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?

Why The Big Budget Deal Won't Happen
July 08, 2011

Because conservatives won't go for it: Mr. Obama, seated between Mr. Boehner and the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, told the lawmakers he would not sign an interim deal, only one that extended through the 2012 election. Then he surveyed the eight leaders about their preference for three deals of different sizes — the largest being up to $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade, according to aides briefed on the discussion. Six of the eight expressed their support for the biggest deal, the aides said.

Why I Miss Sandra Day O’Connor
July 01, 2011

The Supreme Court term that ended this week would have looked very different if Justice Sandra Day O’Connor were still on the bench. Twenty percent of the cases were decided by a 5-4 vote, and, in many of those cases, Justice O’Connor would have voted to swing the result the other way. In two interviews this week at the Aspen Ideas Festival, O’Connor, a former Arizona state legislator, suggested to me that she disagreed with the 5-4 decision striking down Arizona’s public campaign financing system. She worried that it might call other public financing schemes into question.

The Arizona Campaign Finance Law: The Surprisingly Good News in the Supreme Court’s New Decision
June 27, 2011

Campaign finance laws have now gone 0 for 5 in the Roberts Court. Monday’s Supreme Court decision striking down the matching funds portion of Arizona’s voluntary public financing law—which provided extra public financing for candidates facing free-spending opponents or major outside spending—was no surprise. Indeed, I predicted laws like Arizona’s were doomed back in 2008, on the day the Court struck down a portion of the McCain-Feingold law which raised contribution limits for candidates facing millionaire opponents.

What The Norquist Rebellion Means
June 15, 2011

Kevin Drum thinks the defection of 34 Republican Senators from the Norquist line doesn't matter much: [M]aybe this is more of a good old sectional fight than a real schism on the proper interpretation of Norquist's anti-tax pledge. We'll see. The theory here is that having once voted to end a tax expenditure (the ethanol subsidy), Republicans will now be more willing to defy Norquist and vote to end other, bigger tax expenditures (mortgage interest, employer healthcare contributions). I have my doubts about that. Sen.

The Arizona Wallow Wildfire: A Sign of Climate Change to Come?
June 14, 2011

The Wallow wildfire is still raging after more than two weeks, today becoming the largest wildfire in Arizona history. The Wallow wildfire has already burned over 733 square miles, but as of yesterday, only 18 percent had been contained, with more than 4,000 firefighters working to put it out. The monster fire has some people wondering—does climate change mean there will be more fires like this in the future? Probably, scientists say. A study by A.L. Westerling and H.G. Hidalgo called “Warming and Earlier Spring Increase Western U.S.

Sarah Palin: She’s Just Like Us!
June 03, 2011

Despite the fact that she no longer holds office, has not clarified her political intentions, and seems intent, mainly, on making money, Sarah Palin coverage show no signs of letting up. Her recently launched bus tour—for the all-important purpose, as she has stated, of inviting “more people to be interested in all that is good about America”—is no exception. As we parse the constant updates from Palin’s not-a-presidential campaign, let’s take a look at previously issued breaking news on our favorite obsession. Sarah Palin rides a bike.

Caught Green-Handed
May 19, 2011

A few years ago, four of the current Republican presidential candidates—Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, and Jon Huntsman—all supported a cap-and-trade approach to cutting greenhouse-gas emissions. In the years since, however, conservatives have made “cap-and-trade” a dirty word, and climate denialism is now de rigueur on the right.

The Court of Celebrity
May 05, 2011

Justices and Journalists: The U.S. Supreme Court and the Media By Richard Davis (Cambridge University Press, 241 pp., $28.99) The way in which every person, every institution, relates to people is essentially, though often unconsciously, theatrical. We are experts in self-presentation, in acting a part to further our aims and interests. We have, all of us, a public relations strategy. This is true of the Supreme Court, too, and of the individual Supreme Court justices.

Could State Immigration Laws Spur Washington Action?
April 12, 2011

It may take years to sort out the constitutionality of the Arizona law that, among other provisions, would have required police to check an individual’s immigration status while enforcing other laws and during routine stops. But today’s ruling by the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals continues to block the most controversial provisions from taking effect. The Arizona law, passed nearly one year ago, was initially stayed in July of 2010 by U.S. District Judge Susan R.