and Edward Teller, the physicist, discussed the future of the hydrogen bomb, the far more powerful follow-on to the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki eight years earlier.

Industry Clusters: A Rural Boon?
December 02, 2009

With a House-Senate “conference” committee soon to decide whether to create a truly valuable regional industry clusters initiative, misconceptions linger. Some rurally oriented conferees fear that cluster strategies pertain exclusively to urban development and leave rural America out. Others fret that cluster initiatives point exclusively toward high technology growth. However, none of the doubters need worry.

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